It's wonderful to help people in so many ways.
But both fish and visitors stink in three days.
"Well," thought Guiseppe the next morning, "it certainly is a blessing that Tyrannious stays down at Bor's place so much of the time. He really must like that job." Aloud, he said to his house guests, "I trust you slept well last night?"
"Oh, it was fine, I suppose," conceded Hilga reluctantly. "The bed was a bit hard, and the room rather small, but we will make do. Never you worry," she added cheerfully. "Stefan, will you please stop pulling Juliana's hair. Juliana, do stop screeching so. Can you both just find something to play with outside?"
Guiseppe went out front to talk to a prospective customer, one of the King's guards, who had wandered into the yard and was obviously interested in a newer chariot that was all shined up and ready to go. "Can I give you a test ride in that model?" Guiseppe asked. "It is our best seller this year, and because the previous owner fell on hard times, I can make you a really good deal."
"No, Mate, I do not have the wherewithal for it just now," answered the man sadly. "The recession, eh what? The King has told us that we would all have to make do with our old chariots, as his treasury is bare bones. No way to buy new ones. How, I ask you, can we win battles with old, out of date chariots?"
"I tell you what. I have a grand idea," offered Guiseppe spontaneously. "Why do you not just take the chariot and sign an agreement for credit with me that says you will pay me when you can. That way you can serve the King better."
"Do you jest with me?" asked the flabbergasted soldier. "How can you do such a thing? By the way, Mate, my name is Samuel. The Captain of the King's Guard, I am. His majesty shall soon hear of your generous offer."
"No, that is not necessary." Guiseppe answered quickly, worrying that the King might suspect he had money and send the Royal Tax Collectors to harass him. "After all the King has done for us, it is the least I can do for his men," replied Guiseppe, modestly, managing a broad, if rather nervous smile.
Samuel hitched up his horse to the chariot and drove proudly away. Guiseppe watched him go, and with a twinge of apprehension, said to himself, "I wonder if Guilda will be angry at me for doing that. But how could she, since we have so much? I feel so good when I help people. It is such an uplifting feeling, I wonder why more people do not help others? What a wonderful world it would be if they did," he thought, as he rushed off to rescue Sic'em and Com'ere from Stefan and Juliana's tormenting.
A couple of days later, the Widow Florence poked her head through the kitchen door just as Guiseppe and his house guests were finishing their breakfast gruel, and morning tea, all except for Tyrannious, of course, who was still snoring loudly on the couch. "How are things at G. & G.'s Inn For Wayward Travelers?" she inquired brightly with just a hint of mischief in her smile. "Do you have any more rooms available? I hear there is a traveling band of gypsies in the Village who need board and lodging for a week or so."
"You are such a kidder, Florence," smiled Guiseppe. "I want you to meet my sister, Hilga, her husband, Lars, and their two children, Stefan and Juliana."
"Delighted to meet you," said Hilga. Lars merely nodded his greeting. Stefan and Juliana got up from their seats and scampered across the room to Florence.
Looking her up and down, Stefan demanded, "Do you have any candy in your pockets? No? Well, you sure look like you eat a lot of candy," he sulked.
"Stefan," chided Hilga, "mind your manners. Tell Widow Florence you are sorry."
"I will not. And, you cannot make me. I am tired of this place, and I am bored."
Florence chuckled, "Boys will be boys. I know you are having such a wonderful time here with Guiseppe and Ty and Suds and Sic'em and Com'ere. Guilda will be sorry she missed you. Will you be leaving before she gets home?" she asked innocently. "Or, can you stay longer?"
"You can count on it," replied Hilga. "Guilda is such a fabulous cook, and such a generous hostess, we would not think of leaving until she gets an opportunity to cook one of her delicious meals for us. Besides, the other Inn in the Village is booked until next week sometime. So, we'll be staying around here for a few more days. Shall I come home with you to your cottage for a little visit? You can tell me the best places to shop. I am eager to get out and buy more clothes. I have absolutely nothing to wear."
Florence, who from her front window, had observed the unloading of all the many bags and valises when they arrived, replied dryly, "Oh you poor dear."
Hilga got up from the table and walked out the door with Florence, leaving Guiseppe to face the dirty dishes, and the children who were chasing each other noisily around the table, throwing bits of porridge at each other. Lars nodded at his brood absentmindedly as he sauntered out into the front yard, and with hands thrust in his pockets, ambled toward the center of town.
About that time, Tyrannious strolled in. "What's for breakfast? A guy has a hard time sleeping around here with those loud brats! Go on outside, the both of you, and leave my dog alone!" The children gave him a sullen look, but did as he ordered. They stuck out their tongues in his direction, but only after they were sure he could not see them.
"I know we are a bit crowded, Ty. But, hopefully it is just for a few days, and then you can have your room back. Say, can you help me chop some wood for the fireplace? I could really use a hand today."
"Sorry, Dad, I promised Bors I would be in bright and early. He has a new shipment of ale that will need unloading. By the way, could I borrow a few dollars until payday? I will repay you as soon as I get paid."
"I suppose so, but I really do need your help with the wood. Could you come home early tonight to give me a hand before dark?" persisted Guiseppe.
