Bewilder's Encounter with Diggory

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

The king was now many days from Belvedere, climbing slowly toward the montane of the

Diggory the Mysterious

Grassmere. The terrain was rugged and steep, rocky edifices filled with crags, caves and overhangs. The spring thaw in the high country sent torrents of water cascading down the otherwise meandering stream into the lowlands.

What a special place this is, Bewilder thought, allowing his heart to open a crack and let the heat of the morning sun warm its soft inner chamber.

Two days previous, Sir Michael had graciously provided Bewilder with food, water, fresh clothes and a deep, regenerative sleep, so the king felt sufficiently rested for the trek.

As the sun rose high in the sky, he decided that he would stop at the next pool and give Skye a well-deserved rest.

Horse and rider ascended a steep, rubble-filled section and emerged onto a wide, treed bluff, an oasis for a weary traveler with a view far down the canyon.

Bewilder picked out an encampment at the far end, nestled into a thick stand of aspens that grew heartily from an abundance of stream water. A fire sent smoke up into the leafy canopy and toward the cerulean sky.

Bewilder dismounted cautiously and slid his dagger from its sheath.

“Yo man,” a jolly rasp boomed from the woods, “have you come to unburden me of my vast fortune?”

Bemused, Bewilder sheathed his knife, grabbed his satchel and bladder and walked toward the encampment.

“I’d thought the same, stranger,” he called back. “Nay, I come in peace.”

“Then enter at your peril, friend, for I am armed with graceless humor and a lashing tongue.”

He perceived no danger in the stranger’s voice, trusting a long-honed intuition that rarely missed its mark.

He stepped between a pair of elderberry bushes and nearly tripped over an old, mangy dog that lay in his path.

“Don’t mind Agnes,” said the deeply tanned, emaciated man whose naked, ribbed back was hunched over, trying desperately to breathe life into a dying fire.

“Confounded thing,” he mumbled, turning toward Bewilder, his cobalt eyes twinkling mischievously.

The man stood and faced Bewilder. Bright white teeth emerged as a broad smile slid across his golden face.

“Diggory’s the name,” the man said, offering his hand. “At your service.”

Bewilder took in the scene. The man—ancient, brown, wrinkled, with a crop of pure white hair—was tall and lanky. His baggy britches looked to be made from a gunny sack and hung precariously across his boney hips. His hands were rough and strong, blackened from a life of work and tending the fire. He sported a long, white beard that came to a point at the center of his chest.

Bewilder took Diggory’s hand.

“Bewilder," he said, "they call me Bewilder.”