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Date Posted: 05:22:28 04/24/17 Mon
[Author's note: I originally wrote this story in Czech; this is a translation. I chose to forgo localization this time, therefore all names and places are as in original. The Easter passage might be confusing for my English-speaking readers, but trust me -- it might be slightly exaggerated, but it is absolutely a real tradition.
Also, bear in mind that legal drinking age in Czech Republic is 18. Age of consent is 15, BTW, but that's not actually important in the story.]
I fell in love with him at first sight because he saved my life.
It happened when the men with the shovels came. They knew no mercy. Everyone in our thicket fell to them. My neighbours, the Blackberries, the wild Raspberry who entertained us all with its stories, even the old Oak who was standing in his spot for who knows how many centuries.
When they came to me, with pickaxes and shovels, I trembled like a poplar. But I was helpless.
Then a voice rang. "Keep the hazel," it said. "I like it."
That's how we met.
His name was Pavel and he built a house here. The house was right next to me, so I could see in the windows of his room. It wasn't a big house, just a one-story building where he went to live with his two daughters. During the first months there was a sad look in his face, and his daughters' faces as well. I understood that Pavel's wife died recently. After that, Pavel left well-paid job in Prague and moved here. He had enough money and he could endulge in his hobbies. Apparently, that's what his wife wished. Sometimes he was carving wooden figurines, sometimes he was tending the garden around his house. His eyes were sad and I was trying to make as many nuts as possible to cheer him up a bit.
But while Pavel was content with his new life, I couldn't say the same about his daughter. Both girls, fifteen and eighteen years old, were used to greater comfort and they didn't like the country life. No doubt the countryside's distrust to strangers played a part here as well.
The older daughter, Marie, has just graduated high school. She wanted to go bach to Prague and attend college, but after her mother died, she decided to postpone the college a bit. For the first few months she often wandered through the garden and held her father close, but after that, she started to get bored. She started to attend the village dances -- her Prague fashion and behavior showed in full. Even though her father was still "the stranger", Marie found a good place among her peers.
The younger daughter was called Petra, but they called her Woodlouse -- apparently because she tended to roll up in a ball when she was little. However, she hated that nickname, because a simple dropping of "wood" resulted in a much worse nickname. She tolerated it from Pavel, though with forced smile, but when her sister called her that, she usually jumped on her and started to hit her with her fists, while Marie laughed.
Petra was attending high school, but here in country, that was significantly harder then at home. She had to get up early in the morning and she only came back in the evening. Of course, that reflected in her mood; she grew more grumpy by day.
The situation came to a head on one spring day. Pavel usually went to bed early, but that day, his light was on long after midnight. I understood that Marie didn't come back from a dance she went to and he couldn't get hold of her.
Then a police car stopped in front of the house and Marie got out. She was pretty drunk, and as it turned out, she and a few boys were throwing rocks in a local shop's window. The police also suspected that drugs were involved, probably because of the Prague girl, but that was never confirmed. The police captain was local and that showed in his condescending behaviour towards "the Prague guy". "You should hold the girl's reins tighter," he claimed. "She's growing like wild thicket and we don't want further problems here."
I knew what happens to wild thickets. Men with shovels and pickaxes come. I didn't want them to come for Marie. Pavel would be sad and I loved him and only wished good to him.
In the morning, after Petra left for school, Pavel came out of the house with a knife. Marie, downcast, followed. Pavel stopped right next to me. That was the very first time since that first day when he payed attention to me, his loyal fan.
"What you did," he said to Marie, "was stupid and childish, and what's worse, it could have dire consequences for the whole family. And I should know it would end like this. I made excuses for you for a long time, I thought that everyone has his own way to cope with grief, but this can go no further."
Marie just gave a silent nod. She too was appalled by what she did after she sobered up.
Pavel stepped towards me and cut one of my young switches with the knife. It hurt a bit, but I for him, I gladly withstood it.
Pavel was an experienced woodcarver. He quickly stripped the switch of bark and gave it a trial swish. It whooshed.
Tears started to well in Marie's eyes.
"You are too big to go over my knee," said Pavel, "but I have to punish you and I have to punish you harshly. Let's go."
