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Grade
9

The Road to Sight

By Natalie Tolman

 

Once upon a time, in a small town just North of Birmingham, there lived a young woman with swirling brown hair and eyes as blue as the ocean. The young woman was carrying a precious baby. The mother loved her baby, but she loved her riches more.  Her large house was already filled to the brim with sparkling coins and shimmering jewels, but the mother longed for more. She got so desperate, that she started bribing fellow members of the community for their riches. She got so into the idea of her fortune, that she forgot about her unborn baby, and was unable to see that her beautiful daughter wasn’t doing well.

After that day, the selfish mother’s stomach started to feel queasy, and her whole pregnant body felt as if it was being tickled by a robin’s feather. A mere three weeks later, her child came into this world, and she was perfect, except for the fact that she was born with no sight.

Several long years had passed and the mother fell ill. The child had hope that her mother would live on, so one day, she could see her dear face and not just her dear voice.

But the mother got worse, so bad, in fact, that she was hanging on the rim of life and death. Her child was in tears, traumatized by the sad news. She was now determined to see her mother's dear face before she was lost forever, so she traveled to the house of a wise old man, who knew everything from talking to animals to finding true love.

The child told her story.

“I have been blind my whole life,

And my mother is ill and withdrawn,

I want to see her dear face,

Before she passes on.”

The wise old man looked up at the child. His frail face showing no expression as he stared into her worthless eyes.  

“You can not get your sight back, my child, until the three sacred tasks are complete.

It is then that your eyes shall be restored.”

The wise old man handed her a map, with three destinations marked.

“Follow the map, my child. Follow the map,” and with that, the man was gone.

The child could not see the map, but the apparent small bumps upon its surface told her where to go. She followed the bumps to a lovely mansion on top of a small hill. The child went up to the door and knocked. A fair lady answered.

The child told her story.

“I have been blind my whole life,

And my mother is ill and withdrawn,

I want to see her dear face,

Before she passes on.”

The fair lady looked down at the child, and led her inside without a word. Soon enough, the pair were in the mansion’s back lawn, in front of the biggest hedge maze known to humankind.

“In front of you, my child, is a monstrous hedge maze. Your first task is to travel to the other side before the sun meets the horizon. It is only then that you shall prove that your hands are put to fair use, and you may continue your journey.”

It was then that the fair lady entered the mansion once again, leaving the child to complete the task in her lonesome.

The child felt for a twig on the ground, and used it to feel her way to the small entrance to the monstrous hedge maze. Once she entered, she used the twig to feel the right side of the hedges, she never left those sides, and was out in record time.

“Good job, my child,” the voice of the fair lady echoed, although she was nowhere to be seen, “you have completed your first task, you may now proceed to the old woman’s shack, down by the creek, she shall give you your next task.

The child scurried down to the nearby creek, knowing she was there when her feet felt the wet mud. She listened to her surroundings to hear the faint hum. She followed the beautiful sound to face a lovely old lady.

The child told her story.

“I have been blind my whole life,

And my mother is ill and withdrawn,

I want to see her dear face,

Before she passes on.”

The old lady stopped humming and embraced the child, her long, gray hair caressing the tiny frame of the child’s face. She let go and started speaking.

“My child, it is so lovely to see you, for I know you will get your sight soon. The next step is to hop from rock to rock across the creek without slipping of falling, proving that you can use your ears without flaw. It is then that you can carry on.”

The child turned around to face the roaring flow of the creek.  She heard the same sound in all areas but one, where the sound was more disturbed. She placed her now bare foot in the place with the disturbance, feeling a slippery rock beneath her tiny body.

A smaller disturbance slightly to the left lead the child to the next rock and an even smaller one lead her to the next. She followed the sound of the rocks until she reached the muddy bank on the other side of the creek.

“Good job, my child, your ears work mighty fine. Just head down to the bakery to get your final task,”

So with that, the child went, leaving muddy footprints wherever she walked. She reached the busy town street, and followed the sound of the cars and horns to reach the bakery. The child opened the door and went up to the counter.

The child told her story.

“I have been blind my whole life,

And my mother is ill and withdrawn,

I want to see her dear face,

Before she passes on.”

The baker looked up from his work and looked down at the child. He went into the back room of the quaint shop and came out carrying a small box. He placed it down on a small table in front of the child.

“This box is filled with cupcakes, my child, but be weary, for all but one is filled with a poison that will kill you before you even realize it’s poisoned. If you choose the right cupcake, you will prove your nose is superb, and receive your sight,  but if you don’t, my child, you will die.”

The child grew nervous as the baker layed out the cupcakes in front of her. They all looked as delicious as fresh apple pie and as pretty as snow on the trees, a fine liquid atop the poisoned ones,  but, of course the child didn’t know that.

She leaned towards the array of baked goods and started sniffing them one by one. The first smelled of berry, a delightful smell, and the second smelt of sweaty shoes, a scent that not even the toughest could enjoy.

The child was about to pick the berry scented cupcake up, when she remembered the rest of the cupcakes in the array. She wanted to be sure that she wasn’t mistaken, so she smelt the third cupcake in the row.

It smelt of berry, and so did the next.

Since all but one were poisoned, and all but one smelt of berry, it became apparent to the child that the foul smelling cupcake was the one that was not poisoned. She picked it up, and despite the horrid stench, shoved it in her mouth.

When she ate the cupcake, and still could not see, she decided to pay the wise old man a visit.

As she arrived, the wise old man was not a bit surprised to see the child, and he was not at all concerned as she explained her problem.

“You will get your sight when the time is right,” the wise old man exclaimed, his boney fingers touching the child’s shoulder.

The child didn’t know at all what the wise old man meant, and walked home in disappointment. She reached her quaint house and went inside to talk to her mother right away. Her mother was laying in bed, more sick than she ever was. All of her color was gone and her bones could be seen through the thin layer of skin she had left.

The child walked over to the side of the bed and took her mother’s fragile hand. Her mother slowly turned her head to face the child, making it easy to tell that a movement as small as that proved difficult for the sickly mother.

“Oh my dearest child, I’m afraid my time has come. Just know that I love you.”

And with that, the child began to feel queasy her whole body felt as if it was being tickled by a robin’s feather. A mere three seconds later, the color and brightness of the world started pouring into the child’s newly developed eyes. The child was overjoyed as she looked around the room for the first time ever. She looked around until her eyes met the most precious sight, the sight of her very own mother.

A tear strolled down the child’s face as she muttered,

“I love you mother.”

Her mother smiled with all the willpower she had left, before peacefully closing her eyes, and drifting off to a whole new world.

The child held her hand tighter, tears now streaming down her face as she looked at her mother’s dear face.

“I have been blind my whole life,

And I finally got some new eyes,

I got to see my mother’s dear face,

Before her woeful demise.”

The child squeezed her mother’s hand tighter. Her warm tears falling onto her mother’s face as she said her last goodbye.

Several weeks passed, and the child was still mourning her mother, but she knew that she would be proud. For the child had put her sight to good use. She helped the elders of the town cross the busy roads and she fed poor animals scavenging for food. She enjoyed this, but it wasn’t what she enjoyed the most. What she enjoyed the most was sitting at the highest peak of town, and looking down at all the colorful townhouses and people that she could never look at before.

 

 

The End

State
Connecticut
Zip Code
06066