An Immigrant Tale

Cabin, Rustic, Historic, Log, Wood, Rural, Home, House


For five long years they said I’d serve

It ended being ten

For I could not read the indentures

When they handed me the pen

America it did then seem

A prime opportunity

I served my time in Carolina hot

Then it was Pennsylvania then for me

I scratched out a little living there

Got a wife and children – three

Then plucked up the courage to try my luck

Over the hills in Kentucky

Among the Shawnee – I did live

A farm of all my own

Far from old Ulster that had been

My father’s lifetime home





Deepest Cut of All

What Was It Like to Be an Executioner in the Middle Ages? | Live ...

Image: Shutterstock

It was perjury plain and simple, but no one was going to seriously question the crown’s witness.  The entire affair, and that term is chosen advisedly,  was orchestrated by the king.  The queen had grown to be a liability, and there were fresher flowers to be picked at court.  So the queen’s own bodyguard gave testimony, and as the lies and half truths were uttered – his words cut deeper than a knife.  Deeper than a knife indeed, for soon the young queen would have a date with the Headsman.




Metaphor this week is: – His words cut deeper than a knife.



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“Alright, Hunt, you shall be relieving Tyler,” Ensign Biggleswade said.  “Take off your breastplate and helmet and place them next to Tyler’s over there.”

The pikeman complied and then returned to stand before the officer.

“Now, let me see the bottom of your shoes,” Biggleswade instructed.

The soldier gave a puzzled look and then lifted his left foot to allow the officer to see the iron hobnails on the sole.

“Take them off and put them with your armour,” he was told.

Now standing in stockinged feet, Hunt waited for further order.

“Do you have a pipe?” the ensign asked.

“Yes Sir,” the pikeman replied.

“Go put it and your flints and any tappers into your shoes.”

“Pardon me, Sir.  May I ask why I have had to strip so?”

“Simply put Hunt, you are going to go into those cloisters and guard five hundred barrels of gunpowder.  We don’t want any accidents.”

“Thank you, Sir,” the soldier said.

“Thank you?” the ensign asked.

“For looking out for me, Sir.”

“Ah, protect you.  That too, I suppose,” the officer mused aloud.  “However, the king’s primary concern is not having to rebuild Oxford.”




Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #72


Keep’n Watch


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The sun had set right near a quarter of a candle ago.  Zach, knew it was late, but as far as clock-time, that had been abandoned ’bout a month ago when the the watch Pa had give ’em had done packed in.

Zachariah Greene went and fixed himself another cup of coffee, and wandered the cabin as quietly as he could as not to wake his brother, Obad or Obad’s wife, Persistence, who were asleep in the loft above.

Won’t be long now, Zach reassured himself.  Just another half inch of candle and he could rouse Obadiah and get some sleep himself.  Till then he would keep the rifle close to hand and keep watch .

All of this seemed unreal to him.  He had thought it a grand idea to take up the invite to join his brother to settle in Washington Territory.  Rich timber to fell, and a life doing something other than workin’ in Pa’s dry goods and sundries.

That was all before the mules was spooked in the night, ’bout a week back.  In the morning they had found a fence knocked over, and worst of all was those twenty inch footprints.   Unreal indeed.

(196 words)



Fowl Morning

It was the task Iris hated above all others.  It was time to feed that infernal bird.  Its inky feathers were as black as its soul, and the satanic red head and horn-like comb were further proof of its maleficence.  Every day she was accosted by its onslaught as she sought to do no more than to met its needs.  Many were the day in which she would return to the house bruised or pecked bloody.

As she entered the yard, the fiend clamped down on her foot, intent on gorging its meal.  It was the task Iris hated above all others, but not today.  Iris slowly raised the feed bowl over her head and as the vile creature extended its neck to wrest it from her, she grabbed it by the throat and drawing the knife from her skirts she severed its head from its body.

“Merry Christmas,” she said triumphantly.




Daily Writing Prompt

Hungry Times

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“These are going to be hungry times,” Randolf said to Simon.

“I reckon you’re right,” the hunter replied to his brother.

“Pa said it was a bad sign when that early frost hit.  These woods ain’t been quite right ever since.”

“Peggy gathered up some nuts a while back, but they is on the small side,” Simon replied.  “Looks like the deer got the message before we did and hightailed.  There ain’t even many acorns this year.”

“There’s some rutting marks over by that oak though.  Must be a boar or wild hog about,” Randolf said giving a nod towards the tree.

“I hope so,” his brother replied. “I don’t look forward to a winter with just corn cake and mule meat for supper.”

“Well then lets stop this jawing and get ourselves a pig.”



The Audition

Gladiator, Street Performance

image: Pixabay

Walliamius had already given his golden thumb-up to a scantily dressed Athenian poet, early in the season.  He would be joined in the grand final in the coliseum by a strange contestant from a place called “the crossroads” who posed an unsolvable riddle about a beast that traveled on varying numbers of legs.

Cowellus Simonius Maximus had just given a thumbs-down to an Egyptian juggler, and glanced at his audition schedule.  He smiled as he considered the lively performances the afternoon session held in store.  He really did enjoy these live semi-finals – after all they provided so much spectacle with it being a head-to-head competition.

