Tale of the French Middle Ages
Text copyright Myrrh Sagrada © 2004
Her Matted Woolen Blanket
1338 outskirts of Axat, southeastern France
pulled her matted woolen blanket tight around her arms and legs
as she sat before the fire, exhausted and transfixed.
the murky dark that characterized the inside of the cottage day
or night, the young girl and her blanket seemed drained of their
own color, able now only to reflect the color of the flames. As
she watched the growing blaze lick the blackened stones of the hearth,
Marguerite imagined how the stones must have looked when freshly
placed there: grey and pink with tiny jeweled rivulets, like others
in the creek bed from which they'd been dragged more than a dozen
years ago, the spring before her birth.
here the rounded stones now sat, piled neatly one on another, cemented
in place with mud and years of sticky soot. Torn from their watery,
languid home and made to house fiery fury, they held no memory now
of their original beauty, having been dulled with wear, with work
and with service. It seemed to her a fate common to hearths and
people. Nearly all the laboring people she knew of in Axat were
faring about as well as these stones.
mother's voice broke her thoughts. "When you're warmed, you may
add your blanket to the bed and climb in," Celeste said, tilting
her head in the direction of the low straw pallet mother and daughter
shared in the far corner of the cottage.
gazed dreamily at the pallet piled hand-high in skins and
woolen blankets, as she listened to her mother's muted footsteps
traveling to and fro across the hard-packed floor. She liked the
sound. It was comforting, and made her drift even further into a
their return from the orchard moments ago Celeste had lost no time
in conjuring again a welcoming atmosphere in the cold cottage. Prodding
beneath the apex of a tiny, hastily built cone of fractured sticks,
she had poked until the flames dormant in the embers reasserted
themselves, crackling and hissing and splashing a yellow warmth
onto the adjacent dirt floor.
person couldn't mark the point at which the light was replaced with
dark, even watching it happen...