peura jänis perhonen lintu

1805 by Kulmala

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“I have heard that memories are saved somewhere, glowing and clear. The gate will open once again when enough memories are awakened.” 

This is a fairytale about one goldsmith’s journey to the art of jewellery-making – and to the past, the present and the future that could have been. As she learns to master her skill, Goldsmith discovers the power of telling stories through jewels. The pieces of the 1805 collection contain these stories.

 

 

OK What is this?

There is more to this story than meets the eye. Use the code found in your jewellery box to unlock the hidden chapters of Goldsmith’s journey.

Chapter 1

A narrow path zigzags amid a lush, dense forest. On the east, it leads to a river; on the west it rises to a range of steep mountains adorned by a gushing waterfall. Somewhere in the forest, before meeting the mountains, it ascends up a mossy, fern-covered hill and breaks into a shadowy glade surrounded by evergreens. 

A small shack sits bathed in moonlight in the centre of the glade. Through the window, the crescent moon casts a crown-shaped light on the bed where Goldsmith fitfully sleeps. Butterflies flutter their dark wings, and birds of the night sing nocturnal songs behind the mist-covered windows.

In her sleep, Goldsmith runs through the forest amidst the ferns, looking for her Beloved. A swarm of moths rises into the air as her footsteps break the silent calm of the green. There, at the end of the path sits a hare, its gaze directed towards the town. Don’t be afraid to listen to your heart, it whispers.

Then the wind shifts, and Goldsmith’s hair is blown in her face, startling her awake. She sits on the bed, staring into the darkness surrounding her, until she notices the outline of a window. It reminds her of something she saw a long time ago. 

“No, no, no, I want to forget,” Goldsmith murmurs and falls back to sleep.

Chapter 2

The sun rises through the verdant forest, covering the trees in golden light. Sometimes, when she stays up at night, Goldsmith can hear the trees whispering. But now they are quiet. It is dawn and the mist has faded. Blackbirds sing and starflowers glisten with morning dew.

The wooden door opens with a creak, and Goldsmith steps outside. She rolls the sleeves of her cream-coloured cotton shirt up to the elbows and walks to the brook that babbles behind the shack. Goldsmith walks along the brook, looking at her reflection in the shimmering water. What an unfamiliar face, she thinks, before kneeling and dipping her head into the reflection. As the last remains of sleep melt away with the cold water, Goldsmith feels eyes on her back. Someone is watching. 

A hare sits on the porch of the shack with a straightened back and alert eyes that shimmer in shades of amber.

“Where have you been? I haven't seen you in days. I was getting worried,” Goldsmith says.

The hare turns its head towards the path.

“Yes. You have been to town,” Goldsmith says and goes back inside to put the tea kettle on the stove.

Goldsmith hasn’t visited the town for a long time. And she has no intention of doing so. She enjoys her life of solitude, surrounded by her dusty old books, safe in the shadows of the junipers, listening to the wind in the pines. And she has no desire to meet the Apothecary. Not anymore. She wants to forget. Forget about everything, about her Beloved and the dream they shared.

She sits on the porch with a steaming cup of tea in her hands. The hare sits at her side, leaning against her. This is enough for me, Goldsmith thinks, petting the hare. The shelves in her shack store hundreds of books she has yet to read, and she could spend a lifetime learning the names of the flora of the forest. Life is good as it is, Goldsmith sighs.

You must not forget, the hare says. The words do not come in sound but vibrate like a delicate touch in the morning sun. You must not forget. You have to believe that you will meet again.

Goldsmith looks at the hare.

“No,” she says. “You know very well that the watch has stopped. Time has come to an end. The gate has been closed.” Goldsmith shakes her head, watching a small group of wild deer that have come to play in the hazy brook. The scorching sun casts a light on the water. 

I have heard of another way, the hare says.

“What?”

The hare nods.

“What way have you heard?” Goldsmith asks.

I don’t know. I have only heard whispers. I have heard that memories are saved somewhere, glowing and clear. The gate will open once again when enough memories are awakened. That is all I know.

The hare’s whiskers quiver intensely, as Goldsmith lays her hand on its back and resumes petting its soft fur with long, steady strokes.

“I wonder of its significance?”

Chapter 3

Goldsmith sits at her weathered, rickety table, reading an old book with yellow and brittle pages. The handwritten letters form an intricate string that occasionally breaks into decorative ornaments that fill the pages.

Suddenly, the wind throws a window wide open, and a swallow flies in. It flaps around under the ceiling in fear, trapped. “Hush, hush,” Goldsmith comforts the bird as she picks up a broom from the corner of the room to guide the bird outside. Reaching for the frantic bird with the broom, she hits a shelf, scattering everything on it to the floor. Goldsmith kneels to collect the fallen seashells and notebooks. She picks up an old shabby hat and caresses its rough fabric. In that moment, something shiny in the dust-covered floor under the cupboard catches her eye. Goldsmith reaches far under, feeling along the wooden floor under the cupboard until she feels the coolness of metal against her palm.

A memory arises in Goldsmith’s mind. A warm childhood day in the autumn. A piece of jewellery swings on her mother’s neck as they run together through a wild field, laughing amidst the tall strands of grasses under a row of puffy white clouds that split the pale blue sky. A smile plays on her lips. It has been a while since she has thought about her childhood. Funny, how such a small item as a piece of jewellery can contain so many emotions and memories. 

A thought suddenly comes to Goldsmith, a vision as bright as the memory of that summer day.

“Hare!” Goldsmith exclaims and rushes to the shack’s porch, calling for the furry creature. Soon Goldsmith spots a pair of long ears emerge from the forest, as the hare dashes towards Goldsmith’s shack.

I had just reached the meadow.

“I have found a solution, a way to revive the buried feelings! Jewels! With these we can make the townspeople remember and feel again and open the gate once more!”

The hare looks at Goldsmith with its amber eyes ablaze. Dark clouds have crept over the forest. The glade is overcast. 

