New shoes.

This picture below comes courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/sobadsogood.

My friend Mary Rose Caslin suggested that they were a story-prompt, so here we are.

The marriage had been arranged long ago. It was ideal. The only daughter of the village’s metal worker and the son of the finest leather-crafter in Ireland. This was long, long ago before the Eastern people invaded the land with their foreign tongue and strange gods. Fortunately the young people who had grown up together, as maturity approached, fell in love.

Her mother could not have been happier. The nights were drawing in, Samhain would be celebrated and then when the spring came, at Beltain, they would be married, just as the young goddess wed her horned lord. They would be blissful. She continued pounding the special loaves she was baking for the Samhain fires when the young man coughed politely outside the hide curtain on the hut.

“Blessings on your day,” he said on entering.

She planted a motherly kiss on his cheek and offered him a mug of mead. Shyly he took out a deer-skin wrapped package and held it out.

“Will you be giving this to herself? I made them for her Samhain gift. She might think to wear them for our wedding.”

Inside were the most intricately designed sandals made of the softest leather imaginable. The older woman squealed with joy.

“Bless you, son, these will have taken you an age!”

“My father said they proved that I will be fit to take his place when he goes on.” The boy was blushing, only fourteen and already getting paternal approval. “Will you give them?”

The girl adored her shoes. They were the finest things she had ever possessed in her short life. Each night she would unwrap them, kiss them, whisper his name and put them under her blanket with her, hugging them to her chest.

***

It was a harsh winter that year. The meagre stocks of salted meat dwindled alarmingly and there were fears the grain would run out too. Dire times require dire measures and the elders agreed that a sacrifice would have to be made. As it was winter, time of the Holly Lord, a young maiden would be sent to him to plead their cause but she would be chosen by picking lots.

The metal-worker’s daughter never shed a tear when the elders, including her grandmother, came to take her to the waters. All she insisted, before facing the ordeal of death by air, fire and water, was that she wear her bride shoes. So she did, tied and thrown into the bog, only to be found nearly three thousand years later, her beautiful shoes still showing the love with which they had been made.

bog shoes


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