A youthful mistake
They had been sat in quiet contemplation since the sun went down. In silence the fire light cast dancing shadows on the painted hides adorning the walls of the Shaman’s hut. The young hunter, their head hung low had not said a word since being pushed in by their village as the sun was at its highest.
“A farrow! You took a farrow. It is summer, you have plenty.”
The words broke the young hunter, unleashing a tide of emotions which they could not contain. They looked up sobbing, looking for comfort but found only disdain. The village was in danger, the animal spirits would be displeased, and time was of the essence lest the fury of the Great Boar be brought down upon everyone.
“You are of the age and should know better by now. The shame upon your name will last until the end of time, reckless and foolish you damn us all. What do you have to say for yourself?”
Despite a wobbling lip and puffy eyes the young hunter found the confidence to sit up straight and face the Shaman. Eyes locked, they sat as the young hunter spoke.
“I leave to track the mother I have wronged. By sun and night I will track, taking no food except that which falls upon me, taking no water from stream or river, only that which falls. I will ask mercy for the village and offer my life as recompense.”
A gentle nod of agreement from the Shaman, and the young hunter left the village. Never to return.
To the north, where the Old Lands end, there is a tale told of an ageless young hunter who walks the wilds with a boar. Together always, never apart they walk the forests side by side in silence. In spring the hunter protects her young, in summer they seek out the juiciest apple and offer it as tribute, in autumn they gather in preparation and in winter they feed the boar and her children.