A promise of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
The boy crawled through the healthy wheats. Never had he seen wheat such golden and flourish. This years harvest has been beyond unprecedented. It was so good in fact simply from selling wheats the village has been put on a map. Traveling merchants came from nearby towns and villages and the economy boomed noticeably. For a village that barely could meet its own needs this harvest was surprising. The clerics said God has finally accepted their penance, while the villagers thought their hard work ethic had been better than ever this year. The true reason of course they could never guess.
As he crawled through the wheats the boy noticed something. Some wheat were much more golden then the others. The color felt brighter. He noticed the closer he got to the initial patch of wheats it only got better. The wheats were healthier and even more golden. As he followed it this pattern continued. As if it was a trail of bread crumb leading him somewhere. But where, to whom? Soon it was answered.
He noticed some wheat were weighed down by something. He got closer and realized it was someone. He couldn't believe his eyes. The person was naked, lying on the patch of wheat and soundly sleeping. She was pale, really pale, like she was from a snow country, her hair a beautiful amber. But what really perked him up wasn’t her strange predicament or her modest chest. On her head were two ears. She already had human ears just like his. But she had extra ears on her head, shaped like that of a fox. And from her behind a long furry tail swished slowly to and fro. It was amber like her hair, the tip of it a beautiful white. He had no idea what he was seeing right in front of his eyes. Baffled he had no idea what he should do. Soon though it seemed the girl noticed his presence.
She woke up from her slumber, yawning loudly she stretched her arms. Then she looked back at the boy. She had long eye slashes, her features soft, her eyes a deep amber.
“What is a lad like ye doing so far out here at this time? Or are ye a lass?” She asked matter of factly.
“I’m a boy!” The boy said promptly. His pride as man was hurt as small as he was.
“Oh could’ve fooled me. You’d look wonderful in a dress too I’d wager.” she said smirking.
“What! No I wouldn't!” he quickly refuted shaking his head his eyes almost teary.
“Are you sure? Ye should at least try it-”
“NO! NO! NO! No matter of my clothes! Why aren’t you wearing any! And what's with those ears!” He lashed out with everything, trying to quickly change the subject. He was already knew the advantages of ignoring a topic.
“Oh, human clothes are very uncomfortable to wear. Besides it’s much nicer to feel the breeze directly to my skin.”
The boy didn’t know what to say. He couldn't refute anything she had just said because the way she said it made it seem like she was telling the truth and nothing but the truth. But he quickly snapped out of it.
“Human clothes? But all clothes are for humans! What are you saying?”
“Ay, your not wrong lass.”
“I”M A BOY!” he lashed out louder. The girl seeing his reaction burst out laughing. It was a laugh of pure joy, it was unlike when the laugh his father makes when he sells a product much higher than its original price, it was more like the laugh her sister when she fools him into taking the smaller pie or trick him into doing the chores she doesn’t want to do. The more he realized that the angrier he got. Finishing her laughter she looked him as laid back as ever,
“What’s your name boy?”
“Rolf Lucan.” he said with disinterest which made her smirk larger.
“From Duven I presume?”
“Yes. Now tell me who are you? Why do you have those fox ears on your head and a tail!”
“One at a time boy. My name is Holo. The wise wolf of Yotsu.” She paused as if to she his reaction. Seeing his eyes lit up in anticipation, satisfied, she continued. My true form is that of a wolf. This isn’t fox ears boy never make that mistake again. Here touch my tail if you’d like. Would a fox would have a tail of such grace?”
The boy slowly touched the tail. It was real. It was really real he thought. The fur were of high quality much better than anything he had ever touched. And it felt, alive. Like that of a real animal.
