Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Boy Who Never Complained

A Lost-Found Dobunni Folk-tale

 

There was once a man who, feeling the approach of death, summoned his sons that he might divide his wealth among them.

When all that he owned had been distributed, it was found that he had overlooked his youngest son.

Father, is there nothing for me? asked the boy.

Alas, my son, said the man, There is nothing left but this old copper kettle. But I give it to you with my blessing.

The boy took the kettle without complaint.

Since the kettle was a large one, the warriors would borrow it when they went out raiding cattle, and the boy would accompany them and cook for them.

The boy was thus well-fed, and grew up tall and strong.

After one raid, a certain warrior by accident damaged the kettle with his spear.

You have pierced my belly! cried the boy.

So the warrior gave him in compensation for the kettle a two-year old calf.

One day a war party set out, taking with them some calves, as is the custom.

Now it happened that the boy's calf was by accident included among this herd, and so was slaughtered and eaten.

When the war-party returned, it was agreed that each warrior should give to the boy a calf by way of compensation.

In this way, the boy became wealthy, richer than any of his brothers.

And all this came about because he took, without complaint, an old copper kettle and his father's blessing as his only inheritance.

 

The Dobunni were that same people which in later days came to be known as the Hwicce.

Some say that from them and their ways come those that we call witches and witchcraft.

And some say otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.
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