Rosamund is a poor peasant in 1500s Europe. She’s content to live out her lot in life—caring for her sister and father while working the fields. None of the local men seem to catch her eye, and Rosamund is convinced that true love isn’t for her—that is, until Max comes to town. This mysterious stranger captures Rosamund’s eye…but who is he, really?
Age Rating: 18+
One has to possess something in order for them to be admired, and for most, that something means wealth.
“Here, let me help you,” he muttered, silently hoping she wasn’t one of the women that’d cringe away because of how terrible he looked.
Every woman dreams of being rescued by an imperial prince or a knight in shining armor, not a poor peasant who looks nothing short of an alms collector.
But it all didn’t matter—he was used to the stares full of disgust or belittling. He braced himself for the worst with a clear conscience. If she rejected his help, it would still be okay.
Let’s dive back in history with little romantic twists. Who knows? It might be worth it!
A strawberry-blonde woman readjusted her sleeping position on an uncomfortable straw-stuffed mattress whilst her hand snaked over a younger girl who slept beside her.
“Mmm?” she moaned, and her eyes remained shut. She was spent, and time wasn’t her friend. It was nobody’s friend.
The younger girl looked up at the woman. The girl’s bright blue eyes hadn’t a dusting of sleep.
She couldn’t sleep without the routine her sister had already engraved in her head. She was used to it; her brain couldn’t shut down without it.
“Can you tell me a story?”
Rosamund gulped down a groan. She enjoyed telling her sister bedtime stories, but she was extra tired that day. She was so sleepy. “Tomorrow, Anne.”
Anne’s hand went up to scratch her golden head as she pouted, “Come on, you know I can’t sleep without one.” Anne gently stirred her sister, her hands firmly holding onto Rosamund’s linen smocks. “Please…”
Anne blinked. “Rosamund!”
Rosamund sighed loudly as she fluttered her eyes open to reveal a big pair of electric-blue eyes. She stared at her little sister and smiled.
“All right, all right. Hmm… So what kind of a story would you like to hear?”
“Any,” Anne responded.
“How about a scary story?” she asked, smiling and playfully wiggling her brows.
Anne’s eyes widened. “No, no…” She shook her head. “Not today!”
“Oh, Anne… I don’t have any romantic ideas today.”
“Pleeease,” the girl pressed.
Rosamund sighed. “Okay.” Her hand slowly wandered up to her sister’s golden locks, which she had braided earlier, and playfully brushed the loose strands back. “Once upon a time in a tiny village was a girl—an unhappy girl.”
“Because she was lonely. She didn’t have friends and she didn’t have that someone…”
“Would you let me finish?” Rosamund playfully scolded her, and Anne only shrugged. Her eyes twinkled curiously.
Rosamund sighed. “Well, yes. You see, there is a certain point in our lives that we reach when we begin to crave something that only one person can give. That very special person.”
Anne’s brows pinched together in confusion. “Um, why didn’t she have friends?”
“Because she’s poor.”
“Oh…I can relate to that,” Anne mumbled.
“Well, she used to have a much nicer life. She wasn’t wealthy but she was able. But suddenly, she wasn’t anymore. She became just like us and her friends stopped talking to her. She wasn’t part of their circle anymore.”
Anne nodded slightly.
“Her new life wasn’t easy, but she had to get used to it. Her father was really sick. He couldn’t help as much, and they had to work for their food and to be able to pay the taxes.
“So there is that—she worked in the days and stared at the sky full of beautiful glittering stars at night whenever she couldn’t sleep. And that happened a lot.”
“Didn’t she have anyone she fancied?” Anne inquired. “I mean…she did crave for a special someone, right?”
“No. No one had piqued her interest yet. But that didn’t stop a few folks from trying. It irritated her because they caused some of the girls to dislike her.”
“Why? What kind of a special someone did she fancy? Der Reichsgraf, perhaps?” Anne murmured.
“No, not necessarily a count. She didn’t think about such people. They wouldn’t mix with peasants like us in the first place.”
“Hmm…” Anne stared thoughtfully at her sister.
“She didn’t think wealth made a person special. She only needed mutual understanding. She needed a person who’d take her, value her, and respect her as who she is. She wanted something deep…special.
“And his eyes—she’d just know by simply looking at them.” Rosamund muttered with a distant look in her eyes and a small smile gracing her pretty face.
“Just like that? His eyes?” Anne arched her brows.
“Yes.” Rosamund momentarily glanced at Anne before continuing. “When she was little, her mother used to tell her that one’s eyes are windows to their soul. She kept those words close to her heart. You’d be astonished by what you learn simply by observing peoples’ characters and, of course, their eyes.”
“Weren’t her pursuers like that?”
