Thursday, March 31, 2005


A couple weeks ago I finished reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I think it's my favorite novel from him. This fairy tale is about a young man named Tristran. He is in love and wants to marry a girl who treats him like crap. They see a star fall from the sky and she tells him that if he finds the star and brings it to her, she'll give him whatever he wants. He leaves the security of their small town in search of the star through the land of Faerie.
He took another step, but he was still in the glen. There were high ferns, and elm trees, and foxgloves in abundance, and the moon had set in the sky. He held up the candle, looking for a fallen star, a rock, perhaps, or a jewel, but he saw nothing.

He heard something, though, under the babbling of the brook: a sniffling, and a swallowing. The sound of someone trying not to cry.

"Hello?" said Tristran.

The sniffling stopped. But Tristran was certain he could see a light beneath the hazel tree, and he walked toward it.

"Excuse me," he said, hoping to pacify whoever was sitting beneath the hazel tree, and praying that it was not more of the little people who had stolen his hat. "I'm looking for a star."

In reply, a clod of wet earth flew out from under the tree, hitting Tristran on the side of the face. It stung a little, and fragments of earth fell down his collar and under his clothes.

"I won't hurt you," he said, loudly.

This time, as another clod of earth came hurtling toward him, he ducked out of the way, and it smashed into an elm tree behind him. He walked forward.

"Go away," said a voice, all raw and gulping, as if it had just been crying, "just go away and leave me alone."

She was sprawled, awkwardly, beneath the hazel tree, and she gazed up at Tristran with a scowl of complete unfriendliness. She hefted another clod of mud at him, menacingly, but did not throw it.

Her eyes were red and raw. Her hair was so fair it was almost white, her dress was of blue silk which shimmered in the candlelight. She glittered as she sat there. "Please don't throw any more mud at me," pleaded Tristran. "Look. I didn't mean to disturb you. It's just there's a star fallen somewhere around here, and I have to get it back before the candle burns out."

"I broke my leg," said the young lady.

"I'm sorry, of course," said Tristran. "But the star."

"I broke my leg," she told him sadly, "when I fell."
I would have loved some illustrations, but the story was so well told, my imagination was good enough to bring the words to life.


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