Home > Novel (Fiction) > Historical Fiction > The Tragedy of Generations A medieval Tale of Revenge and Surrender > Chapter 5
The Tragedy of Generations A medieval Tale of Revenge and Surrender
March 5, 1,100 A.D.We slept on the ground and when I awoke I found that someone had started a fire for us. Yet no one was in my sight. In short order I woke up Cedric to see if by any means he had started the fire. But with our luck I doubted it.
“ Cedric, did you start a fire?” I stirred him, still tired.
“ No. What fire? I have no idea what you are talking about. Who are you anyway?” Cedric strung the questions together like socks on a clothes line.
“ What do you mean, who am I? I am your father, the person who raised you.”
“ You are not my father. You could not be. I just met you a minute ago,” the boy said with pure innocence.
“ Cedric, if you are hoaxing me I will be furious!”. Yet with his clueless attitude I assumed Cedric could remember nothing that had happened last night, or, for that matter, his whole life.
I felt like crying, but there was no time for that. I had to figure out what happened to Cedric. This could be the first day of the end of his life. “Come on boy, let’s start walking.” I only referred to him as “boy” because there would be no point in explaining to him why he needed to respond to his own name. This would waste our limited time, the time we needed to find another city and a doctor that could treat him.
Suddenly I heard a rustle in the bushes of the forest. I checked behind them and out of them ran a women. She had blond hair and hazel eyes. I tried to catch her in spite of her lightning fast legs. I yelled for Cedric to follow me and he eventually did. The women had a bottle in her hand which she suddenly dropped, but did not stop running to pick up. I walked over to the bottle and read it. It was labeled Hemlock Juice the bottle composed of old blown glass. It was almost empty and by comparing the smell of the bottle to the smell of Cedric's breath, I could tell he had drank it. I put the bottle in my pocket and burst into tears “My Cedric, my poor, poor Cedric!” I tried not to get hysterical for the sake of my little boy. Now I was sure this was the first day of the end of his life. I continued to try to find a city, but when we finally got there Cedric was already weaker than I expected. I asked the first person I saw if they could direct me to the doctor.
“Right over there,” the man said, pointing across the road.
I went in the direction the townsman had indicated and knocked at the door of a small cottage, calling out, “Doctor, can you help my son? I think someone has given him hemlock juice!”
“ Yes, I can see that,” the doctor replied.
When she turned around I was in awe. The doctor was the same blond haired, hazel eyed women from the behind the bushes. I was stunned. I could not believe it. The only thing I could say was, “Why did you do this?” in slow pronounced words.
“Do what?” said the woman, clearly appalled.
I looked at Cedric and all of his energy had been drained. His face was extremely pale, and his eyes were beginning to close. I don’t think I had ever seen someone so frail and weak. The life may as well have been drained out of his little soul.
The woman looked at Cedric. “ I saw you and the boy this morning while I was on my morning walk. The boy had been exposed to bacteria and was well into the stages of brain deterioration. I could tell the boy had caught the deadly bacteria was because his body was red and blotchy. I instantly knew the boy would not live much longer, so giving him the hemlock would speed up his death so that it would not be quite so very painful.” The woman said this as if she felt my pain. “I diluted it with wine so it would not instantly kill him. If you want, you may stay with him until. . . .”
“Thank you so much,” I sobbed. Then I took my son’s hand to watch his gradual death. With the hectic day we had, I almost forgot that today was his birthday. The same day he was born his mother died, and now he would die as well.
I whispered “Happy birthday” to my son as his pulse stopped. I cried and cried after my son’s death. I called the doctor in and she pronounced him dead. I sat for long hours with my son. Once I finally got it through my head that he was dead, the doctor and I buried him. I went out into the woods and found a huge piece of walnut. I borrowed a knife from the doctor and carved a gravestone for my son. The gravestone had a cross on it and under that it said:
In memory of the most deserving son a man can ask for. And whom shall be in my heart forever .
-- Cedric Balding, 1090-1100
I was mooring over the pain I felt for my son. It was over, but now my heart was broken. My wife died ten years ago today, and now ten years later my son died as well. Then I sat at his grave stone and dissolved in tears. The sun went down and I slept next to my son.