"Not, tonight, Dad. There is a darts tournament down at the Hog's Jowl, and I have to defend my title as Village Champ. I will probably be late again tonight. Who knows, maybe the brats will be asleep by the time I get home. Well, see ya later" he said cheerfully, as he strode off toward the Hog's Jowl Inn. As usual, his dog Suds was following closely behind, but not before Stefan pulled his tail and made him yelp in pain. Tyrannious cuffed Stefan on the ears, and strode angrily away, leaving the mischievous boy sitting in the dust, screeching.
Inside the kitchen, Guiseppe set about clearing the dishes from the table. He tried to think what Guilda would do if she were there. He was considering that as well as what he could feed the hungry relatives for dinner, when he heard horses hooves and an ox cart approaching up the street. He heard Guilda's voice calling, "Guiseppe, Guiseppe, we are home. Where are you?"
"I wonder why she said 'we are home'?" he said to himself, but he did not have long to wait before he understood. He looked up to see Guilda and her mother, Maude Ann, striding through the front door. He rushed across the room and gave Guilda a kiss and a hug, and looking over her shoulder said, "Maude Ann, what a surprise. What are you doing here?"
"It is a good thing I came by the looks of things in this house. I have my work cut out for me. My bags are still on the ox cart outside. Just put them in the guest room, and I will unpack later."
"Uh, well, the guest room is presently occupied," he replied. "My sister Hilga, and her family are here for a short visit. In fact, she just said this morning how much they wanted to taste Guilda's famous gourmet cooking. Tyrannious is here too, but he is sleeping on the couch. It is a bit crowded right now."
"That is inconvenient, but do not worry. I will move into your bedroom with you. There is plenty of room," Maude Ann declared. "Now, just get out from underfoot here while I get this kitchen back in shape. After that, we will get your finances squared away. Guilda, I will fix meat and potatoes and gravy for supper, with blackberry pie for dessert. Get my apron from my bag, and let me get started."
While she was bustling around the kitchen, Guilda and Guiseppe went into the front room and conferred in whispers, "Why did you bring your mother here?"
"She insisted on coming. Why did you say that your sister and her family could stay?"
"They had no where else to go. What did she mean when she said she would get my finances in order. Did you tell her about the money?" demanded Guiseppe.
"I did not exactly tell her, but well, you know how she is. She sort of wormed it out of me. I did not tell her how much we have, of course. Naturally, I did not mention Michael, because as you know she definitely does not believe in angels."
"What does she plan to do with the money?"
"I have no idea. She just said, 'A fool and his money are soon parted. I am going home with you to help that fool you are married to manage his money.' And, here we are. Are you angry with me?"
"Shocked, would be a better word," moaned Guiseppe, sitting down and putting his head in his hands. "Did she tell anyone else?" He worried.
"I do not know, and I am sorry, but I had better get her food to prepare for supper before she has a proper fit," Guilda answered, fleeing the room.
Guiseppe did not know what to think or what to do, so he sat there on the couch for awhile, too stunned to really enjoy the quiet moment so rare of late in his humble cottage. Pretty soon, he began to scratch his leg absentmindedly. Next, he scratched his arm, and pretty soon his back was itching so much that he was twisted up and bent around like a pretzel trying to scratch all his itching parts. "What is going on here?" He looked down at his shoe, and spotted a flea. "Oh no, Suds has brought fleas into the house. Guilda will be furious. Never mind Guilda. Maude Ann will have us drawn and quartered."
As he was writhing around, trying to scratch all his flea bites, he heard a loud Knock! Knock! Knock! at the door. Thinking maybe it was a customer, he hurried across the room to open it, scratching himself as he went. "Yes? How can I help you?"
'Kingdom Messenger Service,' Sport. I have a message for ya from Penelope and Winifred. Cost ya two dollars to see it. Sign here."
Guiseppe handed the messenger two coins, took the offered parchment which was rolled into a scroll, and sealed with wax. He broke the seal just as Guilda came back into the room. "Who was it," she inquired. "What do you have, a message? Who sent it? Let me read it." She eagerly grabbed it out of his hands and opened up the scroll until she could read the words,
"Send us money. We need some dough,
and if not, why not, we want to know."
It was signed Penelope and Winifred.
"Who in thunder are they?" questioned Guiseppe. "And, why would they be asking me for money?"
"They are Penny and Winnie, my mother's nieces," explained Guilda. "Maybe my mother told her sister, their mother why she was coming here."
"This is simply awful," moaned Guiseppe. "Michael told us not to tell anyone, and now the whole world knows. But why do they write in poetry, and such bad poetry at that?" he added, almost as an afterthought.
"It is a terrible story, really," Guilda explained. "Their mother, my Aunt Guenivere, was bitten by a mad poet when she was pregnant with these twins, and sadly, there was no antidote for this dreaded malady way back then. There still is no cure. So, these unfortunate girls can speak only in rhymed couplets. What are you going to do?"
"I do not know. I do not know. Woe is me. What else can go wrong?"
To be continued....
Lenny and Jan Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Forward to The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter One
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Two
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Three
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Four
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Five
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Seven
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Eight
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Nine
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Ten
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Eleven
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Twelve
The Glory Road
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