The Apothecary has forbidden all jewellery. The hare’s whiskers begin quivering rapidly. All pieces of jewellery have been destroyed.

“In which case, I will make new ones,” Goldsmith says as a tiny raindrop lands on her face. It is starting to rain.

Did you know that there used to live a skilled goldsmith in this very cabin, the hare says and springs forward. Follow me!

Chapter 4

The hare leaps back into the shack, springing through the room to a sturdy steel door, and scratches the door’s surface with its paw. Goldsmith reaches in her pocket for a bundle of keys that clatter as they emerge. She chooses a big, rusty key, whose bow has been hammered into beautiful facets like a delicate jewel. The drizzle outside is becoming a downpour, and lightning bolts flash over the forest. The door creaks open.

The hare is the first to jump through the door. Steep stairs descend into an underground cellar. The air is thick and humid, and it smells like earth. Goldsmith first lights a storm lantern, then descends into the cellar, gazing around the space. The hare sits on an old trunk and wiggles its ears.

Goldsmith opens the trunk. Her breath steams in the cold, musty air as she begins to leaf through the old notebooks inside. Their pages are yellow and delicate, sticking to each other as if they had grown together over time.

These books used to belong to a woman known as the hex lady, the hare says. She lived in this shack for hundreds of years. Longer, even. Her hair was like a bundle of fine and long silver strings.

The books are filled with notes on gardening, housekeeping and farming. Goldsmith seeks a single word on jewels or how to make them, but finds nothing.

Just before giving up, Goldsmith desperately searches through the bottom of the trunk. Her hand finds a rusty hook, which tears a stinging gash on her palm. Covering the wound with the sleeve of her shirt, Goldsmith carefully pulls the iron hook. The bottom of the trunk slowly opens, revealing a secret drawer. In the drawer lies a book with an old leather cover decorated with initials.

Almost too excited to breathe, Goldsmith carefully opens the book. The thick pages are filled with precise descriptions of how to work with silver, gold and copper and how to polish gems. They tell the ancient symbolism of different jewels. 

Stashed under the book, she finds metals, stones and tools: a jewel hammer, files, a ring sizer and a magnifying glass. Goldsmith carefully touches the objects, feeling their cool and smooth surfaces – then she collects the treasure in her arms and carries it upstairs into the shack.

“I must succeed!” she thinks and lowers her find onto the table. “I will.”

Chapter 5

Goldsmith picks up a hammer and a piece of silver. Her hand feels like it belongs to someone else. The hammer strikes the silver with precision, moulding it magically into glorious shapes. It seems almost as if spirits are guiding Goldsmith as she pours through the book, wielding the blow torch to carefully solder metal pieces together.

But the gemstones do not stick to the jewels. They keep dropping like raindrops to the floor, one after another.

Goldsmith stays up all night, reading the book by candlelight, deciphering even the tiniest notes. The light of the lantern flickers on the stone walls of the shack, outlining the shadow of a big black rat observing Goldsmith at work. It is still raining. A puddle on the floor reflects the image of Goldsmith, concentrating, bent over her work.

Goldsmith keeps firing up the precious metals, forming delicate shapes again and again. When her energy runs low, she walks long and far in the forest to fight her frustration with failure. She breathes in the fresh forest air and tries to remember every detail of her Beloved’s face.

“I must improve upon these skills to learn how to make the jewels beautiful,” Goldsmith thinks. “So beautiful that they will awaken the long-suppressed memories of the townspeople.”

Every day Goldsmith learns more. Learns to concentrate on the details. To control the silver better. Learns to understand what it takes to be a goldsmith; it is not only about skill, but about feeling, about using one’s heart. About the will to express big emotions and intrinsic stories on a small scale. It is about making small items meant to be kept close to the skin where the pulse beats the strongest, tangled around a finger or hanging around the neck, lying against the heart.

Little by little the gemstones start to obey Goldsmith and the patterns of the jewels become clearer.

The moon grows full several times, and summer becomes fall before Goldsmith has the first finished piece of jewellery in her hand. It is a small golden butterfly, fluttering inside a cage. Why a butterfly? Goldsmith does not know. It is as if the jewel came to life on its own. Soon Goldsmith finds that the same happens with each piece. Before she knows it, nine shiny pieces of jewellery sparkle on her table. Each has a powerful, gleaming gemstone. Each but one, which is missing a stone. A stone Goldsmith does not have.

Chapter 6

Where can I find the missing gem? wonders Goldsmith as she walks through a forest covered with morning dew. The water beads glimmer like silver pearls against the greenery. Nocturnal butterflies try to escape the dawning of the day, frantically seeking a resting place somewhere in the shadows.

“I must go to town,” Goldsmith whispers to the hare jumping ahead of her. Yes, you will. There your jewellery will finally find its meaning. Besides, it is the Apothecary who has what you need to fill your final piece.

“How do you know that?”

People rarely notice me. I see and hear everything.

Goldsmith sits quietly for a while on a big rock surrounded by scarlet flowers she doesn’t recognize. The hare stays on the ground and vigorously cleans its snout. Goldsmith can see the river from the rock, the river she has not crossed for some time. The surface of the water glows as if it were hiding a blazing light underneath.

“I cannot get anything from the Apothecary. If I did, I estimate it will not be easy. The whole idea is preposterous. Why can’t you take the jewellery to the townspeople? How will I know which piece to choose for which person? I am not even acquainted with them,” Goldsmith mutters to the hare. It feels like the ancient trees bend closer to hear her speak.

I will help you, but I cannot do everything in your stead.

Goldsmith rises up and heads for the shack, her mind filled with warring thoughts.

“I must at least attempt this undertaking,” Goldsmith says to herself and enters the shack. She starts packing a bag, stuffing in an old shabby hat, the jewellery book and shiny red apples from a lone tree in the forest. She wraps an old, broken pocketwatch in a soft handkerchief and gently places it at the bottom of the bag. She gathers the jewellery from the table; the pieces feel strange, as if electricity were running through them. Almost as if the cold silver were alive. Carefully, Goldsmith lifts the pieces one by one, wraps them together in a cloth and places the package in her front pocket, close to her heart. 

