Young Andrew

She was sometimes a wolf, and sometimes a woman. Not one and then the other; rather, the way a picture of a candlestick is also the picture of two faces in profile. In either shape she had the same fretful, warm brown eyes.

His legs were broken. It was maybe the pain from that that kept him confused.

She sat next to him and leaned her head against his shoulder. Her hair had a dry, dusty smell, like rotting leaves. “What does it mean?” she asked. “Why did they break your legs?”

Andrew sighed. “I did a filthy thing and this is my punishment.”

She thought about that while he struggled to stay conscious. The day was fading and he wanted to see the sunset. “And your arms? Why are they tied?”

“Because I did not repent the filthy thing I did and instead threw it in their faces. Therefore am I bound.”

She went around the tree behind him, her skirt or tail brushing against his side. “And this good red gold? Why did they leave it thee?”

Andrew wept. “Because this was the reason for the filthy thing I did, and so they left it me.”

The sun had set and she came around the tree again, all wolf now.


Her brothers, waiting at the edge of the forest, wondered at the silence over the woods.