In 1902, there was a small village surrounded by forest. It was called Gaignory, and it was a very poor town.
A young girl walked into the town square. She was a very lovely young lady that many said, "did not belong in a place like Gaignory." Beautiful chestnut braids that reached her ankles, tied up with ribbons. The irises in her eyes were the color of the deepest part of the ocean. Her smile could make the sun come out from hiding. Her name was Oleta.
Olena adjusted her dress, which was far too big for her. The dress didn't actually belong to her, it belonged to her mother. The young lady was at a very bothersome age that came with multiple growth spurts. Any clothes that were once her own were now too small for her to fit in. New clothes were the furthest thing from Oleta's mind though.
In the meadow nearby were many wildflowers, which filled the basket in the young lady's hands. Oleta went to anyone she could find in the market square to try and sell some flowers. Some were won over by her bright smile. Some couldn't care less, and most just couldn't afford it.
A young man rode his carriage into the countryside of England. He was from a city by the sea, which was far away from where he was now. He needed to be away from his home for a little bit of fresh air. As the carriage rode past a beautiful meadow with wildflowers, the young man could spot a small village.
As the carriage entered the town of Gaignory, it became apparent to the young man that he was out of place. The coachman stopped the carriage in what appeared to be a market square, and the young man stepped out. He was tall for a boy of only fifteen, which gave the people of this town more of a reason to stare. While the people of this town wore old clothes that were all torn, the young man wore a pristine light blue coat without a single tear or stain on it.
Oleta passed by the carriage and couldn't help but stare at it. The beautiful white horses were like nothing anyone could ever find in Gaignory. There was a peculiar symbol on the flags that decorated the top of the carriage.
"Can I help you?"
Oleta jumped back in shock, not even thinking that the owner of the carriage would notice her staring. Oleta looked over and spotted the young man. He was like a prince out of a fairytale her mother would tell her. He was tall with forest green eyes that someone could get lost in. His platinum blonde hair was pulled into a ponytail that cascaded down his back. It was another sight in which Oleta couldn't help but stare.
Oleta snapped back out of it, realizing that the young man was starting to look annoyed. Oleta then composed herself and curtsied at the man.
"Good day, sir." Oleta's sweet voice was made even sweeter with her politeness. "Would you like to buy some flowers?" She held up her basket.
The young man took a look at the flowers. They seemed familiar, then he realized why.
"Look kid," the young man started. There was sympathy hidden in his voice. "Don't waste your time with trying to sell those. Anyone can get themselves wildflowers from that meadow for free."
Oleta curtsied again at the man, then walked off. The young man watched in shock as the little lady approached other people, trying to sell her flowers. The young man was done seeing this, and marched over.
"What is your deal?!" he said with an aggressively annoyed tone. Oleta just looked at him in confusion. "I just told you, trying to sell those flowers is a big waste of time. So, why do you keep trying?" Oleta just smiled at him. With her beaming smile, the young man's expression started to show weakness.
"Because it's better than doing nothing." The young man was confused by this response.
"What do you mean?"
"You say it's a big waste of time, but I don't agree." Oleta explained. "There are some who are willing to buy flowers from me, so that makes it worth it to try again the next day, and the next day." Oleta's bright shining face began to fill with sadness. "I need any money I'm able to make, because-" her sentence was cut short by her stomach's grumbling noises.
"Do you need food?"
"No!" Oleta snapped, looking away with her smile now gone. "I don't need food. I...I just need money, okay?" Oleta turned to walk away, but as she took her first step, her world went dark.
Slowly regaining consciousness, Oleta forced her eyelids open, even though they felt heavy like lead. Her vision was blurry. She felt a cool sensation on her forehead. Oleta reached her hand, which also felt heavy, up to her forehead to find a wet handkerchief. As her vision cleared up, she heard a familiar voice.
"Are you awake?"
Oleta suddenly found her strength again and immediately sat up. What lay before her was a simple picnic. For Oleta, it was an endless buffet. There were loaves of bread with homemade jam, a wedge of cheese, some apples and some carrots. There were also some homemade biscuits for dessert. Oleta tried to stop herself from the temptations of the wonderful feast before her, but the water in her mouth was starting to overflow and drip out the side. Oleta finally looked up to realize she was inside the carriage. Across from her was the young man. Oleta then started to panic before she found her basket of wildflowers on the seat next to her. She breathed a sigh of relief.
"How long has it been since you last ate?" Oleta seemed startled by the question.
"I...I don't need food. "
"I just want to know when you last had food." the young man pressed. Oleta gave up the facade.
