I love it when Silé calls me ‘Little Eli’ – although I’m only two years younger than he. Whenever we can, Lucilla and I like to play board games or make necklaces and bracelets with beads. Otherwise we’re often romping with the boys, Lucy’s brother Pontus, Ruddy Rufus – don’t tell him we call him that! – and Silé.
As was the case for all other kids in the village, it was Aunt Ceres who performed mystic rites to divine my name when I was born, they tell me.
As I’m sure you all know, Vesta is the goddess of the hearth. Which is why Dad found it logical to make me responsible for keeping the household fire burning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – on pain of severe punishment. I’m quite reliable at it most of the time, as well as at my other jobs, like helping Mum in the kitchen and looking after the chickens. And although Silé thinks I’m the silly one – flighty and an incorrigible giggler – I’m not stupid; in fact I learned to read as soon as he did.
Lucy and I already dream about who we’re going to marry when we’re bigger. I want someone big and strong with curly hair and a deep voice. She is more concerned that her man is gentle and kind. We both want lots of kids. The trouble is, there’s not much in the way of men to choose from around here…