When the first blacksmiths, who did not know of any other use for the stiff metal, made rakes out of it, pickaxes or ploughshares, they did not go as far as to imagine that sharpening the iron on the anvil they would invent the homicidal sword. As for the last blacksmiths, those who stay in the village, after having nailed, for years, irons on the hooves of cattle, they have reconverted themselves into breeding horned animals. The farrier often represented physical force, the brute force which pushed the more or less recalcitrant animal between the wooden posts. Today, the farrier sips his infusion, cuts down on his tobacco ration and contemplates with extreme distrust the beautiful city fillies who come to graze in the holiday meadows. His infarcts, he treats them prudently following the advice of the healer Mesmérouf whom he goes to consult from time to time in the regional capital.
In former times the veterans, distorted by age in the image of the knotty olive-trees of the Province clinging to to the flanks of the oppidum of Ensérune, which Riquet, he again, allowed himself to perforate, received two acres of land in return for their good and loyal services to the glory of Cesar the Bald, in addition to a cabin into which they piled their teeming brood. Later, the Eternal city will, likewize, allocate two acres of dust and a presbytery house to its soldiers of God. Today, that does not suffice any more for the children of Vulcan. “Get up, young man !”, shouts the blacksmith at his ultimate standard-bearer. “If you feel repugnance to the all too long fatigues of the camps, to the stripes distributed too parsimoniously, to the bugles whose yelling tones recall too much the morning hammer on our ancestors’ anvil, buy wares, resell them at triple value, transport them as far as the banks of the Goths, present them to the swarthy Cantabri, money always smells good”. But do you not hear, Mr Beat-the-iron, the first roars of the tractor which will roll down the slope and on its course take with it the master who has trained it ? Do you not understand, Mr Train the iron, that this young man is already jealous of your headstrong old age and that the devouring flames he considers, it is you who lit the first spark ? The tisane which you drink before your nocturnal rest, in the absence of a girl who with a light hand would stroke you and, against you, would press her white thigh, will that herb-tea be a sufficient antidote for you if you still want to pick the figs of the Orchard and breathe in the roses of next year ?