Again, thanks to Anthony Cardno for this week’s picture!
The Harps of Lameggishire
by Jeff Baker
The field was green, the bright green of Summer. The grass was tall and the chattering of the daybugs was in the Summer air. Oisin brushed aside the grass as he led the way towards the far corner of the field, towards where the Guardian Stones marked the beginning of the Barren Place.
“There. Right there,” Oisin said pointing. “I saw it when I was running through this field years ago.”
“When you were a child,” Dermot said. “You imagine things when you were a child.”
“Not this.” Oisin said.
Dermot was nineteen summers, tall, brown-haired and muscular. Oisin was nearly a year younger, but was shorter, smaller and pale with bright red hair.
“It wouldn’t still be there,” Dermot said. If it wasn’t picked it would have shriveled and died in a few weeks, let alone after fifty Summers.”
“They missed it somehow,” Oisin said. “They’re supposed to pick the new Harp out of a field around the Tree of Aggomolch, when?”
Dermot sighed. “After the Seventh Cycle of the Moon Lasseen,” he recited.
“And they missed one. Decades ago!”
“I know the story,” Dermot said. “And they looked through the field and found it not, and there was lamenting for they were without the Harp of Lameggishire,” he recited. “And thus did the Woeful Years begin, until the new Harp would grow.”
“The Harp doesn’t always grow in the same field, but they found it in this one lots of times,” Oisin said. They really don’t check that well, I think. They don’t feel they need its song. Its magic. But we need it now.”
“Yes,” Dermot said.
“And I think this is the Harp they missed one year,” Oisin said. “Look.”
Dermot looked. The grasses were brownish here, mixed with the green. And the shadows from the barren tree growing nearby, maybe one of The Trees, no one was sure.
There in the ground was a wooden post that came up to Oisin’s knees. What looked like a branch grew out of the post at an angle. There were small strands of vine or branch growing between the branch and the post that made it look like…”
“A harp.” Dermot said.
“The Harp.” Oisin said. “We have to believe.”
“You believe,” Dermot said, becoming awed. “You pick.”
The hair began to prickle on the back of Dermot’s neck, as Oisin bent down to the harp.
The clouds were skittering across the sky, the Sun-Winds were blowing and the grasses were waving. The strings of the harp were tingling with anticipation,
But would it play? Oh, would it play?