Tag Archives: husband

2596. Christmas marzipan

Willow was on to her fourth husband. Each of the first three had died around Christmas time. That was because marzipan icing on a Christmas cake has a strong enough taste to disguise any other ingredient that might lurk within.

Each husband had asked the same thing: “How come you’re not eating any Christmas cake?” Willow always replied that she didn’t like the taste of marzipan. It was too strong and sweet.

The fourth and current husband, Leo, had survived a good seven months of marriage. Unlike his predecessors he didn’t like marzipan. Leo had not told Willow of his distaste and so Willow had made a big Christmas cake with thick poisoned marzipan.

Leo didn’t want to offend Willow by not eating it after she had gone to so much trouble to make the cake look pretty, so he would discreetly pretend to eat while wrapping it carefully in a paper napkin for disposal.

All three of Willow’s prize pet chickens died, followed by the sudden death of Ms Sadie Walker, a neighbour on one side, who absolutely refused to accept any payment for services except perhaps a slice of delicious Christmas cake. Her death came as a shock to all: “I was just talking to her yesterday,” said Leo.

Then Ms Adeline Ackroyd, two doors up, passed into eternal bliss, followed by Ms Riley Crum from over the road and Ms Faith Swanson of North Dakota who was visiting for the last month or two the man who owned the corner shop.

It was then that Leo realized that the culprit was perhaps the Christmas cake. He didn’t say a word. It just so happened that Willow was partial to whipped cream-filled meringues. May she rest in peace.

2546. Bad Luck Year

Owen had this thing about calendars. It would bring bad luck to hang a calendar on a wall before New Year’s Day. It was equally bad luck to turn a month over before midnight. The prior-to-New-Year would bring bad luck all year; the prior-to-the-first-of-the-month would bring bad luck all month.

Leila, the wife of Owen, had no such hang-ups. She was super-organized. Sometimes she might even turn the calendar over on the 28th or 29th even if it wasn’t February. It became a full-time job for Owen to keep watch.

This was more than a game; it was an epic challenge. Owen was serious about it; Leila though it was nonsense. If Owen hadn’t shown such passion for something so ridiculous then she would never bothered even to look at a calendar. Her stubbornness had grown however, and now she would secretly creep out of bed around 30 minutes to midnight and turn the calendar month over. She would hardly have dozed off before Owen was out of bed and returning the calendar month back to its rightful last 25 minutes.

Of course in the morning they were both tired and grumpy, which Owen attributed to bad luck and Leila attributed to stupidity.

New Year was coming up and Owen conceived an idea. Each year they would order a tailor-made calendar with pictures they had selected themselves. For example, January had a photograph of the long-deceased pet hamster Leila had as a child. Owen secretly had an extra calendar made with twelve Decembers and twelve identical photos. He secretly hung it on the wall before retiring.

Around 11.30 there was a quiet commotion going on. Owen had stayed awake. Leila had crept out of bed. Leila returned and said to Owen, “I suppose you think that’s funny.” Owen sniggered. He had won!

The next morning, to his dismay, there hung January with the hamster photograph. In fact every month of the year was January with the hamster photograph. It was going to be a bad-luck year.

2537. Natalie’s garden

Natalie’s garden plans were not astronomical, but they were pretty big. They comprised several acres of undulating land with the house at the end on the highest hillock. She could look out her window and “survey the estate”.

Naturally there was a ride-on lawn mower to skim around the loveliest of fish ponds, and flower beds, and the wonderful vegetable garden beautifully cared for between two delightfully rustic garden sheds. One wouldn’t really call then “sheds”; there was wisteria hanging down the front of one, and the other had a vigorous grape.

The orchard was as productive as an orchard could get. There were plums, peaches, apples, apricots, and pears; two varieties of each so that they fruited at slightly different times in the season.

The entire property was well fenced, with automatic front gates that welcomed any visitor who wished to enter. It was perfect because Natalie had a dog that liked to roam free, and this fencing arrangement kept her dog free but at bay.

Of course, her husband maintained the vegetable garden. It was his hobby, but Natalie mowed the lawns and carried out the rest of the tasks. It was an ideal arrangement, because even though he liked gardening Adam was a busy lawyer in town. He certainly raked in enough money to support their lifestyle. Occasionally too he would trim the box hedging. It was a task that Natalie did not enjoy. Adam didn’t enjoy doing it much either, but they worked as a team and there wasn’t a great deal of box hedging anyway; just a circular hedge around the weeping flowering cherry.

Such was the perfect existence. Now all Natalie need do is make some money, buy some land, build a house, find a wealthy husband, get a dog, and begin her adventure.

2418. Life on the farm

When Wesley ran over his wife with the farm tractor it was hilarious. Not that it wasn’t a tragedy, but Wesley couldn’t help but see the irony in the situation. He was sure Cassandra would have seen the funny side as well. If she was still alive.

He had just taken the tractor out of the shed, apparently to feed out some hay to the cows. Cassandra was hanging out the washing on the line at the back of the house. She was hanging out the ham bag at the time. The ham bag was a cotton bag to put the leg of ham inside to keep it moist. They had just finished their Christmas ham, so the bag was in need of a heavy rinse. And at that precise moment of her hanging out the ham bag, WHAM! Wesley ran over her with the tractor. There was blood all over the place, including on the ham bag! On the ham bag! It had just been rinsed of bits of meat, and look at it now! It was hilarious.

