Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Words on Wednesday ...

Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. This month, prompts can be found here: Elephant's Child. Essentially the goal is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, using all or some, or ignoring them.

(Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States this month, and I have a special connection to those first pilgrims.  My great-great-etc-great-grandfather, George Soule, came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant and kept the log on the Mayflower.  So this month my words will be drawn by my imagination of what it must have been like for those early immigrants who did not face as much political whoo-ha as immigrants do today.)

She adjusted her bedraggled hair and tried to hide the stubborn pieces that insisted on being unwieldy under her bed cap, without much luck.  She felt ancient and frail, and much older than her 50 something years.

Someone had been pounding on the door, and she had been aroused out of the first good sleep she'd had since the Mayflower had landed.

"Wha'der want?" she yelled at the door.

"Open up, Ellie!  It's me and it's cold as a witch's tit out here!"

"Oh, and ye know how cold that is, do ye?"

"Shut it and jus' let me in, would ya?"

She opened the door just a narrow crack.  "Wha's in it fer me?"

"I found some o' them herbs ya been needin' fer ya pain.  If'n ya let me in by the fire, I'll giv'em to ya."

She looked him up and down with her good eye as if to evaluate whether or not he was telling the truth.

"If ye lyin' to me, I'll push ye in the fire I will."

"I ain't lyin' Ellie, lemme in!"

She pulled the door open just far enough to let him in, then quickly closed it against the cold.  "The fires got low, ye'll have to throw some coal on it.  Wheres the herbs ye promised me?"

"Here ya go, ya old biddy.  Ya fortunate I membered that ya needed them whens I saw them in the garden."

She pulled a dusty pot from off the wooden table and ladled water into it.  The handful of herbs were dry but she could still smell the power in them.  They would make a tea that would help to ease the pain in her joints, but only for a day or two.

"Ye di'nt steal them, did ye?  If they catch ye pilfering from the garden, ye know the gov'ner'll execute ye."

"In't the garden fo' the good of all?"

"Tis. Buts t' be shared by all, not pilfered f'one."

She set the pot on the coals closest to her and slowly stirred the herbs.  There were times when she wondered if leaving England had been the right thing to do.  Even more, times when she'd been so sick on the ship's crossing that she'd thought it would have been easier to just slip away with the waves.  But the hope for a new life had been stronger than the scurvy and seasickness.

None of them had been prepared for the hardships once they landed, however.  So many had died shortly after arriving, and she'd done what she could to help the others, mixing tinctures and teas with wild herbs that she was familiar with.  Winter had been harsher than it had been in England, and by the time the first spring buds were showing on the trees, they'd lost more than half of the hopeful settlers who'd set out from England just seven months before.

11 comments:

  1. A lovely take on the prompts. As always.

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    1. Thank you, Sue. I love this weekly challenge that keeps my synaps firing!

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  2. Enjoyable peek into the past! Great use of words.

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  3. Wonderful tale. Loved every word and you did great with all the prompts. My story is up on my blog. It has healing herbs also. LOL

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    1. Loved your story, curses on the Halloween tricksters tho!!

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  4. Very well written account of the past, I like this story because it sounds so true to the life of the time.

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    1. Thank you! My fav author was M.M. Kaye who wrote historical fiction so well you feel like you've gone back in time.

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    1. Thank you so much! Historical fiction is my fav!

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  6. This is terrific, Cindi. Very well written, captivating story. Thank you. :)

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