Do What with the Porpoise Hide?!?: Medicine in Anglo-Saxon England

Treating moon sickness was relatively easy. You get the hide of a porpoise, cut it into strips, and beat the sufferer with the strips of hide. Cure follows soon after.

Now, I suspect that most modern medical schools would take a dim view of belaboring a patient with strips of sea-creature hide in order to cure anything. (Not that the faculty have not been tempted to do that to students, or ER physicians to members of that select group known with a distinct lack of fondness as “frequent flyers*.” Nooooooo.) However, it wasn’t all that long ago that slapping someone to break them out of a hysterical trance, or in the case of a small child, dousing him with a large bowl of cool water, was quite acceptable. It worked in most cases. Today? Both would be assault and battery in many jurisdictions, even if the cure worked.

However, the mind and culture were rather different back, oh, 1500 years or so ago, and in the Anglo-Saxon world, some ailments responded best to physical stress, in this case, flogging with a porpoise hide, among other things. The use of flagellation was not rare in Medieval medicine, and seems to have had truly beneficial results in some cases. Porpoise had several magical properties, so and were hunted for food, so the hide would have been available and known by patient and family alike. I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with reasons why the cure worked. I’m not going to speculate. It worked, and was considered a standard treatment, and that’s that.

Once we get into the period after AD 900 CE or so, herbs and prayers replace magical formulae. Mostly. The edges of the world, like the Celtic Fringe (Ireland, western Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Galicia, Brittany) held onto things for much longer. Certain other rites and traditions were retained because they worked, despite what the Church might have said officially. One suspects that a lot of parish priests turned blind eyes when they found small bundles of medicinal herbs tucked close to the front of the altar, and ignored rumors of someone gathering healing plants from the churchyard. The Lord worked in mysterious ways, after all, and the bishop was far away. And better to bless the plants, which the Lord had put on earth to help people, than to encourage a relapse into paganism out of desperation.

So leechbooks** included lots of strange-to-us remedies. As it turns out, several of them work, and in one case work so well that it is used to treat MRSA infections. Others used a combination of natural antibiotics, natural anticoagulants, soporifics (often with a little something to keep the patient from getting too sleepy), fats to prevent drying, and the like to start the body healing. Anti-fever and anti-cough preparations were common. Some of the plants are used today in well-known and respected drugs (digitalis, anyone? Belladonna to dilate your eye before getting an eye exam?) Others, as it turns out, deserve more study. And a few seem to have had magical or placebo effects that we no longer experience because we don’t worry about suffering from elf-shot, or being afflicted by dwarves, or bothered by the evil-eye. Back in the 500s-800s, those were real problems in Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Britain, and needed to be taken seriously by any good practitioner.

I’m not going to leap over into the “natural medicine” side of the argument any time soon, but it’s intriguing to try and imagine the mental world where the leechbooks and other writings came from. I will be incorporating parts of what I’m learning into two books, at least, in two different series. The complicated nature of many remedies implies a full-time herbalist and medical specialist, a leech in the old sense, who did nothing but prepare common remedies and treat the ill and injured. I need to add that to one story in particular, because it fits with the protagonist’s task, and gives him something that he can also do to earn trust when among strangers.

*These are individuals who do not have serious medical problems that truly do need immediate care, but often include people who are seeking pharmaceuticals. Some people who make multiple ER trips have 100% legitimate reasons, and they are NOT “frequent flyers.” When an incoming individual is offered something strong, and demands something “even better” that is a sign.

**”Leech” meaning physician goes way back to the Proto Indo-European root meaning a magic worker or one who gathered words. In Old Gothic and Old English, it carried the sense of enchanter of words as well as healer. The Irish Gaelic term has similar meanings. Words had power.


Free Cities, Imperial and Otherwise

The free cities of Europe seem to have been one of those odd historical quirks that didn’t arise elsewhere. The first ones go back to the Classical Era of Greece and Rome, and were cities that were founded by a king or prince, and administered by a representative of the monarch, but otherwise governed themselves. A few could coin money. All could defend themselves from interlopers from behind good walls. The pattern continued in the Middle Ages.

