www.whyville.net Jun 14, 2009 Weekly Issue

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Black Death

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Author's Note: I am going to start writing a series about a girl who is a Black Plague survivor. It takes place in Europe around the year 1347 and lasts till 1350.

The merchants came. One by one they emerged off that big, sea worthy ship. The fair. Once a year a ship of merchants would come bearing their goods from distant lands, too far for a Serf to travel.

I saw them come, through our frost stained kitchen window. Docked in Messina, Europe.

"Marie, here is a bucket of freshly ground flour. Go to the fair and see what the merchants will give us for such fine flour." Mama said as she wiped her hands on her apron, removing the excess flour.

I carefully took the bucket of flour and left the gates of our small hut. When I was a younger, my father left us to go to battle in service of our lord. He was killed and buried when I was only eight.

Deep in thought, I didn't see where I was walking and tripped on a loose cobblestone. The flour spilled everywhere, and the bucket flew into the open sewers which lined the roads from both sides. A large gash ran from my knee to my ankle from a jagged piece of stone. Blood welled from it and dripped onto the rocks.

I removed my apron; dirty from the fall, and tied it around the cut. Being a lowly Serf, we didn't get much medical attention so it was best to let it be and carry on with my day.

Looking at the flour spilt everywhere, I knew I had to find something else to trade.

As I stood up, I head footsteps behind me. I turned around in time to see my sister, Anya hurdling toward me.

"Marie, Marie, Mama said I could go with you to the fair If I hurrie- what happened to the flour?"

I quickly told her what happened and she offered to help me pick some vegetables from the fields.

Once we collected some new goods, we carried on our way to the fair.

We turned the corner of the cobblestone path, and instantly the smell of freshly baked bread and other new scents wafted into my nose.

"Ohhh, let's try over there, that man selling fish! I've never tasted fish before! Anya chirped eagerly, as a six year old girl would.

The fish merchant smiled a crooked smile at us.

"Well, well. What do we 'ave here? G'day girlies, what 'ave we got here?" He said, looking down at us.

"Well sir . . ." I began holding out the vegetables.

"What? Get outta here! What do ya think I am? A fool? You would 'ave to be a fool to trade fish for mere garden plants! I take gold and gold only! Now get outta here before I do something ya wouldn't like!" The merchant yelled angrily.

Anya and I hurried away, only to slow down by rats feeding on the corpse of an unknown animal.

"Awwwe! Look at the 'lil rats Marie! Look how cute they are!"

The rats must have came off the merchants ship. I pulled Anya away just in time as a large rat charged at her, lashing it's long hair ridden tail.

The rat hissed, angry that it had missed a chance to make a mark on my sister, then returned to feeding on the corpse with the others on the wooden dock.

We were about to start heading home, disappointed with our luck, when suddenly . . .

"Ouch!" Anya yelped, slapping at her neck. "Something bit me!"

A large red circle was forming on the back of her neck from the unknown bite.

"It was probably fleas, they must have came with the rats on the ship, don't worry, it will be fine. The doctor will let a little blood and all will be well." I said, trying to reassure her.

And with that, we headed back to our small hut with the straw roof.

Author's Note: Vocabulary:
Serf = The lowest class person in the middle ages, lives on the land of a lord and works for a lord.
Lord = Usually a vassal (in a deal with) another, higher lord who has given them a fief. A lord is superior to a Serf.
Fair = Where merchants come to sell usually foods that they have brought from different places.
Merchant = A medieval salesperson.


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