Ilja and Anja

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PERPLEX CITY, SEASON TWO
A million stories, yet to be told


Ilja and Anja, the ghost children, from the War, stories originating in 1702 (35 BC).

Frog-catcher

Ilja and Anja passed through the reeds of the swamp, hand in hand, searching for a home and a family. One day, they discovered they had become terrible lost amond the reeds and were unable to return to the dryer lands from which they had come. The swamp was dank and teeming with eels and biting insects, and the children suffered mightily.

They soon discovered a sparkle beneath the muddy waters, and Anja bent to retrieve a precious gemstone. 'It is of no use to us,' said Ilja. 'We can neither eat it nor will it keep us warm and dry.' But Anja slipped the gemstone into her pocket, for she knew it might someday be useful.

Not long after, the children came upon a frog-catcher in her shallow boat. The frog-catcher was cursing the heavens and pushing aside the reeds, as though she had lost something of great significance to her. Ilja rightly presumed that the frog-catcher had lost the precious gemstone that Anja carried in her pocket.

'Mistress Frog-Catcher, we believe we have that which you have lost,' Ilja told her. 'We would happily return it to you, but in exchange, we beg that you take us in your boat to the edge of the swamp.'

The frog-catcher readily agreed to this exchange, a wide smile upon her face. 'First, let me be sure you have what I have lost,' she said, and held her hand out for the precious gemstone. But once Anja had placed it in her hand, the frog-catcher pushed away with her pole, saying only, 'Thieving orphans, I owe you nothing.'

Little Anja wept; and Ilja called after the frog-catcher and bade her most bitterly: 'Remember, now, that you did not keep your word, lest you someday rely on the word of another.' Then Ilja and Anja again passed through the reeds of the swamp, hand in hand, sorrowful as ever, seeking a home and a family to replace what they had lost.