Beltane the Smith eBook

Jeffery Farnol
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 506 pages of information about Beltane the Smith.

As one that dreams, Roger stared into the eyes beneath the vizor, and as one that dreams he rose up from his knees, and, sheathing his sword, followed whither the gleaming vision led; yet betimes he blinked upon the moon, and once he shook his head and spake as to himself: 

“Verily—­aye, verily, a lusty pray-er, I!”

CHAPTER XLVII

HOW BELTANE SWARE AN OATH

Slowly the days sped, dewy dawn and tender eve, days of sun and shadow and gentle rain; golden days wherein Beltane lay ’twixt sleep and wake, and nights of silver wherein he slept full deep and dreamed wondrously of gentle hands that soothed him with their touch, and warm soft lips on cheek and brow that filled him with a great and deep content.

And in these days, who so cheery as Black Roger, full of a new-found gaiety, who laughed for small reason and ofttimes for none at all and was forever humming snatches of strange song as he stooped above pipkin and pannikin.  Much given was he also to frequent comings and goings within the green to no apparent end, while Beltane, within the little cave, lay ’twixt sleep and waking; moreover, full oft as they ate their evening meal together, he would start, and falling to sudden silence, sit as one that hearkens to distant sounds.  Yet withal was he ever heedful of Beltane’s many wants, who, as health came, grew more eager to be gone, but finding himself too weak, straightway waxed moody and rebellious, whereat smiling Roger waxed firm, so needs must frowning Beltane be bathed and bandaged and swallow his draught—­because of She who had so commanded.

Now it befell upon a certain evening as Roger bent to peer into the pot that seethed and bubbled upon the fire and to sniff its appetising savour, he presently fell a-singing to himself in a voice gruff yet musical withal; whereupon Beltane, turning languid head, fell to watching this new Roger, and thereafter spake on this wise: 

BELTANE.  “What do ye so oft within the green?”

ROGER.  “Hunt, that we may eat, master.”

BELTANE.  “I have seen thee go full oft of late and leave thy bow behind, Roger.”

ROGER.  “Whereby I judge that though thine eyes be shut ye do not always slumber, master, and methinks our supper is done—­”

BELTANE.  “Nay—­what do ye in the green?”

ROGER.  “Master, thy horse Mars hath a proud spirit and snorteth against his bonds.  So, lest he break thy slumber, have I made him a shelter of wattles in the green.”

BELTANE.  “Truly, Roger, thou art greatly changed methinks.”

ROGER (starting).  “As how, master?”

BELTANE.  “I have heard thee called Roger the grim, and Roger the surly, ere now.”

ROGER (shaking woeful head).  “Ere now, lord, I hanged men, conceiving it my duty.”

BELTANE.  “And to-day you sing—­and wherefore?”

ROGER.  “For joy in life, master.”

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Project Gutenberg
Beltane the Smith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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