A dangerous crossing

Source: Die Rückkehr der Göttin Nehalennia

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The return trip had been difficult this time, it was late in the year and the season was notorious for her storms. He had known this before starting the trip, but a big order from a wealthy Roman merchant had seduced him to leave and try to cross the sea. It had not been easy to find a ship at this time of the year, but the Frisian skipper Aiolt was in dire need for money. On the outbound journey, the weather and wind were still favorable and they had been able to land rather soon in the port of Rutopia. As the only supplier so late, Gimio quickly got rid of his pottery. The wool traders there were happy to be able to sell something at all, they had already resigned themselves to meeting traders from the mainland again only in Spring again. He had taken advantage of this fact and had been able to haggle for good prices and they had started the return journey as fast as possible…
The whole night the crew had plowed and rowed to the point of exhaustion to keep the small cargo ship on course and to return the constantly spilling water back to the sea. For a long time it looked as if scooping water for hours had been in vain. Nevertheless, they carried on. Gimio and his assistant had to tackle it as hard as the skipper and his people.
His arms and legs felt heavy and aching when he got up with some difficulty. High waves had repeatedly crashed over the ship with a loud roar, trying to conquer men and cargo and take them down into the deep. He had desperately called for the goddess more than once, and most of the others had prayed to their gods for help in need.
It was a duty of travelers to help with such difficulties when Gimio and the skipper shook hands to agree on the crossing, because everyone was needed in the storm. While the storm lasted, he didn’t have time to look for his bales of wool bought in Britain. He now saw that the water had already disappeared from the tarpaulin with which he had covered it and when he felt under it, everything was dry. It was astonishing when he considered the force with which the sea had repeatedly struck them.
When the wind had ceased a little at the first light of dawn, seeing the first seagulls ahead in the sky, he knew that the trip would be over soon. Since his merchandise had been ordered before the trip, he was able to give part of his profit to the stonemason from whom he had commissioned an altar stone. He had made a promise to the goddess to give her a votive stone if she kept him safe from harm. He was really happy about this, because without her protection it would have been very different!
A week later he and his assistant left the settlement and ferried across the river to the sanctuary, bringing the votive stone to the temple. Two temple attendants helped carrying it in, then his companion placed two apples on top of it. “Thank you for your help, mistress!” Gimio murmured simply and quietly, and his assistant also said something similar. ’Spouting is only for principalities,’ he thought.

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