I felt Herlikin against me and smiled to myself. Her light body pressed
The Lessons That Spelled 'I Love
into mine and her read hair brushing
against my arm. It was always so soft.
Her feet didn't even touch the
floor while sitting on my lap. They swung
back and forth a little and then
stopped. I set my pipe down and stroked her
hair. I felt her breathing slow
and her hand around my neck relax. I lowered my face to see her eyes
close. I kissed her eyelids and then her forehead.
Her one hand fell from my neck
and onto her lap. I took it into mine,
grasping it gently. She was
so wonderful and beautiful in her own way I
couldn't help but love her.
I stroked my goatee a little thinking. I couldn't imagine life without
her. She was so close to my heart we could never be permanently parted.
We always wanted to make each other happy.
Which took me to think of something
she had brought up earlier. It startled
me a bit, but then of course it
was Herlikin. She, all of a sudden, wondered
why Ariel and Pipes had so many
books. I didn't want to sound uninformed so I quickly assumed they
could read and answered her with that. She had
accepted the answer but I could
tell she kept thinking about it. Even moving
onto another subject in our conversation
hadn't distracted her thoughts. And
that led to me to other thoughts.
Why did the books mattered to her? She
had never shown any interest in
them before. Suddenly I realized the
problem. She was, in her
own little way, giving me a hint. She probably
wishes I could read and is a bit
disappointed I can't, but has never had the
heart to tell me. I, the
King of Gypsies, can't even spell his own name! I
bet Herli had gone and asked Ariel
if I could read, expecting a yes and then
thinking she could come home exposing
my long kept secret. But she hadn't
received a yes, and she had gotten
no secret of the sort. That's why I had
planned to stop that night.
I was going to go over to Ariel's to have her
teach me how to read and write
when Herlikin was already over there. I had to make a quick excuse
on why I was over there and headed straight from work.
I hadn't even planned on
Herlikin's presence. I figured she'd be at home
while I went to learn how to read.
Then when I got home she'd just think I
was home from performing.
But my careful planning had been ruined when I stepped inside the tent
and saw my little red haired beauty. I had to grin
at the sight of her eyes when I
stepped into the tent, for she was just as
surprised and startled as I was.
The curiosity of what her and Ariel had
been conversing about is still
with me, but I'm not going to pry at her about
it when I knew she wouldn't tell
I brushed Herli's
cheek but she was sound asleep. I smiled a little
again. My head strong Herlikin
in a state of weakness and vulnerability right
now. I picked her up and
laid her in the bed. She was still in her orange
dress but I didn't have the heart
to wake her. She moved a little after I
had set her down getting used to
her new support but then went back to being as still as a statue.
I undressed myself and got into bed with her. I felt
her hair and small body one more
time and then fell asleep.
made the extra effort to wake up early so I could make it over to Ariel
and Pipes' tent without Herlikin
waking. I hurried getting dressed and was
punished for it. I saw my
hose were on backward and my shoes were on the
wrong feet. I frowned as
I was wasting time and loosing minutes as I fixed
my mistakes for hastiness.
I didn't grab my mask because I'd come back after my short visit to make
Herlikin think I had just gotten dressed.
I darted past
all the tents which were only a blur as I ran, and no one
saw me because of the time, no
one had even in their right mind considered
waking up. I reached the
tent and didn't even warn them I was coming in. I
knew Ariel was an early riser so
I knew I wouldn't catch them off guard or
indecent. I walked in and
smiled to myself for my correct prediction. Both
sat at their low table eating some
sliced fruit. They looked up and Pipes
stood up, bowing playfully.
"Why it's nothing
less then the King of Thunes himself! To what do we
honor this visit?" I chuckled
at him and we shook hands.
it's my Herlikin." Ariel immediately raised her head and
"Oh? What about
her?" She looked at me with question in her eyes and
trembles in her words. I
decided not to dwell on the small factor and
"She asked me
why you had so many books and I assumed you could read. I believe
she's a bit disappointed in that I cannot read, nor write. I am the
King and I cannot do these simple tasks? So I ask you humbly and
gratefully for your knowledge on this subject to teach me. Of course
I wouldn't tell Herli until I learned everything completely so I could
surprise her." I questioned them with my black eyes, challenging
them to accept.
