I recently decided to try my hand at short stories, and have posted a couple of them in the last few weeks. Today I decided to try something a little different. This entry is the first part of a larger story... that hasn't been written yet. If I get feedback, I'll write the rest. If not, I may abandon the story, or finish it and put it away.
If you are reading on an RSS feed you should see the story right after this paragraph. It you are reading on my blog itself, you may have to click "Read more" to get the story. Feel free to comment, criticize, enjoy, or ignore.
Many years ago, back in the old country, there was a lovely valley next to a mighty mountain. The valley was beautiful, but harsh to live in. Those who dwelt there had to scratch out life from the dirt. They worked hard over the summer to bring in enough food to last the long and bitter winters. You may ask why they didn't leave to seek out better land. It was because of the mountain.
The mountain bound them there as surely as if they were tied by ropes. Whenever people left the valley they soon returned, heeding the call of the mountain. It wouldn't let them go. Away from the mountain they grew weak and tired all the time. They felt a deep longing that they couldn't shake. They dreamed of the mountain every night and during the day they would lose concentration on their tasks and think of home. If they did not return, they would waste away and die.
Despite it all, they were not an unhappy people. The work to get food was hard, yes, but living in the valley had its rewards. There was no violence there, for no attacker had ever found the place. The short summers were beautiful and summer days were long. The wood from the forests provided solid homes for the people and made strong boats that plied the nearby waters for fish. You might say they lived a peaceful life, but they all felt something missing. Some thought it was a craving to learn more about the world and see its wonders for themselves. Others thought it might be something more. But the hole in their hearts was the only source of discontent, so life was not bad.
One day a traveler found the valley. It was not a normal traveler, but one of the old people of the world, a troll. He walked over a hill that no human could crest, and saw the tiny village set out before him like a painting by a master. As a well-traveled troll, he was impressed by the village's beauty and admired the place from afar. However, trolls are a cautious folk, and he didn't know if the villagers would accept him. So he did what his kind often do when encountering the unknown, and explored it after nightfall. Trolls see well in the dark, and he had no problem sneaking through the village while the humans talked at their dinner tables, unaware of the presence lurking outside listening.
The troll soon learned of the curse of the valley, and of the desire of some of its inhabitants to visit the outside world. While the troll was not fond of the outside world at the time, he understood the urge to travel, having it himself. So he set off to talk with the spirits of the mountain and see what could be done. Even though he was a troll, he hated to see any creature trapped, even in a prison so pretty.
To Be Continued...?