Legend Of Lady Jarah

Lady Jarah never existed. She was first conceived over tea by the elder bard Jomel and his scribe Ya’hir. Few recall how the rumors first spread, but she quickly became famous about town. Soon her story was carried by traveling bards across the land.

“She is a fine beauty, in search of her man,” they would sing. “Jarah is faithful, she won’t let go your hand.” It was not long before young men arrived at Jomel’s doorstep to meet her, thinking she was his niece or neighbor and in need a suitor.

“Jarah’s already taken,” Jomel would tell them; or, “perhaps you had better return with more of a gift or two.”

Even a famous seamstress who thought Jomel was courting Jarah offered to sew her a silk wedding dress.

“I am already married!” Jomel replied.

Later he told his barber about the dress.

“Then your wife must be quite jealous,” his barber said with a wink as he applied more shaving cream.

“Nonsense,” Jomel replied to the barber, “And I took the dress, thank you. The seamstress was none the wiser.” The barber laughed, as all Jomel’s audiences did.

Surely, there was a problem though. One evening at the theater, his wife was mistaken for “Jarah’s maid” and someone asked if Jarah were home ill, as some had heard.

Jomel replied in all seriousness, “I’m afraid it’s worse, she has gone off with the king’s son.”

Soon after this, Jomel took a couch at the neighborhood teahouse and took his quill to collect his thoughts and begin writing Lady Jarah’s story.

“Perhaps she is the maidservant whose true aristocratic station has been denied?” So the barmaid suggested. Others quickly chimed in passionately with their own versions. A fight broke out.

Jomel tried the quiet hills.

“Are you writing about Jarah?” a shepherd asked

Jomel fled to his private library until Ya’hir came, then his attic. He tapped his quill in frustration. Is her hair red like fire or black as the evening sky? Does she wear gowns or riding pants? He fretted to the muses, “How to capture every woman?” Surely she was a shapeshifter, a changeling woman of a thousand faces, even male faces, for everyone knew changelings were troublemakers. Yet still, who was she on the inside? He searched in the mirror for his own shadowy Jarah to no avail.

Perhaps the worst day of Jomel’s good life came when the court summoned him. He stood confused before a high bench where three magistrates in wigs presided. Apparently, a nobleman who had first heard of “Jarah” while on a hunt demanded the court block Jomel from telling her story.

“She was my idea years ago,” the man insisted. “This interloper Jomel cannot have her all to himself!” he said angrily, pointing to Jomel. Jomel shook his head in amazement. He took to his bed in despair soon after.

“Are you afraid,” his wife offered, “that the pretty thing won’t live up to her reputation?”

Jomel replied, “Good woman, I can write her better than they all know! Alas,” he sighed, “Jarah has become too selfish. Wherever I go, it is about her, Jarah. This mistress has taken over our lives.”

He smiled lovingly at his wife, and said, “I will heed her siren call no longer.”

From that day onward he spoke no more of her, and Lady Jarah’s story was not scribed. Yet her name was still sounded at his funeral, and at his wife’s funeral, and in the bedchambers and dreams of men for centuries since.

“I shall not be gotten rid of so easily by men,” Jarah might have said. “It is I who shall live on forever, not them.”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License