In the Beginning
In The Beginning
Late spring 131 BC
Erlin was rather pleased, even with the long winter and spring coming late their little village had survived well, with just two of the oldest dieing, and that had been late in the winter. Now with the spring sun finally warm on his back and four fat fish to break their morning fast he was looking forward to what the day would bring.
Gana turned as the curtain across the doorway was pulled aside, a smile greeted her husband standing there swinging a brace of fresh caught trout.
“The fish were dancing out of the water this morning, desperate and wanting to make a meal for us they were.”
“I’m glad about that, now go and clean them, and not just outside the door. Then when you come back I have something to tell you.”
With a laugh her husband threw the gutted trout back through the entrance before he turned to pull his wife towards him. Knowing that even after ten years of childless marriage he still wanted her.
It was just a quick kiss from his wife before she pushed him back. Knowing that he knew she had missed two bleeds; and that at her age of thirty winters he would also know it could mean their chance of children had gone and that he could reject her and take another wife. Now she looked up into his face knowing what she must to tell and him now to put his mind at rest.
“Erlin, you know I’ve.” Erlin stopped her with a finger to her lips and then a kiss before saying.
“I know what you’re thinking, and no I have no intention of throwing you out or taking another wife. I love you and always will so say nothing more about it. Put it right out of your head.”
“Erlin, after you left this morning I was sick.”
“Your not ill are you?” Gana looked up into his startlingly blue eyes, now shaded with worry.
“No Erlin not ill, just sick, Erlin you know what that means? Erlin my love, I think you’re going to be a father.” There was a moment of shock followed by delight as Gana was swept of her feet.
Year end 151 BC
It was cold outside and the skin across the door did little to keep the weather out. Erlin shivered as he lay awake in the dark, He had woken with a start and the memory of a strange dream vivid in his memory. Even now though it was almost a year ago, every detail still remained fresh in his memory. His wife lying awake uncomfortable in her late pregnancy stirred and reached out to ask him.
“Are you awake?”
“Yes I can’t sleep.”
“Yes and no, I keep thinking about a dream I had.”
“It was long ago, just before you were with child.”
“Tell me any way; get it off your mind.”
So wrapped in their furs, and with only the dull red glow from the banked fire to see by, he told his wife.
“Very well, if you want I will. I was with ancient man, or was it that he just looked that way. I don’t know how but we were both looking down on a beautiful meadow of flowers that stretched as far as I could see. I can remember it was so beautiful that I turned all around to see all of it, and the sky.
The sky was an immense rainbow of bright colour, and as I looked up at the sky I saw this bird circling the two of us lower and lower. It was a hawk and I knew it was a Merlin like the bird that chief had who came out hunting with us a few years ago. And then it dived and the old man had gone and it was you who was by my side; and the hawk, well it just went into you. It woke me up it was so vivid I can still remember every detail”
“That was a strange dream, you aught to tell the old woman about it. People say she’s good at that sort of thing.”
“Maybe I will, in the morning.”
“For some of us it’s already morning, I have the fire to build up, and you need to get the water.”
Now that the idea had been put in his head he felt he had to see old woman but by late morning Erlin had forgotten all about the old woman
It was three days later when the old one seeing him alone came out of the old brush wood hut that she lived in to stop him saying.
“Erlin, I want a word with you, come, come inside.” Erlin looking at the tattered hide covering the door and having heard tales of what went off inside reluctantly followed her.
Inside was dark, the only light coming from the holes in the hide covering the door and the glowing embers of the fire in the central pit. Yet apart from the smell of herbs it was not unpleasant, the interior felt….just lived in.
“Sit.” She said as in the darkness she pointed at what turned out to be the stump of a tree. “I’ve seen the looks you give Gana. You fear for her and that I can understand, Gana is old for a first.” Erlin started to answer but a waved hand silenced him
“Old I say but healthy. She doesn’t ail much. She fought of the sickness two years ago better than many of the younger ones. She doesn’t suffer from the ache, either in the muscles or joints she’s young for her years.
Now I’ve heard what some of the younger woman are saying, that she is too old, that she will die. Well I don’t believe that. Her time has gone well with very little sickness, and no swelling of the ankles or legs. My belief is this will be a normal birth possibly even an easy birth for a first. If you want a health son; treat her gently until the birth is over, and if it’s the son you long for….treat her like, well like a god.”
“They say you’re the best.
“I am the best.”
“Old mother, if my wife and child are as you say I will swear you are a goddess. How will I ever be able to pay you?” There was a dry chuckle in the dark.
“A little game or a trout occasionally would be appreciated, now go and remember what I have said.”
It was as Erlin was getting to his feet that he remembered the dream. Hesitantly he said.
“Old one I had a dream”
“A dream, a dream about what. Tell me.” The old one listened in silence and then sat thinking. Finally she spoke, not in her normal voice but a deeper more robust voice.
“It is an omen; the child will be a boy, a boy born to be a special. To grow to be a man known by the name of the bird that gave him life, Merlin. Merlin shall be his name.” the old one slumped forward mumbling.
“Go, go I need peace and rest, I am tired so go.”
It was a scramble out of the hut leaving Erlin both shaken and disturbed as he thought. ‘The old one has said a boy to be named Merlin, but would Gana agree. All these years I have loved her without child and now, if it was a boy, is it my right to name the child as I wish. Has Gana a right to name the child.’
That night wrapped in their furs Erlin said.
“I saw the old one today.” Interested, Gana turned to face him.
”You told her about that dream didn’t you, what did she say?”
“She said it would be a boy, a special boy. Gana, if it is a boy would you mind if we called him Merlin?” Gana looked up her eyes wide and glinting in the fire light. “
“Why are you looking at me like that?
“No reason. Yes I think it’s a wonderful name. Merlin, yes Merlin. The older women all say it’s a boy, how they can tell I don’t know. The old one has said she will be with me when my time comes. The mothers, all of them even the older ones say she’s the best for a birthing.
The year had turned but the weather hadn’t. Gana had just struggled to her feet to start the day’s first meal when she stopped looking down at the rapidly spreading damp on the earthen floor.
“Erlin I think I need the old one.” Her words brought her husband upright in the furs and saying.
“Yes I think it’s time.” Erlin hardly had time to pull a fur around his shoulders before the skin across the door was pulled aide and the old one pushed her way in.
“I’m glad to see you ready for going out. No out, and don’t come back until I call you. Go, go. Go hunting Fish, game anything to cook and eat and lots of it.”
There was no sun, clouds covered the sky and by the time there was enough light for hunting Erlin had reached the river.
“To early for fishing.” He murmured. “But the rabbits should be out, and possibly a bird or two.
Erlin looked up at the where the sun now high in the sky could just be seen through the clouds. He had totalled up the fish, three hands full, that and more than a hand of rabbits and a hand of partridge, yes he thought.
“That should be enough for the old one.” It was a heavy load and by the time the first hut in the village was reached he was glad to hand some of his load to the lads who had come to meet him.
“You’re just in time.” The youngest one squeaked excitedly. “The old one has just come out and sent us to find you.” The fish rabbits and were thrust into willing hands, then while still carrying the partridge he ran. Only to be stopped at the door by the old one saying.
“Leave them out here, Gana is much tired so don’t excite her, be gentle.”
“Is it a boy?”
“That is for your woman to tell.” He didn’t wait for more. Tugging aside the skin he was in and blinking in the dark looking for his wife. From the dark a quiet voice reached his ears.
“Come and see Merlin, your son.”
If you would like more of the England of Lady Celina Knight of the church just ask as I have some more, or you can search Google for Lady Celina Knight of the church.