Bedtime Story for Sammel
Summary: Memoir Summary
Date: 08/05/2013
Related: First Name Basis

2 August, 3013

Elodie sits on the edge of the Sammel's bed, with her wounded knight laying back in his pillows. She sets the hypospray she used to give him a night time pain killer so that the hole in his chest where the Hostile spear poked him would let him sleep on the table next to his bed. Giving a sigh, she straightens, and folds her hands in her lap. Her voice changes, becomes lower and softer, taking on a more expressive nature to give nuance to the tale. She is a Niveun, raised in the long tradition of telling stories, and this is yarn she weaves, with one of the traditional opening lines…

"Once, a long time ago, before the ways were created, during the first time of Lords and Knights…
There lived a farmer with a beautiful daughter and a lovely wife. The farmer, Delpin, loved his two girls more than anything in the world, and when his wife, Alina, fell ill during the cold months, he did everything he could to heal her. Sadly, nothing could help, and she passed before the snow melted, without ever seeing again the first leaves of spring. Delpin grieved for his Alina, and it seemed the earth grieved with him, for nothing would grow that summer. The dirt was dry, the river ran low from the lack of rain, and the buckets of water that he toted each day seemed to do nothing to the parched soil. Wind blew the dry dust across the land, and everything withered.
They would have starved but for his daughter, Sefarina. She was as talented as she was lovely, and she took in people's mending to make some money, and embroidered a few pieces as well. With this, they were able to buy enough food to make up for what wouldn't grow, and it saw them through the winter.
But, even Sefarina's talent could not raise enough money to purchase enough seed to plant the fields in the spring, and Delpin knew in order to get back on their feet, they would need a good harvest. So, he went one day to the money lender in town, a man by the name of Gustapo.

Now, Gustapo, although quite handsome, was also quite a selfish man. The beauty of Sepharina had caught his eye, and he had brought his mending to her on many an occasion with the intent to woo her gentle soul. But when Delpin came to his door in need of money, he saw a chance to make Sefarina his wife.
"Every borrower must leave something with me as collateral," Gustapo informed Delpin. "In case they do not come back and their debt. I cannot lose my money to people who will not repay. If I do, how will I lend money to the next person in need?"
This reasoning made much sense to the old farmer, and so he went home and brought back the silver candlesticks that had been a wedding present from his father, and his father before him, and before him. You must remember, that this is the time before platinum and titanium, and well wrought silver was quite valuable.
These were presented to Gustapo, but he shook his head. "No, no," he told Delpin. "They are quite nice indeed, but I could not sell these to make the same amount of money that I am lending to you." The farmer was devastated, without the seeds, he could not make his living. So the moneylender took pity on his plight. "You do have something that is worth more than silver to me," Gustapo said quietly, sitting next to the old man. "Sefarina is the loveliest of women, and I would be honored if she would become my wife. Grant me her hand in marriage as collateral, and I shall lend you the money to buy your seed."
Delpin gave a look of shock to Gustapo, "my Sefarina's heart is not a thing of money to barter away," he protested.
Seeing that, despite his desparation, the old man might refuse this exchange, Gustapo promised to spend the summer wooing the maiden properly. Although Delpin had misgivings on the plan, he worried that he would not be able to provide for Sefarina if he didn't have the seed, and that she would starve and be laid next to her mother. Finally, he agreed, and with the money secured with the promise of repayment or the marriage of his daughter, he went home and planted his fields once again.

The spring came, and the rains quenched the thirst of the seeds, and they sprouted, growing up strong as the sun called to the leaves. The old farmer rejoiced as he tended his fields each day, happy that he had saved his farm.
Through the summer months, as Gustapo watched the crops growing, he did his part in the bargain. He brought Sefarina gifts of flowers and fruit, and even tried his luck at composing poetry. But all of this was to little avail. Sefarina saw through all the flowers and pretty words, knowing that to Gustapo, she would be just another pretty object for him to collect. So, she helped her father tend the gardens, doing her part to ensure her own freedom.
Near the end of the summer, the rain stopped. Under the heat of the sun, the crops suddenly grew too fast, shooting up and going straight to seed. Delpin looked at his fields, and almost broke down in tears as he saw his salvation shoot past him. Sefarina came and stood beside her father, taking his hand in hers. "Don't fret, father," she consoled him. "There is enough for us to have food in the winter, and you have more than enough seed to grow new crops next year. All will be well. We will talk to Gustapo, and show him that we can pay him back next year."

Unfortunatel, Gustapo was not that easily reconciled. He reminded Delpin that the loan was due to be paid, and adamantly refused to extend the borrowing period. "What kind of message would it send to people if I started letting everyone choose when they would pay me back?" he demanded. "No, I am sorry Delpin. I cannot let you have a year's extension. Since you are unable to pay me back the money, I will have to claim the collateral as agreed." No amount of discussion, or pleading, would sway him from his course. However, seeing as how the young lady was so upset, Gustapo decided he could appear to be understanding and proposed a deal.
"See here," Gustapo pointed out. "We are standing on a gravelly road. I shall pick up two stones, one black, and one white, and put them into my little change purse." As he spoke, he drew out a small, empty purse from his pocket. "I will let Sefarina reach in and choose a stone. If she chooses the white stone, then the collateral will stand, and she will become my wife. If she pulls out the black stone, she does not have to marry me, and I will give you a year extensions to pay back your loan."
Since Sefarina had a fifty percent chance to escape a marriage to Gustapo, which was better than no chance at all, she agreed. What Delpin didn't see as Gustapo bent down, but Sefarina noticed, was that the moneylender picked up two white rocks to put into his little purse. The young woman was stricken, whichever stone she chose would make her his wife. As he held out the bag towards her, she tried to think of a way to turn this man's deceit against him. She pushed at the stones in the bag with her fingers, taking her time until she finally wrapped her fingers and drew it out.
No sooner had her fingers cleared the bag, the stone slipped from Sefarina's fingers and fell back down into the gravel at their feet, lost among the other little pebbles. "Oh, I am so sorry, how very clumsy of me," claimed the young woman who was able to turn out the most delicate of embroidery. "But, all is not lost, sir. If you look in the bag, you will see which stone I did not choose, and that way you will know which color stone I dropped."
Of course, when Gustapo emptied the stone out of the bag into his palm, it was white. Delpin rejoiced to see the proof that his daughter must have chosen the black pebble, and promised the moneylender that he would pay him back the following year.

And so, that is how Sefarina managed to outwit the selfish moneylender, Gustapo, to remain free to marry a man of her choosing.

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