Monday, January 5, 2015

Petty Gods: The Farmer from Kinbrect, a Tale of the Jale God

The Farmer from Kinbrect: A Tale of the Jale God

Once long ago, the Jale God was walking the earth while other gods engaged in settling grievances among themselves. To remain forgotten by the other gods and avoid their enmity, he travelled the lands as a ruddy laborer, relying on those he met for his daily sustenance. He traded a day in the field for a warm meal or sometimes a hunk of bread and a place to sleep. Many times he was beaten and robbed of his cloak or sandals, and these souls he remembered for later repayment. Yet never did the Jale God forget the farmer from Kinbrect.

Far on the outskirts of this great city lived a farmer and his wife, working the land for a meager subsistence with barely enough to pay field-fealty to the king. They had no children and worked the land themselves, occasionally hiring a passing traveller to help for part of the day in exchange for the evening meal.

The Jale God spent a day there, working in the fields digging up root vegetables and cabbages until an hour after dark. Then the wife called him and the husband into their small one-room hovel to eat the evening meal. The woman set a half loaf of rough bread, a few boiled shallots and burdock roots, and a bowl of beans seasoned with bear fat on the table. After saying the traditional mealtime prayers, they began to eat.

It was an excellent meal, but because there was not much food, the Jale God did not eat his fill. He wanted to keep up his appearance as a poor, considerate workman. Yet the husband and wife ate lightly, too, and when they were done eating, half of the beans remained. This the woman put in an earthen pot, covered with a light cheesecloth, and secured with a bit of twine. The cheesecloth was of a loose, rough weave, and so the delicious smell of the beans filled the hut and continued to stir the Jale God's hunger.

As it was extremely dark and that part of the country had been plagued by bandits of late, the husband insisted that the hired hand spend the night. However, they only had one bed, so the Jale God slept on one side, the husband slept in the middle, and the wife slept on the other side.

In the middle of the night there came the noise of many horses galloping nearby and the shouts and cries of many drunken men. The man jumped up from the bed and exclaimed "It's those bandits! I know it! I must save this season's field offering or the king will take our fields and turn us out!" Then he grabbed his axe near the door and ran into the night barefoot.

As soon as the husband was gone, the wife rolled over and pressed her slim body against the worker's back. "Stranger," she whispered, licking his ear, "now's your chance!" Without a second thought, the Jale God rose and finished eating the beans.