Based on the folktale "The Fisherman and his Wife"
|Chapter One~ William
"Anna? Will you tell me about mother?" William asked gently.
She chuckled under her breath. "I believe father can tell you more about her then me."
He looked at her with large eyes. "But Anna, father doesn't like me. He thinks I killed mother. How can I kill someone I've never met? Please Anna, tell me about her."
She stooped down to William's level. "Well, you have her shortness, and her green eyes." William nodded eagerly. She led him to the rocking chair and sat in it. He quickly scampered up onto her lap, ready to absorb everything. "Father made this rocking chair for her."
"Yes. And she was very beautiful. I'm afraid that that's all I can really say. She died when I was your age."
"She died when you were five?" he asked, completely in a trance. She nodded. "How?"
Anna took a deep breath. "No one is quite sure how she died. But I'll show you where we buried her." She carried him to the river, where the older boys were fishing, then walked a little south. When they could no longer hear the boys, she stopped. "See that oak there? The really big oak?" She whispered.
"She's buried right underneath it." She sat him down on the grass. "Mother planted this tree; we can't let anyone take it from her. William, promise me that you won't let anyone hurt this tree."
The next morning, someone gently shook William awake. "What Joseph?" He asked sleepily.
"Get up. You get to go fishing with us today."
William jumped out of bed. He loved setting his net just below the serene river's surface, and he treasured every time the net gently tugged under his fingers and palms. He adored the slick scales of the fish he caught, and he cherished his net with the utmost admiration. But most of all, he would love to eat the fish he caught.
The sun hadn't risen by the time the boys got to the river. Adam and Joseph, the older two, sat and talked about the different people that passed our house, specifically Mrs. Maydot's daughter, Samantha. And the younger two, Samuel and Jonathan, planned there next scheme for frightening Mrs. Maydot. William kept the lamp going and checked the nets often. An hour later, just as the sun was rising, the boys packed up and tracked back to their home.
A few yards from the house, William said "Joseph, does father like me?"
Joseph looked at him. "What would make you say a thing like that? Of course he loves you."
"But he blames me for mother's death."
Joseph put his hand on William's shoulder. "He loves you; he just shows it differently to you."
"Are you sure?"
Joseph lied. "Of course. Now, would you like to clean the fish out?"
By the time William was seven, the older two boys had gone to be an apprentice. And today, Anna and Samuel were leaving for the castle. Anna hugged William like crazy. They were by the Oak again; but this time, Samuel was with them.
"William, listen to me." She said.
"Father… he's struggling right now, especially with you. He has a hard time showing affection to you because you are the last born. When I leave, it will be even harder for him, and he might show a lot of love to him, but not to you. You have to stay strong, and don't let that bother you, even if Jonathan starts acting the same way to you. Will you do that?"
There was a tear in William's eye. "Yes."
She pulled him into a hug. "William, don't cry. Everything will be okay." She soothed.
"But I might never see you again." He sniffled.
"Of course you'll see us again." Samuel said. "We'll be coming home every Saturday, like the rest of the family." That seemed to cheer him up.
"I'm just going to fish here for awhile, alright?"
Anna smiled and wiped a tear from his face. "Alright, but be back home by noon." As soon as they thought they were out of earshot, Samuel whipped Anna around.
"What the heck do you mean by 'he has a hard time showing affection'? Why didn't you just tell the straight out truth that Father hates him?"
"I… I couldn't. It… It would break his heart. I can't do that Sam, I just can't do that. And you're going to break his heart when he realizes we really might not be coming back! You told him a straight out lie."
"Oh, and what did you do?"
"Altered the truth." She simply said. "And unlike your lie, it's believable."
"How in the world is it believable?"
"Because that's what me and Joseph have been telling him his whole life. And yours won't happen. We'll never know if we'll see this place again. You shouldn't have lied to him like that."
Samuel glared at her. "I think my lie is a speck compared to the lie that you and Joseph have been feeding to William."
"You don't understand! We have to make him feel loved, and that's the only way to make sure that he does. It's believable is we just tell him that father shows his love for him differently."
