Chapter 14: Friendly Gossip

Thort was strong and willing to work morning to dusk. He rose in the morning before Styg and milked the grom and dracs, fed the pups. When Styg came to the barn, Thort was pulling the plow to the door and loading it into the flat-bed wagon. He hitched up one of the dracs to the wagon. Styg hopped up onto the driver’s seat and Thort hopped up to take his place beside him. The two of them together plowed more rows by lunch time than Styg had ever done by himself in three days.

Evanor was pretty much the same as Thort. She rose with him and hurried over to the kitchen to light the stove and hearth fires. Evanor baked fresh rolls in the hearth, soft-boiled eggs, and cooked hot gorm links for Styg and his wife’s breakfast. The tantalizing smells of Evanor’s cooking wafted up the stairs of Styg’s house, inviting the older couple to get up and come down to eat. At first Styg’s wife, her name was Marza, was suspicious of Evanor’s intentions, but she was quickly won over by Evanor’s good cooking and her pleasant disposition. Evanor knew she had won the battle when Marza told her her name.

At lunch time, Evanor suggested she prepare a lunch basket for “the men”. She offered to take it out to the field where Styg and Thort were working. On her way to the field she’d stop by the barn and leave something to eat for Lem at the barn if he were playing with the animals. After awhile Marza suggested Lem could sit in the kitchen by the hearth and play with his toy soldiers.

Between meals, Evanor made the beds, swept the floors and stairs, dusted the furniture, and washed and hung the laundry. Marza washed and dried the cooking and eating utensils after meals. She said it was because she’d always pulled her own weight and she wasn’t about to stop now, but the real reason was that she still didn’t quite trust Evanor to clean the glasses and dishes like she did without breaking something. Little by little that changed too and Marza let Evanor take over that task as well.

Evanor prepared the supper. When the men came home from the fields, Styg would wash up and change his clothes in the house upstairs and Thort would do the same in the barn. He’d come back with Lem to the kitchen. Marza set the dining room table for Styg and brought in the food Evanor had prepared. Thort and Lem sat at the kitchen with Evanor waiting for Marza to sit down with Styg.

Styg saw the two place settings on the table and called into the kitchen for Thort, Evanor, and little Lem to bring their plates and cups and eat with them in the dining room. From that day onward Styg and his wife shared their meals with Thort’s family.

One evening at the dinner table, Styg mentioned to Thort that he had heard of another family with a blue child, three days distant from them. He heard they were quiet people, minded their own business, and kept to themselves. Styg said that he had never actually seen them himself. He’d just heard talk about them, that’s all. Thort and Evanor glanced at each other quickly and then back down at the food on their plates. Lem’s ears perked up. He knew he wasn’t normal like other children. He’d always thought he was the only living blue child in the world. Lem waited expectantly for Styg to say more, but he had already gone on to another subject that didn’t interest him nearly as much. They were getting low on plant seed and fertilizer. They also needed some wiring to mend the fences in the field by the creek.

Styg would figure out what to do in the morning.

 

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

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Filed under Prose, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Stories and Novels

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