The Five-Second Rule
The Five-Second Rule
There was a long-standing rule in Frewyn pertaining to food called the Five-Second Rule. This regulation stipulated rations that had fallen from the hand to the ground might again be picked up if within the boundaries of five seconds. There were other more precarious iterations of the practice that allowed for a period of ten seconds to be claimed but those who kept such a prolonged observance were certain to die from the disease that would latch onto the fallen fare within the five additional seconds accorded. It was generally unknown when this practice was begun or from where in the kingdom it took its origin, but from the moment a Frewyn child was old enough to understand the meaning of nourishment this rule was ingrained within every young mind.
The application of the rule, however, was not perfected until older. Many a men in Frewyn could be seen within taverns and out of doors walking with their meals and once their feast had fallen from their hands from the effects of drunkenness, their roasted meats and cold pies where immediately gathered and reclaimed before any of the strays around the streets of the kingdom could find their way to a languorous victim. There were rules within this rule, however, which must be abided. If the floor upon which the fare had fallen was damp, the food could not be reclaimed and it was left to the matrons to be swept away. If the food was not something that could be cleaned with a brush of hand, then it was lost, but there was something magical in nature that promised to cure any food of ill-favor.
The act of blowing upon fallen provisions was wide incidence as if the precipitant motion of air from the mouth caused the sullied article to become hale once again. This practice of blowing on one’s food was one the Den Asaan had seen done during the war. Many men in the Frewyn armed forces would eagerly pluck their provisions from the grown when fallen and waft them with a warm breath. The giant would cringe to watch them place such a soiled item in their mouths. When asked of their adherence to ancient rule, many soldiers agreed that the ground though dirt itself was not dirty and therefore their food could only be further fortified by a few sprinkles of earth. The Den Asaan was repulsed and vowed never to understand or pursue this application until such time when chocolate had come into his hand.
The giant stood over the table in the kitchen of the keep unpacking a delivery made to him from Diras Delights. He was eager to open his long-awaited parcel and upon opening the box, he observed his favourite chocolate sitting at the top. He knew he must unwrap the item immediately but when doing so became too excited to taste its precious savor and it fell to the ground.
One second had passed and he looked at it with a great sadness. Two seconds had passed. He began to judge the cleanliness of the floor that Martje had just swept. Three seconds had passed and he agonized over the equal dryness of each particularity involved in the circumstance. Four seconds had passed and the giant could bear the sorrow of the lost chocolate no longer. He must pick it up or it would be doomed to be swept away with the rest of the daily bilge of the kitchen. Upon the advent of the fifth second, Rautu bent and took his prized chocolate into his hand. He inhaled, preparing to blow on it as he had seen those in his regiments do but was impeded by a shocked expression from his mate who was standing at the entrance to the kitchen.
“Did you just lift that from the floor, Iimon Ghaala?” was the commander’s curious and astonished quiry.
The giant looked at his bar of chocolate. “Perhaps,” he said, averting his eyes.
The commander approached and fleered at her mate in amazement. “I never thought I would see you stoop to such tactics. It is chocolate, however, your one true love. I know if I had fallen on the ground, you should do the very same to me.”
The giant gave her a flat look.
“Well, you had better blow on it or I daresay your endeavoring to recover it within five seconds shall be forever ruined.”
Rautu sighed and in his exhalation blew on his dear chocolate. The few specs it had incurred were easily blown away and the giant inspected his confection with a contented glint in his eye. All was amended and the chocolate, which had nearly succumbed to ruination, was saved. He took in the aroma of his favourite treat and tasted it. All seemed right in the world and the almost catastrophic incident was averted.
“I thought your scriptures say your people are not permitted to eat from the ground because of illness caused by doing so,” the commander said with a suppressed laugh for her mate’s immediate happiness.
“It does,” the Den Asaan quietly replied. “However, most of our provisions are not dry in nature and our meals are eaten on the sand.”
“And so eating from the stone upon which many feet walk is acceptable?”Rautu glared at his mate. “It is for chocolate,” he growled.