Wesley drove the tractor back into the shed and went off to the pub to get totally drunk. Cassandra would no longer be leaving him for Farmer Judd next door.

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.

2208. The husband and lover

(This is the first of a week’s worth of re-telling traditional folktales. The folktales retold this week are possibly not overly well-known – perhaps for a reason.)

Theodora was having an affair. Her lover was still in the house when she heard her husband arrive home. She hid her lover behind the door.

“Husband dear,” said Theodora, “I have the most wonderful news. The hawks have been frightening your chickens, but I have discovered how to put an end to it. I have a chant to recite, and while I chant you must put your head in a bucket.”

With that, Theodora put a bucket over her husband’s head and recited a nonsensical chant.

The lover escaped from behind the door.

The hawks still hassled the chickens.

2163. A late frost

A late frost had killed all the bees; just as the plum tree began to flower. No pollination this Spring. No plums this Fall.

Seraphina didn’t quite know what she was going to do. Her abusive husband preferred plum sauce to tomato sauce. “Demanded” would be a better word. If he didn’t get his way in everything he would get angry and violent. Where in the name of goodness was Seraphina to find enough plums to make her annual batch of sauce?

In the end she found a difficult but simple solution: she packed her bags and left.

2151. Rat poison

When Gaynor went to the farm supplies shop she asked if the rat poison would kill humans.

“Goodness me!” joked the shop assistant. “Are you planning to kill your husband?”

Gaynor laughed. “Of course not,” she said. “I just want to make sure there’s no accident. I’d hate for the dog to eat it.”

“I would imagine it would kill humans,” said the shop assistant, “although I’ve never tried!”

“At least it’ll kill a rat,” said Gaynor. “We have just enough to make it a nuisance. I’ll have a packet of the blue rat-killing tablets please.”

“Now to make a blueberry pie,” thought Gaynor. “The dirty rat should love it.”

2058. Nest building

Norma had a saying which she oft cited: I’ve buried three husbands you know.  If the truth be known, all three had died unnatural deaths. They had all been murdered.

Norma was exceedingly rich. She lived in a big house (these days alone). Her sole interest appeared to be her two pet canaries. She had a yellow canary and one with bits of yellow but it looked more like a sparrow. Only the yellow one ever sang, and usually with a melancholic air.

Norma had tried to breed them but she wasn’t sure if she had two girls, two boys, or one of each. Whatever the case, neither had made any attempt at making a nest.

Norma belonged to the local Caged Birds Association. There she met and befriended Gordon, mainly because she thought he might know how to sex birds. He did, and so Norma invited him to her house. Well! One thing led to another, and before you knew it they were married, and Gordon’s two pet canaries went into the same aviary as Norma’s two. In the blink of an eye one of Norma’s and one of Gordon’s were creating a nest together.

Norma was delighted with the success of her breeding program! So interesting! There were four fledglings! All grew into a bold yellow and sang with a melancholic air. They were a great consolation to Norma when she came to bury her fourth husband.

2007. What to do?

(Just before today’s story! – a quick note to say that my childhood “autobiography” – Bits of a Boyhood – has been wonderfully reviewed by Iseult Murphy – HERE! She is the most prolific reader online and she posts many reviews that are well worth it. Thank you, Iseult! And so to today’s story:)


Francine didn’t know what exactly she had in mind when she said “I would very much like to have some time alone.” She had said that to her husband. She needed space. It’s not that he did anything untoward; it’s just that she needed the occasional break from his sporadic odd behaviour. He wouldn’t go to the doctor; possibly he didn’t need to go to the doctor, but Francine was not capable of diagnosing “what was going on”. For example, he would open and close a door four or five times before going through it. He didn’t always do that. Things like that went in “bouts”.

And that is why Francine needed to take the occasional break. This time however, things were different. He had taken his pet canary out of its cage and thrown it to freedom out the window. He had set the dishwasher going three times when there weren’t any dishes to wash. And now he was standing at the door between the sitting room and the dining room and opening and closing it and saying over and over “Come in! Come in!”

Francine consoled herself by joking that perhaps he was trying to welcome back his escaped canary.

Eventually she said, as she had said before, that he needed to go and see a doctor. But he answered (and he seemed quite normal and lovely in his answer) that he didn’t need to do that. There was nothing wrong with him. The stress was all in Francine’s head.

And that is when Francine said, “I would very much like to have some time alone”. Arnold said, “Alright then, why don’t you go for a walk?” So Francine put on her walking shoes and went for a long walk, and thought about things without coming to any conclusion.

When she got home Arnold was in the kitchen cooking some bananas in the oven. She asked him what he was doing and he said the television had said not to feed the dog raw meat.

“But bananas are not meat,” said Francine, “and we don’t have a dog.”

Anyway, by evening Arnold was back to normal. They watched a TV program together and had a normal conversation, and then Arnold went to bed.

Francine sat in the armchair wondering what to do. She honestly didn’t know what she should do next. If Arnold had dropped dead it would be sad of course but definite. Instead, everything was so “up in the air”.