Jan. 24th, 2008

alhammitt_alhammittsson: (Toddler: Sad)
Mitt is cautiously excited when he wakes up this morning. His mom told him there was going to be a surprise today, his birthday, because now he is five and it is his birthday and he is a big boy, he is.

It’s nice to be excited today, his mother and father have not stopped quarrelling since they arrived and he hates the greasy waterfront which is the closest place he can go to escape it, and there were jeering children there who make fun of him. Once he tried to go farther away, and he found someplace clean that was bright and smelled nice and he saw a tall house painted all with pictures, gold and different colors. One of the pictures was of a stiff sort of lady in a green dress, holding a bunch of grapes to a golden haired man on the other side. They reminded Mitt of his perfect land, they did, until the angry man came and chased him away.

So a surprise will be nice, it will, or he hopes so.

~*~

He’s spending the day with some friends of his dad’s, and right now he’s up on Canden’s shoulders staring solemnly over the bewildering mass of people moving through the streets. It’s his birthday today, but all of the big boys are running about with wooden rattles, and there are people in bright clothes all around with silly hats and flowers and big buckets of fruit, and Mitt doesn’t even know them.

There are people in the crowd coming forth playing cruddles and scarnels in tunes he thinks he recognizes, and being drowned out by the loud drubbing of the drums. Mitt startles when he catches sight of a straw dummy riding along in someone’s arms, all covered in bright red ribbons.

"Look," says Canden, who Mitt likes because he is nice like Peter but he’s only as tall as Dean. "There’s Poor Old Ammet. That’s Earl Hadd carrying him."

Mitt is suddenly worried. He’s never heard of Earl Hadd ever doing anything good with anything. "What’s he going to do with him?"

"Throw him in the harbor, of course. For luck," he says, as if it is the most natural thing in all of Holand.

Mitt tightens his grip on Canden, staring at the dummy, horrified. He tips a bucket of muck into the harbor every day, he does, and doesn’t like the thought of Poor Old Ammet sinking, soaking, drowning, all of his ribbons getting spoiled. "Doesn’t he float?" He asks, anxiously.

"Not too often," Canden replies. "Mostly he falls to pieces and sinks in the harbor or just outside it."

"He doesn’t!" Mitt says, frantically.

Dideo, who Mitt thinks has a face like a net and his eyes are like two tiny little fish caught in it, makes a thoughtful noise. “He doesn’t always fall to bits—Old Ammet. If the tide’s right, he goes out on the tide in one piece. Or they say he does. Floats for miles. And those in a boat who can find him and pick him out have a lucky boat ever after, they say."

The thought of Poor Old Ammet floating all alone is almost more distressing than him falling to bits. Mitt casts about for a way to change the subject. "Who are those boys with rattles?"

Canden glances out at the boys in red and yellow trousers. "Boys from the Palace. All them in the procession come from the Palace," he answers distractedly, before turning his head to Dideo. "I’ve never seen Old Ammet float. He goes down almost as quick as Libby Beer."

"Would they let me run with a rattle?" Mitt interrupts, desperately.

"No. You’re a born nobody. He does float," Dideo adds to Canden. "You’ve not been in Holand long enough to know, but he was picked up once, a good ten miles out, by the old Sevenfold and I heard every man in that boat made a fortune afterwards. I was about Mitt’s age then," and then he glances up at Mitt and finally notices his tears, nudging Canden.

Canden takes Mitt down, peering at him. "What’s the matter? Do you want an Ammet of your own?"

"No!" Mitt says. But they take him to the stall with all of the Ammets in different colored ribbons and little wax sculptures of Libby Beer, too, and fuss over him while his father’s friend Siriol shows up and watches over them. Mitt bursts into tears and pushes the little Libby Beer away. She sinks, too.

"But they’re lucky!" Canden exclaims, mystified.

Siriol just hands him a toffee apple from his end of the stall. "There, that’ll please you best, I bet."

There's some mystery to these friends of Mitt's father. Mitt's mom doesn't like them, she objects to them in ever quarrel she and his dad have at night. But Mitt likes them well enough. And Siriol's right, the toffee of the apple distracts Mitt as it gets his teeth caught in it.

But he doesn’t forget it.

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alhammitt_alhammittsson: (Default)
Mitt (or Al, or Ham) son of Al (or Mitt, or Ham)

December 2009

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