They went to the house, but fortunately they entered Pavel's room. I tensed in attention.
Marie cried and whimpered, but to no avail. At Pavel's command, she had to put hands on his desk. Pavel undid her pants and pulled them down. Then he pulled her panties down as well; he was scolding her all the time.
Finally, my switch's time came. Paul hit Marie on her bared buttocks. If she was crying before, now she was literally howling. The thin switch, led by strict fatherly hand, left ugly marks, but Pavel didn't slacken. The switch was still a part of me, so I was feeling every stroke as well, as if someone was hitting me with a big, soft pillow. It didn't hurt, but even if it did, I made up my mind to withstand it, to show Pavel that he can rely on me.
When Pavel finished, Marie's bottom was all striped and she was whimpering enough to get a tear from a stone. For several days she had visible problems sitting down, and so she was trying to avoid Petra who didn't know about her spanking.
Marie's spanking proved to be a good idea. From that time on, she started to bring friends to her home. The village girls, who were occasionally subjected to similar treatment, noticed the clear signs of a sore bottom and that helped them to no longer see Marie as "the Prague girl" who came to take their boyfriends from them and more like "one of them". I was wondering if Marie didn't do the whole thing on purpose. But surely not -- she couldn't have known that Pavel will use my switch, could she?
Though Petra didn't know about Marie's encounter with the switch, she didn't have to wait long for her own encounter. It happened in June, when she brought the report card.
Pavel knew that her grades will drop because of the long commute and he probably wouldn't mind. But Petra's grades were absolutely horrible. Since any school question throughout the year were met with just the half-uttered word "Fine", Pavel decided that he will consider it a willful lying, one of the worst things his daughter could do. Petra haven't been spanked since her mother died, but now Pavel walked towards me to cut a switch.
Since Marie's switching I felt that Pavel will need more of my service. For this reason, I started to grow several especially flexible switches. These were what I offered Pavel and he chose and cut one of them.
Marie wasn't home that day, she went to Prague to have a look at the college she'd chosen. Pavel took Petra to his room, but she started to buckle once she saw the switch. She wouldn't brace herself against the table like her older sister. Pavel, however, bent her over that table, he pressed her to it and after removing her skirt and panties out of the way, he started to work on her bottom.
Strangely enough, Petra didn't cry as much as Marie did, but there was still enough tears while my switch lined her bottom like an exercise book.
The spanking wasn't as hard as what Marie got, but still quite hard and by the end, Petra was promising all sorts of thing, even studying.
When Marie came back that day and saw Petra eating her dinner standing, everything was clear to her. That day she took her sister aside and told her the story about her own encounter with the switch.
The summer vacation came and both girls were at home. Now they had time to spend together and Marie started to take Petra with her when she was going somewhere. That happened quite often. I knew that Pavel disliked that since Petra wasn't as reasonable as Marie and he had some doubts even about Marie. It was just a question of time before some trouble happens.
That time came in August. Petra and Marie went to take a swim in a flooded quarry near the village. Not by themselves, of course, but in a group. In a group that included both boys and girls, which was the problem.
You see, despite the fact that both girls had really nice swimsuits, they didn't bring them along to this specific swim. Not them and not anybody else, as it turned out.
And the very same day the quarry was visited by the mayor who was showing a rich enterpreneur the beauty of our village to get some funding out of him.
I suspect that the scene in front of their eyes did, if anything, increase the chance for his funding, but both the mayor and the enterpreneur were accompanied by their wives, and unlike their husbands, they didn't at all like what they saw. And even the mayor started to frown when he glimpsed his teenage daughter among all those Adams and Eves.
Once mayor's Jaruška got out of water, the mayor sat down on a flat boulder, the daughter was immediately turned over the fatherly lap and the sound of hard spanks started to mix with her desperate cries. In the old quarry, it had a beautiful echo. Meanwhile, the mayor's wife ran to the store and started to call the parents to come for their naughty sons and daughters.
Before Pavel sat into his car that day, he stopped by me and cut two sizeable switches.
