When I was little, my teacher told me that a girl deer is called a doe, and after that I thought that our farm was called Doe Run because that is what the deer did each morning when my father went to work in the fields. I told my father that; he laughed. He told me that our last name was Doe and a run was a small stream or river like the one that ran by Mom’s vegetable patch; then he told me I was the smartest girl in the entire kingdom.
In truth, I was just a normal girl. I got up early to do my chores on our family’s farm before leaving for school each day. I worked hard for my grades, and I struggled to get my parents to listen to me. I had a little brother, James, who was a ...view middle of the document...
I was mortified. I told my father to stop lying – that it was embarrassing. In truth, it was also ruining my reputation at school. “These are harmless indiscretions”, he told me, but there was one “harmless indiscretion” that nearly got us both killed.
My father went to the Tip ‘Ze Ale Bar and Grill, where he, according to witnesses, “had a little too much to drink.” (By the way, that translates as he was so drunk they had to scoop him off the floor and shovel him out the door like garbage.) While he was indulging, he mentioned that his daughter could spin straw into gold. Now, normally I would have just laughed this off as “Dad being Dad”, but some fool actually believed him.
To make matters worse, this same fool went and repeated it to the king. Well, of course, my father was hauled in to the court to explain himself. “Sir, you will either admit your error and spend time in jail for ‘drunk and disorderly conduct in a public place’, or admit to the truth what you said.”
My father is NOT a fool, but he was terrified. He said, “Yes, Your Great and Marvelous Majesty, I did indeed admit that my daughter has a rather unusual gift. She can spin ordinary straw into gold.”
Now the king was also not a fool, but he could sense a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. “Really. If that’s so, why are you not living in a palace? Why do you not dress in richly adorned clothing? Why are you not part of my court?”
My father, once again found himself verbally trapped in a bad position, said, “Well, YourRegal and Imperial Royalty, I am a humble and practical man who adores his family. Once I discovered my daughter’s unique talent, I was terrified. My wife and I would die without her. I didn’t want the government to take her away from me and have her spend her life like a lab rat. I, at once, forbid her to ever touch a spinning wheel again. (Now here’s the horrible part…) I swear on my life and that of my family; it’s the truth!”
“Hmmmm. You may or may not be telling the truth.” There was quiet chuckling coming from some of the nobles off to the king’s right. A maniacal glare in their direction quashed their outburst. “I met a man just last week who had a hat mysteriously appear on his head every time he took one off. I watched him for an hour, and it never stopped; isn’t that right, Mr. Capp? I also heard from young Lord Jack B. Stalk that he became rich after fighting a giant who lived in the clouds. That seems much more far-fetched than this, so I’m willing to put this man to the test.
Mr. Doe, you are required to bring your daughter forthwith to the court for examination. If she was able to demonstrate this ‘talent’ as you call it, you and she shall be released on your own recognizance. If she was unable to produce the spun gold, then you shall both be incarcerated until you are too old to make any more trouble.”
I’ll never forget the evening that he told my mother and I...