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According To The Pattern
by [?]

On the eve of a Communion Sunday Simon Idiot espied Dull Anna washing her feet in the spume on the shore; he came out of his hiding-place and spoke jestingly to Anna and enticed her into Blind Cave, where he had sport with her. In the ninth year of her child, whom she had called Abel, Anna stretched out her tongue at the schoolmaster and took her son to the man who farmed Deinol.

“Brought have I your scarecrow,” she said. “Give you to me the brown pennies that you will pay for him.”

From dawn to sunset Abel stood on a hedge, waving his arms, shouting, and mimicking the sound of gunning. Weary of his work he vowed a vow that he would not keep on at it. He walked to Morfa and into his mother’s cottage; his mother listened to him, then she took a stick and beat him until he could not rest nor move with ease.

“Break him in like a frisky colt, little man bach,”[1] said Anna to the farmer. “Know you he is the son of Satan. Have I not told how the Bad Man came to me in my sound sleep and was naughty with me?”

[Footnote 1: Dear little man. “Bach” is the Welsh masculine for “dear”; “fach” the Welsh feminine for “dear.”]

But the farmer had compassion on Abel and dealt with him kindly, and when Abel married he let him live in Tybach–the mud-walled, straw-thatched, two-roomed house which is midway on the hill that goes down from Synod Inn into Morfa–and he let him farm six acres of land.

The young man and his bride so labored that the people thereabout were confounded; they stirred earlier and lay down later than any honest folk; and they took more eggs and tubs of butter to market than even Deinol, and their pigs fattened wondrously quick.

Twelve years did they live thus wise. For the woman these were years of toil and child-bearing; after she had borne seven daughters, her sap husked and dried up.

Now the spell of Abel’s mourning was one of ill-fortune for Deinol, the master of which was grown careless: hay rotted before it was gathered and corn before it was reaped; potatoes were smitten by a blight, a disease fell upon two cart-horses, and a heifer was drowned in the sea. Then the farmer felt embittered, and by day and night he drank himself drunk in the inns of Morfa.

Because he wanted Deinol, Abel brightened himself up: he wore whipcord leggings over his short legs, and a preacher’s coat over his long trunk, a white and red patterned celluloid collar about his neck, and a bowler hat on the back of his head; and his side-whiskers were trimmed in the shape of a spade. He had joy of many widows and spinsters, to each of whom he said: “There’s a grief-livener you are,” and all of whom he gave over on hearing of the widow of Drefach. Her he married, and with the money he got with her, and the money he borrowed, he bought Deinol. Soon he was freed from the hands of his lender. He had eight horses and twelve cows, and he had oxen and heifers, and pigs and hens, and he had twenty-five sheep grazing on his moorland. As his birth and poverty had caused him to be scorned, so now his gains caused him to be respected. The preacher of Capel Dissenters in Morfa saluted him on the tramping road and in shop, and brought him down from the gallery to the Big Seat. Even if Abel had land, money, and honor, his vessel of contentment was not filled until his wife went into her deathbed and gave him a son.

“Indeed me,” he cried, “Benshamin his name shall be. The Large Maker gives and a One He is for taking away.”