The ring shows the way
The next morning was bright and clear. The meeting started in the afternoon. Everybody went to the special meeting place near the mountain. All the members of the tribe were sitting in a huge ring.
Usually people made jokes and smiled, but today everybody was gloomy.
Suddenly a thousand voices shouted "Who has the ring?”
"I have the ring," Artos’s father, Cedric, answered.
“Speak, we are listening,” shouted the tribe.
“What's the motto?"
“Fight for the ring! Fight with the ring! Fight in the ring!” a thousand voices shouted again.
Then Cedric started: “You know the bad news, but we mustn't lose hope.
Yes, we will lose our farms, our animals and our houses. But we are together and we have the tribe’s gold. It will help us in the new land. Today we'll have to choose. Where do we go?
We can go to the West where our brothers and sisters Celts live. It is a beautiful green land with lakes and mountains. We can find safety there - for a while (на какое-то время). There we will be with friendly Celtic tribes — for a while.
But if we go to the West, the pagan Germanic tribes will follow us - in ten years or in fifty years or even in a hundred years. Where do we go then? Into the sea?
The alternative (другой выход) is the North, the cold, dangerous land of Piets and Scots. The Angles and the Saxons will not follow us there — ever (там англы и саксы никогда не будут нас преследовать). Many Celtic tribes are already there. We will not be alone.”
Cedric sat down. A man of about forty stood up. He came up to Cedric and took the ring. His face was angry.
“Cedric is old and mad,” he said. “I have two daughters. They will want to live a civilised life, marry a civilised husband, have civilised children. They don't want to live with horrible Piets and Scots. We don’t even know their language. The West for me!” Somebody laughed.
Suddenly Artos ran forward and snatched (выхватил) the ring from the man.
‘Artos, please. We have no time for your nonsense” shouted Cedric.
But nothing could stop the boy. “I have the ring,” he said “I can speak!”
People smiled. “Let him speak! He has the ring!”
“Yesterday!’ Artos said, “I was playing with the ring. I put it on my finger and I fell asleep. I had a dream. I must tell you about it.”
Everybody was listening now.
“Suddenly I was flying. Up, up, over the mountains. Over rivers. Over forests. I was in the West. I saw people. They were cold and wet. I looked into their faces.
They were you. Then everything changed. It was the same place, but there was a small town there. Everybody was happy. The houses were nice.”
“You see — the West is best,” shouted the man.
“Sssshhh! He has the ring, the ring speaks,” said the people.
“I was still in that land, but everything changed again,” said Artos. “There was a big castle near the small town. The people in the castle were tall and rich. They had many soldiers. But they didn’t speak our language. They called that land Wealas, the land of slaves. The people who lived in the small town spoke our language. They were poor and unhappy. I think they were our grandchildren. Then I heard a voice, ‘The easiest way is not always the best,’ it said.”
The crowd was silent.
“Then I flew north into the land of the Piets. I saw the same people again. They were working day and night. The land was poor, the lakes cold, the winds strong and the mountains unfriendly, but those people were free and happy. A voice said to me “Your way is the hard one.”
Artos finished, but nobody spoke. The people’s faces were sad but brave. They were thinking about the long and dangerous way to the North; the way to freedom.