Saturday, May 18, 2013

May to Z: J

Johandra, meaning "strength of men", is the mannish and burly mother of two strong sons, Jhorn and Jhan.

Johandra is a simple dairy maid, but she is known far and wide for her great size and fearlessness. The story goes that she was helping a cow birth an extremely difficult calf and the herd's bull would not stop harassing the mother. Every time she'd lie down, the bull would circle, pestering and prodding her to get back up and move. After 3 times of this, Johandra became angry with the bull and pummeled him with a stone in each fist until he fled. This thunderous act of valor on behalf of a single milk cow made Johandra famous throughout the county.

From then on, would be suitors tried to court her to bear them strapping sons, but she wanted nothing to do with them. Her heart already belonged to the quite man that owned the hay farm in a neighboring village. Erwyn, meaning "green water", and his sister Idella, meaning "work or labor", mostly kept to themselves and tended their fields with a few hired hands. They were kind and comely, but spoke to outsiders very little except when trading their hay crop for other goods. Johandra had only ever spoken a few words to Erwyn, but it was Johandra that was desperately called for when Idella was in need of an "assisted birth."

Ultimately, Idella did not survive the crude surgery that brought her son into the world. Johandra was racked with guilt thinking it was her rough hands and "blundering" that had killed Idella. But Erwyn knew the truth of it was that both his sister and nephew would surely have died if Johandra had given up, or not come at all. Over time Erwyn is able to convince Johandra that he does not hate her for her heroism, in fact he'd like her to come be his wife and share his home. His nephew Hendarson was in need of a mother figure, even one so manly as she. Within a few short months Johandra was pregnant with a son of her own. Few were surprised when hearty Jhorn came into the world, bawling like a newborn calf. He and Hendarson were fast friends and inseparable from the time they could toddle the barnyard together. Another sturdy son, Jhan, was born to them in the following years. The three boys grow up as brothers and love the hard work of farming and raising cattle.

Tough and solid as they are, Erwyn and Johandra absolutely forbid the boys from joining the army of the dying king (Hendar) when his liver begins to fail and the lands are threatened by invaders looking to seize control.

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