There once was a house on a hill in a town with a steeple. Nine children had been born to the parents of that house and nine had been buried. One day, a box appeared on the doorstep and in the box was a seed. Plant the seed, said the note, and as long as it lives your next child will not die, but beware, your joy will become your child’s misery. The couple raced to plant the seed in the yard of the house on the hill in the town with the steeple. When a bush sprouted from the seed a boy was born. The couple watered the bush and as it grew the boy grew with it. The bush reached its full height in its fifth year and then grew no more. When the bush stopped growing, the child stopped growing with it. The parents lived in happiness, but soon grew old and died while the child never looked older than five. When the boy grew to be a hundred years old, still with the face of a child, sad and alone, he burned the bush and flew away in its flames over the house on the hill in the town with the steeple.
Charles Fairchild lives and works in Seattle, and is an MFA candidate at Goddard College. His work has previously appeared in The Pinch Literary Journal and Bosque Journal.
Artwork: Mary Chiaramonte, Boy with a Bee Sting