Never is there a night when I do not gaze up at the stars in wonderment as I ponder the fact that those are the very same stars my distant family observed so long ago. My mind travels back. There is a marketplace; dirt paths; traditional food and music; crowds of artisans selling their wares. Yes, there is my grandfather (to the power of 5), and he is just a young lad, carrying a romantic heart (or hormones of a boy). At the market he has an open hut, and “what a master craftsman he is,” they say. One bright day at this market, he spots a feminine vision across the way in a weaving hut. She works with such grace. So he gathers the courage to stroll over and give her a gift he had carved. She cordially accepts with a shy smile, and goes back to weaving, leaving him stranded and speechless. At a loss, he drags his feet back to his hut. Weeks roll by, and every market day he brings her a more splendid gift: a carved cat; a boar; a falcon; leather braided hairbands and such. Each one she accepts with a silent smile, and to his great frustration she goes back to weaving. His heart is sinking in despair; time goes by in a forlorn state. What can he do? He has given her his best wares, gifts that took days and blistered his hands. On his way to the market one day, he finds a simple flower, yet so perfect are the petals. Through the bustling crowd and music and chatter, he makes his way to her hut to give one last effort to woo the quiet maiden. Without a word, he views down at her as she sits weaving. He reaches out to offer the flower. Something wondrous happens: she blushes, forms a radiant smile that reaches her sparkling big eyes, and she takes the flower as though in realization of the love that perfect flower represents. All the gifts and work, he thinks, and it was a flower that made her shine. If only his heart would slow to allow a breath, he might be able to say something, but he remains standing without word, gazing down upon his maiden with the flaxen hair catching sunlight while a flawless braid hangs down her back (he is often mesmerized by perfect braids). So it begins, a giddy relationship, a romance. Days are filled with laughter. Nights they spend gazing up at the universe, thanking the stars for the gift of love they have received. They build a home together, and soon this love resulted in a child for them; a child to continue the bloodline, the same artisan bloodline that runs through this man here now: this man who gazes up each night at the very same glittering universe, and thanks the stars for the perfect flower given to the maiden … and the wondrous gifts they gave to me.
— The Flower and The Maiden
Dedicated to The Lady Freyja