Neo stood nervously in the hall of the lords house. It wasn’t what he’d expected, it was still clear even here that the house was in dire needs of repair the faint smell of burned wood still lingering in the air.
“The lord will see you now” the steward smiled grimly. It has been an effort even getting the lord to see him, at first the steward had tried to dismiss him out of hand. A child with a grand scheme nothing worth bothering the lord about. It wasn’t until he had shown him the merchants slip had the old man conceded to allowing him in. Neo’s pigs where on the way and now he just needed somewhere to keep them.
Following nervously up the iron stairwell to the second floor, doubt leapt about his stomach like a thousand jack rabbits. Perhaps he was just a foolish child with a grand scheme after all.
Reaching the door the steward opened it, there he was sitting at his desk… his sword lent up against the wall close by. A real life knight.
“Come in” the lord smiled, Indicating that he should enter.
Nodding he took a few steps inside, nervously crumpling the merchant slip in his hands.
“I hear you are quite persistent” the lord smiled, “my steward said you wouldn’t leave until I saw you?”
“Yea… “ his first words coming out in a sort of croak. Coughing he tried to clear it “I mean Yes milord” he nodded.
“Well you can see, me how can I help you?”
Heading towards the desk he suddenly realised the state of the merchant slip which had now been crunched into a tiny ball. So much rode on the outcome of today’s meeting if the lord would not give him land then his dream was over before it even began.
“I … want … I want to start a pig farm” he mumbled, trying desperately to uncrease the parchment so the lord could see the bill of sale “I have pigs… you see”
Taking the parchment from him the Lord strained to read the writing “So I see” he agreed “And how can I help?”
“I need land, just something small at first… enough for some pens and a sty”
“Can you pay for it?”
“No Sir” he admitted. “I was hoping to rent”
“You’re a young boy to rent land?”
“Yes Sir I know and I wouldn’t be able to pay… at least not until my pigs first litter was ready to butcher but then I would be able to pay a reasonable fee”
“You want me to give you lands without any means to pay for them?”
“Yes sir, I know it seems a lot to ask” he agreed, “But you have lands standing un-used and they aren’t doing you any good. My family have rented on this estate for almost 40 years and my uncle owns the lake house so I was hoping for a bond of trust?”
“And what do you know about pigs, I mean none in Grimstead breed them”
“Yes sir I know and that’s why I thought there would be good profit in it, I have a book and had some good schooling, im good with numbers and letters… I have family with successful businesses who can help me”
“Yes but what do you know about pig rearing?”
“I know the sow comes into season once a moon, you should introduce the boar to her and if she’s interested they will do their part. If she’s not ready you separate them for ½ a day before trying again. Once pregnant she’ll litter in 3 months… 8 – 10 piglets” He began the words coming out in a torrent eager to show the lord he’d done his research “I intend to keep working at my Uncles fishmongers so hopefully I’ll soon have enough money to buy two more sows and another boar. By my reckoning with gods will by Christmas next year I could have 24 piglets, at least 8 of which will be almost ready for slaughter. Naturally one will grace your table Sir”
“Will it now” the lord smiled.
“Yes Sir” he grinned, “Of course… the biggest of the litter”
“So by my ‘reckoning’” the lord began “that boar should grace my table by early spring next year?”
“Yes sir that’s my reckoning of it… and each year after that I’ll give you one for Christmas as a token of my gratitude for helping me begin”
“And how much land do you need?”
“Just one field sir, not even a big one… I’ll do the rest”
“These pigs will need housing and a stout wall?” the lord reasoned.
“Yes sir I know I have some coin left to build it”
“And what about Wolves? They come down from the mountains”
“I’m going to build a sty for them, one with doors like a chicken roost, lock them inside at night so they will be safe”
“You seem to have it all figured out” the lord agreed.
“I do Sir, I just need a little faith and I leg up” he grinned, starting to get a tingling feeling in his tummy as he realised the lord was at least taking him seriously.
“Very well then” the lord nodded, “You shall have your land on one condition”
“What’s that Sir”
“The second year I get two boars, one at Christmas and one on my son’s birthday”
“Yes Sir, of course Sir” he grinned.