The Coming of the Stranger – a fairy tale – 4

Once upon a time, in a far away land, lived a young girl who carried the waters from the well in a large jug upon her head. As she walked each day to the village well, she would sing the thoughts of her heart.

For many years she would sing on the path to the village, living from the village with her old parents and their strange ways, never entering the town. Her parents told her she must not sing freely when others were around, that would make them notice her and they would find that she was different from the rest.

Greatly puzze1ed, the young girl would think on this instruction while in sight of her hut. However, as she walked further and further away and her parents could no longer see her, she would burst into song.

She sang along with-the wind, sang with the birds and rarely but really, did sing with the smooth slithering snakes that weaved their paths on the dusty ground. The girl would sing every thought she had dreamed the night before. Sometimes she did not know the meaning of her dreams, nor even the words that flowed off her tongue with the ease of the birds flying high. Often she would listen to her own voice and not feel as if she sang, but rather as if she were listening to the stories of another person, a strange person, a soul friend who visited her at night and told her stories, both growing older and wiser with each turn of the season.           

As womanhood entered this girl, her songs became deeper and stronger. A sense of urgency heightened her walks to the well. She was soon noticed by many men of the town. She was touched and fondled until a song told her how to make the men not invade her young body. As she sang, the voice gave her instructions on the ways of men, their ill deeds, the desires that sprang from hidden monsters behind their charming smiles and youthful innocence.

The voice did not warn against all men, but where this girl lived, many women were forced into servitude for the pleasures of men’s flesh. This girl could not be touched in this manner, she was a stranger, a taboo to the village. Rumor had it her parents were not of this earth, that they were strangers sent to instruct her in the ways of the Old Ones that no longer lived on earth.

She began asking her parents the meaning of the words that came boldly from her heart as she sang. Upon mention of the forbidden words, her parents bowed their heads in sorrow. Silent tears ran down their faces and they could not answer her.

Now this girl was beginning to notice how different she was from everyone else. She began to want to be like the others, to live in the village, to cast off the long dark clothing she wore every season without change. She longed to mate with a man who would love her as she loved the birds of the air.

This too gave her parents much sorrow. They were lost. “Soon,” they said, ”we are to be going away, and we will not return. We cry for you because only this far are we to guide you. Now the friend of night shall lead you to your path. We will go away. Our tears are not for your desires as you once thought, our tears are for our departure.”

The sun rose. “We must go now,” her parents instructed her. “Listen to your singing and fear not its voice. When it is ready, the messages will flow clear and strong. Good-bye, daughter. We must go now.”

Hand in hand, they walked to the rising sun, with no possessions or food. They disappeared into the sun’s heat.

Looking around the hut and empty rooms, the girl decided to move into the village and earn her living my singing songs at the Inn.

The songs she sang, sadly were only for men, because only men crowded the. The songs were quiet and gentle. They soothed the sad hearts of the drunken men. While she sang, the men listened and refrained from fighting. Even the energies of her chasteness served to silence the men’s usually raging brawls.

This new calmness did not stay for long. Her heart beat faster and faster as the men looking at her longingly. Often she would find a man and then pour forth her most gracious songs.

One day, while seeking such a man, she saw a hunter enter with his bow and arrows. As he looked around, seeking to discern the type of abode and people that inhabited the area, she felt a heat flash into her face. The hunter did not stay. He found his way out the back and rented a room above. There he lay in the hay for sleeping.

 Her songs that night were full of the lusty desire he had often heard but never spoken nor felt. The men in the Inn looked at her in astonishment!  How could their saint sing such words?  But she flung back her head and sang. She felt she was now at one with the voice as she had been when she lived away from the village. She sang as she had along with the birds.  For the first time, the young girl knew that the voice within her lungs was none other than the voice of God, and God could love with flesh as much as he loved with spirit.

 Some of the younger men, not knowing the singer’s secret ways, paced rapidly towards her, arms stretching out.  She had not shielded herself with the sacred ways of the Old.  Oldness past thousands of moons and seasons. She was dismayed such beautiful songs inspired such dreadful thoughts that reached for her body.

With the power of an approaching thunderstorm, her voice bent their greedy fingers and broke their arm bones. She ceased singing. They retreated. She sang. They stayed far from her. This song held no malice.  It was her protection. ‘From God, from the free land where I had once lived as a child.

 She flitted back to the other song, then saw what the Devil could do. She would never be safe with these people. Great tears rolled from her eyes.  A wave of sadness engulfed her. Again she ceased singing “You have betrayed the gift of Nature and will never be able to hear my voice again.”

In sadness, she left the Inn. She gathered her few belongings and returned to the hut of her parents. As the night wore on as she sat in the field before the deserted hut, the time for dreaming came near.  In her dream, she felt her body grow from girl to woman.

 She sat up, awake.  She heard a voice inside her head, “I am coming. Sit in silence.” Her nose itched. She scratched it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina’s_World
Christina’s World is a 1948 painting by American painter Andrew Wyeth and one of the best-known American paintings of the middle 20th century.

“No, don’t. Wait. I am coming. I will come faster to find you!”

From her mouth came the song of morning birds. She soon felt this was not the greeting the stranger wanted. The young woman could feel the flow from her body. She knew now that the time for womanhood had broken from her body now as the time for loving would come to her. She opened her mouth and sang the changes of her body. She sang the flow of her blood. She sang the births that would now bless her. She sang of the mingling of male with female, of herself with the stranger; of God with people, of birds with air and flowers with dirt.      

As she sang the lusty songs of lovemaking, the trees quivered in the dark. She was startled, but her song flowed while she cautiously watched the land before her. As she thought and made images of the landscape, her voice went on in the greeting of nonrecognition of one that would be her husband.

She sang until her body was exhausted in its desire unfulfilled. She sang until her eyes could no longer seek for danger. She sang until she fell over onto the ground and into a deep sleep from which she would never awaken.

The people of the village found her laying among a field, her body hunched in, her head hidden by her long hair. They saw the land around her fanned into a circle with millions of unknown flowers blooming. The people of the village watched the flowers open their petals and sang the songs the young woman had sung for them for so long.


***

But what happened to the young woman? you may ask.  Where did she go? She returned to the land of her birth, the place of dreams. She found her free spirit from which she had been separated for many years.

He had come to claim his woman, his twin self, to share her songs and let her rest from her singing as he told her his stories.

As she was the Singer for the East, he was the Story Teller from the West. And their time for lovemaking had come. They were freed from the toil of their lives.

Vancouver flowers, BC, Canada

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