Historical setting: 6th Century C.E. Somewhere in the Pyrenees
The flat place we find for this night is barren of trees or bushes, but higher than the river should the river be raging with a new storm before morning. It’s on the leeward side of the valley in the shadow, but also protected from the wind. We set the horses to graze in the grasses by the river and go in search of fuel for our fire. I scour back to the south for wood and brush I noticed when we passed along the way, and Nic goes north.
I loosen a winter-dry tangle of gnarly wood from its root and prepare it for a long drag back to our camp. This will blaze long into the night, with warmth for our sleep and a signal to night prowlers that this camp is guarded. But no sooner am I within sight of our tarp than I see there a cooking fire, already blazing with a rabbit on a spit. How could Nic have hunted and skinned a rabbit, found kindling and started the fire all in the time it took me to capture one dead bush?
“How are you so industrious my friend?” I call to him. “I have only a twist of fuel, and yet here you have set before us a whole feast.”
“Better yet, Brother Lazarus, I have two furs for trade. We should say a mighty blessing with our thanksgivings to God for food and warmth and days to come.”
“Amen. But how did you…”
“I have a sword my friend. Take a look. This skin of the winter weasel is a perfect unblemished fur for trade and the rabbit – a few tears in the neck of its fur — but its still a fine thing for trade.”
“How did you hunt both a rabbit and an ermine in that short time?”
“I should just let you marvel over my gift. Let’s add that wood to this flame so that we can eat sooner.”
So we break up my find of wood, and now the fire is blazing so high we have to raise the spit so our rabbit won’t be ash before it is meat.