Guest Writer – The Birch Maiden by Paul Andruss – Illustrated by Donata Zawadzka

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

picture1The Legend

The Birch Maiden is a Scottish folktale about a beautiful fairy inhabiting a birch tree. One evening she is tempted by a basket of apples left on the ground by soldiers sleeping in the grove. One young handsome soldier awakens, and seeing her is instantly smitten. When discovered, the shy creature flees into her tree, which only makes the soldier desire her more. Eventually he learns of a way of making the fairy maid fall in love with him and she forsakes her tree to become his bride.

Here the story takes various twists and turns depending on the tradition that preserved it. Popular tales are rarely straight forward. Stories diverge due to being passed down for hundreds of years within the families of professional storytellers, from father to son. No doubt, some versions are embellished with orphaned fragments of otherwise forgotten tales.

Sometimes the fairy can only…

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Get Your Kicks Where You Can

A senior couple came out of a coffee shop on Memorial Day to find an officer putting a ticket on a car whose meter had expired. Irate the man accosted him, “You Nazi Turd! Don’t you have any respect for yor elders.” The officer coolly wrote a second ticket for worn tires.

His wife jumped in, “You dog, if you didn’t have on that uniform, you wouldn’t have the nerve to face a real man.”

The insults continued on for several minutes, with the officer writing several more tickets till a bus pulled up to the corner and the elderly couple boarded.

Andrew and Molly Part 11

img_1866Image pulled from internet

Master Wharton bought the indenture of Benjamin White, a recently arrived bondsman, in anticipation of Bartles and Aggie’s completed contract.  As soon as their cabin was complete, the older couple moved over, though they’d continue to work another month for Master Wharton.  The young couple moved into the house, looking forward to the comfort of the fireplace the next winter.   They took their precious bed-linens but left their furniture in the barn-room.  Aggie passed her old bedding on to Benjamin since she and Molly had made all new for Aggie’s new home.  Molly had proudly presented Aggie with toweling of her own making, the first gift she’d ever been able to give anyone.  Aggie and Bartles would go to their new home on twenty-five acres with a cow, horse, plow, bed-linens, seed for their first crop, and a suit of clothes each, their entitlement for completing their indenture.

Bartles, Benjamin, and Andrew planned to work on Bartles’s barn roof as long as the light lasted one August evening.  Aggie and Molly served Master Wharton’s dinner and did needlework as they waited for their men.  As the light faded they strolled over to the unfinished barn to see what progress they’d made.

“You must be looking forward to be working for yourself,” Molly said companiably.  “I’ll miss working by your side, but am glad to see you ready to move to your own place.”

“The four years have been long , it’s true. But if we’d stayed in England, we’d never have come to all this.  I never thought to have my own house and land.  In three years, you will move to your own place.”

“That will be a fine day.” Molly agreed.

The men were nowhere in sight when they entered the clearing, not answering when the women called out.  Rounding the house, they found Bartles unconscious with his bloody body lying amid scattered tools. His bare skull showed through clotted blood where a wide strip bare of scalp.  There was no sign of the other two men.

Aggie perceived instantly that the men had been attacked by the Native Americans indigenous to the area. The colonists had a long history of difficulties with the neighbors they considered savages. In 1622, three-hundred-forty colonists were massacred, nearly ending the settlement. Colonists had long felt God intended the land for them, a concept the natives had difficulty embracing. As a result of many lies and betrayals, hostilities often erupted to rupture the friable peace.

The three bondsmen had fallen victim, two missing and one clinging to life.