She was once a swan, beautiful and wild. Her feathers were as snow and her eyes as opal. Every morning as she glided along the lake people came to admire her. See the swan, they would sigh, on her bed of turquoise silk.
It was an unusually cold summer when misfortune befell the swan. She ran afoul of a witch in the black woods next to the lake. The witch, in her fury, turned the swan’s snowy feathers to ash and her eyes to hard steel.
Heartbroken, the swan returned to those same turquoise waters in which she had always swum.
But the people were aghast. It is not the swan, they cried, but an imposter! And they chased her from the lake. She hid in the dark waters of the woods, afraid to return.
The people mourned their swan. She is dead, they lamented. That terrible creature with the steel eyes has killed her. They built a shrine to the swan’s memory by the side of the lake. It was a stone monument engraved with graceful images, and water lilies were laid to rest at its feet. To all passerby they told the sad tale of the swan, set upon in the safety of her own dwelling.
The swan herself remained in the black woods. She swam its dark waters and made peace with them. But every so often, in the early hours of the morning, when the light fell upon the water in such a way that it seemed like turquoise silk, she visited her lake. She glided along its waters and rested among its reeds. And, if she felt so inclined, she stopped by the lakeside too, and gazed upon the shrine that bore her name.
(Image courtesy of Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo)
Written for Sue Vincent’s Writephoto Prompt: Shrine