ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 265
In this 265th issue of the Baba Indaba’s Children's Stories series, Baba Indaba narrates the story of “THE NIXIES’ CLEFT.”
ONCE upon a time, not far from the little village of Dietenhein, in Saxony, there stands, on the bank of the Zschopau river, a great rock full of narrow clefts.
There dwelt in a cleft of this rock the King of the Nixies, who held sway over all the water-folk of the Zschopau and its tributary rivers. No one could have told, looking by day at the outside of that rugged cliff, and at the narrow entrance of the Nixies’ dwelling, how beautiful it was when night fell, and the moonbeams lit up the broad sweep of the river and crept in among the dusky trees upon its banks. For then you might see how all the face of the cliff seemed to melt away like a dream, and how a stately castle, built of shining crystal, arose in its place. And if you looked carefully you would see light figures, clad in misty draperies, moved airily to and fro, and sounds of such exquisite music rang out from the place, that the very fishes rose to the surface of the river to listen, and the passing boatmen hung upon their oars as if spell-bound.
It was small wonder that there was sometimes music and dancing in the Nixie’s castle, for the Nixi King had three beautiful daughters, and doubtless they often invited their friends from the neighbouring streams and caves to the palace.
When the new moon rose at a favourable time, the Nix-maidens had leave, to go to the village dances at Dietenhein, and liked them better than the splendours of their own crystal palace. And they, too, were the despair of all the village youths, and the envy of all the village beauties, for what mortal maidens could be compared to the beauty of these. But kind and sweet as they might show themselves to their mortal partners, none of them ever heard a word pass the Nixies’ lips.
Their flaxen tresses, fair to whiteness, were decked with trailing wreaths of water-plants, and their veils and draperies were woven of mist, that glistened, as they moved, with the faintest rainbow hues. A necklace of many rows of crystal dewdrops sparkled on their bosoms. From this chain hung a fresh-water lily, that was as good as a watch to the fairy sisters, for as soon as they saw their lilies fading, they knew that the first ray of sunlight was at hand, and vanished like a dream from the dancers’ midst.
Over the years many young men chased the three maidens but none were fleet enough to catch them for it was like trying to catch the wind.
Over the years, decades and centuries they continued to dance and bewitch the young men of Dietenhein. But one day there came back from the wars to Dietenhein a young soldier by the name of Veit, the finest lad and the most stalwart the village had ever seen. All the maidens strove to win his favour, but among them all he had eyes for one alone—Katrine, the miller’s daughter—Katrine, the boldest, proudest girl in the country-side; and the bravest, too. Over the days and weeks their love blossomed and each only had eyes and words for the other.
Now a great holiday fell about this time, and there was to be a fine dance in the village on that evening. Mysterious whispers began to creep about among the lads and maidens. “The moon is in its first quarter—who knows? perhaps the Nixies will be seen at the dance,” they said; “it is many months since they were last among us.” However, the village maidens were not so keen as they knew they stood no chance if the Nixies attended.
At the height of the dance Veit, who had been dancing all evening, took a break to rest and cool down. He stood with his back against a tree looking forward to leading Katrine out in the next dance. All at once he felt a cool breeze fan his cheek, he turned and saw someone standing by him, a misty form, whose white draperies shone like a ray of moonlight among the trees. And then a pair of eyes were raised to his—eyes as deep, and yet transparent, as the waters of some mountain lake, eyes that shone, beneath the masses of pale hair, as the lake shines when the stars are mirrored in it. And that gaze drank up Veit’s very soul, and with it the memory of Katrine, his love for her, as well as all his promises and all his boasts.
In vain Katrine waited for her partner, while Veit danced with the beautiful whisp that was a Nixy.
But what happened next you may ask? Well Katrine was not about to give up her man to a Nixy that easily. And this is where our story really begins. Are you still asking what happened? Well you’ll have to download and read the story to find out what happened to Veit, Katrine, the Nixy maidens, their castle and their father the Nixy King.
Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children's stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as "Father of Stories".
Each issue also has a "WHERE IN THE WORLD - LOOK IT UP" section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story. HINT - use Google maps.
33% of the profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charities.
INCLUDES LINKS TO DOWNLOAD 8 FREE STORIES