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Aranae

A myth submitted to the site by Lian Adams

Afferthorpe, Ireland

There once was a boy named Connell who lived in a small village called Afferthorpe. Afferthorpe was just beside a large and very famous forest; the Arinecome. Connell had two brothers, named Gwein (say g-Wayne) and Abel (say abe-al). These two brothers were very talented. Abel was a sturdy build, with black hair that fell down to his shoulders; like his fathers. He was one of Afferthorpes' warriors. Gwein was the most handsome of them all, and took pride in his good looks. He had black hair, like Abel, but had his cut short. He was a strong boy, too, and often took part in the village hunts. Connell was like his dead mother; he had pale brown hair, and kind, bright blue eyes.

Their father, Uther, bred hunting dogs. He was known all around for his good breeds. One day, though, one of the litter was born with a twisted leg. Uther was ashamed of this poor breed, and wanted the pup drowned before anyone heard about it. But Connell insisted that they let the pup live, saying that he would train it and look after it. Uther was reluctant, but Connell did not stop insisting until he gave in.

Two years later one of the rival villages, Haestu (say hi-sta), blamed the death of one of their maidens on Afferthorpe. When Afferthorpe denied it, Haestu prepared their warriors to attack. Connell was shaken awake the next morning, with the pup he later named Aranae (meaning lucky charm) by his auntie, Leonora. He smelt smoke, and Leonora told him to run to the Arinecome for safety, that the Haestians (say hi-stangs) had attacked. He picked up Aranae, knowing with her bad leg she could not run, and stumbled after Leonora.

They had gotten as far as the river when the catastrophe happened. Aranae had gotten too heavy for Connell to carry, and he stumbled and near drowned. Leonora pulled him back out, snatched Aranae, and threw her into the river. Connell shrieked and tried to go after her, but Leonora pulled him away and into the Arinecome.

The next morning Connell went down to the river to look for Aranae. He was about to give up when he heard a whine. Following the sound, he soon found Aranae tangled up in brambles in the deep part of the river. His first thought was to dive in and untangle her, but the water was too deep and he couldn't swim. "Aranae!" he cried and crumbled down on his knees...

"Mum, I'm taking Raz for a walk." Tom, aged 11, was bored out of his wits. The computer was broken, his mate was on holiday, and he had no money to buy sweets. The only thing was to walk the dog, and he'd done that three times already.

"You sure he's not too tired?" Mum replied. Raz, having heard the magic word 'Walk', was up and wagging like mad. Mum looked at the hyperactive alsation and answered herself. "Well, don't be too long."

Tom decided to go past the Hole. That's what everyone called it; that big, bottomless hole they had since the town had been built. It had barriers around it, as always. Tom didn't know what fascinated him about it; it just seemed mysterious. They'd tried to fill it in, but it never got any smaller. Tom paused and looked down it, as if hopeing to see something, anything, that would make his summer brighter and exciting. Suddenly, Raz looked pointedly towards the Hole, and barked. Then he leapt at the Hole so abruptly that Tom didn't have any time to grab the lead. Raz dissappeared into the bottomless pit...

Connell had only been lying, drained of happiness, for a few seconds before something incredible happened. A giant, wolf-like creature darted out of the bushes on the opposite side of the river. It leapt fearlessly into the water and swam strongly to the spot where Aranae was trapped, gently picking her up in his mouth and swimming over to where Connell watched, amazed. It set her safely by his side, gave him a quick lick, and swam away again...

As suddenly as he disappeared, Raz appeared at the top of the Hole again.
"Raz, you look a sight!" Tom said. "And however did you get wet?" As he turned to walk back, he shot a quick glance at the Hole. There really was something mysterious about it, but he just couldn't place it.

By Lian Adams
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