The King of the Lake

Posted: January 31, 2015 in Fantasy, Magic
Tags: , ,
Photo courtesy of Iain, original published here:

Photo courtesy of Iain, originally published here:

I stomped angrily through the forest. How could my parents be so cruel? How dare they send me away from Oslo, my gang, my motorcycle, my girls, my laptop, my smartphone, the cool music, the beer and the incredibly hot nights at the club? How dare they send me to a life of boredom in the middle of nowhere? My classmates weren’t interested in anything cool – they were downright boring. They mocked my attitude and my being grounded. The forest was the only direction I was allowed to take. I didn’t even have the right to go to Bergen with my class!

My ramblings ended abruptly at the shore. I hated it. I hated the peaceful lake in front of me, everything. A glance at my watch confirmed my worst nightmare: It hadn’t taken me more than 10 minutes to get here. My middle-of-nowhere theory had proved to be right. I kicked a tree and picked up a dry branch from the ground. I tore it in half and thought about throwing it in the lake. I lifted my arm and was stopped by a whisper. “Don’t do it, boy. Don’t make him mad.”

Lowering my arm, I turned around. Nothing. This place had already gotten to me – I started imagining things. I lifted my arm to throw for real and – was stopped again. “Don’t. Do. It. You really don’t want to face his wrath.”

I turned again. A slender girl stepped out from between the trees. She wore an old fashioned linen dress, her feet were bare. Her waist-long hair was pale, her eyes had a greenish hue. She was adorable. She slowly approached, her movements were elegant. She circled me, eyeing me from head to toe. My heart hammered, my blood roared in my ears, my brain seemed misted over. My “What? Who?” sounded stupid.

“The King of the Lake does not allow lack of respect towards nature. He won’t tolerate human misbehaviour of any kind.”

I was speechless. A sound from the lake made me look over my shoulder. There was nothing. When I turned back to the girl – she was gone. My pride kept me from calling out for her. I went home. I wasn’t hungry and went to my room early. I couldn’t sleep, though. I couldn’t forget this ethereal beauty. She had talked about the king of the lake. Whoever that was must have made quite an impression on her.

The next morning passed in a blur. Thankfully I was allowed to visit the library. When I got there, I asked to see the archive. The librarian asked me what I was looking for. “Local history.” She frowned at my answer and sent me to a corner rack. None of the books had any reference to the king of the lake. I was frustrated and decided to ask the librarian. She was thunderstruck. “Who told you about the King of the Lake?!” I just shrugged.

The librarian fetched two coffee mugs and indicated two chairs by the window. She placed one mug on the table in front of me, grabbed her own mug firmly with both hands and told me the story of the King of the Lake.

“About 120 years ago, a widowed blacksmith lived in our village. He was well liked and always had a kind word for everyone. His daughter Emilia was a delightful girl. She helped out wherever she could, was always one for the good cause. Her angelic voice made her lead vocalist in the church choir. One evening, she didn’t come home from practice. Rune, her father asked everyone if they had seen her. She just seemed to have vanished into thin air. Two policemen from Bergen arrived the next day, searching for clues. When they found out about two strangers who had passed through the village earlier, he asked them to go with them. The policemen agreed and they searched the forest. They found them fast asleep by the lake. Emilia’s body was found in the under-brush nearby. They had raped and tortured her. The strangers were interrogated and admitted to the crime. Rune got angry, grabbed each of them by the throat and walked into the lake. He held them underwater until they went limp. Rune cast a final glance on the policemen and walked further into the lake.

He was declared dead, and Emilia was buried at the cemetery. Nobody considered Rune a murderer, he was a desperate father. Many years later, people started to roam the forest and the lake again. A family was rowing across the lake and their little boy threw a half-eaten apple in the lake. It shot out again and hit him on the head. A man who needed to pee was struck by a wave. Similar events happened whenever someone behaved disrespectful in the forest or on the lake. The tale of the King of the Lake and the Princess of the Forest was born. Didn’t you ever wonder why we don’t have local hunters? The animals in this forest and lake can live peacefully. They cannot be harmed without the King’s revenge.”

“Wow. This is an exciting story! Thank you very much for sharing it with me!” I excused myself, stating something about homework and went home. I didn’t stay, just left my bag and went to the forest. Why hadn’t the girl talked about Emilia or the Princess of the Lake? And why hadn’t I met her before? She seemed to be about my age, and the village was small. I walked carefully, not wanting to infuriate the princess or the king. I walked to the shore and leaned against a tree. It was really peaceful. The hate I had felt the previous day had dissolved.

“You’re less aggressive than last time.” I turned at that lovely sound. I had never seen such beauty before. I wanted to hold her, kiss her. She paled even more, became translucent. I had a choking sensation around my throat. Then a wave hit me from behind and I fell like a tree.

They missed me at dinner. Started to ask around and the librarian admitted to having told me the tale about the King of the Lake. A raging thunderstorm prevented them from searching for me immediately. When they found me, it was already midnight. I was unconscious and the doctor assumed pneumonia. They sent me to a hospital in Bergen.

I was walking through a concrete tunnel. There was a bright light at the far end, I marched on and on. “Don’t go that way, boy. It’s not your time, yet. Please, turn around.” I looked to my left. Emilia was looking sad. I had heard the determination in her voice, though. “I know that you want to stay with me. You can’t do that. Please. GO!” She dissolved. I looked longingly at the brightly lit end of the tunnel and – turned around.

My throat ached and I was thirsty. I opened my eyes and saw a girl with waist-long pale hair tending to some machines. I tried to speak but I couldn’t. She had heard me and came over. She had a sweet smile and the greenest eyes I’d ever seen. Her badge showed her name as “Emmi”. I soon got better, at least good enough to spend some time with her. We talked a lot, also about the hand prints on my throat. I understood Rune – it was his precious daughter I was lusting after. She was one year my senior and already knew that she wanted to become a doctor. She lived halfway between Bergen and the village and promised to visit me.

The village seemed different. I suddenly felt ‘home’. I declined the offer to return to Oslo. Saving the environment was suddenly of real importance to me.

Emmi told me we could move in together after I’d finish school. She is certainly not Emilia’s reincarnation that doesn’t stop me from loving her. I had told her about my difficulties in Oslo and she accepted this a part of my past. After all we learn from our errors. And who knows, the King of the Lake and I might one day actually become friends.

This photo inspired me to write this story. It is fictional, similarities to living characters or events are coincidental.

Thank you very much for letting me use this awesome photo, Iain!Β  πŸ˜€

Please visit Iain’s blog and enjoy:

  1. Mjollnir says:

    Excellent tale Karen and thanks for using my photo πŸ™‚

  2. mihrank says:

    Karen – I enjoy learning from you post – you bring wonderful and valuable surprises with elements and factors are very important!!

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