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The Last Harvest


The sun was scorching that day. Sweat dripped off the farmer’s brow, enough to water the crops he was hard at work harvesting.

But no blisters nor back aches could wipe the smile from the farmer’s face, for he knew this
yield would be the last he’d ever have to pull from the ground.

He had found a grand treasure, one the local nobility would trade their firstborn son to posses.
The old lord would return from his war in the east by the next moon, and then the farmer could present his prize.

Just then the beating sun cooled. Around the farmer was only gloom.

No, not gloom, there was not a cloud in the sky. A shadow.

Not the shadow of a man. A score of men perhaps. A company of bandits come to steal the
farmer’s barley and the three silver pieces he kept tucked under his straw bed. Not his treasure
though, they’d never find that.

Then a mighty roar gripped the farmer’s heart, like the first time he heard a dog bark as a small
child. No bandit could make that war cry.

Rabbits, birds, dragonflies all suddenly thought of better places to be and were off.

The farmer turned. A bird had blocked out the sun. A bird with a wingspan as long as a shipping vessel. A carrier pigeon it was not.

The shape of the silhouette, briefly, seemed smaller, for it tucked in its wings, and tilted its head. As it began to dive, the illusion ended.

In his paralyzed trance, the farmer saw what beast rained from the cloudless blue sky. The head of a lion, the body of an eagle, the eyes of burning hate. A Griffin was upon him.


He had no time to act shocked, and an act it would have been, for he knew why the Griffin was
here, and it wasn’t for a bowl of barley soup.

There was no window to run, only to duck. As the Griffin swooped down, claws out in front, the
farmer hit the dirt, and caked it in the blood streaming down his cheek.

He swiveled his head towards the Griffin. Realizing that must mean his head was still attached
to his shoulders, the farmer breathed a sigh of relief.

The Griffin had landed now. In what was expected to be a ground quaking descent, the farmer
felt nothing. He had no time to admire the grace of it all.

The Griffin had landed between him and his modest hut. It mattered not. The thatched roof
would not protect him, and the hut did not hold what the Griffin was seeking.

Would the farmer give the Griffin what she wanted even if he could?

It’s been thirty seasons now of grueling labor. Without this treasure the farmer could suffer
through another twenty seasons more, before he dies from a chill with no one to bury him in the ground.

The farmer had never been accused of bravery, however. Nor was he a fool who thought he
could defeat the Griffin with his scythe and mediocre vigor alone.

The only hope was to give in, and pray another stroke of luck came his way.

He needed to make it to the lone oak tree, on the other side of the field.

Ugly tree.jpeg

It was a broken and ugly thing, painful to look upon. Nobody would think it was capable of
harboring an acorn let alone the treasure of a lifetime.

It was no less than 100 meters away, but the farmer had to try. If he could give the Griffin back
what he stole, perhaps she’d show mercy.

He ran, ran until his lungs were burning hotter than a sword pulled from the forge.

He wasn’t halfway there before his feet left the ground. The Griffin had snatched him in her
talons and soared before hurling him into the tree which was his destination.

That stroke of luck the farmer was hoping for was that he made it to the tree in record time.
His nose felt broken, and the pain in his belly was sharper than a spear tip. Only the rush of
battle gave him some minor reprieve.

He knew he had mere moments before the Griffin finished her pass and circled back to him.

He began digging. With no shovel to aid him, he dug with his hands until his fingertips were raw and red.

Then he saw it. Large as a bull’s head, gold and glimmering, the egg which he had buried,
whose mother was here to bring home.

Griffins had not been seen in these lands for a thousand years, so the farmer had never seen
their eggs. Though, a week ago, when he stumbled upon a nest as big as an ox cart, feathers
wide enough to use as a blanket littering the ground, he was certain of what he had found.

What a glory it would have been for his lord to behold, what honors would have been bestowed
upon him. Though, when the Griffin landed an arm’s reach away, graceful as ever, the farmer
knew the time for dwelling on broken dreams was at an end.

The Griffin did not roar. Rather, she purred. The sound was soft, like the plucking of a harp. All he could do was place the egg in offering, before her wrath again grew.

Only then did the farmer look down at his stomach. The tear in its center looked like it had been made by the headsman’s axe. Blood flowed freely like the rivers in Hell.

It took no seasoned solider to know that this wound was the farmer’s last. The Griffin knew it

After she had tucked her offspring away behind one of her paws, she grabbed the farmer with
the other and took to the sky.

The hold she had on the farmer was not like the last one, but gentle, like he was being cradled in his mother's arms again, whose face he had long since forgotten.

Where before there were no clouds, he looked down and saw white fluff obstructing his view of
the world below.

Before drifting to sleep, the farmer felt at peace. For though he never lived in a castle, no king
had ever claimed to fly.

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