Ancient Times #34
Last Update: Jan 21, 2022
He was expected this time. He hadn’t had to travel that far either. Mai was a bit disappointed.
Hermann came from a little village called Haswood. Haswood was as far from the palace as the palace was from the village, only in the opposite direction. Hermann had to travel for less than half a day. Pharaoh’s death-mask was what he called ‘his meager load’.
Nearly 6 feet tall, round-shouldered, slightly stooped, prematurely going bald, Hermann was extremely confident in his own ability. As an only child, who had been spoiled rotten, he was used to getting his own way.
In his youth he had won a competition to design and construct a likeness representing a chosen god. Through this he had come to the notice of pharaoh and had been drafted into pharaoh’s service. After proving his worth, he was commissioned to fashion a suitable death-mask for pharaoh’s mummy.
Hermann arrived at Zem’s workshop, Zem was able to address him by name and speak with authority on his business. Im had gotten word to his father regarding this latest visitor and his valuable consignment.
“Pleased to meet you Hermann,” smiled Zem.
“Oi vey, what a journey,” complained Hermann who was not a great traveler at the best of times.
“Would you like to put the death-mask away safely right now?” inquired Zem, correctly realizing Hermann would like to be rid of his responsibility as soon as possible.
“Yes, yes,” said Hermann, waving his arms about a lot. “The sooner it is out of my hands the better. Enough already, show me this storeroom.”
As they walked over to the storeroom, Zem told Hermann about all the treasures it currently held.
“This, I must see,” said Hermann genuinely.
The death-mask was naturally a superb work of art. Like Mose’s effort, there was a lot of gold, lapis lazuli and gemstones used in its construction. It really was breathtaking.
After his piece had been cataloged and stored, Hermann spent another 2 hours in the storeroom. When he eventually came out, he was still in a daze.
In his own small village he had been starved of objects of such beauty, except the ones he created himself. Up until this moment, Hermann had only met about half a dozen villagers and seen only a small part of the village, but he felt drawn to the place.
After just one night of sampling Zem’s famous hospitality, including a night in The Grapes, Hermann had decided to settle down and make the village his home. He wanted to live and work in the village for the rest of his life.
“Zem?” Hermann asked as if his life didn't depend on the answer, trying to take his host's attention away from his food. Hermann and Zem were the only 2 left at the breakfast table.
“Something bothering you Hermann?” Said Zem, ever the perfect host.
“I was, er, wondering how I would go about applying for a job here, and making the village my home,” said Hermann.
“You’d ask me, I suppose,” replied Zem, after a moment’s thought. A little taken aback as he had never been faced with this question before.
“Can I have a job, and live in the village?” asked Hermann with a brashness and confidence he didn’t feel. For the first time in his life so far, Hermann feared he may not get what he wanted.
“Oh I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it,” eventually said Zem smiling to himself. He wasn’t going to turn down a man with a talent like Hermann’s. He couldn’t just cave in and let this man have the run of the place. He’d have to let him sweat a bit. “I’ll let you know this evening,” decided Zem pushing his plate away.
Hermann spent all day touring the village and familiarizing himself with its people and trying to be sociable which he found hard to do at first.
The more he saw the better he liked the place but he couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling that all this would be denied him.
Sitting on Zem’s porch waiting to hear the worst, Hermann was surprised to hear Zem’s voice from behind him, “I’ll have to square it with the palace but that will just be a formality. Get your glad rags on. We’ll hit The Grapes and celebrate you coming on board.”
“Great. When do I start work?” Hermann eagerly asked his new boss.
“You can come along with me in the morning. We’ll discuss it more detail as we shift a few beers”
The next morning Hermann found himself engaged in helping to plaster a wall in readiness for painting. His talents weren’t being utilized to their full extent. Despite his slightly throbbing head, he was happy.
All the new boy jokes and attempts to ridicule Hermann went over his head. He was so content to be able to perform a task without the need for great concentration.
To be actually working with other people was the best thing about the job and the therapy he had needed. Hermann was aware that he would soon be directed to complete a specific job that would encompass all his talents, but for now Hermann would do whatever was asked of him.
Hermann was sure he had made the right decision.
Home, for Herman, was a modest house in the center of the village. The fact that it had been empty for a while, because its two previous owners had died, didn’t bother Hermann.
Hermann couldn’t believe it when he had been offered the services of a live-in housekeeper and cook for free! The housekeeper/cook had offered Hermann other services too, but Hermann was a good boy and didn’t believe in that sort of thing.
Hermann quickly acquired the nickname ‘stoop’, which he quite liked really. Although it was given to him to ridicule his posture, he was quite touched. His colleagues had thought enough about him to notice a defect and name it.
Very nice, Kevin!