"Oh, well I'm
sure Pipes and I can fit you into our busy schedule." We
all laughed. "And, as long
as you study hard and don't patronize me, your
highness, then I will charge you
no money." She made a slight bow with her head and them looked back
up at me. I grinned back, happy I wouldn't have to pay, Herlikin
would wonder why all of a sudden so much money was not being brought in
by my performances after I had so loudly bragged about the large crowds.
an extra glass from a home made shelf and poured some wine into it.
"Have some Clopin?"
He put the glass out toward me.
"So early Pipes?
Besides I have to go out and perform today." Pipes
laughed and put it in my hand despite
you extra energy for the day and you don't have to go out for
a while, I'm sure no one is awake
in the streets of Paris yet. It is still
quite early, no?" I nodded
at Pipes' statement, agreeing, and sat down with
them. The panic that was
in Ariel's eyes had subsided. I looked into them
and saw how beautiful they were.
I had been good friends with Ariel in the
past, but I had never noticed her
Ariel was an
amazing person, that was for sure. Before my darling wife
came along Ariel and I were very
much involved. I wasn't sure if it was love
I felt for her but it was awful
close. I thought that Ariel would be the one
that stuck. I almost proposed
too. We agreed in running away. We thought
it wouldn've been better.
If we ran away no one could tell us what to do and I wouldn't have to take
my rightful position as King. I would spend long
nights with her and my parents
began to worry that I would break the
premarriage agreement. My
father sat me down one night and explained why he had made the arrangement
in the first place. I had been determined to stand my ground before
he had started talking but when he continued about the girl coming all
the way from India that conscience I didn't want to admit I had kicked
in. I felt bad I had considered leaving. I took a special night
out without any interruptions for Ariel and I. We spent the whole
day and night together and she cried, but only a little. I explained
about the premarriage agreement and she didn't scream. And she didn't
call me obscene names, in fact she barely said anything at all. She
nodded in understanding. We kissed one more time and I felt some
tears myself reach the brim of my eyes because I knew I would be loosing
her. Loosing her to an outgoing red head who I was being forced to
spend the rest of my life with. I couldn't believe I was throwing
away something so beautiful. No, I couldn't believe it, but I had
to. After our last kiss she promised to return someday and after
that she left, I never did think she'd come back but here she was.
I wondered if she had forgotten all about our past together, or if she
just refused to reach out to that part of her memory. And after all
those times with her I never realized the intensity of her eyes.
I rubbed my
eyes, refocusing on the tent I was in and trying to forget
the memories I had dug up.
My love was Herlikin now and always will be.
After so long I loved Herli with
all my heart and soul. But, it was nice to
see Ariel again. I didn't
want Herlikin to know I didn't even know Pipes
before this visit. But Pipes
and I became fast friends so nothing seemed
odd. I looked at Ariel and
she was smiling at me.
to the Court, someone was on a trip were they not?" I
snickered and hugged her.
"I missed you." It took her a second but she returned the hug.
"I missed you
too. Hey don't get like this Clopin, the past is gone."
It surprised me that she had known
what I was thinking, but then of course it
couldn't be more obvious to her.
I released her and we sipped our wine. I
finally finished and stood up,
stretching my long legs.
"Well, I have
to be going back to my tent. I have to get my mask. The
children await!" I kissed
Ariel's hand lightly, nodded to Pipes and walked
to my tent, I wondered how long
I had been over there, it must have been
quite some time because as I walked
out the bustle of the Court had begun.
I reached my
tent ready to grab my mask and be on my way, but it was no
where to be seen. I searched
frantically through my clothes and under
tables, behind curtains and under
"I knew you'd
be back." I spun around and saw Herlikin shaking my mask
at me, taunting me with it playfully
in bed. "A performer never goes out to
perform without their mask.
Which leaves the big intriguing question my dear husband, are to
answer it for me?" She threw my mask from one hand to the other and
waited silently for an answer. We both knew where I had been but
she wanted to hear it aloud, give her some small satisfaction and then
to ask the question of 'why.' She smiled flashing all her teeth and
then dropped the grin to raise a brow, still waiting on a reply for my
where abouts. I noticed quickly she was out of her dress I had put
her to sleep in last night.
"I went out
for a walk. But no need to discuss that now, off to make
money for us my love." I
laughed nervously and ran over, kissing Herlikin
good bye and knowing I had just
avoided a large argument. I also didn't give her any chance to answer
back which helped me a little. I went out to the Court and into the
Bells and Motley tavern. As I stepped outside the sun
struck my face and I had to squint
to readjust. I shaded my eyes and started
to my cart. The closer I
got, the more children that follwed me as I started
to dance on my way. Time
to put on the act for the people who put food in my mouth.
