The Leeuwentots mountains are to the west of the river, rising to a great height and lording over the surrounding country.
At the foot of these mountains was the sleepy town of Leeuwenstad. Within the sleepy town there lived a scholar whose name was Toon Van Leeuwen.
He was a wise man and respected by many people.
His house was simple, it was comfortable but not luxurious.
His food was always plainly cooked.
His door was always open and he shared whatever he had with anyone who came along, friend or stranger.
One day he decided to go to the top of the mountain.
He liked to be alone at times and he had discovered a cave somewhere near the top.
He took with him some food and set out early in the morning.
He had not gone very far when he met a friend.
“Good Morning, what brings you out so early ?” his friend asked.
“I am going to the top of the mountain” answered Toon.
“May God guide your footsteps” said his friend “It is a long journey and be careful on the way, the area is frequented by dark spirits”
“Yes I know , but I will not be harmed”
And so they parted and Toon went on his way. He was not worried about the dark spirits although of course he knew that such creatures existed and that they may be good or evil by nature.
So he went on his way and reached the shelter of the cave just before sunset. Neither dreams nor the dark spirits disturbed his sleep.
Next morning when he woke up he sensed a brighter than usual light near the mouth of the cave.
He stepped out and he was enchanted by the sight that met his eyes.
There before him was the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen, her blonde hair loose around her shoulders, her skin shining in the light of the rising sun.
She had her back towards him and Toon crept quietly nearer to her and hid behind a large stone. Then he noticed something near his feet. He picked it up and discovered that it was a diamond robe. It was made up of thousands of very tiny diamonds. The diamonds were intricately linked to each other by some sort of invisible setting. He stood there holding it, not moving, totally mesmerised by what was happening.
The girl sensed the presence of Toon, she turned suddenly and saw that he was holding her diamond robe.
“Oh stranger, please give me back my diamond robe, for without it I shall surely die” cried the girl.
“Ah no, beautiful stranger, first tell me who you are and what are you doing here” replied Toon.
“I am the daughter of the mountain spirit, I come here every morning at dawn to replenish myself, please return my diamond robe, I cannot fly back to my friends without it ” implored the beautiful girl.
“I will return you the diamond robe only on one condition, you must promise to marry me” said Toon.
She sighed “But I live in the sky and in the clouds, I could never bring you happiness”
“But I will find no happiness without you, O beautiful stranger please come with me and let us grow old together, I will love you even you will not be so beautiful, I will love you no matter what” pleaded Toon
Finally she relented, he returned her diamond robe and she followed him back to his simple house in the sleepy town of Leeuwenstad. They were married a few days later and at the wedding all Toon’s friends were astonished when they glimpsed at the bride and saw how beautiful she was.
Years passed and they were happy together. They had 2 daughters, both very beautiful and the envy of their neighbours. Toon had hid her diamond robe away from her, afraid that if he destroyed it, it would harm her and at the same time afraid that if she found it she would fly away.
But when she was alone, the daughter of the mountain spirit still longed for her wings, for her friends, for the sky and for the mountain. For although she loved her daughters and her husband she could not be truly happy and she therefore hid her unhappiness from them.
Then one day when the girls were playing in a corner of the house normally forbidden to them they chanced upon a shimmering object, very thin but very strong, it seemed like a diamond robe. They ran quickly and in great excitement showed it to their mother. The surprised mother scarcely knew what to say, she kissed the girls again and again and sent them away to play.
Alone, she looked once more at the house and the children playing in the distance, then she wore the diamond robe and she was gone.
When Toon returned in the evening he sensed something wrong immediately and realised that she had flown away. He confessed everything to his daughters and together they wept.
The girl never returned, but sometimes Toon and the girls would notice a sparkle in the sky as if someone was trying to say something but did not dare to, afraid of being drawn back into the world of humans.
The Diamond Robe...