A Knight’s Hound


Dusk is setting in and Tom walks on the outskirts of the village, near the place where the main road that runs through town meets a hill that rises above the landscape. He can hear the bells of a few nearby sheep. They scare at the “clop-clop” of his boots on the stones, but beyond the sound of the sheep there is only the wind as it sweeps through the fields, and the sight of a few candles in the stone houses as the local families ready themselves for the night.

Tom climbs the hill where a few boulders rise from the ground like worn teeth; near the top of a steep incline he sees a thin greyhound facing him, and brings his arms up in case it strikes him.

But the dog merely watches, and then turns and walks away.

Tom follows the hound as though in a dream, into the dark woods that grow beyond the rocks. In the middle of the wood a sparse light still shines through the trees from the evening sun, giving the ground a reddish glow like blood or a glass full of thick beer. The greyhound stands next to the body of a man who looks like a lord, dressed in armor and shield. Tom watches for the rising and falling of breaths but sees none; the man is dead. He is sure of it. It is strange, Tom thinks, the man looks as alive now as he must have in the prime of life. Do ghosts of the dead exist also? he wonders.

The light in the woods is dimming and soon Tom will be left in utter darkness if he does not return home. The hound moves away from the body to where the woods are darkest.

In the morning men gather to talk of a war that even now is coming to them from across the sea.


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