By Sally Madison
Early in the day, the beekeeper was tending his hives beyond the garden when he saw a color unusual to the familiar scene. What is that royal-blue color in the distance? He squinted hard, but he could not make it out through the mesh of his face cover. Did the dogs drag something down there, or had something been beached from the stream that runs through the forest? He didn’t have time or concern to check it out, so he continued to draw the honey. As time went on, the more curious he became. What on earth could it be?
Still in his bee-protective gear, he walked slowly, craning his neck to see around the bush that appeared to be hiding the royal-blue-colored something. As he moved closer, his pace diminished to near child steps. His curiosity rising as his step slowed, until suddenly he realized it was a person… a very still person, a body. He raced to it.
Horrified by the reality, he recognized young Alexandria. Fearing the worst, he bent to her, tentatively, tenderly, to check her condition. Her clothes were soiled and disheveled, had she fallen from the horse? No, she was not in her riding clothes. Next to her lay a robin’s nest and three smashed blue eggs. ‘So, she had climbed that oak tree’, he thought, ‘and fell. How long has she been here?’ Her innocent, pale face was expressionless, with a smudge and a bruise developing on her cheek. Her pulse was weak, but there. He thought he would carry her to safety, but called for Kolya, who was tending the garden, instead.
Hearing the alarm of the beekeeper, Kolya came running. The beekeeper suggested they each take a side, clasping their extended arms beneath her to carry her between them. They bent to reach under her shoulders and knees, but Kolya stopped when he realized Alexandria’s legs were askew. In the war during Turk’s invasion, many years ago, he had witnessed body injuries of all kinds. He checked Alexandria for broken legs, but could find none to explain the disparity. The injury had to be in the hips or the back. In either case, it was more serious than he first perceived. He and the beekeeper shed their jackets and laid them end-to-end on the ground. Standing on either side, they gently lifted her shoulders, tucking the jackets beneath her. With Kolya lifting her hips and the beekeeper lifting her legs, they managed to get her small body onto the clothing. With long sticks, they threaded the jackets, creating a crude stretcher. As fast as they dared, they hurried to the castle.
After his examination, the doctor consulted with her grandfather, the Count of Ostrava. “Yes, she is alive. No, she is not conscience, but she has been moaning. There is no doubt she has broken her hip and she will require constant care. Time will tell, but she may never walk again.”