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The Festival of Bringing-In

Autumn painting with orange leaves on trees
To my future self, It is the third week of autumn, and the forest near the castle is just beginning to change colors. The young villagers are busy harvesting the last of the wheat and barley, and the old women are beginning to weave baskets and mill grain. The old men and the children are tending to the cattle, the sheep, and the pigs - especially the pigs. The pigs are fed all the scraps that can be found or spared so that they will be as fat as possible for November.
Meanwhile, the lords are busy with preparations for the Festival of Bringing-In. This festival lasts a full week, and celebrates the hard work of the peasants during the harvest. Banners and lanterns are strung from tree branches and tall posts. Weavers set up tents and sell their baskets and blankets, and potters and cobblers sit on small stools and line up their pots and shoes in front of their seats. Sometimes a perfumer from Bah-rem is there; when he comes, Father always takes time to stop by in-person and purchase perfume for Mother. Good old Cornelius is always there for at least two or three days. He sets up one large table that displays his usual toys, but it his other, smaller table that everyone crowds around, for it holds the new, expensive toys that he designed and carved over the summer. Atticus, the village storyteller, usually sits on a rock beside the Great Maple and tells crazy stories about dragons and fairies and creatures that live deep in the mountains. He says that his stories are true and have been told from father-to-son for generations; I think he creates most of the stories himself, and simply saves them for the Bringing-In. There are many other wonderful things that take place during Festival Week, but my favorite part of all is the rows upon rows of pies and cakes and sweets made by Bakers Byron, Jeffrey, and Simon. My friends and I usually stop by the bakers' tables four or five times, and every year Percy needs a larger tunic size before the week is over. As for life in the castle, Father is as busy as ever. He meets with village leaders almost daily to make sure that the amount of wheat and barley that is being harvested is close to what the farmers were expecting it would be. I have never known a year where the harvested amount was much less than their estimate, but Father says that if it ever happens, he will buy crops from other lands so that we do not go hungry. I do not worry: he is a good king, and he always makes sure that our family and our people are taken care of.

Mother is busy weaving her latest blanket: she wants it to be ready before the first frost. I like to sit and watch her work, but I'm usually busy with tasks for Father or Saul. However, this afternoon I am going down to the brook with Judah and Percy to fish for trout. Aldwin, the assistant to the Chief Butcher, has promised to teach us how to salt and prepare any meat we hunt this season, so we are going to catch as many as we can! Percy is always hungry, though: I doubt any fish he catches will make it to our salting lessons. That is enough writing for now: my hand is growing tired, and I need to save my strength for fishing. Farewell for now, Parker Knight and Prince of Kroos

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