The littlest Druid had finished her year of roaming and being a Bard. She had found out it had been so much more than she had thought it would be. She had thought it was going to be about just going around and sharing stories and songs and then she would be back in the village but she had wandered farther than she thought she would and that had taken longer than the prescribed year.
She had sung for the king and while she had been told all Bards were the king’s equal, she had found it hard to sing and pretend that she was. She had sat with the dying and soothed their passage to the Summerland. She had sung at festivities big and small and she had wandered over fields and meadows and through forests and over mountains. She had even soothed a couple of angry chieftains down and given them a solution to their problem, all the while being terrified they would think her a fraud because she was just a kid and might never make the rank of Druid. That had made her appreciate all the boring hours of memorizing those never ending laws and decisions but she was home now and the Chief Druid had her learning smithing! Why smithing? What did it have to do with being a Druid? She sighed.
Well, it really wasn’t just smithing, it was silver-smithing. The villlage’s smiths were all getting old and the Chief Druid decided that after all the returning Bards had finished their year they were too excited and not ready for more study quite yet so he decide to have them ease back into the learning mode and ease back into studying.
The silver-smith had been showing her how to make wire out of bigger and thicker pieces of silver, she was hot and sweaty and frustrated. The smith had left her alone in the smithy and went to go relax with the other craftsman in the village and she could hear them in the distance singing something and laughing.
She wiped her dripping forehead and winced when a drop of sweat got into her eyes anyway. Stupid stuff! Why did he need so much wire? Was this all smithing was? Whacking great hunks of metal into ever smaller pieces? She sighed again. This was so much less fun than singing for people or even sheep who wanted to hear her.
“Yes, there is more to it than whacking the metal.” A voice calmly said beside her.
Aisling dropped the heavy tongs she had been using on her foot. “EEEEEEEeeeee, Don’t do that!” she hopped and grabbed her foot and looked up. Brighid was standing there beside her and she was wearing a tunic and trews in green leather and heavy leather gloves and not the dress she had been wearing before. What???
Aisling stared at Brighid, “What are you doing here? And why are you dressed like that? And where were you when I was gone all that time. I never saw you once. ” Aisling spit out while hopping up and down. That had really hurt.
Brighid picked up the tongs and looked at Aisling. “I walked right beside you the whole time but you never needed me and you did just fine. We all are there when you need us and you should know that by now.” Brighid moved toward the draw plate and grabbed the metal point that should have been becoming wire and began to draw it through the plate slowly and surely. She hardly seemed to be working as the silvery metal came through the draw plate in a smooth shiny beautiful and perfect piece of wire. Aisling stared and couldn’t believe it. She had been pulling and yanking trying to get the metal through the plate and had just gotten chunks. She had either pinched it too tight and the metal had broken or she hadn’t pulled hard enough and the metal hadn’t moved at all and the scrap bin was full of ugly short bits of silver. This so wasn’t fair.
She stared at Brighid. “How did you do that?” she was angry and also guilty, how could you be mad at a goddess?
“Didn’t you learn this year that before you could do a good performance you had to center yourself and find your calm spot” Aisling nodded slowly. It had been better when she had.
“This isn’t any different. I know you have chants you learned to make things like childbirth or dying or even putting the fire to bed every night easier?” Brighid looked at her raising a very red eyebrow.
Aisling nodded slowly again. She was beginning to feel a little stupid.
Brighid looked her in the eye and began to fit another piece of silver into the draw plate and picked up the tongs again after adjusting her leather gloves. Aisling heard her chanting to herself faintly and the silver began to flow smoothly again in that beautiful shiny ribbon.
“All work is easier if you work with it and all work has some magic to it. You just have to find it. Imagine what this silver is going to be when it’s used. Will it make a lovely pattern that will hold the glass enamel in a brooch or a crown? Will it gently clasp a stone to hang around a friend’s neck? Will it be wound around the hilt of a knife or sword?”
“When you make it you can add protection to it, you can add peace to it. You can even add love to it for all people just like you can when you make a poem or a song.”
Aisling listened and was thinking really hard. At first, she was a bit exasperated. Does everything have to have some magic in it? And then she realized that yes, everything should have some magic to it. Aisling looked up at Brighid who had been watching her thinking. She knew her small Druid. She’d get there eventually.
“Now, I want you to try,” Brighid said and handed Aisling back the tongs.
“But I don’t know your chant?” Aisling whined just a tiny bit, she wasn’t someone who normally whined but she was tired, this was really work.
“That’s the second part, this time you have to make your own chants. Every smith has their own. That’s part of what makes the magic. Put your own heart and hands in every piece whether you know who the piece is for or not.”
Aisling looked at Brighid. She could hear a chant starting in the back of her mind. Was that why the smith had left her alone? She grabbed the end of the metal and started to hum and pull and the wire started to flow for the first time. The metal flowed just like it was supposed to and she turned around and Brighid was gone. Aisling smiled and kept pulling, maybe this wasn’t so bad after all.