There once was a girl named Liril who was so poor that she didn’t even have shoes to wear. One day Liril was out in the garden hanging out the laundry when she thought to herself: ‘Woe is me. I’m so poor that I haven’t any shoes to wear like the other girls in the village. Poor Papa works himself to the bone all day in the mines to bring us bread. And Mama, she never stops working trying to keep the house clean and to prepare supper with hardly nothing for pot. Tomorrow will be Papa’s birthday and I haven’t anything to give him. I suppose I’ll have to do something so he won’t have to work so hard anymore. That would be the best birthday gift of all. But how will I do that? Woe is me.’
Once she had hung out all the laundry, Liril ran into her cottage with the empty clothesbasket and told her mother that she was going to market to try and find her father a birthday gift. Her mother scolded her saying: ‘Put such nonsense out of your head! We’ve no money for bread let alone things we don’t need. I’m certain your father will be quite happy spending time with you on his birthday!’
Liril was the sort of girl who never gave up on an idea when she had it. So she went to her room and got a silver coin that she had saved up from her last birthday and put it in her apron pocket. Then she ran out of the house when her mother wasn’t looking and went to market. Liril didn’t know what she would buy for her father. But she was anxious to find something and so she went from merchant to merchant looking for something that would catch her eye, hoping that if she did find something she could barter with her coin for it.
Liril went to market, looking at all the fine things that were being sold there. There were so many things to buy that one could nearly spend a lifetime and a mountain of gold coins trying to collect it all! There were dresses of linen and silk, and cotton pantaloons, and brocade coats with buttons made of brass sold by the tailors; there were shoes made of wood, and fur, and even glass sold by the shoemakers. Jewellers sold all manner of fine jewellery; Liril fancied herself the diamond necklaces that she had seen, but the jewellers always shooed her away when she got too close to their display tables.
There were merchants who sold hot food and wine, the smell of which made her very hungry. There were merchants also who sold magic seeds and coins. These interested Liril the most. ‘Perhaps, I’ll get Papa some magic seeds. They’re sure to make him rich! But all I have is this one silver coin,’ thought Liril. And having been told the prices of the magic seeds and coins, Liril became sad, for she hadn’t enough money to buy even one magic seed. But there was an old woman nearby who saw Liril weeping and said to her:
‘Why are you weeping, my dearie?’
To which Liril answered the old woman:
‘Tomorrow is Papa’s birthday and I haven’t anything to give him. I want to buy him something, but all I have is this one silver coin and no one will sell me anything.
‘Tell me, my dearie, what do you want?’ said the old woman.
‘Oh, I want to buy him something really splendid. Something so he’d never have to work another day of his life.’
‘I think I can help you, my dearie. I have just the thing.’
‘Why, of course! But you’ll have to listen up and do as I say or you’ll have no gift to give your father.’
‘Oh, I’ll do anything you say, if you will help me!’
‘Go to the Black Forest and find my missing locket and I’ll give you a fine reward.’
‘The Black Forest? But there are horrible monsters there that’ll eat me up!’
‘See this, my dearie. It’s a magic seed. If you take it to your father, he’ll have treasures beyond his wildest dreams. But all you have to do is get me my locket.’
‘But I’m afraid!’
‘Nothing in life is certain, my dearie. It is only the brave who win life’s rewards. Those who don’t overcome their fears are destined to fail at even the least things. Don’t you love your father?’
‘Then do as I say and I will give you the magic seed that will bestow all your dreams.’
‘A witc—I mean, I never break my promises.’
‘No, my dearie.’
‘Then I’ll go and get your locket. But what does it look like?’
‘It’s one of a kind. Believe me, you’ll know it when you see it. Just be certain to bring it to me at once.’
‘Then I won’t be long!’
So Liril left the old woman and the market and went to the Black Forest where many frightening creatures lived. It didn’t taken long for Liril to reach the forest or to lose her way either. And as she had feared, there were monsters everywhere she went: large monsters, small monsters, monsters with many arms, monsters with none, monsters with many tiny eyes, and others with one big eye; all of them had sharp teeth and were very hungry. And they said to Liril:
‘Come to us, little girl. We won’t eat you up. We will show you the way out of the woods, if you let us.’
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An Epic Fantasy Adventure!
THE TALE OF LIRIL