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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: Unclean
By Peter Stone
04/26/08


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“Strip—both of you!” bellowed the constable, sword held menacingly before him.

“Why ya doin’ this?” the woman whimpered: though her concern was not for herself, but for her daughter. Similarly surrounded by armed soldiers, seven-year-old Maria was paralysed with fear.

“Oh by the Elves of Cantala! Just strip, or we’ll cut ya clothes off you!” threatened the constable.

Mother and daughter loosened drawstrings. Threadbare dresses slipped from scrawny shoulders to the cobblestones, so that they stood naked and humiliated amid a sea of hostile soldiers and villagers.

“Not much skin on ‘er bones,” muttered a soldier distastefully.

“Just search them, oaf!” the constable spat.

“Woman’s clean,” the soldier announced after a thorough examination.

“Child’s not,” another said, “sores breakin’ out everywhere.”

Lifting swords, the men circling the girl stepped back apprehensively.

“Mama!” little Maria sobbed.

“Put ya clothes back on, waif,” the constable snapped. Turning to his men, he added, “Torch the hut and evict the child from the village.”

“Me little girl’s all I got left since me husband passed away last winter. Please, don’t send her away,” Helga pleaded while slipping her dress back on.

“You know the rule ‘bout lepers in the village, waif!”

“Mama! Ya said ya’d never leave me--ya promised!” Maria wailed forlornly as the soldiers prodded her towards the village gates with their swords.

Helga stood there, distraught, tortured by thoughts of her precious little one cut-off from her mother as she lived alone and frightened in the leper colony outside the village.

On impulse, she darted through the soldiers and scooped her daughter’s naked body into her bare arms. “I ain’t never gonna leave ya!” She grabbed Maria’s dirty dress and quickly helped her put it back on.

“That’s torn it, waif,” the constable shouted. “Ya skin touched her sores. Guards, evict ‘em both!”

***

“Come on, Mama, wake up. The elf princess is a coming!” said twelve-year-old Maria, her face obscured by filthy rags that concealed leprosy’s ravages.

Covered with reddish-white sores as well, Helga groaned. “Elf princess? Here?”

“Yeah, down on the road. Let’s go, Mama!” Maria’s small, emaciated hands tugged her mother to her feet, and both staggered from the colony for the nearby road. Drawing close, they observed a crowd of villagers cheering and waving as they surrounded a slim elf girl dressed in white.

“Lepers!” shrieked several villagers on noticing Helga and Maria. They began to pelt the two unfortunates with stones. Helga used her back to shield her daughter.

Refusing to be intimidated, Maria stepped past her mother and shouted with strength that belied her diseased body. “Princess Taeisia, have mercy on us!”

The rain of stones ceased.

Looking towards the road, mother and daughter saw the crowd open its ranks, allowing the petite elf girl to walk up the hill towards them.

“What do you seek, child?” the elf princess asked once she came within arm’s reach.

“Mama and me wanna be well,” Maria pressed hopefully.

Locking eyes with Helga, the elf delved into the peasant woman’s memories, until exclaiming suddenly: “Oh! Never before in the lands of men have I seen such selfless love, dear woman, as the love you have shown by laying down your life for your daughter.” She smiled and reached out slim arms. “Take my hands.”

Helga staggered back. “We can’t touch ya, Princess, or ya’ll catch the sores!”

The arms remained outstretched. “Fear not, but trust in the Living One, for He is faithful and true. Now, come, take my hands, and believe.”

Though shaking with fear, the two lepers reached out until diseased hands make hesitant contact with the elf princess’ perfectly formed fingertips.

Immediately, an unmistakable presence of love and compassion fell from heaven to encompass mother and daughter. Within the space of a heartbeat, their sores vanished and their bodies, minds and hearts became whole.

Jumping with unrestrained joy, Princess Taeisia threw her arms about Helga and Maria. “Rejoice in the Living One, He has healed you! Go, show yourselves to the village priest, and live the rest of your days in the fullness of His love.”

Hearts full of appreciation towards the Living One and the princess, they headed for the village. Helga hugged her daughter. “I lost all me hope, Maria, but ya heart kept a flame burnin’. Thank ya for never givin’ up.”

Delighted by the prospect of their bright future, Maria squeezed her mother’s hand. “No, Mama, it’s me who’s thankin’ you. ‘Cause ya never left me, just like ya said.”

***

John 15:13 (NIV) Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.


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This article has been read 816 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 05/02/08
Ooh, I like this! I love this, actually. A favorite of mine this week! I liked the Elf Princess very much and espeically Helga how she cared for her daughter and how they were able to still be together and even though they were lepers, when the healing came it was wonderful! You must have had so much fun writing this-Excellent job! ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/03/08
This is very creative. I enjoyed your story of a selfless mother's love and of a healing for both her and ehr daughter.
Joanne Sher 05/04/08
Very creative - makes us look at a familiar situation (in His Word, anyway) from a new angle. Nicely done.
Laury Hubrich 05/04/08
Nice writing. Also good title, looks awful familiar:) Great minds do think alike, I'm thinking! I do like this story. Well done!
Laury
BOB BLACKMAN05/05/08
I loved this! The world needs more Christian fantasy. Good job.
LauraLee Shaw05/05/08
Your opening was brilliantly engaging. Who couldn't help but keep reading with that first sentence? You built the conflict perfectly and then brought it to a tender end of a mother's undying love. Fiction doesn't get better than this. Well done.
Mariane Holbrook05/06/08
I just looked up the word "creative" in my trusty ole Websters dictionary circa 1906 and so help me, there was your picture. And no wonder, with an entry like this. Someone saw you coming and there's a winner's prize waiting for you on Thursday. Trust me!
Laura told me to tell you.**grin**
Chely Roach05/06/08
Wow! What a creative entry. Very engaging, and the devotion between mother and child is heartening. Loved it.
Melanie Kerr 05/06/08
Your opening line grabbed my attention. I loved the sacrifice the mother made. I am glad there was a happy ending for them both.
Jan Ackerson 05/06/08
Wonderful allegory! I loved it!
Lyn Churchyard05/07/08
Fantastic story! The mother knew what the result of picking up her daughter in her arms would be, but she did it just the same. What a marvelous example of sacrificial love. I love the elf princess, I'd like to see more of her!
Debbie Wistrom05/07/08
Lesson learned. Your talent is very evident in the atmosphere you created.
Joy Faire Stewart05/07/08
Perfect example of excellent story-telling. You draw your reader into the story with the first paragraph. I especially like the 4th paragraph.
Joy Faire Stewart05/07/08
I meant to say, I esp. like the 4th paragraph from the bottom.
Loren T. Lowery05/07/08
You do have a way for story telling. Your story and its words are enchanting. Loved it.
Janice Cartwright05/07/08
I love happy endings. Could it be the elf princess was so called superstitiously because she was a spirit-filled Christian with the gift of healing? Or maybe its just a beautiful fairy tale. No matter, its a wonderful story anyway you slice it.
Karen Deikun05/08/08
I'm fast becoming a fan of your fantasy parables. I have never been much of a fantasy fan, but you do it so well. Nice work Peter