A Woodman's Tale
A long, long, time ago,
even before this story begins, there was a young
boy a bit like you were once. He lived alone in a
little log cabin in the forest with his father,
the wood cutter. Sadly, his mother had died a few
years before he was born. Life was hard, there
were so few trees in the forest that his father
sometimes had to walk a day or more just to find
a few sticks. With so little wood to sell there
was no money to send the young man to the village
school, but although he wasnt wise in book-learning
he was a professor of woodland craft. Before his
tenth birthday he knew the names of all the
flowers that grew in the forest. "Whats
that flower called boy?" his father would
ask. "Rosemary" he would proudly reply,
or "Linda" or "Susan", all
depending on the plant in question.
One day, his father had
gone into the village to see if anyone knew
anything about any new trees moving into the
district. The boy was left by himself on the
front porch, carefully carving delicate pieces of
saw dust to sell in the market. He was so
absorbed in this intricate work that he didnt
even notice the stranger approach. "Have you
a drink of water for a traveller?" a
mysterious voice asked. Startled the boy looked
up and beheld a lady, more beautiful than he had
ever seen, dressed in a cloak of darkest white
and boots of the finest Alaskan leather.
"We have no water miss"
replied the boy "We are so poor that we have
to drink rain which we collect from the river"
"Then bring me a cup
of rain young sir" commanded the fine lady.
"Im sorry miss
but we have no cups, we are so poor that we have
to drink from vessels of mud that we shape, paint
and bake in our special hot oven" explained
"Well bring me some
rain in one of your vessels of mud, young squire"
said the lady in a tone that was beginning to
sound a little vexed.
"I would miss"
said the boy "But father says that there are
vagabonds abroad in the woods and who would keep
this fine sawdust safe while I went to fetch your
"I could guard the
sawdust" suggested the lady.
"I could not ask that
of you. If you were set upon by vagabonds I would
not be able to live with my guilt" the boy
"What if I were to buy
your damned sawdust?" inquired the lady
"Well I suppose that
would be in order" said the boy with some
"Well take this
shilling then and bring me the water before I die
of thirst" said the fine lady, finally
Later that evening the fine
lady was talking to her host at the little
country Inn where she was staying. "I met
the most extraordinary young man today when I
took my walk"
"Oh yes milady"
replied the Inn keeper
"In a little log
cabin, some way from the village"
"Oh yes milady"
The inn keeper looked up
from the pewter tankard he was gently burnishing,
"Didnt by any chance sell you some
sawdust did he?"