Some of the oldest free cities (slightly different from later Imperial Free Cities) were Roman settlements (Cologne, Kempten, Augsburg, Basel). They would later buy or fight their way to free city status, although Cologne never quite made it, leading to ongoing spats between the city and the Prince-Bishops over jurisdiction and taxes. Others developed as foundations made by nobles or abbeys in the 900s-1200s, or were chartered by the Holy Roman Emperors and administered by Vögte (Voigts). The vögte represented the interests of the Emperor and had final say in city management, unless an appeal was made to the emperor himself. These cities took care of their own daily affairs and administration, and had walls. Unless a place had walls and could keep people out for at least two days, it was not a city, most certainly not a free city.

A large number of free cities and Imperial Free Cities date from the 1000s – 1100s. Hamburg, Magdeburg, Lübeck, Rostok, the Hansa cities, were founded or re-founded at this time. Warmer weather with better sea conditions played a role, as did the expansion of Imperial power into formerly Viking-plagued areas. Increasing wealth allowed the cities to buy their freedom. In some cases, if the founder’s family died out, as in the case of Schwäbish Hall, the town became a free city. (Barbarossa wanted the salt revenue, the city wanted freedom, and a bargain was made.) The Imperial Free Cities had seats in the Imperial Diets along with the princes, but their votes counted for less, and so many didn’t actively participate in that part of the Holy Roman Empire’s administration.

When you look at free cities, you will often find that they are based on trade and commerce. All were self governing to a greater extent, all had walls, all had conflicts with magnates (lay or ecclesiastic) who wanted to control and tax them, and all had pretty rigid social stratification based on employment. The Hansa cities* were and are the best known, and Lübeck was the first among equals. Nuremberg too was ruled by the wealthy merchants, the patricians, who made money from metalwork, then weapons, map making, armor making, and engraving (both printed and on objects). Some became city states, but most did not. The numbers waxed and waned as did their collective political power. No major noble liked having a free city in or near his jurisdiction because he could not tax or control them. They provided an option, and some were in some cases amazingly wealthy.

By the 1800s, most cities had lost their independence. The hard times of the 1300s-1400s cost a few their freedom as they sank into debt, or lost population due to plague and war. The wars of the Reformation and the Thirty Years War also took a toll. Napoleon finished off several free cities that did not regain their freedom in the re-mapping of 1815. Without the Holy Roman Empire, being an Imperial Free City meant . . . nothing in legal or economic terms.

*Not all Hansa cities were free cities. London was not. Bruges varied, and even Bruges got cross-wise with Emperor Maximilian, who opted to move the main port to Antwerp. That was the end of Bruges as a financial power.

Book News

I’m 2/3 of the way through final edits on Noble, Priest, and Empire. The book is very long, for me, and takes time to work through. If all goes well, I will release it over the weekend. [taps wood]

Preternaturally Familiar will also release in September, probably closer to the 15th. I have all the edits, but the Merchant book was promised earlier.

Book Release Updates

Just to let you know what is coming, if all goes as hoped . . .

Overly Familiar will release before the end of the month.

Noble, Priest, and Empire will release in late August (or sooner if I get the edits back earlier.)

P— Familiar will come out in mid-September, to coincide with FenCon. I finished the draft on Tuesday, and it needs to sit and simmer before I go through and start revisions and corrections.

I’ve got a couple other things in the works, including some short stories, the start of a book set in a world like post-Roman Scotland, and the next in The Elect series.

Monday Miscellany

Well, Noble, Priest, and Empire is off to the editor. I hope to have it back in late June, for a July release. I may price it a little higher than the others, $5.95 US, because of the length. Or I might keep it at $4.95.

I am 30K words into Overly Familiar, and have a bit of P-Familiar done. That will be the end of the main Familiar Tales series. Things will shift over to the Familiar Generations as the “youngsters” move into the limelight.

If all goes well, two more Familiars sets will go into print format by the end of summer.

I’m currently reading part of C. V. Walters, Alien Brides romance series. The stories are steamier than I usually prefer, but I really like how she takes some of the least-positive paranormal romance (PNR) tropes, flips them so that there’s a reason for the characters to do things other than “holding the idiot ball”, and makes fun stories out of it.

On a completely different note, I’m also working my way through Poland: The First Thousand Years. It is a political and intellectual history of Poland. It is very well written. I”m also nibbling on a history of the Butte mine disaster of the 1910s. Nibbling because reading about mine fires and the aftermath is not pleasant. It’s a very good book, just on a hard topic. There are a few other histories I’m gnawing away at as well.

