a homage to the rock
I could barely read then but even I knew how the story of the Old Sadogue began.
“Wherever he goes, the fish follow in his wake.”
They said he was fat like a walrus and had tusks like them too, hidden beneath a great white beard that put every other beard to shame. He sailed in a dinghy along the coast, stopping in each harbour only a few days. He would drink with the sailors, dance with their wives, settle disputes, and recite poetry of the North, where men fought bears and people lived in the ice itself. In his absence those comforting words were often repeated by everyone in the outport, a little prayer to our neighbour deity, filling a well otherwise caked with worry.
I looked up from the book of black leather and yellow paper and asked if the thing about the tusks was true. Da said words had a way of shiftin’ shape as they went from mouth to ear, but if it was written on the page it was the truth. I was only eight then and I believed him.