Finely etched with symbols of the local deity of agriculture (the original version depicted Gemionn and his wife Alenia), the bowl is most often made of wood or clay, never of stone or metal. It is typically made to keep 1 Pildun (an old unit of volume, about 1.2 liter) or 2, very rarely 5 Pilduns.
It has always been so, that a priest lived with the people, through their good days and bad days, helping with the blessings and wisdom. The people in turn, they helped the priest to make a living. Tradition commands to give at least a single fruit of each tree to the temple at harvest.
Another custom is the Autumn Sharing: giving the tenth part of grain that shall be planted next year. The priest(s) will have a store to come through the winter, and to share it with the less lucky. While most people are surely honest, a coming winter can make even the best man nervous, reluctant to part with the hardly earned fruits of labour… and some really ‘underestimate’ their future need, making a priest’s life harder.
It is unknown, who had the first idea, but granted, all followers of Gemionn are friendly and practical people, unwilling to force others to their faith. And so they found a different way to reward the faithful, and punish (albeit indirectly) the less virtuous.
The bowl must be blessed to work. Many beginning priests bless it in larger temples, or inherit it from an old priest.
The bowl’s only purpose is the measuring of grain, usually taking on the form of a small ritual (in fact, it is one). When done so by the priest and the farmer, words of tradition are spoken, rhymes and vows pronounced, and blessings offered, words differing from village to village but similar in purpose everywhere.
If both the grain’s owner and the priest concentrate in their well-meaning, they cast a blessing on the grain, protecting it over winter from rot and spoiling, and helping it to grow in spring. And while the overall effect is not dramatic, it clearly shows over the years, that it pays to be honest to the priest… which is as it should be.
Part of one such a rhyme:
Through winter meek,
the spring you seek,
then sleep you bind,
till earth you find.
Start to grow,
as you greet the plow,
From our strain,
shall grow the grain.
From earthy bed,
will come the bread,
then we come near,
to the next year.
Note: many of these bowls are used by a priest lifelong, and are then inherited to another priest. After many blessings and uses uncounted, they grow into true magic items, and could provide weaker blessings on the grain even without a priest. For many a village is its Bowl a real treasure, though it is not always recognized.