It had been about a year since I had moved to the village. After my grandfather died, his old farm had fallen into disrepair. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to take the time to restore it.

The idea initially was to restore the farm, perhaps sell it, and then move back into the city… but when I looked at my young wife and our child, all I could think about was how plans change.

"I was just speaking to my father last night." Maria told me, over breakfast. "The people from Lon Lon Ranch are coming by."

"Who?"

She smiled at me. Sometimes she forgot that I had only been living here a year.

"The neighboring province of Hyrule is known for its incredible milk." She said. "And the best milk in the country comes from Lon Lon Ranch."

"Why are they coming here?"

"Well, the economy there crashed seven years ago… there was some kind of political uprising with their monarchy… so they're only just now recovering. They've only just now started exporting their prized cows again."

"We should buy one."

Maria smiled at me again. I had spent the past year expanding my farm to include animals, and had worked very hard to be competitive with Ann's family in that regard.

"You should talk to Ann about it." She encouraged me. "She would know more about it than most people."

After I had done my chores for the day, and handed my wife the things that would become our dinner, I made my way off to the ranch. The first thing I saw was my friend Cliff. He turned to look at me, and I could see that he had a black eye.

"Again?" I asked, a little bit befuddled.

"Yeah." He said gruffly. Apparently he and Ann kept getting into fights late into the night. I was friends with both of them, but even I had no idea what went on behind closed doors. "You here about the Lon Lon Ranch people?"

"Yeah."

"They're already here." He told me. "They were going to drop by your farm to visit you, but-"

"Hey!"

We turned around. Ann was waving wildly at us energetically. She ran over to us, bouncing on her heels. She threw herself at her husband, who caught her in mid-air and twirled her around.

My attention, however, was on the girl right behind her. She was about our age, with flowing red hair and a cheery expression.

"Oh, hello." She said. "You're from that farm… I'm Malon."

We shook hands. I could tell at a glance that, like Ann, she had been raised on the farm. She had the same kind of air about her, and that fact became apparent as she began questioning me on my farm and my animals.

"Ann tells me you've taken to farming really well." She said. "A lot of people these days won't do it. They'd rather live in the city."

"I was made for it." I answered her, truthfully. She nodded sagely, eyeing me.

"I can tell." She said. "Building up a ranch in a year is quite the challenge. My father could never have done it…"

She gestured to the side of Ann's barn. To my shock a large mustached man was lying against the building, snoozing gently.

"He can sleep anywhere." Malon told me, noting my shocked expression. "You'll probably be dealing with me during our transaction… I hope to do good business with you."

She was a little bit young to be running the ranch on her own. I wondered what her story was.

I bid my good-byes to my friends and to Malon as I made my way back to town. I spent some time fishing, and then made my way to the bar once it got dark.

To my surprise, the large man that I had seen earlier that day was wide awake, drinking heavily.

"Hey." He slurred, as I moved in to sit behind him. "The drinks here are something else…"

He hiccuped slightly, and swayed. He was a drunk, rather like Gotz, but a happy drunk. I spent an hour or so with him talking to him about animals, his ranch, and his daughter.

"She needs to be married, you know." He told me. "I'm not going to be around forever… I'd like someone to take care of things…. When I'm gone…"

He hiccuped slightly, and then swayed.

"The only boy who ever caught her eye… was that Link fella. He was a real nice kid. Always coming by the ranch…. Playing with the horses. Malon even taught him her Mother's song."

None of this meant anything to me.

"She has her heart set on him." He said. "Especially after what he did for the Ranch."

He seemed to have the impression I already knew what he was talking about, because he continued speaking. "He was a good kid… I knew he would take good care of her… better than I would, anyway…."

He was still drinking when I left. I unfortunately had the distinct impression he would keep doing so until he passed out. I found myself worrying for Malon as I returned home to my wife, and relayed the information.

"We don't know these people." She said softly. "We shouldn't judge them." There was some wisdom in that, I was sure, but I couldn't help but be concerned. We went to bed and fell asleep.

The next day Malon, accompanied by her father, came by on a horse and wagon.

"We went ahead and placed the cow in your barn for you." Malon said cheerfully at the reins. Her father was snoring in the cart. "Be sure to write us and let us know how it's getting on… I want to make Lon Lon Ranch the best ranch in Hyrule."

She gave one last wave.

"See you next season!"

And then she was gone.

The season went by in what felt like a flash. Maria wrote to Malon regularly, and we were told that so did Ann. The cow grew into a fine young thing, and my farm continued to expand.

When the season ended, we were told that Malon would return just in time for the Horse Race.

"She says she'll beat the socks off of you and Gray." Ann teased. Her brother, Gray, silently stacked some hay for the horses.

"Won't be hard for him to beat you." Popuri told me, as she kicked her legs back and forth on a stool. "My husband, on the other hand…"

Gray gave a small smile.

The day of the race. Malon arrived that very day, exhausted and shivering.

"We were rained on." She complained to me, shaking her head. "I'd love to race, but we haven't had time to prepare-"

"Maybe next time." I told her gently. She nodded.

"Will the racers take their positions!"

Malon took a glance at the scorecard, registering the names of the horses that would be participating. She frowned. "Epona…?"

I stepped down the stairs towards the racetrack and grabbed my horse. I glanced to my right, and noticed Gary on his horse. He paid me no mind. Instead he was carefully watching another racer.

It was the most majestic horse I had ever seen: It was tall and powerful and well groomed. I had not been raising horses long, but I could tell it was an exceptional horse.

