Wednesday, June 20

Grimmoire 51: Foundling

Rules of the Grimmoire Forest:

1. A Forester is not only a worthy occupation, it also provides enough income to afford a man a cook and servants for his house.

2. Children found in trees may be taken home and freely raised as they become your property on sight.

3. When two children have bonded as sibling, whether blood relation or not, a simple child-like incantation is enough not only to make that bond unbreakable but permits special powers that allow those children to become shape-shifters.

4. Old women in the employ of single men are probably witches and consider their employer's children fair game for turning into a stew.

5. A witch can be dragged into a pond and drowned by a duck, if the duck and the pond are enchanted children.

The story begins with a woman under a tree, her babe in her lap. A falcon swoops down and takes the baby away to the top of the tree. Mom instantly abandons the baby. Forget choice or life, in this less-than-modern realm you were either pro-avian abduction or against it.

Forester comes along, hears the babe wailing in the tree and rescues it. What a fine companion for his motherless daughter Lena back at home. I shall name the boy Foundling. Naturally (or unnaturally) Foundling and Lena become inseparable.

One day while the Forester is out foresting the cook -- who is also a witch -- confesses a little secret to Lena: she's going to boil a pot of water and stew up that bird-boy foundling the next day. Lena tells Foundling and, after a short ritualistic promise never to abandon one another, they become changeling Wonder Twins wandering off into the woods to hide.

The witch sends three servants to find the kids. Foundling changes into a thorn bush and Lena turns into a rose. The servant report back that all they found was a rose bush and the witch tells them they should have known that kids can change themselves into these things and sends them back out. This time Foundling changes into a chapel and Lena changes into a chandelier in the lobby. The servants, finding a chapel instead of rose bush, report back and the witch again tells them they should have dismantled the chapel and brought back the chandelier -- it's like a Three Stooges movie. Witchiepoo finally realizes the only way things are going to get done is if she does them herself.

This time Foundling has changed himself into a pond and Lena into a duck. Instantly the witch realizes who they are and begins to drink the entire pond to get at Lena. Lena comes over and drags the witch into the pond and drowns her, which makes me wonder why Lena and Foundling ran off in the first place if she is strong enough as a duck to drown a witch twice her human size.

With the witch gone Lena and Foundling lived together happily the rest of their days. I don't think they considered each other brother and sister for the rest of those days however. One of those lesser rules in the Grimmoire Forest: It's okay to marry other members of your family, provided you are good at heart and know the proper incantations to ward off evil.
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