After Golden, I blanked out. I wish I had read these stories when I was younger. Spirited by Nancy Holder. A great silence filled the great stone house.
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In this value-priced bind-up of three beloved retellings, readers will journey to faraway fairy tale lands. The ones you tell yourself, and the ones told by others. All of us begin somewhere. Though I suppose the truth is that we begin more than once; we begin many times. Over and over, we start our own tales, compose our own stories, whether our lives are short or long. Until at last all our beginnings come down to just one end, and the tale of who we are is done. This is the first story I ever heard about myself: that I came into this world before my time.
Full of confusion was the day of my birth, of portents, and of omens. Just at daybreak, a flock of white birds flew across the face of the sun.
Its rising light stained their wings bloodred. This was an omen of life taking flight. At dusk, a great storm arose, catching everyone by surprise. My mother was in her garden, the one she planted and tended with her own two hands, when two claps of thunder, one from the east and the other from the west, met above her head in a great collision of sound. The earth shook beneath her feet. Crying out, my mother tumbled to the ground. What this portended nobody ever did decide, because it was at precisely this moment that I declared my intention to be born.
Fortunately for my mother, she was not alone. The healer, Old Mathilde, was with her, as she often was when my father was away from home. Just how old Old Mathilde is, no one really knows. But no matter what her years, she was strong and hale enough to lift my mother up and carry her indoors—through the gate in the garden wall and around the side of the house, up the steps to the front door, and across the great hall.
Then, finally, up a wide set of stairs from the great hall to the second floor. The wind wailed like a banshee.
Hailstones clattered against the roof with a sound like military drums. Old Mathilde set my mother gently on the bed, paused to catch her breath. Then she summoned Susanne, who worked in the kitchen, instructing her to bring hot water and soft towels. But when Mathilde went to stir up the coals, the wind got there first, screaming down the chimney, putting out the fire. All the servants quaked in fear. The women buried their heads beneath their aprons, and the men behind their arms, for nobody could remember such an event ever occurring before.
And so it was first in shadow, and then in darkness, that Old Mathilde and my mother strove to bring me into the world. Just before midnight, I arrived.
At my coming, the storm ceased as suddenly as it had begun. A great silence filled the great stone house. She asked this just as the clocks throughout the house began to strike midnight: the only hour in all the world that begins in one day and ends in another.
And this is the story Old Mathilde has told me each and every time I asked her to: that, with my green eyes, I gazed up, and with her green eyes, my mother gazed back down. She ran one hand across my head, her fingers lingering on my bright red hair, for this, too, was the exact same shade as her own. Then she bent her head and pressed a kiss upon my brow. I carry the mark of it to this day, the faintest smudge of rose just at my hairline.
No one is better at understanding the world than Old Mathilde, at being able to see things for what they truly are. This is what makes her such a good healer, I suppose. For how can you mend a thing, any thing, if you cannot truly see what is wrong?
Some things, of course, cannot be healed, no matter how much you want them to be, no matter how hard you try. Old Mathilde was not a magician. She was simply very good at helping wishes come true. Just for an instant, Old Mathilde closed her eyes, as if summoning the strength to hear what would come.
For my mother was asking to bestow the most powerful wish there is, one that is a birth and death wish, all at the same time. Then Old Mathilde opened her eyes and gave the only answer she could, also the one that was in her heart. When he looks at her, he will not find joy in the color of her hair and eyes.
He will not see the way that I live on. Instead, he will see only that she came too soon, and that her arrival carried me out of this life. He wished for his first child to be a boy. As for Etienne. And no sooner had this been decided, than my mother died. Not once in all that time, so Old Mathilde has always claimed, did I so much as stir or cry.
She carried me downstairs to the great open fireplace in the kitchen. Holding me in the crook of one arm, she took the longest poker she could find and stirred up the coals. Not even such a storm as had descended upon us that night could altogether put out the kitchen fire—the fire that is the heart of any house. Once the coals were glowing as they should, Old Mathilde wrapped me in a towel of red flannel, took the largest of our soup kettles down from its peg, tucked me inside it, and nestled the pot among the embers so that I might grow warm once more.
As she did, I began to cry for the very first time. And at this, as if the sound of my voice startled them back into existence, all the other fires throughout the great stone house came back to life. Flurries of sparks shot straight up every chimney, scattering into the air like red-hot fireflies.
In this way, I earned a second name that night, the one that people use and remember, in spite of the fact that the name Constanze is a perfectly fine one.
Nobody has ever called me that, not even Old Mathilde. Instead, she calls me by the name I was given for the coals that kept me warm, for the fires I brought back to life with the sound of my own voice. Child of cinders.
CAMERON DOKEY ONCE PDF
What are your stories? The ones you tell yourself, and the ones told by others. All of us begin somewhere. Though I suppose the truth is that we begin more than once; we begin many times. Over and over, we start our own tales, compose our own stories, whether our lives are short or long. Until at last all our beginnings come down to just one end, and the tale of who we are is done. This is the first story I ever heard about myself: that I came into this world before my time.
Once Upon a Time (novel series)
Tautilar Let someone without my bias review this better. Want to Read saving…. Dec 10, Michelle Wrona rated it it was amazing Shelves: I fell in love with Prince Jian when they first mentioned him in the book. Doksy changed enough for it to be unique, but still follow the storyline. A long time ago, when I was in my early twenties, I read all three of these novels by Cameron Dokey.
Once: Before Midnight/Golden/Wild Orchid
This review has been hidden camero it contains spoilers. And love also broke the tension in the house. Nov 01, Lizzie rated it it was ok. Her favorite odkey is J. The way that Rapunzel won over everyone she came in contact with through her courage and perseverance and not just beauty.
In this value-priced bind-up of three beloved retellings, readers will journey to faraway fairy tale lands. The ones you tell yourself, and the ones told by others. All of us begin somewhere. Though I suppose the truth is that we begin more than once; we begin many times. Over and over, we start our own tales, compose our own stories, whether our lives are short or long.