Thursday, July 01, 2010

The mule

Outskirts of Tarragona, 18th July 1713

After their escape from Tivissa, Mireia and her relatives travelled on foot towards the rocky pass of Fatges, some miles to the south, with the aim to meet the coast road and seek for refuge behind the solid Roman walls of Tarragona city. With stubborn tenacity, the three women incessantly walked along the rocky road until close to sunset, allowing themselves almost no rest stops; as a result of their effort, when finally encamped by an unused shepherd’s stone hut with the last sunrays of day, they were completely exhausted.

It became evident they wouldn’t be able to maintain such a frenetic rhythm too long. This was especially true for Mireia’s grandmother, who due to being older had a weaker physical constitution. Fortunately for them, early in the next day’s morning a cart going in their same direction happened to meet them. Their occupants were some well known neighbours, who gladly accepted Mireia’s group with them; thanks to this, the improvised retinue managed to approach to the view of the magnificent old city long before the sun started its daily path down the sky.

Suddenly the mule apparently desisted to keep pulling, and the cart stopped with a bump. Not less worried than surprised, the travelers descended and examined wheels and axle, but these had no visible damage.

-Maybe the mule has got injured -said the family's husband, and then he asked to Mireia's grandmother: -Teresa, your abilities as a cattle healer are well known all around the county. Wouldn't you mind to examine my mule?

So did old Teresa, who agreed and professionally examined the animal's hooves, as well as its legs and armpits, while Mireia stood by her grandmother, carefully observing the inspection. After a long examination, however, Teresa had to give up: -I'm sorry, can't see any injure, twist or jerking in this animal. It is for sure quite tired, but nothing else.

In the meanwhile, Mireia found herself staying in front of the mule, slightly leaning the head to one side and silently looking at the animal in the eye with an air of bemusing at who-knows-what; and so she remained for a while, until suddenly relieving and telling to the others: -It's not the mule. It's the jonction between left wheel and axle that has got struck, and it is blocked now. This is why the mule is no longer able to keep pulling the cart.

Astonished, the travelers checked the alluded wheel and verified it was true. -Amazing! How is it that you guessed so? -asked the family's husband, evidently perplexed.
-It's not me, but the mule who told me -simply answered Mireia, giving no importance to her own words.

Mireia's mother and grandmother looked at each other silently, in a smiling expression of mutual intelligence -her Gift is growing stronger and stronger -quietly murmured old Teresa, and added: -sooner or later, she'll have to know.

-Not yet please -replied Blanca to her mother-, she's still so young... -with the air of a plea in her voice.
-Not yet -agreed Teresa-, but she's growing older too, my dear. She's going to become a woman soon, a beautiful one. She'll have to be acknowledged.
Blanca turned her head to reply again to old Teresa, but then she stood petrified, looking in terror beyond her old mother's eyes.

Close to the group, behind a crop of low trees, a group of men were silently listening to the travelers. They did undoubtedly have the chance of fully hearing Mireia's words, so that were paying a very evident attention to the still unaware girl, who was the main target of those men's sulky looks.

Armed men.

Soldiers.

6 comments:

abdul666 said...

It is often said that women talk too much... and / or too loud.
Grand-mothers and mothers in 'gifted' lines should warn the girls at a very young age.

Looking anxiously forward to learn the consequences.

A very interesting, original, side-story.

Bluebear Jeff said...

More, please.


-- Jeff

OIIIIIIIO said...

...time to harden up - the entire country is in obvious need of Direktion...we are on the way...

Soldadets said...

Really did I manage to thrillingly end up the scene? :)

Believe me, I'm anxious to know how does it end, too!! ...perhaps it's that I'm about to fall in love with this girl (too?) ;)

Salvador said...

I...WILL...NUY...THIS...BOOK!!!
Seriously!

Salvador said...

Sorry, I meant that I will buy this book, if it ever gets written and published! I'm much too thrilled!