She was the story I told myself as we sat together wrapped in a fur, watching the flickering flames. With her, I was never alone again, even though she only came to me during the night. In the daytime, we kept our distance from each other, knowing stories only have their power in the dark when the dancing flames can weave their magic around the tales we tell each other.
As we sat there together, wrapped around each other’s body, I told her the story of where she was born: the village where she grew up and the parents that looked after her, although, as is the case with so many of these stories, the parents who looked after her were not her own parents. The woodman found her in the forest as a baby, of course, and brought up as his own child. However, as I held her long delicate fingers in mine, feeling the warmth of the fire upon them, I told her that hers were not the hands of one of us ordinary folk.
I told her the story of the magical woods and the not-human that creep amongst the trees and their mischiefs, of changelings and half-folk and kidnapped princesses. I told her the tale of those princesses taken to the woods and never brought back.
Then I told her the story about how I would be the one to rescue her and take her back through the forest and back over the hill, back home to the castle where the king and the queen still mourned for their long-lost child.