Arthur Jenkinson


“In the seventeenth century I was Arthur Jenkinson and I worked on a farm. I worked for the local gentleman who lived at the Manor House and owned all the land around here, Lord Howse.
“They said he was evil, but I knew that to be untrue. After all it was he who had me released from the stocks where they put me when I was found guilty of being a Warlock.

“I wasn’t guilty, of course, even if what I could do looked like witchcraft to the locals.

“I could fly.”

“That’s nothing Twinkle, I fly all the time.”

“You’re a bird, I was a human.”

Could Arthur Jenkinson really fly? The fact is he couldn’t – what he could actually do is take in the details of the scenery in his environment just by walking around and observing it. But what he would then do was assemble the overall picture in his mind and imagine himself floating high above.

He would then get pieces of charcoal and draw what he could see in his mind’s eye on a piece of parchment. It was when he was at the Lord Howse Tavern and got drunk on ale that he would brag about being able to fly and showing off his drawings to his fellow villagers.

This scared them and they grew in months to believe that he really did fly.

Then one hazy autumn night one of the washer women saw something in the sky that looked like a giant bird.

The rumour soon got round that Arthur Jenkinson had been seen flying above the cottages and within weeks he had been tried and found guilty of witchcraft.

And so he was sent to the village green and put into the stocks until Lord Howse would lead a court trial two days later.

By then Arthur was almost dead, his body soiled and his heart damaged.

The evidence judged Lord Howse was considerable, however, was not to his mind convincing. So he committed Arthur to work for him on his farm for five years.

Arthur Jenkinson soon proved himself to be worthy of Lord Howse’s trust and he gave the faithful servant he had become more and more duties which he lapped up eagerly. He would tend the gardens and paint pictures and portraits which hung in the gallery at the Mansion House.

“It was five years and one day since Lord Howse took me in that he released me a free man.

“He gave me a cottage at the riverside and a plot of land nearby.

“I tended that cottage and it gardens and created that field you now call Pyfield.

“I knew what I needed to do and over the thirteen years until I died I did it.

“I do not recall anything past the day I died as Arthur and my being Miles.

“I killed and now I am a cat. What did you do to condemned to be a pigeon?”

“Condemned?”

The pigeon was struck silent. Never had he ever consider that his return as a pigeon was anything but a reward. As a human he had been imprisoned inside a boring persona and now he was free to come and go freely.

“I could not disagree with you more.

“I have a beautiful mate, I am free to travel wherever and whenever I wish and apart from the flees I am happier than I was ever as a human.”

Copyright © Stuart Danton 2007

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