The Golden Braid

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

Book: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melanie Dickerson
songs a secret for so long, it was strange to admit to someone.
    â€œI made it up.”
    â€œYou wrote it?”
    â€œI have never written it down, but I created the words and the tune.” She wanted to ask him if he liked it.
    He didn’t say anything for several moments. Then he said, “You do not know how to write?”
    She shook her head. “I have always wanted to learn.”
    â€œThen you are not from Hagenheim?”
    â€œNo. My mother and I lived in Ottelfelt, and before that, we lived in Frankendorf. We are free women, and my mother doesn’t like to stay in one place very long. But she lived in Hagenheim before, when I was a baby.” Then a thought struck her. “Why did you say that I must not be from Hagenheim? Do all Hagenheim townspeople know how to read?”
    â€œOur Lady Rose, the wife of Duke Wilhelm, started a school for the children of Hagenheim. Anyone who wishes to attend, girls and boys, are taught to read and write in German and Latin.”
    â€œOh!” Such a thing seemed too wonderful. “This Lady Rose must be a very generous person.”
    â€œShe is a great and noble lady.” He said the words quietly but with great feeling.
    â€œThis Lady Rose . . . does she have children?”
    â€œShe has several children. They are mostly grown now, except for two young boys and a little girl.”
    She must be nearly forty. Too old for Sir Gerek to be in love with, surely.
    â€œShe is a very motherly woman,” he went on. “She can never turn away a child in need, no matter how dirty or cast away.”
    As it should be. Rapunzel was disposed to like this Lady Rose very much.
    â€œPerhaps Lady Rose,” he said, “would find an older child who would be willing to teach you to read.”
    Excitement fluttered inside her. “I . . . But I would have nothing to give to them in exchange. My mother and I are very poor.”
    He shrugged. “Or you could attend classes with the smaller children.”
    That was not a very appealing thought. Still, if it was the only way . . .
    The cart wheels suddenly dropped into a particularly deep hole. Sir Gerek let out a cry of pain as the cart jostled violently, tossing him one way and the other as the wheel bumped in and then out of the deep rut.
    â€œOh no,” Rapunzel said. “I should have been making sure the donkey stays away from the holes.” She checked ahead to see if there were any more holes she might steer him away from.
    He groaned. “It’s going to be a long day.”

Chapter Six
    Gerek bit back a groan for the fiftieth time. His leg had grown enormous while he was sitting on his horse. Now that he was able to stretch it out on the cart, the swelling had gone down a bit. Even though he had experienced some pain and embarrassment at the older woman forcing him to strip his clothes off, at least he was wearing dry clothes again and no longer felt like an icicle.
    The young maiden, Rapunzel, walked along beside him, talking to him every so often. She had a mistrustful air about her that was irritating, given the fact that he had saved her life. But it was to her credit that she longed for a chance to learn languages and to read. Lady Rose would love to teach her, no doubt, but she did not have time, as she was busy enjoying her children and grandchildren.
    Twilight was descending and they were still far from Hagenheim. It was too dangerous to travel after dark when he was injured and unable to fight off robbers. “Rapunzel,” he called to the maiden.
    She appeared at the side of the cart.
    â€œThere is a monastery off this road. The lane is just ahead. We can spend the night there.”
    â€œI shall tell Mother.” And she disappeared again.
    A short time later, they turned down the lane that would take them off the main road to the monastery buildings.
    As eager as the woman was to get rid of him, he would not be surprised if they left him there

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