Eilish was standing in front of the living room mirror, looking at her petite figure and the funny installation on her head. She touched one of the curl-papers that stuck out of the headscarf that was loosely wrapped around her neatly fastened locks to keep them together. She smirked. It definitely looked ridiculous, but it was the best way to get cute locks, she reckoned. Her mama had taught her how to use curl-papers. She slightly wrinkled her face thinking back at the time she had last curled her hair like that. It was right before the awful prom. She had been so happy, so elated, she had been literally shining when mama had picked out the curl-papers and she could see the results. She had felt so pretty. She had hoped that she would leave a nice impression on her Mr. Right...
Who am I trying to impress now? she wondered. She didn’t want to appear vane anyhow, but may-be she still wanted to leave kind of an impression. May-be she tried to convince herself somehow that she too can be pretty. Everyone in Dyeland seemed so beautiful and nice to her and she felt she had to live up to that standard. Even though she realised they would have still accepted her if she were an actual ogre, she still felt the need to do her best to look nice. And besides, she liked dressing up and the little girl’s fantasies of becoming a real princess hadn’t completely worn off with age. So when she saw the Dyelanders in costumes during the Camelot play she had almost wished she could be among them. Just for the costumes for starters. So dressing up for the Halloween bonfire was a chance for her to fulfil that little dream of hers.
She and Samuel had decided to dress up as the characters from the Lord of the Rings. Eilish couldn’t even remember whether it was her idea or Samuel’s suggestion that she could come as Galadriel. Even though the mighty elf-lord seemed to be too glamorous, too far from her reach, she had agreed to give it a go – after all, it was supposed to be fun. But she took her role with utmost seriousness – she wanted everything to be to the nines. So Eilish had made a neat dress, altering one of her long dresses to make it fancier – adding some tulle from an old curtain and some sparkles gave the cream-coloured dress a new life. Since it was probably going to be cold she had made a poncho out of her mama’s white scarf. She had also made a nice little crown out of wire and aluminium foil. She even had the pointy ears that could be easily attached to her own ears – Samuel had got these from somewhere in New York and had a pair of his own.
Samuel was going to come to the party as Elrond, the Lord of Rivendell. Though at first he was joking that he probably will dress up as Gimli or Frodo which would have been hilarious with his height. The image of Samuel as a child-sized dwarf made Eilish smile. May-be they could make it happen one day, just for laughs, she thought. In fact, just thinking about Samuel made Eilish smile. And at the same time it confused her. There was something about him... or about herself... that she couldn’t grasp and it was making her anxious.
Eilish hadn’t seen Samuel for a few days now. For the last months when Samuel had settled on Tír na nÓg Eilish had seen him almost every week, usually even more often. He just came by every now and then to invite Eilish to dinner at his place or stayed to have a cup of cocoa or lunch at hers, sometimes they played chess or watched TV together, and talked. Samuel had been the best friend one could ever want.
But for the last couple of months something had been bothering Eilish and she couldn’t even give it a name. It was somehow connected to Samuel, but she really didn’t understand how. The only thing she knew that she had involuntarily grown more distant from him, she felt more and more timid and shy every time they met. It was as if her mind just went blank when she saw Samuel and had to talk to him. It made her feel so helpless, because she still loved having the angel around. It was just so frustrating that she didn’t seem to be able to have a sensible conversation lately. And it was even more frustrating for her to realise that Samuel was probably trying to reach her and couldn’t get through. She had tried to be as open as she could but it seemed the things were getting worse by the day. She was hoping that the party would clear her mind a bit.
Samuel had indeed noticed Eilish’s confusion and absent-mindedness. He had tried to talk to her and gently get her to open up, but this time it seemed that the harder he tried the more Eilish clammed up. So he decided to give her time and hoped that once she is ready she will talk to him. He had his own ideas about what was going on, but decided not to push Eilish. Instead Samuel talked to Joshua and Henry about that and they had both agreed Eilish should be given time. But still it was difficult to watch his protegée struggling. So he just tried his best to give her a good company, even though sometimes even that was difficult – it often seemed Eilish wanted to escape him and yet her eyes told a completely different story.
Eilish had packed all her clothes and make-up to take these with her to Willowveil. She had offered her help to JenniAnn to prepare for the evening and thought that she would dress up there. Eilish also secretly hoped she could speak to JenniAnn and disburden her heart a little. After all, JenniAnn seemed to have a lot of experience about everything and she was very kind. If Eilish could only find the necessary courage. But she had to try, because with the time passing she felt more and more lonely with her encasement and a lot of old fears and worries seemed to lurk back to her.
Eilish shook her head to get all the negative thoughts out of her head. It is going to be a nice evening, she encouraged herself. After all, the Halloween party two days ago in the theatre had gone so well. She loved the show and found herself humming to the songs more than once during the performance. May-be one day she would have the courage to take part of one of the performances herself. Even if it is a wordless role. Being on the stage seemed scary now, but seeing how warmly the show was received by the audience and how happy it made the performers made her wish she could be part of it somehow, part of the “inner jokes” made by the company, part of the theatre family. But she was part of the Dyeland family and it was wonderful. So she hoped the bonfire night would be delightful as well.
JenniAnn had a house full of people as usual. Everyone was naturally excited about the events from the early morning and people were talking about Kemara’s and Sean’s beautiful twins. Everything had gone well and this added so much joy to the celebration. Even though Kemara and Sean couldn’t attend the party that night, they had been at the theatre two days ago and in addition to that Andrew had promised to make a video for them, so that they could see the party later.
JenniAnn probably had enough help to do everything necessary, but Eilish sure needed some company and it felt good to be useful somehow. Even though she didn’t find the time or place to speak to JenniAnn privately during the party preparations, she was carried away by all the bustling and joy around it and actually forgot about her tension for the time. She had lots of fun preparing herself for the party as well. The curls had turned out great and looked indeed a little bit like Galadriel’s causing little Belle to exclaim a bundle of “pitties” when Eilish had her dress on and the crown set on her curly hair. The little girl’s joy and wondering about everything was indeed catchy and Eilish felt truly happy. Her fake ears had caused a lot of excitement in Willowveil and quite many had tried them on to envision themselves as Tolkien elves. A lot of crazy and funny photos were made and Eilish imagined how these will bring smile on her face for the years to come.
Eilish came to the clearing in the Fields of Gold when the huge bonfire was already lit. It made the Fields of Gold glow in the warm light, making the fields really golden, especially with all those yellow autumn leaves covering the land. She felt like being in a fairy tale with her sparkling elf costume and fancy locks. Usually being that fancy would have made her feel awkward, but since everyone was dressed up, she didn’t stick out too much. She looked around to see everyone’s costumes. Violeta came as Little Bo Beep – she had her lambs with her and seemed to have stepped right out of the book. The same was with Sy and Ivy, who made “Anne of Green Gables” become alive. But she liked Emma’s dress the most – she and Peter had come as Zorro and his wife and the beautiful garments were just impossible to look away. She also recognized the friend’s trio from the Toy Story featuring Clay as Woodie, Kylie as Jessie and Adam as Buzz Lightyear. Henry had joined the Lord of the Rings bunch and had dressed up as Gandalf. Long white beard and pointy hat combined with his sophisticated eyes made him look ancient (which he actually was). There were some characters Eilish didn’t recognize, but everyone had seemed to pick out exactly the costume that suited them the most.
