Hob-things and stone pictures

The snail brother has gone to stay at the grange farm at Bethlehem for a while. The brother men who live there have sneezing-coughs and he will tend to them until they are better. He has left me, Brother Walter, in charge of his workshop. This is a very important task. I have swept the floor, scrubbed bowls and pots and tidied shelves. The snail brother told me to sweep away the cobwebs from the rafters, but the spiders said they did not want me to do that, so I have left them alone. I did, however, tell the rats that they must find somewhere else to live. They are not happy. The big one with yellow teeth and scars across her nose says it is too cold to leave such a warm and comfortable hut. She does not want to move into the brother men's stone rooms; they are chilly and damp and there is little food to be had since the brother men brought a cat to live in the kitchen. The cat, an ugly brindle creature with evil yellow eyes, has already eaten too many of her relatives. Maybe in the spring, the rat tells me, they will find a farmhouse to live in. I suggested the grange farm, and the rats are considering this.

I went into the forest yesterday, foraging for roots. I met the Old Red Man, a hob-friend who lives by himself in an old beech tree near the pig-keeper's hut. He has been collecting treasures, he told me, and took me to his burrow to show them to me. What treasures indeed! Golden and silver coins, and things with pins for people to wear on their clothing. He showed me a small clay lamp. I remember seeing such things being used long ago by the people who lived in the painted stone house in the fields near Weforde.

The house is no longer there, but the villagers' ploughs sometimes bring up small square stones of red and white and black. They do not know what the stones were for, but we do. We saw the wondrous floors in the painted house many, many years ago, with pictures of fish and strange wild beasts made from the stones.

The Old Red Man has carefully laid the stones he has collected on the floor in his burrow, so he has his own picture. It shows a tree with a black trunk and red leaves and it is quite splendid. I may make a floor picture in the snail brother's hut as a surprise for when he comes home.

No comments:

Post a Comment