The Secret Keeper by Kate Coombs
The people of Maldinga take their unpleasant secrets to Kalli, the secret-keeper. A baker tells her that he sells bread that weighs less than full measure, a matchmaker reveals that she lied about a groom’s merits, and a rich man discloses that he refused to help a beggar that came to his home. Only Taln, a potter, does not bring secrets. Instead, Kalli visits his shop and they enjoy friendly conversations. One winter, she becomes ill, and it is only when the villagers share some happy confidences with her (My mama and I dance in the meadow) that she regains her health. Then Taln arrives to reveal his own hidden thoughts–I love the secret-keeper.
A few years back when my first girl was a wee one, we stumbled upon this yarn at the library. It has drifted in and out of my thoughts ever since. Haunting in that good way. This owl above (Bracken) was influenced by this story. Mine is a little different… Bracken was born mysteriously without the ability to speak, thus making her and exceptional listener. The animals of the forest come to her with all varieties of secrets, happy and sad knowing she can never reveal them. Once whispered to her or into the small doors of her home they turn to pearls, jewels and the occasional lump of coal. A cup of tea is always warm an waiting for the next soul desperate to be rid of thier secret.
And yes those doors really open. Behind them are the little jewels, pearls. I am always bothered by a door placed to inspire one’s imagination that is sealed shut. I much rather have it open to reveal an empty cavern. We have one really sweet door of the such on a trail by our home. Visitors are to bring a treasure to leave for the gnome that lives there and in return you can trade for a different treasure that has been left by another visitor. We have still to find them all. There are apparently many spread out along the trail.