Chapter 5

Written by: Ray Stone

I sat in the kitchen eating breakfast while Rose broke eggs into the skillet that sizzled with several rashers of bacon. Brian was late getting up but then Rose and I expected that. He was never an early riser.

“I am waiting,” I said, forking eggs, “until he explains himself before I go out this morning. He looked a little sheepish when I asked him about the statuette, don’t you think?”

Rose nodded. Brian promised he would tell us about the statuette the next day. He wanted to show us some notes to do with local historical research. Evidently Vicar Johnson was interested and had asked him to visit this day. His only reference to our heirloom, without an apology, was to mumble something about a dead Shepherdess.     

 There was a loud rattle as Brian thumbed the old door catch down and stepped into the kitchen. Under one arm he carried a large book and several papers.  He dumped them at one end of the table and sat as Rose carried a plate across from the stove top and placed it in front of him.

She pointed a serving spatula at him. “Now, Brian, after you’ve eaten, perhaps you’ll explain what’s going on with our statuette.”

***

“While I was studying medieval history of Britain I came across a reference to something that happened in 1654 in a place named ‘Ma’wick.’ It was such an interesting story, especially when I found a link to this village.”

Brian was excited as he told Rose and me the tale about two sisters. One woman, named Mabel, dabbled in herbal remedies for the sick. The sister, Shaphina, a shepherdess, became jealous of her sister’s popularity and reported her to the Abbey for practicing witchcraft. Mabel was promptly burned at the stake but forgave her sister. Shortly after, Shaphina found a book of Mabel’s herbal recipes and hid them from the villagers in spite. Years later she died in a cottage fire. It noted here,” said Brian tapping the book, “that she was trying to burn the book but it survived. The cottage was saved by a thunderstorm.

“Can you imagine the historical significance if we could find that book,” beamed Brian.

“So what has this got to do with the statuette or us,” I asked?

He explained he found out my great grandfather had the statuette made, depicting the good shepherd, Mabel, forgiving and caring for Shaphina.  He looked shame-faced at us. “I brought it back for you.”

“How are we going to find the book,” asked Rose?

Brian grinned. “Mabel and Shaphina lived in two villages because they couldn’t live together. After they died the villages were named Ma’wick after Mabel…and Shapwick after Shaphina.”

I understood. The white shroud passing the cottage was Shaphina, still trying to burn the book and the Hawk was Mabel, still saving it.

I thumped the table. “The book or some clue as to its whereabouts is hidden there. We have to find out.”

 Ray Stone (MT)

Comments

Each writer delivers something new to the story to advance it. Stylistically we are all different but keeping up the readers interest is the most important thing to be conscious of. Nice work Ray.
Thank you, Ken. Words of encouragement should never be in short supply. I look forward to reading your next work too.
Great the hawk is back and the fantasy feeling. This is again an example of some vivid descriptive work and realistic interactions between people Ray. I liked it very much. There's a lovely feeling to this story.