Tag Archives: fidelity

2212. Struck by lightning

(Day 5 of a week of retelling traditional folktales.)

Suziebelle had a lover. He was a frequent visitor. Suziebelle’s husband grew suspicious. When confronted Suziebelle naturally denied it.

“There is only one thing for it,” said the husband. “You must swear an oath that you have always been faithful.”

There was a place of pilgrimage where people swore such oaths. If they were deceitful they were struck dead by lightning.

Suziebelle and her husband travelled there. They hired a donkey off Suziebelle’s lover. He led the donkey and showed them the way.

When halfway there, Suziebelle fell off the donkey, and was seen by the husband and the donkey owner to be wearing nothing beneath her skirt.

At the place of pilgrimage, Suziebelle swore that only her husband and the donkey owner had seen her nakedness.

She was spared the lightning.

2184. Complications

When Eunice’s daughter, Hazel, from a previous marriage caught her stepfather in the kitchen having whoopee with the lady from next door, she was dismayed. Should she tell her mother? Should she simply get on with life as if nothing had happened? It was life-changing knowledge. She liked her high school. She liked her friends. She liked living in this house. All that would change if she spilt the beans to her mother.

Hazel decided to keep silent. But as the weeks went by she became more and more sullen. Her mother didn’t know what was wrong.

“What is it, Hazel? Is it boyfriends or something?”

“It’s nothing,” said Hazel.

And then Eunice announced to Hazel that her relationship with Hazel’s stepfather was over. He had been having an affair with the lady next door and was leaving.

Hazel had never been so damn relieved in her entire life.

2034. On safari

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Doug Jacquier of Six Crooked Highways. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, please leave your suggestion in the comments – only one suggestion per person!)

If he had his time again, Clarence wouldn’t have bought the giraffe. His wife had always been hard to buy for and he had thought that the giraffe for her fortieth birthday would have been welcomed. After all, she had given him a colony of penguins (just six) for his forty-fourth birthday, plus a gigantic walk in freezer. Cristobelle (that wasn’t her real name but the name she preferred) had taken a particular liking to the giraffes when they were on safari in Africa. She was forever sitting up the front of the jeep with the Guide having a wonderful time seeing the giraffes, and in the evenings when Clarence retired early after such a fun-filled day she would ask the Guide to take her out to see the giraffes again.

Naturally Clarence thought she would be thrilled with a giraffe for her birthday but she seemed quite disgusted with it.

That was almost a year ago. As if Clarence was not busy enough trying to look after his (now seven) penguins, he also had to look after this jolly giraffe. He offered it to the local zoo but they said they were giraffed-out. To be honest, Clarence already knew that they had too many giraffes because that is how he had managed to purchase one for Christobelle’s birthday.

It therefore came as a big surprise when Christobelle announced that for her forty-first she wouldn’t mind going alone back to Africa to see the giraffes.

“I know that once is enough for you, darling. So I don’t mind going alone.”

A few months after Christobelle arrived in Africa, Clarence got an email, part of which is printed below:

Hi Clarence. Well I got the same Guide as before which was fantastic. But there’s this woman on Safari from London who is a total nuisance. She’s loud and sits up the front of the jeep all the time with the Guide like she owns him. We don’t need to see any hippopotamuses because there’s one all the time sitting up the front with the Guide. She has completely ruined the safari by her dominating presence. I’m coming home.

It was too late for her to come home. Clarence’s friend, Annie, had moved in. They shared an interest in penguins, and she said she would be delighted (among other things) to help out with looking after the giraffe. And guess what? Clarence has bought Annie a warthog called Christobelle for her twenty-second birthday.