The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

Click the image above to fetch a new random story.

Bereft Chief

I followed the path that the old ones spoke about, and it led me to the Land of Souls.

I came to the hut of an old man clothed in skins. He told me to rest. How could I rest? I had to find the soul of my wife. Why did she die just before our wedding feast? Where did she go?

I entered the hut, but I could not settle, and when I rose, the old man rose too. He stood with me at the door. He pointed to the water in the distance, and the plains that stretched out beyond. “That is the Land of Souls,” he said. “But no one enters it without leaving his body behind. So, lay down your body here, along with your bow and arrows, and your dog. They will be safely kept for you here.”

The old man turned away, and I all at once, I was light as air.  I hardly seemed to touch the ground. As I flew along, the scents grew sweeter and the flowers more beautiful, while the animals rubbed their noses against me. Birds circled round, and fish raised their heads from the water as I passed by.

The Bereft Chief in In the Land of Souls, Yellow Fairy Book. Picture by Ernest Blumenschein.

Bereft Chief