Erebus the black ogre lived alone at the edge of the forest. The villagers were afraid of him because, as the elders said, “Black ogres bring misfortune to anyone who looks at them.” For this reason, Erebus, too, hated the humans.
One evening, as Erebus hunted for his dinner, he saw a very beautiful maiden walking alone in the forest. He followed the maiden and noticed that she constantly bumped into trees and bushes. Erebus thought it would be nice to give her a scare, but as he came near she asked: “Who’s there?”
“You shouldn’t be here,” Erebus said. “It’s not safe.”
“Thank goodness! I’m lost. Please help me.”
“I can’t. I’m not what you think I am.”
“Why? Your voice sounds nice. I think you’re nice.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are.”
She smiled and reached out for Erebus’s hand, Erebus touched her thinking that the maiden would be frightened by his hairy hands, but the maiden smiled and said: “Your hands are warm.”
That was the first time someone talked to him, the first time someone thought that he was nice, the first time someone was not afraid of him. Erebus felt happy and decided to help the maiden. The maiden talked about the village, about the castle, about man, and for the first time the ogre learned about a human’s heart.
When he woke up the next morning, Erebus noticed that the maiden was no longer by his side. He rushed outside his house and saw the maiden with the king’s soldiers.
“Princess, please come with us!” they cried. “Let us go back to the castle, the villagers and your parents are worried, it is dangerous here.”
A princess! If only he knew, Erebus thought.
“But, I haven’t said goodbye to my friend.”
“You do not know him princess! He’s a black ogre! He will bring misfortune to you, and to our Kingdom!”
“No, he is nice! He took care of me.”
“No princess! He deceived you!”
Erebus got angry. He charged towards the guards and knocked them over. The maiden heard everything and was frightened. Erebus tried to approach her, but she started to cry.
Erebus saw how afraid the princess was. He remembered that he was an ogre. Ogres and princesses did not belong together. He ran away and hid in a cave, and he decided to never see the maiden again. He fell asleep and dreamt of the maiden’s smile.
Erebus awoke to the sound of screams outside the cave.
“Please help!” He knew the voice. It was the princess’. He rushed outside and saw her being attacked by a Jabberwocky. Erebus fought against the monster and saved the maiden.
“You should go,” he said, “Didn’t you know you’ll be cursed if you look at an ogre?”
“I can’t be cursed,” the princess said. “I’m blind. And…it’s actually the first time that I’m happy to be blind.”
Erebus smiled and said: “Thank you, princess.” He held out his hand. “My name is Erebus.”
“Nice to meet you Erebus. Please take care of me from now on.”
Queenie Dorothy Askali is working towards her AB in English at Ateneo de Davao University.