Goldsmith opens the door and stands on the porch, looking ahead. Autumn has arrived in the valley. The last roses have withered, and the fern leaves have dried in brown curls. In that moment, the wind rushes along the path all the way to the river and closes the door with a bang behind Goldsmith’s back. It is time to start the journey.

Chapter 7

All that is familiar and safe has been left behind.

“Goodbye, dearest home,” sighs Goldsmith, thinking about the warmth of the stove, the small flames that crackle in it. The oak table in the kitchen with its stained surface and the porridge bowl that sat on it every morning. The owl that perched on the chimney every night, its calls that echoed in the night air scaring away the demons of the dark.

“I know this garden like I know myself,” Goldsmith whispers. The glade is well-kept. A hand-carved birdhouse is perched on a pine tree waiting for the next season of baby birds.

“But this is not the time to ponder. I must go now. Up and onwards, into the woods!”

Goldsmith walks into the green arms of the forest. Her heart beats faster with each step, and her breathing starts to feel laboured.

Delicate, tender, little bird fly. A nursery rhyme from her childhood comes to mind. She struggles to remember the words.

Delicate, tender. Her fist clenches tighter around the small bundle of jewels.

Little bird fly. Closing her eyes, Goldsmith steps into the woods.

Let the world be gentle to you. The forest smells thick; branches scratch Goldsmith’s face.

And suddenly all is quiet. No birds chirp, and the brook is silent. There is only fresh air, her heavy breath and the breaking of twigs under every footstep.

“What was I afraid of? Fear be my friend. I can do this. I will see her again.”

The wind blows from behind, almost as if to push Goldsmith further on her way. She stumbles on roots and stops to admire flowers. Step by step she quickens her pace, her heart beating with joy. The town is already visible behind the river.

“I believe.” And soon Goldsmith is running through the woods, like a young doe, free of fear.

“I believe. My Beloved, I am coming.”

 “HALT!” The shouted voice is so loud that Goldsmith’s heart almost stops.

Chapter 8

“Hello?”

There is no-one to be seen. Goldsmith looks around, puzzled. The forest rises behind her; on the right is the glistening river that flows around the city like a string of pearls wrapped in blue satin. And up ahead is the town! So noble and bewitching at the same time. But not a soul is in sight.

“I must have imagined it. There is no-one here. The long journey has exhausted my mental capacities.”

Goldsmith walks towards the river, kneels on the bank and scoops up water to wash away the dust of the woods and the weight of the journey. She looks at her reflection on the surface of the river, her image changing form with the current. Goldsmith scoops more water and washes her face. The cold of the river raises colour on her cheeks. “This is wonderf...”

Goldsmith shudders. A grey figure reflected on the river is staring intensely at her. Goldsmith turns to look at him.

“I told you to halt,” the figure says and strokes his brown beard. He laughs so hard that the flame of the lantern he is holding almost flickers out.

“Why? Who are you, sir?”

“I have no name. I work for the Apothecary. He is rather strict about when the river can be crossed. Timing is everything,” the brown-bearded man says and nods toward a raft moving along the river. He lifts an hourglass before Goldsmith’s face and points at it.

“Your time must have passed.”

“I will have to swim over, then,” Goldsmith says.

“Can you give me a good enough reason? Then I might let you through,” Brown Beard says. “Perhaps a little something extra, too. Gold coins?” the man puts on wide smile revealing crooked teeth spotted with black fillings.

“But if you don’t have a good reason, if you don’t give me shiny coins or gemstones from the goblins’ mines, well then,” and he leaves the thought unfinished.

Chapter 9

“My intentions are good and honourable, sir, I promise you,” Goldsmith exclaims. She hears the river gushing, sees the fat fish circling in the depths, looking for happiness.

“Well, what is it you wish to do?”

Goldsmith stands bewildered. Her stomach churns, and blood rushes in her veins with such force that her fingertips almost ache. She worries the top button of her shirt and thinks about the stormy night when she found the jewellery-making manual. The damp staircase leading to the cellar, the lantern with a fluttering flame that made shapes on the pages of the old book in the dark. The ecstatic hope she felt for the first time in ages when reading the notes written so elegantly.

“I cannot comprehend what I am doing myself. How on earth can I explain this?” Goldsmith agonises.

Then she remembers what the hare said.

The townspeople do not wish to forget anymore. They want to remember. Holding the image of her Beloved as the only thought in her mind, Goldsmith tries to find the words to convince the bearded man.

“Take me to town and be my guide!” Goldsmith says confidently and tells her story. She tells about her Beloved, the jewels, the missing element. That missing something that the Apothecary might have.

“I am unsure if this is a good idea. I mean about the Apothecary,” Brown Beard says and shakes his head. “You do not know the Apothecary nor his power. The things he is capable of.”  The man captures a passing butterfly inside a thick fist and crushes it between his fingers. Goldsmith sighs in pain as the golden wings shatter into smithereens that float slowly to the ground.

“But you have intrigued me. I will escort you to the gate.”

Chapter 10

“I will leave you here,” says Brown Beard, pounding the wooden town gate with his fist. He is about to give up when Goldsmith feels a burning against her heart. Without even thinking, her hand finds a piece of jewellery in her front pocket. She remembers, once again, the hare’s familiar words. Remember love. Perhaps Goldsmith stumbled upon Brown Beard for a reason. Perhaps she could even help the man.

“Take this. You may find it useful,” Goldsmith says and hands him a jewel resembling a butterfly.

“But...how? Jewellery is forbidden. I should not,” Brown Beard says but tightly grips the amulet. Joy and confusion collide in his eyes.

“Please keep it safe.”