Rosamund shook her head. “Something about their eyes drew her back. They all liked her because she was pretty. That’s not love.”
“How did she know?” Anne challenged.
“She saw how her father looked at her mother. That’s how she knew.”
A couple of minutes passed as the sisters remained silently lying beside each other, both lost in their thoughts.
“That’s a sad story, Rosamund. There is no happy ending. The girl isn’t even happy,” Anne complained.
“Huh? You think so?”
Rosamund smiled, “Not quite.” She paused, observing her pouting sister. “Listen, flower, life is not always perfect. And that’s the lesson behind the story.”
Rosamund coughed before going on. “Find something good about everything and choose to ignore the flaws if it’s necessary; I promise you, you’d see the world in a much different light than most people do.
“Whether one is poor or rich, there is something about their life that is wonderful. Once you know yours, stick to that.
“Be grateful for what you have always—because when you lose it, that’s when you’ll really know its worth and significance.”
She craned her neck and pecked her sister’s forehead. “For I, I’m happy to have you and Father. No matter how tough life is, having you two is a major accomplishment. It’s a blessing,” Rosamund uttered, holding her sister tightly.
Anne smiled. “How about the girl? What does she have that keeps her grounded?”
“Hope. She hopes that one day, she’ll find love.” Rosamund stared and smiled into space.
“Gute nacht, schwester,” she murmured sleepily.
“Schlaf schön.” Rosamund kissed Anne’s forehead again and silently watched her sleep.
She smiled at the pretty girl in her arms. Rosamund felt like it was only yesterday she was bouncing Anne up and down on her lap, giggling at how cute her four-toothed smile was.
It’s a shame Anne grew up without their mother’s memory, but it was heartwarming that Anne was their mother’s spitting image.
Their mother’s final gift to Rosamund. Their father might not view it as such, but Rosamund wholeheartedly regarded her as one—a beautiful gift. And that’s why she named her after her mother. Anne.
Minutes dissolved into hours as she lay silently, staring at her sleeping sister.
Everything was quiet and peaceful until a sudden commotion by the door stirred her from her thoughts. Heavy feet stumbled into their home.
She whipped her head toward the door and spotted a dark-haired, middle-aged man wobbling in, his eyes bloodshot, dirt coating most of his features.
Rosamund gently untangled herself from her sister and slowly eased herself up before walking toward the man, who now sat on an identical mattress at the other side of the room.
She squatted down before him, her eyes taking in his messy state. It’s a good thing she wasn’t going to the fields tomorrow—his tunic was filthy and needed a decent washing.
She silently reached for his shoulders and gently pushed him to lie on his back. His sunken, dark eyes finally regarded her, and his lips parted.
She smiled sadly. “Yes, Father?” She didn’t flinch nor lean back from the foul stench of cheap beer. She was used to it.
“Aren’t you... tired?” he slurred out his concern.
She shook her head as her hands removed his worn-out boots and hose.
“I am tired.”
“Then go to sleep. I’ll be right here with you,” she softly muttered as she gently massaged his stiff feet.
He nodded weakly with a heavy sigh, slowly letting sleep take over. She remained beside him for a while before she finally stood up again and made her way toward the exit.
The cool air greeted her as she stepped outside. Rosamund was literally in her underwear, judging by the thin fabric of her knee-high linen smock, but there were almost no people walking around by that time.
The streets were empty and still. It was late, and almost everyone was tired from the day’s routine.
She sighed and lowered herself onto a small bench just outside their cottage. She pressed her back against the wooden wall.
Their small street had almost twenty identical cruck houses facing each other.
It was all green on each side—each house was either in the middle or beside a piece of land that the residents farmed on when they weren’t working on the fields.
The road in between stretched to different areas, depending on where one chose to go.
But if one decided to head straight north, which was on Rosamund’s left, one would be captivated by the beautiful sight of Lake Constance—Rosamund’s personal favorite place.
She eyed the right side of the road that led to the well and recalled one of her darkest moments.
A few people in the street had hurriedly made way for a thirteen-year-old Rosamund, who was running toward the well and halted once her hands rested over its curved walls. Fresh tears had flooded her bloodshot eyes and dripped onto its rough surface.
“I want to die! I want to die!” she cried as she brought her knee up. She climbed over the wall, aiming for the obvious.
“SOMEONE STOP THAT GIRL!” One of the villagers had shouted whilst she’d hurriedly jumped, only for a strong pair of hands to seize her just in time.
She shook her head to get rid of the gut-wrenching memory. There she was, eight years later—healthier and stronger.
She’d made it through all the years and taken on roles that were beyond her age. She’d done it for them and herself, and she was proud of it.
They say wealth makes one strong, but that wasn’t the case in her book.
Wealth might make one strong, but love makes you even stronger.