This week’s Fairy Tale prompt is about “awareness” and “greed”
Amanda McWood raised her eyes brows and uttered a low expletive under her breath.
Her mother rolled her eyes and found herself worrying once again about her determined daughter.
Amanda was a demanding child. It wasn’t that she was an overly indulged child but more so she knew what she wanted and was determined to live life her way.
Added to that Amanda had grown into a very beautiful child, she attracted attention wherever she went but at the same time had become known as a bit of a shrew. She was a breaker of hearts and had a reputation of telling prospective suitors where they could stick their intentions.
For the most part Amanda lived in her own little world. She would play in the forest and would often bring home an injured animal. Her room was a menagerie of birds, frogs and small furry creatures that hid in corners or Amanda’s pockets.
What worried her mother the most was Amanda’s insistence that she was never alone as she had the Lilies with her. Her mother never saw a lily anywhere near her daughter and began to worry that her daughter was a little disturbed.
Despite her headstrong attitudes to most things Amanda was on the whole a happy child.
Mother would often find her engaged in fervent conversation behind the wood shed and when she made herself known would find Amanda standing there talking to the air.
The Lilies Amanda would explain, kept her sane, balanced and had been her constant and most loved companion.
This sort of talk made her mother super concerned. Amanda was fourteen and it was time to consider the possibility of marriage for her daughter, after all the mother had four younger children, and it was a struggle to keep them all fed and clothed as her husband worked away all week and she was so often on her own.
So the reason Amanda had raised her eyebrows on this particular day was her mother’s mention of the ‘M’ word.
The village was expecting a visit from the Lord of the Manor, Count Johannes Vandersmuthenberg and the word was he was on the lookout for a wife as his previous wife had passed away. The Count was willing to offer some eligible young lady the chance to become the lady of the manor.
Horrified by the thought of being married off to ease the burden on her family Amanda fled to the forest and sat there crying her eyes out. There was no way she said to herself that she was going to succumb to marriage to a hideous old man such as the Count. He had a reputation of being a greedy pig of a man, of not treating his wife or any of his servants well.
‘It sucks doesn’t it,’ said a voice to her left.
Amanda looked around and saw Lily sitting beside her as forlorn as she herself felt.
‘What will become of me?’ asked Lily. ‘I cannot go with you to the Manor as I am confined to this forest.’
They both sat there contemplating the cruelties of the world they lived in.
‘He may not pick me anyway,’ said Amanda.
‘Of course he will, you are the most beautiful girl in the village.’
‘Looks aren’t everything,’ said Amanda, feeling her ire beginning to rise.
‘They are as far as the Count goes. He wont care about anything else but how good he will look with you on his arm.’
‘I’ll run away.’
‘No don’t what will I do then for a friend?’
‘Oh yes, I can’t take you with me can I.’
‘No. Don’t even think about it.’
For some time they sat there, Amanda’s tears had dried and the unlikely two sat together their heads in their respective hands.
‘You know,’ said Lily, ‘you could come and live with me.’
‘Yes. It’s a bit tricky but nothing is impossible.’
‘I would have to get permission from the Head Lily but its been done before. The Head Lily is very sympathetic to maidens in distress.’
‘So I could become a Lily?’
‘It’s a big call Lily. What about my mother, my brothers and sisters?’
‘Well the alternative is to maybe become a Vandersmuthenberg. Do you want to take that risk?’
‘Never. When can I change to a Lily?’
That evening Amanda’s mother worried about her non-return from the forest. It was getting cold and she knew that the freezing overnight temperatures would soon bring her daughter home. She sat up all night waiting for Amanda to come through the back door.
By morning she was getting frantic and began thinking her daughter had met some accident and was lying dead in the forest.
Search parties failed to find any trace of the lost Amanda.
Some months later the mother was hanging out the washing when she noticed a small cluster of forest animals near the gate that bordered her yard with the forest.
Curious she approached them and saw them look towards the forest as if bidding her to follow.
In a clearing in the forest she was met by a sight that left her breathless. There in the middle of a glade in a glow of light stood her daughter, Amanda looked more beautiful than ever, radiant was the word she thought of.
Amanda stood and looked at her mother, love burnt in her eyes, and as tears flowed from the mother Amanda was joined by others who floated down from the trees and stood beside her daughter.
Amanda spread her arms in acknowledgement of her mother and the others who crowded in around her.
She mouthed the word, The Lilies, to her mother, her smile radiating a love the mother had never before felt.
In her cottage at night the Mother sewed by candlelight. She worked late for a reason. As the old clock chimed one in the morning a light appeared in the room. Amanda sat opposite her mother. She only ever stayed a few minutes but in those moments Amanda emanated a soaking love on her mother. The mother reflected on how pleased she was her daughter had been such a determined child in the face of so much greed in the world.