Augustine and Abigail often went into the forest together. Side by side, they foraged for herbs as she taught him her craft. For a long time, she expected her knowledge to go unlearned and to end with her, until the boy stumbled into her garden. He was a strange creature, mute and bedraggled. At first, she meant only to take him in for a few days, but the boy stayed with her even after she nursed him back to health.
He would not speak, though. She was used to a life of solitude, except for the few customers who would come by for her salves. Each one, she would ask, “where did this boy come from?” And each time they did not know.
She would tell him every day that she was going to take him to the village and find a home for him, but every day he pulled at the hem of her dress and looked at her with big, brown eyes, and she felt, perhaps maybe, she just didn’t have the energy to take him to the village.
And so they continued in this pattern for five years. One day, Abigail had grown so used to Augustine’s company that she brought him with her on a trek to the village. When Augustine realized where they were, he shouted “no” and his silence was finally broken. Abigail had not realized the boy thought she was finally giving him away – the thought was only a little game they played to her at this point.
“Oh little darling!” She cried in response, and took him in her arms. After that day, she was able to ask all the questions that had gone unanswered for five years, but didn’t. Abigail never made him answer, only asked for his name so that she knew what to call him, and continued as they had, walking with each other into the forest as she taught him the magic of plants.