Samuel hadn’t arrived yet, but Eilish couldn’t help but look around for him. She had grown very fond of him and his absence caused a certain emptiness in her though she knew he would be there soon. Even though it was much easier for her to mingle since she knew most of the people by then, she still tended to keep more to herself and limit her conversation to a simple “Hi!” But she smiled a lot more than before and was less afraid. She was glad nobody ever forced her to speak and thus she felt much more relaxed when it came to approaching a crowd of people. She even tried her skills in complimenting on people’s costumes – she knew it is something she has yet to learn, but people’s smiles when they responded to her simple words were just so rewarding that she dared to go on. And all the compliments she received just made her blush – how to receive compliments was another thing she had yet to learn. But it was nice to hear them nevertheless.
Eilish was just trying to count how many children she could see on the field when she suddenly spotted a tall figure between the trees. It was Samuel. He looked like he had come straight from the movie set of the Lord of the Rings. He had knee-length blue waisted jacket with silvery embroidery and a matching cloak over his shoulders. His hair was loose and he had a small silver crown, quite similar to Eilish’s. And he had pointy ears sticking out between his raven hair. He looked so elf-like Eilish just stared at him with her mouth open. Then Samuel saw her, waved and gave her a hearty smile from across the field.
Suddenly an extraordinary clarity washed over Eilish’s mind as if someone had a broken a dam inside her. The feelings and thoughts just started pouring over her and she suddenly felt weak and dizzy. She managed to grab a nearby tree that kept her from losing her balance. Gasping for air she tried to create an order into this sudden chaos inside her.
She was in love.
And she realised she had been in love with him for a long time. May-be even from the beginning.
Eilish panicked. She forgot everything around her and dashed through the trees away from the fields. She didn’t stop until she reached the seashore and sank onto a log washed to the beach.
She buried her face into her hands and felt she was shaking all over and her heart was racing like crazy. Eilish tried to calm herself with a couple of deep breaths, but it seemed to be of little help. She didn’t feel like crying, but despite the sudden clarity she felt more confused than ever. She had never been in love like that. In fact she had never been in love with an actual person. The one during high-school had only been an idea, a thought of someone special, but he had not been tangible. But Samuel was. And Eilish had no idea how to handle this.
“Oh God! Did it really happen? To me? What am I going to do? How am I going to go on now? I’m afraid I can never ever face him again! I’m so confused right now! Please, God, help me!” she prayed half-whisperingly, lifting her head up to the evening sky. It was dark already, but the moon was shining brightly, lighting the sky and reflecting on the sea.
Samuel had in fact seen her sudden escape and had followed her swiftly. He sensed that her unusual behaviour had something to do with him and so he hoped he could be of some help. Besides, he didn’t want Eilish to end up all alone in the darkness. But when he reached the shore, he stopped. He certainly didn’t want to scare the girl – she seemed scared enough. It was then when Samuel heard her prayer and understood that he must indeed be the reason for Eilish’s strange behaviour. But at the same time he sensed it wouldn’t be wise for him to approach her – if she really had a reason or thought she had a reason to avoid him, she wouldn’t be too happy if he stepped out of the trees just now. So Samuel decided to go back and ask JenniAnn’s help – may-be she could talk to Eilish.
By the time JenniAnn arrived, Eilish had managed to totally enmesh herself in various anxious thoughts and she just sat there with her head in her hands.
“Hey, Eilish! There you are!” JenniAnn called while she was still a few metres from Eilish. She didn’t want to sneak up on Eilish and accidentally scare her, so she decided to let her know of her presence as soon as possible.
Eilish slightly jolted when she was awaken from her thoughts.
“Can I sit here?” JenniAnn asked, trying not to sound too concerned.
“Uh-uh.” Eilish nodded and slightly moved aside to make room for JenniAnn who then sat next to her on the log.
“Is everything alright? Samuel saw you running away and he is worried about you. And honestly, so am I. What happened?” JenniAnn inquired.
Eilish was silent for a few moments, before blurting out, “I... I think that... I have committed a sin!”
This wasn’t quite the answer JenniAnn had expected. “A sin? Eilish, dear, what do you mean? You can tell me, I won’t judge you.”
“I...” It was so hard to admit it, but once she did, words just came pouring out of her. “I just realised... that... I am in love with Samuel. I think I tried not to, but it just happened and I cannot undo it anymore and he is just so kind and so nice to me and he is so handsome. It shouldn’t have happened, he is my guardian and I am afraid I can never talk to him now and he probably can’t be my angel now. I am so sorry about everything and now I have caused so much trouble and... I am sorry... so sorry...” She couldn’t hold back tears anymore and even though she still tried to hide them, JenniAnn could well see her shoulders shaking.
She put her hand around Eilish’s shoulders.
“Dear Eilish, falling in love is never a sin! It is a wonderful thing, a true gift from God.”
“But... but he... Samuel... he is an angel... from God... and I am just a mortal. It just can’t be,” she tried to explain between her sobs.
“Eilish, but in this case me and Andrew and Arthur and Monica and many others would be sinners too, wouldn’t they?” JenniAnn asked.
“No! But it’s different with you!”
“How is it different?”
“I... don’t know... You are you. I am just...” Eilish didn’t know what to say.
“Eilish, you are in no way different from me or any other God’s beloved daughters and sons. He loves you just as much as he loves me and everyone else. And if you fall in love, God rejoices with you. Something very special has happened to you,” JenniAnn said, smiling.
“But still, Samuel is a heavenly being. He is... indeed... heavenly... and I am so... earthly. I feel like I have stepped over some kind of invisible and unspoken boundaries that I shouldn’t have crossed. I know angels can’t marry or have sexual relationships and they can’t fall in love like humans do. And I would never want him to. I just want Samuel to be my friend like he has always been. But it’s just that he is so nice and loving that he makes me weak in my knees and lately I’ve felt so confused near him. I feel as if my mind turns off when he approaches. And just today I realised I am head over heels in love with him. And it seems I have been for a while. But what if I shouldn’t? I can’t keep this thought from my head.”
“Eilish, I don’t think God would ever deny love for you! You have as much right for it as anyone else. I think that there is a strong reason God has sent you Samuel – God knew you could fall in love with him and still he let Samuel come to you. Don’t you think it is a strong sign?” JenniAnn asked with a comforting smile.
