Season of Harvest

The old women awoke to the sound of wood being put on the fire. She rose from bed and instinctively called her son’s name to ask if he had already started the morning meal but the man who answered was not her son, but rather his friend. Of course it wasn’t her son, he had fallen in battle months ago, that same battle had claimed this young man’s brother as well. The young man had begun caring for her ever since as she had no more living family left. The old woman felt her heart break for him. At her age, death was an old friend who had taken many of her loved ones but she could tell that this was not something the man was not familiar with yet. She knew he was only caring for her out of guilt that he could not protect his brother or her son but she appreciated the company nonetheless.

She was quite fond of the young man. He and his brother were very close friends with her son since childhood, so much so that people always thought the three boys were siblings. As he has gotten older, the man reminds her more of her late husbands. She lost him to sickness several years ago and the ache of that lose had never left her. The women asks the young man how his own family is doing. He can see the grief in her eyes and knows that she was briefly lost in memories so tells her that his wife is pregnant with their first child, a blessing as they have been trying to conceive for years. The man says that they will name the child after his brother and asks the woman if his family may have the honour of naming a future child after her son. She began to weep as she gave the young man permission to use his name, feeling so proud that her son had so many people who loved him as she did.

They left the house and were almost pushed over by two running children. The girl quickly apologized before continuing to chase the boy as he ran straight towards his family. The youngsters ran between their fathers, who were busy discussing this years harvest, and nearly caused the girl’s mother to trip. She shouted for the two to calm down and help her get things ready for the feast. The children groaned that their fun had been ended so soon and went about doing their chores. The boy’s mother was fussing over her oldest’s son’s appearance. He was to be initiated as a warrior today and was going to join the rest of the young men in their winter training away from the village. His face had been painted and he was wearing a new cloak his mother had made him but she kept insisting that his hair was messy despite all her brushing. The old woman chuckled to herself as she recalled the anxiety before her own son’s initiation and prayed that this mother would never know the pain of losing her sons.

The old woman was pulled from her thoughts by the cries of an infant. A man and his two daughters were unloading goods from their cart while his wife was attempting in vain to calm her baby. Despite her best efforts, the young mother could not get her son to stop crying so the old woman offered to help. She gently grabbed the baby and began to hum a melody her own son had loved as a child. The boy ceased his crying instantly and fell right to sleep, remaining so even when he was passed back to his mother. The old woman told the woman than some boys can be a little fussy but that music can calm even the most restless of babies. The mother thanked the old woman for her aid and began to hum while rocking her child in her arms.

The autumn celebration were about to so the elderly woman and her companion made their way towards the sacred grove to join with the rest of the village. The Druids performed the seasonal rites, thanking the Gods for the harvest and praying for their protection during the long winter. They called on the ancestors to watch over the village as well as to guide those taking the warrior’s oath so that they may be as honourable as those who came before. When the rites were competed, one of the Druids approached the old woman to reassure her that her son had joined his father amongst the ancestors and that she will be with them when it is her time as well. The Druid told her that all things end but death does not mean that end needs to be permanent. While she still grieved deeply , the old woman felt a sense of peace at the Druids words and allowed herself to enjoy the festival, knowing that her family was still with her even if she could not see them.

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