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Survivors of a lesser ark

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Far from the land of Noah lived Moah. He also was warned of the flood but his task was simpler, rather than saving all of land fauna, Moah built his ark to accomodate all the people and livestock of his little town, most prominently his triplet sons; Bovus, Vincent and Cornelius. Before god spake to him, Moah was a skillful worker of the earth. Grains, cattle and vines he knew best of all men. Like even the ignorant he also kept chickens, sheep and gardened other crops like basil and mint. These arts he taught with perfect consistency to all three of his sons and all three became as much the master of them as their father. Came the day of rains and all the townspeople and their seed and their beasts boarded the ark and waited for the rains to end. Once they did and the waters receded the ark was wrecked on a mountaintop. Moah drowned in this disaster which saw the three sons with equal goods and equal survivors drift apart. Each finally settled on different sides of the mountain, separated by rock and ravine, thinking themselves the only party to live through the deluge.

Cornelius, his wife and children and friends, all came to rest on the eastern plain. Here there was fine earth for raising grain, good sun, just enough rain but too much for vines and there was little pasturage for the herds. Vincent’s people came to rest on the sou thern slopes where the warmth and loose soils made vines grow like well-fed sons but the plains were rocky; turning back seed and producing little grass for grazing. On the western side landed Bovus whose cattle devoured luxurious grass that stretched off far but the plain was no good for farming as the sod was so tight it could scarcely be cut with a knife, much less plowed. Vines would hardly flower given the cold mornings, brief sun and harsh soil of the permanent afternoon on the far side of the mountain.

Time passed, as it will, and each tiny, isolated community grew well. But finally the day came when the three sons, now old men, breathed their last. As they were born, so did they die. Simultaneously. All the mourners on whatever side of the mountain came to the same conclusion: our great man is dead, we should bury him with his father, or as well as we can. So they all set out for the ruined ark on the mountaintop which all could see but where none had ever set foot since that long ago day. The funeral parties, in as much finery as their hands could produce, came over the ridge and gazed at each other in amazement. The sons of Bovus came in thick clothing made of hides. They had been nursed on milk, meat and little else. They were strong and brutish; in the habit of killing whatever they ate. Alone among Moah’s people they had become hunters of game, fishers and gatherers of the few roots at the edge of their lands. Vincent’s people were fine and pale. Their clothes were of thin wool finely woven as their few sheep were coddled and treasured for their wool. Cattle they knew but could only keep a small herd on their poor grass. They had urns of wine though, and had been raised on grapes, olives, garlic and forrage. The clan of Cornelius was dressed in rude cloth made from the fibers of wheat stalks. But they had been raised on bread. Bread, bread and more bread. From farming grains on their good land they had more food than they could eat so they grew numerous. Their party was twice the other two put together. And they also knew cattle although they could not graze them. They fed their beasts grain also so there were not so many of them but they did produce milk and meat in limited quantities. Wine, they had forgotten; their old vintners died in frustration, but they had found beer while making their bread and the masters of beer and bread had discovered an amazing thing. Cheese.

All had heard the old stories, of course, and discovering that they all spoke the same language and had the same grandfather they came together, buried their fathers together and had one great mourning feast in the shadow of their once shared home. Each returned to their people with the astounding story and with the proof of it in goods the likes of which their families had never seen. The Bovines were astonished at bread, wine and most of all, cheese. In Cornova they marveled at clothes of wool and leather, having always been poorly clad. In Vineland they devoured the meat and fish that they usually had only on feast days while beer seemed a muddy miracle. Excitement boiled through all the people. It seemed like a new world had opened while an old one was re-discovered. They could rebuild everything now, re-populate and re-make all of Creation.

But in each camp there were some who did not think much of re-making. They had risen and prospered in their trades and were suspicious even if these were their long lost brothers. In Vinland the winemakers looked on beer as a horror. There was no art to this and no practical limit on its raw material of grain. Cheap beer poured into their houses producing drunkards in shocking numbers, drawing the boys from the vines and polluting even their women with daily drunkeness. In Bovus they devoured bread and drove herds over the mountain passes to trade for it but this was difficult. To even get a few beeves over they first had to get grain to feed them on the trip; grass could not be transported. But once in Cornova no one would trade for their cattle immediately for they knew that the cattle could not be grazed and therefore the price would come down over a few days time as the Bovines had to trade for grain just to feed them. In Cornova there was shock and angst over imported manners from both the Bovines and the Vintners; the one crude and violent, the other effete and superior. Wine and beef drove out beer and bread while both outsiders sought cheese above all and much desired the secret to its making to the point of spying, stealing and lying for it.

The result all around the mountain was a tranche of laws to control and finally forbid the cross border trade; laws that were subverted or ignored although great efforts were made to enforce them. The enforcers, after all, also liked beef and cheese and wine and beer which they were forbidden to get honestly. The tiny communities could only devolve into a state of near war; smuggling and hoarding led to raiding and thieving which led to kidnapping and murder. Grudges developed into feuds and feuds into battles. The most numerous Cornovans could spare the most men but the Bovines were most fierce. The Vintners, most cunning. On all slopes there were more men committed to protecting the fields and storehouses and fewer to working them. Where cooperation, a bit of patience and a bit of trust could have produced plenty for all, instead there came to be a wasteland, the mountain region returning to much what it was before the flood; before the coming of man with man himself becoming little more than a larger beast with stranger habits including an inexplicable animosity for similar beasts from the far valley. These idiosyncrasies were little noted by the outsiders who also had somehow survived the flood who one day came in numbers and with arms to take all they could find from all over the mountain leaving the sons of Moah bereft and astonished and now unable to distinguish one brother from another. So they dissappeared from the knowledge of men.

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