Gertrin And The Trailberry Bush

While traveling through a dark forest Gertrin came across a patch of wild Trailberries. They were red and ripe and so plump looking, that she had to try one. It was so sweet and delicious, that she knew she had to try another. It was just as good as the first, and so soon Gertrin had eaten almost every berry on the bush. She was so full, that she fell asleep right there on the grass.
“Wake up little flower” Gertrin heard waking up groggily. She sat up to find a Gnome. Not a gnome like you see in the cities, but a real life Fey Gnome, pointed hat and all. “mm. Good morning” she said trying to rub the sleep out of her eyes.
“Good afternoon, little dandelion. My, you look rested and quite full. Tell me, did you, by any chance see who came by and ate all the Trailberries on that bush there?” He said. Gertrin was not sure why, but she thought it best not to say she had done it.
“No good Gnome, it must have been the birds or a wandering cat. Cats love Trailberries.”
“Hmm” The gnome replied. “That that stain on your dress is not from Trailberries juice?” Gertrin looked down.
“Oh no, that is from some strawberries that I picked this morning”. The Gnome smiled.
“And your red lips, that has nothing to do with the Trailberries?” he asked. “Hmm??”
“No!” Gertrin exclaimed rather hurtfully. “My lips are always this red. My cheeks too”
“Ah and that is not Trailberries pulp under your fingernails, still fresh?” The gnome asked. Gertrin knew he had her then,
“I’m so sorry mister Gnome sir, but I was so hungry and they looked so good.”
“But they were not yours’s” the Gnome said. (Truthfully, they did not belong to the gnome either, but he knew Gertrin didn’t know that. “What should we do with you after you have stolen all the Trailberries?”
“Oh nothing good and kind Gnome. I am a sweet and good girl, and would not have done it had I not been so hungry” she cried. Unfortunately, this gnome was neither good nor kind.
“Sweet, yes, good, hmm, very well. I shall turn you into a Trailberries bush to replace the one you so casually robbed of its fruit.” He told her, and drew up his crooked club. Now Gertrin was very scared but luckily she had parents who like to tell her tales, and she loved tales about the fey. No one thing that everyone knows about the fey, or so it is said in the stories she heard, is that the fey must follow certain rules.
“Wise gnome, I have taken from you, that is true, but, by ancient custom, I consider this a gift and therefore would ask what you would like in return and time to acquire it”. Gertrin knew this was just as risky, as only a fey knows the value of any gift to themselves. If the gnome had a special attachment to the bush, he could demand her life or first born, but she was hoping the bush was not that important to him. The gnome on the other hand was beat at his own game. For the exchange of gifts custom meant he could request a gift of equal value to him. Since the bush wasn’t his, it had no real value. Defeated he replied.
“Well, you who are so wise in the way of my people have shown me that the favor of a lady is much more important than the value of a thing. I demand a gift of equal value. A kiss.” Gertrin kissed him on the forehead and they both went their separate ways, Gertrin with a tale and a promise to herself to never eat a full Trailberries bush by herself.

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