Story for the Day: Naming of a Lamb
A moment from book 11
|Adaoire's brother Aiden and his lovely little lamb|
Adaoire was conscious of her growing attachment and almost believed she would stay on the farm or sleep in the barn if he should ask her. The beauties of the kingdom’s countryside enchanted many of the women he had been used to chase, but where others were rapt with the well-tended lands and verdancy of the bounding hills, she was captivated by him. He was gratified by her interest and was of the opinion that if he should show her the newborn cossets in the barn she would never wish to leave. “Come with me, girl,” he said with a dark grin. “I’m gonna show you somethin’.”
Ms Mandidoun made a few wicked remarks about what the farmer could possibly have to show her behind the closed door of a barn, which succeeded in making him even more eager to convey her thither, and hurried with him south through a small field of poesies toward the barn. She enjoyed speaking with him in so open a manner, and it seemed to her the more depravedly she spoke the happier he was. She had not seen him in some time, and certainly had never seen him sober, but she was greatly pleased to find that his character had not changed from the first time they met to this.
Adaoire smirked at her and groped her small frame while bringing her to the one place they could be assured of being alone. He playfully pinched her backside, forcing her to walk faster, and she laughed as he began chasing her through the grass. He had always felt young despite his middle age but pursuing a woman who was so desirous of his company made him forget the usual ailments of a farmer at his time of life: his tired body, his aching feet, his sore hands meant nothing while his spirits were raised. He hastened after her until they came to the front of the barn where, upon arrival, Adaoire trapped his giggling prey against the locked doors. He cackled at her endeavors to open the doors and escape from him, but he knew Aiden had locked them when they were called to dinner. He demanded that she could not flee from him now, that he had caught her right where he wanted her. He half-smiled at her feigned terror and confessed all the delightful and depraved things he had in mind for their evening. He pressed himself against her, pinning her to the side of the barn, and teased her with oaths of wickedness. “But first,” he said, taking the key to the barn from his pocket, “I’m gonna show you somethin’ else.” He unlocked the door and teasingly pushed her into the barn with his stomach.
She tittered as she was flung in and stopped herself from falling over with a few cautious steps. It was dark within the barn and would have been an intriguing atmosphere were it not for the tinkling of cow bells and the grunting of pigs. When a few candles were lit, she was treated to a view of the high and hollow structure. It was a great deal cleaner than she had believed a barn ought to be, but having never before been in one herself, she found she could make no aspersions on the state in which the hay was neatly piled into one corner, how the matted floor was clean, or how the animal pens were well-preserved. She stood in mild wonderment, giving cheerful smiles to the bleating sheep when Adaoire approached her from behind and ushered her further into the barn. He brought her to the far corner where one of the ewes sat with a tiny lamb tucked between her folded legs.
“Fresh this mornin’,” Adaoire told her, gesturing to the blinking lamb. He knelt down and leaned toward the cosset to encourage it toward him. “Don’t worry, Bhess,” he said to the mother, scooping the child into his arms. “It’s just for showin’. We ain’t gonna take her from you.” Adaoire beckoned Ms Mandidoun to sit with him, and when she did, he carefully handed the tiny lamb over to her. “She’s a strong one. Already tried standin’ and all.”
The lamb made a few small cries as it was placed in Ms Mandidoun’s lap. It looked at her for a moment and then coiled in the apron of her dress for warmth.
“She is adorable,” Ms Mandidoun squealed, her eyes sparkling with endearment. “May I touch her?”
“Sure,” Adaoire said with a warm smile.
She passed her hand over the lamb’s budding coat. She reveled in the downy fluff on its back and cooed at the squirming creature until she realized where she was and cried, “Please tell me you will not eat her.”
“Naw, girl,” Adaoire laughed, waving a dismissive hand at her. “These here sheep are for woolin’, not for butcherin’. We have one of the shearers come every year to take the fleece to the spinners in town. It ain’t warm here in Frewyn durin’ the winters and we gotta farm the whole way through. Their wool keeps us warm. Can’t go butcherin’ ‘em just ‘cause we want to.”
Ms Mandidoun had heard only part of what was said. She was too engrossed with her little cosset to pay Adaoire much attention when a newborn lamb was nuzzling against her leg. “Does she have a name?”
“I was thinkin’ you’d like to give her one.”
She remarked the indulgent glint in Adaoire’s eyes and realized that this was all his aspiration. She accused him of tricking her into the barn not only for the promise of ravaging affection but also for thawing her resolve and showing her the simple beauties of his life as enticements for making want to stay.
“So?” Adaoire fleered. “It’s workin’.”
She gave the farmer a playful slap on the arm but any remonstrance she might have had on the subject was soon diminished. The lamb was looking up at her with pleading eyes, which silenced her into performing the same gesture in return.
“Go on, girl,” Adaoire said. “She’s waitin’ for you to name her.”
“I hardly know which name to choose.”
Adaoire shrugged. “Give her your name.”
“I wouldn’t do that to her,” she said, laughing nervously. “No one wants to be called Dealenna.”
“Sure, and what’s wrong with it?” Adaoire contended, shifting closer to her. “It’s a proper Frewyn name.”
“Do you like it?”
“’Course I do,” Adaoire demanded. “All we Frewyns should have proper Frewyn names.”
“But Dealenna was the sister of Mad Queen Maeve.”
“So? You ain’t no sister of a mad queen and neither is that lamb you got.”
He would not be persuaded into thinking that her first name was an atrocity even though she believed it to be rather a mistake her mother bequeathed to her before her departure, and therefore Ms Mandidoun was induced to bestow so disagreeable a designation to the cosset before her. She blushed when Adaoire’s hands invaded her lap to take the lamb back to its tired mother and before she could explain away the dislike for her own name, Adaoire had turned back to her, shadowing her with an insidious grin.
“Come-a here, girl,” he growled, drawing her up into his arms. “I’m gonna give you a proper poundin’ in the hay.”
She could not deny that she had been desirous of such an event and the quaint enchantment of the barn seem the prime place for any sort of pleasurable mischief. She proclaimed him a filthy and vulgar beast, and therefore he must be indulged. She agreed, declared herself charmed, and was prepared for the luxuriant caper promised her.