Parting in Blue


Parting in Blue.jpg

Illustration by John Bauer for Among Gnomes and Trolls

Parting in Blue

From the moment he first appeared in the village with his white steed, he had not spoken a word. They had no idea who he was, where he was going or if he intended to stay.

And then there was the blue. The blue of his hat and clothing. The trappings of his horse. Even his eyes. Especially his eyes. They seemed to shine with a light and magic all their own. They radiated joy, and all who met him were light of heart in his presence.

Many wondered about the significance of his blue attire, but there seemed no sense in asking him about it, since he did not speak. However, they did speak of it amongst themselves. Once the children, who often gathered in a circle around him in the village square, seeming to feed off those radiant eyes, heard this talk, they did ask him about it. And, he did reply, in his own way. They were seated in a circle, with him in the center, in the town square. He rose and walked over to his horse, which was grazing under a large oak at the edge of the square. He took hold of the reins with one hand, gestured to himself with the other, then pointed down the road leading out of the village. When they questioned him further, he gestured to them, waving them towards him and pointed down the road once more.

As if under a spell, the children approached him. Lifting the young girls one at a time, he placed them on his horse, then he took the reins and proceeded to leave the square and walk on out of the village, the young boys following closely behind.

No sooner were they out of sight, when the people of the village felt a sense of unease. Knowing that the children were often gathered around their strange, yet most welcomed, visitor, they realized they were nowhere to be seen. Looking first in the square, and then in the few lanes that comprised the village, they found neither their children nor their visitor.

When hours drew into days, with all hope waning, they became quite somber. Sensing that their children were lost to them, forever, it was decreed that the display of the color blue would be forbidden for all times.

With a few more than the requested 200 words, this is my response to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge #26: A journey, with the illustration provided. As usual, I leave a lot of unanswered questions. The word count here is 387. Jane’s critique is welcome.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

28 thoughts on “Parting in Blue

  1. I wonder if that fear of having their children stolen was a common one in the Middle Ages. Nice interpretation. I think the penultimate paragraph needs clarifying a bit, the time frame for example—the villagers watch them go so logically they know they’ve gone, so they wouldn’t look in the village for them— and why knowing that the kids cluster round the stranger leads to the realization that they are out of sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you.
      I guess that saying “No sooner were they out of sight” could be read as the villagers witnessing their departure, but that was not my intent, so I said “they realized they were nowhere to be seen” as an explanation of their unease, followed by a search for the children.


        • I have to laugh. When I hear “narrator” I instantly think of a sequence in the Disney movie, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, when Tigger asks, “Who are you?” and receives the response, “I’m the narrator.” (I’ll always be a kid at heart.) It reminds me that the narrator is never too far removed from the story.

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        • It’s one of the things you have to watch out for when telling a story, not to be too oppressively present. It encourages the telling not showing unforgivable sin. It’s one of the hardest things of all, keeping out of your own story!

          Liked by 1 person

      • comments are writers wages, or so I believe. Comments help us grow, teach us more and sometimes challenge our thought process. without a comment left you may just as well have not read it. I would rather hear something critical than know they came and said nothing.

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        • I understand that and appreciate comments that actually delve into the nuances that may exist in my writing. I also appreciate that someone may not have the words to comment, because I sometimes have that problem, myself.

          By “responses” in my comment, I meant the many interpretations of Jane’s prompt, just as you saw naked girls, while I saw the contrast of blue against monochrome.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I learn something new from each post I read. I just wish I was better at expressing thoughts I may have on them. I do know that I’ve often been inspired by the work of other writers. (I’ve only recently become comfortable with referring to myself as a writer.)

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  2. Pingback: Microfiction challenge A Journey: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

  3. I really liked this story, Ken. I don’t know if I thought the picture unsettling, but it is odd, and I like how you picked up on that and on the bits of blue. I like the blue in the illustration, and I like how you explain it. This is a wonderful interpretation of the Pied Piper, but I do wonder why?

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