Glass Half Full or Half Empty
Gerome followed the path towards the river. His Lordship and the court would be joining him at the riverside soon enough. Gerome had work to do. Work he really didn't want others to see, which was why he had traveled without companionship or protection all this long way.
Stumbling upon the Gypsies had been disconcerting, but eventually they agreed to leave the area. They would go peddle their wares in the village while his Lordship was at the river. The old woman certainly took a keen interest. He had heard about that type of perversion….no, no advances were made toward him. No.
It was an odd life indeed. The village people all thought he, Gerome, was magic. Some would intentionally walk close enough to brush up against him, thinking some luck would rub off for them. They reasoned the old Lord had died upon his arrival to town.
The young Lord had succeeded his father with no small amount of competence. The village flourished under the young Lord’s guidance; the crops yielded exceptionally large harvests, there hadn’t been a stillborn child since the young Lord took over, and there had been no wars since the young Lord came to power.
It was time. The young Lord needed to be wed. He needed an heir.
Immersed in his thoughts, Gerome cast a glance at the river’s edge. There was a fine deep pool. It would be filled with all sorts of fish. Lord Alfred would be able to supply his guests with plenty of food.
Carefully, Gerome lay his pack on the ground near an uprooted tree. The river had cut its path into the roots of the tree, toppling it so that he now had a makeshift bridge. The bridge spanned the river at a sharp bend in the river which had created a whirlpool only a few feet from the river bank. Propping his pole against the roots, Gerome hoisted himself onto the tree. In a sitting position, he lifted his body up and dropped it back down ensuring the tree would hold Lord Alfred and they wouldn’t need to be fishing him from the river.
Sliding from the great downed tree, Gerome busied himself unpacking. He gingerly laid a kerchief onto the ground. With seemingly great affection he unwrapped feathers. No ordinary Blue Jay feathers. These were great feathers. Feathers from several large birds; eagles, peacocks and guinea hens. Gerome stroked the feathers, he seemed to preen them murmuring soft words as he did so.
Taking a small guinea hen feather, he laced it with his fishing line as though it were a hook. Casting the feather into the water at the opposite river’s edge, he slowly reeled the line back in. Just as he was about to lift the feather from the water, a tiny hand shot out and grabbed it. Hauling the feather under the surface of the water and up river. Gerome played the line for only a moment, then he began the fight to land his prize.
Sometime later, he reached for his net and scooped his prize from the river. Staring into the large round eyes of the prettiest green eyes he had ever seen. “Ah water baby, you are indeed beautiful and a prize worth fighting for.” He exclaimed.
Not letting go of the feather, the small creature showed her indignant displeasure. She spouted water at his face and said, “We are not water babies. Are you such a dolt you cannot tell a water baby from a water nymph?” She slapped the side of his head with her iridescent tail. Moving so quickly even the stars it brought to his sight were in the blues, greens and purples of the water.
“Lady, I am learning quickly.” Stretching his arm to move her further away from him. “I am here on a mission and would enlist your assistance.” He ventured to eye her again. As human girls were concerned, he would have placed her around 20 years of age. But with nymphs, who knew how old or young she might be. She said nothing, but still grasping the feather, nodded her head indicating he should go on with his story.
Sitting on the bank of the river, with a water nymph at his side, Gerome told his story of meeting Lord Alfred and the past ten years. He explained how important it was for Lord Alfred to wed. The nymph nodded her head indicating she understood his concern. “Why not have Lord Alfred marry a water nymph? We could supply all the fish your village would ever want and it would further cement the relationship between water and land.”
Pretending to contemplate her words, Gerome looked out over the water. “While your proposal does have its merits, my Lord’s heart is set on wedding the Lady Anita. She won his heart years ago and now he would like to win hers as well.” He did know better than to say that Lord Alfred really didn't want to have to grow gills in order to dwell occasionally among the nymphs either.
“I see the feathers you brought to barter with. I know a few of them. You will tell us the story of the rest tonight. We will gather at the river’s edge, where you will build a fire, and tell us of the feathers.” With that she wriggled around and dove back into the water.
Turning to the task of gathering firewood, Gerome grinned. He had done it. He had struck a bargain with the water nymphs. He had heard tales all of his life, but never had he even seen one, that he knew of. This was indeed a wonderful day. His Lordship was going to be able to provide a feast to impress his Lady. And to ensure the water nymphs didn't renege, he had brought a huge spool of netting. When the lads finally arrived, he would have them stretch the netting across the river. If they could not reel enough fish in with the fishing rod, they would capture them with the net. He thought of his Grandmother.
His Grandmother had raised him, they had a small cabin at the edge of the village, nearly into the forest. She was a very loving and patient woman, always telling him life wasn't about what happened to you, but how your reacted to the trials and tribulations. She said something about the glass being half full…but that was long ago and he may have only dreamed of her kindness.
It was going to be a successful time at the river or his name wasn't Gerome the Hunchback!