No one heard the heartbroken sobs of the peasant girl, Flora. No one else knew of their misery.
Arlwyn had no choice but to swallow his sadness. He was a Roble. Robles did what must be done, without complaint, without showing emotion. Whenever he began to feel the bleakness rise within him, he dug his fingernails into the palms of his hands and repeated the words to himself. “I am a Roble…”
He tried to push thoughts of Flora into the deep recesses of his mind, to focus on his studies, and on Lady Priscilla, his betrothed. But it impossible. When Priscilla droned on and on, Arlwyn’s thoughts drifted to Flora. When he took Priscilla out to see a play, or to visit his favorite fishing spot, he could not stop remembering his conversations with Flora in those very places.
And when he discovered a very, very unusual egg one evening, while out walking, the first thing he thought was how much he wished he could run to Flora and tell her all about it. (He decided not to mention it at all to Lady Priscilla).
Flora threw herself into her daily work, scrubbing, baking, and pulling weeds almost frantically, desperate to keep from thinking about Arlwyn, and the cold, hard sound in his voice when he had last spoken to her. But when the work was done, and Flora had time alone, she stumbled through the woods, half-blind from sobbing.
One afternoon, in her desperation and grief, she made her way to a crumbling stone cottage hidden deep in the forest. It was the home of Hazel Thornbush, the toothless old midwife who was known for her herbal remedies.
“Please, can you help me?” Flora’s voice shook. “Please. I c-can’t lose him.”
“There there,” said Old Hazel in her deep, scratchy voice. She listened to Flora’s pain without saying a word. Then she sent the girl away with a list of instructions. “Be sure to follow it carefully, and while the moon is full,” the old woman called as Flora hurried home.