Hearth Right and Pot Right

Where do young Hunters stay, if they are not working or Hunting? The Hunter now called Jude Tainuit (“the lone Hunter/ Hunter in Shadow”) mused that he had hearth right in Martha’s house, but not pot right. Arthur Saldovado will eat meals in the main house at the clan’s home farm, but he doesn’t stay there. The senior Hunter, prior to and after his marriage, stays at the home farm most of the time. Marius “Matt” Bauer has a house and farm even before he marries, and his twin, Florian, comes and goes at will. What’s the reason?

It goes back a long way, and has to do with survival inside and outside the Hunter clans. Obviously, a Hunter can stay with his (or more rarely her) family unless there’s good or bad reason not to. Often, Hunting partners (say, Florian and Nikolai) will have hearth right to each other’s homes, so if one is closer, they can both crash there after a hard Hunt. Hearth right means that if someone shows up unannounced, he will be let in and provided with shelter, usually just overnight unless he and the householder make other agreements. The idea was that the Hunters would be safe from the weather long enough to rest, then move on. While under the roof, the householder will protect the Hunter, and the Hunter will defend the household, or do chores if he can, to pay back the hospitality. In the Old Land, individual Hunters might make agreements with people who are aware of the clan but are not part of it, so that if the Hunter can’t get back to his own home or to a neutral place of refuge, he can shelter in a barn, or a hunting house (cabin in US terms), or other place when needed.

Jude sees himself as having key right (hearth right) but not pot right. He only stays one or two nights out of seven at most, and brings food, does chores, and helps around the house and farm. He won’t eat anything unless Martha gives him permission. Or more often, unless she orders him to sit down and eat, or else. She would say that he has pot right as well as hearth right (full right to come and eat, stay, or go as he chooses/needs). He disagrees. In his mind, owes her so much that there is no, zero, nada, kein way that he’d claim that privilege.

Pot right means that “mi casa es su casa.” The Hunter can come in, help himself to food within reason, and shelter as long as he needs. Hunting partners usually have this with each other’s families, although it is understood that “guests, like fish, smell after three days.” One exception being if the Hunter is providing needed farm labor or other work. He’s paying for his room and board, so to speak.

All active Hunters have the right to get food at the main house on the home farm, and to get medical care there if they need it. It is neutral ground, and even two guys who are at each other’s throats will chill if they have to turn to the main clan for support. They will get what they need and then depart, ignoring each other. Or else. Both the semi-retired Hunters and the ladies are more than happy to demonstrate the “else.” For example, no one wants to get on the wrong side of Arthur’s older sister’s tongue, or her fist. She’s boxed ears on occasion, and left the young pups with bruises on more than just their egos.

Arthur eats at the home farm, but he only stays there if he’s in such bad physical shape that the Healers won’t let him leave. He doesn’t feel safe or comfortable there. Treading on Skender’s toes is only part of it. Arthur supports his brother completely, and knows all too well just how short fused Skender can be. It’s the better part of valor to be elsewhere, so Arthur has a few places where he can take shelter. None of them are with other Hunters, either active or former. Rendor and Dumitra have offered him hearth right, but he declined. He doesn’t want them pulled into a conflict, either with his brother or with the younger Hunters. Arthur also needs space away from others to think and rest.

Arthur’s behavior worries the other Elders, but they’re not going to say anything unless an obvious problem develops. He’s always been a loner, by clan standards.


7 thoughts on “Hearth Right and Pot Right

  1. That’s a good clarification of some puzzling things. My first thought was clan feuds. If Arthur steps into the full duties of Defender, my guess is that the basis changes.

    Deborah will stamp her little foot and insist that Bunicot has full pot rights, and as healer will make it stick. All right, some eyelash fluttering as well.

  2. This is from the ‘People who object to weapons aren’t abolishing violence’ speech in The Probability Broach. I thought it appropriate.
    Stay safe

    “Wear a gun to someone else’s house, you’re saying, ‘I’ll defend this home as if it were my own.’ When your guests see you carry a weapon, you’re telling them, ‘I’ll defend you as if you were my own family.’ And anyone who objects levels the deadliest insult possible: ‘I don’t trust you unless you’re rendered harmless’!”
    – L. Neil Smith, The Probability Broach

  3. :glee: Oh, this is a perfect bit of mind-meat for my space story!

    I don’t know where it’s going yet, but … ooh, this just hits the spot.

    • Good! It’s something I’ve been kicking around for a while, ever since I realized just how different Arthur’s behavior is from the others. Part of it is from all the trauma (physical and emotional) he’s endured, but part of it is . . . He’s Old School, almost a throwback in some ways.

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