When we Saxons first came to take Britain, we came in peace. It wasn't at all easy, as we had to face the brutality of the barbarians known as Celts, and they had no mercy on anyone; they had metal weapons and were skilled on how to use them. They came here years and years ago, Before Christ (or BC). Not only did we have the Celts to conquer, but also the Romans, who invaded these lands at a much later date. We landed here around 450 AD (Anno Domini, or After Christ), and were gradually beginning to settle.
These were treacherous times, with enemies having different battle strategies and far more superior weapons to ours. It was challenging for a young Saxon lad, but all of us had to have our wits about us at all times. We grew to love the landscape and its wildlife, and the Romans brought wonderful things to the land -
We resided in woodland of what is known in these modern days as Hampshire, where a small Saxon village sprang up. This village has had many names, but today in the year 2015, it's called Shipton Bellinger and is huge compared to what it was in my day. This area has always been military dominated.
My name is Elgar and I shall now tell my story.
* * *
I was but ten when the Romans marched down through the Thorn Gate. The Romans had invaded Britain many years before we came, and they had begun cutting out flint roads to make it easier for them to travel from one point to another. They made one of these flint roads close to our village, and as the Romans knew we were living in the village, there was fear of an attack. Our elders sat around fires making plans, wanting to surprise the enemy first.
One day, our lookout came hurrying into our lodge, bearing bad news, and we all had to go into hiding while our warriors intercepted the enemy.
Unfortunately, Roman weaponry was far superior to ours, and some of our soldiers were mortally wounded in the fight. After the battle, squabbles broke out -
Next day, there was much talk of Celts attacking Romans in a nearby village, and it was agreed that our warriors would have to be vigilant. These barbarians had settled in Britain before the Romans, and were said to be brutal, murderous fighters with an entirely different battle strategy.
We'd arrived in this, our new land, many years after the Romans, and as we Saxons had fought hard for our bit of ground, we meant to keep it; although peace-
That night, I felt so tired that I went to my sleep space early; I'd spent the day making a bow and some arrows and I'd also spent a great deal of time choosing the feathers for flights.
Even with my exhaustion, sleep was impossible that night -
I woke early to the smell of baking bread, hungry. Wearily, I yawned and then crawled out of my bed, taking some bread, tearing it, and dipping it into the gruel Mother had made.
The women were tending to the wounded, but some had died in the night. I had no wish to stay in the lodge where dead bodies lay.
Pulling back the skin at the window, I poked my head out to see it was raining hard. Water was streaming off the straw roof, and great puddles had formed under dripping trees.
The bow I'd made was strong, and I was pleased with the stone head arrows I'd chipped from flint just two days before -
I soon became bored with sitting inside; the talk of war had put fire into my veins, and I wanted to practise archery and sparring outside.
It was then that I saw a vessel of mead standing in the corner, and I had an urge to try it. However, I'd no sooner picked it up and got it to my mouth when an enormous pair of hands grabbed it. I felt the back of Edward's hand across my head, and I immediately felt disappointed -
One of my main chores was to clean Edward's weaponry. His sword fascinated me; it was one he'd taken from a Roman soldier after he'd won a battle with him. It was very heavy, and I wondered how on earth he could wield it. My blood was up and so I pretended I was the one in battle, but as I tried to lift it, a great sound of laughter filled the lodge; Edward was watching me and had become amused at my feeble attempts to raise it from the floor. I sat still, awestruck as he picked it up and began wielding it over his head, making out he was sparring with an alien warrior.
He said, "First of all, young one, you'd better grow some muscles. I'll get a sword made for you -
Sheepishly I answered, "I want to try the mead, sir."
A great grin came over his face and he laughed out loud again. It was almost as if he'd baited the question.
"Right, sit yourself down there and I'll pour you some mead. You tell me when to stop."
The drinking vessel was full to brimming when I cheekily shouted, "Stop!"
"Now, you drink every drop of that good mead; I'll not have you waste my stock."
The first few sips were like silk. I loved the taste, and I greedily drank more and more from the vessel. When I tried to stand up, the room span, and the last thing I heard were great peals of laughter.
I woke up with a splitting headache. Edward asked, "Do you want some more mead, Son?" His voice seemed to split my head open and his laughter made me plug my eardrums.
"No thank you, sir, I don't think I'll drink mead ever again." I had just crawled back to my sleep space and had covered my head when he began laughing again.
The next day was fine and sunny, and I went for a stroll over the hill, studying some wildlife and insects. After a while, I started to hear Roman accents nearby, and I lay down quickly in the long, lush grass as they passed me by. Honey bees and vivid-
Following them for two days, I found out where they were camped, watching them closely the whole time. I saw a man making shiny discs -
Edward was very pleased with me -
We survived the battles with our enemies over the following years, until one day, the Roman legions suddenly -
Thousands of years have now passed by, and my ancestors have settled here, as did some of the Normans and Romans -
My people are proud to be a part of this culture that is known as British. Together we sleep soundly under trees and chalk soil. In the swirling mists, we are still here in spirit form.
History is all around: it's glorious. I hope you are as happy and proud of it as we, your ancestors, are.