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A pretty young lass, she came to me;
said take me away from my father.
My sweet boy, I long to live free.
I can stay here ne’er longer.

If you would but take me to foreign shores,
Gratefully, I take you to my bed.
But make no mind I’ll ever be yours,
For I would ne’er to be wed.

So, I took the girl along with me.
No more the life of a farmer.
From forest to valley we wondered free.
Welcomed no danger to harm her.

Then came a claim to the hand of hers;
she turned her eyes toward me.
Though he was the son of wealthy stores;
we hung from the willow tree.

Days went by and seasons went round;
we took leave from no other.
But when soldiers, two riders they found;
iron clasped me and my lover.

Rope rings for the lass and me.
To the gallows we are led.
Under the sun she smiled at me.
Today, we would to be wed.

The poem, that was the legend, lovers dying in each other's arms.

The truth was a bit more grim.

She didn't get pregnant at first. It would not have been surprising if she was sterile because of the violent sexual abuse from her alcoholic father from a very young age. In fact, the surprise was that her body healed enough to get pregnant after three years.

She really barely noticed the first pregnancy. Her period had always been erratic anyhow and, after all, she had tried to stop paying attention to her body and her feelings during the abuse and beatings. She miscarried the first two. Hard riding, hunted and often half-starved, her body had sense enough to not to proceed.

With the third pregnancy, they had killed a town mayor, and taken his chest. The mayor had 5 children. His rival in town took over and the widow died of pneumonia and grief. Four of the children starved and the fifth became a hore and died young of the pox. The couple, however, had enough food for the first time in years. They gorged themselves and hid in a cave. Both grew fat, and their blood sang with alcohol. But they grew careless and one day he panicked, realizing that they were being hunted again.

The panic threw her into early labor. A mewling girl was born. She barely saw it before he took it and drowned it in a nearby stream. She rode, bleeding and fevered, in his wake. It was a terrible dream. She drank at every possible moment.

Pregnancy four was again in a cave, with some supplies. They were more careful, paranoid, and suspicious, this time. Realizing that a child was coming, she lied and made the trek to see her mother. She bore the baby, a girl again. Her father was dead. She left the child after three days, closing her eyes to her step-father's drinking and the fear in the faces of her younger old-eyed siblings. The entire family perished of the plague soon after, so her child was not abused.

Of course, they could have avoided pregnancy with oral or anal sex. But she had never learned to regard her body as her own. He regarded her as slightly more than property, the norm for that time. A choice between her and the horse would have fallen to the horse. Access to her vagina was never questioned and was a proof of his manhood.

She did not hide the fifth pregnancy. He seemed sullen and not very responsive, but she began to collect a few baby clothes and made a rush basket. At last it arrived. Another girl. He drank, became more and more angry as the day proceeded. He began to beat her. She fought back, weak and bleeding. She grabbed the baby and ran from the cave. She struggled through the woods, knowing he was too drunk to track her well. Deeply hung over, he found her midafternoon the next day. She had bled to death. The child was blue with cold in her arms, though still faintly alive. He left it there.

Raddled by alcohol, he traveled and talked of her drunkenly and incessantly, lying through his teeth. In his version, she lived gloriously, alive and young and rebellious and his.

The legend persists.

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