Chapter 12 - Eric Stag

Buying a house on the outskirts of Periville had, like most acts in Eric’s life been impulsive. He had suddenly felt one day that he no longer wanted to be his father’s apprentice and become a blacksmith, and that he needed a change of scene. He had never lived alone before so the prospect had been exciting and a subject of great speculation for him. He wondered what friends he would make in the new area, what adventures he would have (for what was life without adventure?) and how his life here would shape his characters - one thing he had found was that there were always events waiting for you on your Path which would revolutionise your way of thinking: it was part of the continual Learning that took place in the people’s world.

Eric looked around the cottage he had recently arrived at in delight. The white walls and timber beams were comforting features since he had grown up in a similar house to this. There were three rooms, each separated by white walls. The part of the cottage you entered immediately was the living room where Eric had laid thick rugs to sit or to lie on. The cottage was split in half by one long partition along which were two doors which communicated respectively with the bedchamber and the kitchen. Both of those rooms were basically furnished, with table, cupboards and sink in the former and bed and wardrobe in the latter. Eric decided he would sort out his belongings later: he very much wanted to explore the region.

So, satisfied with his new home, he set off for a stroll around Periville, leaving his grey mare with plenty of hay in the stables beside the cottage.

Eric noted the locations of the butcher, the baker and the tailor as he passed their stores in the winding streets which he found a pleasure to walk through. The houses were all close together here - something Eric wasn’t used to, having lived in open countryside all his life (his uncle being a farmer and his parents having saved money after their wedding by living with him), and the smell was none too clean due to the huts used for human needs in the proximity of the homes -yet being used to the heavy scent of horse manure, Eric didn’t mind it so much. In the centre of Periville, there was a town square. Market stalls filled the place and Eric suddenly desired to have a stall himself. What better way was there to meet people, to experience he life of the typical inhabitant of Periville? He began to make plans, even as he walked towards an elderly woman selling hand-sewn items of clothing to inquire into how he should go about starting a stall.

There was a forest near the site of Eric’s cottage- on public land. He would collect mushrooms (he had a wide knowledge of the flora in woodland and knew which type was edible), lavender and chestnuts; he would sell the first for food, dry, crush and put into little silk bags the latter to aid sleep, and roast the last and sell those to eat like the mushrooms.

“Good afternoon, young man,” greeted the woman Eric was approaching. He smiled broadly at her. He greatly enjoyed listening to the tales of the elderly, imagining their lives in a younger version of this world. But now was not the time for listening: now was the time to act!

“Good afternoon,” he said warmly. “May I ask how I can start my own stall?”

The lady smiled. “Of course. You must pay a visit to Lord Dachshund in his manor, to the far west of the town. There you may make your request. I have not known him tonotgrant permission. Will you begin selling on Wednesday or next Saturday?”

“Oh, I need a week to prepare for it,” Eric answered.

“I shall look forward to seeing you in a week, then.”

“Thank you very much,” Eric said.

The woman bowed her head.

“Good day, young man.”

“Goodbye.”

Eric turned and, his pace brisk, made the journey on foot to the manor of Lord Dachshund.

The End

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