Day and Night

This story, as so many do, begins with a curse. You could call it an enchantment if it would make you feel better but, as these things really should be labeled by the person on the receiving end, calling it a curse seems most fitting. Eveline certainly viewed it that way.

Eveline was a nice young woman of a nice family. Her parents had doted on her and she had been a lovely baby, and a cherished child. Her hair was dark, like a fall of melted chocolate, her eyes clear and bright, cheeks rosy, and her smile sweet. She was amiable, generally willing to please, although occasionally exhibiting an independence and strength of will that boded ill for anyone who sought to cross her once she was grown. All in all, a girl who received healthy doses of praise with only a little chastisement for the occasional misdeed. There was nothing to suggest that she was anything but a gifted young girl who would grow up to have a pleasant life with only the usual sorts of problems.

Appearances, however, can be deceiving. For the older Eveline grew the more she realised that other children did not live the way she did. During the day she was nothing but the dutiful daughter, the diligent student. A doll who walked and talked but was, in many ways, devoid of any true spark. At night she became a wild thing, a creature of the forest who roamed far and wide, unable to stay within the bounds of the home of her parents. She did as she wished, mischief and devilment leading her often astray. In the morning she would wake in her bed, leaves littering her hair, berries smearing her lips, and a longing in her heart.

The curse had been cast by a fairy, one who had seen the perfect child her parents had, seen the way they had doted on her, and had thought to offer the girl freedom. For you see, fairies do not live as we do, and this one pitied the poor child who was so bound by the love of her parents who sought to shelter her. So by day she would be the perfect child, but by night she would steal away to sport with the fairies, joining their careless games.

It tore at the girl, flashes of memory during the day of her adventures at night, a desire to be free to be more. And during the night she would long for the safety of her home, feel pain in odd moments at the tricks the fairies taught her to play. To be two such different people frightened her.

It also frightened her parents. When she had been very young they had kept careful watch, but always the fairies would find ways to steal her away. They tried sealing her window, tried locking her door. They even, one night in desperation, tried tying her to her bed. In the morning she woke again with leaves in her hair, dirt on her skin, and berry stains on her mouth. Their perfect child was not so perfect after all.

When it became clear to them that this was no momentary teasing, no short-lived mischief, they followed their daughter one night, careful not to be seen. They spied on the fairies as they gathered in a glade, dancing and singing, planning mischief and sporting gleefully. Gathering their courage, hands clasped together, the parents stepped into the circle of the trees.

Silence greeted them, silence and emptiness. The trees no longer held sprites, goblins no longer lurked on toadstools, and no longer did a circle of dancers occupy the center.

"P-please. We want our daughter back. Tell us what to do!" The father's voice quavered as he spoke, and he felt his wife trembling against him, but what could they do? Their little girl was no longer a child and soon she should marry. But who would marry such a woman?

Laughter echoed around them, the kind that prickles down your spine to let you know that nohing good is planned. A voice spoke out of the darkness, twitters and snickers accompanying it, "But it is simple enough. She simply must be loved as she is." And with a swirl of leaves and giggles, they felt the fair folk leave, abandonning the glade for more likely haunts, the daughter gone with them until the morning.

 

The End

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