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Friday, April 6, 2012

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Night Wanderings {1::1}

This is rather like a folk tale. Jadefireeyes

Long ago, when the earth was still young, there lived a rich girl who was the daughter of the Emperor’s favorite advisor. Whatever she wanted, she received, and whatever her little greedy heart wished for, was made true. Now, this girl was named Maun, and grew quite spoiled. She had to have the prettiest gowns only money and class could buy, and strutted around in her swollen pride. Every small thing needed to be granted, or she would throw a right little tantrum. Maun was always bored, since no one wanted to play with her. 

So she would play silly games with peacock features, or throw small gem stones instead of pebbles into the river, while munching on rich cakes. The hungry fish would beg for some, but Maun would just laugh and throw them leaves to eat, even though she always had more than she could swallow. As you would expect, Maun made enemies of everyone, even the little children of her village. A favorite game of theirs was to lock her outside the gate. And always, Maun would become angered and run to her father to punish them.

***

This twilight was a chilly one; it was winter, and all the trees lay asleep in frost and the air was chocked with cold. The smallest rustles made by the north wind ceased to exist, and even the dry leaves and foliage never seemed to move. Maun had ventured outdoors to play during the day, when it was the warmest, only to find malicious faces on her return.  

“Let me in, let me in!” Maun screamed to the children, who were holding the doors closed. “Or Father will punish you something dreadful.”  

“We are not afraid of your father this night,” a small girl answered stonily. “For he is away for the Emperor, and we are allowed to hold you outside as long as we please.” The gravel cracked underfoot as they returned to the warmth of their homes, and left her shivering with anger and cold.

Maun was now doubtful she would ever survive the night, for her fancy petticoat barely had an inch of goose features and her little girl frame was not built for endurance. She felt sorry for herself and wept many tears, but none would ever answer. Finally, a voice was heard. 

“Why are you crying, small girl? It would be best of you if you went home, away from the dangers of the monster Titalukia. It only awakes from its slumber on the darkest time of the coldest day of the year.” It was Owl, for this was a time when humans and animals still could talk to one another. 

“I can’t return home because my village is shut,” Maun snapped. “And what a silly bird you are, listening to nursery tales. I do not have time for such idle nonsense.”

Owl was flustered, but continued. “Well, I can not help you with that, but I must tell you this: Titalukia is a true demon. The greatest help I can give is informing you where its den lies, so you may avoid it. It is-”

“No, I shall not listen to your false stories!” Maun screamed. “If you can not help me with the real danger, the chill, go away! I truly believe your beak is growing larger than your eyes, which are big enough.”

Owl screeched twice, and flew away into the moon. As she watched in satisfaction, she became aware that might have been the last soul she would ever speak to. She felt pity stirring for herself again as the purple evening settled. Maun wondered where she should go.

The village would be closed and the gates would not be opened ‘till morning. Nothing good would come from here. She must go toward the direction of the forest, for the still air was summoning an icy gale. Perhaps there would be shelter from it there.  

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