People don’t realise what gifts they have, or what skills they possess. Sometimes they have the ability to do all sorts of things yet they never do them.
Obviously I am a person with many capabilities, able to turn my hand to a wide variety of work, a sonnet here, a bawdy ballad there, a saga or a dirge as the situation demands. But this is not the limit of my talents.
An example of how a poet’s talents are almost infinitely flexible could be when I was pressed into helping Uncle Jonkon. He’s the brother of Shena’s father, the nearest thing their family has to a person who is respectably successful. Contemplating the rest of the family, one can see that the respectable have found success elusive, whilst those who experience some transient flickers of success do so from beyond the bounds of respectability.
Uncle Jonkon is a dairyman. There aren’t many in Port Naain, perhaps a score. They keep a handful of horrocks which they may graze on small patches of wasteland on the edge of town, or who more commonly live their entire lives within confines of the dairyman’s yard and are fed hay and other foodstuffs imported into the city.
The dairyman makes his (or her) living by selling milk which might be expensive, but is guaranteed to be fresh. I’ve known diligent kitchen maids who worked in respectable houses in Dilbrook who would stand and watch the animal being milked into their jug. They would then pay for the milk and leave.
But Uncle Jonkon had another string to his bow. It is all well and good to have your cow horrocks milking well. But nature being what it is, at some point the cow will have to become pregnant again otherwise she will cease to milk. So Uncle Jonkon had perhaps the only bull horrocks in the city.
For a number of years, at the appropriate times, he would lead his bull across the bridge and along Three Mills Prospect to meet a potential lady love. Matters would be suitably concluded and he would lead his bull back.
Now people took to complaining about this. A bull can stand taller at the shoulder than a man and might weigh as much as an Urlan Destrier. Also it was discovered that ladies of delicate sensitivities found the aura of rampant masculinity somewhat disturbing. So the system was changed and the horrocks cow was led to the bull.
Continue reading here: A load of Bull
As an occasional patron of Mr Steelyard, it behoves me to mention that his latest work, a slender tome of tales, will shortly be available for purchase, just in time for the solstice festivities…