Hugh wiped his brow and grumbled under his breath, "If I get me hands on them rascals, I'll be boxin' ears till Yuletide!"
The sun blinded him as he gazed up to peruse the eaves of the dock dwellings and the rigging of the large ship in port.
High and out of reach hung the leftover catch from the day before! The heat of the mid-morning sun was slowing frying the strung up fish and a pungent aroma wafted across the docks.
He scratched his head. Darned if he could figure out how they did it! Darned yet if he couldn't catch 'em and make them bring them down themselves, before the townsfolk began badgering him to rid them of the stink.
Annwn was a small port town. No more than a few dozen families dwelt here and there were few secrets among them. Of the handful of youngsters hereabouts, only half that number were old and strong enough to climb trees or scheme a way to string up his prized catch of fish from the rooftops!
"Bah! I'm done with it!", he popped some chewing tobacco into his mouth and began enjoying the sense of contentment it always gave him.
The tobacco was his special secret and his only vice. Every week he met his Hobbit mate, Bungo, just outside town, on the outskirts of Deep Wood. He never ventured further, strange things happened when the trees grew thick and little light pierced the branches. Best to stay on the sea side of the trees his old mam always said!
Bungo the Hobbit had no such quibble and they had a fine trade in fish and pipeweed going. Bungo's wife conjured up fish dishes that could make you weep with gladness and were the talk of GreenFields and the tobacco-like pipeweed the Hobbit's grew had such an irresistible quality, that Hugh couldn't imagine life without it.
The fisherman exhaled and wiped the sweat from his brow again. He shook his head and his view rested on the matronly figure of Alice Carpenter, eyeing him with a scowl as she gossiped with Susan Austen, who ran the town bakery.
He tipped his hat at both women, his attention turning immediately though to the young lass just exiting the Green Man Tavern and he grinned roguishly at Bessie, the Barmaid, winking and chuckling as he watched her cheeks redden prettily and heard her giggle behind her hand.
Madame Carpenter tsk-ed primly and Bess quickly turned tail and returned inside the tavern.
"Meddling spoilsport!", Hugh proclaimed loud enough to send the gulls flying, but seeing that Ted Carpenter, the owner of the woodmill, had raised his head to scowl at him as he passed between the towers guarding the port, he quickly turned and went to fetch a ladder from Mayor Ward.
"High time to rid the town of me hoverin' fish, I guess!", he snickered and put the comely Bess out of his mind... for the moment at least.
All around town, the citizens of Annwn were busy on this unusually warm spring morn with collecting milk cans or potato sacks from behind bushes or inside barrels, herding dazed farm animals back into their stables and pens from the sandy beach where they seemed to have wandered during the night, pulling threaded daisy chains out from between wood piles at the Mill, righting the wrongs done to Market stalls or attempting to recover fish from trees!
Such strange happenings were not uncommon in Annwn. The matrons of the township were sure that the menfolk who enjoyed the rum and ale flowing in the tavern were behind the nonsense. Most fellows were betting that the town's youth were the cause, memories of their own past misdeeds guiding their reasoning.
Only the younger bairns whispered of sparkly lights and murmured charms, of sprites and pixies, goblins and fay... their dreams on such turbulent nights were moon bright and full of wonders!
A good thing for the occupants of the Golden Realm of Ildathach that very few listened to the chattering of the children of Port Annwn and they remained free and undisturbed in their monthly roguery and high jinks!