Harbinger of Summer

Saint Martha’s Feast Day, the tenth year in the reign of Richard II

The days are pleasant and the sky is as azure as a velvet-lined box. Jack and I take our leisure just outside the Boar’s Tusk with cool cups of ale. With Gilbert settling beside us, we say nothing as the songbirds wing, and my gaze follows the lazy meandering of a dragonfly over a mud puddle. My mother used to tell me that the first sighting of a dragonfly was the harbinger of summer, and likewise, the last sighting was the coming on of fall. And whenever I see the creatures, I am put in mind of her brief lessons. I remember so little of her now, for I was only a child when she left this world for a heavenly home.

The thought of her made me melancholy…or was it the ale? I shook it loose and gestured with my horn beaker. “Look, Jack. A dragonfly. You know what that means, don’t you?”

He took a slurp of ale and wiped his chin with the hand holding the beaker. “Watch out or they’ll sew your sleeves shut?”

“Don’t be absurd.” The boy believes in Faeires. “It’s the first moments of summer.”

“Oh. I like that better.” He commenced slurping again.

Gilbert laughed. “My mum used to tell me they sewed up your sleeves. What of you, Crispin? Have you never heard those tales?”

“No,” I say wistfully. “My mother told me of summers.”