Brown Beard opens the pocket of his filthy coat, tosses the amulet in and quickly disappears into the woods. Goldsmith stares at the forest for a moment, admiring its shades of green and watching the bees tasting flowers and the crows croaking on the furthermost trees.

When the gate crashes open, Goldsmith is hit by a wall of sound, a cornucopia of noises unlike anything she has ever heard. The clatter of a horse's hooves; the slapping steps of hurried crowds. A little boy reciting a nursery rhyme, and his mother laughing approvingly. Somebody calling out vegetable prices at the market square; the intense chatter of friends. It is a warm mess of pleasing sounds, full of forgotten memories.

A tavern lies ahead with a small red brick beer house at its side. Houses stand next to each other, guarded by the town wall. Smoke rises slowly from sooty chimneys. At the centre of the town is a marketplace arranged around a clock tower rising to the sky. The foot of the tower is embellished with beautifully carved poles. They seem to be missing something, but what that could be escapes Goldsmith. She walks to the poles and feels the carvings with her fingertips. A crown, a magnifying glass, a butterfly, a watch… they feel oddly familiar!

Goldsmith frowns and tries to put the pieces together. An epiphany is on its way, but she can’t quite see it. At least not yet.

Goldsmith continues her walk until she comes across the Apothecary’s shop. The stone sign over the entrance reads Potions and remedies. A sign reading “Closed” hangs from the doorknob.

Next to the door, almost touching it, is a well. A narrow staircase descends next to it, leading into complete darkness.

A mere glance at the well gives Goldsmith goosebumps.

Chapter 11

What to do next? 

Goldsmith stands on a street corner, taking in the hustle and bustle of the village. She sees flower vendors wearing top hats and children playing with hobby horses. Peculiar vehicles pass by, seemingly made of gears and knobs and metal plates, their drivers wearing goggles crafted from bottle bottoms and leather straps. The Apothecary is away, or at least the shop is closed. The jewels feel heavy in Goldsmith’s front pocket, as if longing to find their place. Just like Goldsmith longs to find her Beloved. But where does the jewellery belong?

When a sudden rush of weakness comes over her, Goldsmith realizes she hasn’t eaten anything since leaving home.

I’ll head to the tavern, there must be something to eat there, thinks Goldsmith and determinedly steps towards the brick house. The tavern lies in shadows, with no outdoor lamp to light its facade. At night, this place would be completely hidden, impossible to find, Goldsmith thinks as she grasps the door handle.

The tavern is dimly lit. A hostess hustles busy behind the counter and chattering people fill the dining hall. The hostess must know where to get food, Goldsmith thinks and beckons to her. 

“Ask the baker over there. She always has a basket full of pastries at the end of the day,” the hostess smiles and points at a petite elderly woman carrying a bread basket.

Goldsmith seeks the baker’s eyes. For a fleeting moment, the woman’s eyes are filled with unbearable sadness, the light behind them slowly flickering out. Then she puts on a smile and says quietly:

“I have many baked goods. Today I baked a whole sheet of brioches that did not rise. If nobody eats them, they are left for the mice.”

Goldsmith gasps with joy and relief. But it is not only the promise of food that makes her happy. There is something in the woman that feels important.

The hare sneaks under the tables to find Goldsmith.

I have seen the Baker crying in the tavern’s back garden on several mornings. She is mourning.

Goldsmith wants to drop her parcels and comfort the woman. She would tell her how important it is to remember, no matter how much it hurts. But Goldsmith cannot find any words; she feels as if she were struck dumb.

Almost as if reading her mind, the jewellery in Goldsmith’s pocket radiate heat. As she reaches into her pocket, a jewel rolls into her palm, as if reaching for her. The piece resembles a flame that burns in shades of light yellow and green. She feels the warmth of the delicate amulet in her hand, wraps her fingers around it and pulls it out. 

Baker looks at Goldsmith with curiosity.

“What have you got there?” she asks. The tavern is full of merry sounds: drinking songs are being sung; card games are being played. Glasses clink and dishes clank, but the air between the two women remains quiet.

Goldsmith doesn’t speak, just opens her hand. The baker stares astonished at the piece of jewellery. She gasps and turns her eyes away.

“No! How dare you? Don’t you know that jewellery is forbidden? Both of us will get in trouble,” the woman says. She pulls out a worn cloth from her apron pocket and frantically begins to wipe the grooved surface of the table.

“Nevermind that. This is far more important,” Goldsmith says and lowers the flame-like jewel to Baker’s hands.

The woman’s face is full of trepidation as she feels the warm silver in her hands. Goldsmith has no idea of what to expect.

Somebody has climbed on a table to sing a song. The flat notes are accompanied by the rhythm of tired feet on the wooden stairs as the tired drinkers go upstairs to bed. Somebody knocks over a stool.

“I’ll keep it safe,” Baker finally says, tears in her eyes. “But now you have to go,” the woman says, flinging the cloth towards Goldsmith and pointing her finger at the door.

“Make haste now, hurry!”

Chapter 12

The sign on the Apothecary’s door is still hanging on the doorknob when Goldsmith returns and knocks. The curtain on the door parts slightly, and a pair of eyes briefly peer out.

Goldsmith knocks on the door again. After a moment, the door opens slightly.

“What do you want?” asks a woman’s voice.

“I am looking for the Apothecary,” Goldsmith says. “Is he here?”

Goldsmith feels the warmth of the jewels against her skin once again. She reaches into her front pocket, and a particular jewel rolls into her hand, as if it had a will of its own.

“The Apothecary is running errands,” the woman says and starts to close the door.

“When will he be back?”

“I do not know. I have no watch. The passing of time is of no importance to me,” the woman says as the door begins sliding shut.

“Wait a moment!” Goldsmith cries and pushes open the door. “Who are you?”

