Historical setting: 589 C.E. when Brittany was forest
We leave the camp for the steeper walk into the hills ahead with a buckskin we use for shelter slung over my back because Auldouff thinks the deer won’t fear us if they don’t see our clothing. Since my tunic and cowl are of brighter colors Auldouff thinks I need a disguise. I don’t mind the extra weight, it’s more warmth on this frosty morning.
I guess Auldouff’s theory of a deer’s point of view is something like God noticing the first sin in the garden because the people were wearing clothing. [Genesis 3:7-10]
I’ve learned that one of the rumored magical features of the Vosges is that the animals of this wilderness might give up their wild ways and follow certain people. It’s said by Christians and maybe pagans too that Father Columbanus tames wolves and he even ousted a bear from her cave. [Footnote] And maybe Auldouff expects me, a Christian, to run with the deer and tame them for easier kill.
Heinrique argues that deer pay no attention to our fashion. They sniff the air for predators and they stand very still and twitching their ears to listen for us. Either way, I am creeping through the forest wearing a heavy buckskin trying to keep completely silent and downwind from whatever makes these deep hoof prints in the mud.
Suddenly, ahead of us a huge buck leaps up and Auldouff’s arrow knocks it to the ground. Heinrique uses his sharp blade as clean as any rabbi would for the slaughter. We return to our campsite with the kill. The creek is thawing already and we can’t depend on the cold to keep the kill, so we must work now to soak the hide and set up some spits over a smoky fire to prepare the meat, then we will cover over the smoker with the wetted hide before we head back for the hunt. The brothers are hoping for another hard freeze this winter to save us all this work with the next kill but the season is already changing.
I’m getting a bit impatient with the hunters, I think because I have come here with a different purpose than they. And our differences are weighing on all of us. I am pretty sure these hunters would gladly leave me with the Christians if they could.
[Footnote] Sellner, Edward C. Celtic Saints and Animal Stories: A spiritual lkinship, (NewYork: PaulistPress) 2000 .pp.52-54.