“May-be. I hope so. I really do. I mean, Samuel is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t think any human being could ever compare to him. And to be very honest,” Eilish lowered her voice. “I could never be so close to him if he were a human man and I knew he could fall in love with me. I would be scared. It always makes me feel so safe that there is no... desire... in his eyes when he looks at me. And I know that there never will be. I can trust him.”
Eilish told JenniAnn about how she had lately involuntarily avoided Samuel without being able to understand what’s going on and that at the same time she had felt bad for her guardian angel for not being able to explain things.
“Now I am so afraid that he will find out about my feelings and be mad at me... or reject me somehow. I guess I subconsciously have feared this all along,” Eilish finally said.
“Samuel will never be mad at you for falling in love with him, Eilish. He loves you. In fact, I think you should tell him about your feelings. He is so worried about you and I am sure he would know exactly what to say. I remember when I told Andrew about my feelings.”
JenniAnn smiled at the thought. She suddenly recognized a lot of herself in Eilish – years ago she had been the confused girl who had avoided Andrew and had tried to hide away her feelings even to the point that she started dating another boy. Of course it didn’t work out since she had always loved Andrew, even at times she tried to deny it or escape from it. She remembered how tense Andrew had been because of all this – he didn’t understand why JenniAnn was trying to avoid him subconsciously or otherwise and once he learned the truth things started to become much better. JenniAnn imagined Samuel could probably feel the same kind of anxiety because of Eilish’s encasement. And she trusted Samuel can take the best care of his protegée and that he would never break Eilish’s heart even though he as an angel can’t return the romantic feelings. This is what she told Eilish as well.
“I know that,” Eilish replied. “But still, I can’t help my fears. How on earth can I face him and tell him, “Samuel, I am in love with you”? I can’t... I really can’t.”
“I still think you should talk to him. If you really can’t tell him about your feelings straight away, you can tell him that you still need time. He might be thinking that he has done something wrong and you wouldn’t want that, would you? Andrew has always taught me how important it is to talk about things instead of beating yourself down. Samuel will understand if you need more time. But he will be happy to know that you still trust him.”
“I guess you are right. I will say that my... absence... is not his fault in any way, he hasn’t done anything wrong and that everything is fine, I just need some time to think some things over for myself. Does it sound reasonable?” Eilish asked.
“Certainly. Trust me, you’ll both feel much better after you’ve had the talk, regardless of how much you reveal.”
“Thank you so much, JenniAnn. You’ve been a real friend to me! I do feel better already. I’m sorry I’ve taken up so much of your time now, you should be with your guests, they must be wondering already.”
“Don’t worry about that. I am always there if you need to talk. Whatever and whenever. Nobody here judges you. You are a very beautiful person and we all love you very much, you know. And you look really stunning today, like a real elf queen,” JenniAnn said with a smile.
“Thank you,” Eilish replied bashfully.
“I will tell Samuel you are here. Though he already knows and is probably anxiously waiting for my return.”
“Okay.” Even though the thought of meeting Samuel intimidated her a lot after she had realised what was really going on with her, it made her eyes shine brightly.
JenniAnn left and soon Eilish could hear nothing more than the waves washing to the shore. It was a soothing sound and made Eilish’s thoughts wander. She was deep in imagination and almost missed to hear the soft steps in the sand. But the newcomer greeted her from the distance. It was Samuel.
“Hey, Elise! I am glad I found you!” Samuel looked at Eilish’s garments and said, “You look absolutely beautiful! If the people of Middle-Earth could see you now!” Samuel said with a warm smile.
Eilish was completely stunned. She felt her face burning and her palms were hot and sweaty, so she pushed them against the log to hide her excitement. She smiled shyly and looked at the sand, but couldn’t utter a word.
“May I sit here?” Samuel asked.
Eilish only nodded slightly without giving up the smile. When Samuel sat next to her she suddenly felt so strongly the “butterflies” in her stomach that she unwittingly put her hand on her stomach. She could feel her heart racing again, but this time it was an utterly pleasant feeling, though still confusing. She had never felt anything quite like this before.
“I brought you a blanket. It’s not very warm outside and I didn’t want you to get cold,” Samuel said, putting a light blanket over Eilish’s shoulders. He could sense the girl was shivering, but not of cold.
Eilish still couldn’t say anything even though she wanted so much to thank Samuel for his kindness. She swiftly turned her head to open her mouth, but quickly turned it back again.
“Is everything alright?” Samuel asked. It was always a good way to get someone to talk, even if the answer was a simple (and sometimes untruthful) “yes”. But Eilish’s reply didn’t get him very far – at first she nodded slightly and then shook her head, but didn’t say anything. The faint smile hadn’t disappeared from her face though. She seemed to be in a different world somehow.
Samuel took her hand into both of his and just sat still for a moment before continuing, “You can tell me, I am your friend.”
At this moment Eilish was fighting with the urge to lean her head on Samuel’s chest, put her arms around him and just tell him that she loves him. Instead she just sat there and finally managed to press “I’m sorry” through her half-closed lips.
Samuel put one of his hands around Eilish’s shoulders and pulled her slightly closer.
“What happened, my little one?”
He was so affectionate and so endearing that Eilish just wished this moment could last forever. She didn’t want to shatter it with another “sorry”, but she knew she had to say something. All the conversations she had previously practiced in her mind, had vanished, leaving her mind completely blank.
“Please don’t me mad at me,” she finally whispered.
“I promise I won’t, my dear Elise,” Samuel said reassuringly, slightly squeezing her shoulder.
“The thing is...” Eilish stopped. She felt dizzy again. It all felt so unreal. There was a mixture of absolute bliss and dark confusion and even fear in her mind. Yet Samuel’s closeness made the reality tangible. His hands were so warm and firm, she felt like they were keeping her from falling into the dizzy darkness. So she took a deep breath, closed her eyes for a moment and tried to concentrate. It didn’t really work – the concentration was gone, but words finally came out of her mouth in a continuous row. She didn’t even manage to take a breath in between.
“You have been so nice to me and I am sorry if I hurt you somehow. I never wanted to do that, I just didn’t understand what was going on with me. And every time I met you my mind just went blank and I was so confused and until today I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but when I saw you tonight I knew and I’m sorry, I didn’t plan this to happen, but it happened and please don’t be angry. I just couldn’t help it and...” She halted without even realizing that she hadn’t yet said the most important thing.
“Elise?” Samuel was slightly puzzled. “Tell me, what happened?” He cupped Eilish’s face so that he could look straight into her face. He decided it was time to take the risk.
Eilish couldn’t escape his glance now. She felt Samuel was looking straight into her soul and was reading her like an open book. Even in all her confusion, the angel’s eyes made her smile again.
“I... am...” It felt so incredibly warm and so calm. She just had to say it. Now.
“... in love with you!”
Eilish couldn’t bare Samuel’s glance any longer and so she just covered her face with her hands for a moment and then looked down again. She had no idea what to wait for. In the twinkling of an eye she felt a flash of cold fear in her heart, but it was gone as swiftly as it had come.
