by Jake Garvey

Once upon a time in a little German town called Hammelburg, there lived a little Irish boy with his grandmother. He and his grandmother were the only Irish people in Hammelburg, and all of the german folk around looked down at the two of them. Even so, the little boy’s grandmother had always told him if he worked the hardest he possibly could, and never gave up, he could do anything.

The little boy took this advice religiously, and worked twice as hard as all the little German boys who just played in the streets all day. While they played and didn’t get their work done, he did all the work around his grandmother’s house, knowing that she was too old and weak. Every day this was what he would do except Sundays, because Sundays were the sabbath and although the German church would not accept the Irish catholics, the little boy and his grandmother prayed together and maintained the holy day. This was how life went on for the little boy until one ordinary day which changed everything.

The little boy had been fixing the henhouse, when down the road skipped a little German girl. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. More so than the rising and setting sun, or the stars on a clear night. Her perfect white skin, heavenly golden curly hair, and such a face that must have been that of an angel. He was immediately in love. Every day after that, he would watch her skip by his home, and admire her hair flowing like a silk scarf in the wind. Every day he watched as she skipped as if she were floating on angel’s wings. Every day he wished she would notice him.

Then one blustery autumn day in Hammelburg, as a little German girl skipped down the road to bring the colorful leaves she had found to her mother, a stray gust of cold wind reached out and stole her scarf from her neck. The little girl ran after it until it blew over a small stone wall into the yard of her town’s only Irish people. Her mother had told her to stay away from them, that she was to marry a German boy, and the Irish boy was unholy for not going to church. Nevertheless, the little girl loved that scarf, so she chased it across the yard where it landed in the branches of an apple tree. She tried everything she could to get it down, but couldn’t reach it. She finally trudged home, teary eyed and crushed.

The little boy had just finished cleaning the house for his grandmother who said he could go play for a while as she was finishing supper. The boy ran outside to his favorite spot to read, underneath the little apple tree, but he noticed something in the tree. It was the scarf that he had seen flowing from the neck of the beautiful girl who skipped by his home every day. He knew exactly how to get it down for he had climbed that tree countless times before. After he had rescued the garment from sure destruction, he ran off down the road, hoping the girl was at home so he could return it to her.

Afraid to tell her father, the little girl hid herself in her bedroom and cried. She loved that scarf, and she had lost it. There couldn’t possibly be a way to tell her father about losing that scarf. She stared out the window, wishing that there was some way her scarf could just blow back to her, the way it had blown away in the first place. She wished so hard that she felt she could almost see the scarf flowing back to her. She saw it flying in the wind, being carried by the little Irish boy at whose house she had lost the scarf. She ran outside to meet him, and he handed her the scarf, out of breath.

The little boy was trying to catch his breath while he handed the scarf off to the little girl. Her smile when he returned her rescued scarf was heavenly. He hadn’t seen anything that beautiful since the first time he saw her skipping down his street. She then took the scarf and ran back into her house without saying a word. The boy found himself inexplicably happy as he ran home. He made it back just in time for dinner, and then went to sleep dreaming about the girl he loved. He woke up the next day and lived it like he would any other day, he worked around the house, and then ran to the wall and waited for the little girl to skip by. But she didn’t, and neither did she the next day, or the next. Eventually the boy became worried and so when he finished his chores he ran down to the girl’s house and found her working on her own chores. He walked up to her and asked “May I help you?” The little girl replied “Maybe next time, I’m finished.”

From then on, every single day the boy ran down to her house after he finished his chores, and offered to help her. Every single day she gave him the same reply. She secretly enjoyed every time he asked, so she never stopped saying “Maybe next time”, and he never stopped asking. Then one day, the little girl had a lot of extra work to do, and when the boy asked if she wanted any help, she said “Yes, please” and so together they did all of her chores, and from then on did the same every day.

The little girl found one day that she was in love with the little boy, and she knew that he loved her back. Both of them knew that they couldn’t be together in Hammelburg, so they left the town and ran. They lived and loved in every country from Germany to the coastal shores of England. There they waited and worked to try to get a ship ride across the sea, and eventually, she became pregnant. They did all they could to support their child, and they saved up money to pay for passage. They earned money and then spent it just as quickly. Almost a year in England and they found themselves with no money and nowhere to sleep. The young man went to the nearest harbor and explained his situation to an Irish merchant. The merchant felt sorry for a fellow countryman in love, and let the three of them stow away on his ship.

They reached Ireland the next morning and began their adventure NorthWest. Crossing the countryside day by day, sleeping wherever they could find at night, they raised their little boy and searched for a place to live. They soon came to a little town on the Western shore of Ireland called Heavendell. Heavendell was a quaint little town in the middle of a lush, green, basin. Forests and fields surrounded it on all sides, and the people who lived there were honest and kind. The young man and his wife and child fell in love with the town, and purchased a few acres from an old man who was moving away to live with his son. They built a big house together and plowed a field for crops. They bought a couple sheep and bred a flock on part of their land. The man taught his son to sow the fields and to herd the sheep. The woman had become pregnant again so she stayed around the home and cleaned and cooked.

The family went to church together every Sunday and lived off of the land they had settled upon. The entire town fell in love with the Family and they loved all of their neighbors. As they worked they earned money, and their children grew up and married and moved away. The man and his wife grew old together and sold off most of their land, keeping only their house and a small garden which they worked together. As the days flew past, they fell further in love than ever. One blustery autumn day, a cold wind blew through their home. The man asked his wife “Would you like to go for a walk?” and they did. They walked slowly down the dirt road, hand in hand. The little Irish boy and the little German girl watched the sunset, and reminisced about their journey from Hammelburg to Heavendell.

That sunset was the most beautiful thing the little boy had seen since the first time he saw her skipping down his street.