She was a quiet child: not shy but reserved. She had learnt to be: to not laugh or smile. In all weathers she was sent out of the small cottage to roam the fields and woods alone until the end of the day. She knew all the seasons and could recognise all the wild flowers and when and where to look for them along banks, in ditches, in the woods and fields.
It was the end of spring but was particularly cold, and late snow could still be seen in the sheltered areas where the sun could not penetrate. This day the woman was in a very dark mood and pushed the child out of the door. The chilblaines on her fingers and toes stung as she made her away across the fields. A bird sang happily in a tree: the only voice in that deep silence. She met no one in this isolated place peopled only by rabbits and deer and other shy animals.
The child chose her route by instinct, crossing a stream and entering a small copse. She knew they were there though still invisible. She always sensed when she was about to discover flowers. She felt a tiny frisson of excitement but did not hurry for fear of frightening them. She crept quietly and knelt down. Gently she parted the small leaves to reveal the pristine purple violets. How bright and new they looked. She picked a small bunch and as always, she left some to grow. Then she picked three big leaves from a tree, arranged them round the violets making a small bouquet, which she tied with a piece of grass.
The sun was setting as she made her way back to the cottage and crept into the house. The woman took the humble offering and put it in a jam jar on the table as she usually did and then turned away.