Its rider was a young man with wild blonde hair and dressed all in green. He paid us no mind as he patted the horse, gently whispering into its ear.

"On your marks-"

The gun went off. The race as not even close. The rider in green tore past us both and down the track. Gray steeled himself, and pushed his horse as hard as he could. But in the end it was not even a close second. And I, in my humbleness, took an even more distant third.

The rider had not even come to a full stop when Malon stepped down to speak with him, her ears blazing.

"That's my horse!" She stopped, her breath hitching in her throat, as the man in green turned to look at her.

"It's you…" She murmured. "Isn't it…"

"And the winner of this year's race is…. Link! And his horse, Epona!"

The champions were led off to be awarded their medals. Malon stared after them, her expression blank. I got off my horse to go speak with her. And to my very great surprise, Gray followed me.

"Never seen anyone ride like that." Gray said gruffly, as we approached her.

Malon stilled seemed to be in shock. She was still staring at the rider, eyes wide.

"It's him…" She murmured. "It's Link…"

She seemed completely out of sorts. I had to snap her out of it.

"You said that was your horse?"

"It was." She murmured. "I-"

The flash of an idea crossed her mind. She crossed her arms in front of her throat, raised her head high, and began to sing.

For a brief couple of seconds, everything around the track stopped. Everyone, including the horse and rider, stopped to stare at the singing girl. And soon enough, the horse Epona turned around, and began walking back towards her.

Malon stopped singing as she looked up the horse.

"Hello Epona." She said softly, as she patted her nose. "It has been too long."

She looked up at the rider.

"And you." She said, her voice a little harsh. "Have some explaining to do."

The rider said nothing.

Gray and I had never spoken so much in our lives as we bonded over our humiliating loss to the man in green. Both of our wives were fed up with the endless horse talk, and ended up moving their own conversation to our kitchen.

"He's a natural." Gray remarked. "And the horse… the horse is the best I've ever seen."

"Malon says she raised it."

"Did she?" A spark of interest passed through his eyes. "I'll have to have her raise my next horse then."

Popuri came back into the sitting room, rubbing her eyes tiredly.

"I'm tired." She complained. "I want to go HOME."

Gray wordlessly stood up and picked her up off her feet. She lay her head on his shoulder and glanced at me.

"Next time." She told me. "Let's talk about something else… Okay?"

"Agreed." Maria said, smiling silently, as she stepped out from the kitchen. "Good night, both of you."

When our friends had left, we tended to the baby and then went to sleep ourselves.

It was not often that I was awakened during the night. For a brief moment I feared we were in a middle of another hurricane or earthquake, but it was nothing like that. A beautiful, melodious sound was reverberating through our house. I got out of bed, leaving my wife behind, and left to go investigate.

Just outside our property, sitting in the shadow of a tree, was the man in green. He was playing a blue instrument that I recognized instantly as one of our ocarinas. He did not look up as I sat down next to him.

"And then, he spoke:

"Can I help you?"

"You woke me up." I told him.

"I'm sorry." He apologized. "I didn't think anyone lived near here…"

It really was rather far. I wondered whether it had really been his music that had woken him up after all.

"How do you know Malon?" I asked.

"She's a friend." He said softly. "A very good friend."

"How good?"

He smiled.

"All friends are good." He said.

"She seemed angry with you." I noted.

"Yes." He said slowly. "She was."

He raised the Ocarina to his lips and continued playing. I sat in silence and listened to him play. After a moment he stopped.

"I had some growing up to do." He said slowly. "But now that seven years have passed I don't know how to pick things back up where we left off. I suppose most people get married and have children… But for us I'm not sure that is possible."

"Why not?"

He smiled at me serenely. "It is difficult to explain. It would take a full seven years to tell that story." He began to play again. He was very good, I realized in the haze, as the same song that Malon had sung for us on the horse track rose up from the ocarina.

And then, I spoke.

"When I married my wife." I said. "It felt a bold, dangerous thing to do. I wasn't sure what it would be like, or whether we would be happy or not. But throughout our marriage I've realized just how essential she is to my happiness."

The man in green lowered the Ocarina. It wasn't one of ours, I realized in surprise, as I took notice of the Golden Triangles emblazoned on the mouthpiece. It had come from Hyrule.

"If you want to marry her, do it." I said. "You need to stop making excuses for yourself."

The man looked at me. I looked back.

"Perhaps." He said slowly. "You are right."

He was still playing his Ocarina when the sun began to rise.

"I said yes!" Malon said, beaming at Ann, as she brought her in for a big hug.

"Well.. wow… Congratulations!" Ann said, a little bemused. Malon seemed to be walking on air, but no one present seemed to understand the situation as well as I did. She came to me, smiling.

"It's all because of you, isn't it?" She asked. "Thank you."

And she gave me a hug too.

That day she left on her wagon, the man in green in tow, she bid me farewell just as she had the year before.

"We'll be coming back to Ordon every season for sure." She said. "Who knows? Maybe we'll make the move permanent."

For the first time, I saw the man in green smile.

"That might be fun." He said.

"We'll be looking forward to seeing you." I said. "Please, keep writing."

"And you take care of yourselves." Malon said, beaming. "Until next time!"

And then they were gone for the season. Maria and I stood and waved them off with the others, and I commented to Maria:

"I think there was a lot more going on here than we understood."

She smiled at me.

"Not every good story needs to be told!" My wife the bookworm told me. And I believed her.