Sixteen year old Angnethe daydreamed as she ambled down the lane trying to avoid the tedium of the tasks given by her mother. She swung a basket back and forth in a small arc careful to keep the contents within it confines. Daydreaming and humming quietly she slowly made her way to town.
Jost Redeker, a candlestick maker, was Angnethe’s father. Her mother Anne crafted tallow candles to round out the family business. Between the two enough was earned to feed their family. The sun burned hot and low on the horizon as days grew shorter and Fall reached into summer. Candle and candlestick production swelled in anticipation of long dark winter nights. Mother and Father had no time to spare as they worked through the days and into evening, so the responsibilities of acquiring the necessities fell on Angnethe.
The town was buzzing with the abundance of the summer harvest both plant and animal. The market had townspeople elbow to elbow as they bartered or exchanged coins for food and other goods and essentials. The breeze wisped gently across the crowd, faces rose to greet the warm sun, or catch the soft smell of flowers and herbs. Angnethe longed to stop and enjoy the beauty of the end of summer but she knew she must continue her trek.
Alecke Nagel could be heard outside his shop as the heavy cleaver he deftly swung, carved and chopped through bone, joint and flesh. His craft rendered livestock into bundles of meat to sell or barter with the villagers. Angnethe leaned through the door smiling then approached the table set on the other side of the shop.
“Mother sent me today with a delivery of candles.”
“Aye, many thanks Angnethe. Are your Father and Mother doing well? Winter is upon us and the darkness is an unwanted fiend. Your family blesses our village with the gift of light.”
“Father has many candlestick in the market and carving continues at a brisk pace. Mother is far into her dipping with many candles done. So many she is ready for more fat. If it is acceptable, she asked if you can deliver the burden to our home.”
“Christoph! Get out here boy. Load the large barrel of fat and haul it to Redekers.”
His son came from the back wiping his hands on a soiled apron, and caught sight of Angnethe. Color rose from collar to eyebrows. His gaze shifted to the floor as he muttered, “Yes Papa.”
Angnethe equally flustered glanced away and looked up as she twisted back and forth nervously, avoiding both Christoph and Butcher Nagel.
“Off with ya boy! You have much to finish before we’ll be going home to your mother.”
Quickly she uncovered the contents of the basket, pulled out a two bundles of her mothers candles and set them on a small table beside the door. Nagel winked and grinned at her as she replacing the cloth. She raised a hand in farewell as she hurried back up the avenue toward the street market and the baker’s shop. He shook his head and wondered at their failed attempts at disinterest. He knew the telltale signs of attraction.
Unnerved by Christoph’s appearance at the butcher, she bumped and teetered her way to the bakers. Her mother had created a special bundle of larger candles, and her father included a new candlestick to fit them. The farmers had a prosperous grain crop and the bakers flour supplies were abundant. Mother was fond of the fragrant fresh loaves from baker Bartold Everding.
Anxious to finish her duties, Angnethe breezed into the bakery, looked anxiously for Everding’s attention, whose back was to the door.
“Sir, may I leave our delivery here for you?”
He turned and a smile broke across his broad face, “Angnethe, a welcome visitor. What have you brought today?”
She held the bundle out to him, and reached back into the basket and pulled out the candlestick and handed it over. Surprise brightened his face and he inspected the new candles and the special candlestick.
He turned on his heels and walked to the brick oven, snatched a thick cloth to grasp the iron handle to opened the door, thrust a paddle under a two crusty golden loaves and slid them onto his work table. He wrapped a cloth around the loaves and deposited them into Angnethes empty basket.
“Hurry along now. Your mother will want them fresh and warm.”
Happy for a reason to rush, she scurried out the door and quickened her pace as she started for home. As she hastened along, she covered the new bundle with the extra cloth to keep the loaves warm. As she rounded the bend in the road, she turned on the cart path to her families house, she heard the crunch of gravel, and snap of dry branches as wheels rolled toward her.
Her heart quickened as she caught sight of Christoph pulling the hand cart. He lowered the handles to the ground, and in the cover of trees and brush, walked toward her, as he reached a hand out for her.
He smiled, “Angnethe.”
I really stretched with this piece. SAM’s prompt had me instantly inspired to write in this era because I had just finished reading the book “The Hangman’s Daughter” by Oliver Potzch. I wrote from a different era, from a different part of the world and a different voice than I’ve every done or used before.