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I should have known it

By Julian BrünePublished 2 years ago 5 min read

I should have known it. On the day I woke up right under the wooden roof next to the hay and some of the tiny mice living there - mother called it my little nest. I was lying without my blanket, got woken up by the changing of the guard, as always accompanied by the bell chime. But something was different. I didn’t know what, until I had gathered all cattle behind our house and led them down the path, past the hall of the elders and the market towards the western tower. Out of the village towards the great meadow, right next to the river where the first flowers would sprout, when the forest would awake. I was sitting down on my favorite rock, a little uphill, enjoying the intense silence of the forest and suddenly realized it. The sun was just awakening and yet, I was almost sweating under my peasant clothing. Later my Mother would tell me that she hoped I wouldn’t get a fever. And my father would add that I was probably just still dreaming and that I should care about the cattle, not the weather.

I should have known it, but who would have listened to me?

I should have known it, on the day Bela and I went to the berry bushes south of the village. Our little secret we discovered after the one forest feast when we did not feel to be part of the cleanup, but instead taking advantage of minimal guard and escaping into the bushes, next to the southern road leading to the citadel and the kings palace. Now, after 13 forest feasts, we were old enough to leave the village by our own and we’ve been here regularly to get some sweet sweet berries. Just along the road, pass the old mill, then turn right into the bushes, crawl a bit under the thorns and jump across the little river into the fresh mud on the other side. Mother would be annoyed by my muddy feet and trousers, but it was definitely worth it. Luckily there was no mud at all on that day. Our laughter cut through natures silence and Bela started feeding me the big, almost round berries, with their rough peel and usually intense sweet taste. She seemed so happy and light, as always, enjoying the opportunity to escape the fickle mood of her dad, that I forgot about the berries poor taste and the other thing that seemed strange.

I should have known it, but who would ave listened to someone like me?

I should have known it, on the day I was listening to Gallus, one of the three elders of our village. After the sun reached the highest point, all the farmer kids were allowed to stop work and join the class of one of the elders. Usually we would gather inside the elders hall, study reading, writing, history and the kings laws but on that day Gallus took us out on the meadows, near the silent forest. He talked about the importance of the forest feast, where we would burn old trees and withered bushes. It was not just an occasion for the whole village to gather and enjoy some of the beer barrels from the citadel, but moreover a moment to let go of the old to appreciate the new. And for the sacred forest that is always necessary finished Gallus, with his snooty look. I dared to ask him, if he and the other elders also noticed the unpleasant smell of the eastern wetlands where I led the cattle this morning and if that means there would be another feast soon? He despised the farmer kids, while his only son was sent to the capital to study with the alchemists and answered, that I probably had goat dung in may hair and should never question the forests vigor. Futhermore a weakling like me should not presume to have the elders insight. Then he walked away and left us in silence.

I should have known it, but who would have listened to someone like me - an abnormity.

I knew it on the day I was back at my little rock, up the meadows, watching the cattle and strolling alongside the rim of the forest. It was forbidden to set foot into the forest, especially when he was awake. When the trees grow leaves and the bushes grow berries, when the river would swell and the birds would fly, the wind would emerge and the sun would know that she is on duty now. The whole village life was centered around the time the forest was green, like the other villagers called it. And in order to protect it, the elders had forbidden to enter the forest - the ancient power and wisdom of it was sacred. Carefully walking alongside the deep shadows and heaving cool I almost stumbled over a dead body.

I looked down and suddenly realized, what was missing, on the day I woke up and it was warmer than usually, on the day, when the berries tasted less sweet and on the day the wetlands exuded this awful reek. On all these days, when I should have known it, the hooting of the owls was missing. And when I found the dead body of a big barn owl, right next to our forest I knew something was wrong.

With the dead barn owl in my arms, they would have listened even to me - an abnormity. A simple farmers boy whose eyes could not distinguish colors.

But it was too late. And on the next day, the forest did not turn green.


About the Creator

Julian Brüne

a traveller with pen and paper.

currently looking for the moon.

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