By Paul Willems
Translated by Edward Gauvin
Read by Marguerite Croft
Originally Published in Tales and Legends of Belgium Illustrated by Naive Painters. This translation originally appeared in Scheherezade’s Bequest #15.
Many years ago there was a small fisherman’s house on the dunes of La Panne. Rik-the-Fisherman’s wife Marie sat at the window all day long, spinning thread as she watched the sea. She was tall and thin with a tanned face and blond hair, and her eyes, from watching the sea, took on the color of the waters: blue when it was fair, green when it was cloudy, and black when there was a storm. Now, one day when Marie’s eyes were black, one stormy day, the fishing boat sank and Rik was never seen again. Marie was so sad that her eyes stayed black. As the sea reminded her of her husband, she changed places and sat at the other window, which looked out on the Abbey of the Dunes.
Two months after Rik’s death, a little girl was born in the little house. Marie called her Rika, in memory of her father. Rika grew. She always played alone in the dune and on the beach, for her mother spun from dawn till dusk to provide for them. One evening (Rika had just turned six), Mari began to weep. She wasn’t earning enough money spinning and there wasn’t anything left in the house to ea. She told Rika to go out the next day and keep watch over the sheep for the monks of the Abbey of the Dunes. The monks would surely give her a big jug of milk each day for her trouble.
But Rika replied that she would rather go to the beach. Sometimes the sea tossed up precious objects she would gather and sell.
And so it was decided.
Rated PG. No, Really.
Special thanks to our friend Mr. Wilson Fowlie for guest-hosting this episode!