Pavel and Elena reentered the cave room. [will edit above to include that the entrance had been blocked by stones to prevent bat habitation.] By torchlight they carefully removed the fragile manuscript containing Church Slavonic hymns with musical symbols above certain words.

“It looks like our Saint had been transcribing an old service book which was falling apart. Some of the pages appear a lot newer,” said Pavel.

“Another treasure.”

“ We could use these.”

“That would be nice. Have you sung in a choir?”

“No, but I sang along in the nave.”

“Me too.”

“We can figure out how to change with the symbols by finding hymns we already know.”

“If they changed the same way on the same words.”

“We can just do our best.”

“The only problem with sleeping in here is that it is so dark and confined.”

“And the problem with open caves is that you would be exposed.”

“Maybe I could get used to it.”

“We could make the fire closer to the crawl space so that some light could get in.”

“That sounds good. I wonder how long a coal would glow if I brought it in here.”

“Probably long enough for you to fall asleep.”

After Elena had prepared her bed with some of the skins and blankets they had found, she came out and asked Pavel, who was making bean and seed soup with some of the water they had brought in a skin from a nearby stream, “How does one put out a torch?”

“With water I suppose.”

“Then wouldn’t it be too wet to use the next day?”

“That may be another reason there are multiple strips of fabric.”

“And I wonder if you can treat the fabric so that it will last longer.”

“We could try melting some animal fat and make it more like a candle so that the grease burns instead of the fabric.”

“And green wood would last longer. As would a large bone if we can find one.”

“I hope the thought that just came to me didn’t come to you too.”

“It did after I said it, but it wasn’t what I meant!”

“We can’t really trap deer the way we’ve been trapping smaller game. Maybe I could practice throwing my knife at a target.”

“Or maybe we could find one already dead.”

After a pause Elena continued, “In order not to use up the blankets, I would also like to learn to make fabric.”

“There’s a lot to keep us busy.”

“Yes.” Again Elena looked down.

“Don’t worry. I am not here just for your situation. This life appeals to me too. I never desired to learn how to get along in the world. I lived a very simple life with my parents who are now gone, their farm, which is also gone, and books at a nearby monastery.”

“Why didn’t you go live at the monastery?”

“I liked visiting it, but I don’t know if I have the call.”

“So you just set out walking?”

“It seemed like what I should do.” Pavel looked at her intently.

“I wish you wouldn’t look at me that way.”


“It would be nice to find a source of salt.”

“Yes it would.”

Pavel went to the side of the cave and licked it. “it tastes salty.”

“Let’s put some of the stones in the soup.”

“Umm. Appetizing.”