When Michal, daughter of Saul, first sees David, she falls in love at once. But her father's enmity and greed stand between her and the man she longs for. When David is forced to flee, her life changes forever - but what will happen when he returns to claim her?
I never knew how much love could destroy you or how seeking it could
make it turn to hate. For love is like a lion. Beautiful and dangerous.
I should not have allowed myself ever to love, but all who looked on
David wanted him. Even my brother, Jonathan, although for him perhaps it
lasted longer than such things should. For David was dark, with limbs
like honey taken fresh from the bee, and eyes which flashed with unknown
I first saw him after the slaying of the Philistines when the women were
dancing his victory, although I had already heard of his deeds. Who had
not? Being considered too young for the sight of a man, my sister,
Merab, and I were watching from a part of the house where my father
couldn't see us, giggling at the people's antics.
'Look,' she whispered as the procession neared where we stood at the
upper window. 'Look at how angry our father is.'
I stared at Saul's grim features. 'Why isn't he smiling? The Philistines
are beaten, aren't they?'
'Silly girl,' Merab pinched me but I didn't slap her. I wanted to hear
her explanation. 'Don't you listen to court gossip? David, the boy our
father bought to play the lyre for him, killed Goliath while Saul just
looked on. Come on, let's go and see.'
Before I could stop her, Merab had darted away like a slave girl from
her master. Heart pounding, I followed her, frightened that people might
see us. If my father found out, he would beat her, and me too. He hated
such behaviour, especially in a king's daughters. In the street, the
singing and the hot stench of horses were overwhelming. My sister was
already two houses along and pushing her way through the laughing crowds.
'Merab!' She didn't hear me. My voice was lost in the songs. Only
Paltiel, Laish's son, glanced in my direction and smiled. Ignoring him,
I ran after Merab. I kept glimpsing her royal robe, but I only caught up
when she was level with my father's horse.
That was when I heard her scream.
Peering between dogs and beggar women, I saw the stallion of the man
behind Saul rear up, snorting its anger onto the dusty wind, wild hooves
flailing as Merab screamed again. My father turned round, and David -
for it was he - pulled his horse away from my sister and rode between
her and the king. Pushing nearer, I could see Saul's face crimson with
the beginning of one of his rages.
'Who dares disturb our victory procession?' he said.
'No-one, my king. Just a simple beggar girl,' David replied and then
gave my sister a gentle push. 'Go!'
As he looked up, his eyes caught mine, and something in my world
shifted. The next second Merab grabbed my hand and the two of us ran
like the deer runs from the hunter. Away from the dancing crowds and
danger, and back into the safety of the court.
That was how I, Michal daughter of Saul, fell in love.
He filled all my dreams. If I could have him, I thought, then I would be
happy. I wouldn't care about his background. I loved him. And if I could
be married, then I would not have to live with my father, whose powerful
touch destroyed all.
Merab, of course, laughed at my desires, which she teased out of me one
day as we sat in the courtyard at our weaving. 'He is no nobleman, not
like Laish. Just a shepherd boy from the Bethlehem hills. Though he is
brave, how can you look at him? Our father would never allow it!
Besides, you are too young to take a husband.'
Indeed, it was nearer her time for mating than mine. But I could not
stop my dreams. So I bent my head over my work, losing myself in the
flow of the threads and the sun's dazzle, and ignored her cruelty.
But soon Merab was laughing no longer.