Samuel didn’t take away his hands yet. He leaned over slightly and placed a gentle kiss on Eilish’s forehead.
“You’re not mad?” Eilish whispered.
“No, Elise,” Samuel said with a smile. He leaned his head slightly closer to Eilish’s face before continuing. “I knew. From the very first day.”
This came as such a surprise that Eilish looked up again.
“You... you knew? But how? I didn’t know it myself!”
Samuel stroked her hair.
“Elise, I have been around longer than the human kind. Many things have changed in the course of time, but there is something that hasn’t – it’s the look in the woman’s eyes.” He gave Eilish a reassuring smile.
“You knew... and still you decided to stay...” Eilish said more to herself, but Samuel could see her face was shining with unspoken gratitude.
“Yes, I decided to stay and be a friend you needed. Elise, it is okay to fall in love. Even with an angel,” he said gently.
“I know angels can’t marry or fall in love like humans, but I never want you to do that. Never. I just want to have you as a friend. But I can’t help my feelings,” Eilish quickly added.
“I will always love you exactly as you are. But you know, it is wonderful to see you shine like that! It makes me so happy!”
Samuel pulled Elise into tight hug. He could still feel that Elise was slightly shivering and her heart was pounding, but he could also feel she was smiling.
“Thank you so much for ... for everything, Samuel. I don’t know what I would have done without you. You are... the best angel that has ever happened to me,” Eilish whispered with her cheek leaned on Samuel’s jacket. It was so soothing to listen to the angel’s heartbeat. Just like she had months before during the storm.
Samuel couldn’t help but smile at Eilish’s choice of words. He hadn’t had many chances in his existence to be loved like that, to be loved by a woman with such affection. And he definitely hadn’t been so close to a human girl before. He realised that even though this kind of romantic attachment could cause some difficulties, it was most of all a beautiful gift and he was going to accept it as such. He knew Eilish didn’t have unrealistic expectation towards him or at least he believed so. And Samuel was very glad Eilish had trusted him enough to tell him about her deepest feelings. Thus it was a moment to cherish for both of them.
“You are the best protegée that has ever happened to me,” Samuel replied to Eilish’s beautiful statement. “I love you very much.”
Eilish felt that she had been lifted to the seventh heaven. It had exceeded all her dreams. Some people might think it was a misfortune to fall in love with someone who can’t fall in love back. But for Eilish it was just perfect – this way she didn’t have to be afraid that Samuel would ever fall out of love with her. She knew she could always trust Samuel and have him as a friend. She had never wanted to marry anyone since she knew about her condition and had always felt that it wouldn’t be fair to any man not to be able to have children. But she also subconsciously feared human men – she had seen the dirty lust in them and it had scared her more than she ever could imagine. So the lack of romantic desire in Samuel’s eyes was exactly the thing that made Eilish love and trust him so.
Yet she felt she had been given more than she ever deserved. So she took everything with caution and felt she could advance only very little if at all. It meant that she was grateful for the moment, for each moment with Samuel, for all the moments in Dyeland in fact, but she never believed she could wish for more. On one hand it meant she sometimes was grateful for very little, but on the other hand it meant it was going to be a long way for her to realise that it is okay to want the same things as everyone else. For example in Samuel’s case that it would be okay for her to go and hug Samuel if she wanted and not only receive his hugs. This applied to quite many other things she did in Dyeland. But Samuel was there to encourage her and so did rest of the Dyelanders and friends.
This evening was indeed the best thing that had happened to Eilish. It wiped away so many fears and made her bond with Samuel even stronger. She definitely wasn’t clingy, even though this evening, at this moment in Samuel’s arms she felt she wanted the moment to last forever. So they sat there for several minutes with Samuel gently stroking Eilish’s tresses and Eilish secretly curling Samuel’s hair around her index finger. They were both smiling, each for slightly different reasons, but with the same ultimate source – love.
After a while Eilish became slightly stiff since the log wasn’t too comfortable as a chair and so she turned herself slowly out of Samuel’s hug.
“I... think we should be heading back... I mean... I would like to stay... forever... but... Oh, I’m sorry, I’m just so overwhelmed by all this,” Eilish finally said with a smile wider than she had intended.
“Don’t worry,” Samuel answered gently. He stood up and offered Eilish his hand. “Here, take my hand!”
“Could I... I mean... may I really?” Eilish wasn’t sure how to behave or how to react – the whole situation was so new to her that she was still confused with many things.
“You may, Elise. It is dark already and I wouldn’t want you to stumble in the forest. You don’t have to worry about all these do’s and don’ts. You can certainly hold my hand and...” Samuel remembered her discretion with hugs and other means of physical contact, so he continued, “give me a hug whenever you want. I would really like that. And I promise you, I will let you know if you do something that is not advisable, and knowing you, you wouldn’t even come close,” Samuel said with a half-smile.
“Thank you,” Eilish said, taking Samuel’s hand. It was indeed a good idea since the autumn forest was nearly pitch dark, even though they could see the flickering of the bonfire through the trees.
They walked through the forest in silence. Eilish felt elated and it seemed to her that her happiness is probably visible to everyone. But at the moment she didn’t care.
When they came back to the clearing the bonfire was burning brightly and people were having lots of fun. Some of them had indeed noticed Eilish’s absence, but when they saw her approaching together with Samuel, brightly smiling, they didn’t feel the need to ask about her previous whereabouts. JenniAnn on the other hand briefly motioned that she would like to know about the progress of things and Eilish was in fact happy to share, though briefly.
“Thank you so much for your help again. It went really-really well,” Eilish told her with a half-whisper, casting a meaningful glance at Samuel who was standing close by. “You were so right about him. And about the talk.” Eilish’s face was gleaming with happiness, so JenniAnn didn’t have to do much guessing about how the things really went.
Henry had seen Eilish running away as well and when she came back, he didn’t ask anything, but there was an all-knowing look in his eyes. Henry was one of the few who really knew what was going on since Samuel had talked to him about everything, also about his doubts and fears and Henry had given him a lot of good advice. Now that Henry saw Eilish’s eyes shining, he only smiled and said gracefully,
“I am so glad to see you so radiant and joyful tonight, Lady Galadriel!”
Eilish smiled with a blush and replied equally gracefully with a slight curtsy,
“Your words honour me, Mithrandir!”
Eilish had indeed changed a lot that evening. The usual quiet girl was suddenly walking around, smiling and breaking into melodious laughter more often than she was normally expected to. Soon many people realised something must have happened that night, but when somebody managed to ask about it, Eilish parried their question with the simple explanation that she is just happy to be with all the nice people. But her blushing and giggling and occasional sparkling glances towards her guardian angel didn’t go unnoticed. Luckily for Eilish Samuel wasn’t the only one who had suspected that Eilish’s feeling towards him are slightly more than just “friendly”. JenniAnn and Andrew had certainly noticed that Eilish had liked Samuel from the beginning and felt unusually happy at his presence. So most of the people discreetly decided not to ask about it straight away.
