Hello, Benjamin, Brothers Campfire here. Gather round and I will spin you a tale.
Briefly, mother’s womb was warm.
She sang delightful lullabies and whispered kind encouragements that vibrated from vocal cord to belly.
When dad made mom laugh, her belly would jiggle like a rocking boat.
I loved it.
That all ended when the mom started crying and a midwife yelled, “push, push!”
Distinctly cold, and blindingly bright was the world around me. The shock left me silent until the palm of the midwife struck my rear end.
I wailed in despair.
In deceptive manipulation, the midwife wrapped me warm and passed me off to my mother.
“He’s Adorable!” Mom exclaimed.
Dad smiled but respectfully kept his thoughts to himself.
The midwife wasn’t about to let dad say nothing.
There were all kinds of ladies in town that needed education on personal matters; it was the currency of the gossip kingdom.
“How does it feel to be a new daddy?” She asked.
Dad was savvy.
“Why, this hairy little man is surely the cream of a crop!”
“Don’t you mean cream of the crop?”
“Of course.” Said dad.
Strangely, they hadn’t named me, and they discussed the matter on the spot.
Dad suggested Apollo, Jack, Griffin, Thor, and all sorts of manly names.
Mom had some good ones as well. She thought of Aiden, Owen, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
Things were looking up until Aunt Betty, my father’s older sister, came in, brushing the midwife aside.
Yanking me out of momma’s arms, she pulled me close to her face.
I felt the prickle of her whiskers and I will never forget her memorable breath, bless her heart.
Tearing up, she smiled.
“Why, he looks just like Walter! You should name him Walt!”
Dad stiffened up a bit and mom just kept on smiling.
Mom said, “well, I’m not sure it is such a good idea because..”
Interrupting mom, Dad went with it.
“Great suggestion Betty, Walter it is!”
Given the nifty names they started with, Walter was not a thrilling prospect. It was a stupid name.
I learned this about life that day;
The womb is a lie, a false hope, and Aunt Betty was the enemy for naming me Walter and offending me with her whiskers and breath.
Cliche as it is, I didn’t ask to be born and I didn’t ask for my stupid name.
I have been angry ever since, or so they say.
Anyways, the initial years were spent with mom in the kitchen. She cooked all sorts of delectable goodness, and me helping all the while. Mom put a little apron around my neck and we would make sweet beets, corn porridge, and fermented cabbage. On other days, we would sift flour, roll out dough and bake bread. Every once in a while dad would come home with rabbit or spicy meat.
Dad ate as well, but he was gone all day. Mom and I made him a mixture of ground meat, bread, and dried vegetables packed tightly and smoked in tightly woven sacks.
Dad was always so thankful for this meal and placed it carefully in his work bag. He was gone all day and returned only after dark most of the time.
The pain of birth was forgotten and life was the glorious engagement of culinary delight.
Mother taught me my runes and I learned them all.
I learned the upper case,
ᚨ ᛒᚲᛞ ᛖ ᚠ θ ᚺ ᛁ ᛃ ʞᛚ ᛗ ᚾ ᛟ ᛈ σᚱ ᛋ ᛏ ᚢ ᚹ ψϡᛃ ᛉ
And my numbers.
Then, one evening we began smoking more woven sacks of food in big and small portions. Dad would help us with this when he came home.
Then, one freezing blustery morning before the sun arose, mom dressed me in all of my warmest clothes, tied a bag of food about my waistband, and told me to go with dad.
When the door opened, a blast of freezing air found its way to every exposed piece of skin and I cried in agony.
I felt so betrayed as mother secured the door and father took me to the fields, the work benches, and the forest.
I didn’t ask to go outside or to be so tired and have been angry ever since.