Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Roesia. She lived with her elderly mother on top of a large hill that overlooked her village. Her mother did not get around very well and could not handle many tasks herself. This made her mother bitter. Instead, she forced Roesia to do the work. Roesia had to prepare the meals, wash the clothes, clean the house, and take care of her sickly mother. Roesia also had to do men’s work. She plowed the fields and harvested the crops, but had to sell most of the food she grew so they would have the money they needed for other things. It had always been this way, just Roesia and her mother, for as long as the girl could remember. She had once asked about her father, but all she got in reply was that her father had gone into the woods one day and had never come out. Although she wanted to, Roesia knew better than to ask anymore questions about it.
Roesia had to follow strict rules at her house. She was not allowed to leave, except to go to the fields. She was not to talk to strangers. She also could not socialize with others her own age. Above all, Roesia was to never, ever, venture into the woods. She always listened to her mother, and why wouldn’t she? Her mother was always right.
Her mother had forbidden her from even going to the market or to the village. They hired a young girl to do such chores for them. Roesia thought this was silly and a waste of money, but her mother insisted upon it, so Roesia continued with the routine. This left her with such a longing to escape.
Everyday, as Roesia would do her chores, she would keep herself entertained by looking down at group of houses and buildings in the valley. She would watch as other children played in the streets, narrowly avoiding the workers and shoppers. Even though she had never ventured down there, she knew each person’s daily routine by heart. The baker spent his day couped his shop, but after suppertime he would bring out a single loaf of bread for one of the kids. He would give it to a different child every time so no one would fight over it. The blacksmith stayed holed up in his forge, but occasionally in the evening he would come out to pet any stray dogs that wondered by. So it went on, each of the townspeople had a different story. Roesia knew them all. It made her feel lonely because she could never interact with these people, even though she knew them so well. Also, she could never share their stories with anyone. The only person who came around was her mother, and Roesia knew she would not be happy if she found out Roesia spent her time fantasizing about the villagers.
Roesia understood that her mother hated the people of the kingdom, especially the men. Whenever they had any tasks to be done at the market, they would always send a young girl. Roesia was forced to do all the work in the fields herself because her mother refused to hire any men. The woman just didn’t trust men.