Old Man of the Sea

(With Aithon on his deathbed, the Old Man of the Sea is narrating Aithon’s life story to his nephew Iakos)

I was the property of Aithon’s father. I earned my bread as a herder of pigs on the Old Lord’s estate. When your uncle’s eyes first beheld the light of day, I was in my twentieth year.

When he journeyed to Anatolia, I remained on the estate. My place was with my pigs. A swineherd’s life is to breed his master’s stock and increase his estate. Of his doings in Anatolia, I know only what he told me.

My Lord departed his homeland a boy and returned a man. So proud he was of his beard, I doubt he’s smiled as much before or since. He had always blessed me with his companionship. Perhaps he sought the affection ungiven by father and brothers. If a slave and his young master can be friends, we were so. He told me about all the places he’d been and the people he’d met. I told him about the porkers, which was all I knew.