The woman turns her head away and forcefully tries to pull the door closed. Goldsmith catches a glimpse of the gloomy room behind her. Its murkiness is broken only by a tiny triangle of light that hazes in through a chink in the door. Dust particles glimmer in the light, dancing lazily around in the beam of light. An emerald green dragonfly wings its way inside and disappears into the dark.

“I have something for you,” Goldsmith says and shows the woman the jewel.

The woman stares at the watch-shaped ring resting on Goldsmith’s palm. Bewildered, she backs away from the door.

“Does this look familiar?” Goldsmith says softly, taking a step toward the woman.

“No, no,” the woman answers and retreats into the dark shop.

Goldsmith follows her in, noting the glass jars with Latin labels on old wooden shelves. Dried herb bouquets hang from the ceiling. A range of metal weights sit beside an old scale.

The woman starts sweeping the floor with a broom. The dragonfly now sits atop an old apothecary jar of brown glass and flutters its wings.

“Do you live here?” asks Goldsmith.

The woman’s sweeping swirls dust in the air.

“No, no,” the woman says, now clearing out cobwebs from the corner.

“I come here to clean sometimes,” she says. “Not nearly as often as I should,” she continues and pulls a sticky string of cobweb off the broom.

“Are you a cleaning lady?”

“Yes and no,” she says and brushes her hair from her face. “I am a teacher, but no-one wants to learn anything around here. With knowledge comes pain, they say. And nobody wants to feel pain.”

Goldsmith holds out her hand.

“I think this is yours,” Goldsmith says and pushes the watch-shaped ring over the counter towards the woman.

The ring shines in the dark room, lighting the whole space with an incredible silvery glow.

The teacher glances at the ring and looks at the floor. A teardrop rolls down her cheek. The only sound is the sweeping of the broom.

Considering her next step, Goldsmith shifts her weight.

“I wonder if you could help me?” Goldsmith asks.

Teacher doesn’t raise her eyes from the floor.

“One of my amulets is not ready,” Goldsmith says. “I can’t really explain this, but I feel like something is missing.”

Chapter 13

Goldsmith unwraps the soft fabric that holds the jewellery and hands one of the pieces to Teacher. The piece looks like a magnifying glass missing the lens. Just a silver frame to look through, to examine only a tiny perspective on the world at a time.

The Teacher slides the watch-shaped ring into her pocket, wipes her eyes with the sleeve of her dress and examines the magnifying glass amulet.

“A magnifying glass without a lens,” she mumbles and takes the amulet from Goldsmith’s hand. She lets it twirl in the air in the dim light coming in through the curtains. “I think I have seen this somewhere.” She pauses and adds with determination, “Come with me!”

Teacher drops the amulet inside her pocket. She walks to the door but then turns around to fetch a zinc bucket from the corner of the room.

“We’ll be needing this,” she says and lifts the bucket. “The Apothecary will never find out.” she continues, emptying the bucket. “Let us go and fetch some water.”

Goldsmith stands still, stunned, forgetting to follow Teacher. Ahead of her on the windowsill lie dead bumblebees. Next to them is a golden beetle laying on its back, wiggling its legs with all its remaining strength, struggling to turn over. Goldsmith picks it up and carefully places it down on its legs, watching its shiny golden exoskeleton slowly make its way down the splintered surface of the window sill.

She rouses herself and rushes after the teacher. On the street a horse-drawn wagon passes. A boy runs after a wooden hoop. Someone is selling hortensias. Everybody is smiling and the sky is clear with no cloud in sight.

Teacher starts descending the stairs next to the well, disappearing into the darkness.

“I will shout when I get to the bottom and then you can follow. The stairs can only take one of us at a time!”

Goldsmith nods and watches the teacher disappear into the darkness. Goldsmith gingerly leans on the side of the well and looks down into it. The cold air from the depths blows on her face.

After a little while, she hears a faint shout from somewhere deep down. 

Just as she is about to take her first step onto the staircase, the hare catches up to her.
I think it’s better if I come along.

She opens one side of her coat, letting the hare jump into her sleeve.

With the hare safe in her coat, Goldsmith steps onto the wobbly stairs. 

Chapter 14

The bottom of the well is dark and damp. The walls echo with the scratching of beetles and fluorescent-eyed insects dashing over the stony surface, disappearing into small cracks and reappearing again.

“What are tho…?”

“Shh!” Teacher whispers. “You must be quiet. Sounds travel far. There are several tunnels dug by animals here, and they reach every part of the town. You should not be here.”

“Why not?” Goldsmith asks.

“It is the Apothecary’s order. No-one is allowed to come here. Only me,” Teacher responds.

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why am I not allowed to come here but you are?” repeats Goldsmith.

Teacher points into the darkness.

“Just wait and I will show you.”

Teacher takes a torch from the wall and lights it, walking deeper into the darkness along a narrow passage. Their feet slip on the stones under them. Thick roots jut from the walls. Small openings appear at intervals on the walls, only to reveal more darkness.

“The well is over there,” the teacher says and points to a crossing on their right. “The water is magical. With it you can clean even the most persistent dirt. And the tiniest drop is enough to cure any sickness,” Teacher quietly continues, “to cure a broken heart, to forget all pain.”

“However, we will go another way this time,” Teacher says and heads to the opposite corridor.

The torch flame sputters and forms patterns on the walls of the zigzagging corridor. The air is ripe with the smell of dirt, rotting leaves and something else that Goldsmith isn’t quite able to recognise. The hare curls up deeper inside Goldsmith’s coat. The corridor grows cold as they move along it. 

“Here,” the teacher sighs and stops in front of a heavy wooden door.

“What’s behind it?” Goldsmith whispers.

“Look!” the teacher says and guides Goldsmith to the side of the door.

“Where?” Goldsmith wonders and looks at the dark wall in front of them.

“There!” Teacher says and points down.

And just then Goldsmith sees a hole in the wall, only slightly bigger than a fist. She hunches down to peer in.

Through the hole she sees a small round room, with a pedestal at the centre. The pedestal is covered with a shimmering glass dome, within which lies a peculiar, round glass object. The light reflected in it sends sparks around the room, flying like little shining butterflies.

