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Little Hermit's Cottage


I wrote this short story yesterday. It is directly inspired by a book I am now reading. I couldn't post it as a poem, because it has too much prose in it. But I do love the poem, and hope you may help me better my storytelling. This is a story I feel must be told. Thank you.

Now there was that old cottage at the end of the road, long enough standing there that it had taken root, and it fed on the sap of the earth, competing with the trees about it, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the land fed upon its leaves and roots.

But it still was just a cottage, and in it lived a little hermit, whom they called Little Hermit, because that is all that they saw of him. He was little, and he was a hermit.

In the morning, before the sun would wake and fly from its valley into the world, he would water it's leaves, and save some seeds of his liking. He harvested the berries that ripened at dusk to hang in his trees like little shiny stars, all set with constellations and names and nebulas, if ever they exploded into dust, which they often did, to the amusement of Willow, his wife.

Then when dawn was broken, the sun would leave the valley and rise up into the air, and the moon would come and rest in its place, while it slept under the soft waterfalls they call "The tears of the night".

Little Hermit joyed in the play of colours, from golden fire to silver serene, adjusted with a hint of blue, when he was solemn and reflecting, as he was now, when the Children arrived.

The Children trekked the lands far and wide, until they found his long road. And when they found it, they took it, and their joys were complete, for at the end of the road, where rivers sink into the forgotten deeps, and dreams themselves sleep from their adventures in the minds of men, was that old cottage, and they will be blessed with many tales. And this was one such, that the Little Hermit loved:

"Before the lands beyond the sun
were filled with life and overrun
with endless mirth and merry song,
before the time when days were long,
when tame were beasts and tall were kings,
and sea-gulls taught the men to sing;
Before the days grew drear and sad,
when fairies marched forth, iron clad,
with horns and trumpets ringing loud
against the menace of the cloud.

Ere Adaman was left for dead,
within the corridors of dread,
ere vale was hewn, ere hammer fell,
before this long, harmonious spell,
the world was grey, the caverns cold,
and Little Hermit not as old.

For many years I dwelt alone,
My drink was dust, my food was bone.
I sought throughout the silent night
a burning ember, shard of light
wherewith I shall see, with these eyes
a wonder underneath the skies.
But grace at last, would not find me;
My eyes were blind. I could not see."

The Children sighed, and the world about them grew dull. The moon had turned pale blue, and it rolled on its side with a slight yawn. There was a drizzle from the heavens, and the wind's whistle seemed to pick up on something and carry it far into the world. Another storm was brewing, but the Little Hermit continued his tale:

"'Twas long, but soon, I know not whence
I felt in me a deep presence.
The gracious heavens answered me.
A gust of wind blew from the sea,
and in that breeze whispered a voice:
Be still, my love, and still rejoice.

My heart once leapt within my breast,
she rode upon a foaming crest
and made her harbour on this shore
to dwell with me, forevermore.

And lo! My sight has been restored;
the silent sky I once implored
has given her beloved kiss;
Now Willow, is my granted miss.

The world is old, and short is day.
My beard is beloved grey.
The lives of men are not as long,
The birds no longer sing their song.
I have no care, whatever be,
for glad is Willow, glad is me!"

The tale was over, and the Children were glad. The sun had returned to its vale, and there was joy at the end of the road. The moon had gone to weep over the world. It would be a windy night for men, and their children will wonder what lies beyond the stars, and their dreams. But at the end of the road, there was joy in its fullness, for Willow had returned from the harvest, and she sung the Children a lullaby till the next morn.

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