The Girl Who Wandered

Once upon a time, there was a girl. . . Well, in these stories, there is always a girl. And usually she is the fairest in the land. Or the cleverest. Or even just the kindest. But really, in many ways, this particular girl was like any other. Pleasant to look upon, but not beautiful. Yes, she was fairly well-mannered and kind-hearted. But, it must be said, there was a contrary streak deep down in her heart. So there were times when she may have been less than kind, occasions when she misbehaved, and every now and then—not too often, mind—she caused the villagers to roll their eyes and pity whichever fool man might take her as a wife.

However, she certainly didn’t lack for young men wishing for her hand in marriage. It became almost a sport amongst some of the less genuine-hearted men, vying to see which man might bring her to heel. And she did prove to be awfully hard to pin down. Every suitor who came to her was greeted by a friendly, charming smile… Then refused on some flimsy reason. No man was quite perfect enough for her, and it seemed that even a fabled Prince Charming would fail to turn her head.

It wasn’t really that she was seeking the perfect man at all. Sure, sometimes she thought it would be quite lovely to settle into the quiet stupor of love and domesticity. How simple it would be! But as the other young women around her married their sweethearts and began raising their little families, the contrary streak deep within her heart twisted, and she began to wonder. Was that all her life was meant to be? Or was there more out there, just around the corner, waiting for her to listen to that contrary streak and risk stepping around that very corner?

The heart, of all things, cannot be ignored for long. And her heart was yearning, struggling against the constraints of her life, and the narrow role she was meant to play in it. And the day came when she could remain no longer. She cast one last loving, sorrowful glance over all that had been her life, then slipped away into the shadows. So quietly she disappeared, none may notice her leaving for some days. Then, perhaps, they might grieve for her absence. But it was how it should be—following her heart into the unknown.

Two paths led from the village, winding in different directions. One led to the next town, which she had visited before, and which seemed to be a larger version of the village she was leaving. The other path, as is the way in these stories, led deep into the heart of the darkest forest. This was the path she chose.

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Sharmaine Ford

Sharmaine Ford

Sharmaine Ford lives in New Zealand. Her stories are a mixture of gothic and fairy tales. Her love for the world of fantasy began at 12, when she read the Redwall series. Once she hit high school, she stepped into the adult world of fantasy. Like most with a passion for the genre, Sharmaine wanted to live in a fantasy world.
Sharmaine Ford

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