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Monday, 12 November 2012

Fargale Valley!

Here I am at last down in the luuush river valley. The walls of the valley right here are like those of a canyon. The sky is like a river of light overhead, framed by cliffs the colour of peach and brick. I'm too busy swimming with my friends and cousins to write much today, but here are a couple of photos I took earlier, the first one on the way down from the plains above, the second from where we had our lunch today. We all got wet, and that was before we went skinny-dipping in the pool under the falls. I'm still shivering from that.

I'm so far from home I can hardly believe that the rest of my life is real!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Same Old Routine

So it's back to work after a few days' so-called rest, after Farmer Angtal paid us for harvesting his mealroot crop. Yesterday we finished moving camp, which is one of the hardest parts of this life of ours.

And as if it isn't hard enough, everybody treats me like a leper, because of losing Charp. OK, not quite everyone.

First, three days ago, we began herding the sandbacks and harnessing the thissneal pack animals. None of my younger cousins and brothers wanted to collect the thissneals' dung. It's usually the job of the younger boys, and I well remember doing it with the edge of my scarf around my nose and mouth. But they ran off and played, and then Sy swaggered by and ordered me to do it! He ignored my protests and just kind of chuckled as he walked away. So I did it, but not happily. I could only bear it because, that way, I could choose the larger turds for mother to use for cooking. That makes it a little easier for her.

Some of the younger thissneals kept nipping my ankles and butting me with their wide brows when Killian and I were herding them into the corral. Killian got knocked over a few times, but he loves the thissneals. He ruffles the thick, orange fur on their backs and tickles behind their scoop-shaped ears.

Then we had to break camp, taking down each tent, storing away all our belongings, clearing up endless litter and stuff, while keeping an eye on the animals. Mother was still cooking and washing clothes when we were packing the folded-up tents onto the thissneals! I began to lead the first string of thissneals along the trail, but along came Sy and snatched the lead rope from me, and gave it to Gulzing. My brother was too embarrassed to look at me.

Anyway, it's a long job, and I often start a new batch of farm work more tired than when I finished the last lot! Especially this time. I just have to keep ignoring people's sharp words and half-muttered curses, and remember that I am still me, and I'm not the worthless idiot they think I am. And Farmer Brennin is usually pretty good with us. He expects good work, but he doesn't yell or get impatient as Angtal's other hired men often do when Angtal's away.

Enough of this. Off to the fields, where there are acres of ripe, uncut melograss bushes waiting to be chopped down and bundled up. Oh, my aching back!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Winter Market again

Winter Market is rapidly approaching - just a month more. I enjoy seeing all the tribes. I know some boys from all over Fargale, from various tribes, meeting them each year. We generally get together for a big game of slamball before or after the Market, if anyone can find a couple of baskets and poles to mount them on. Last year was a hoot, although a few of the older boys didn't want to play that time. Getting too grown up to have fun, maybe! 

It was a pretty lively Market in other ways. After some of the Rumstone tribe ran amock, claiming they'd been cheated in the livestock auction, somehow about a hundred sandbacks got loose and stampeded through the centre of the market! Then it started raining, and didn't stop until nightfall. That's a day I won't forget in a hurry.

I wonder what this year's market will bring.