It was an ordinary day when Isaac set out on his escape.
A day when the weather gave no evidence towards a single imperfection, yet never satisfactory enough so as to be remarked in the books of history. Look at the pages yourself and notice no blemish there made by the beauty of nature. No evidence of the cool breeze that came down from the mountains into the hillsides or where it met with the happy sun and joyful birds that sang out into the world.
There is no mention of the young traveler as he passed by the small village that was never marked on the maps. His purpose was never significant enough to need a trumpet’s call or his name famous enough at the time to be whispered as he passed by. Yet still he made his way into the village that day, and the world was never the same.
Isaac could see the roofs of the small village pass by off the road some ways away. He watched them poke over the grassy hills while sitting high in his saddle on top of his late step-father’s horse. It was the only thing that the man left for him in his will. Yet it seemed the spirit of the man had possessed the horse and Isaac was inclined to believe the nasty tendency of the creature towards stubbornness was his step-father’s doing.
“It seems that there is a village just in the distance there.” Isaac said aloud.
Barnabas snorted curiously.
“Yes I am sure they have apples. I can see trees lined by what I assume is a creek. There’s no need to confirm it. Come now Barney! We must press on ahead.”
Barnabas neighed, making it obvious he wasn’t going to move another hoof before they had a discussion about skipping the village first.
“Look here! I packed you plenty oats. There’s even a few carrots left. To go out of our way now would only delay us further.”
Pulling on the bit in his mouth, Barnabas began to move towards the village, the argument soundly in his favor. Isaac could do nothing to change the horse’s mind, even after trying with all his strength to pull on the reins. Barnabas shook his head, Isaac’s weak attempt more of a nuisance like a fly buzzing around his ears.
As they trotted into town, Isaac no longer protested and instead stretched high once more in his saddle to look ahead, one hand up above his brow to shield his eyes from the midday sun. He was curious to know what kind of people lived in the mysterious village hidden from the road. He saw an elderly man hobble out of the nearest hut, whistling as he went along. Isaac sat back down quickly and looked to either side of him as if the view around him was more interesting. He caught Barnabas looking back at him unimpressed and the horse quickened his trot.
Hearing the stamping of hoofs the village elder stopped in the middle of the road to greet the strange pair. From his old but sharp eyes he saw a horse carrying a small group of well bundled supplies. There was also a young man dressed in dusted clothes the edges caked in mud. He was so feeble that it reminded him of a dry twig that a bird might use in making their nest yet it sticks out on its own in defiance. If he was the same betting man that he was long before he met his wife, the elder would wager that it was the horse who made the decisions for the two of them.
The old man chuckled to himself in contemplation as Isaac and Barnabas approached.
Hearing his raspy laughter Isaac asked, “Good morning sir, may I inquire what you find so amusing as I, a weary traveler, approach?”
Barnabas rolled his large eyes.
“Hoo-hoo!,” The elder laughed, “I have seen more harvest and winters then I could ever want to remember yet in all that time never did I see a pair like the two of you.”
The elder held up his hand for Barnabas to inspect. After a quick snort the horse accepted the man’s greeting of soft petting across his nose.
“This is Barnabas.” Isaac said, still unsure what exactly the elder meant in his last words. “You may call me I-.”
“Barnabas hmmm? A good name for such a noble steed.” The old man said. Barnabas snorted in agreement. “His owner must be a very heroic man, I wager.” He said with a wry smile.
“I-it doesn’t matter who I am.” Isaac said feeling small in the saddle, “If you could be so kind as to tell me which way I should travel so as to continue to head south. I am on a expedition and wish not to be delayed long.”
The old man studied Isaac and watched his hands squeeze the leather reins in an effort to hide his nerves. From the looks of him he had left home with little preparation and took few things, and the misfortune of the last rain storm showed on his worn clothes. All else was a mystery. “Come with me,” the elder said with a gentle smile, “I will show you the map my daughter drew of the surrounding lands while your horse rests for awhile.”
Isaac brought his leg over the saddles bags to climb down, but his heel caught the edge of the bundles. He tumbled onto the ground as the last of carrots hit the ground at the very same moment. Isaac looked at the vegetables curiously when finally the old man came up next to him hooting in laughter.
“Well well! That is one way to leave a saddle! Come now young man let me help you.” He reached down and helped him up, dusting the new dust off of the old dust. “What is your name, brave traveler?” The elder asked, happy to see his words put a smile on the young man’s face.
“Isaac. Isaac Newton.” he answered, rubbing the ache on his back, though his mind slowly drifted to the dusty carrots meant for Barnabas.
TO BE CONTINUED…