Beltane the Smith (Chapter 6, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 6

Thus spake the hermit Ambrose and, having made an end, sat thereafter with his head bowed upon his hands, while Beltane stood wide-eyed yet seeing not, and with lips apart yet dumb by reason of the wonder of it; therefore, in a while, the hermit spake again: "Thus did we live together, thou and I, dear son, and I loved thee well, my Beltane: with each succeeding day I loved thee better, for as thine understanding grew, so grew my love for thee. Therefore, so soon as thou wert of an age, set in thy strength and able to thine own support, I tore myself from thy sweet fellowship and lived alone lest, having thee, I might come nigh to happiness."

Then Beltane sank upon his knees and caught the hermit's wasted hands and kissed them oft, saying: "Much hast thou suffered, O my father, but now am I come to thee again and, knowing all things, here will I bide and leave thee nevermore." Now in the hermit's pale cheek came a faint and sudden glow, and in his eyes a light not of the sun.

"Bethink thee, boy," said he, "the blood within thy veins is noble. For, since thou art my son, so, an thou dost leave me and seek thy destiny thou shalt, perchance, be Duke of Pentavalon--an God will it so."

But Beltane shook his head. Quoth he: "My father, I am a smith, and smith am I content to be since thou, lord Duke, art my father. So now will I abide with thee and love and honour thee, and be thy son indeed."

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