The boy was born in a harbor town

of parents he knew none, and so he grew up on the street

sleeping in the church when he could slip in without being caught

other times he slept on the grass under trees when the weather was fair

in cellar rooms, in stair cages and in corridors

wherever he found an open door and some walls and roofs to shelter him

from the cold, the rain, the snow and the wind

or if he found none he went to the forest where he knew a tree so large

it had a cavity large enough in its trunk to welcome a sitting children

Ittinyen, that was the name an old priest he had met had given him

but he seldom used it, as the first people he told his new name to preferred to call him Nyen, probably more adapted to a street child

and soon Ittinyen became too shy to use his full name when people asked him his name

Tyrtael, the city where Ittinyen lived, contained a hundred thousand souls which was fairly large a number by the times standard, and it was a city state

meaning that the town was surrounded by walls, and a few watch towers, and it had the right to govern itself

however most of Tyrtaelians weren’t warriors, but fishermen, craftsmen and traders

and they often sent Nyen here and there to run errands, giving him a few coins each time, or an apple and a bite of bread

Once in his life an old woman had pitied Ittinyen, and offered him to stay live at her house

he had stayed for a couple of weeks, but in a way he was sad to renounce to the freedom he had when he slept on the street, each night finding himself a new place where to sleep

he bid farewell to the woman and returned to his homeless home

he liked to smell the sea at night and in the morning

to pass between the fish stalls, and to visit the carpenters street close to the sawmill

he liked the noise and the sight of the smithies

he liked to visit the church and the forest whenever he wanted

he knew many herbs and roots and berries in the forest that were edible

not that he had learnt these things, but strangely, when he saw a plant he often had intuitions about it, about how he could use it

and he had never been sick, trusting to his intuitions

in the dug tree where he sometimes slept he left a pan he had once find between the refuses

so that when the weather was fair he could cook the roots and berries he picked in the forest, not having to ask anything to anyone

he sometimes augmented his meal with a fish he had caught, or been offered, and as he grew in his teen he built himself a bow to hunt from time to time a rabbit or a bird

he didn’t have the warrior strength or built to his body, but he wasn’t weak either and was quite resistant when he had to walk for long distances

since when he was a small kid, he had troubles trusting other human beings

after all he had been abandoned by his parents, he had grown on the street

how many times had people laughed of him, of his dirt, of his misery

he looked at the world of men and women and did not like it

preferring his forest, his plants and his old stones that didn’t bear the malice of man




The only person Ittinyen had come to like was the old priest that sometimes visited Tyrtael

the very priest that had given him his name, when he was only six

the priest was appointed in another town, Brunyen, but came from time to time

and when he came he never failed to bring Ittinyen some sweets and to hug him in his arms and stroke his brow and his hair

he always told Ittinyen he was sure he would grow to be very close to God

but Ittinyen hardly understood that as for him God was quite an abstract concept

of dresses and altars and silver and gold and complicated words

he did not understand much of the mass, and his friend the priest never bothered to explain them to him

instead when Ittinyen asked him questions, he told him to pray with his heart to God, without fancy words and candles

just honestly, to speak to God

the priest had explained to him that anyway God saw him and knew all about him, and all what he was in want

Ittinyen had asked the priest why God had allowed him to be an orphan and grow up in misery without even learning to read and write

the priest had replied each thing happened for a reason, to lighten and strengthen our immortal soul, and that the ways of the Lord could be mysterious sometimes