Updated: Jan 1
Readers I am beside myself for I have landed in most ungainly fashion into a hideous life of poverty and struggle in the northern territories of Scotland. How I am here I am beyond understanding for I feel only discomfort. Does misfortune oblige me?
The landscape is rough and only green and blue and purple with endless hills. Everywhere I look, more hills.
The air is fresh, too fresh for a baby's virgin peach flesh, and the morning mists block the sun's rays. There is a stubborn chill in the air. Do I complain too greatly? No doubt I do, but there is much to complain about. Not an hour passes where I lack complaint in my predicament. What fate has put me here?
Then there are the pipes, an almost constant drone of pipes I tell you, notes bending in the background of daily life. The ginger bearded men folk in skirts and red and green plaids fairly prance around their swords with throaty grunts and warblings, and so much singing: they rouse their nationalist spirits with shanties and rhymes about won battles and lost loves.
Worse still is the throwing, readers, let me tell you now, for never have I seen such ridiculous endeavor to exercise a madness. The thrust of giant cabers, large wooden posts made from the local trees, from one area to another with no purpose but to create competition. This is an athletic sport, so they say and is quite bizarre to watch.
My parents are poorly educated and my father is violent and bad-tempered. He is a big and clumsy man with no intellect, merely a criminal cunning and a morose disposition. He parades about the hills with a bible, a tome of Godly instruction. It grieves me so that I am under his auspices for I fear for my future. He makes me sit in the rain as punishment for tears and I am forced to observe the bleakness of my predicament. I stare at the hills too often. I learn to despise the hills.
I know not why I have been sent here. I cannot recall the purpose of the mission. I seem to have lost all memories and reasonings from before the birth. But I do know that I am to meet the Preceptor and that there is an important assignment at stake. But the finer details are flimsy, erratic, intangible. I wonder if my brain is damaged in transit. I have already been here for many months with no signal from my guide and yet I manifest within the deepest knowledge of womanhood. The evolution of whores and witches runs my veins. It is my duty to benefit my ancestry, the feminine, the knowledge that is passed from our flesh, our bones, our skin with every rebirth.
What if I have been discarded or forgotten by my guide? Is this possible? It is most vexing to consider that I may have been deserted, left to die on this forsaken planet they call earth.
By virtue of my birth I can ascertain this, I am Scottish and of the Henderson clan.
I remain plump and squealy, a pupa that eats and sleeps and evacuates a stinking mess, nothing more.
Mother is coerced into slavery. She works her pale fingers to their bones, scrubbing and cleaning in the scullery like a servant. She is not permitted to speak her mind or to attain any happiness of her own making. Rather, her emotional needs are perpetually ignored and the man who has made her his wife refers to her as wench and bangs his cutlery upon the dining table demanding food or sexual favours.
There is disappointment behind her saucer eyes and exhaustion. Father shouts and bellows and is filled with disdain for everyone and everything.
How long it will take to mature I am unsure. The people look at me and say that I have grown and I have been examined on regular intervals by various medics. Indeed, my mother has been congratulated upon my progress. But I see no difference other than that I am no longer fed through my mother’s own teats and am now fed a diet of pale oats and milk.
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Every day, more oats. I despise the oats and the putrid cow's milk. I throw it about my abode but it comes back, I am force-fed the oats! I tell you, readers, it is the oats and the hills that will kill my will!
I wait for the Preceptor, unnerved.
to be continued © 2020 Tale Teller.
Transcript for the film Fanny Blomme, The Weaning.