Story for the day: Wishbone
|The Den Asaan scoffs at your traditions.|
The following morning, after Ailineighdaeth had been over and the dwindling hours of the revelrous languor was to ensue, there was a small disturbance in the kitchen of the keep. One of the staff had enjoyed herself far too much the evening prior and, as she was meant to return to work the following day regardless of her state, to the kitchen from the servant’s quarter she came, prepared as ever to fulfill her duties. She was not ill as her humour may have suggested but she was a bit unsteady. Her hand shook as she stirred the pots, her feet faltered when she carried the cauldron to the basin, and her eyes were low and her mind elsewhere when performing her charge. Her lack of enthusiasm for her morning tasks was not provoking enough to be of any real alarm until she was bade to roast a chicken for the king’s evening meal. Her attention was drawn for the chief of the exercise. The seasoning was shoddily done, the skin was not brushed with butter, the pan was not greased with oil, and everything was set for a poor feast on the part of Alasdair. Fortunately for him, and regrettably for the chicken, the oven had been entirely too hot and the roast was overdone.
The smoke from the incident billowed out of the kitchen windows and poured over the training yard. The commander and Den Asaan, who were just beginning their morning regime, took the black smoke for a fire and instantly went to assist, but when they opened the door to the kitchen they noted the charred remains of a chicken sitting in a pan and the girl who had ruined it crying over its ashes. The king’s meal was destroyed and the scullery maid was sent to scrub the dishes for her punishment.
Rautu looked at the scorched skin of the chicken and though he preferred the burned pieces of a roast made tender by the heat of an open fire, the blackened remains before distraught his sensibilities and his love for seasoned meat. He sighed and pointed to the chicken while looking at his mate with determination in his appearance. “You will amend this,” the giant demanded.
“I don’t know that I can, Iimon Ghaala,” the commander said in a saddened tone. “My powers of spicing and roasting only go so far as to cook, not to resurrect.” She took a knife from the draw, cut a slice through the center of the remains and judged the innards. “The center is still raw.” Her eyes narrowed and she grazed her chin with her fingers as she began to contemplate the means of restoration. “If I chip away the charred skin and season it, perhaps it can be used for a soup.”
No sooner did she speak the plan than the Den Asaan outfitted her hand with a pot. He shouted orders to have the chicken stripped and seasoned, and he was the proud supervisor of the evening. He was mocked by his mate, as a Den Asaan was not a head cook, but he declared his decided palate was the best judge of anyone and he could with stand all the derision in the world if only the meat would be saved. He watched as the commander gathered the spices necessary for the resurrection and with each savory ingredient she added to the pot Rautu’s mouth began to water. His insatiable hunger was roused and he made certain every clove of garlic and sprinkle of parsley was added to the mix with the utmost care.
The chicken was salvaged, the water was boiled, and it was the Den Asaan’s object was to hover. He perched beside the simmering soup and perceived with avaricious eyes everything that was done to ensure the chicken’s safety. The soup, when finished, was given to the Den Asaan to taste and when he approved its body and essence, another batch was hastily made to draw out the use of the bones. Once the boiled flesh had fallen from the frame, the soup was pronounced done. The meat was strained and separated and only the bones remained. The commander placed them aside for disposal but as she went to place them by the incinerator of the yeoman’s quarter, she noticed the wishbone protruding. She plucked it from its place, brought it to her mate and held it out to him, gesturing for him to grab the other side.
Rautu looked at his mate with bemusement and attempted to understand what she meant for him to do.
“Breaking the wishbone is an old Frewyn custom,” she said with a stifled laughing, knowing the explanation of the tradition would cause her mate to bemoan it. “Two people hold the bone between them, each of them taking a side. The thumbs are placed at the top depression and the bow is held with no tension. A wish is made by each of the participants. When the wish is fully formed, both are declared ready and the match begins. Each pulls the wishbone in his own direction and whomever receives the piece with the top intact has his wish granted.”
The giant’s eyes flared and his lips parted in shock. “Your people believe their wishes will be fulfilled by a bone,” he said with mild disgust. The Den Asaan buried his head in his hand for the indignity of such a notion and he said many things on the subject of the implausible values of his mate’s people.
The commander laughed at the Den Asaan and dared him to try the superstition in its highest regard. He was unable to resist the challenge and, against his better judgment, took up a side of the wishbone, gripping it with only his large forefinger and thumb, and made a wish. His aspiration was so impossible he knew it could not be fulfilled and he grinned as he prepared to win the majority of the one for himself. The mark was called and with a quick jolt, the match was over. He had won. He looked about to see if his wish had come to fruition but it had not. He scoffed, tossed the bone away and continued his enjoyment of his mate’s soup.
“May I ask your wish?” the commander said with a snide and inquisitive tenor.“I chose something impossible. I wished all the chocolate in your kingdom to arrive at the castle.” But when the giant pronounced his ridiculous wish aloud, there was a delivery made to the kitchen. A consignment of baking chocolate was ordered by the head cook to be used in the making of a chocolate mold for one of the noble’s affairs. The tower of bricked chocolate was conveyed passed the Den Asaan and the giant was silent when he observed it. He looked at his mate and he looked to the chocolate once more. She was pointing and laughing at his astonished expression and he was eager to inspect the contents of the deliver to make certain he was not being deceived. He was not. The tiers of dark chocolate lay before him and when he asked the kitchen master how much was in the shipment, it was claimed that all the chocolate in Diras was certainly there to make what the noble had ordered. Although it was not all the chocolate in the kingdom, it had been all the chocolate in the capital and the Den Asaan made a quiet resolution to never to decry Frewyn superstition again.