The Music Maker,
THE MUSIC MAKER
A Fable and a Tune
Soha F. Turfler
Copyright 2012. Soha F. Turfler
Anna was excited to join Mother at Market that day.
Usually one of the servants of her family's not-so-modest estate at the top of the hill would do the shopping, and little Anna would stay at home with Nanny while Mother and Father were off doing whatever mothers and fathers do.
But this day was different. This day, they were buying ribbons and cloth for the annual Winter Festival. As long as anyone could remember, each year the City Elders chose one from among the more prestigious families to host the Winter Festival, and this year, they had chosen Anna's.
And, as Mother had come to the conclusion that, for this particularly special occasion, none of Anna's outfits "would do," she had decided that she would take the child to the Market at the Centre of the City herself, in order to purchase materials which Nanny would then fashion into an elaborate dress.
And so, Anna got to go in order to make sure the color and texture of the cloth matched the color and texture of her hazel eyes, "just so."
Whatever the reason, Anna was excited to spend the day with her mother, away from home. And in the City Centre, too!
Nanny had woken Anna earlier than usual that morning, to get ready for the outing. She scrubbed Anna’s face and behind her ears, brushed and neatly pinned her unruly brown hair, and then dressed her in a clean-cut mauve suit with little black-beaded buttons. Afterwards, Anna looked in the mirror and agreed with Nanny that she looked, "very smart."
Mother came in to the nursery just before nine o'clock and only "hmm'd" and "hah'd" at Anna's appearance before declaring that they were likely to be late getting back, and so Nanny should instruct Cook to have lunch waiting upon their return.
Nanny respectfully said, "yes, My Lady," and handed Anna a small pack containing an apple, a slice of bread, and a small hunk of cheese, in case she should get hungry.
Mother and Anna waited in the large foyer of the house until they were fetched by Mister Jeremy, one of the estate's chauffeurs and longest serving employees.
Anna had always liked Mister Jeremy. Even though he was always careful to appear clean shaven and neatly dressed in his black uniform, he also had great big bushy eyebrows that he allowed to grow wild and untamed. His eyes were also the same color as the eyes of the old gray pony that grazed in the West field. Anna liked Mister Jeremy like she liked that old pony. It would always eat the apples Nanny gave to her when Anna wasn't feeling hungry and wasn't in the mood for being scolded for not being so. Plus, Mister Jeremy would let her play in the old carriage house when he tinkered on one of the estate's vehicles, and would patiently listen to and cheerfully laugh at the many stories of fairies, gold, and misadventure she would spin, while the while.
But Mister Jeremy was not laughing today. Today, he was all business and formality, as he listened dutifully to Mother's instructions to drive very carefully, but also be sure to arrive at the City Centre within half an hour. Mister Jeremy did his best to comply, but in the end, incurred Mother’s anger when she saw they had actually arrived at 9:45.
Anna was sorry to see Mister Jeremy scolded so. But Mister Jeremy made sure to send a sly wink Anna's way at the end of Mother's reprimand, when Mother wasn't looking, which made Anna feel better. For she knew then, he was still happy on the inside.
Mister Jeremy escorted Mother and Anna to the second floor of Cymball's Department Store, on the corner of Oak and Maple Streets. There, Mother spent the next three hours being shown exotic reams of cloth and ribbons by a flustered salesperson. Mother eventually settled on a spool of dark green velvet with elaborate golden threaded needlework on one side, as this “brought out the green” in Anna’s eyes. She also chose golden ribbons to match, and even bought Anna a sweet little pendant to wear round her neck. Anna was delighted.