I liked riding in the car with Pavel. I spent all my life on one spot and the movement made me extatic. I concentrated with all my might on the cut switches so they wouldn't disappoint Pavel when he'll need them. He was one of the first ones to reach the scene of crime. All perpetrators were already dressed, but in Petra's case, it wasn't for long. Pavel was pondering for a while, but in the end he ordered her over the flat boulder where Jaruška was spanked. Skirt and panties went out of the way while mayor and her peers, as well as some pear trees, watched. The boulder was a big one and Pavel used it as a bench where the naughty daughter could lie while my switch was tearing into her bottom.
She got twenty-five strokes on her bare bottom in one bunch, with just a little pause where Pavel turned to Marie and told her to drop her pants since she's next.
And she was -- once the crying Petra got up, it was Marie's turn over the boulder. She got whole thirty strokes on the bare, and in addition Pavel used the second switch which was a bit longer and thicker. And her spanking was more public because several other angry moms and dads have turned up by this point. Once both daughters were properly switched, Pavel took them to the car. He wanted to take the switches as well, but the mayor stopped him.
"You see, Mr. Malý, I'd like you to leave the switches here if you wouldn't mind. I think there will be some more use for them."
Pavel drove away and I couldn't watch him since my switches stayed at the quarry. But they saw plenty of action there! Though some of the parents immediately walked or drove their children home, there was enough of those who made immediate use of the boulder and a switch. Cries and sobs of thrashed teenagers was echoing in the quarry. Starosta was holding his Jaruška's hand the whole time and when sixteen-years old Lída, the grocer's daughter, got up, crying her eyes out, the mayor told his daughter:
Jaruška was crying and protesting that she was already spanked and that it's not fair, but the mayor wouldn't waver. His family, he said, must be the example to others! And so Jaruška's bottom saw the light of day once again and the switches were in the limelight again -- both of them, since though the mayor started using the longer one, it broke soon afterwards. In the end he broke even the second one, switching his desperately squealing daughter.
The vacation was over in a flash and the time came again for my nuts to ripen. Mary was in college and she was only coming home on weekends; even Petra was spending most of her day in the school. Pavel was usually home alone. Mostly, he carved, but he was also visiting the neighbours -- and they were visiting him.
One of the neighbours, the owner of the local pub, showed some interest in me.
"This is that famous hazel from the summer swim, isn't it?"
"Very nice bush," said the neighbour. "I noticed that the boys and girls who bring beer to their parents are much more polite since that swim. And they definitely don't take as many sips as before. Everyone heard what happened at the quarry.
Pavel was quiet. I knew that he was a bit saddened by the pain my switches has caused. Petra's and Marie's bottoms were sore for a few days, but some children ended up worse since their parents had no experience with the switch and they gave them much worse spankings than necessary.
The neighbour sighed. "Sometimes I wish my Bára was there. Striped bottom wouldn't do her any harm. She's been pretty sassy lately, you know."
Pavel smiled. "If you'd like to take a switch, take one," he offered as a good neighbour.
"You know, I probably should," nodded the neighbour. "And once Bára gets fresh with me..."
I offered Pavel a really good switch that wouldn't be broken easily. I certainly wouldn't want to harm his reputation! In a short time, the switch was travelling in the neighbour's hand.
The neighbour entered the family room behind the pub and sat down. His daughter looked up from the dishes.
"Hi, Dad!" she said cheerfully.
"Hi, Barunka," said the neighbour with a smile.
I was looking at the smiling girl. She didn't seem that sassy to me, but human girls were good feigners. I was really looking forward to her squeals when the switch touches her bottom for the first time.
"What are you doing, sitting around here again?" said the neighbour's wife, a portly middle-aged woman who came through the door.
"You're dilly-dallying again," she scolded him. "Do you think that there's not enough work here?"
The neighbour looked at her. "You're right, Bára," he said. "There is certainly enough work here."
