Scarborough Fair: A Short Story - Part 4 (Conclusion)
- Scarborough Fair: A Short Story - Part 3
Out of his many riches, he offered Katherine parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Within hours, the tiny boat was filled with heather, and Godfrey, John, and Henry were heading back to the new island. The transplanted heather filled the new land. It was only a matter of time until it could be reaped.
Upon the men returning to shore, a shout of victory was lifted from all who were waiting. Katherine stepped through the gathering and approached Godfrey. "Godfrey, you have done a wonderful thing, but the heather still must be harvested. We will never be successful with a sickle of leather. It will never work. How shall we gather the bunches without a proper sickle? Godfrey, I fear all is lost."
"No, my good lady. I have the answer. Go back to the shop of fabrics and bring me a fine piece of leather, the softest you can find."
Godfrey, I fear something else."
"And what is that, my lady?"
"The heather, although it is mostly grown, it won't be ready for harvest for two months more. Even if your idea is successful, I fear Reginald will not wait. He will be expecting you to return from the fair before that."
"My dear Katherine, Reginald will wait. He would wait an eternity. He would not have requested these tasks if he did not know it would take time - and it will take time but only a few weeks. Compared to a lifetime, that's not long at all. He shall wait, and you shall be happy forevermore. Now, please get you to the shop of fabrics. We must begin work on your sickle of leather."
"And you, where shall you be?"
"I shall wait right here with John. We must make a plan to produce for you this sickle of leather. I will send John on a mission to get some other materials, but you, my Lady, must bring us the leather. Bring a good piece, perhaps sheepskin. It must be strong, yet pliable. You will have the finest sickle this town has ever known. Now, you go. We must put our plan into action. Hurry. The sun will be setting soon. We cannot wait until tomorrow!"
Godfrey spoke to John. "Quickly, my good fellow, go fetch me two of the sharpest stones you can find. Bring me three new shoots from the willow, ones that bend nicely. Then find me five of the straightest shoots you can find. Now, hurry! We must not keep Katherine waiting."
John was off to the woods to do Godfrey's bidding. It wouldn't be long until his return. Both Katherine and John appeared at the same time - John, to Godfrey's left and Katherine to Godfrey's right. Godfrey was quick to take the three willow branches and bind them together. He began to slowly work them into a rounded shape similar to a crescent moon. Then he took the other five, binding them together, he attached them to the rounded shoots.
"There, we have a sickle. Now we must create a sickle of leather." He took the leather from Katherine and wrapped the curved shoots several times with Katherine's just bought leather. He stitched it through with strong twine and laid it on the table.
"Now, my good John, do you have the stones?"
John gave Godfrey two stones that were perfect for the job. He shaved the leather into a sharp edge on the inner side of the rounded twigs. He took another piece of leather and covered the handle.
"Now, my friends, all we have to do is wait for the harvest. While we wait, I shall take to Reginald his cambric shirt. He will be impressed, I am very sure." Godfrey started his trek back to Reginal's farm.
Days later he returned with Katherine's cambric shirt. "My dear Lady, Reginald was not to be found. I am so sorry. Perhaps he passed from this life while in wait. He is not there.
Katherine's eyes glistened in the sun as another tear formed. "Perhaps he has passed from this life. Perhaps he ran to another. He grew tired of waiting for me to perform the tasks. Oh, Godfrey!"
"My Lady, is your love true for Reginald?"
"Oh, it is, but how shall I go on, for he is not?"
Again, Katherine opened the box Godfrey had delivered on Reginald's behalf. The parsley seemed as good as it did days ago. The sage stood strong, The thyme, as fresh as yesterday. Katherine held up a wilted sprig of rosemary. "He has found another love for the sign of his love has died and has no life. Yet I will not be bitter. I will continue in strength and have courage. Is not this the message the herbs deliver?"
Godfrey spoke softly. "If your love is true, then you must perform the tasks. The heather is ready to harvest. John, quickly, call for Henry. We are in need of his boat. We must get to the island of heather and complete Reginald's last request."
John hurried through the streets, and soon Henry's boat was secured. The four were on their way to the island, sickle in hand. Katherine broke the silence. "It is of no use, Godfrey, for he stands for another woman. I go to die amongst the heather."
"Katherine, my dear one, This shall not be. We will honor him with the heather. You have completed your tasks of love. The rest shall be on Reginald."
Katherine shaded her eyes from the bright sun reflecting off the water. In the distance, she could see her plot of land filled with heather. The beautiful purples and blues brought a touch of sadness to Katherine's heart. Still, she was determined to fulfill her part. She would reap the field with her newly-made leather sickle and place a bunch on Reginald's doorstep. If he had passed, she would adorn his grave with the bouquet.
Her mind went back to the days when her eyes first met with Reginald's. She remembered the happiness and joy he brought to her. She thought about the first Scarborough Fair they spent together. Then, she looked at the wilted rosemary tied to her finger representing her faithful love.
She could see the island draw near and in minutes, she would begin reaping the delicate plants. Sorrow covered all as they approached. Henry anchored his small boat and the four started up the hill that led to the fields of blues and purples. In the distance, a man was seen standing knee deep in the colorful display.
Katherine stood shading her eyes as the sun beamed down on her acre of land. "Godfrey! John! Henry! 'Tis Reginald!"
Katherine danced through the fields to his waiting arms. Joy fell on all who were present, but more so on Katherine. Reginald lifted a box from between the plants. It was just like the one he gave Godfrey to deliver to Katherine.
With an unsureness in his voice, Reginald spoke. "My Lady, please. If you will, open the box. Shakily he handed the box to Katherine who very carefully lifted the top from the box. Inside, the box was filled with fresh rosemary from Reginald's farm. Katherine removed the wilted sprig from her finger and allowed Reginald to tie a fresh piece to the same finger.
Reginald took the remiander of the rosemary and gently poured it over Katherine's head, the sign of undying love and faithfulness.
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© 2018 William Kovacic