The giant orange root would feed the village for a week. The hunters had outdone their previous efforts by finding the hundred pounder. It sat in the town square, awaiting butchery and eventual cooking. A wall of muddy orange, with small rooty tendrils on its sides, and the stump of a tree at the wide end.
Merely digging it up required herculean effort. Transporting it whole as well. And now it rests here, on trestles, waiting to be washed, buried, cooked, and eaten.
Already a crew was at work preparing a fire pit to slow roast the majority of it.
The succulent tip was already gone, so the hunters likely took their due when they lifted it clear of the ground.
For a long time, we preyed on just enough travelers to keep us fed and clothed without being greedy.
But lately, the temptation to take more was always there.
And who better than to foment that temptation than the wandering bards and itinerant teachers who filled the heads of our younger members with grand ideals, tempting them to stray from our proven path.
And to think that we had been kind to them in their time of need.
My rule had been absolute. Take only the fat merchants, and then, only their purses and some of their goods. Take as little of their dignity as practical, lest they be motivated to do more than band together for protection.
Then we rescued that teacher from starvation.
And let him repay us in kind.
And now our youths are wondering if we have the right to prey on travelers. If we have the right to live as we have for decades.