#MothersDay special: The Husbandmen
There are many different types of mothers in the world. Though Beryn may be a poulterer and Lochan a husbandman, that doesn't mean that they are any less mothers.
Lochan was full of frolic and mirth as they secured the hens safely away in their new home until Shirse should be by on the morrow to take them to Farriage. What was to happen to old hens who had past their prime for laying, Lochan could only conjecture, but he distracted himself from any unpleasant cogitations by showing Beryn the new chicks that had recently hatched. Twenty small chirping creatures, their eyes wide, wings outstretched, and golden feathers fluffed assailed Lochan with warbling cries as he neared their nest in the warmest corner of the barn. “Won’t be ready to lay for a few months,” said he, taking one of the chicks gently into his hand, “but I was hopin’ you would take ‘em.” He cooed at the small golden wisp and grazed its willowy down with the back of his forefinger. “She don’t like chicks much,” he said quietly, nodding toward the farmhouse. “I know they fight and peck when they’re older, but they’re so cute and all when they’re little.”
“Aye,” said Beryn warmly, taking one up into his hand. It chirped once, wobbled along his hand, and then resigned itself to nestling against his palm. He smiled as it fluffed its feathers and began preparing for sleep. “Shame they get so ugly and vicious once they’re grown,” he mused, passing his thumb along its feathery back.
Lochan would not agree to this, though he knew it to be true. Roosters might be hideous in their turn, but hens as well-kept and cared for as Beryn’s were never cruel or unsightly. There must be some prejudice here: Beryn had been used to tend to chickens only when older, and therefore his favour must lie against those whose only object was to attack him until he should concede to feed them more than was good for them.
Beryn perceived Lochan’s nervous smiles. He would not have him believe that he was unhappy being a poulterer, but he could wish that the chickens did not peck each other or him so much. He enjoyed his quiet work, and when a fever of incessant clucking must be suffered, he reckoned it a small penance in exchange for the reward of maintaining the farm that was now his family legacy.“Well,” said he, placing the chic back into its nest, “I guess like all babes, we all get ugly as we get older.”
Lochan chuckled to himself and begged that Beryn would give the twenty little whips a excellent home until their time for laying should come.
|Mr Cluck, Beryn's prize rooster|
“Sure I will, Loch,” said Beryn amiably, knowing that it must give the gentle husbandman pains to part with them. It must be aggrieving for his friend to know that Shirse should be soon visiting, for his visits, though agreeable, were all for business: the business of selling his beloved herds and flocks to be slaughtered and dispersed to the various markets throughout the kingdom’s northeast. Shirse’s arrival always bore a somber hue, as taking away half of Lochan’s stock was to be conveying those upon whom he had lavished all his love to their death, but that none of his brothers, even Sheamas who was the primary recipient of Lochan’s stock, ever spoke of the horror that awaited his friends after leaving the auspices of his farm was a comfort to each.