04/06/2011 14:44 (comments: 1)
On December 12, 1502 in the hamlet of Kersignac.
« Oh, my God ! My God ! Titouan! What have you done ? »
The parents of little Nolwen returned home to discover the death of their two-year-old girl, crushed, her bones dislocated…
Titouan, the six-year-old with whom they had left their daughter, lay there, unconscious.
Sadness and mourning invaded the hamlet.
A storm raged on the village for two day.
Heavy clouds seemed ready to take the moor.
The sound of the wind is sometimes confused with the wailing of men.
In the morning, there were still crying in the farmhouse.
The lord’s men-at-arms and the village bonesetter were there, repairing the fury of the elements.
« Someone got killed »…
A few derisory words to explain the loss of a child.
The investigation ended in a nonsuit; they suggested the cause was witchcraft.
The bonesetter concluded that it was impossible for a six-year-old child to inflict such injuries.
To ask Titouan would have been in vain, since the boy couldn’t answer the adults’ questions…
The judge decided not to pursue the case…
The lord made a cash donation to help the parents with the funeral.
And time passed.
Titouan became touchy, so anxious, he who had smiled all the time before.
Everyone knew that he was very touched by this death. He had loved Nolwen.
But how do we know what’s going on in the head of a village idiot…
Never again would they entrust him with a child…
And time passed.
Titouan was now eight years old.
The hamlet lamented the loss of Owen, a little ball of a child who had disappeared in the « Chaos of the Titans », down in the valley, one stormy day.
The sadness and resignation…
The people, led by the youngest son of the town miller, chased the widow Leguellec from the mill in the valley, for witchcraft. In that suit, the cadet, his elder brother, got the mill from the parents. The lord, pragmatic, allowed him to operate the « Chaos mill ».
Taxes should return…
Titouan reacted strangely to this disappearance. He got close to the last born, the little Armelle, ignoring the parents who hunted him, ignoring insults and stones.
And time passed.
Titouan was now ten years old.
He was the « village idiot », the laughing stock of children and the affliction of adults.
He was also something else…
Those who took the time to observe him saw a flame shining in him.
A flame like those tales of times gone by, those from the heroes before the time of the cross.
But who stopped to watch the idiot ?
Armelle, for one, who looked at Titouan as if he were an angel.
A little old woman from the town seemed interested in him when he accompanied his parents to the market; the weak mind of Titouan seemed to be balanced by a Herculean strength.
The little old woman that people in the town called the mad one…
« The idiot and the mad one, a wonderfull couple, » went the jeers at the inn.
The people feared the mad one, because she seemed to belong to the olden days, before the time of the cross.
Her eyes wild, she caught Titouan’s father by the sleeve.
« It comes back ! For this year ! It is hungry… »
The parents got rid of the mad one by making signs of the cross.
Titouan remained pensive…
« It comes back… It comes back… It is hungry… »
The little family returned to the hamlet, and Titouan rushed to the house of Armelle. He had seen her playing in front of the door but had left, fearing stones…
The first storm of winter had been raging for two days when a farm caught fire.
All the adults in the hamlet rushed to extinguish it.
But Titouan, he, as if pushed by an invisible force, ran to Armelle.
He came in and worked hard to shut the door under the blows of the wind.
It howled in the chimney, and Armelle was sitting, frightened, on her bed.
She smiled when she saw the idiot.
Titouan raised his finger to his mouth as a sign of silence.
He listened, his whole being tense.
He heard a sound he well knew, having heard it twice already.
A rustle, a strange sound, like a snake in the sand…
Armelle screamed in fear.
Titouan told her: « No fear ! Titouan here ! »
A green halo made the room iridescent. It came from the ground.
The rustle turned into a clamor, and the house vibrated.
« No fear ! Titouan no more small now ! » he cried.
The monstrous head of a legendary dragon materialized in front of him.
A fetid smell leaked from its nostrils. It slobbered; it was hungry !
Armelle saw Titouan’s body shining with light, while his right arm grew longer to take the form of a sword.
The incandescent glow made armor for him.
The dragon bellowed from fury and fear at this threatening presence.
It came out of the soil and skirted Titouan to approach Armelle.
Titouan struck him in the skull.
The dragon grabbed him by the leg and projected him violently onto the table, which broke under the shock.
Titouan got up again and uttered incantations that seemed more painful than his sword.
The dragon breathed flames at the hero. They could not reach him, and a bed caught fire. The dragon was furious, but it felt fear.
Titouan was radiant. He seemed to grow…
The struggle and violence were terrible. The earth was shaking.
The storm and the battle raged in unison, and when they reached their paroxysm, the farm collapsed. The people, icy and piqued, turned to see a fantastic glimmer that escaped Armelle’s home. They felt the earth shake and heard the roaring of the beast.
They started running with pitchforks or sticks that they could find on their path.
When they arrived at the place, there was a supernatural calm. The storm and the sound of fighting had ceased.
They discovered a scene of devastation: the table shattered, furniture overturned, a bed blazing, Titouan lying on the ground with an ugly wound on his right arm, and Armelle, who tenderly kissed him. In his left hand vigorously shook what could have been a piece of pearl.
The residents of the hamlet could never know, did not want to know, what had happened during that night of madness. They just changed their attitude toward Titouan, no more insults and no more stones. Titouan was pampered and, now, even feared.
They avoided the mad one from town who yelled when she saw them:
« He chased the monster at the bottom of the earth. It will come back, it will be hungry. He chased the monster and he holds the key of pearl, the scale of the beast in his hand… Guard it ! The beast may recall his pain by seeing it and no longer take your children… »
Since that day, in the square of the hamlet, you can see a strange piece of pearl set prominently to mark the ordeal.
A warning ? A threat ?
This work and the pictures are licensed under a Creative commons licence byncnd
A short story ? Somewhere in the Middle East. Scene 1
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Comment by edouard | 04/06/2011