Violeta on the other hand found Eilish’s sudden change noticeable and couldn’t keep herself from asking about it.
“I have never seen you so happy before. You really shine! JenniAnn told me once that when a person is in love they sometimes actually shine, almost like angels when they glow. I didn’t understand that at this time, because I have never seen a glowing person, but when I saw you, I began to wonder. Eilish, are you in love?” Violeta ask, oblivious of the fact that this question might have been too straightforward. JenniAnn, who was standing nearby, tried to motion Violeta not to go further with her questioning, but Violeta didn’t see her.
But Eilish didn’t mind the question. At the moment she felt she could lift the mountains, so instead of hiding her feelings she felt that she should actually share it with the whole world. Still, her common sense prevailed and instead of exulting loudly that she is the happiest girl in the world, she answered modestly,
“May-be. Everything may be!” She smiled mysteriously.
“You are? How wonderful!” Violeta exclaimed. She stopped for a moment to process the knowledge and then noticed Samuel who was standing next to Eilish. She suddenly put two and two together, because she too had noticed how fond of her guardian Eilish had been whenever they were together. Violeta looked at the two with her mouth slightly open. Even though she knew about the relationship between Arthur and Monica and she was living side by side with JenniAnn and Andrew, but she hadn’t actually seen anyone falling in love with an angel like that. So there was an amount of confusion in her, but Samuel’s calm smile told her that everything is just as it should be and there is only reason to be happy. So she smiled and said,
“I am so happy! For both of you!” Violeta looked so cute in her Little Bo Beep costume, nearly jumping up and down with joy. She was so spontaneous and at the same time kind that it would have been impossible to be angry with her for her straightforwardness. Besides, the question that she so innocently asked had actually been in quite many people’s minds and Violeta had just let it out. And it was just fine as well. Eilish didn’t seem to mind even though she wasn’t going to report anyone about what had happened that night. But she could well understand that she couldn’t keep people from seeing her happiness.
However, all the attention Eilish was suddenly getting, intimidated her a bit. Samuel had gone further away to talk to Andrew who was standing nearby, but there were still some who were looking at Eilish somewhat expectantly. So she decided to divert the topic and asked Violeta,
“I know Andrew doesn’t want to reveal his age, but I was wondering if you know how old is Samuel really?”
JenniAnn couldn’t help but prick up her ears, because the question of the angels’ age had been “on the table” for many years and JenniAnn had fruitlessly tried to find out Andrew’s real age. She also had heard that Samuel was “about the same age as Andrew”, so it would be really interesting if Samuel actually revealed his age.
“You should ask him yourself,” JenniAnn replied instead of Violeta. The possibility to learn something about Andrew’s (and other angels’) age was just so tempting that she had to grab the chance. Besides, some of Andrew’s responses had been really funny – so even if Samuel refused to reveal anything, JenniAnn sure hoped he would give a clever answer.
Eilish didn’t know about JenniAnn’s long quest of trying to unveil Andrew’s real age, so asking about it straightaway seemed like a sensible thing to do. Samuel and Andrew had both come back to the small group consisting of JenniAnn, Violeta, Rose (who had been nearby and came closer when she heard Violeta’s question) and Eilish. The girls were looking expectantly at Eilish, trying not to make their curiosity too obvious.
Eilish approached Samuel, but despite all that had happened, she still found it difficult to look at his face. But now it was too late to back out with her question, so she decided to go forward. She brushed one of her lock away from her face and pushed it behind her pointy ear. Blushing, she asked,
“Samuel... er... we were wondering... well, I was wondering... about the age thing. I know Violeta is like 18 and you and Andrew and Adam and Henry are older than the human race, but I kind of wished to know exactly when you were born... well... created... so that I can... we can... celebrate your birthday and... So how old are you exactly?”
Eilish had dropped her gaze, so she didn’t notice how Samuel and Andrew were exchanging glances and smirking conspiratorially. The other girls seemed to miss it as well.
“Okay, I will tell. But first I will tell it to Eilish only. Come, Eilish,” Samuel said decisively and motioned Eilish to follow him. All the three girls were so stunned that Andrew wished he had a camera to take a photo of their faces. He had given his video camera to Owen, who was busy filming the kids giving a performance on the other side of the bonfire. Andrew had to pull all his strength together to stay serious looking at the girls.
Eilish slowly followed Samuel. They stopped at a bench near the bonfire and Samuel asked seriously,
“You really want to know when I was born?”
Violeta, JenniAnn and Rose saw Samuel leaning over to Eilish’s face and whispering something into her ear. What happened next was rather unexpected.
Eilish suddenly collapsed onto the bench and appeared to be sobbing. Her shoulders were definitely shaking, she had covered her face with her hands and occasionally made a few sounds that sounded like muffled sobs.
Violeta stepped closer, looked at Samuel with a frown and asked him sternly,
“Samuel? What did you tell Eilish?”
The looks on Samuel’s face was totally confusing. His protegée appeared to be in despair and he was... smirking?! Violeta didn’t know what to say. The other girls had come closer as well and they all approached Eilish, ready to console her.
But when Eilish looked up for a moment they all realised they had been so very wrong. Eilish was in fact laughing. She was laughing so hard, that she had tears in her eyes and she was literally breathless, but she was definitely laughing. That realization brought smiles to everyone’s faces.
JenniAnn sat next to Eilish and couldn’t help but ask,
“What on earth did Samuel tell you?”
When Eilish had calmed down a bit, she wiped away her tears of laughter and replied,
“I’m so sorry, it was just too funny...” She took a deep breath before continuing. “May I tell them, Samuel?”
Samuel nodded, laughing.
“He told me,” Eilish couldn’t keep from snickering. “He told me this.” Eilish cleared her throat and continued as solemnly as she could in these circumstances, “I was born four hundred years ago in the Highlands of Scotland. I am immortal and I am not alone.”
Andrew snorted. The girls looked slightly puzzled, but then JenniAnn realised Samuel had quoted Adrian Paul from “Highlander” series. She gave Rose and Violeta a brief explanation.
What none of them knew was that Eilish had had a crush on Duncan MacLeod (played by Adrian Paul) and that Samuel looked a lot like the highlander. So for Eilish Samuel’s “revelation” had conveyed a double meaning. And all in all, half of it was actually true.
So to JenniAnn’s disappointment another attempt to find out the angels’ age had failed. But it could only be laughed at, not cried for and laughing was exactly what everyone felt like doing.
The whole evening was full of much joy and hope for everyone. Countless smores were consumed and lots of games were played and Andrew was busy trying to capture as much as he could with his camera. It was going to be a great video that was probably going to be watched over and over in the coming months and years.
