Sunday Snippet: Alma Boykin W-I-P

“Saxo, what are you doing?” A firm hand grabbed the back of his neck and collars and hauled him upright. “Boy, I told you—” Master Agri stopped. “That bird’s leg.”

The young, grey-tan great-hauler gelding walked back and forth in his pen, nibbling a little of the fresh food Saxo had given him after he poulticed the bird’s leg. A green smear and lump showed the thick blend of herbs just above the feather line at the base of the skin-covered lower leg. The gelding moved more easily than he had that morning. He swallowed the grain and greens blend, blinked, then ate more.

“Sir? It hurt and couldn’t pull. I tried to help it stop hurting.” Saxo tried not to whine. Master Agri had told him to make the bird comfortable and to take care of it until the beast healer came in two days. “It’s the same poultice that Goodwife Eadburg uses on people.” He’d been washing the container he’d blended the herbs in when Master Agri caught him.

The wrinkled man scowled. “What made you think it would work, boy?” He shook Saxo.

“It did before, on the lead female on Goodman Folker’s team after she got bitten by the stinging flies before Rella’s summer feast, sir.” He didn’t like seeing beasts in pain, and Goodman Folker had been happy to let him try the sticky, green paste that worked so well on people’s bruises and swellings with carbuncles. It helped the birds as well as it did people, and had even made the stingers pop out of the leg flesh. The bird stopped trying to scratch and chewing at the leg. That alone made the leg heal faster, even before the power of the herbs rebalanced the bird’s natures, drawing out the extra heat.

Master Agri stared from the bird to boy and back. He shook Saxo again. “Don’t do it again unless the beast healer gives his permission, hear me?” A third shake came with the words.

“Yes, sir.” How was he to ask? Not a good question. There were no good questions for Master Agri, unless it was “What else needs doing, sir?”

The bird-raiser let go of his collar. “Clean that, then get on with your work. Huw can’t do it all.”

“Yes, sir.” Huw never did all his work, just the half he wanted to do. He left the dirty, nasty, hard things for Saxo, unless Master Agri or Mistress Carys watched him. But Huw was almost a journeyman, and was an apprentice under contract, not a charity apprentice.

(C) 2023 Alma T. C. Boykin All Rights Reserved

3 thoughts on “Sunday Snippet: Alma Boykin W-I-P

  1. Why do I think that the Beast Healer will take Saxo as an apprentice? 😉

  2. Ooh!!! St. Albert the Great, “De Animalia.” (Not the Aristotle commentary, but the original work.)

    There is an English translation by a veterinarian, and it is a fun fun book with a lot about falcon care and bonesetting, antlions as fun pets, and other personal observations about animals. The falcon stuff was learned from falconer servants, and it is still decent advice in some places (hence the vet translator notes).

    This is also the one with the dragon/dinosaur bone description.

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