Mandell's Wedding
Mandell perched himself high in a pine tree, staring with twinkling eyes as a man entered the village. The man dismounted from his horse with a high air as curious tribe members peered from windows and doors. The man approached the chief’s hut, strongly composed of mud, sticks, and decomposing pine needles. Two giant red feathers hung over the door, a sign of leadership in the small tribe. It was easily recognizable, and therefore the man noticed it immediately.

The Spanish village was cold, due to the location and the season. It was encrusted on the edge of a great mountain range, in the great rock’s shade, so that the town was hardly ever in sunlight. The season was fall, but due to the fact that the trees were only consisted of pines and firs, there was never any dried leaves on the ground, bright colors littering against tan dirt and yellow grass.

Mandell swung down, limb after limb of the tree, hardly making a sound as his small paws touched the frozen ground. Scampering behind the huts, he jumped onto the chief’s window ledge on the back of the hut and let himself into the hut. Kitina, the chief’s young, beautiful, and engaged daughter scooped up the monkey and watched as the rough door swung open and the man appeared.

"Is the chief in?" boomed the man. He was quite handsome. His dark hair surrounded his head in thick curls. His eyes were the color of shining sapphires. Kitina almost dropped Mandell at the sight of him. It was obvious that she had fallen for him, even though she was engaged to the kind, wealthy, and righteous Canton. Canton certainly loved Kitina, but her heart was young and when she had accepted his proposal of marriage, she had only accepted with her mind, not her heart. Even now, the day before the marriage, Kitina had doubts about her love for the man. This new man, this strong, courageous, clever-looking man, immediately posed a liking for Kitina. Kitina, in return, had grown a liking to him.

Mandell, however, did not like the man and bared his teeth, a monkey threat. The man laughed, a strong hearty laugh that lit up Kitina’s eyes and she smiled at the man. Meanwhile, she was trying to hush up Mandell by covering up his mouth. This proved to be a mistake. Mandell screeched so loud that Kitina dropped him. Mandell took advantage of the error and bolted at the man. Suddenly, the man gave Mandell such a look that Mandell stopped in mid-flight and sat, as if frozen, on the dirt floor.

"My name is Ballow. I need room and board for a few days," the man proclaimed.

"We have a hut that has been empty since the passing of Widow Mantay two winters ago; My maid, Ella, may supply fresh bedding and wood for a fire. Ella, Ella? ELLA!" Kitina had found her voice and spoke quickly as if to save a breath.

Ella entered the room that was now rimmed with the chill that encrusted the village. She hurried to close the wooden door that had been left open in Ballow’s crude, yet romantic entrance.

"Ella, this man requires bedding and some wood for a fire. See to it that Widow Mantay’s hut is stocked with the necessary items. Oh yes, and send him a warm meal," Kitina instructed.

Ella raised her eyebrow in blunt suspicion but hurried to complete the assigned tasks. Mandell finally broke out of his trance and followed Ella outside as she walked briskly to the bedding hut. Several homeless tribe members slept in the bedding hut, for it was the warmest hut in the village, what with all the bedding inside. Mandell hopped onto her shoulder.

"I didn’t like him," he squeaked.

"Neither did I. There was something about him..." Ella trailed off.

Ella gathered as much bedding as she thought reasonable and walked to the widow’s old hut. She spread out the bedding in the hut. The dank smell of death lurked around the hut, and Ella could feel the spirit of the dead prickling the light layer of hair on her arms. Even Mandell’s fur raised off his back.

Ella hurried from the hut, now filled with fear. She ran all the way to the forest, Mandell right behind her.

"Canton and Kitina are to be wed tomorrow. Kitina loves him... Doesn’t she? However, this other fellow..." Ella spoke to herself, her voice still shaky from the odd experience inside the widow’s hut.

"Ballow. His name is Ballow. Kitina has fallen in love with him. There’s no stopping her. She’s young, Ella. And he seems so perfect to her. Her heart changes as fast as minutes on a clock. There’s no stopping her..." Mandell repeated.

Ella reached down and picked up a piece of wood. "Mandell. Did you notice something eerie? The fact that we could feel the dead inside the widow’s house? I’ve been in the hut since her death, Mandell, and it’s never been that weird."

