The Rainbow Aurora
Little Jenny Shawley got up from her stool, milking-pail and duty forgotten. Slipping into her boots, she ran out of the warm stable into the chilly spring day, craning her neck to get a better look.
The northern lights were out, and clearly visible even though it was in broad daylight.
Noticing a further wonder, Jenny sprinted out of the village’s opened north gate, ignoring the questioning shouts from her father. Why he and the rest of the village was not running with her, she could not understand. Couldn’t they see?
The northern lights were touching ground just beyond the hill.
After being sent back to the village and finishing the milking, Jenny had been sent straight to bed. She could not decide if being mad at her father was fair, as her father had not actually scolded her. He had been stunned to silence before he could finish the sentence.
As he had crested the hill behind her, the scolding that was surely on his tongue died away, forgotten. Ahead of them in a small crater of melted water, Jenny could see exactly where the lights were touching the ground. A human woman, covered in cuts and bruises, was lying on her side, clinging onto a beautiful staff with the colour of an aurora, and a shining crimson shard suspended in the staff’s crown. As more men from the village arrived, the northern lights vanished, and were no longer visible in the day sky. Then Jenny saw no more of neither woman nor staff, as her father all but dragged her back to their house.
The following day, as soon as Jenny had finished her chores, she ran over to old Martel’s house. Due to its size, it served as the village’s infirmary when necessary. After much pleading, her father had told her that the mysterious woman had been put there, along with her few possessions. As usual, the door to Martel’s house was unlocked, but the door leading into the guest rooms was closed with lock and key. Old Martel must have heard the creak of the front door, as he came into the entry hall.
‘Oh, good afternoon, little Jenny Shawley. What brings you here without your father?’ the old man said, chuckling.
‘I finished my chores. Dad said I could visit the strange lady from yesterday, but you locked the door, so I can’t get in. Would you unlock it for me, please?’ Jenny pleaded.