Beltane the Smith (Chapter 7, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 7

The morning was yet young when my Beltane fared forth into the world, a joyous, golden morning trilling with the glad song of birds and rich with a thousand dewy scents; a fair, sweet, joyous world it was indeed, whose glories, stealing in at eye and ear, filled him with their gladness. On strode my Beltane by rippling brook and sleepy pool, with step swift and light and eyes wide and shining, threading an unerring course as only a forester might; now crossing some broad and sunny glade where dawn yet lingered in rosy mist, anon plunging into the green twilight of dell and dingle, through tangled brush and scented bracken gemmed yet with dewy fire, by marsh and swamp and lichened rock, until he came out upon the forest road, that great road laid by the iron men of Rome, but now little better than a grassy track, yet here and there, with mossy stone set up to the glory of proud emperor and hardy centurion long since dust and ashes; a rutted track, indeed, but leading ever on, 'neath mighty trees, over hill and dale towards the blue mystery beyond.

Now, in a while, being come to the brow of a hill, needs must my Beltane pause to look back upon the woodlands he had loved so well and, sighing, he stretched his arms thitherward; and lo! out of the soft twilight of the green, stole a gentle wind full of the scent of root and herb and the fresh, sweet smell of earth, a cool, soft wind that stirred the golden hair at his temples, like a caress, and so--was gone. For a while he stood thus, gazing towards where he knew his father yet knelt in prayer for him, then turned he slowly, and went his appointed way.

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