Mandell handed her a stick. "I can’t really explain it, Ella. All I know is Ballow is bad. He’s evil. I can sense it. Monkeys can sense those things," Mandell explained, suddenly starting to giggle mischievously.

Ella by now had finished gathering the wood and started back towards the widow’s hut. She placed the wood into a wicker basket that sat in front of every hut in the village. The wicker basket was used for whatever seemed necessary at the time.

Ella now went to the kitchen, a large hut in the center of the village that served food at any time during the day. Usually it consisted of a watery soup, flavored with pine needles and walnuts. Today, however, since game had been caught, there was bits and pieces of meat in the thin stew. She picked up a steaming bowl and carried it to the widow’s hut. She kicked open the door with her foot and stepped inside. A loud fire roared in the middle of the hut. Ballow was sitting on the floor, meditating and whispering under his breath. He did not hear her, though her entrance was loud and clumsy. He continued whispering. It appeared to be a poem:

"Fire in hell, burning slumber
Stock the fire with lots of lumber
Stick it with a forked man’s tongue
Soon it will be, song is sung.
Fire in hell, burning bright.
Killing children in the night.
Those who follow devil’s lead
May soon be planted as a seed
Evil fire, burn in hell
My plan is working well
I have the princess, locked up tight
She will be burnt up tonight."
Ella gasped, but the man was still in a trance and did not hear her.

"Er, uh, excuse me, Master Ballow," Ella interrupted, clutching the bowl of soup before her, shaking with fear.

"Huh? Oh, hello, Ella, was it? What is it?" he asked, taking the bowl from her.

"I believe you just answered your own question, sir," Ella faked a smile, backing up towards the door.

"Why don’t you sit a while?" he asked, stirring the soup with the small spoon that was buried in the soup bowl.

"No! I mean, uh, no thank you, sir. I must go, because I have other chores to attend to. Thank you anway, sir," Ella smiled, quickly opening the door.

Ella closed the door behind her and looked down. Mandell was shaking his head and staring in the wicker basket.

"What wrong, Mandell?" Ella asked.

"He didn’t use any of the firewood in the wicker basket. It’s freezing. He’ll freeze," Mandell sighed.


"What, Ella?"

"Mandell, he had a fire going in the hut!" Ella exclaimed, half in shock and half in fear.

"But that can’t be... He has nothing to burn!" Mandell cried.

"Mandell, he was chanting about the devil, and fire, which probably was the source of the fire," Ella proclaimed.

"We’ve got to do something," Mandell screached.

"Yes. And I have just the thing."

The moon was high in the sky when the door to the widow’s hut creaked open. Ballow was asleep on the bedding, but he was awakened by the creaking of the door. A shadow bounced off the wall, flickering above Ballow in a frightening way. Suddenly, a small monkey climbed onto his chest. Before Ballow could shoo it away, it spoke.

"Don’t touch the girl," it said, it’s eyes staring intensely into Ballow’s.

"A talking monkey?" Ballow asked, frightened.

"Yes. If you so much as touch the girl..." the monkey spoke, but did not have time to finish. The man bolted from there, sprinting out of the village without his horse.

"Ella, we did it!" Mandell cheered, hopping from one foot to the other.

"We sure did!" Ella exclaimed in reply, a smile reaching from one corner of her face to the other.

Kitina stood, her wedding dress long and flowing, with large embroidered flowers decorating it with a delicate pattern. Her hair was wrapped, as was traditional in the tribal weddings. She held a fan with a yellow handle in her smooth hands, for she was a bit warm in her wedding dress. She wore a circular brooch, one that symbolized life as it was.

Canton, her new husband, was dressed in a white long sleeved shirt with rims of gold around the edges. He wore a wool vest, dyed brown. He wore a tie made from a rich silk pattern. His hat was addorned with feathers, much like the ones that hung over the chief’s door. He was to be chief, as soon as the death of Kitina’s father. They now, however, only adorned the title of Princess and Prince Kantaline of the Planteld Tribe.

Bizzy--Age 14

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