Barunka wasn't done with the dishes, but the neighbour sent her to store -- to a store in neghbouring village, for good measure. She thought it strange, but she obeyed. After that, it went down fast. The neighbour took his wife to the bedroom, and then it started. He scolded her for all the trouble she had caused him lately and before she had time to blink, he started to switch her sizeable posterior with my switch. His wife went through a remarkable change throughout the process. First she swore, but soon she started to laugh and run away from him. She even raised her skirts by herself, but it was he who took down her panties. She wasn't switched that much; soon, my switch was lying on the floor while the bed above it started to creak, as happens with the humans.
Next time the neighbour visited Pavel, he had nothing but the words of praise for his switch.
The winter passed and spring came. Marie was now nineteen years old, Petra sixteen. Since the summer, Marie wasn't spanked at all, and Petra only once, but that was in winter when my switches were no good, so Pavel only spanked her with his hand then. I was missing the spankings, but I was also glad that the girls don't need them anymore. That's why it puzzled me when someone suddenly wanted to cut my switches.
It wasn't Pavel. It was some boy, I might have seen him in the quarry, but then again, I might not. He had a flashlight and a knife and he took five long switches from me before going over the fence and disappearing.
What could he want them for?
He hid the switches in his home and next day, he took one of them and started to work. Of course -- it was Easter! He used my switch as a core, and started to weave softer and more flexible willow switches around it, creating a tool that looked like a traditional "pomlázka" but that was no doubt considerably mightier thanks to my power. He distributed rest of the switches to his friends.
On Easter Monday the whole band got together at six AM, in the twilight. And the merriment started.
I don't remember much from that day, my switches were enveloped from all sides so I couldn't see much, but I heard the boys' whooping and the girls' laughing changing into surprised, pained yelps when the pomlázka first hit their bottoms. The boys didn't go overboard, though -- they knew how strong their pomlázkas are. But each hit was strongly felt, even when the pomlázka only scraped the skirt.
At about half past eight, I felt something familiar. I looked through a gap between willow switches -- the boys have reached Pavel's home!
They rang the doorbell and Pavel looked out. Marie and Petra were sitting in the kitchen.
"Easter carol!" shouted the leader of the band, the boy who cut my switches. "Were your daughters good?"
Pavel turned to the girls.
"Well," he said, slowly. "They COULD have been better-behaving. Come in!"
"Dad, you traitor!" squealed Petra. She and Marie sprinted out. They hit the boys in the door and knocked down two of them.
What followed was a furious chase around the garden. I could watch this from my own spot, so I saw very well how the leader of the band caught up with Marie and fell into the grass with her. Her furious resistance gave way to laughter. "You rascal," she said.
"Rascal? I'm doing my Easter duty, ain't I?"
"Right, with stolen switches. I saw you! I happen to be very well acquainted with that flashlight of yours!"
"But you won't tell anyone, or I'll torture you!"
"I'd like to see that..."
And she did, since the leader got up, held her tight and started to work on her bottom with his pomlázka.
Marie was squealing and kicking, she was shouting "No!", "Stop that!", and "Where are you touching me, you rascal?", but it was all through laughter. Meanwhile, the rest of the boys were chasing Petra around the garden and giving her stinging swats with the ends of their pomlázkas.
Marie and the band leader were lying in the grass, he on his back, Marie on her stomach, rubbing her bottom.
"If you want," said the leader, "in the evening I'll go over the fence again and come to you."
"And you'll take that pomlázka with you, I bet, right?"
"Of course! I want you to always be as beautiful as you are now!"
For the rest of the morning the leader's pomlázka just didn't have that enthusiasm as before and most of the work was done by the other boys. In the evening, when the dusk fell, my switch came once again back to me. The band leader and Marie met in the corner of the garden. I heard hand slaps and pomlázka swats, I heard sniffling, laugh, and other human things I had heard before in the neighbour's bedroom. Pavel was sitting in his room, smiling. He knew everything but he was pretending he didn't...
The leader of the band, Pepík, started to appear more and more often in Pavel's home. He was attending the same college as Marie and they were spending lots of time together on weekends -- studying, they claimed, though noone believe that. Marie even started to sometimes spend time at Pepík's home. Petra was still at the high school and her grades were much better this year.
Another year passed and Petra graduated the high school. She went to a college in Prague, different one from Marie's. She now had a boyfriend as well, though Pavel didn't like him as much as he did Pepík and he wasn't too delighted when he visited his house.
