A Tale from: Kingdom at the End of the World
Mr. Marshlands was a funny old sod who spent more time enjoying the daydreams that played out on the back of his eyelids as he sat in his rocking chair on the front porch of his bungalow than he did in the real world. He seldom even noticed people strolling up and down the street past his house or the slights kids shouted at him, which he could not hear because he was almost completely deaf. For that matter, without his glasses, which he only wore to navigate his way to and from his rocking chair, he could hardly see.
Then one morning his phone rang, which it had not done in months.
He answered the call. “Hello,” was all he said, then he listened for a minute and hung up.
There was a gentle smile on his lips and a flickering light in his eyes that had not glimmered for years as he dressed in his walking clothes, donned a rain coat since it was drizzling out that morning, slipped his feet into his toe rubbers, and set off out the front door of his bungalow.
“Where are you going Mr. Marshlands?” someone called out from across the street.
“For a stroll in the park,” Mr. Marshlands replied cheerfully.
Down the street, only a block or two on the left side of Mistywhen Lane, was an old park that had been there for as long as anyone could remember, though most could not recall how it got its name and that it should be renamed for its trees, which were almost all huge and ancient Oaks, except for one. In the very middle of the park grew an enormous old weeping willow tree that seemed always shrouded in mist, except on the very brightest of midsummer days.
Now you must understand that Mr. Marshlands was probably as old as the trees in the park and walked with a slow scraping shuffle, so it took him several minutes to walk one block and it seemed the closer he came to the park, the heavier the rain came and the deeper the mist grew about him. As for the mist around the willow, that old tree was almost invisible, but it was not in the least silent for the wind, though slight sang through its branches. It sang an old song that once belonged to himself and Mrs. Marshlands.
As he drew near the park Mr. Marshlands began to hear the voice he hoped would come from the mist around the willow. As soon as he did, he began humming the tune with the wind and his beloved Mrs., a tune they often hummed together while walking along Mistywhen Lane and through Mistywhen Park.
“I hear you dearest. I am going as fast as these old legs will carry me,” Mr. Marshlands said in a breathy whisper.
Then, ever so suddenly, as he took that first step into the park, his legs, his entire body in fact, grew youthful and strong.
As he drew near the tree, Anasia emerged from the mist in all her youth and the beauty she had. Her perfect smile, glittering sapphire blue eyes, and chestnut brown hair were as vibrant as they had ever been.
“Dance with me my knight,” she said in her sweet voice. She called him her knight from the day he knelt before her.
“A knight to your eyes my love, but a poor one, I say. Still, with you I know our life will be rich and full.”
“It already is my dear and it will grow better through the years.”
And they danced in the mist to the whispered song of the willow, as they had done so many times across the years of wonder, youth, and gold. And their life did blossom with all the wonders joy could bring.
And as they twirled and swirled and whirled through the mist from one end of Mistywhen Park to the other where the brook disappeared into the earth they hummed along with the willow in perfect harmony.
And Anasia whispered to her beloved knight, “We shall dance together through the mists of eternity and never shall we know a broken minute.”
On Mistywhen Lane there stands a quaint stone bungalow that has become a little overgrown and a for sale sign leans unattended at the end of the walk leading to the porch.
An old rocking chair sits on the porch, alone and weathered, and sometimes it rocks when the breeze hits it just right.
Some folks, mostly new residents, rallied to have the street name changed to Willow Street and the park to Willow Park, believing the new names to be much more suitable.
A young couple stopped by to have a look at the bungalow. She smiled brightly.
In a few weeks the bungalow was lifted to its former coziness and the young couple made it their own. A new voice was introduced into the story, a child. And the joy grew with sounds of laughter and song.
Often, on a summer’s eve they sat on the porch enjoying their boon, he in the old rocker they had found sitting there and had not the heart to throw away. Mother and baby swung to and fro in a new porch swing while mother hummed a tune and nursed the infant. The bungalow gave out a sigh of contentment.
On a warm summer’s day, it is said by those who had lived there a long while that three voices could be heard rustling through the willow branches and the mist around it would whirl and swirl and twirl.
The new owners were told the story of their predecessors and what a beautiful couple they had been. Indeed, they were in love till the end.
Yet those who had lived there a very long time often wondered and asked what ever became of Mr. Marshlands. For one day he went for a stroll in Mistywhen Park and was never seen again.
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