Copyright © 2016 by The Other Sean
This is part 3 in my ongoing experiment in epistolary fiction.
My dear nephew,
I’m glad you and your sister are enjoying my letters. Things have settled back to normal, and I have had time to rest, so I shall continue. You asked about why I call the gate Pandora’s Gate, while every map you’ll ever see calls it the Baltic Gate.
I told you about the animals on land and sea. I did not tell you about the vegetation. Some of the plants discovered here on Baltica can be eaten by humans. Some even taste good. Some were edible, but had unforeseen consequences. And some deadly plants look much like other plants that are edible. I lost a friend who ate the poisonous berries, and another who became very ill. The family next door lost a young daughter when she rubbed up against a plant seldom encountered, but that secretes a deadly poison. That was only discovered when the plant nearly killed a doctor summoned to help her. I’ve met several people for whom speech was rendered difficult or impossible by the effects of eating a potato-like plant that had been considered a delicious treat – until somebody finally realized it was affecting speech.
So the plants and animals were brutal enough. The hideous plague that ran through the colonies for a few years was even worse. Over a thousand died here in New Jutland, but it was worse elsewhere. It was brutal, it killed three men for every woman, but eventually it disappeared almost as abruptly as it had set upon us.
Then there were the skirmishes and minor wars that have been fought over colonial claims here. Denmark has mostly escaped them, but not entirely, and the Germans and Russians have clashed several times. I hope we have seen the last of that. The latest news I’ve heard is that tensions are easing. I can but hope that continues. A war would be in nobody’s interest.
And on that note I shall take leave of this subject for now. I hope to tell you more in my next letter. For now, best wishes to you and your sister. Stay well.