The Golden Braid

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melanie Dickerson
midwives.”
    Unable to contain her curiosity, she asked, “Have you ever been in any battles or traveled to distant lands?”
    â€œI have participated in many mock battles, but never a real one. And yes, I have traveled to distant lands.”
    â€œAre the people very strange in other places? Do they have colored skin, and do they speak in strange tongues?”
    He smiled. It was brief and slight, but it was a smile. “I have only traveled around the Continent, and most of the people speak French, which I have learned. The people have fair skin, like ours. But I have met some Saracens who have very dark skin.”
    â€œForgive my questions. My mother says a curious man is a dangerous man.”
    â€œI’m sure your mother is right, in some cases. But I have always thought a curious man was a knowledgeable man.”
    Those in the villages where she had lived had sometimes laughed at her curiosity and desire to learn. Perhaps it was not something to be ashamed of at all.
    â€œHow exciting to know another language besides German. Is French very difficult to learn?”
    â€œNot so difficult, if you are forced to speak it in order to communicate with people.”
    The breath stilled in her throat. “Do you know how to read and write? In German?”
    â€œI do.”
    Her heart beat faster. Did she dare ask him to teach her? Could she be so bold?
    Her mother’s sharp eyes were on them. She would get a thorough scolding when the knight was gone. Asking him to teach her to read would anger her mother even more. Mother would surely prevent his teaching her anything. How could she ever spend time learning from him without Mother knowing about it? No, she had better wait and find someone else in Hagenheim to teach her.
    For the moment, she was enjoying just looking at his face. With his handsome features, his sword, and his finely stitched clothing, he was like an exotic creature. If he told her he was a prince from a foreign kingdom, she would have believed him.
    Finally, she broke the silence by asking, “Do you know how to read in any other languages besides German?”
    â€œI read and write in German, French, English, and Latin.”
    â€œTruly?” She suddenly was painfully aware of her own ignorance. What must it be like to have such learning? She must seem like the most ignorant peasant to him. He was the son of some nobleman, a baron or earl or duke, and only his code of chivalry and courtesy as a knight in the service of the noble Duke of Hagenheim could have induced him to stoop to help her and her mother, to travel and protect them from harm.
    But she had saved his life. Perhaps he would be grateful enough to teach her a bit about languages and reading. Now that he would be laid up in bed for six weeks with a broken leg . . . Gratitude and idleness could be the perfect combination.
    Her heart beat wildly at the thought of getting what she had wanted for so long. Her greatest hope and wish was to learn to read so she would no longer feel like an ignorant peasant. Would he agree to teach her?
    Sir Gerek was staring. She probably looked strange as she shifted from shame at her own ignorance to great joy.
    He said softly, “What was that song you were singing last night?”
    â€œSinging? Perhaps it was someone on the road.” She turned away so he couldn’t read her face.
    â€œNo, it was not.” He sounded irritable. “Do not lie. It was you.”
    Rapunzel took a deep breath and huffed it out. “Is it unlawful to sing?”
    â€œOf course not.”
    â€œIf you must know, I always sing at night for my mother. But she doesn’t like for me to sing in front of other people.” She lowered her voice to make sure her mother couldn’t hear her.
    â€œWhat was the song? I’ve never heard it before.”
    â€œIt is my own song.” Rapunzel felt her face growing warm again. Her mother had made her keep her singing and

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