Womanly Women in Fiction II: Krimhilde, Lelia, and Others

The last post looked at my early female characters: Rada Ni Drako, Elizabeth von Sarmas, Auriga Bernardi-Prananda, and a character in a story I’ve pretty much given up on, unless it gets worked into a prehistory of the Familiars world. Now let’s move to some more recent creations.

Those of you who have read Language of the Land know that it is a semi-dystopia, set in a world where women dominate religion and society. It is a hard-core matriarchy, with not-so-great consequences for men and women both. I based the female villains on people I’d crossed paths with, plus took characteristics I’d observed in bad female leaders/bosses and turned that up to about ten-and-a-half. Eleven wasn’t needed. As it turns out, I underestimated how ferocious some women can be when given a cause to promote. So those are my “please don’t be like this.” The women wear skirts, but otherwise seem determined to behave even worse than men in the same positions.

So, what about strong female protagonists in the Merchant books? There are no female point-of-view characters. White Gold of Empire started from a woman’s PoV, because I decided that we needed to see the world from a different perspective. My muse refused. There are lots of female characters, none of whom really “buck the patriarchy” because, well, there’s room for them, just as there was in Europe during a similar time period and place. Some are more positive than others, but the Merchant world is one where women have multiple physical disadvantages, and know it. There are a few exceptions, like the senior washerwoman in Rhonari and some others, but everyone knows they are exceptions. Halwende Valke’s wife has a strong personality of her own, and will serve as his second-in-command and good right hand, but she doesn’t try to take over. In fact, she will hear some law cases that are too delicate and sensitive for Halwende (or any man) to properly adjudicate. She doesn’t want to govern the Valke lands on her own, or to explore and claim, either. She likes being warm, dry, safe, and with a roof over her head and servants to take care of her. Her task is to be a helpmeet, and to have kids, at least three sons and some daughters (heir, spare, spare spare, plus girls for alliances.)

So, Morgana, Krimhilde, Lelia, Dumitra’s mother, Arthur’s elder sister, Mistress Cimbrissa . . . Note that all the ladies are competent in their various fields. Even Lelia, who seems dependent on her husband for survival (ignore the royalty and patent income) and Dumitra (who do you thinks runs the herb business?) are highly skilled in their mundane jobs. Lelia Chan Lestrang defers to André in many things, but not all of them. She dresses in a feminine manner because her mother was a New Woman!!!!! feminist* when she wasn’t social-climbing, so Lelia is going to be outwardly obedient, modest, domestic-minded, maternal, and so on. While listening to dark music, fighting monsters, shooting her revolver, and ignoring or working around André’s complaints about fuzzy food (only cheese, and she trims off the fuzz. Sheesh!) Lelia needs structure. She can live without it, but she doesn’t thrive well in chaos. That way leads to chemical escapes. Order and structure are strength for her, and so André being LDS, and Arthur being a bit of a patriarch** are good. She is another helpmeet, and her being Victorian in her speech and dress is her way of rebelling.

Arthur’s brother runs the Clan. He gives the orders, and even Arthur thinks at least twice about challenging Skender. Their older sister, however, doesn’t hesitate to tell Skender when he’s being less than sensible. In detail. With illustrations. She can get away with it because she’s older, and because she has strong magic of her own sort. Dumitra’s mother, an herbalist, will tell Arthur and Skender when they push things too far, and will give the younger Hunters the rough side of her tongue if they are stupid. They take it, because they respect her skill and no one but no one wants to tick-off a healer. The men also know who does the bulk of food preservation and preparation work. Cimbrissa is more reticent than Arthur’s sisters are, but she has no patience for wilful folly. They are strong women because of their skills and because they have shown good judgement in the past. In an odd way, Lelia fits in well, even if she doesn’t realize it and feels awkward and in a bit of awe at the skills of the Clan women.

Dolores Lee was a paralegal, but prefers working with her hands and supports Patrick when she’s not trying to pull him down from the clouded world of pure academics and thaumatological theory (he needs to eat sometime). Mallory Jones is a computer sys-admin, who happens to occasionally bring a very, very large skunk to work. Morgana was a technical writer and planned to raise a family, but she and her husband never had children despite multiple attempts. They took in his nephew instead, for Family Reasons. Barbara works for her husband’s logging business, and they are married and will have children. All have skills and talents, all are individual personalities, and all work hard. They really are strong women. That’s what makes them interesting characters to read about.

