SELECTED SHADOWS 28

That night Saranna slept huddled under a gorse bush in a hollow, shivering with the cold and waking often out of disturbed dreams.   In the grey dawn she set out again, stumbling with weariness and faint with hunger, pushing on towards the centre of the island.

The Isle of Imman was like a great dish or saucer, a ring of hills fencing off from the sea a sheltered central valley or plain. On the seaward slopes in the east lived a shy, simple people who laboured to raise goats and toiled to catch sea-fish. The cruel winds and the deadly tides made life harsh and full of struggle.   These people offered sacrifices of kids to the Sea-Wife, maker of the world; they rarely visited the kinder lands within the circling hills.

The centre of the island was a lush, fertile plain. Here a great freshwater lake harboured thousands of wild birds and gathered into itself the waters of hundreds of little streams that ran down from the hills.   Brown trout swam in it and grew plump.  Beside the  lake  was  the  market  town of Salk, whose people were  fat  and  contented, farmers who raised milk cows and  made cheese and butter so rich that they were sold across  the  sea  on Drent, Esmil and Ipple; Nork, Pelk and  Imm.    At the heart of the island life was pleasant and prosperous.  Iranor was worshipped here, Irnor the Mother who cared for the land and the herds and the people.

Isle of Imman 2

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