Loud swells the wind along the mountain-side:

High burns the sun, unfettered swings the sea,

Clear gleam the trails whereon the vanished ride,

Life calls to life: then make no grave for me.

Henry Herbert Knibbs

"Hi Unca Nate," Kev sighed deeply knowing he was in for a round of prodin' and pokin' now that Nathan Jackson had arrived. "Unca 'Siah was tellin' me 'bout a poem Tad wrote.

"That thing," Nathan huffed but grinned and began to recite the poem.

I Dreampt that I was Dyin'

I dreampt that I was dyin' and I wasn't gonna stall

Seemed a bit more pleasant then livin' all in all.

Lying in the burning sand beneath tha blazing sun.

Yep just up and dyin' seemed to be a bit more fun.

Dreampt of wakin' in paradise like one of them Muslim folk,

Wit' all them virgins around me. Then somebody spoke,

they wasn't any virgins, nor even angels gathered 'round.

Nah wasn't nothin' like that seems I'd done been found

Instead of an angel's gentle hand a strokin' at my hair.

I woke ta a cup of Satan's brew and that vulture stare.

Satan was hangin' over me with stubble and bloodshot eyes.

Pokin' and a prodding made a man wishful for to die.

So here I lay a starin' at tha ceiling once again it seems.

I know every knot and scratch upon those cursed beams.

No matter how a man tries, no escapin' from this hell.

Them skunks have done throwed mah britches in the well.

Kev giggled and lay back to let Nathan examine his wound.

"It's looking good," Jackson said contentedly and rebandaged the boy's side. "Don't be moving around too much you hear me? Give it a chance to heal first."

"Way everbody's actin' I don' think I got feet. This'n er that'n's always carrying me off 'fore I have a say in it." Kev grumbled. "Can I please just go to the privy on my own?"

"Just the privy and take it slow," Nathan chuckled and ruffled the wild curls. Watching closely Jackson breathed a sigh of relief when Kev reached the privy and went inside. Born with a cowl over your eyes. Heard tell of it but never saw it before. Granny Hattie said it was the mark of a seer. Not a safe thing, folks are scared of something that different. Those extra fingers are enough to make folks nervous. At least all those curls hide his ears now. Vin wasn't surprised at all, almost like he expected it. Hell maybe he did.

Lord it was a struggle keeping that boy on this side of the grave. His Momma dead and not one nursing woman in town. Spitting up cow's milk before it even got in good. We all knew a sugar tit wasn't gonna work for long. Josiah went to the reservation to see if he could find a wet nurse and JD was hitting every homestead with a nursing mother. Drought was bad and there just wasn't milk to spare. Rekin that was when Mary opened Chris' eyes to her ways. She wouldn't even hold Kev deformed like that and likely to die anyway. Cold, hard woman made me rethink why Billy was with his grandparents.

Ezra Standish riding into town with a nanny goat laying across his saddle and the kid's head pokin' out of his saddle bag. 'Mr. Jackson, it has come to mah attention that goat milk is often more palatable to some delicate constitutions than milk from a bovine.' he said. Come to find out our skinflint had spent over a month's wages to buy that damn goat.Could have knocked me over with a feather when he took off that fancy jacket rolled up his sleeves and milked her right there. I'd never have dreamed that fancy con man knew how to milk a critter. He just sat in the rocker with Kev cuddled up close and cried when the baby couldn't keep that goat milk down. Kev was just getting weaker and weaker. Poor little thing didn't even have it in him to cry anymore.

Then God sent us a miracle, nothing else to call it. Tiny had been to Eagle Bend to get some of his horses left at the livery there when for what ever reason he took the pass instead of the stage road. Found Ingrid and Annika broke down with a busted wheel. What in hell kind of people throw two women, one of them due any day, off a wagon train just because their men folk died. They was sure in an awful fix. Pitiful sure enough, wore out, scared to death couldn't even speak English. Broke mah heart seeing that poor gal just rockin' on the wagon seat a holdin' tight to her dead baby. No tellin' if she'd ever come back to herself. We managed to get things squared away and Annika up to my clinic. Figured I'd slip her some laudanum and take the baby for burying once she's asleep. She just sat there with those lost eyes like she didn't know or care where she was.

Chris wasn't seeing much of anything either, just rocking and trying to get Kev to suck on the sugar tit. Wasn't gonna be long before we was burying that baby too. Just as calm as you please Annika stroked that dead baby's hair and give her to me. She stood up and walked over by the rocker. Kev locked them little fingers just as tight as could be 'round her fingers. That was that, she had that baby against her breast in a heart beat. Could have heard a pin drop when Kev latched on and went to nursing.

"Everything alright Nathan?" Chris laid a gentle hand on the healer's shoulder.

"Just remembering." Nathan wiped the tears away.

"Come on we have a future to build. Kev said we need to add another bedroom," Chris laughed.

"What?" Nathan spluttered.

"A boy, when Sarah's three," Chris chuckled.

"You gonna add that room?" Nathan asked.

"Wouldn't hurt to have a guest room," Chris muttered.

"Uh huh," Nathan sniggered.

"Shut up Nate," Chris laughed.

Make me no Grave

Make me no grave within that quiet place

Where friends shall sadly view the grassy mound,

Politely solemn for a little space,

As though the spirit slept beneath the ground.

For me no sorrow, nor the hopeless tear;

No chant, no prayer, no tender eulogy:

I may be laughing with the gods- while here

You weep alone. Then make no grave for me.

But lay me where the pines, austere and tall;

Sing in the wind that sweep across the West:

Where night, imperious, sets her coronal

Of silver stars upon the mountain crest.

Where dawn, rejoicing, rises from the deep,

And life, rejoicing, rises with the dawn:

Mark not the spot upon the sunny steep,

For with the morning light I shall be gone.

Far trails await me; valleys vast and still,

Vistas undreamed of, canyon-guarded steams,

Lowland and range, air meadow, flower-girt hill,

Forests enchanted, filled with magic dreams.

And I shall find brave comrades on the way:

None shall be lonely in adventuring,

For each a chosen task to round the day ,

New glories to amaze, new songs to sing.

Loud swells the wind along the mountain-side:

High burns the sun, unfettered swings the sea,

Clear gleam the trails whereon the vanished ride,

Life calls to life: then make no grave for me.

Henry Herbert Knibbs

Tad (welsh) father

littel alf (swedish) little elf

naill at whom y ddraig canu-(welsh) the one to whom the dragon sing