This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Friday, 12 October 2012

Invitation to Supper

"We have not a piece of meat in the house," the Woman said. "There's nothing at all."

"But the Baron is coming to supper," the Man replied. "You know when he wants something, he wants it. And he's taken it into his head to eat here."

"But there is nothing. There's no food at all."

"What do we do then? We have no money."

"Do you think perhaps the Baron will excuse us if we have nothing to give him?" It was a stupid question, and he looked away without answering.

"But why is he coming at all?"

"Maybe..." he hesitated. "Maybe he knows we have nothing to eat. So he's coming when we have nothing to eat, and then when we can't provide for him he'll take our house and garden for himself, as punishment for our not providing for him."

"It's a small enough house and a poor enough garden," she said, looking around the hut and at the patch of untidy earth outside.

"That never stopped him yet," he answered. "The Baron is a greedy man."

"You go," she said, "and find out if anyone will lend us some food. I have to breast feed the baby."

After some time he returned with a small bag of grain and a much smaller bag of  salt. "That's all I could find," he said. Grain and salt. Not even a scrap of meat."

"How badly do you want to keep this house?" the Woman asked him, seriously.

"Very badly," he said. "It's all the material possession I have in the world."

"I see." She thought a moment, and decided. "Then the Baron shall have his meat."

And that evening the Baron and his retinue ate well on roast meat and small cakes of grain. One might have noticed, despite the food, there was a hint of chagrin in his eyes.

After the guests had left, the Man went back into the hut and tried to rock the baby to sleep.

It was the first time he had done that, but it would not be the last. 

Copyright B Purkayastha 2008

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