Swineherd Fernando

Brefberhaven is a few squares or collegiate park, founded in 1107 CE by a swineherd, Fernando, who’d sought free grazing for his brood of hogs. The rain falls ungrudgingly there. This is in direct proportion to both its pastorality and eventual prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The river Ödor, stool-colored from the peat bogs at its source, halves the strath of Brefberhaven. Swineherd Fernando would return there often for its beauty. The wind blew up under his papery pigskin robe and grasped him in cool fragility, like the grip of babies. He’d dumbly smile.

A virulent orator, Fernando harangued his brood for their selfishness and sin, as when for instance they’d leave a runt to die of starvation. He’d suckle the piteous beast from his own hermaphroditic mammary. Ages passed in frustrated reverence, he in his cell of walnut boughs, they migrating between the bog and their feeding trough. His final selfless act for the swine was his own demise. They dined of him for 40 days and nights. Ten full-grown heifers and another dozen piglets! When The See got word he was venerated.

Today Brefberhaven remembers Fernando with the Stigmata Regatta, a miniature sailing competition on the Ödor. Teams of children design and construct the boats themselves. The hulls are in the shape of human forearms and the bow is always a half-curled hand. Spurting arcs of beet juice are used to try to capsize opponents.

 

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Dan Souder is the editor of  The Brasilia Review