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672 pages, Paperback
First published April 1, 1999
If I were telling this tale, and it were not my own, I would give it a neat, satisfying ending . . . In such stories, there are no loose ends. There are no unraveled edges and crooked threads. Daughters do not give their hearts to the enemy. The wicked do not simply disappear, taking with them the satisfaction of vengeance. Young men do not find themselves divided between two worlds. Fathers know their children.
But this was my own story.
He didn't smile at me. Or at Finbar. Finbar said that was because we reminded Father of our mother, who had died. We were the two who inherited her curling, wild hair. I had her green eyes, and Finbar her gift for stillness. Besides, by being born I had killed her.
“We draw our strengtyh from the great oaks of the forest. As they take their nourishment from the soil, and from the rains that feed the soil, so we find our courage in the pattern of living things around us. They stand through storm and tempest, they grow and renew themselves. Like a grove of young oaks, we remain strong.”
“All that he had of her was his memory,where he held every moment,every single moment that she had been his.That was all he had,to keep out the loneliness.”
“Perhaps this is what the stories meant when they called somebody heartsick. Your heart and your stomach and your whole insides felt hollow and empty and aching. ”
“He would have told her - he would have said, it matters not if you are here or there, for I see you before me every moment. I see you in the light of the water, in the swaying of the young trees in the spring wind. I see you in the shadows of the great oaks, I hear your voice in the cry of the owl at night. You are the blood in my veins, and the beating of my heart. You are my first waking thought, and my last sigh before sleeping. You are - you are bone of my bone, and breath of my breath.”
This hurts, I know. But you have been strong before, and you will be now. What is burned can be replaced; what is destroyed can be made again. In time you will win back your voice. In time—in time, you will find your path back home
╰⊰✿Everything I Loved✿⊱╮
“Take this to light your way, daughter of the forest,” she said. “You told me you were tired of being strong. Maybe you will not need to be so strong, now.” She placed a tiny around candle, herb scented, in my open hand. She turned to the Briton. “You hurt her with your unthinking words,” she said, and her eyes had lost any warmth they had once had. “Make sure she is not hurt again.” And before he could draw breath, she turned and was gone.
Here I am telling tales, and half believing them. For I think sometimes that you, too, will go back one day, hear the call of the sea and slide away under the water as Toby’s mermaid did. Or maybe one night, as I watch outside your window, I will see an owl fly out and vanish into the forest; and when I look for you, all that will be left is one small feather on your pillow.
╰⊰✿Warnings and Cautions✿⊱╮
╰⊰✿You Should Still Read This✿⊱╮
“You will find the way, daughter of the forest. Through grief and pain, through many trials, through betrayal and loss, your feet will walk a straight path.”
“She had sacrificed her childhood to save her brothers; she loved her family above all else, and her spirits yearned to return home once more, to the wild forest and the land of mystic tales and ancient spirits whence he had taken her. That was the place of her heart, and if he loved her, he must let her go.”
“All that he had of her was his memory, where he held every moment, every single moment that she had been his. That was all he had, to keep out the loneliness.”
“The threads of many beliefs can run side by side; from time to time they tangle, and mesh into a stronger rope.”
“Real life is not quite as it is in stories. In the old tales, bad things happen, and when the tale has unfolded and come to its triumphant conclusion, it is as if the bad things had never been. Life is not as simple as that, not quite.”