Yet her eyes were like no other, for they were a beautiful red, like a glittering ruby.
|In the depths of winter solitude, in the gloom of a nearly unlit cottage, was a woman and her child. The darkness indeed bothered neither of them; and the story which the woman told to her little girl was not from any sort of book. It was a story that she knew by heart, for it was her own. |
As the child drifted off to sleep at the sound of her young mother’s voice, a cold settled into the room, the fire having evidently diminished. Kissing her sleeping little one on the forehead, she turned and walked to the fireplace. Once she felt the cold stones underfoot, the woman crouched down and placed her hand inside the fireplace to feel for any lingering heat.
She felt a soft warmth envelop her fingertips; some dwindling embers still remained. The woman decidedly took a handful of tinder from the bowl next to the firewood and tucked it among the embers, waiting to hear the sounds of it being consumed. However, the tinder did not light.
She sat carefully to the cold stone ground and enclosed an ember with her bare fingers. Sucking in a breath at the pain, she let the pain and the fire consume her inside, scorching and depleting her vitality as it grew in her mind. Soon the ember glowed red hot in her hand, the color of her eyes, and she replaced it among the tinder. The sweet scents of pine needles and moss began to fill the room. The woman steadily added kindling to the fire as it grew, and in due course, a full piece of firewood. The cottage flushed with heat.
Satisfied, she positioned a straw mat and blanket next to her daughter, changed into her nightgown, and lay down quietly. Listening to the sounds of the night, the crackling of the fire, the snow on the roof, soon the young mother too drifted into sleep. Still then the fire glowed inside her.
This woman’s name was Merridy, and as she lay slumbering in the small little cottage, her dreams were filled with songs and memories of another time.