He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots down.
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Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round the garden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and his breath was like ice. But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant's garden she gave none.
So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the trees. One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought it must be the King's musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world.
Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open casement. He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see there was a little child. And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children's heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing.
It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still Winter. It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering all round it, crying bitterly. The poor tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it. And the Giant's heart melted as he looked out.
I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children's playground for ever and ever.
So he crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him they were so frightened that they all ran away, and the garden became Winter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he died not see the Giant coming.
And the Giant stole up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once into blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant's neck, and kissed him. And the other children, when they saw that the Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came the Spring. And when the people were gong to market at twelve o'clock they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.
All day long they played, and in the evening they came to the Giant to bid him good-bye. But the children said that they did not know where he lived, and had never seen him before; and the Giant felt very sad. Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first little friend, and often spoke of him. Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could not play about any more, so he sat in a huge armchair, and watched the children at their games, and admired his garden.
One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was dressing. He did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the Spring asleep, and that the flowers were resting. But almost everyone in the neighbourhood called her Naume, nothing more, nothing less, save for those string of dirty nicknames they had given her.
I…, I ….
What is it that you want repaired? Has the frame of your bed collapsed? Tell me you will help me through making the thing I want made? Things were going exactly the right way he wanted them to go and suddenly he felt a spring of pleasure welling up inside him. Steady, man, steady, he chided himself, lest the waves of over-excitement suddenly break out inside you and sweep you off your feet!
In one mouthful, he gulped down the contents of whatever was left in his metal cup. Too late! He just poked his way through a hole in the hedge and in a few seconds he was sitting next to Naume on the tools-box. In the sky, a pall of clouds that had been shutting out the sun drifted away, and the sun poured down its warm rays onto the earth, bathing them in sunshine. He could smell the perfume of her bathing soap or was it skin oil, coming from her.
From the corner of his eyes, he could tell that she was still as beautiful as ever despite her age, and her chocolate-brown skin was still smooth and devoid of wrinkles. How she managed to keep herself in this pristine condition boggled his mind. But she had heard him. At her words, he suddenly sprang up from the tools-box where he was sitting and leapt a distance away from her reach as if he had been sitting on live electricity cables.
Robert Olen Butler's "Perfume River" explores allure of Vietnam
Or like someone who had suddenly realized that he was all the time sitting with a ghost which had just revealed itself. Are you crazy? What do you need a coffin for? She laughed and laughed, face tilted up towards the sky, mouth wide open that he saw the roof her mouth. Then, as another blanket of clouds shut away the sun above, so did her expression suddenly changed to a somber and more serious mood. She tensed, and her eyes focused into space, as if she was seeing some faraway place in a distant world visible to her alone.
For a moment, he hesitated. I am still human, not a monster. Steeling himself, he then went and sat on the edge of the tools-box, maintaining a distance between the two of them. I tried many things, ate all sorts of herbs, approached many doctors and spiritual healers, but still I could not conceive. And then he died. The pall of clouds drifted off the face of the sun above and in poured a shower of sunshine, further accentuating the glint her in her moist eyes.
He wanted to wipe them away with the back of his palm, but he restrained himself. But look at it now, lying there dead. The emotion was palpable.
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He felt a pang of pain leaping from her heart and lodging itself inside him. God, this was too much, he said to himself. Silly me, he rebuked himself. Her voice now came out of her like a dry wind. It frightened him. Instead, he surprised himself when he realized that he was now standing before her, then leaned down towards her and gathered her up in his firm embrace. The perfume of her bathing soap mingled with that of her skin oil wafted into her nostrils in a delicious scent. He tilted her face towards his, and this time looked her straight in those glinting eyes.
Yes, you loved him very much. But now he is gone. And that is a fact you must learn to accept and live with. God has his own way of doing things. He paused, and could feel her ample bosom heaving against his chest, her breath against his face. She just gazed into his eyes, and felt her palms closing fast into his.
He returned the gaze. Again, that short nervous laugh. Then their lips interlocked. These were the people from the neighbourhood, both young and old, who had gathered around the new lovebirds as they poured their hearts out to one another. The masses required good governance. They are tired of tired rhetoric and cheap politicking. Africa is the most poorest region but the richly resourced. We cant continue shifting the blame we need leadership that put its head above the sand.
- A Short Story : The Fragrance?
- Perfume (novel) - Wikipedia.
- The Digital Puritan - Vol.II, No.4.
Writers and Poets this is your chance to shine! You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Skip to content January 28, miombopublishing african agenda , african centred stories , african poetry , global literary arts scene , political fiction , short story sunday , stories night. The peach tree, like its owner, had never bore a single fruit in its lengthy existence.
There was a kind of filial closeness between Naume and the peach tree. But for years, such a miracle never happened. I am so proud of you! Her heart felt like bursting.