The Second Story

The Sea Lady


So well hidden is the little country of Vàldovar, that very few people know that it even exists. It is tucked away between two ranges of high, snow-covered mountains. Where the mountains end, deep, deep forests begin. A stormy sea guards Vŕldovar’s shore.
       Most of the people live in Vàldovar’s pretty villages which lie amongst that country’s gentle hills and flower-filled meadows. Hardly any of the Vàldovarians ever go near the sea, being rather frightened by the enormous waves that crash upon the shore.
       However, I want to tell you the story of a maiden who did not fear the sea. Her name was Marinella (which, in the ancient language of Vàldovar, means she who loves the sea). Even when she was a little child, Marinella spent most of her time running along the golden beach, laughing when the salty sea-spray blew into her face, and shouting with delight whenever she saw, far out to sea, a dolphin or mighty swordfish leaping and sporting amongst the waves. ‘Oh do take care, Marinella,’ her parents would say. ‘Do not go too near the sea. A great wave might fall upon you and carry you out, far from the shore.’ But Marinella did not heed them – and one day, that is exactly what happened.
       The day was bright, but very windy. Little clouds scurried across the blue sky, and the haunting calls of the soaring, diving gulls were lost amongst the roar and clamour of the wild, wild sea. Marinella gazed in wonder as wave after giant wave rose and fell. So fascinated was she, that she drew closer and closer to the sea, giggling as her bare feet were tickled by bubbles and her toes sank into the wet sand.
      When she was satisfied that everything was in order, Queen Berenice would call for her carriage, and she would go out of the castle and amongst the folk of Vàldovar. She would call upon the old and the sick, and anyone who needed help.