As Spartacus, Judah Ben Hur, Maximus Decimus Meridius entered the audition space the audience roared with anticipation.  This truly was going to be a close competition to gain the final spot on Rome’s Got Talent.




FOWC with Fandango — Riddle


After the Advance

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public domain

The Second Corps had advanced, and after several hours volley fire and artillery duels the Federal troops had begun yet another retreat towards Washington.

The fighting now in a lull, Corporal Cooke sat down to take a much needed rest.  At twenty, he was already proved himself, so thought he could afford the break.  He opened a haversack, and took out a month old copy of Harper’s Weekly.  Though old, he had not yet had a chance to read this edition.  He scanned the pages, and shook his head at the inaccuracy of the woodblock prints.

After reading several articles, he put the magazine back into the sack and took out an envelope.  The address was in a delicate feminine hand, and he sniffed the paper to see if it retained any sign of dainty scent.  He then took out the letter.  It began with the words, My Dearest Harvey.  The letter was mostly chatty little accounts of what was going on in the town back home, but some lines hinted at her undying love.  He folded the letter and placed it back into the envelope, and withdrew the photograph of a handsome young woman with big expressive eyes.  He smiled as he looked at the pretty face, and then returned the picture to the envelope as well.

As he replaced the letter back into the haversack, he took out three pieces of hardtack biscuit, and a half eaten link of hard sausage.  He drew his bayonet and cut the meat into three pieces and placed each onto the square crackers.   He let each bite slowly soften in his mouth before chewing them and swallowing – making the most of each and every mouthful.

The recall soon sounded, and Corporal John Cooke of Jubal Early’s Division stood up and grabbed his rifle-musket.  He bent over and collected all of the percussion caps out of the belt pouch of the body of the dead Pennsylvanian he had been leaning up against.

“Thank you kindly for the lunch, Harvey,” he said to the corpse giving it a friendly nod of the head as he departed.




FOWC with Fandango — Advance





François pointed to a spot on the other side of the valley.  He and Alexandre had set out from their two cabin base-camp three days before.  They were now hopefully in the home-stretch of their return journey.

Things had not gone well for them.  They were only an hour out when they surprised a mother bear tending he cub.  The dogs went wild, and Tacheté had barely escaped a mauling.  He shot off into the woods, with the other dogs on his heels.  The intrepid trappers had little choice but to follow them.

It took several hour to round the dogs up, and by then night was beginning to fall.  Therefore, they were forced to make a make-shift camp for the night.  In the night, snow began to fall.  Because of this and being in unfamiliar surroundings, they wandered the next day, and now into the third.

“I am certain it is on that side of the valley,” François said, as Alexandre shook his head unconvinced.

“Are you really sure you even want to go home?” Alexandre asked.

“Why would you ask that?” came the reply.

“Well, the last thing you said to Sophia was, ‘I am taking the dogs for a walk, I’ll be back in a couple of hours.’  You will be in la merde, my friend.

“Hmm,” François said after a moment.  “Have you ever considered visiting Montreal?”


Daily Writing Prompt



Shall We Gather By The River

The Hunt Train had been making good time and Kentucky Hunt had decided to slow the wagons.  There was no need to exhaust the oxen more than necessary, and pushing harder would still make their arrival at the river too late to safely cross before dusk.

It was therefore about seven in the evening when the train came to the riverside.  Camp was made, and many had their thoughts on the caulking of the wagons, and the crossing that awaited them in the morning.  This was not foremost in the mind of Reverend Amos Gilbert, a stern but friendly Baptist preacher from Cincinnati, however.  He knew that the preparations would take several hour of the next Sabbath morn, so he approached Boss Hunt.

“What can I do for ya, Preacher,” Kent Hunt asked as the clergyman neared the centre fire.

“I have had a lot of opportunity the spend time with the Tolberts, and their girl Henni-Sue is ready to give herself over to the Lord.  So I was thinking, that while you and your boys, and Sam Kelly and such are getting the wagons ready to cross, that I might take the Tolberts, and some of the young folks and ladies and have a little meeting.”

“Who will get your wagon ready, Preacher?” the Kentuckian asked.

“I suppose that the Jew – Weiss, and Kelly would do it,” the Ohioan responded.

“I have no objections, but if your wagon ain’t ready, I’m not hold’n the train up to wait for you.”

“More than fair,” the preacher responded.

The next morning the riverside was a hive of activity.  Two hives in fact, as the Hunt Company men, and several of the wagon owners caulked wagons, and wrapped belonging for the crossing on one site, while William Tolbert and his wife, Henni praised God as their thirteen year old daughter, Henni-Sue was baptised by Gilbert.

Hunt and Gilbert both done with their respective ministrations, turned to each other and nodded.  Soon the wagons were crossing the river, and the Hunt Train continued its journey to the Willamette.



Written for Daily Writing Prompt #31: Wagon Train

See also: Gladiators, Awaiting Discovery and The Rest part of my Oregon Trail Stories.