For Eilish the evening was simply magical. She was literally “walking on air” the whole time and smiling almost non-stop. For once she didn’t seem to care what the others thought about her and it seemed as if all her restraining boundaries had been switched off that night. She had finally let out the true happy self who had been imprisoned in her cage of unconfidence and fear for many years. Even if it was for just a short time, it was still wonderful to see her as happy as this.
While Samuel was a little bit uncertain about encouraging Eilish’s crush, he certainly felt that her happy state has brought out the best in her and should thus be heartened. At the same time Samuel realised that he has to use all his wisdom to balance between encouraging the girls happiness and encouraging the romance. The latter wouldn’t have been very advisable. Even though Eilish had assured Samuel that she has no unwanted expectations towards Samuel, he was aware that these expectations might arise if he goes too far with this encouraging. But all in all, he was ready to go on a journey of being a celestial friend to a girl in love. This night there wasn’t too much room for worry. So he decided to enjoy the evening as much as possible and entrust himself to God should any difficult questions emerge.
As the night drew nigh and smaller children had gone home and were put to bed, Eilish began to feel weary as well. She had emotionally gone through a lot and though it was mostly good, it had worn her out nevertheless. Samuel could soon tell she was on the verge of falling asleep. Not wanting to take Eilish out of her “Lord of the Rings” role yet and end the evening too abruptly, he approached the girl and told her courteously,
“Lady Galadriel, your shine hasn’t dimmed a bit, but your glance seems a bit fatigued. Would you like retire to your chambers?”
“I do seem to be a little bit less myself lately, yes,” Eilish answered, not quite aware of the double meaning her answer conveyed.
“Shall I accompany you to your dwellings?” Samuel continued.
Eilish had enjoyed playing the role so much and to be approached with such a gracious solemnity by the man whom she loved, made her heart sing with joy. Samuel knew how much Eilish loved the historical movies and things like that, so he took pleasure in reviving the long-forgotten courtesy. Eilish smiled, blushing.
“Lord Elrond, you are most kind! It’s an honour to be accompanied by you!” she replied.
“The honour is all mine, dear! May I?” Samuel offered his hand, trying to look into Eilish’s eyes, but it seemed difficult to catch her glance.
“Lady Galadriel and Lord Elrond are leaving the premises!” Samuel announced in a festive manner to everyone nearby. His stiff and somewhat fake solemnity made everyone laugh and they said their jolly goodbyes for the night.
They still had to walk for quite a bit in the dark. Even though JenniAnn had offered them a place for the night, they had decided to return home, since it wasn’t that far away and the night was calm. Besides, there were plenty of others who were planning to stay not to move around in the dark.
So Samuel and Eilish set off for Tír na nÓg. It was almost midnight. The stars were shining brightly and so were Eilish’s eyes. She was still bewildered and found it hard to believe that everything had really happened. But Samuel next to her was real enough. She walked arm in arm with him, so that neither of them would stumble and fall in the dark. Samuel had a headlamp, but they didn’t feel the need to use it since they knew the way and it wasn’t really so dark to get lost.
For some time Eilish just walked in silence and looked at the stars. Then she suddenly started laughing and said,
“I’m sorry about asking your age, I was just curious. It doesn’t really matter, how old you are. But I was wondering... if you have seen... if you remember... how the stars were made?”
“No. The stars were there before me,” Samuel answered with a smile. “But I remember one thing. The first thing I saw after being created were God’s loving eyes, I saw the whole world in them, and the purest love ever. And I saw stars in God’s eyes. And then I looked up to the sky and saw the dark blue sky above me, bristled with the brightest stars one could ever imagine –quite like these here in fact. It was so beautiful I was completely in awe and just looked at them silently. They still bewilder me, you know.”
“Do you know where were you created? Are you allowed to tell me?” Eilish asked after a while.
“It was not very far from your previous homeland,” Samuel said. “Now the place is called Elvegård in Norway.”
“I knew it!” Eilish exclaimed. She had had a feeling there was something Nordic about Samuel.
“You knew?” It was Samuel’s turn to be surprised.
“Well... not really, but I felt the thought of you coming from Norway somehow suited you. I always admired the land and wanted to visit it, but I never had the chance. And you... you would just fit in so well. You have the same kind of serenity and mysteriousness in you. And this... unattainable beauty.” Eilish was slightly startled by her own sudden straightforwardness, so she quickly added. “I mean, you look like an angel. Uh... well... You are... Oh dear, now I’m confused again.”
Samuel had stopped and stroked Eilish’s crimson-coloured cheek lightly.
“Thank you for your words! It means a lot to me. Yes, Norway has always had a special place in my heart. I hope I can show you its treasures one day,” Samuel said to Eilish’s utter joy. The idea of visiting the land of her dreams with the man of her dreams was more than she could have ever wished for.
“And you said Elvegård? It sounds like Elf Garden to me!” Eilish said thinking of Samuel’s extraordinary resemblance to the high elves of Tolkien.
“Well, not exactly. It means “river garden” in Norwegian.”
“Riverdell!” Eilish exclaimed, wittily adapting the famous place name to her current needs.
Samuel began to laugh heartily, making Eilish giggle as well.
“You are quite something, my little one! So here I am, Samuel of Riverdell, at your service.”
They laughed a lot at their way back and talked a lot about whatnot, making Eilish wish the night would never end, even though she was so tired she nearly fell asleep in the boat. Samuel sent her home and promised to come back in the morning saying that he has some little bit crazy plans in store. He hoped that Eilish wouldn’t be too excited to sleep now, but it seemed his fears were in vain when he saw Eilish constantly holding back yawns. At Eilish’s door Samuel gave Eilish a final hug and placed a light kiss on her cheek, wishing her good-night. After he left Eilish leaned at the door, smiling, watching her guardian go until he was dissolved in the darkness. Then she literally twirled herself to her bedroom, confusing the sleepy cat on her way. It had been a wonderful day and she fell asleep with a wide smile on her face.
Tuesday, November 3
When Eilish woke up, the sun had already risen though it was still low. She dressed quickly and started to prepare breakfast. Samuel had told he would come around 10. Even though it was still 8, Eilish was running around and bustling as if she were expecting a royal family. She wanted to do her best to welcome such a wanted guest. By the time Samuel arrived Eilish had managed to bake some muffins, make a delicious omelet, cook some cocoa and make a fresh salad. She was usually content with much less than that when she was on her own, but this morning she wanted to give her best.
At 9:55 Eilish was walking around in the house adjusting everything for the countless time. She was definitely nervous, but at the same time excited. So when Samuel finally knocked (he was rather punctual), Eilish nearly jumped – she was so tense.
Instead of yelling, “Come in!” Eilish decided to open the door herself. Samuel was standing at the doorstep and greeted Eilish with a warm smile.
“Good morning, Elise!” he said.
For a moment Eilish felt completely frozen again, but she managed to come out of it and answer the angel’s greeting.
