Sad young woman with skull and crossbones shir...
Photo credit: emersonquinn

Strong, independent woman was what they had called her all her life.  She had a dignity not easily defined, because it was not often seen.  Some called her aristocratic, while others called her cold.  She wanted little from those around her but this didn’t spring from a feeling of superiority; she was simply content.  The world though, continually showered gifts upon her unasked.  She was calm in the face of it all.  That is, calm until she married.  Seemingly overnight, this stately young girl would become a very scared woman.

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word.
Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring”

Tied to a lover best described as a porcupine, the closer she came to him the more pain she endured, she sought solace within.   Some would call it meditation, but she called it desperation, as she would lock herself in her baby daughter’s room and just sit in the corner and try to make the pain go away, in the only way she knew how, by humming that old English melody that her mother use to sing her.

“And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Mama’s gonna buy you a looking glass.

And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama’s gonna buy you a billy goat,”

In her youth she had experimented with mushrooms but this was not the same.  Possessed by some spirit, or was it her own memories, she knew not.  These recollections swirled about her mind, coming in and out of focus.  She remembered him.  He wanted her and nothing was going to get in his way.  Neither the church, nor the state, nor even the words of those he most cherished would stop him.  All he wanted was her and she didn’t know what to make of it.  She was not that kind of girl.  But, he was so powerful, and she was just taken away by it all.

“And if that billy goat don’t pull,
Mama’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.

And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mama’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover.”

The king terrorized all that came too close; becoming the mason of his world, he constructed his own church around his likes and dislikes.  She, a pawn in his game, did all that she could to walk the right path.  They had called it young love, but it was forbidden in the eyes of their masters, so they took excommunication from all that they knew and created a world that they could call their own.  But he would become unsatisfied with what she could provide.  One daughter that would become queen was not what he foresaw for his kingdom.  And try as they did, she couldn’t fulfill his desires, so he moved onto another and had her retired.  He even went so far as having her investigated for treason.  Seasons changed and her neck would be the reason for her fame becoming legendary.

“And if that dog named Rover won’t bark,
Mama’s gonna buy you a horse and cart.

And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.”

Breathing into me was her spirit and I knew not what to make of it so I just ignored the rapture and went on with my work. Trying to ignore the reality of my husband, I threw myself into the world of my daughter’s.  But, this spirit kept coming to me.  She had a story to tell and I knew not how to tell it, lost as both I and she were.  Until, one day I happened upon that picture in an old bookstore.  The caption read: 1536, Accused and beheaded for adultery, incest, and witchcraft, Queen Anne Boleyn

As she stared at that picture, all became clear.  The cycle had continued.


Written for Lilith’s Wednesday Short Story Prompt #15 – Elements, in which you have to use the year 1536, mason, mushroom, and porcupine.


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