3. A Night Visitor

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“I know your face well,” said Mattie. “But I can’t name it,” she added.

“I am not surprised,” he said. “You have seen my face many times before, but as far as my name, well, it is different all over the world,” added the stranger.

Mattie must have dozed off while she was reciting her collection of paradoxes earlier on. She was awakened very late in the night now, judging from the full moon which had already traversed a good portion of the sky. The moonlight filled the fields with a florescent glow and caused the trees to cast shadows. The night was calm and fairly mild for March. As she looked around her she had caught sight of this two-legged figure standing beside the kid pen. Several kids had already awakened and had gone to the fence to greet the visitor. Something told her to distract his attention from them.

“Call me Azrael,” he continued. “Very well,” she replied. “My name is Mattie.”

“Yes, it is,” he said.

There was silence between the two. ‘This is a strange one,’ thought Mattie. He was pale and yet he had a light that combined with the moonlight to further contrast his figure and features against the darkness. She couldn’t place his age. He seemed old and young at once. His hair was light. He was slight, and yet there was something imposing about him. His garments were simple and rather plain. His shoes were clearly well worn.

“What brings you to our farm at this time of night?” asked Mattie knowing that most two- leggeds tended not to wander about in these hours. “I have been out visiting tonight and have just come from the old Savin Farm and I am on my way to Goshen Hill,” he replied.

“Oh.” said Mattie. There was a pause. “Do you need directions?” she asked.

“Goodness no, Mattie,” he responded and added “I know these parts very well.”

“Do you know your way around our farm?” asked Mattie wanting to be helpful in the lack of what else to say to this strange figure.

“Oh yes indeed. I have been all over these fields, in the barn and even several times in the old farm house itself.”

“Is that so,” responded Mattie nervously. It occurred to her that perhaps she should start pacing and calling out to the Masters. She cried out twice.

“What is this all about?” asked Azrael.

Mattie thought of a reply quickly on her feet. “Well, you see, I was just getting up to sound out that one of the does is going into labor and I try to let the masters of the house know when this occurs.”

Azrael looked at Mattie. “That is interesting,” he began. “I was just presently at the birth of a calf at the Savin farm, but I wasn’t aware of any births tonight at Beltane Farm. I follow these things closely and I am rarely wrong. Which doe is it Mattie?” he asked inquisitively.

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