Chapter 6        

           Summer had arrived and there was much to do. Unless worked to keep back the encroaching vines in the front yard and helped Until with the weeding in the back garden. The garden was beginning to bear fruit. There were squash, peas, lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes. More variety would follow as the season progressed.
            After a week or so of routine chores, the last picture from Perdita’s trunk still standing on the easel in the front room, Any and When came to supper. When was fully recovered, and the warm weather could only improve matters. Until had prepared roasted meat and young vegetables from the garden, but When insisted on a tour of the paintings before they would sit down to supper. Unless showed them all the pictures while Any helped Until reorganize all the food on the stove and in the oven to keep it warm.
            At the table, When demanded, “What about that one in the front room? Where did you get that picture?”
            “We sent it home from our travels, When,” said Until.
            “Yes, but it is curious. So curious. That picture is a portrait of our illustrious ancestor Only. Only was a hero in long ago times. They was white as snow and looked like a statue of ice when they stood out in the moonlight. That’s what that picture is. But why it would come from someplace far away from here I don’t know at all.”
            “It’s hard to remember, When. It could have reminded us of home.”
            “Could be, at that,” conceded When, “There’s even a family resemblance. What is this yellow stuff?”
            “Squash, When.”
            When all were done eating, Unless and Until invited Any and When to the front room to have some wine and look at the picture. All agreed that there was a family resemblance. Only remarked, “Maybe people far away know the song.”
            Unless pricked their ears, “There’s a song?”
            When chuckled, “Heroes always have songs. Listen up -

            There was trouble in the land
            Thieving and carousing
            No peace in any town
            and every road was dark
            the trouble in the land

            The cry came out from every throat
            every creature crying
            please stop all the trouble
            and bring back quiet days
            the trouble in the land

            Is there no creature can stand up
            can’t they hear us crying
            please stop all the trouble
            and bring back quiet days
            the trouble in the land

            There was a one to take a stand
            and Only came out fighting
            to stop it all for good
            and bring back quiet days
            the trouble in the land

            They could talk smooth and they could fight
            and move in darkness gliding
            like they was made of light
            to shine and chase away
            the shadows on the land

            And light in darkness took that stand
            out in the moonlight shining.
            When Only saw that all was done
            they stood out every evening
            to watch the peaceful land.

            *** click here for the Hero's Song of Only ***


            “See?” said When, “There’s a song. Maybe people know it even far away.”
            “Thank you, When!” said Until, “We would never have guessed.”
            Until had leaned in more closely to the picture. They was comparing the figure in the picture to Until, Any, and When. “There is a family resemblance. And such a good song!”
            They all sipped their wine, mostly looking back and forth from the picture to each other. Unless and Until tried to insist that Any and When stay overnight because it had grown quite dark outside, but When was determined to go home right away, “After being cooped up so much with that chill, it is good to get out, but no bed is as good as your own if you can get to it.”
            Any and When departed. Unless said, “This painting should go up in your room, Until, since it is a portrait of your ancestor.”
            “Oh, thank you!” said Until, “That would be marvelous.”
            Unless and Until were surprised the next morning when Any appeared, carrying a large box. “When has sent me here with painting supplies to copy that portrait. Where did it go?”
            “It is hanging upstairs, come with me,” said Until.
            Unless left them and went back to cleaning the kitchen, where they had been interrupted by Any’s return. A few hours later, Until found them in the back garden, weeding, and said that Any had completed the copy and left for home, leaving the heavy box of painting supplies for some other time.
            “Is Any a good painter?” they asked.
            Until said, “Well, the copy looks just like the picture that Perdita brought us, so it would seem so.”
            Unless agreed, and they both weeded for a few minutes and then went inside to have some lunch. Unless remarked, “It might be interesting to have some painting supplies here if no more pictures arrive.”
            Until laughed, “Yes, it would.”

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Image: Julie Püttgen, Cloudmapping: Archaic Horse. Gouache, watercolor, and pencil, 12x16", 2008.
Text & Lyrics: JS van Buskirk
Music: James R. Carlson
Animation: Matt Gilbert