Round and round went the pestle, relentless in its actions. Nothing came out of the mortar whole. Gavindra dumped the powder into a bowl and added more seeds to the mortar. She began grinding this batch.

“Watch me, Grandma!” Carl shouted as he ran to the end of the large rock and jumped off into the deep pond.

Gavindra kept the pestle going, making the powder that would be part of a remedy to add to tea or bake into bread.

“I’m better, Grandma!” Meera shouted, and as she leapt, she pirouetted in the air and then hit the water.

All the children from the village were here today, staying cool and staying out of their parents’ way. Gavindra’s land was good for that. It was on the edge of town and held this marvelous swimming pond within shouting distance of her cottage.

Calindra came out of the water and sat on the ground next to Gavindra. Calindra, Cali, dripped and made a puddle.

“Corin is leaving tomorrow,” Cali said. “He says he’s going out to see the world.”

“He’s just going to Reckin, a town down the road, to apprentice with his uncle.”


“You’ll miss him?”

“No! He’s stinky.”

Gavindra chuckled.

“I want to be a blacksmith,” Cali said.

“It’s not time for you choose.”

Cali rolled her eyes, sighed deeply and flopped onto her back. “‘Course not. Will it ever be?”

“For you, yes. Soon I think.”

Cali popped up. “You mean it?”

“Yes. Most are never ready.”

“Corin is.”

“No, his father chose for him.”

“Are you my grandmother?” she asked.

“Why do you ask?”

“Everyone calls you grandma.”

Gavindra smiled. It was true. The title was for an old woman, but she didn’t feel old. “Your mother is my daughter.”

“Is everyone’s mother your daughter?”

“That’s a smart question to ask. No, only your mother.”

“What was my father like?”

“Your mother doesn’t like to talk about him.”

Cali shook her head.

“That part of her life was a trial. I think she doesn’t like to remember any of it.”

“Even my father.”

Gavindra’s pestle paused as she looked at the sky. “I expect. She wouldn’t tell me of it when she came home.”

“Was he bad?”

“I don’t think so. It’s not like your mother to take up with bad people.”

“Yeah, that’s true. I have a secret.”

“If you tell me, It won’t be anymore.”

Cali scooted next to Gavindra and glanced at the pond. All the children were occupied with playing.

Cali spread out the fingers on her left hand and stared at them. He brow furrowed in concentration and her lips puckered. A tiny flame hovered above each finger.

Gavindra covered Cali’s hand with hers and pushed it down, out of sight. “Not here. Never where others can see.”

Cali’s eyes were round. “You’re not angry?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Mom was.”

“Did she talk to you about it?”

“Yeah, she said don’t ever do it again.”

Gavindra dropped the pestle. “Did she now?”

“Emm hmm.”

Gavindra set the mortar and pestle aside. “You must speak to her about it. If she refuses, come to me and I will teach you.”

“Can you do it?”

“There’s more to it than just that.”


“Remember, talk to your mother. She may not be ready for you to walk this trail, but you are certainly on it.”

Cali shot to her feet. “I just remembered, I have chores to do.”

“Helping your mother?”

“Of course,” Cali said with a grin, and ran home.

“trail/trial” – read others and see the rules

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