“Good morning! Come in!” Eilish invited Samuel, but it was obvious she was fighting with herself not to stare at Samuel’s shoes again instead of his face. But Samuel didn’t seem to notice it. He stepped in, but forgot to duck his head. Since he was quite a bit taller than the people who had built this house, the doorpost was too low for him to step through without ducking. So Samuel ended up entering the house with a loud bump.
“Samuel! Oh dear! Did you hurt yourself?” Eilish asked with a sincere concern.
“No, no, I’m okay. I just forgot about the door,” he replied.
“Please, let me look at your head! Sit here!” Eilish insisted.
Samuel obediently sat down, giving the girl chance to take a look at him. It seemed his misfortune had somehow made Eilish’s shyness disappear for a moment. Eilish, who usually never touched anyone, put both hands on Samuel’s head and gently brushed away his hair to find the bump. She even looked into his eyes to make sure he isn’t dizzy or something.
“My goodness!” she exclaimed, finding a tiny bruise on his head. “Let me bring you some ice on it.” She hurried to the kitchen and prepared a small bag of ice. Then she came back and gave the bag to Samuel who pushed it onto his forehead. But Eilish didn’t back away. She stroked Samuel’s hair, saying,
“I’m so sorry, I should have warned you. I wasn’t looking.” Eilish blushed heavily, feeling that if she had looked into Samuel’s eyes instead of his shoes, none of this would have happened. Samuel naturally didn’t agree with her. He looked up at Eilish and said,
“Elise, dear, this is not your fault. I’m just clumsy sometimes. And you make an excellent nurse, you know.” Samuel’s smile brought smile to Eilish’s face as well.
“And judging by the smell in the house you make an excellent cook as well,” Samuel continued, making Eilish blush yet again.
Giving Samuel’s hair the last long stroke Eilish invited him to the living room where she had prepared the late breakfast table. She had indeed worked a lot to make everything as nice as possible – she had brought out her best tableware and napkins, which she had folded into neat origami. Everything was ready to be enjoyed.
“It looks so nice! I feel like a king!” Samuel exclaimed, seeing all Eilish’s efforts.
“I think you are better than a king,” Eilish said silently. “You are my friend.”
Eilish’s simple words were spoken straight to Samuel’s heart. These words gave their friendship a very special meaning – through these Samuel realised once again how serious was Eilish’s attitude towards friendship. “Friend” wasn’t just another word for her – it meant giving her best at all times without expecting anything in return. Samuel knew Eilish didn’t use the word lightly – there were very few who had earned her trust like that and in this way it was even more significant to be cherished as one. And Samuel indeed felt cherished and loved by Eilish – not only because she was in love with him, but because she genuinely cared.
“It means a lot to me to be your friend, Elise,” Samuel told, casting Eilish a deep glance. This time Eilish did look back, though only briefly. Her revelation last night hadn’t worn off her shyness, she still found it difficult to face Samuel, even though the feeling of anxiety and confusion had definitely diminished. Yet she was grateful that Samuel encouraged her at every step – even though she often felt she could just hide under the table, she wished at the same time that there would be someone to gently pull her out of there. And Samuel was exactly the right person – never too pushy, but lovingly insistent.
Now this “lovingly insistent” angel was sitting in front of her, genuinely enjoying the abundant meal Eilish had come up with. Eilish didn’t want to disturb him during the breakfast, but she couldn’t wait another minute to inquire about the “little bit crazy” plans he had mentioned the previous night. So she brought up the topic.
Samuel smiled and asked,
“Well, you know what day is it going to be in a week?”
Eilish thought for a while before answering,
“In a week? November 10... Tuesday... Saint Martin’s Day...”
“Exactly!” Samuel intervened before Eilish got to thinking she had forgotten someone’s birthday or something as equally important. “And I was thinking of paying the Dyelanders a very special visit, if you know what I mean.”
Samuel’s sly grin gave Eilish a pretty good idea what he meant – as a child she and Ruth had paid quite many such “special visits” to the people in the neighbourhood. But now she had grown up and these childhood endeavours seemed like a distant past. Did Samuel really intend to dig up this crazy tradition and bring it alive here in Dyeland, Eilish thought. Well, the Dyelanders were introduced to St John’s bonfire after all and why not St Martin’s? It would be a way of letting them take a peek into Andrew-friendly way of “trick-or-treating”.
“I’m in!” Eilish exclaimed before she even managed to get scared which she would have normally done with such an unexpected idea. But now she was way too excited (for certain reasons), so pretty much everything Samuel said seemed like a brilliant idea at this moment. But well, Samuel’s ideas couldn’t possibly bring her any harm anyway, so she could as well be excited about them and go along with his proposal. But in a few seconds she could feel some common sense coming back to her and she asked with a slight suspicion in her voice:
“What do you have in mind exactly?”
So this morning Samuel explained Eilish his plan which he seemed to have thoroughly prepared already days before. Even though there were moments in this plan where Eilish felt like resisting, she just listened to Samuel as if being enchanted and only nodded at everything. It could be that she even missed part of it just looking at the angel and thinking about how endearing Samuel’s eyes really are and that he has the most charming smile. It was kind of hard for her to focus this morning, but she did her best. The idea of making secret plans with the man / angel she had just fallen in love with was so compelling – first of all it brought back some of the sweet suspence she and Ruth had had as children embarking upon some kind of adventure. But it also showed the childlike, adventurous side of Samuel Eilish really hadn’t had the chance to know before. Being able to do something somewhat foolish and being able to have a good laugh about it at the same time was the quality Eilish had always admired in people and now it just brought Samuel even closer to her as a friend.
Monday, November 9, St Martin’s Eve
The whole week Eilish and Samuel planned and rehearsed to bring the Dyelanders the best of non-Halloween trick-or-treating traditions from the Nordic land of Estonia. The Dyelanders they planned to visit that night were naturally warned beforehand, because they didn’t inted to scare anyone – even though the traditions were not at all scary for the locals, they might have frightened the unsuspecting folks. And Samuel and Eilish wanted everything to go smoothly.
As previously agreed, they started at Willowveil (with a plan to move on to Baile to visit Elizabeth and Thomas, and Angel’s Reststop to visit Henry and Adam). They had decided to take it slow and just visit the ones they knew best in Dyeland, but Andrew had promised to keep his camera running so that everyone who wished, could in a way take part of it later as well.
At about 7 pm a very strangely dressed company of two stood behind the Willowveil front door, rang the bell and one of them began chanting a sad and strange monotonous song accompanied by a lonely minor tune of a recorder and then a higher voice joining the singer during the chorus. At the beginning of this song they could hear muffled noises behind the door, but nobody opened (you were not supposed to open before the song ends).
Let Saint Martins enter now, let them in, let them in;
Cold has turned their fingers blue, let them in, let them in;
Frost is biting at their toes, let them in, let them in;
They have come from very far, let them in, let them in;
O’er the hills and ocean wide, let them in, let them in;
O’er the moon and shining stars, let them in, let them in;
From the land beyond this realm, let them in, let them in...
