April was upon them and shelter was their goal.
The sun beat down upon their heads, sweat pouring off them as the boy took a small swig of water from his grandfather’s water bottle.
“Just small sips lad, we don’t have that much.”
Grandfather was all too aware that their well had nearly run dry the previous year. Rains were only intermittent now until the next wet season came in July. They sought the shade of the forest.
“the old stories tell of a time when these hills were bare, grazed by a furry animal that people used to eat on sundays.” The grandfather recounted the stories he had been told – the boy immediately distracted from the hunger in his own stomach by the familiar tale.
“Did people really eat animals back then grandad?” the boy’s eyes widened.
“So they say, yes.”
“Farmers used to have flocks of these animals called sneep, and they grazed on trees until all the trees had gone, then they ate grass.”
They sat and savoured the shade of a large spreading Oak – a cork Oak, whose bark was useful in providing all manner of things – but most valuable of all was its insulating properties, keeping their roof cool under the unremitting Summer sun.
“Why is this called the Forest of Brexeat grandad?” the boy was nearly 10 and his curiosity knew no bounds.
“Back a long time ago before I was born at the time of the Empire of Eyuu the sneep were grown here but eaten a long way away. But then King Boris decided that Briton wanted to be free of that Empire and his army of Brexites fought for our freedom, boy. Then there was nowhere for the sneep to go and they were all burnt in a big fire to celebrate freedom – and that’s why we burn a pumpkin at the festival of St. Boris on the 1st November.”
Grandfather paused, thoughtfully – pumpkins never burn that well and it did seem like a waste of food, but it was a tradition which had to be upheld. The relentless buzz of Cicadas, normally tuned out, briefly entered his consciousness.
“And after that the great heating came and there was no food and no grass, most people went away, and those that were left planted Cork Oaks and called it the Forest of Brexeat.”
“Will it be an really big celebration this year grandad – for 100 years since we gained our Freedom?”
“Yes boy, we’ll have a big party.” Grandfather suddenly felt very tired and closed his eyes briefly, passing into a half-dream of furry white animals running across green hillsides. The boy idly picked up a stick and toyed with a scorpion which had emerged from its hole.
The sun had descended a little int the late afternoon, and it was time to return home, to their Welsh village.