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About the Author
Anne Eliot CromptonANNE ELIOT CROMPTON grew up in the 1940s when women's roles in myth were less acknowledged than today. Part of her life's work has been to shine light on their immense contribution to the human story. She lives in a college town in Vermont.
When I was yet a very young woman I threw my heart away. I fashioned a wee coracle of leaf and willow twig and reed, a coracle that sat in the hollow of my two palms. In this I placed my wounded...
When I was yet a very young woman I threw my heart away. I fashioned a wee coracle of leaf and willow twig and reed, a coracle that sat in the hollow of my two palms. In this I placed my wounded, wretched heart, and I set it adrift on the rain-misted wavelets of the Fey river, and I watched it bob and whirl, sail and sink. Ever since then I have lived heartless, or almost heartless, cold as spring rain, the way Humans think all Fey live. Humans I have known would be astounded to learn that I ever had a heart that leapt, brightened, fainted, quickened, warmed, embraced, froze, or rejected, like their own.
I grew up in a strangely Human way in a home, with a sort of family. My mother Nimway, my brother Lugh, and I lived in Lady Villa on Apple Island, which Human bards have named Avalon. I say we “lived” there. Most nights we slept within the villa walls. We cooked many a meal over the stone circle fireplace in the villa courtyard. When we sought each others’ company we looked in the villa, in certain of the old rooms, a special room for each of us. My mother’s room had faded waves painted on its walls, and strange, leaping fish, such as we never caught in the Fey lake. My small room was painted about with vines—unlike those that clung to and camouflaged the villa walls—and clusters of purple fruits.
Because of these pictures, Lugh and I always believed that there were worlds beyond the Fey forest, where mysterious creatures lived. Few Fey children grow up knowing that. Like other children, I went away to join the Children’s Guard as soon as I could care for myself. But unlike other children, I remembered the villa as my home, I remembered the Lady, my mother, and I always knew that Lugh, the big, pale boy who often stood guard with me, was my born brother. We had sucked the same breasts and learned to walk on the same cool, tiled floor. We were special to each other, as no other two children were.
And though I never said so till our Guard time ended, and then only to my best friend, Elana, I always knew that when I grew up and left the Guard I would go home.
The villa grew about us and entwined our lives as vines entwined the villa. Apple Island held us apart from mainland Fey forest and our silent Fey neighbors. Living on the mainland we would have glimpsed neighbors from afar, as we glimpse other wild creatures; by slow, easy approaches we would have come to know many of them by name, and some as friends. But the lake trapped us, for the most part, with each other.
Living like this, as in a Human family, I grew an almost Human like heart. This was a deformity. Even on the bright spring morning when I climbed Counsel Oak with my best friend Elana, I knew I could not live much longer with this heart.
The Lady, who knew so much, must have known I had it.
Length: 8.25 in
Width: 5.5 in
Weight: 11.76 oz
Page Count: 256 pages