The Iron Crucifix
Kathleen had not been at home long, of course, before Peter and Ellen came to see her, and Terence came with them. It seemed to Kathleen that she had never seen him look as he did then. She had never seen him look so evil or so crafty or so sad. She felt afraid of him, because he looked so evil and so crafty, and she felt sorry for him, because he looked so sad. She sat in the corner of the room that was farthest from him, and it was also the farthest from all the others, as they were all sitting near together. Then, when all the others were busy talking among themselves, Terence suddenly came and sat close to her, and between her and the others, so that she could not get away from him.
"What did you do all the year that you was inside the hill?" he said.
"I don't know," Kathleen answered; "it seemed only a day to me, and I can't remember and I can't think what it was that I did to fill all that time."
"And how did you like the fairies?" said Terence.
"The Good People? They were very kind to me and I liked them very much, but I wouldn't have let them keep me—I wouldn't have stayed—so long, if I had known."
"You wouldn't have let them? You wouldn't have stayed? And what would you have done?"
"I don't know," said Kathleen.
"And who was there besides the fairies?" Terence asked.
"Why, there was—oh, I don't want to talk to you about it, and I don't think you ought to make me."
"You don't need," said Terence. "I know who was there. I know who he is and what he is, and I know the kind of talk that he talked to you. He made love to you. I know that well enough. That's what he would do. But do you mind the promise that your father made to my father the day after we was born? I want you should remember that promise."
"It was no promise at all," Kathleen said, "and I won't let you talk to me that way, and I don't see that it matters to you what he—what anybody said to me anywhere, and I won't tell you any more."
"Ah!" said Terence; "he did make love to you. And you think you can talk any way you like to me and you won't let me talk any way I like to you.
The Fish and the Leopard's Wife; or, Why the Fish lives in the Water
Category: Nigerian folktales
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