Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin (Paperback))
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view, a great grin on his red-bearded face, “now you can see that for good or ill, I always keep my word.” He untied me. Faint from standing so long, my arms aching from being tied, I immediately sat down. “Do you know the penalty for poaching?” he said as he worked his dagger skillfully to skin the rabbit. I was so angry, I only shook my head. “To feed us I’ve put both ours lives in jeopardy,” he said. “That’s the kind of freedom that exists in this kingdom.” With flint, steel, and tinder,
mouth around the blowing end, how to shift my fingers, how to make different sounds. Reluctantly, I took up the recorder, and with fingers like soft clay, tried to play. What came out were sorry, shallow squeaks. “You see,” I said, “I can’t do it.” I offered him back his pipe. Refusing, he railed at the top of his voice, threatening to inflict upon me every kind of grisly torture if I didn’t try. At first his shouted warnings terrified me. But as the day wore on, I realized he was mostly
few long strands of horsetail hair that he kept in his bag. After tying the strands together he made them into a loop, which enabled him to trap—with great cunning—the birds, without their even knowing they were in danger. I was much engaged. After eating we stayed on opposite sides of the fire taking what warmth we could. Bear was in a solemn mood and spoke very little, seemingly preoccupied with his own thoughts. “Do you believe me now?” I said. “About what?” “That they are looking for me.”
village side, stood one of the stone crosses that marked Stromford’s western limit. Covered by mystic markings, this cross had been erected where Saint Giles had once appeared. There, on the rivers low, tree-lined banks, stood our noble’s house—Lord Furnival’s manor—the grandest house I knew. It was where the steward had lived for many years in the absence of the knight. With stone walls two levels high and small windows, the manor was to me like a castle, high, mighty, and impenetrable.
erupted, later known as the Peasant Revolution of 1381. The peasants demanded, among other things, an end to serfdom, as well as far greater political equality. They were almost successful. The historical record suggests that the revolt was as spontaneous as it was murderous. The notion of a brotherhood conspiring to ferment revolution—as told in this story—is my invention. But surely, such talk was common. The short-lived rebellion of 1381 was terribly bloody, both in the acts committed by the