“It was a dark, moonless night when Mother was mysteriously released from her spell. I’m sure my brother chose that night to give him the advantage of darkness to escape if he needed to. After drinking the elixir Tsisgili had secretly prepared for her, Mother changed. It was like an awakening. Her eyes possessed an awareness where they had long been empty. She studied the fire in the hearth as if it were revealing her life in a new light.
“Father noticed too and I saw in his eyes fear, dread, resignation and then remorse. He didn’t appear to be surprised when mother stood confidently and glared at him, “I will be leaving in the morning,” she said.
“Father nodded and placed his bowl of half eaten broth on the hearth. I turned to Tsisgili who was clearly delighted as he continued to eat heartily. It was then that I understood what had just happened—all these years, Mother had been under the spell of a love potion. Father exited the house despondently.
“I ran to Mother, hugged her and cried, “Why are you leaving, Mother? Where will you go?”
“She brushed my hair tenderly with her hand, kissed the top of my head and whispered, “I shall return to my life now.”
“It didn’t make sense to me at the time. I took it as a stinging rebuke of our family and me. As if she were discarding as meaningless and trivial all that I had ever known.
“I pushed away from her and glared at my evil brother. He smiled deviously at me with a look of triumph. I ran out of the house and found Father at his favorite spot by the river where the white water dances over the river rocks. I leaped upon his back and wrapped my arms around his neck. “I don’t understand, Father,” I cried. “Go to her. Talk to her.”
“He clutched my hands gently and was silent for a moment. Then he bade me to sit by his side. He told me that what he had done was wrong. That he had always feared that she would hate him for it. He said that at first, he had hoped that over time, she would come to actually love him and then he could remove the spell. But over time, she came to loath him. He explained that he needed her to love him. That he could not think of life without her. So, he never released her. He never gave love a chance. He was selfish and now had to pay for what he did.
“I pressed him to tell me why he did it. He was silent for a long time. His eyes told me that he was remembering that time in his past. Then, he chuckled and explained that it was an accident. She was suffering from a head injury and he had to gather the herbs in the dark. By mistake, he picked Burseed instead of Five Finger Sang to treat her for her head injury. So, instead of curing head pain, he gave her a love potion.
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