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nights, and pray to the old gods or appeal to Providence to deliver her from
such unhappiness. She wished that she could escape from her parents, but
because they kept her locked up she could not. But then one day the fair came
to town, with players and stages and tents and jugglers and acrobats and
fire-breathers and knife-throwers and strong men and dwarves and people on
stilts and all their servants and performing animals. Dawn was fascinated by
the fair and wanted to see. it and be made happy by it, for she felt that she
had no life at all where she was, but her parents hid her away. They did not
want her to have fun watching all the wonderful acts and shows, and they were
worried that if people saw that they had such an ugly child they would make
fun of them and perhaps even tempt her to leave to become an exhibit in their
freaks of nature show.'
'Was she really that ugly?'
'Perhaps not quite that ugly, but still they didn't want her to be seen, so
they hid her away in a secret place they had fashioned in their house. Poor
Dawn cried and cried and cried.
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But what her parents did not know was that the people of the fair always sent
some of their performers round the houses in the town, to do little acts of
kindness, or to help out with chopping kindling, or to clean up a yard, so
that people would feel beholden to them and go and see the fair. They did this
in Dawn's town, and of course her parents, being very mean, could not pass up
the opportunity to have some work done for free.
'They invited the performers into their house and had them tidy it all up,
though of course it was quite tidy already because Dawn had done most of the
work. While they were cleaning the house, and even leaving little presents
behind, for these were very kind and generous performers  a clown, I think,
and a fire-breather and a knife-thrower  they heard poor Dawn crying in her
secret prison, and they released her and made her happy by their antics, and
were very kind to her. She felt appreciated and loved for the first time, and
tears of joy rolled down her face. Her bad parents had hidden themselves in
the cellar, and later on they ran away, embarrassed at having been so cruel to
Dawn.
'The performers from the fair gave Dawn her life back. She even started to
feel not so ugly, and was able to dress better than her parents had let her
dress, and feel clean and good. Perhaps, she thought, she was not destined to
be ugly and unhappy all her life, as she had imagined. Perhaps she was
beautiful and her life would be full of happiness.
Somehow just being with the performers made her feel pretty, and she started
to realise that they had made her beautiful, that she had only been ugly
because people had told her she was ugly and now she was not. It was like
magic.
'Dawn decided that she wanted to join the fair and go with the performers, but
they told her sadly that they could not let her do that because if they did
then people might think that they were the sort of people who took little
girls away from their families, and their good name would suffer. They told
her she ought to stay and look for her parents. She saw the sense of what they
were telling her, and because she felt strong and capable and alive and
beautiful, she was able to wave goodbye to the fair when it left and all the
kind performers went away to take their happiness and kindness to another
town. And do you know what?'
'What?'
'She did find her parents, and they were nice and good to her for ever
afterwards. She found a handsome young fellow, too, and married him and had
lots of babies and they lived happily ever after. And, as well as all that,
one day, she did catch up with the fair, and was able to join it and be part
of it and try to think of a way to repay the performers for their earlier
kindness.
'And that is the story of Dawn, an ugly, unhappy child who became beautiful
and happy.'
'Hmm. That is quite a good story. I wonder if Mr DeWar has any more stories
about
Lavishia. They are a bit strange, but I think he means well. I think I ought
to sleep now. I
 oh!'
'Ah, I'm sorry.'
'What was that? Water? On my hand . . .'
'It was just a happy tear. It is such a happy story. It makes me cry. Oh, what
are you ?'
'Yes, it tastes of salt.'
'Oh, you are a charmer, young Master Lattens, to lick a lady's tears up so!
Let go my hand. I must . . . There. That's better. You sleep now. Your father [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]