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The Strong Man and the Fisherman's Daughter

By , groton, CT

He brought me to a clearing in the forest. An over grown feild, a large magnificent beach tree stood in the center, with thick branches twisting up towards the heavens. And the most peculiar thing sat, resting, cradeld in its branches- a boat. It was an old cuddy boat, faded orange and white, perfectly stuck in the tree. I stared up in amazement, it looked beautiful in the sunset light.

"There's an old ledgend about a traveling circus," he said, not bothering to turn to me, continuing to gaze up at the boat.
"What happened?" I asked doing the same.
He was silent for a minute and then he said "October, 1943, a traveling circus is on their way to Bangor. They don't have a lot of money and need a place to rest for the night. They pass through whisper creek and decide it's the best place to say for a few days. The towns folk don't object, they are fascinated with the circus, especially the freaks.
"But there are those spiecial few who detest them and jive at them with hate and spite. One of them was a poor fisher man who's daughter had taken to a Strong Man. They would sneak out at night to meet in a hidden clearing by a beach tree and lay with each other until the early hours of the morning. One day the Fisherman discovered his daughters secret 'dates' and was outraged. He told the strong man he was going to send his daughter out in the boat until the circus left the town.
"Horrified for the fate of his loved one, the strong man recruited a few of his strong friends and they carried the boat out of the harbor and in to the woods where no one would ever find it. There, they placed in in a beach tree, so it may never return to the water. But that did not prevent the fisher man from sending his daughter away, the night before she was supposed to go to stay with her aunt she and her the strong man came to the tree and hung them selves. Thus ending the perfect tale of forbidden love."
"Did it actually happen?" I asked after I had taken it all in.
"It's possible," he sighed, "Quite a few circuses came through here back in the day, and there really isn't any other explanation for how it got there."
"But are there records?" I asked not satisfied with his answer.
"I don't know," he shrugged, "I never checked, and I wasn't around when it happened. But maybe check the library if you want to look for some."
"Yeah," I said making a mental note to do it later.
We stayed in the field for a little while longer, laying in the grass just talking, staring at the darkening, water colored sky. We hadn't realized how late it was. But when the first stars peaked out of the darkness he sat up startled. "We have to go!" He said a little frantically, "it's getting late and if we don't go now we're going to miss curfew." He pulled me off the ground, "Come on! We have to go," he said as if it was urgent.

I didn't object, though I was new in town I knew about the curfew. My neighbor had told me on my first day "lock your doors, lock your windows, close the blinds, and don't go out at night" Whatever the reason, people in Whisper Creek took the curfew very seriously. I wasn't sure what would happen if I did and I didn't want to find out. So we walked through the woods quickly and silently, without so much as a sigh. We reached the edge of town as the last bit of sun was sinking behind the mighty hills of the surrounding forests. He grabbed my hand and ran me the rest of the way back to my house. Once I was inside, he headed back to his house. I watched from my living room window as he did something unexpected, he turned left, back to the woods and disappeared into the trees. I stood shocked and perpetually confused. Hadn't he just made a big deal about getting home before dark? Then it dawned on me that he had only cared about getting me home, he was protecting me, but what was he protecting me from? 




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