I remember....being called "Tildy" and working on a small estate somewhere in Europe--feels like Germany/Austria, though I've never been there. Possibly the 1300s.
Tildy's story, as far as I can figure it out:
When I was about 9, the low-ranking lord who owned/held the estate rode by one day and spoke to me while I was in the kitchen garden; a few days later when the manager brought a cart for the manor's share of whatever we'd been raising (veggies mostly, and a couple of chickens that time) I was sent with the produce.
Scared? Of course I was scared! My parents hadn't even TOLD me I was going to be leaving! Maybe with 6 kids it just slipped their minds?
Well, at the manor, the cart was pulled around to the kitchen entrance and the hens taken to the coop, the produce taken to the cook for disposition....and a maid came and took me to a fairly big room with a bed, a chest, a couple of hooks on the wall, a candlestand, a small three-legged stool, an actual RUG...!!!! and told me to wait there.
Dirty little girl, hauled out of the henyard to go to the Manor...what was I SUPPOSED to do, fer gossakes? So I looked around, found a broom and an old cloth, and cleaned the room as far as I could reach. Eventually, as the day wore on and things were as tidy as I could make them, I got bored but was afraid to leave the room. What if the Lady whose room it was came and I was gone? I'd be in trouble for sure. I curled up on the floor as the sun went down and slept.
The housekeeper found me there the next morning. Oddly enough, I wasn't in trouble. I was somewhat hungry, and I was cold from sleeping on the floor without a blanket, and still dirty, but remember that was fairly normal for the time. Next thing I know, I have a chunk of sausage in a roll in one hand and a mug of --ale?--anyhow, whatever the usual was. Sure wasn't juice or milk. THEN I got a BATH. With SOAP--soft, squishy soap, same stuff got used for shampoo. Then my hair was greased (instead of conditioner) and combed and braided, and I got new clothes! I figured I was about to start work, but the clothes were better than the kitchen maids were wearing, as good as the house maids even. Then back to the housekeeper.
I was getting "lessons", she said. Lessons in how the house was run. I'd work in each area for a time -- at least a week -- but I would also go to her office each day to tell what I was learning and if I had questions as to why something was done in such a way, I was to ask. The maid that had taken me from the kitchen to Housekeeper's office was waiting when I left and took me upstairs to begin.
About six months later, I found out what was going on. Sir was in Housekeeper's office when I went in for my "discussion" and I was told to remain when I tried to excuse myself and wait in the hall...we had the usual talk (with me very nervous and stiff) and Sir asked Housekeeper, "Think she's ready?" "Yes, she's sure to know something's up. Will you tell her, Sir, or shall I?"
Well yes, I did know something was going on...but no real clue what it was. Until then I'd been treated basically as a maid-of-all-work (as far as I could tell, what did I know?), but I knew I had a better sleeping room and slightly better clothing than most of the maids. The room I'd been put in my first day was for my use, in fact.
So Sir told me I was "going to school." The next day the priest for the estate started trying to teach me to read, then to write. When I was "adequate" at that, I started on sums from the Housekeeper's accounts. I was given a set of problems such as how much flour and eggs it would take to feed so many people, how much straw for the floors...and Housekeeper's lessons changed a bit also--now it was "Why do we do this? What herbs would be good for that?"
Soon after my first moonblood, I was told why I was being given these lessons and why I'd been brought to the manor in the first place. I was to be married to the Lord's son. I didn't remember ever seeing him, he'd been fostered out and then away at school...by this time I was probably 12, and had been at the manor 3 summers. I'd gone with the manager several times to collect the rents (produce, wood, wool...whatever was grown or gathered on the estate) and seen my parents these times. They seemed happy to know I was well. They seemed happier that their rents were less since I'd been taken to the Manor. Couldn't grudge them, they still had 4 children (one--littlest--had died of a fever in the first year I was gone).
So, eventually, about 2 years after that and 5 summers after I left my family, the Lord's heir took me to wife. He was 17 to my 14, and still away most of the time, but when he was home he was unfailingly courteous and I was fairly intimidated by the difference in our stations. (Marry for love? Right. In the minstrel tales.) We did well together, and eventually I got over the timidity. We had sons and daughters, the estate was small but prosperous, we missed out on any wars that might have been going on, and basically died of old age as had his father.
Parts of this I dreamed, parts I remembered at various times in certain situations, parts someone else told me about and it fit. Do I believe I was Tildy? *shrug* Dunno. Maybe. It's a good story, though, either way.