Good female characters are complicated, not caricatures of whatever the current trend is. Even Victorian and Edwardian women got fed-up with reading about passive shrinking violets who clung to their men for everything, and that’s when passive shrinking violets were “supposed” to be the ideal. Supposedly, that is, according to later generations. If you are having trouble with creating a multi-sided female character, you could do worse than to find some character creation sheets for table-top role-playing-games and look at categories, strengths, and weaknesses. Toss the dice and see what they give you to work with. You might decide that “low intuition, high charisma” won’t work for your character, but as an exercise in writing a character sketch, it’s a very helpful way to do it.

A strong female character is a women/female who is her own person, who is not perfect, who has valuable skills even if they are “only” supporting and succoring her husband and sons, and who stands up for what she feels is right. She can be a hero or villain. She’s NOT a dude in a wig, or a caricature of this month/week/hour’s definition of Strong Woman.

So go forth and write, those who are so inclined!

*Mrs. Smith-Rogers was whatever would get her prestige and luxury and social status, at least by the time her daughter was aware of what was going on.

**Note, however, that Arthur is not the least bit sexist. He expects everyone to jump when he gives the order. And assumes that both males and females will do as told. That’s a bit less patriarch than imperious and willing to enforce his will with fists and blades if it comes to that, because if he’s giving orders, it’s an emergency, or someone is his lawful subordinate.

A Noble’s Task

Tycho Rhonarida and the other merchants of the Five Free Cities consider hereditary nobles to be somewhere between an active threat (the Count of Harnancourd) and moderately useful (the Count of Milunis). Most nobles seem to fall on the less-than-positive end of the spectrum for the businessmen of the north. The residents of the mining city consider the local lord to be an active menace, a reputation that he strives to live down to. But that’s several hundred years from when Halwende lives and governs. In Halwende’s world, nobles are still warriors, defenders of the people against the forces of nature and of men, and judges. Or they are supposed to be.

During the Great Cold, a feudal system became entrenched in society. The use of battle magic, the hard conditions, and other stresses led to the need for protectors, people who could keep a group together and defend it from predators (animal, human, and “don’t ask, just kill it!”) The priests acted as adjudicators and cultural keepers, but they needed other people to deal with many threats. Out of the fighting among nobles and the efforts of the priests and others came the role of emperor. He is the ultimate arbiter between nobles, above their fights, and the Son of the strongest deity*. The emperor also, with the support of the clergy, ended up as the strongest user of battle magic.

Battle magic is aggressive magic that serves no other purpose but war. Throwing fireballs, causing earthquakes, creating warped creatures to attack other people and their livestock, corrupting land so it can’t be farmed or grazed . . . Those are among the kinds of magic that only a few people have the innate ability to use. The Great Northern Emperor is one. Halwende Valke is another. Both had to work with priests, in Halwende’s case of Valdher and the Scavenger, to learn what is allowed, what is forbidden, and what the limits are. In Halwende’s case, one limit is that he can only draw from himself for strength. The emperor can draw from others, if they give him permission to do so.

To further complicate things, both Halwende and Aglak are priests, of Valdher and Sneelah respectively. The gods can and do work through their priests, leaving the individual very tired. So Halwende in particular has a duty to provide counsel, aid, naming rituals, blessings, weddings, and death ceremonies as well as leading worship if a more senior priest of Valdher is not present. He walks an odd balance between clergy and nobility. Not everyone agrees that he should be both. His having battle magic is also seen by some as a sign of being a potential problem. Aglak Rothbard, the emperor, keeps a close eye on Halwende, or would like to. He also needs Halwende in the north while the emperor deals with some other matters.

While the emperor is in the south, everyone acknowledges his power (or else) and the nobles stay within limits (most of the time.) After the emperor moves to the far north, well, over a few hundred years, things change until by Tycho’s time, the emperor is a legend who also collects taxes. Until he returns.

*Or at least the most ferocious while the cold lasted. Sneelah is one of the elder three, with Donwah and the Scavenger.

State of the Author January ’22

Off-kilter. Day job has resumed, but the schedule is a bit odd, for various reasons.

The rough draft of Familiar Paths is done. It needs to sit and simmer before I go through and smooth some things.

I’m roughly 3/5 done with City, Priest, and Empire. This will make it the longest book in the series thus far. Alas, a possible next book idea has bubbled up, alas for me. I’m not sure I want to tangle with it for a while, though. It will require on-the-ground research that’s just not possible until sanity returns to the world of trans-continental travel.

I have the plot of Overly Familiar sketched out.

Keep in mind, this is my very busy semester, so I anticipate my writing time and energy fading at the end of this month. I will also try to get the next two Familiar books out in print in the near future. I’ve gone through the electronic editions and flagged some things for correction. My thanks to people who have sent me post-publishing “catches.” I have them, I know I need to get them fixed, it’s just energy levels and time.

Tuesday Tidbit: What Goes There?

In which Halwende meets a resident of the northern wilds.

He woke before dawn. The midnight stars still shone down at the western edge of the little clearing they camped in. He stretched and stuck his tongue out at the stiffness in his shoulders. He was too young to be stiff. He rolled up to a sitting position and stretched again. Something snuffled in the darkness, out of sight of the dim red light of the dying fire. Dying fire? He eased to his knees, then his feet, and unsheathed his sword as well as grabbing his heavy staff. He poked wood into the fire, attention away from the flames for once.

The snuffling sound grew louder, and heavy breathing, or the breaths of something large, came through the darkness. No small animals moved. He set his staff down for a moment and reached for his bow. If it came into the light, and looked dangerous, he needed to be ready. Don’t shoot what I can’t be sure of killing, I know, but that doesn’t sound harmless. The breathing moved farther away, and bark ripped, or sounded like it ripped. Was that with teeth, or with claws? Bieber used teeth and didn’t hurt men, unless they had brain sickness. Other things had claws.

“That sounds big, m’lord,” Kal murmured from behind him. The fire grew brighter, casting more light. “Like whatever lives in th’ rocks to th’ west.”

“Aye. I’m not going to shoot blind.” He’d probably hit it and make it mad, or miss and hit a laupen or other equally friendly beast.

The thing moved away. He and Kal eased closer to the fire, warming themselves. Halwende and pulled on his boots. He sheathed his sword, but strapped it on. Kal held his hands close to the flame as he squatted beside the fire ring. “I don’ know, m’lord. Are you sure—”

Whunf Whunf Whunf! A large dark shape lumbered out of the pre-dawn shadows. “Shit!” someone squeaked.

Halwende grabbed his bow and arrows, and nocked a hunting arrow. The thing had small eyes, a hump over its shoulders, and large feet that ended in claws. It peered at them, sniffed, and whunfed again. Roawr! It pawed at Magnus. He rolled as far and fast as he could, and the thing turned to the side, giving Halwende a clear shot. He aimed for where the heart should be.

Thunp, the shot hit. Whzzz thunk, a slinger stone hit the beast’s snout, turning it from Magnus. Halwende put another arrow into the chest. Blood and foam gushed. Whzzz thunk, another slung stone hit just below the small, pointed ear.

Roawr! The beast crashed into the forest. The sound of heavy steps in the underbrush stopped all at once.  Thwumpf. The men breathed as quietly as they could, waiting, listening.

“Are the ovstrala still with us?” Halwende asked, once he got moisture into his mouth. He needed to piss, too.

Magnus checked. “They’re still here. One’s tethered to each end of the wagon, goin’ different ways.” The others grinned. It would be hard for them to run off that way. Not impossible, no, nothing was impossible to ovstrala if they put their shoulders to it, but hard, and not quiet.

“My beasts are here,” the teamster, Tai, grumbled, appearing from that edge of the clearing. “wagon too. What was that?”

Halwende glanced into the dark woods beyond the fire light. “I’m not going to look until Rella’s blessed us a little more.” He unstrung his bow, slid it back into the case, and found a tree to water. He’d gotten a lung shot, at least one, and those arrowheads worked deeper into the flesh as the beast moved. “It might have friends.”

“Or a mate.” Kal took a long breath. “Never heard of anything that big what hunted in a group, like laupen.”

“No, me either, but I’ve never seen one of those before,” Halwende said. I hope its edible, or the hide’s tannable.

They ate a camp breakfast, and only them, once the sun cast clear shadows, did they go look for the brown thing. It had traveled a quarter league, no more, before collapsing. Blood came from the long, blunt muzzle, and from the ear, where the slung stone had hit. Heart blood and other things formed a mat in the fur of the flank. The beast had four claws on the end of each foot, blunt but thick, like a digging spade. Blunt, light brown teeth like a giant ovsta filled the mouth. Not a meat eater, then, unless like radhle it ate carrion as well as plant food.

“That’s a big winter cloak, m’lord,” Magnus observed.

“Aye. His grace should be pleased, if we can get it back before it goes bad.” Halwende considered the creature, and tried to lift one leg. It wasn’t as dense as it seemed. “And we can skin it without gettin’ crushed ourselves.”

The sun passed noon before they got the thing skinned, paws and all, and some of the meat into the wagon. The ovstrala seemed pleased to move, and stepped out with good speed. They moved around the hills into the valley as birds called a warning of their presence. Two cervi raced into the distance, dam and yearling. Halwende didn’t bother them. No man hunted a female with nursing calves if he could help it. It wasn’t forbidden, but Valdher did not favor it, either.  The air smelled of sweet, crushed herbs, something new to Halwende. Here he belonged, here on the edge of the settled lands, here in Valdher’s realm. He studied the land, mentally placing a road, watch-posts, farms and other settlements. All the plants looked familiar, aside from one with brilliant blue stems and berries that even the birds had not touched. He wouldn’t touch it, either, not until a healer or someone could test it.

As they passed through the land, the men blazed marks on the trees, both sides of the trunks, and piled stones into cairns. They stopped earlier that afternoon, and Halwende wrote out what they’d seen, where, and how they’d marked which trees. Why can I recall every blaze and cairn, but not the laws of trade and merchant-right? Land rules made sense, good sense. How much a Comb-side pfund differed from a Valke pfund? He had no idea and shouldn’t have to worry about it. That’s what merchants, priests of Marsdaam, and law speakers were for.

Kal brought a cervi buck in just as they finished making camp. Halwende considered the giant beast’s meat, and soaked it in water and a bit of vinegar, just in case, then cooked it in water in a pot overnight. They ran sticks through the cervi and cooked the meat over the flames. While the meat cooked, the three Valke men took turns scraping the flesh off the large hairy pelt, as best they could, then covering it with a layer of needle-leaf and eich bark from the blazes on those trees. That would help keep pests away, and perhaps start a bit of tanning.

The next day, Halwende and Kal crossed the valley. They found a workable ford across the big stream, and used that to reach the foot of the hills. Here too they blazed and made cairns, some of them with stones large enough to need two men to move easily. They found enough good stone that Halwende made a mental note about building a town or at least another large keep here. He went up the south slope of the facing hill, just high enough to get a good view. “Here,” he whispered. “Here needs a town, or even a town with city right, if the land proves to be good, and if perhaps the Scavenger favors us with a metal or salt place.”  The hills looked rocky enough to possibly hold metal in them, but that was the Scavenger’s land, not his, and he would not presume to look. “Not that I know what to look for, other than finding ingots or a hole full of pots and tools.” He snorted to himself. Noble he might be, but he knew that finished goods did not grow on bushes, or appear fully finished from holes in the ground! “Maybe life would be easier if they did,” he grumbled as he rejoined Magnus.

“My lord?” Magnus asked as he cleaned sap off his hatchet and sharpened the blade.

“Thinking about how nice it would be to find a tree laden with hot pies, or roasted schaef legs laced with shatter-root slices.”

Magnus laughed, baring crooked teeth. “M’lord, like as not Radmar would send a sausage or meat pie tree, and all the cats an’ dogs north of the Comb would vanish.”

“Probably, or the fruit would all be sour apfel.” They looked so tasty, and curdled milk if you dropped a slice in the milk bucket.

The big beast’s meat tasted . . . Halwende chewed and considered. Not gamy, no, but not as good as kine. It wasn’t as strong as schaef, either. Tough, though, without much fat in the flesh. Maybe in the late autumn or winter, when wild things put on fat for the season. He’d eat it again, but only if he needed to. Food’s food, and if it doesn’t kill you, Valdher be praised for Her gifts and mercy. Man could eat laupen, but not often and not easily. Like tanning the hide, it could be done, but the gods had provided better animals for leather and food.

(C) 2022 Alma T. C. Boykin All Rights Reserved