"Two...maybe three days." she said hesitantly. "But I could have gone longer if-"
"Please, eat." the young man pleaded.
"I don't need food!"
"Everyone needs food! If you don't eat, you'll starve to death!" the young man argued. After some convincing, Oleta took an apple from the picnic cloth. She slowly brought the fruit up to her mouth and took a bite. It was the sweetest and juiciest food she had ever eaten. The delicious apple covering her taste buds filled her with such joy that she couldn't stop the tears from flowing down her face. She then tried the cheese, then a carrot, then proceeded to attempt to shove the entire loaf of bread in her mouth.
"Hey! Take it easy!" exclaimed the young man. "You'll choke that way! Have you not had enough to buy any food the past few days?"
"Frrs uf brrfr frr brf..." Oleta tried to speak while her cheeks were full of bread.
"Please don't talk with your mouth full, it isn't ladylike." Oleta finished chewing and finally swallowed.
"The baker is kind enough to give me a loaf of bread once a day...but I give it to my mother."
The young man is shocked.
"The entire loaf? You don't eat any of it?"
"All of the food and money goes to my mother." Oleta explained. The young man seemed to fill with rage.
"What an awful person! Your mother makes you do a pointless job and takes all the food and money for herself?!" The young man stood up. Oleta stood up as well, knowing she'd have to clear something up.
"You misunderstand!" Oleta pleaded. "She's a wonderful mother! If anything, I'm a terrible daughter!" Tears formed in her eyes again. The young man raised an eyebrow in confusion.
"How are you a terrible daughter?" he asked.
"B-Because..." Oleta tried to hold back her sobs as she tried to talk. "Mother taught me that it's never okay to lie... b-but I did...I-I've been lying to my mother." There was no holding back her sobs now.
"What did you lie about?"
"I-I told her that the baker gave us two loaves and I already ate one. If my mother knew we only had one loaf, she would've forced me to at least eat half of the bread. B-But she needs food more than I do. My mother...my mother is sick." The young man was shocked with this new information. This girl was amazing. She was practically willing to sacrifice her very life for her mother, but she thought she was a bad daughter for lying.
"With what?" The young man was scared to ask, but he just had to know. "Your mother...what is she sick with?"
"Well, at first, we thought it was a cold, but her cough wouldn't go away." Oleta explained. "Then...she started to...cough up blood. Now, she can't even leave her bed." Oleta tried to change her tone to a more chipper one, but there was no masking how scared she truly was. "B-But it will all be okay. I just need to make enough to take her to a special doctor in the mountains. He'll be able to treat her illness and make her better." Oleta's bright smile contradicted some more tears forming in her eyes.
After hearing this information, the young man immediately took the basket of flowers.
"What are you-?!" Before Oleta could finish what she was saying, she felt something drop in her lap. She picked it up and couldn't believe what was in her hands. It was...money. It was a heavy stack of money. She gave the young man a questioning look.
"I'm buying your entire basket." he explained. Oleta counted the money. Her eyes widened. It was far more than what her whole basket was worth.
"Um...the whole basket only costs-"
"Don't worry about it." the young man interrupted. "Think of it as an extra tip or something." Oleta was so filled with joy that she could start crying again. She could finally take her mother to the doctor in the mountains.
Oleta had just finished the best meal she had eaten in her life. The young man had to be on his way. So, Oleta stepped out of the carriage. She turned to the young man and smiled at him.
"How can I ever thank you?" Oleta said with her brightest smile. The horses began to pull the carriage as the young man stuck his head out of the window.
"Just promise me, if you ever get into trouble, come find me in Rochelieu!" he called to Oleta. She stared as she watched the carriage disappear towards the woods. She then realized something and immediately began chasing after it.
"Wait! You never told me your name!" She called. But it was too late, the carriage was gone. Oleta could hardly believe the encounter she just had. It was like her fairytale prince had arrived to provide her with a miracle.
Oleta gripped the money tightly as she began to sprint home. She couldn't wait to tell her mother the wonderful news. Oleta couldn't run to her small alley fast enough.
"Mother! Mother!" she raced all the way down the alley and found herself at the front of a tiny run down house. It was the home that Oleta shared with her mother. "Mother?" Oleta called. There was no response. Perhaps she was asleep. Oleta grabbed the doorknob and swung the door open. Surely, the squeaky hinges would be enough to wake her. "Mother! I have enough money! We can take you to the mountains now!" Still silence. "Mother?" Oleta cautiously approached the bed in the corner. There was no sign that she had even acknowledged her own daughter. "Mother, did you hear me?" Oleta removed the blanket from the bed, to find her mother completely still.