The Wild One

The Wild One

by Marion Zimmer Bradley


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This is a story that they tell on the solitary farms on the borders of the Catskill mountains, where I grew up. It is a mistake to think that country is settled and modern, just because the big highways stretch from city to city, and the factories hold out clean jobs that pay better than the scratch-the-soil farming on shale rock. For between every farm is a stretch of woodland, and every farm has its own woods, and by night there are deer and rabbits and even wolves and the big lynxes that prowl.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781515403258
Publisher: Wilder Publications
Publication date: 12/09/2015
Pages: 30
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.07(d)

About the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley (1930-1999) was an American author of fantasy, historical fantasy, science fiction, and science fantasy novels. She is best known for the Darkover series and for The Mists of Avalon, the first book in her Avalon series. Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "[A] monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends," The Mists of Avalon was made into a popular television miniseries in 2001.

Date of Birth:

June 30, 1930

Date of Death:

September 25, 1999

Place of Birth:

Albany, New York

Place of Death:

Berkeley, California


B.A., Hardin-Simmons College, 1964; additional study at University of California, Berkeley, 1965-1967

Read an Excerpt

Roger Lassiter lifted his hands abruptly from the keys of the piano, and stared across the room at his sobbing young wife.

"Helma, dear!" he said contritely, "If I'd known--I didn't hear you come in, dear. Please forgive me?"

"Of course!" Helma wiped away her tears, and her strange, hesitant smile flickered for an instant on the wet face, "If I'd known you wanted to play I wouldn't have come back so early." She crossed the room, and Roger held out his arms to stop her as she passed and hold her, for a moment, close to him. "Did you and Nell Connor have a good time?"

She dropped her eyes. "I didn't go to see Nell, Roger, it was too lovely in the woods. And--and there'll be a full moon tonight...."

He slid his arm around the girl's waist. "You're the wildest child of nature I ever knew," he murmured, halfway between exasperation and indulgence, and from the piano bench he twisted to look out the window at the deep stretch of dark woodland, oaks and maple and birch, that surrounded their house; then he turned back to rest his eyes on Helma.

She was good to look at; a tawny blonde girl, slight, delicately but strongly made, with creamy skin and dark-gray eyes that lightened to amber or an odd gold-flecked green when she was angry or excited, and so incredibly supple that he often wondered if she had been a ballet dancer. He did not know what she had been; she never talked about her childhood, and he knew only that she had run away from a farm in the Adirondacks when she was only fourteen years old. She had been twenty-three when they met, a chance acquaintance, almost a pick-up, at the swimming pool in Albany. Roger, escorting a pair of frisky nephews, had beenattracted, then charmed, by her unbelievable grace in the water, her swift clean beauty; a seal-woman of the legends could have shown herself no more at home in the sea. He had been shocked at the change which had come over her when she had run back to the dressing-rooms and reappeared in a cheap skirt and blouse, her hair brushed down and her legs encased in lumpy socks and shoes. It was as if rust had suddenly covered a bright coin. But he had not been able to forget the laughing, glowing nymph of the pool. And he had never forgotten. It had not taken him long to discover how she revived in the woods, in the country. After their marriage, they had built this small house at the edge of the forest; a necessity, not a luxury, for Helma drooped and wilted in an apartment. They had built the house with their own hands, camping in the woods while it rose from the foundations, sleeping at night in a tent; and day by day a visible radiance had crept over Helma until she seemed alive with an inner, glowing beauty. Still, on the first night they had slept in their new home, she had murmured "I think I liked the tent better!" Even now, for choice, she slept on the open porch when she could.

He smiled now into her half-closed eyes and murmured what he had said many times, "I think you're half wood-cat, Helma!"

"Oh, I am," she returned, as always, "I am. Didn't you know?"

"And say, I used to have a dog who howled just like that when I played the piano. It's not what you'd call a compliment to my playing!"

She colored ... even after four years of marriage, she was very sensitive about this. "I can't help it," she whispered for the hundredth time, "It hurts my ears so much--"

He patted her shoulder gently. "Well, never mind, honey, I try not to play when you're around," he told her, "but seriously, I'm beginning to wonder if you ought to go so far into the woods alone. Bob Connor told me he's heard wolves, and the other day he shot a lynx. Perhaps it's all right in broad daylight, but I wish you'd stay out of the woods at night, Helma."

He was not a countryman by habit; born and reared in cities, he had been thrown into a panic, the first time that he had waked in the night and found himself alone in bed. He had hunted the house through and found it empty; in a growing apprehension, mounting to absolute terror, he had searched the woods with a lantern, shouting, panicked, until he had finally found Helma, snuggled into a hollow of summer grass, sleeping, a rabbit bolting from her side as he came near.

After a few months he had come to take it for granted; Helma was almost physically incapable of staying out of the woods when they were so near, night or day. Sometimes Roger wondered if he had been wise to bring her so far from the cities and the plowed farms on the highways; she might have been unhappy, but she might have been less wild.

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