Finally the song ended and the door slowly opened. JennyAnn was standing at the door with Andrew (with camera) at her side and children peeking out from behind them. When they saw the duo, they had to struggle hard not to burst into laughter. There were two completely unrecognizable persons standing at the door, one tall and broad-shouldered and the other petite and delicate, both looking so miserable and seemingly confused that it was hard not to laugh, even though it seemed even cruel to laugh at their misfortune. They were both wearing old fur coats that had been turned inside out and had definitely seen their better days decades ago. Both of them had large furry hats with flaps pulled down to their eyes. Their faces were sooty, but their cheeks were drawn bright red with a lipstick. Their hair, as much as could be seen from under the hats were messy and looked more like a bunch of straws (which in fact it was). The taller one was holding a candle in one hand and a violin box in another and the smaller one a recorder. With an unbelievable inner strength they both maintained completely serious (and miserable) faces and it really felt that they had literally come “o’er the moon” that night.
After a couple of minutes of mutual staring (and still trying to remain serious) Andrew finally broke the silence, saying,
“Welcome, Saint Martins! Come on in!” Andrew motioned the duo to step in. It seems as if he knew how to react (he did, actually, because someone had clearly introduced him to some of the customs).
With an almost reverent solemnity the so-called Saint Martins were invited to the Willowveil living room and Andrew introduced them to everyone with a theatrical voice,
“Look, who we have here! The Saint Martins have come to visit us. So, what have you brought us tonight?”
The smaller Saint Martin then took the candle and gave it to Andrew and the taller one said,
“The light in your hand is the first sign of the coming spring. Let it burn a little on all the winter holidays. The same kind of fire is in all the seeds that we are about to plant here for your good fortune. Whoever finds a seed and plants it in spring, will see good fortune in the coming year!”
With his last words the smaller Saint Martin took a handful of seeds from his pocket and cast them on the floor, reciting with a lowered voice,
“Saint Martin is casting the fortune of seeds –
in front of the oven he casts the fortune for the Lady of the house,
in the far corner he casts the fortune for the master of the household,
in the four corners he casts the fortune for the young maidens,
on the floor he casts the fortune for the young lads.”
Belle, who had been sitting quietly, staring at the guests, tried to wriggle down from Shelby’s lap to catch the seeds that were rolling around the floor. The bigger Saint Martin continued,
“Now the ground is full of fortune. But besides luck and fortune one has to have some wits herself as well.” He looked intensely at Shelby, Violeta and Belle before continuing.
“Let’s find out whether the dwellers of this house have some skills and understanding!”
He turned to his smaller companion and giving him a small book, he recited,
“Can you read the book for me?
What are the words for you to see?
Would these be words for you to heed?
Would these be words for you to need?
The shabby looking little Saint Martin took the book and read (with a solemn voice, as if reading a centuries old Bible),
“How can you lift an elephant with one hand? Can anyone tell?” He looked around and his glance stopped at Violeta, who seemed the most confused.
“Oh, but you can’t! Elephants don’t have hands, you see!” she finally blurted, causing the others to giggle.
“Smart girl you are,” answered the small Saint Martin, relentlessly trying to lower his obviously feminine sounding voice, causing even more giggles around. “Now there is a tougher question coming. If there are 6 apples and you take away 4, how many do you have?”
“That’s easy, two!” yelled Shelby. “No, wait. You take away 4. So you will have four!”
“Very good! The last one is even more difficult. Some months have 31 days, others have 30 days. How many have 28 days?”
There was some silence and Shelby and Violeta both tried to count the months, using their fingers and only their lips were moving.
“February has 28 days, so 1 month, right?” Shelby finally said hesitatingly. The Saint Martins both smiled, saying nothing.
“Oh, but you also have 28 days in January and March and... Wait a minute, it is a trick question, isn’t it?” Violeta asked. Without waiting for the answer, she continued, “So the answer must be: “All of them””. She gleamed, knowing that she probably got it right.
“You are all very smart girls!” the taller Saint Martin said. “But enough of the puzzles, it is time for a nice St Martin’s dance!”
He took out the violin and placed it on his shoulder. Soon a jolly tune filled the living room and the smaller Saint leaped across the room and took Shelby by the hand and motioned the others to join in. They all joined hands and formed a dancing (and prancing) circle in the middle of the room. The melody became faster and faster until they were just running in the circle, laughing and panting. It all ended up with them collapsing on the floor, still laughing and rolling around. Andrew was the only one standing by since he was trying to capture all this on video.
“Thank you so much for your dance, dear Saint Martins,” Andrew said after the dance had ended. “As the custom requires, you shall get proper compensation for all your labour.” He went to the kitchen and returned with a small bag full of fruit and candies which he presented to the jolly duo, making a small bow.
The Saint Martins made a bow as well, saying in turns,
“Thank you, the older ones!
Thank you, the younger ones!
Thank you for letting us in!
Thank you for taking care of us!
Until we meet again,
may the Almighty provide you with all your needs!”
Then they started to back out towards the door, singing:
“Let Saint Martins go again,
let them go to their domain.
So unknown are all their ways,
so unmeasured are their days.
One door leads in, the other out,
the third one they don’t know about.”
With a lot of “Thank you’s” and waving hands the mysterious shabby duo disappeared into the night again, leaving the Willowveil lot discussing the recent events with a lot of joy and excitement. Andrew couldn’t help but ponder over the idea of making some changes in the Halloween customs, but since he knew how fond JenniAnn was of all these traditions, he kept his ponderings mostly to himself.
Eilish and Samuel continued their Saint Martins’ journey to Baile to perform the ancient traditions to Eilish’s godparents, and then went to Angel’s Reststop to Henry’s and Adam’s utter amusement. Later Adam couldn’t help but promise Henry that he will certainly haunt people in this manner every November 9 to acquire some candy and get a good laugh. According to his words he even had an old fur coat that could be used for this purpose. He never fulfilled his promise, but every year on November 9 he still looked out of the window to see strange guests coming. And he always kept some candy in his cupboard. Just in case.
Eilish and Samuel got back home sometimes after 10 pm, tired, but happy. It had taken Eilish a lot of courage to go and perform with Samuel. Even though it was not a public performance and the audience consisted only of her closest friends, it was still a challenge. But she kept her eyes on Samuel (who looked totally ridiculous at the time) and knew in her heart that everything would turn out well. So it did and she had another reason to be thankful – for Samuel, for God, for all her friends.
went home that day, Eilish was sitting on the porch
watching him go. She smiled, remembering the Halloween
party the week before and her talk with JenniAnn and
Samuel on the beach and the evening after the party. She
suddenly realized something curious – just within a week
she had turned from a sinner into a saint. Literally.
Whilst the theological question of sin and sainthood still
remained open for her and probably needed further
explanation, she had understood the most important thing –
whether you are a sinner or a saint, God still loves you,
and that was a good thing to keep in mind.
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Little Bo Peep
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery