• nicolasakmakjian

3: Serving the Regent - Part One

The days that followed the Festival were crisp with autumn air. Each morning Chafrar and Alak would rise early for their day out on the boat. Felanar would always wake up with Alak and think longingly of what it would be like to be a fisherman, and then he would fall back to sleep until it was time for his day to begin.

Felanar and Kara spent their mornings in lessons and study with Sera. It was customary in the Lake region for children to be taught whatever skills or book knowledge their parents felt was needed. Many parents taught only practical things, skills their own parents had taught them as children. Mothers did most of the teaching and much of the quality of the learning depended upon each mother’s intelligence and ambition. In addition to the practical knowledge that would be needed for village life, Sera felt it important to impart as much knowledge of the world as she could obtain from books. She had been taught from books by her mother, and she was going to do the same with her children. In this respect she was different from the women in town, most of whom saw little point in book knowledge. Teach a boy to be a blacksmith or farmer or fisherman and be done with it, they said. Girls needed to know how to keep both house and husband well, and also do some farming. Sera did not agree with those views.

This suited Felanar and Kara well. Both shared Sera’s love of books, and Sera encouraged them to read as much as possible. Chafrar wasn’t against reading so much as he couldn’t see much use in it, but he deferred to Sera in this, who never ceased to find ways to broaden her children’s imagination. Until a few months ago, Alak had spent his days learning too, but had not shown much aptitude for it. He was far more interested in his father’s workshop and used any excuse he could to help out with the tools.

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