All of this time the boy had this notion of disbelief. That all of this had a much more rational explanation. He was still an young boy. Merely eight years of age. As he grew he realized his world grew bigger but it also become more restrained. He started to understand his father didn’t know everything. Neither did the village elder. Their words weren’t the end of the world and it certainly wasn’t always right either. But he also realized it didn’t matter what anyone said, whatever some people said was always right. The noble man, the lord, the king himself. What ever they said were the decree and so the truth. If nothing else the church and their scripture spoke the words of God himself. So it can’t be nothing but the very truth itself.
But here, right before his eyes was something so fascinating and unreal he couldn't wrap his head around. As the rules and natural order of things were slowly setting itself in his head, this interaction blew every notion away. The world was again an endless depth full of possibilities.
“You seem enamored boy. Did ye take a liking to my tail? Of course what but one can one do before it.” Holo said, full of pride.
“Miss Holo, are you really, um what you say you were? A wolf? A God?”
“Ay. Do ye not yet believe?”
“No it’s not- it’s just” He stammered to find the right words. A god of wheat? Such a thing would be considered pagan. Recently the church had begun to be more aggressive. As the their followers increased even King Edwards last born became Christian. You see pilgrims pass through the village every winter, the guards and the clerics of the church come to spread gods word and demean any pagan ritual. Yet here there was someone who claimed to be just that. His heart shook with fear and excitement.
“How about I show something to ye? Something to make ye believe?” she said mischievously. The boy nodded ever so slightly.
“But what am I to get in return? Everything has a cost I’m sure ye knows. That is truth as much for your kind as it is for mine.”
“Ah, well I-” The boy furiously thought, what could he offer to a god? He’s coin purse was empty nor he had any trinkets. What ever was he to do? He then recalled something. Sometimes, in his fathers trade, the customer would pay for the product later. Couldn’t he promised the same?
“Miss Holo, I don’t have anything to offer you now. But when I do have something I will promise to give it to you!” He made sure to sound as sincere as possible. He hadn’t realize a crucial part of that act. That the person must show enough qualification to fulfill said trade. However the hard and fast rules of trade didn’t apply right here and now, since Holo was pleased enough to hear a promise.
She touched the ground with her fingers. She slowly moved around her fingers on the fertile ground, as if playing with a newborn. From under her grasp, a small patch of grass grew and from that grass slowly wheat plant grew until it became as nourished and golden as the other wheats around them.
The boy was speechless. Right in front of him, something incredible happened,
“A miracle” he whispered.
“Ay, one could call it that.” Holo said, pleased by Rolfs reaction.
“Miss Holo, you really are a Goddess.”
“As I’ve said before. Really, you’d be good to believe in whatever I say from now on.”
There was no refuting her words. He had to accept it as it was.
“You should be over joyed boy for putting a show like that for you. Surely even you noticed. How great the wheat around this land had become ever since I came here. Before than it was such barren and poor.”
“Huh? When did you come here Miss Holo?”
“Since the beginning of summer I’d wager. I do say I’ve lost the track of time while being here. Something about this place has certainly peaked my instincts.”
The beginning of summer, now it’s almost Autumn. This years harvest, it was like a miracle, just like the one Holo had shown him just now.
“Miss Holo, all these wheat it was your doing?”
“Twas me.” She said with pride, her hand gesturing her greatness.
This years harvest, it had changed everything. The town of Duven which no one could tell if it even existed became a part of the map. It became a central trade route and had irrefutably changed the life of it residents for the better. All happened because of Holo. As she put it herself,
“I’m a goddess of wheat, of course the wheat where I am would be a boon for everyone.”
The boy became restless. The church had always preached about Gods miracle but here before his eyes, he has seen the real thing. He had heard about Pagan gods before. How they were archaic and wicked and required a sacrifice of some kind. Yet here before his eyes Holo, while mischievous she was, she wasn’t nefarious quite the opposite, she was fun and mysterious. Her stature betrays her prideful persona, but even though she had changed the life of the village for the better she never asked for anything in return. What lied in front of Rolf betrayed all his previous preconceptions. But he did not fear it, and did not reject it. He embraced with open arms and everything that bought with it.