Hello there world!
Today I ventured into the huge library in my castle and found an old tale, passed around for generations, that I wanted to share with you!!
Hopefully you will like it!
“The boy without a smile.”
The boy without a smile was born into a wealthy and old family with a lineage, running back ages and ages ago. Needless to say, his parents had friends and contacts all over the Kingdom, to where they had even been invited to the King and Queen’s castle once, to have tea with the royal family.
It was therefore of utmost importance that the family name was held up.
„If you want people to like you, you need to smile!” his mother would tell him.
„Even if you don’t like it, if you don’t smile we don’t know what to think.” his father would scold him sternly.
On a certain day, the boy overheard a conversation between a maid and the butler of his house:
„He is very kind, but I never know what he thinks. His face does not change.” It was one of the maids, known to be quite the talker. Always in for gossip and sweet biscuits.
„It is quite unsettling indeed.” Agreed his house’s tall Butler carefully in his warm voice.
Up until there the conversation sounded like any other he had heard before. The boy was about to leave until the maid suddenly spoke up again.
„It is like he has been cursed, wretched child. I heard that the daughter of the Ire-family got rid of her curse. Maybe she can help?”
„The daughter of Ire?” enquired the Butler.
„Yes, she spoke to the Witch of Raspberry Forest!” the maid replied quickly.
„Do not speak her title, Witches have ears everywhere. They might overhear!” The Butler bit back, scolding the maid for her thoughtlessness.
„Excuse me… you are right. I did not…” the maid had bowed her head and was about to say more, but the boy without a smile had heard enough.
Running as fast as his feet could carry him, he ran to the library in the West wing and pulled out a big dusty book filled with maps. With his index finger he ran through the pages until he found the map to Raspberry Forest.
„If I meet her, perhaps she will be able to help me!” he thought hopefully.
No matter what he had tried until then, he had not been able to smile once. At this point, the boy was desperate. His family always worried over him and children of his age would often talk about him when they thought he could not hear them. People in the city would call him unsettling and all in all, no matter who it was, they all would lose their patience with him.
„If only he could just smile.” they would often say.
„If only I could just smile.” he repeated to himself quietly.
With a quick motion he ripped out the map and ran to pack some cheese and bread in his bag.
„I should also bring her a gift!” he thought. As he ran past the silver mirror in the large corridor, he noticed his expression still had not moved despite how bubbly he was feeling inside.
“All is well, from now on, things will be different!” he cheered himself up.
When he got to his room he searched and searched through his possessions until he finally, from the depths of his wardrobe, produced a small pouch filled with the gold he had received from his parents for his birthday each year.
With shaking hands he prepared his bag and hid it in his wardrobe.
Tonight, he would go and meet her.
That night, whilst the house was fast asleep and the last lantern had been extinguished, he took out his bag and tiptoed his way out of the house, off to Raspberry Forest.
When he arrived at the path that would lead into the depths of the forest he noticed a small old man, standing in front of the entrance.
„Young lad, where might you be going at this hour?” The old man was holding a big lantern with shaking hands, his voice sounded muffled as he was wearing a big blue scarf that covered half of his face and a big purple hat that hid his eyes in its shadow.
„I am going into the forest to meet the Witch of Raspberry Forest.” said the boy without a smile.
„The witch of Raspberry Forest?” the old man spat out slowly
„Oh wretched she is, you might never return my boy!”
“I have to go.” the boy would not be discouraged.
The old man had now moved his lantern near the boy’s face.
„What will you offer me then?” he asked slowly.
„Offer you, sir?”
„Yes boy, I am the guard of this Forest. Every Forest where strong magic dwells has a guard. It is to keep people safe you see.” the old man rattled his lantern a little as he spoke.
„I have food.” offered the boy, though he had become hungry himself over the long distance he had walked, he did not mind.
„No, no, not food boy. I’m talking about what every adult desires.” The old man sounded a little impatient.
„By which you mean…?” asked the boy.
„Gold my boy! Give me gold and you can enter Raspberry Forest!” the old man was now swinging his lantern vigorously.
At this the boy opened his bag and produced the small pouch with his birthday gold in it.
„How much sir?” asked the boy.
„Everything.” the old man demanded.
Even though the boy hesitated, he had to enter Raspberry Forest and did not see any other way in.
„Very well sir, you may have this pouch with all the gold I have on me.”
The old man let out a low noise that sounded like he had made an attempt at laughing.
„Well done my boy.” he nigh sneered “You are free to enter.”
As he said that the old man looked up, the boy was able to see the man’s eyes now, or rather lack thereof. 2 empty eye-sockets were staring back at him. The Old Man’s scarf had slipped down a little and the boy could see sloppy stitches where the old man’s mouth was supposed to be. With how the stitches were positioned, it seemed as if the Old Man was perpetually grinning.
With a last nod the Old guard of Raspberry Forest took a deep breath and blew into his lantern. Without a single warning, the man had gone and disappeared.
The boy was now left alone on the path leading into the forest.
A little disturbed at best, he continued his journey to meet the Witch that would give him his very own smile.
The deeper the boy ventured into the forest, the darker it became. The trees seemed to surround him on purpose, sounds had slowly died down and all that was left to hear at all was his quiet breathing and the crunching of dead leaves beneath his feet.
When he had walked for awhile, the boys decided it was time to eat something, his stomach had been grumbling for awhile now. As he was opening his bag he noticed a clearing in the distance that seemed warmer and more inviting than the rest of the forest. He decided he would rather eat his lunch over there and moved towards the clearing.
Upon entering a big wind blew past him, ruffling his hair and making him turn his face away from the cold. When he turned back again he saw a person standing in the middle of the clearing, in front of the great oak tree.
It was a girl.
She had short blonde hair and was wearing a big crimson dress, her face was covered by a white fox mask and where her legs were supposed to be sprouted 2 hind legs of some beast.
Slowly she opened her mouth. Even though she did not utter a sound, the boy could hear her speak. It was as if the wind was carrying the words she never spoke, becoming her voice instead.
„Who are you?” the wind whispered.
„I am a traveler that would like to meet the Witch of this forest.” answered the boy.
„Why?” asked the wind with a faint scent of interest.
„I would like to ask her something.” he replied.
„What?” asked the wind again, blowing softly against the dead leaves.
„Please make it so I can smile.” said the boy, staring straight into the girl’s mask.
The wind did not blow for a moment as if she was thinking it over. Then a warm breeze blew over his arms, along his spine, right into his right ear.
„Very well,” it whispered “in exchange, I want your heart.”
From that day on the boy without a smile smiled everyday.
He had become the boy with a smile so beautiful, it was almost magical.
His parents were proud of their boy and he made many new friends.
Everyone liked the boy with a smile very much.
“but no one…”
A voice carried by the wind would whisper,
“could ever love him again.”