At the cove, in the seaside village of Alcandara, he stands. Revered by many, he is said to be the protector of Alcandara, a presence which brings good things to the village and keeps its people happy and content. Many a storm has hit it, yet the damages it has suffered are minimal. The fishermen always cast off to sea, at dawn from near his feet and return by noon with their catch. The benevolent St. Alcander, he is called; the statue in brown marble can be seen from miles out on sea.
The seven were new to the village then, having come two months back and taking residence near the cove. They were staying together, and they fought, the way only brothers can. They weren’t Greek either, though they knew the language well. At first, the villagers didn’t mind their home being shared with the outsiders, but then came the day it all changed. The seven left earlier than others and came back first with the best catch. The villagers cheered them, welcomed them to the fishing fleet like their own, only to find they raised the price unfairly. To the people, the first catch was worth a lot more than the rest. So they shelled out the money glaring at them. When it happened once too often for their liking, people began to suspect they had powers that led them to the best fishing spots. Then the brothers humiliated one of the village girls. When they village head demanded they leave, they refused. The head was helpless, the girl unable to show them at fault. The people began to live in fear of the seven, praying to God to help them soon.
One day, the brothers couldn’t be seen. Partly in fear, partly in joy, the villagers went looking for them, but they couldn’t find them anywhere. News spread like wildfire. People began to sigh with relief, and the village square began to buzz in a festive mood that went on all day. There was singing, dancing and drinking.
The fear of the seven still lives on today. Spirits not at peace haunt the place they once called home, they say. So the people of Alcandara keep the children away from the shore, till the sun is out and the men are back from their fishing foray. Boats lost at sea are said to be taken by the seven. On moonlit nights, when the village has no tales to share, their story floats around; that those few with “the sight” can still see the brothers, who never approach the shore, in fear of St. Alcander; that they were lost because for once, blinded by their ego, they had not cast off from near his feet. On the first day of every month, when the first rays of the golden sun kiss the skin of the shimmering sea, three boats can be seen out at sea, the silhouette of seven men and a finely woven net dark on the horizon.
© Leo 12/05/2011