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|Astrantian Tales – Part 2. Callistephus and the Shooting Star (youngsters:fantasy, 2965 words) [2/3] show all parts|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Apr 17 2004||Views/Reads: 2318/1448||Part 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 Click here to read the rest of this story (271 more lines)
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