I want to share this story I wrote. It was inspired by a painting of mine
It was a sunny spring day in May. The snow was still there in the shade but where the sun had hit, the vegetation was starting to grow.
Lene was walking the trail from the valley to the mountain farm to prepare it for the animals they were going to move up there later this month. She was enjoying the moment, being away from the daily life on the farm and out in Nature on her own.
About half-way, she sat down to have her lunch. She’d brought some bread and cheese but forgot to bring water, so she found a mountain stream to sit by so she could drink the water straight from the stream.
The water was cold and tasted amazing, so much better than the water from the well. It felt great to be able to sit there in the sun and eat lunch, to get some rest.
Then she heard a noise that sounded like an animal in trouble. She decided to investigate this and started walking toward the sound.
She searched for about an hour without finding anything and finally decided to start walking toward the mountain farm again so she’d reach it before it got dark.
When she was younger, she’d been told many scary stories about the creatures that came out when it got dark, and even though she didn’t admit it to herself, she still believed them.
She tried to retrace her path back to the trail but after walking for a long time, she had to admit to herself that she couldn’t find it. She was lost.
“I never get lost”, she thought to herself but now she’d done it. How would she get to the mountain farm now before dark? She sat down on a mossy stone and started crying in pure frustration. She sat there, crying, for what felt like forever.
Suddenly she heard a noise in front of her. It sounded like an animal hopping toward her in the grass. She looked up, and a Raven stood in front of her, looking at her with its head tilted to one side. Like it was asking why she was crying.
Lene knew that a Raven was bad news, an omen of death and accidents, but this one looked friendly enough so she wasn’t afraid of it. She had a few crumbs left over from the bread and she offered them to the Raven which hopped closer to her to accept her gift.
After eating the pieces of bread, the Raven started hopping away from her. Then it stopped and looked at her, tilting its head as before. It really looked like it was trying to tell her something but they didn’t speak the same language and that was a bit frustrating.
What could it be?
The Raven did the same thing a couple more times, hopping a little further and then turning towards her looking at her. Then it seemed to tire of her and flew away.
Lene sat back down on the stone trying to come up with a way to get herself to where she needed to go before it went dark. As she sat there, she suddenly felt something tugging at the hem of her dress. It was the Raven again, pulling at her to get her to move.
“Well. I guess it wants me to follow it”, Lene’s thought and so she got up and took a step toward the Raven. It flapped its wings and did a little dance as if to say “yay, I finally got her to move”. Then it took to its wings again, flying around her head and then flew slowly away from the stream. It looked like it was asking Lene to follow it, so she did.
She walked carefully in the same direction as the bird had flown for several minutes. Every time she stopped, the Raven came back as to tell her to hurry up.
Her feet were starting to hurt and she was getting tired. After all, she’d been walking barefoot in mountain terrain for hours with only one proper rest. Lene was still very much willing to hurry up because It was getting darker by the minute so. If she only knew where they were heading. She hoped it wouldn’t lead her further astray or over a cliff.
As it got darker, she got more afraid. The shadows turned into all kinds of spooky things; trolls, dwarves, gnomes, and ghosts. She was on the verge of starting to cry again but didn’t want to do that.She wasn’t supposed to get scared. She was an adult now, almost 15 years old, and those bringing the animals up to the mountain farm in a couple of weeks were depending on her to get it ready. Now if she could only find it.
It was still light enough to see where she was stepping at least. That was a good thing. She kept her eyes on the ground except when she looked up to see where the Raven was. Every time she stopped, the Raven started circling over her as to say “I’ll wait for you”.
After walking for what felt like forever, the brush started to give way to grass and she came to a stream with a log bridge over it. Finally some human signs. She recognised the log bridge as one she’d walked across before. It wasn’t very far from the mountain farm where she was going.
She started walking faster, almost running and saw more things she recognised. She was finally there! And the Raven had led her there.
She ran to the house, flung the door open, dove into the cupboards and found a piece of dried meat left for wanderers that might have to take shelter there during the winter. She took the meat straight outside because she wanted to give it to the Raven. To say thank you for saving her. But when she got outside, she couldn’t see the Raven anywhere.
She ended up leaving it on top of the chicken coop so the Fox wouldn’t steal it, hoping the Raven would come back and find it. Then she went inside to get ready for bed.
Since that summer, the girl who later turned into a woman with her own family always set out scraps for the Ravens after every feast. When the others asked why or straight out said she shouldn’t do that, or if anyone repeated the old superstitions about Ravens, she told them the story of how a Raven once saved her in the mountains.
Did you like this story inspired by a painting?
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