Short Story: The Scales of Baldamar

And it came to pass one day that a girl came unto her father and said that she had fallen in love with the helper to the village blacksmith. “Father,” said she, “he is all I wish a man to be, fair of face and soothing voice and a manner as sweet as clover honey.”But the father was loath to give his permission for this man placed him under a foreboding. “Find another man that we may measure the worth of you all,” said he with careful voice. “We cannot judge a man by how he acts or looks for there to the worth of a man than he be fair and mild and tall.”

Now the daughter was fair and sweet, a good soul and true, but her desire for the love of the blacksmith’s helper and she knew in her heart that this was the love of her life, it was plain to see. If three were needed then her father would invoke the Scales of Baldamar. Soon would her father see the worth of her husband to be.

A rake she chose, a villainous knave, the wretch of the town without hope of redemption for their was nothing in his soul to save. To the scale she brought helper and knave, her father stood to one side forbidden to speak. Each placed themselves upon the balance built to measure the value of three.

“The worth of each of you shall now be adjudged,” said the bent and gnarled priest, and at his word the beams holding the measures were driven away. The daughter’s measure dropped straight to the ground and settled there with a resounding crash. The helper and knave suspended in the air by the overwhelming value of her worth and virtue.

Chastened the daughter stepped from the scales and it raised slowly upward until all three arms were in balance. The weight of the souls of both were plain now for all to see, and as they stood upon the balances a single dove landed upon the empty measure and again it drove into the ground, started the dove flew away and the scales regained their balance.

With greatest weariness the father arose and nearly stumbled, for his wrists were heavily wrapped in gauze of purest white stained in tiny spots or most brilliant crimson. The daughter steadied the doddering step of her father, realizing now the price of the scales was the blood of her father. Palsied were his limbs, snow white his hair.

There was triumph and sadness in the eyes of the father, and tears spilled down his weathered and leathery cheeks. There was no sadness in him though, this all could see, the tears were of thanksgiving for the spared fate of his most precious child, and the lesson learned that day that even rogues may be fair and tall and mild.

© 2009 – 2020, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

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