A plume of dust showed their route along the coast.

You told your family to take the goats into the hills and hide.

But the scouts who came were no bandits. Their armour shone under the dust. They bowed in thanks at the water you offered. You had heard of these Christian crusaders travelling to the holy land.

‘Our king seeks the great port.’ ‘I welcome you to Ayasalouk, my village.’ They laughed, ‘But where is Ephesus?’

You shrugged. The men showed you a map and you stared at the end of the Cayster River. ‘This is wrong; it is fields here, land, there is no harbour like this.’ ‘We seek Ephesus, the biggest city in the world after Rome. Have you never heard of it? The Temple of Artemis, with its columns encrusted in jewels, is one of the seven wonders of the world.’

Their map showed a fertile coast with forests around an extensive city.

You thought of telling them that sometimes you found carved stones buried in dense layers of silt. But that was three miles inland, nowhere near the sea.

The men rode on and your thoughts turned to finding pasture for your goats in your barren, treeless land.


Alex Harvie

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