Historical setting: 589 C.E. when Brittany was forest
I ask the thief, “Do you know how to soften a skin for shoes? Its how I made my shoes.”
“Why? I can just demand your shoes from you. So what gift did the pagans leave here? Did you already steal their fish?”
“There were no fish and the crows beat us to the rabbit so I hunted this new rabbit for both of us.” Silently we eat. There is no good night when we only worry what the other will take.
Awake under this red morning sky in the shivers of a cold winter’s rain I gather my things and I see where the thief sleeps near the fire in a fine shelter of skins and fleeces. He already has shoes, so his envy for mine won’t be solved by my generosity. And he’s hoarding a huge heap of useless booty.
The rains leave me longing for springtime as I go quietly on my way. Softness hints in a bog where I stop for rest and find a grub for the fish hook and some fern heads barely unfurling just under the leafy mat. Later I will share this feast of fish and fern.
He catches up and now I see how he travels. He tows his booty on a sledge. And he looks at my little traveler’s bag and accuses me of hiding a stash.
“Is your bag heavy?” he asks.
“Very light, though I’ve just added a fresh fish and some fiddleheads we can share for our supper.”
“So you did steal the fishhook. I’d like to have a look in your bag and see what other gifts to the fairies you’ve stolen along the way.”
“You have a fine bow I see. Did you find that left as a talisman at a pagan campsite too?”
“Speak for yourself. I cut this bow from a sapling maple. It’s still greenwood, hardly taught enough to be useful. Since I plan to follow the hunters into the mountains I may need a bow in time.”
“If it isn’t a good bow, then how did you hunt the rabbit we ate?”
“Maybe the rabbit was slow or had bad eyesight and he didn’t see me until I was very close. Maybe we ate a slothful rabbit. Maybe we will be slothful now.”
“Not I, I’m only slowed by this heavy load and you haven’t even offered to help. How do you claim to be a Christian?”