January 27, 2011
Sutessa by Richard Murray
In a society of humans, in a town called Graintreme, live a group of sisters and their mother, who work as smithys. Three of the sisters are born from their mother, but the other is not.
Years ago, their father, who was lonely after the death of his first wife, met their mother and accepted her and her three born daughters as family. But, he died from working so hard, which left his second wife, to care for the smith and their daughters. Unfortunately, their mother is rarely home, having to sell and deal around the land, her born daughters treat her bound daughter very meanly; they make her do so much work in the smith, she gets covered with soot, so they call her Sutessa. It is hard on her and she never complains, but Sutessa stokes the fires of the hearth so sadly or savagely at times.
One evening, Sutessa needs her rest, and she oversleeps. The hearth fire is nearly spent, when she wakes up; she realizes her big mistake. She pokes the fire once, but the fire is near death and no wood is around, for she didn't cut some earlier. She cries but before she could strike the fire again, magical winds come upon the hearth and a spirit appears. At first Sutessa can't recognize it, but then the spirit greets Sutessa. Sutessa then realizes the spirit of her born mother is present; she recalls the sound of her voice with the songs sung to she heard when very little. Sutessa's born mother's spirit tells her not to cry; she has been watching her all her life and knows how to help her; she points at Sutessa's dress, where a bunch of patches in the form of shoes are. A patch pair come off Sutessa's dress, leaving two holes, and arrive at her dusty feet as ruby heels. Sutessa tries them on and really likes them. The spirit says, they are for her. But, Sutessa hears her sisters coming; knowing the beauty of the shoes, she hides them; she turns to ask the spirit to hide, but the spirit is gone when her sisters come in.
Angry that the fire is dead, they scold and beat Sutessa, who knows they will tell their mother, who may be forced to sell their home, or one of her daughters as a servant, to pay the bills. As Sutessa rest, her born mother's spirit calls a hawk, who picks up one of the hidden ruby heels; it flies away with it to the house of the Baron, specifically his son's room. The baronet is amazed at the craftsmanship and wonders who can make this wonderful shoe; he figures whoever has the partner is the maker.
Meanwhile, Sutessa and her sisters mother, is riding home worried, for she has no money and will be forced to make a painful decision on the house or the girls; the baroness who owns the land of her home can not allow another loan, by the kings order, which the baron and queen oppose. Then, the worried widow hears the voice of the baroness; she tells her to go back to the main road and wait for the baronet, and guide him to her home, no matter what. confused and startled, but sure of her mind, and happy for help, the widow tells the coachman to go back to the main road and wait.
That morning Sutessa wakes up in the smith to hear her sisters laughing. She steps out the smith and sees the baronet's carriage. She steps to the window of the house to hear the baronet asks her sisters if they know the sister to a ruby heel, he holds. Sutessa recognized the shoe and runs back to the smith; she looks where she hid the ruby heels, and only finds one. Just then, the door opens, and her bound mother asks her to come speak to the baronet. Sutessa agrees and kicks the one ruby heel under a stool. Sutessa's bound mother recognizes Sutessa is doing something and looks around where she saw Sutessa standing.
Outside the smith, Sutessa bows and doesn't look at the regal baronet, who tilts her head up gently, and aks her if she has the sibling to the ruby heel in his hand. Sutessa is about to say no, but her bound mother comes out of the smith and asks the baronet, what will he do to the one who has the other ruby heel. The baronet says, if a man he will be his brother, but if a woman his sister, and if she loves him his wife, for only a beautiful and kind heart could make loving heels as these, and that is the woman he wants to be his baroness. While, the baronet spoke, Sutessa's bound mother gave her the other ruby heel. The baronet asks Sutessa to answer and Sutessa displays the other ruby heel. She tells the baronet, if he is willing to make her sisters his sister, her mother his mother, and the land her family's home is on her mother's, then he is as kind as he says. The baronet agrees and they all go to the castle to feast the new union and plan happily ever after.