Pavel was more and more alone. He was working on his carvings and his garden. I was still growing good switches, but Pavel didn't need them anymore. His daughters were more and more mature.
Then the day came when Marie moved away for good. She and Pepík found a flat in Prague. Petra and her boyfriend started to fight and in the end they broke up. But it didn't take long before Kája, a really nice local boy who loved both plants and animals, started to court her. He was a strong guy who was doing any necessary work around the village, and when they started dating, I sometimes heard him jokingly threating that he'll cut a switch to use on her. But he never actually did it.
Marie and Pepík got married, somewhere in Prague. But I wasn't there. The years passed. In the end, Petra and Kája got married as well. I WAS there, because Kája cut one of my switches and put it into the wedding bouquet. When the wedding was over and he was alone with Petra in her room, I was hoping he will take it out of the bouquet and use it on her bottom, but it was not to be. Petra was all grown up and it seemed that she, unlike Marie, is not at all thrilled with the idea of the switch's sting.
And so my switch heard only more of the human sounds.
Twenty years has passed since the day when Pavel came and saved me from the men with the shovels. He was tending me the whole time, trimmed me so I'd have a nice shape, and I was repaying him with the nuts. Pavel was still living in his room, but the rest of the house was for others, for Petra's and Kája's children -- Jiřinka, Pavlík, Terezka... They were a new generation. Even our village had more technology now, there were computers, cellphones, the Internet everywhere... but plants like me have endured.
One day Kája came to visit me. "You know, hazel," he told me, "I don't know what to do about Jiřina. She's fifteen now and she was her own mind, she got that from her mom. She's bad at school, that she got from me. I'm worried about her, she's snaapping back at me, she's going out with some bad group..."
I rustled and bent one of my switches towards him.
"You think so as well?" he laughed. "I remember being spanked with your switch once, after a swim. That was when I first fell in love with Petra..."
He took out a knife. "I tried to raise my children kindly," he said, "but desperate time calls for desperate measures."
Jiřinka had an unpleasant surprise waiting for her that evening. Petra and Kája scolded her well and told her that things are going to get much stricter from now on. And then they bent her over the kitchen table and Kája started to work my switch on her bottom while Petra was holding her hands.
The circle was complete.
The day after Jiřinka's spanking, her grandfather Pavel took her aside and brought her to me. "Your mom needed an occasional switching as well," he told her. "The important thing is that she always learned from that. Jiřinka, please, learn as well. Your crying was breaking my heart."
Jiřinka started to cry anew. She hugged her grandfather and for a long time they were standing there, holding each other.
It happened in the autumn. Petra and Kája were working, children were in school.
Pavel came out in the garden and started to gather nuts from my branches and from the ground. I always had a lot of them just for him and I tried to defend them from birds and squirrels. Even his daughters and grandchildren never found as many nuts as Pavel.
I saw that he was pale. He didn't look good. Suddenly, he cried out, staggered and caught hold of one of my stronger branches. It broke.
Pavel fell on the ground and lied still. A nut rolled from his lifelless hand.
When his family came home, it was already too late.
Jiřinka took crying Petra home. Kája bent over and tooked Pavel's nut from the ground.
At Pavel's funeral, like at Petra's wedding, I had a switch in the bouquet. Kája put it there. It was shedding sap the whole time. I never realized how short is the human life. We live as long as there is a little piece of life in us. Old branches and roots die, but new ones are growing all the time.
Pavel was gone and I could never see him again.
Kája stopped by me after the funeral.
"I know you were fond of him," he said. "I can see many things others don't."
He took a nut from his pocket. He made a socket by the path, close to me, and put the nut inside.
"It might take a while," he told me. "But I believe he won't forget about you."
In the spring, a young hazel switch appeared by the path.
"What's happening?" it asked, alarmed, when the sun first touched its leaves. "Where am I?"
"Welcome, Pavel," I told him. "I'm Hazel, and from now on we're always going to be together..."
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|Re: Hazel (an older story)||Steffy||19:34:25 04/24/17 Mon|
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