Soothing Salve by Linaewen

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Story Notes:

Written for the March 2017 Spring Fever challenge using the element sassafras.


Dûrlin needed only one look at Faramir's tear-streaked face and Boromir's worried expression to know that the boys had met with yet another misadventure.  Without a word he ushered them into his room and calmly sat them down side by side on a cushioned bench.

"Tell me what has happened," he said, drying Faramir's tears with a soft handkerchief from his pocket.

Boromir put his arm around Faramir as he began to speak.  "The spring day was so fine, we decided to play in the garden.  The grass is green and soft there, and we were wrestling on the lawn.  But Faramir put his hand down on a bee, and it stung him!  I brushed the bee away as quickly as I could, but look at his hand -- it has swollen up so big!"

Faramir's hand was indeed red and swollen as he laid it in Dûrlin's outstretched palm.  Dûrlin held it gently and inspected the wound carefully.

"You did well, Boromir," Dûrlin comforted the older brother.  "The wound is clear of the sting.  Your quick action reduced the effect of the sting's venom, though it was still enough to cause swelling and discomfort."

Faramir's eyes grew round.

"Venom?" he stammered.  "Are bees like snakes?  Will I die?"

"Nay, lad!"  Dûrlin reassured him.  "A bee's venom is not like a snake's; it is only a tiny amount here in this very small spot, and it will dissipate soon.  It may be uncomfortable for a few days, but you will recover fully."

Faramir looked relieved, and tried flexing his hand.

"My hand feels hot and it itches," he said, in a plaintive voice.  "If I rub it to stop the itching, it makes me feel sick in my stomach."

"Try not to scratch or rub it, that will only make it feel worse, as you have discovered.  I have something that will help with the itching."

"I knew you would have something in your cupboard!" exclaimed Boromir with relief.

Dûrlin smiled.  "Taking care of you two has made it necessary to keep a number of healing items on hand, so that your cuts and scrapes can be dealt with in a timely fashion."

Dûrlin opened a large cupboard and searched briefly among the bottles and jars within.  He removed a sizeable jar filled with an amber-colored salve.  Removing the lid, he carefully smoothed a generous portion of salve over Faramir's swollen hand.  Faramir held himself as still as he could manage, trying not to squirm at Dûrlin's touch upon his itching hand.

"What is it?" Boromir asked, leaning close.  "It smells nice!"

"It is a salve made from the bark and leaves of the sassafras tree," Dûrlin replied, as he covered the salved hand with a clean cloth.  "It is useful for stings and for relieving pain, among other things."

"It feels a bit better already!" Faramir exclaimed in wonderment.  "The pain is less and I can bear the itching more easily."

"Very good!" said Dûrlin.  "The healing has begun.  Return to me in a few hours and I will apply more salve -- and again before you sleep tonight."

Faramir touched his bandaged hand lightly.  "I will not be able to write with this swollen hand, I hope my tutor is not unhappy with me!"

"Worry not," Dûrlin comforted.  "He will understand.  I am certain there are other ways to continue your studies that do not involve the use of your hand."

"I wish I could have a bandage on my hand so I could avoid writing," Boromir complained.  He looked hopefully at Dûrlin.  "Do you think...?"

"No, Boromir," Dûrlin replied firmly.  "I will not help you avoid your duty so easily!"

Boromir sighed heavily, but then perked up as he saw Dûrlin setting out a teapot and cups.

"A cup of chamomile tea will put a nice finishing touch on Faramir's cure," Dûrlin said.  "And it will go a long way in helping you face any task your tutor puts before you, Boromir."

"Some cake with it would help even more," Boromir suggested hopefully.  Faramir supported the suggestion with an energetic nod.

"Of course!" replied Dûrlin with smile.  "Cake is also an essential part of healing and fortifying the heart for the task ahead.  As it happens, I have a nice bit of freshly baked cake here in my cupboard..."




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