Friday, June 12, 2009

One Painting, Different Stories...

PROMPT: Use a painting (Waterhouse’s Lady of Shalott) as inspiration for a story. (20-30 minutes)

Version 1: The Return, by Nancy Langdale Hough

The stable boys’ shouts announced the approaching rider racing toward the gates, and Elsbeth knew, without seeing, it was Richard. He had come back, just as he had threatened.

The voices riveted her to the loom’s bench, but the shuttle dropped from her hand and fell between the warp threads, snapping two fine strands of linen before clattering on the stone floor.

The baby startled from her sleep and whimpered. Elsbeth rose and gently shushed the infant. What sort of life would the child have when the truth was told? Men survived lies, fraud, even slander, but what child could survive the truth she held? Well, then, a lie must take the place of truth and truth must be proved a lie. For the child’s sake.

1 comment:

  1. The Wrong Dye Lot

    Nula, or Lady Finula du Bracy as she was obliged to be known, gritted her teeth with exasperation. Her predicament began with Da, or Lord Diarmuid du Bracy as he insisted on being known, barring her from the stables. Da had decided that Nula's habit of dressing in her brother Declan's tunic and hose and riding with a leg on each side of her saddled palfrey was disgraceful behavior. Humph ... what a difference a day makes, a birthday to be sure. One day she is twelve, riding Minack pell mell across the bracken to the Appleby Fair and the next day ... confined to the tower with her needlework and, heaven forfend, the wrong dye lot.

    Nula actually enjoyed needlework. The Appleby Fair, besides being famous for gypsy horseflesh - lovely cobs and huge draft horses, had dealers of exquisitely dyed thread hawking their wares in colorful booths, often decorated with a likeness of St. Maurice, the patron of dyers and weavers. Nula would while away hours leading the placid Minack from dealer to dealer, fingering the thread lovingly. She had a real gift for selecting the correct amount of thread for her needlework, never having too much left over and never, never not having enough.

    Until she turned thirteen and Da deemed it unladylike to ride a horse, even sidesaddle, to market. As she knuckled the back of her head in frustration over the wrong dye lot of thread draped over the loom, she glared out her tower window. There, she fancied she could see Minack, that fat little traitor of a palfrey (blissful indifference rendering him such), grazing deeply in the lush grass by the river, beyond which lay the Appleby Fair, and invariably, the right dye lot.