Samuel raised his hand as if he was going to slap her, but then walked away, as if it wasn't worth it. She collapsed, and cried.
William waited impatiently for his father. He wanted to see how much money he made of the fish he caught. He was so excited about this amazing fish boom and the money they were receiving from it. Even better, Joseph would be coming home tonight. Finally, he could see his father's wagon, with his brother driving. He waved wildly, and Joseph waved back. Finally, the wagon reached where William was. William climbed in back, where his father was snoring loudly. Carefully, William pulled out a leather bag that contained the money that he received. He carefully counted it. To his surprise, it was nearly double of what he made last week.
"Joseph, how could I make so much money off of so little fish?" William asked in aw.
"Simple. You're the only fisherman that can catch such good tasting fish. The villagers are practically bidding for your fish. You seem to be able to catch the harder fish with ease. And you know what they say…"
"The harder to catch, the better it tastes." William finished. They had reached the small cottage, and they woke up their father. Adam and his wife was already there making dinner. The rest of the family soon was there, except Anna.
"Samuel, where's Anna?" William asked.
"She's coming with a surprise." He replied.
Then, in the middle of dinner, Anna burst in with a man following behind her. She first hugged William.
"My goodness William, look at how tall you are! You're what now… thirteen?"
"Yep." William replied. She gave a hug to everyone else.
"Anna, who's this man you brought with you?" Her father asked.
She let go of him. "Everyone, this is Mathew. He's my friend from the castle." She slipped her hand into Mathew's, and her father's face went red. Everyone greeted Mathew, and gave him a plate. Everyone told Anna what had been happening recently with their own lives, including the fish William was catching. She briefed them up as well, and told them all about the castle.
After dinner, all of the boys went fishing, except their father and Mathew.
"Did you see how father's face went red when Anna put her hand in Mathews?" Jonathan asked.
"Yeah. I told Anna not to do that." Samuel replied.
"What do you mean?" William asked.
"Samuel means that Mathew and Anna are a little more than friends." Joseph said.
"You mean their in love? Yuck!"
"It's not that bad." Adam said. "It just takes a while to let it grow on you. In fact, I bet you anything they're asking father if they can get married." Shortly after, they heard a high-pitched scream. "Well, be ready to go to a church soon. Our Anna has been given to another man."
"Father, I won't let you!"
"You can't stop me, you don't live here anymore!"
William was listening to the fight that took place inside. He had just come home from fishing with his new net, supplied to William for his fifteenth birthday. Right now, he'd rather be fishing. But he didn't want to interrupt the fight just to get his other net. As it continued, it got more intense. Then, just when the noised peaked unbearable, it went quiet. William took a deep breath, and opened the door.
Joseph was pinned to the floor by his father. His father had a knife in his hand. Joseph saw him, and then looked at his father. "Please… not in front of William…" he moaned.
"It's too late." He said, and stabbed him in the heart. William screamed. He had never screamed in his life, but nothing was more terrifying. He bolted through the trees towards the village, tears streaming down his face. 'It can't be, it just can't be…' he thought to himself. His brother, his best friend, could not be dead. This could only be a dream…
What could William do now? He had no where to go. He didn't know where any of his family lived. The only place he could go was his father's smithery. Sobbing, he walked through the village. Someone placed a soft hand on his shoulder.
"William, is something wrong?" The person asked. William whirled around. It was Adam's wife, Elizabeth. Tears welled up in his eyes and dropped to the ground.
"I need to talk to Adam…" he whispered, closing his eyes.
The area around the Oak froze as rain pelted on the small group contained of Joseph's Family and Fiancée, except his father. A gloomy feel enclosed on the atmosphere, and Death closed its icy hand in everyone's heart, making them feel dead themselves.
"William, would you like to add anything about Joseph?" Adam asked.
William nodded. "Joseph… was my best friend. He was always there for me, even when he was an apprentice. I'll miss him." He whispered. All the brothers got together and buried the make-shift coffin, never to be seen again in the amorous daylight.