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River's gift

A Journey of Discovery and Healing

By Willow PeddyPublished about a month ago 6 min read
River's gift
Photo by Simon Wilkes on Unsplash

Part I: The River's Gift

The sun was beginning to set over the dense forest, casting a warm golden glow over the landscape. The river, which wound its way through the trees, shimmered under the fading light, reflecting the tranquil beauty of the scene. In this remote part of the world, far from any town or village, silence reigned, broken only by the gentle rustling of leaves and the soft murmur of the river.

Mara, a solitary wanderer and herbalist, was making her way along the riverbank, gathering wild herbs and roots for her remedies. She had chosen this isolated life after losing her family to a devastating plague years ago. Nature had become her sanctuary, and the forest her home. As she moved, she heard a sound that was out of place in this wilderness—a faint, distant cry.

Curious and alarmed, Mara followed the sound, quickening her pace along the riverbank. As she rounded a bend, she saw something that made her heart skip a beat. There, nestled among the reeds and soft moss, was a small bundle. She approached cautiously, and as she drew nearer, she realized it was a baby, wrapped in a simple, tattered blanket.

The baby's cries were weak and pitiful, and Mara's heart ached at the sight. She knelt beside the child, gently lifting it from the cold ground. The baby, a girl, looked up at her with wide, tear-filled eyes. Mara quickly checked for any signs of injury, relieved to find the child unharmed but clearly hungry and cold.

"Who would leave you out here, little one?" Mara whispered softly, her voice filled with a mix of sorrow and determination. She knew she couldn't leave the baby there; she had to take her in, at least until she could find out where she belonged.

Cradling the baby close to her chest for warmth, Mara hurried back to her small cabin deep in the forest. Once inside, she stoked the fire, heated some goat's milk, and fed the baby, who drank eagerly. She cleaned the child, wrapping her in warm, soft cloths, and held her close, feeling a strange but undeniable bond forming.

Over the next few days, Mara made discreet inquiries in the nearest village, but no one had heard of a missing baby. It seemed the child had appeared out of nowhere, with no clues about her origins. Mara decided to name her River, in honor of the place where she had found her.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. River thrived under Mara's care, growing stronger and healthier with each passing day. Mara, who had spent so many years in solitude, found her life transformed by the presence of this little one. The cabin, once a place of quiet reflection, now echoed with the sounds of laughter and the pitter-patter of tiny feet.

As River grew, Mara taught her about the forest, the herbs, and the ways of nature. The bond between them deepened, and Mara came to see River as the daughter she had lost long ago. The pain of her past began to heal, replaced by the joy and love that River brought into her life.

One summer evening, as they sat by the riverbank where they had first found each other, River asked Mara about the day they met. Mara told her the story, her voice filled with wonder and gratitude. "You were a gift, my dear River, a gift from the water that brought hope and light back into my life."

River smiled and hugged Mara tightly. "And you were my savior, Mama. You gave me a home and love when I had nothing."

Years passed, and River grew into a wise and compassionate young woman, known throughout the forest and nearby villages for her knowledge of healing and her kind heart. Mara, now older, watched with pride as River continued the legacy of care and love they had built together.

Part II: Unraveling the Mystery

As River approached her eighteenth birthday, a sense of restlessness began to stir within her. She loved Mara deeply and cherished the life they had built, but questions about her origins lingered in her mind. Who were her parents? Why was she left by the river? These unanswered questions gnawed at her, and one evening, she expressed her feelings to Mara.

"Mama, I love you and this life we've made, but I can't help but wonder about my past. Do you think we could ever find out where I came from?"

Mara nodded, understanding the yearning in River's heart. "I've always known this day would come, my dear. We can search for answers together. Perhaps it's time we venture beyond our forest and seek the truth."

With a plan in mind, they prepared for their journey. Mara gathered her herbs and remedies, knowing they might be useful, while River packed provisions and essential supplies. They set off the next morning, following the river downstream, hoping it would lead them to clues about River's past.

Their journey took them through unfamiliar terrain—lush valleys, rocky cliffs, and bustling towns. They spoke with travelers and villagers, sharing River's story and seeking any information that might shed light on her origins. Along the way, they encountered both kindness and skepticism, but their determination never wavered.

One day, in a small village by a large lake, they met an elderly woman named Elysia, who listened intently to their story. Her eyes widened with recognition when they described the blanket River had been wrapped in.

"I remember a time, many years ago, when rumors spread about a noble family in distress. They were fleeing from enemies, trying to protect their newborn daughter. The child was said to have a birthmark in the shape of a crescent moon on her left shoulder."

River's heart raced as she pulled back her sleeve to reveal the very mark Elysia had described. The old woman's eyes filled with tears. "It is you. You are the lost daughter of Lord Aric and Lady Seraphina. They were noble and kind, but their enemies were ruthless."

Mara and River listened, captivated, as Elysia recounted the tragic tale. Lord Aric and Lady Seraphina had been betrayed by a trusted ally, forcing them to flee their home. In their desperation, they had placed their baby daughter in a basket and set her adrift on the river, hoping she would be found and cared for, even if they could not protect her themselves.

"Your parents were brave and loved you deeply," Elysia said, her voice trembling. "They sacrificed everything to give you a chance at life."

River's heart swelled with a mix of sorrow and gratitude. She had found the answers she sought, but they came with the realization of her parents' tragic fate. Mara held her close, comforting her as she processed the revelations.

Part III: A New Beginning

With newfound knowledge of her heritage, River felt a sense of completeness, though the pain of her parents' loss lingered. She and Mara decided to visit the ruins of her family's estate, now overgrown and abandoned. As they walked through the remnants of her past, River felt a deep connection to the land and the people who had once called it home.

Determined to honor her parents' legacy, River decided to rebuild the estate, transforming it into a sanctuary for those in need—a place of healing and refuge, much like the home Mara had provided for her. Mara supported River's vision wholeheartedly, and together, they worked tirelessly to bring it to life.

News of the sanctuary spread quickly, and soon people from all over came seeking help and solace. River and Mara welcomed them with open arms, offering medical care, shelter, and guidance. The once-desolate estate blossomed into a vibrant community, filled with hope and renewal.

River's story became a beacon of inspiration, demonstrating the power of love, resilience, and the unyielding human spirit. She and Mara continued to live and work together, bound by a bond that transcended blood and time.

As the years passed, River married a kind and courageous man named Thane, who shared her commitment to helping others. They had children of their own, and Mara became a beloved grandmother, passing on her wisdom and knowledge to the next generation.

The sanctuary grew and thrived, a living testament to the strength and compassion of two remarkable women. River never forgot her parents' sacrifice, and every day she honored their memory by ensuring that their legacy of love and hope endured.

And so, the river that had once carried a tiny, abandoned baby to safety became a symbol of life's endless possibilities. In its gentle, flowing waters, River saw the reflection of a life filled with purpose, connection, and boundless love.


About the Creator

Willow Peddy

I am a 24yr old, looking for something in life to bring a spark of excitement and bring back my artistic and imaginative flare :)

I have strange and crazy dreams and people always tell me to write them down so here goes my dream diary!

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