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Astrantian Tales – Part 2. Callistephus and the Shooting Star (youngsters:fantasy, 2965 words) [2/3] show all parts
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Apr 17 2004Views/Reads: 2359/1487Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
...But the doorknocker was magic, and before Callistephus could touch it, it knocked by itself and shouted ‘Visitor!’... This is the second of three children's stories set in the fairytale land of Astrantia.

Astrantian Tales – Part 2 

Callistephus and the Shooting Star 

©2003 Ian G Hobson 

This is the second of three children's stories set in the fairytale land
of Astrantia. 

*** It was early in the morning when the boy, Callistephus, wandered
down the path to the hollow tree.  Many days had passed since his 
encounter with Catan, and since that day he'd noticed that, more often 
than not, it was the young girl who came up from the village each 
morning to leave him food.  But for once, he arrived before the girl, 
and wondering what was amiss, he decided to wait and watch for her; 
though he hid across the path, behind the roots of a fallen tree, for 
he knew that the girl, like other villagers, might be afraid of him. 

Many years ago the villagers had witnessed Callistephus changing from
boy to wolf at sunset, and had banished him from the village.  At first 
only his father had dared to approach him, and it was he who had at 
first brought him food.  But as the years passed and his father became 
old and frail and unable to walk farther than the edge of the village, 
others took on the task.  The others being mostly womenfolk, whose 
kindness overcame their fear.  But now it was a young girl, of no more 
than seven or eight years, who came each day. 

Callistephus waited and watched, and finally the girl came toiling up
the steep path from the village.  She was a pretty girl with long dark 
hair, and she wore a clean, but faded, yellow dress and leather 
sandals.  She went to the hollow tree and placed a basket of food 
inside, before taking out the empty one from the day before.  But 
instead of turning and running back down the path, she stopped and sat 
on a large tree root and began to cry. 

‘Why are you crying?' asked Callistephus, forgetting that he was
supposed to be hiding. 

Startled, the girl looked up.  ‘Mind your own business!' she said,
looking towards the tree roots above the boy's hiding place.  ‘And, 
anyway, who taught you to speak?' 

Callistephus was surprised that she had answered him and not run off
down the path.  But then he saw that, sitting on a root above his head, 
there was a sparrow. 

‘My father taught me, and my mother too, I think,' Callistephus
answered, from behind the mass of roots. Callistephus remembered little 
of his mother who had died before he was a year old.  ‘But please,' he 
said, 'tell me your name and why you are crying.  Perhaps there is 
something I can do to help.' 

‘My name is Luzula,' replied the girl, wiping her eyes with the sleeve
of her dress.  ‘But what could a sparrow do?'  And she put her head in 
her hands and began to cry again; which was just as well, because at 
that moment the sparrow flew away. 

‘Perhaps I could do something,' suggested Callistephus. 

‘My mother is dying,' said Luzula through her tears and with her head
still in her hands.  ‘She has a terrible sickness that even the 
wise-woman cannot cure.' 

‘Perhaps the witch, Asperula, could cure her,' suggested Callistephus. 
‘She's good with potions.'  If not with spells, he reminded himself.  
It was she who had carelessly made him turn into a wolf each night, 
between sunset and sunrise. 

‘Asperula tried,' said Luzula, looking up at where the sparrow had been.
 ‘But... Oh, you've gone.  I knew a sparrow would be of no help.' And 
with that, she picked up the empty basket and ran down the path before 
Callistephus could say anything else. 

Callistephus came out from behind the fallen tree to collect the food
that Luzula had left him.  And to eat it he sat on the root where 

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This is part 2 of a total of 3 parts.
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