On a bright summer day in the year eighteen hundred and twelve (by the gentile reckoning), a girl left her mother’s house -the little house where had been born- and went to the brambles on the far side of the forest to gather the small summer strawberries that grow in the shade. These were the best kind of berries, tiny and soft, and the girl crouched in the bushes, staining her lips and fingertips red: one for her mouth, one for her apron, and so on and on.
At first the girl was sure that she must be imagining things. She was far from the village here, far from the road, and she alone knew of the berry bush.
Surely no one else would come to this place.
But she was not imagining things.