Friday, March 15, 2013

The Departure

Before the sun had crested the banks of the river behind the cluster of dwellings on Place Maubert Gerard and Luc were awake and up. They made breakfast of the remains of the goat haunch and some bread gotten fresh from the Boulanger in the Place. A little cheese finished the meal. Then they went into the Place scooped water from the fountain into their gourds and from the gourds into six large waterproof cured animal bladders. This would be the water for themselves and for the horse on the trip. They hoped that four would be sufficient. If Gerard’s estimate of the time the expedition would take were accurate that should be sufficient water. There was a small lake at the foot of the hill upon which the great oak lived. They could refill from it if they needed to.

If his estimate was wrong and if the whole enterprise took longer they might be in trouble.

Then they filled six wine skins and chose not to think about the perils of their plan.

They readied their hand pushed barrow. In it they put the water, the wine skins and a round of cheese wrapped in leather from the skin of a goat. After some discussion they added a cured haunch of pork also wrapped in a leather goat skin. Finally they added two very sharp kitchen knives to the things in the barrow.

Then they departed, wheeling the barrow to the lumber yard where the horse, wagon and blade waited for the commencement of their journey to the home of the giant oak.

The sun was rising in such a way that it dazzled their eyes as they passed through Porte St Bernard.

“The river is calm this morning” said Luc.

“A good omen?”


As they entered their workplace they were greeted by dual knickers from the two horses.

The first task, before transferring the contents of the barrow to the wagon and secure the blade in its custom built mount on the wagon they cleaned two stalls and watered and fed the horses. They had arranged for a neighbor to take care of the mare in their absence.

Once the horses had been fed and watered and they began to transfer the food, water, wine and utensils in secure and out of the weather storage in the wagon, the brothers restored the blade to its specially configured cradle in the wagon.

They spent the balance of the day’s light checking and re-securing and perfecting the packing of the various components of their cargo.

At sundown they ate the last of their previous night’s food and wine, which they had brought from their dwelling in addition to the stores for the journey. After reviewing for the penultimate time the plans for the trip they fell asleep.

At daybreak, with Gerard driving, they harnessed the great horse to the wagon and turned pointed the conveyance back to Porte St Bernard.

They ate some bread and cheese as they rode.

The sun was rising in a glow of coral light from the upstream end of river as they made the jog from Quai St Bernard onto Rue de la Boucherie.

Gerard began singing a silly song he had heard sung by a minstrel in the market.

“I met a mouse his name was Jacques.

Damndest thing, the mouse could talk.

And when he talked he made no sense.

Everything he said was in past tense.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know. I just heard it and can’t get it out of my mind.”

At Rue St Jacques they turned left and went on Rue St Jacques through the Porte St Jacques and out onto the Faubourg St Jacques.

They were out in the country.

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