Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hope - a story by Sharon Giltrow #StoryAdventCalendar


Hope
by Sharon Giltrow

In a little village not far from here nor there, lived a young girl named Hope. She lived in a rose covered cottage, nestled at the edge of a woods. Every morning she woke to the sounds of the chirping blue jays, and twittering red robins. Life for Hope was good, peaceful and tranquil. Hope was good, peaceful and tranquil and this beautiful young girl had a special gift, she made everyone around her smile. Her smile bought joy to the lives of all the villagers.

But sadly Hope was unable to return the smile of the villagers. Hope was cursed. When she was a baby her mother took her berry picking. She placed Hope’s cradle next to a brook and then went to pick berries. A cloaked figure stepped out of the woods and up to the cradle. Hope, who had only ever known kindness, smiled up at the stranger.

“Oh, my little one, your smile, could light up the darkest corners of the world,” said the cloaked figure as she picked Hope up and stole away into the dark woods.

Hope’s mother returned to find the cradle empty. She cried out and fainted. Later that day, Hope’s father went searching for his wife and daughter. He found his wife sobbing on the bank of the brook.
He began searching the crystal clear water of the brook, where he saw his daughter’s bootie, he feared that his daughter had been stolen and he thought he knew by whom. The locals spoke of a young woman who fled into these woods grief stricken at the loss of her infant daughter and her husband in a tragic carriage accident.

Hope’s father wasted no time. He splashed across the brook and raced into the woods. He had not gone far when he came to a tumbled down cottage where he heard a lullaby.

“Lullaby, and good night, you're your mother's delight. Shining angels beside my darling abide. Soft and warm is your bed, close your eyes and rest your head.”

He rushed into the cottage and snatched Hope from the woman, who let out an ear piercing scream and collapsed to the ground shouting, “Take her, take her, but from this day forth, she will be cursed. She will never know or be able to see how beautiful she is and none will see her smile ever again.” Hope began to cry in her father’s arms.

Time passed and life for the family continued, the curse forgotten. All who met Hope saw a beautiful, gentle, young lady who spread happiness and joy wherever she went.

One day, a travelling artist came to the village. He sketched people from village to village, for bed and board. He was blind and he asked his subjects to describe themselves.

The first cottage he came to was Hope’s. He asked if he could sketch someone. Hope’s parents, believing her to be the most beautiful person in all of the land, suggested her.

“Tell me about your hair,” the artist asked Hope.
~
“Tell me about your face, what is its shape?” He continued.

“Your jaw, your chin, your nose – describe these?”

“Now your eyes – the colour, the shape, the light that shines from them.”

“What would be your most enduring feature?” he finally asked her.

Hope answered each of his questions truthfully and honestly, but the artist was not happy with her description. He asked for a villager to come and describe her.

The villager said, 
“Her hair is the colour of gold. Her face is the shape of love. Her jaw is strong, her chin is soft and her nose is as cute as a button. Her lips are full, and a ghost of a smile lies beneath them. Her eyes are as blue as the cobalt sky. It is a face that makes you want to smile even on the darkest days.”

The artist now had two sketches of Hope, her description and the villagers. He showed them both to Hope and for the first time in sixteen years she smiled and the curse was broken.


*****


This story is part of the Story Advent Calendar Blog Hop. Every day from December 1st through December 25th, a variety of authors are providing you with one story to read to your child on the lead-up to Christmas. Check out the posts below to see which one to read to your child tomorrow!

2 comments:

Lizzie Koch said...

This is a gorgeous little story. Love the ending. xx

Sharon Giltrow said...

It is a story about the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us we are much harsher on ourselves