Stories from the Muddy

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mattias and the Knight of Livonia

By Naomi Lewis

(A fictional children's story based on the Klingspor family history). 

            The flag was a black wild boar on a field of red – the coat of arms of the family Klingspor of ancient Livonia.
            The 1400's were a dangerous time when kingdoms formed like raindrops on flower petals, first one alliance and then another.  Stefan von Klingspor was a famous knight, defending the borders of the homeland. 
            Mattias watched his father from the safety of the yellow meadow, sitting among new sunflowers and clusters of what looked like small, pale blue daisies, waiting for his father to notice him.  From a distance, Mattias admired his father's red and black uniform as he moved among his men and horses.  He couldn't wait to wear such a uniform.
            Mattias loved the sound of pennants flapping in the wind, loved the way the wind made the tree tops on both sides of the road touch in the middle, reminding him of the butterfly kisses his mother gave him when she flicked her eyelashes on his cheeks and nose.  He giggled when he was four.  But now he was six and armed with a sword in his belt – only a wooden sword with a blunt silver tip, but Mattias had polished it until it shined.
            As the Knight, his father, noticed him, Mattias waved.  The silver-tipped blade of his sword glazed the sunflowers as he walked slowly toward the road.  What looked like clusters of small, blue daisies a moment before, erupted into a cloud of pale blue butterflies.  Mattias raised his arms and his father lifted him up among the flying flowers.
            "They are the color of your eyes, my son, and what a color they are," Stefan von Klingspor said.
            "My blade is ready for battle," said Mattias, "If you will have me."
            "I will be proud to have you by my side, my son," his father said.
            As father and son passed through the meadow, flowers became butterflies as blue as Mattias's eyes.
            Mattias wanted to hear about the battle over and over.  His father helped him make puppets of straw to act out the story for his mother, Brigitta, when she had finished preparing a stew for their supper.
            In his mind, Mattias saw his enemy pounding across the frozen sea to invade their homeland.  He had heard ice break on the river behind their farm as his father walked where he should not be able to walk.  It sounded like croaking frogs and thunder.  He imagined the heavy boots of the invader tramping the ice, making holes where bubbles escaped.
            Mattias stared into his soup bowl, imagining pearl onions were the shrunken eyes of his enemies, and new carrots their withered fingers.  He ate them with pleasure.
            After supper, in the light of the evening fire, Mattias rehearsed the battle again for his mother.  "The invaders ran deeper onto the ice," Mattias said, pushing his straw puppets across the table his mother had cleared for a stage.  "The thin ice collapsed under the weight of their heavy armor and they drowned."  For dramatic effect, Mattias tossed the straw puppets into the dying fire where they flamed to life again.  He laughed when his father tickled him.  "The end," Mattias yelled.
            His mother tucked the feather comforter around his chin.  The last thing Mattias remembered was feeling his father's kiss on his forehead as he fell asleep.  How he loved it when his father came home.
            The next morning when Mattias ran to the road, his father's Regiment was gone.  Only a Page remained to deliver a message.  "Te Knight, your father, asked me to tell you that he could not take you with him, but he will return for you."
            Mattias stared into the eyes of the Page.  "How shall I know this is a true message?"  Mattias asked.  "The Knight, your father, asked me to remind you about the butterflies that rise as your blade passes through the meadow.  They are the color of your eyes."
            Mattias quickly brushed a tear from his cheek and sniffed. "It is a true message," he said, finally.
            The Page mounted his horse and rode away.  Mattias drew his wooden sword and walked through the meadow in the midst of butterflies the color of his eyes.  He stood guard on the road where the trees kissed in the middle, planning for the day he would go with his father to defend their homeland.

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