(Here is installment #4 of an ongoing story. You can get the whole thing by justy backing up a few posts on this blog. Ed.)
He had never seen a spring before. Never seen clear water rushing out of the ground and creating a circle of greener green, of the tender plants and mosses that grow only in the cool, evermoist earth. This he saw before him now as the girl stopped her horse and dismounted and took from a saddlebag a wide tin cup with a wire handle.
“Here,” he said to him. “You can use this. It’s clean. Just dip it in there. Right in the middle.”
He was about to ask her if he really was to drink of this water right out of the ground, but instead he stepped to the flooding circle and dipped and drank as if this was the way he had lived all of his life and that he had never turned on or even seen an indoor tap.
The water was very cold and the wet refreshment reminded him of how thirsty he actually was, even though his initial request for water had been motivated by something other than actual, physical thirst. He gulped the first dipper and dipped again and inhaled the whole cup in one long draught.
“It’s good water.”
“Yes it is. The best in all the county. It never stops, never freezes. Runs just like that all summer long.”
“I’ll have to remember that.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure of myself, if I were you. You’re on another man’s property.”