Goldsmith gasps.

“The missing part of the amulet!”

Chapter 15

“How on earth can we enter the room?” Goldsmith cries, pressing her face against the cold and damp wall.

“I don’t know,” Teacher says. “I haven’t been able to find the key.”

Goldsmith tries the door. It does not give, not even an inch. It feels almost as if it has been sealed shut.

Her fingertips measure the shape of the lock. The lock needs a big, old-fashioned key. Where could she find it? She rummages through her bag for something to pick the lock with. It has nothing in it but an old watch, whose hands creep slowly forwards, reminding her that it is getting late. The pieces of jewellery now feel uncomfortably hot even through the thick fabric of Goldsmith’s coat.

“Where is this key? How can I find it?” she murmurs as the hare jumps out from the inside of her coat.

“Where are you...?” Goldsmith exclaims, but has no chance to finish the sentence before the hare has disappeared through the hole.

Goldsmith and the teacher kneel down and peer into the room through the hole.

They see the hare inside, chasing the dancing lights.

“Be careful!” Goldsmith whispers. The hare turns around and wiggles its ears. In no time at all, it has taken a few long leaps, reaching the pedestal. Now it is standing still, whiskers shaking.

“Wait, come back!” Goldsmith whispers. “We have to remove the dome. How do we do this?”

But the hare does not hesitate. Instead, it takes a massive leap, flying over the pedestal straight into the glass dome. Its tiny paw pushes over the dome. As the dome falls, it hits the shimmering piece of glass beneath it, and the glass begins to roll to the floor.

“Nooo!” yells Goldsmith.

Teacher covers her mouth with her hand.

Chapter 16

Everything is suddenly happening in slow motion: the dome and the tiny glass object flying in the air, the glass object spinning around like the most beautiful butterfly of light.

Goldsmith imagines the glass object hitting a sharp rock and shattering on the floor. She hangs her head. This is the end. She will never see her Beloved again. How did she ever even entertain a thought like that? She feels anger rising up inside. Why did the hare have to say anything? Why did it give her false hope?

Amid her dark thoughts, a terrible crashing sound comes from the room, and Teacher cheers with delight.

“What?”

“Look!”

Goldsmith presses her face against the hole and sees the hare jumping towards them with the glimmering glass object in its mouth.

“How did you manage that?”

The hare drops the glass object on Goldsmith’s lap and curls into a ball inside her coat.

“My friend,” Goldsmith says. “I cannot believe you did that. Thank you.”

The amber-eyed hare peers from the burrow it made in her sleeve, its whiskers trembling.

I told you I would help. I am your friend.

“And I am yours.”

Goldsmith takes the glass object from her lap and holds it up between herself and Teacher. The glass shines and butterflies of light fly on the walls of the corridor. Peering through the glass, Goldsmith sees the corridor not only enlarged but also in beautiful colours, like a path to a rainbow.

“It is perfect,” Goldsmith says. “Now I have everything.”

“Everything for what?” Teacher asks.

“I am unsure. However, it will become clear soon,” Goldsmith says and inserts the lens into the frame of the magnifying glass. It fits perfectly.

Chapter 17

Teacher and Goldsmith stand in the light of the day in front of the well. They remain there for a short time, smiling at one another. The chill from their underground expedition lingers on Goldsmith’s skin like a memory but is soon wiped away by the caress of the sun on her back.

“Thank you,” Goldsmith says and carefully hugs Teacher.

“No no, I should be thanking you,” Teacher says and opens her palm briefly to reveal the shiny silver of the jewel. “Thank you,” she says with misty eyes and quickly walks away.

Goldsmith is left standing alone, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the town.

“Where do we go now, my friend, do you know?”

The hare breaks free of Goldsmith’s arms and rushes towards the marketplace.

The ripe tomatoes and potatoes that cover the cobblestones bounce and slide under Goldsmith’s footsteps. The hare jumps over the smashed produce, weaving its way between people’s legs. Goldsmith follows as best she can, bumping into people as she weaves among them. Nobody seems to mind Goldsmith’s frantic pace or their thumped elbows. Everyone just laughs and smiles. “What a wonderful day!”

Goldsmith shakes her head in bafflement.

“You should not look so worried!” a marketplace salesman calls out to Goldsmith, making Goldsmith look down.

“Why should I not look worried if I am worried?” Goldsmith wonders. This is quite a new thought. “Why can we not show our real emotions?” Goldsmith falls into contemplation and bumps into a man carrying a basket in his arms. The sudden collision makes the basket fall, scattering all its contents to the ground. Tomatoes, apples and golden apricots scatter, only to be trampled under the busy feet of passers-by.

“I am so sorry, so terribly sorry,” Goldsmith blurts out and starts collecting the mushy fruit into the basket.

The man looks at Goldsmith and bursts into laughter.

“How very amusing!”

Goldsmith looks at the smiling man perplexed, wondering what it is in his expression that is so odd. Something doesn’t make sense. The smile! It shines bright like a crown made of marble but does not reach his eyes. The man’s lips are curled into a grin and his teeth are shining white. But his eyes are glassy and cold.

“I am sorry,” Goldsmith mumbles, feeling the jewels moving in their pocket. Goldsmith’s hand reaches for one, which becomes scorching hot, so much so that it almost burns her skin. Goldsmith quickly drops the amulet into the man’s basket.

“Does this belong to you? Correct me if I am wrong.”

The man takes a long look at the crown-shaped jewel, still smiling. He takes off his hat and stares.

Slowly his smile wears off and the empty stare in his eyes melts away. It looks as if a frozen lake is melting and water is starting to flow.

“I am sorry,” the man says and quickly places the amulet in his pocket.

“I am so sorry,” he says. A smile curls upon his face as he determinedly starts to lope in the direction where Teacher had headed just moments earlier. 