How are you on this fine day?" They all shouted their
answers and I started a song pulling
out my puppet who interrupted me as I
sang and I had to scold him with
the little wooden stick I always kept with
me during my show. All the
children listened as I sang, laughed at my
puppets and gave upset groans when
it was time for my show to end. I jumped onto the roof of my cart
and twirled around, bowing. Coins showered me and I gave a big toothed
grin to my audience. Then in a simple motion I made smoke appear
and fell out of sight into my cart through the trap door in my roof.
I waited for everyone to leave and then collected my reward. Stuffing
it into the sack which hung from my belt and I put on a cape and hood around
myself, making my way toward the direction of the Court. On my way
I heard some pipe music and Esmerelda's purple dress caught my eyes.
I stopped walking and went up next to her and danced. I threw off
my cape and hood and began to dance some more, throwing her into the air
and catching her with grace, we twirled each other with great elegance.
Everyone clapped even before we had finished and Esme tapped on my cheek
smirking at me in gratitude as the coins came pouring in.
I need the money," she whispered to me as she rhythmically
danced to the beats of the tambourine
she was holding.
Essie, you know I'd always help you in anyway possible," I
whispered back hinting a smile
and kissing her cheek I ran off with my cape. My comment was completely
true. Esmerelda was like my little sister. I had
always looked out for her best
interest and she was up there in friends with
Herli and Colombine.
I got to the
tavern and stopped there for a little while. I sat at the
bar and asked for a beer when my
hood was pulled over my eyes.
I heard a distinct laugh and knew it was none other than
Colombine herself. I lifted
my hood and looked at her, and despite her
cheerful greeting she seemed less
enthusiastic when I actually saw her.
"How are you
Colombs? Been a couple of days since our last chat no?" I
sipped my beer.
I'd rather speak to you right now than you stubborn as a mule
wife. She jumps to conclusions
quicker than any woman I've even seen, even quicker than me!" I chuckled
at her comment, what had Herli done now?
my dear." Colombine leaned on the bar and explained how Herlikin
had thought she had asked her about sexual attraction to Pipes when she
just meant if he was nice. She also told me she had exploded herself
and was only retaliating to Herli's outburst. The only reply I could
give was laughter. "Colombine, I would always be willing to get into
a heated argument with my little Herlikin but this one, I'm afraid, I must
stay out of. It sounds as if you both are guilty of misunderstanding
each other and although I am sure you will not get a 'sorry' out of Herli,
I'm sure you will
meet her today or tomorrow and
forget everything and continue with your
stealing and your trouble."
She rolled her eyes and blew some strands of
hair out of her face.
She giggled. "But I suppose you're right. Herlikin and I
hardly ever get into arguments
and when we do, we get over them. But this
one happened so fast. And
it shouldn't have happened to begin with." She
stopped smiling and gave a loud
sigh. "I just hope you are right with this
one." She squeezed my hand
and I gave her an encouraging smile.
I've never seen you so upset over something so trivial. Don't
blow out that wonderful flame you
have in you! You and Herlikin need each
other, you deserve each other.
Just wait it out. I'm sure it's not as bad
as you're making it out to be."
She closed her eyes for a few seconds and
then opened this, with a grin.
She hugged me and then went out of the tavern into the
streets. I sighed, hoping
Herlikin had not made a serious mistake that's
leading to almost loosing her best
I went to the
secret door that led to my world and walked through the
catacombs. I entered the
Court of Miracles and headed straight for Ariel and
Pipes' tent, hoping this time that
Herli wouldn't be there or drop by while I
was there. I entered with
a silent hope that there were only two residents
in the tent. I only say Pipes
and Ariel as I entered and let out a relieved
in one day? Well, this is quite an honor indeed!" Pipes
greeted me with a humorous remark.
you teach me to read now, at least start me off today. Then
I'll try to come everyday in the
morning before I go out and perform so
Herlikin won't suspect me leaving
the tent after I get home." I tried to
explain everything quickly so I
could start right away.
Please wait while I get a few things." I saw her go over
to her chest and pull out a black
board, then scurry to get rid of what was
on it. She wrote something
else on it and brought it over to me, I had
already sat down. "Now repeat
after me. A, B, C....." She went on and I
made sure to listen, carefully.
Finally I would be able to read and show
Herli, how proud she'd be.