On his way to safety
From the pursuing castle guards,
The thief found a small cottage in the forest.
It was two stories tall and hidden in a tree.
This gave him a bad feeling,
Knowing this forest was filled with witches,
Ghosts and Goblins.
But the guards were getting close,
So the thief wriggled himself up the tree and into the house.
The house was bare.
There were no furniture, appliances, or tools,
Except for the two small beds in the far corner of the room.
Pressed together to make a makeshift large one.
They were made neatly with the blankets folded at the bottom.
He walked upstairs to see what else he could find.
The thief was looking for food and water,
But instead found what looked like an art gallery.
Colors beyond his wildest imagination,
Pictures so life-like, he swore they were moving.
Ugly beasts with fangs as long as his arm
Protruded through gaping mouths
Like a bloody sword through a body.
It was the most magnificent yet terrifying thing he had ever seen.
Then his vision went dark.
When he opened his eyes again, a woman stood before him.
He was tied to a pole in the center of the room,
On the ground with hands behind his back.
A two-by-four piece of wood was ready in her hands,
Aimed at him if he did something wrong
She had black, scraggly hair, with black glaring eyes.
She was wearing something that looked like rags for a dress,
And she smelled even worse.
"What is a little boy
Doing in a dangerous forest
Such as this?" the woman cackled.
"You do know that the goblins here like to eat reckless people
Such as yourself.
Maybe that doesn't scare you, then the ghosts
Of angry soldiers and vengeful women
Would make you think twice.
Or perhaps the ancient witches
Could spell you into walking into the enchanted swamp
And you could rot there for eternity."
Bewildered by all the dangers,
The thief sat frozen,
Eyes wide and staring at her.
After a moment, his voice let out a squeak
Then he blinked and shook his head,
Perhaps to clear the awful visions.
"Forgive me, but I am not a boy,
And I know how dangerous this forest is.
But let me assure you that I did not know you lived here.
I did not mean to trespass,
And I apologize for snooping,
But you did not need to whack me over the head
And tie me up like some wild animal."
He paused, thinking of a way to escape.
"If you let me go, I will be forever grateful,
And I swear that I will not come near ever again.
I only came because I myself,
Was truly in danger
Of being skewered and hanged.
I had just borrowed something--"
He looked around.
"Where is it?"
The woman cocked her head and the thief explained.
He borrowed a magical stick from the castle,
Said to be a very powerful tool to those who wield it.
He said he was going to help some of his friends,
Though, this was only half true.
The thief said that when he was finished using it, he'd give it back
And everyone would forget he even had it.
But when he woke up,
It was gone.
The woman considered his words for a moment,
Wondering and calculating.
The thief held his breath, hoping for the best,
But expecting the worst.
She relented and let him go,
Telling him where she hid the stick.
It was a few days later when the thief was caught
Trying hopelessly to replace the stick.
He put it back in its protective case,
And ran for his life.
He found the woman's cottage,
There was no way he was going to make it
Up the tree before the guards shot him down.
At least, not without help.
"Hey, lady! Help me by tying your sheets together and let them down!
And the thief's heart jumped into his throat.
He was scared out of his mind,
And he tasted his sweat as he licked his lips.
Then he saw a cloud of billowing white
Falling from the sky.
He scrambled to grab hold of the cotton sheets
Before he was shot.
He placed his booted feet against the tree and started climbing,
His hands fisted in the fabric.
Then silence filled the forest
As nothing made a move.
No leaf rustled, and no animal darted for their dens.
No guard notched an arrow,
Or threw their spear.
The thief could only hear
The beating of his thunderous heart.
He looked below
And beheld seventy men bowing.
When he looked up,
The woman was standing at the window
With her hands clutching the sheets similar to him.
The thief was confused.
The thief was worried.
Then, by some movement the woman made
Or some noise somewhere in the forest,
The men stood and waited for instruction.
The thief hurried up the tree
And stood next to the woman
To whom the men were bowing.
"What is going on?" he asked.
The woman merely looked at him,
Then her transformation changed.
No longer was she the woman in drabby clothes.
No longer was she someone he feared,
No longer was she someone who could possibly live in the forest.
She was a beautiful young girl
With the same black hair,
But clean and styled.
She had chocolate brown eyes
And a beautiful plum dress
That hugged her slim body.
He understood now.
Why the soldiers were bowing to her
And why she had let him go.
He did not understand why she hid
In a cottage, fifty feet in a tree,
Surrounded by dangerous creatures.
He did not understand why
She chose this life over the one she had.
Feeling like a child,
The thief bowed deeply to his queen.
He felt as though he was just caught
Fighting his elders.
He noticed that she smelled like roses and jasmine,
Nothing like the woman she'd been.
"What exactly did you use that stick for,
Their queen asked as the thief slowly straightened.
With a sigh of dread
And a twitch of fingers,
The thief told her.
"I did go help my friends,
Like I said.
But, it was not an appropriate errand.
I used the stick to give them gold
I made their bedroom fill
With coins and jewels,
Because they told me to.
They wanted the riches
Kings and Queens have,
So I made the magic happen."
The queen nodded as if she understood,
But he knew that she could never understand.
She never had to rob anything in her whole life
Because she had enough money for everything.
His face contorted in anger.
You should be skewered and hanged
For the crimes committed.
Because I am just returning to my duties
After twenty years,
I will let you go with a proposition."
The thief's shoulders sagged with relief.
"Use the same magic to replace my gold,
Coins, jewels, and silvers,
And you may go free
With some gold for yourself"
He could not believe his luck.