Chapter 18

A man wearing a white coat briskly approaches Goldsmith from the other side of the marketplace. As he nears the clock tower, he quickens his pace, almost breaking into a run. Waves of grey hair frame his face and his smile looks forced. The skin on his face is tight, as if he is wearing a mask.

Without even twitching its whiskers, the hare jumps into Goldsmith’s arms and hides under the jacket. Goldsmith clutches its warm furry body, squeezing it against her chest. Instinctively, Goldsmith hides the magnifying glass she is holding behind her back.

“I heard a strange sound. Do you know what the commotion is about?” the man asks politely. “And who are you? Have we met before?” The man’s voice cracks a little, barely concealing the anger in it.

“I am...I am Goldsmith. I have visited you once before. I have come to the town to look for...” The magnifying glass burns in Goldsmith’s hand like a hot flame. It feels as if it is burning a hole through her palm. This doesn’t seem right.

Goldsmith hesitates for a moment, then puts on a smile and tries to shake away her worry. Perhaps it is best to just pretend that everything is all right. But then Goldsmith feels a soft thump against her ribs. It’s the hare. Goldsmith, now it is not the time to hesitate. Remember love.

“I have come to look for you.“ Goldsmith says. Her voice echoes over the market in an unexpectedly high pitch.

“And why did you wish to see me?”

Goldsmith does not say a word, only reveals what is in the hand that was behind her back. The magnifying glass she is holding now feels unbearably heavy. The Apothecary stares at the jewel with an empty, expressionless face. The wheels of the fruit vendor’s cart squeak, the air is filled with the scent of burnt sugar, and white doves coo from the surrounding roofs.

“AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA,” The Apothecary bursts into aggressive laughter. The skin on his face grows tighter as he laughs, and soon he collapses on the ground laughing uncontrollably. He rolls his glassy eyes, holding his stomach and rocking back and forth. 

“Where did you get that?” The Apothecary shrieks and rolls onto his side, still laughing.

“It should go without saying that MY CELLAR IS PROHIBITED FROM THE TOWNSPEOPLE.”

With these forceful words, the man rises off the ground, soon standing at full length, staring down at Goldsmith. “You certainly are not one of our townspeople. A stranger and a thief, that’s what you are!”

The surrounding people stop, turn to stare and then go on smiling and chatting as if nothing had happened. The hare jumps out of her coat and runs, disappearing into the crowd. Now Goldsmith feels afraid. She feels her heart pounding in her chest. The air is suddenly chill, even though the sun beats down from the cloudless sky.

Goldsmith tosses the magnifying glass at the Apothecary’s feet and starts running away as fast as she can. And she doesn’t look back. 

Chapter 19

Goldsmith runs through the crowded marketplace, blindly crashing into people as she tries to stay on her feet. The friendly greetings of the townspeople hurt her ears the same way as their sharp elbows bruise her sides.

The clothes of the townspeople jumble into a colourful chaos in Goldsmith’s eyes, fruit baskets tumble, and flocks of doves scurry out of her way as she runs. She can hear the Apothecary yelling behind her. “Wait!” Goldsmith feels like her heart is about to jump through her ribcage. Her eyes tear up. “I am feeling defeated,” Goldsmith blurts out to herself, running faster.

Quick steps follow each other. Finally, Goldsmith dares to look back. The Apothecary is left far behind. “All is good. Don’t worry. All is...”

“OUCH! You bumped into me!” a plump man giggles at her. Goldsmith’s eyes blur. A wall of people has suddenly formed in front of her, too many to pass through. The people stare at her with smiles on their shiny broad faces. Goldsmith can hear the Apothecary’s steps approaching. She closes her eyes. Perhaps, if she just concentrates hard enough she would wake up at home? But that was not to be. Soon Goldsmith feels the Apothecary’s cold hand on her shoulder. A slight scream escapes her lips.

The Apothecary does not say a word. Goldsmith at first does not dare to open her eyes. When she does, she starts with surprise. The Apothecary’s eyes are the only thing she sees. They are wide open, staring straight at Goldsmith. She slowly realizes that he is looking at her through the magnifying glass. And even more surprising, the man is crying.

“Thank you!” the man whispers with a shaky voice, “for helping me to remember.”

Goldsmith gasps. 

The Apothecary slumps to the ground, staring at the magnifying glass amulet he holds.

“For so many years I have floated in blissful ignorance and forced the townspeople into their stupor. This can no longer continue,” the Apothecary states. Goldsmith sits down beside the Apothecary on the cold cobblestones. People pass by, all going their own ways. On the other side of the street, a man wearing golden attire entertains the townspeople with a puppet show. The Apothecary and Goldsmith sit silently, observing the man in gold manipulating puppets hanging from bunches of strings, altering his voice as he puts his soul into the roles he plays.

The Apothecary looks to Goldsmith. He places the magnifying glass in Goldsmith’s hands and whispers, “Finish what you started. Please.”

People on the other side of the street applaud the man in gold and his puppet show, but Goldsmith does not hear a thing.

She is already racing in the opposite direction. 

Chapter 20

With tears of happiness rolling down her cheeks, Goldsmith hurries to the town gate, wades through the river and arrives at the edge of the woods. There she finds the old oak she seeks. The ancient branches of the old tree stretch in all directions, its bark delicate like aged skin. Sun rays are sieved through the thick, green roof of leaves, and nightbirds rustle their wings in the treetops. 

Goldsmith presses her ear against the trunk of the oak and listens. There is no sound. The air around her is still.

Why is nothing happening? Why won’t the gate open?

The Apothecary’s words echo in Goldsmith’s ears. Finish what you started.

“Finish what I started? I have done so. I took the magnifying glass to the Apothecary and gave the jewellery to the townspeople. I revived their memories. What have I missed?” Goldsmith stares up at the crown of the tree, circles its trunk. She examines its sturdy roots that disappear into the damp ground. The roots of the tree intertwine with one another on their underground path, perhaps appearing again somewhere in the shelter of the forest, arranged into intricate lace-like carvings formed by nature. Perhaps they wrap the whole forest in their embrace. Goldsmith wonders whether they contain the whole world – the mountains, the river and the waterfall; her shack and the cellar underneath.

