Chapter 1

Written by: Sumanda Maritz

Out of breath and scared to bits, Kali ran into the village heading straight for her grandmother’s cottage. Gasping for breath, she told Grandma Aimes everything that happened. 


“Kali, relax, I know that everyone thinks the blessings are bad but remember sometimes it is a grand thing to be blessed by them,” Grandma Aimes said in her familiar comforting voice. “The blessing would depend on you, my child. If you stay true and steadfast, the blessing will be a gift. When I was young, a man was blessed. He was a fair man and his blessing gave him more wisdom. He became the village soothsayer.” Grandma’s voice turned soft and yearning for the days of her youth.


With a shake of her shoulders, she shook off the past. Grandma Aimes took a good look at Kali and told her to quickly wash her face and feet. The festival was about to begin.


Not even the experience of that afternoon could dampen Kali’s excitement as they joined the other villagers. As the villagers appeared in the marketplace the festivities built up until the festival was in full swing. Kali made for the table with the honeyed mead. She wanted a taste of what had been denied to her until this year. With a small crock of warm honeyed mead, she stood to the side to drink. 


One sip tasted like sweet liquid gold, spreading warmth through her. Half the crock warmed her, but she felt her head start to spin. She put the crock down. Everything took on a different view. The lights looked more silver and everyone seemed happier than previous years.


She grabbed a slice of roast and made her way towards the table with the hot pastries. As she passed a dark spot she noticed three village boys in shadow. She stopped and watched for a moment. Two of the boys were holding the third down as they poured the firewater that farmer Datter brewed down his throat.


“Hey, what are you doing to Henu?” Kali stepped closer as Jay and Sime backed up. “We were just playing with him,” whined Sime as he shuffled his feet. Kali knew that Sime wasn’t the brightest lad in the village. This game must have been Jay’s idea. Neither was truly bad, but most of the village mothers complained about these two. 


“Game is over, scat!” Kali told the two scruffy boys. She walked over to Henu who still lay sputtering. “How much did they get into you?” she asked as she squatted next to him.


“Not too much,” Henu coughed out. “Thank you, Kali, I didn’t stand a chance against both of them.”


Kali helped Henu up and took him to where the medicine woman was chatting with some of the village mothers. They gave him a potion to help withstand Datter’s heady brew.


As she walked back toward the food, she heard a giggle coming from behind her. She turned around to see the Fawn.



This is really nice and written with a soft stroke of the pen. Although some fairy stories have an element of wickedness about them, they should also have characters that we warm to and want to help, nice little innocent girls for example. Sumanda has written a little mysteriously and added that softness of the girl who is discovering something that maybe only she, apart from the medicine woman, will eventually figure out. The fawn interests me and adds that fantasy element without being to intrusive. Loved this, Sumanda.
I really enjoyed the pace, all the hustle and bustle of a fair. I was right in there with Kali. Grandma Aimes and her wisdom provide excellent foreshadowing which we might see start to take shape in Kali. And yes, like Ray loved the Fawn....I look forward to seeing how it develops in the story also. Beautiful, gentle, insightful crafting of your chapter, Sumanda.