The Golden Braid

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson Read Free Book Online

Book: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melanie Dickerson
beside the cart and saying to him, “Is Hagenheim where you live?”
    â€œYes, on the castle grounds.”
    â€œI have never had a broken bone. It must hurt immensely.”
    â€œI have had broken bones before,” he said, his voice low. He lay on his side, his right arm lying against his stomach. He was no longer cringing in pain. “It doesn’t hurt so much if you can lie still.” He lifted his brows. “But that’s hardly possible when riding in a donkey cart, is it?”
    â€œI suppose not, with all the jostling. I will try not to let him pull the cart over too many holes.”
    After a short silence, he said, “There is a healer in Hagenheim at the castle, Frau Lena. If we can reach the castle, she will be able to set the bones.”
    â€œSet the bones?” She was not so much interested in how to treat a broken bone as she was with hearing him speak. His voice was warm and low, and his speech more refined than the men in the villages.
    â€œShe makes sure the bones are in place so they will grow straight. Then she splints them with sticks or blocks of wood.”
    â€œHow do you know the bone is broken? Can you feel it move?” She shivered at the imagined sensation.
    â€œSometimes. Frau Lena says if it swells a lot, it’s probably broken.”
    â€œI know your leg is badly swollen. Is your arm swollen?”
    Instead of answering her, he looked down at his arm. He pulled up the sleeve of his loose tunic. The sunbrowned skin of his arm was bruised and the middle of his forearm was swollen.
    â€œWhy did your horse rear up like that? Do horses often fall backward on their riders?”
    â€œNo, not often.” He made a wry frown. “He is new. My last horse broke a leg. This one is still more skittish than I would like. He was nervous from the lightning strike. But he reared because a hare ran out in front of him. Now I have a useless arm and a leg that won’t bear my weight. And all because of one small hare and a skittish horse.”
    She nodded.
    â€œNot to mention that the man who attacked you and your mother is now free.” He closed his eyes and his jaw twitched again.
    â€œHow long do you think it will take your broken bones to heal?”
    â€œSix weeks at least.”
    Mother was tugging on the donkey’s rope as it had decided to stop in the middle of the road. Seeing Rapunzel looking at her, she shook her head no. Rapunzel sent her mother a slight shrug and smiled.
    After Mother persuaded the donkey to move, Rapunzel continued to walk alongside the injured knight in the cart. After all, what harm could the man do with a broken arm and leg?
    He was looking at her. “How did you ever learn to throw a knife like that?”
    â€œFrom some boys in my village when I was a young girl. I like to learn things, and growing up, I rather enjoyed learning boyish things, like archery and knife throwing.” Perhaps she was talking too much, but he looked interested. She had never had the opportunity of speaking with a knight before. She may as well make the most of it and learn all she could.
    â€œYou saved my life today, with your boyish skills.” He gave her another one of his wry half smiles that made her insides flutter. “Will you tell me your name?”
    â€œIs your head better after your fall yesterday, Rapunzel? Sometimes head injuries can take a long time to heal.”
    â€œI am feeling well today, I thank you.”
    â€œRapunzel.” He grunted, whether as a reaction to her name or in response to the jostling of the cart, she did not know. “I have not heard of anyone named that.”
    â€œIt is unusual, I know. My mother named me after the plant. She once told me she found me in the rapunzel patch in her garden when I was a baby. I am not certain that was true, but someone did leave me with her when I was a baby. They must have known she and her grandmother were

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