Follow me. Goldsmith feels the air vibrating around her feet.

“Hare! You came to help me!”

Listen to the clock. Its hands tick forward impatiently. You only have a little time left.

Come, the hare says and races back towards the town.

Chapter 21

The hare halts in front of the clock tower. Goldsmith arrives panting with her hand on her chest to help catch her breath. The hare sits under the tower and stares upwards with its amber eyes. High up, the hands of the clock are turning. They run backwards, then stop near the hour and resolutely start crawling forward.

Goldsmith stares at the clock hands stupefied. “Is that all the time we have left? What will I do?”

The hare turns its eyes to the magnifying glass in Goldsmith’s hand.

“This?” Goldsmith asks and lifts the amulet up to examine it. The hare peers through the glass, straight at Goldsmith. Through the lens, its amber eyes look as if they are in flames. They flash in unison with the golden embellishments of the clock tower. The decorations have a familiar air, but Goldsmith can’t figure out why. She steps closer to the tower and reaches out her hand to touch the carvings. One of them feels warmer than the others. 

“The magnifying glass! That is the answer!” Goldsmith cries and presses the amulet against the carving. A quiet click sounds. The golden carvings burst into colour like flames. They remind Goldsmith of melting metal, the numerous hours spent moulding the jewellery back home.

The patterns of the tower float before Goldsmith’s eyes. A butterfly, a lantern, a crown... “They are like the jewellery I gave to the townspeople,” Goldsmith sighs. The clock hands are almost at the hour. Not much time is left. “But I gave the jewellery away. The pieces belong to the people now!”

Goldsmith notices a string of lights reflected on the clock tower. A series of floating lights that approaches and grows larger, blending in together.

When Goldsmith turns, she sees a group of familiar faces gathered around the clock tower. The townspeople have come. They are carrying the jewellery in their hands, the amulets reflecting light so bright that it lights up the entire clock tower.

There is Baker with her long hair glowing in the light; next is the sturdy figure of Brown Beard; she sees Teacher, holding hands with the marble-toothed man; the Apothecary stands next to them in his pearly white coat. They are all smiling naturally and freely, not a trace of a mask or a forced grimace remain on their faces. There they are, stripped of pretence and make-belief, embracing the long-forgotten memories they no longer need to escape from.

And the hare, sitting contently at her feet.

I whispered to the townspeople and told them to come here, but they already knew. They are no longer afraid to listen to the voice within. Now you do the same.

Goldsmith opens her arms towards the townspeople. One after another, the jewellery pieces, shining with all the colours of the rainbow, find their way to Goldsmith’s hands.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you very much!” Goldsmith laughs and steps towards the clock tower with tears in her eyes. With trembling hands, she places each piece of jewellery into the matching carving.

The sun is about to set, and the last rays of light shine in shades of red behind the mountains. The long hand makes a final jerk forward and then stops. It is 18.05 o’clock.

Chapter 22

The pieces of jewellery seem to melt together. The light emanating from them forms a string that shines bright white and then wraps around the clock tower in all the colours of the rainbow. The light pours down from the top of the tower like a waterfall.

A waterfall. Like the one Goldsmith and her Beloved jumped through, flying towards happiness. The happiness her Beloved later left behind.

What happened? Why did her Beloved break Goldsmith’s heart? The answer is so close, just on the other side of the shining light. Only a few steps and their happiness will be made whole again. Goldsmith just has to step through.

But for some reason she hesitates. Her chest is weighted with past disappointments, so beaten by sorrow that it feels like physical pain. For the first time since her Beloved left, Goldsmith lets these painful feelings flow freely. Many moons have come and gone, and flowers have bloomed and withered since Goldsmith read the letter her Beloved left her. The letter Goldsmith decided to forget.

But now she remembers. She remembers everything: her broken heart, the anxiety that felt like a never-ending ache in her temples. The pain was all worth it. Worth the love Goldsmith and her Beloved once shared. And she is willing to experience all the hurt all over again, even a hundred times over, as long as it means that they could be together again.

Goldsmith looks at the hare next to her. “What if my Beloved does not want to return?”

The hare sits still and does not answer. It stares at the magnifying glass with a knowing gaze, like it can see something that Goldsmith cannot.

Goldsmith takes another step towards the light and looks through the magnifying class. A dim image of a place far away is reflected on its surface. It is her Beloved, there on the other side!

And her appearance! A red coat carelessly hangs from her tiny frame, her brown hair brushes her shoulders. The eyes that mesmerized Goldsmith once and for ever now twinkle more playfully than ever. The wrinkles on her forehead hint of experience, the corners of her eyes tell stories of laughter.

Like an electric shock, recognition hits Goldsmith. She is happy. Her Beloved is happy, just where she is, just as she is. On the other side, in the world of responsibilities, sickness, pain and worry where no remedies from the Apothecary numb the mind. She is not afraid to remember. She is not afraid to live.

The hare looks at Goldsmith. Listen to your heart.

Goldsmith stands still. The final sunbeams disappear behind the mountains and darkness gathers over the town. The dark wraps around the market stalls and cobblestones, the houses bedecked with colourful paint, the peculiar vehicles made up of bits and bobs and bolts and knobs that sit on the curbside waiting for the following day. The dark overcomes the murmur of the forest, the silvery glimmer of the river and Goldsmith’s shack on the verge of the woods with its sloping moss-covered roof.

“I love you.” Goldsmith’s lips move, but the words come out so quietly that no-one can hear them. Goldsmith turns away from the magnifying glass. Tears fill her eyes and fall to the ground, like a string of tiny pearls. She smiles.

“I am happy for you,” Goldsmith says, lifts the hare into her arms and walks away.