“Well, there you are then…” Mildred stooped down on the hill side and gingerly grasped the leaves, carefully trimming what she needed without upsetting the fragile roots clinging to bits of dirt in crevices of rock. A few leaves would go a long way. Willing her body to upright her self, she took a few minutes to rest and enjoy the view of the valley below before descending back to her cottage.
Hers was a small farm, sustainable to support herself and Hannah, but simple. She smiled as she watched Hannah carrying water back from the well. “Bless you child,” she whispered. Hannah had taken over many of the harder chores as Mildred’s body became weaker. Mildred didn’t know how she would have coped without her.
“Mildred, you’re going soft,” she announced to herself, as she wiped a moist eye. “Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you get to go all sentimental all the time.” With a grunt she picked up the basket of herbs and began maneuvering back down the hill side.
As she approached the cottage, she could smell the bread wafting from the window. Hannah’s voice trickled out as well, singing a maiden ballad.
Hannah turned and smiled at her grandmother as Mildred sat the herbs on the table.
“Come here child,” Mildred instructed. “Today I need you to help me make my poultice and my calming tea.”
“Ok Mamie. You want the big boiling pot?”
Hannah pulled a huge pot from a cabinet, set it on the wood stove and chatted as she gathered supplies. Mildred watched, approving. That girl only had to be told once and she remembered everything.
“Old Man Wenk was in the market today,” Hannah announced. “He is such a grouch! I had gotten the last of that chocolate you love and he tried to take it away, saying he needed it and I should respect my elders! I told him I got it first, and besides, it wasn’t for me, it was for you. Wouldn’t you know he said you were crazy old bat? The nerve!”
Mildred chuckled. Marcus Wenk had never forgiven her for turning him down at the harvest festival all those years ago. Best decision she ever made, if she said so herself. “Don’t let him bother you, dear. Believe me, sometimes it’s vital to be misunderstood. If he realized why I really do what I do, he’d have dragged me before the counsel years ago.”
“I don’t understand why they say your medicines are bad. They help people feel better! And they work better than anything the sages prescribe.”
“Some people just don’t like the fact that they didn’t think of things themselves, dear.”
Needs lots of polishing, but 20 minutes to write and five to do some minor edits and tweaks. I really kind of want to explore this village a little more!
Source: TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #10