Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Carnelian Fob

In 1996, a man with a metal detector found this fob in Peacock's field on our farm. It is silver and hallmarked 1836 and was found just in front of this little barn, where the farm horses used to be kept in days gone by. I had it cleaned up and added the silver chain. The reverse side probably held a compass although only vestiges of it remain. It was found just below the surface of the grass. I have thought often about how it came to be there and have written the following fictional account of one way in which it could have been lost.



The farmer looked up towards Zebra Hill. All day the hill had stood out against the purple-black of an angry sky. Sometimes a glishy sun had illuminated the few scrappy pines on the top. Then a squall would pass over. Great drops of rain, each one a miniature prism in the bright sunlight, would race across the field, while the farmer watched in wonder at the raw beauty of the weather.

The haystacks were thatched, the fields were cropped short, the corn and root crops were all harvested. Now the land needed the Autumn rain.

The worst kind of weather always came from behind Zebra Hill, from the North, sweeping down from the moorland into the valley floor. In the coming Winter there would be days of bone-chilling cold, when the walk from the house to the barn to feed and water the horses in the evening would be a chore, carried out in the darkness, the storm lantern swinging against the farmer's body as he walked. The rain would be lashing down or the snow would be almost too

deep to wade through. But always he would have to struggle through to his beloved horses, who were such an integral part of the farm and who would be standing in their stalls, waiting patiently as they always did, for their food to arrive.

But tonight, as the setting sun swept bars of orange light across the heavy clouds, the farmer felt a glow of satisfaction. He owned this land. He had worked it in all weathers. And this year he had fulfilled the promises of Summer by getting everything in safely before Winter set in.

He took out his pocket watch and looked at the time. The watch face, tinted palest pink by the setting sun, said seven o'clock. How the nights were drawing in, he thought.

Pulling his watch chain across his ample chest, he tucked the watch back into his waistcoat pocket and strode across the field for home, his work for the day finished. The smell of mown grass mingled with the smell of Autumn bonfires and that of home cooking from the farmhouse kitchen across the field.

It was only when he took out his watch on going upstairs to bed later that night that he saw that his treasured fob was missing from his watch-chain. He searched the fields in the days and weeks to come but it was not to be found for another 160 years.

16 comments:

Gramma Ann said...

That was an interesting find, "The Carnelian Fob"

I enjoyed reading the fictitious account of how he lost the 'fob.' Isn't it amazing that 160 years later it was found. It boggles the mind, well my mind anyway;)

Janice Thomson said...

A fine tale and as interesting a possibility as any other Weaver. What a neat treasure to find.

A World Away said...

You had me there,in the storm, with the horses...a world away. Thanks

The Weaver of Grass said...

We'll never know how it was really lost g.a. but it is interesting to speculate.

Dominic Rivron said...

What does 'glishy' mean?

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

This was a fascinating imagining of what might have really happened. I loved it.

Arija said...

What an honest person with a metal detector, so glad they still exist.
Wonderful find and you spin a good story, you forgot the bit about his father bequething it to him on his death bed.
You could probably weave a whole book about it.
Happy days.

greg rappleye said...

Good story. You are probably very close to what actually happened.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes gramma ann - the silver shone as though it had been buried yesterday.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Treasure indeed, Janice - it is a lovely thing.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks "a world away" I sometimes stand in that barn and try to imagine the two cart horses standing there in their stalls. They were hard times but there is something majestic about work horses isn't there?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dominic - glishy is a Northern dialect word - David uses itall the time - it describes the sun in stormy skies - when it is hard and bright, and you know it isn't going to last long.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pamela and Edward - can't help feeling Edward would love a romp round the field and a sniff round the barn.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Arija I think they were happy days - but that is only in retrospect - it must have been jolly hard work in the cold wet winters we get up here. Thanks for visiting.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Greg, I think I possibly am. It pretty certainly came from off a man's watch chain.

acornmoon said...

You are a wonderful storyteller, very enjoyable post all round and what a wonderful find.