Having had a few days of extracts from our fantasy books, we’re now heading back to our short stories with a little offering from Victorian England and Stickleback Hollow.
6th Day of Christmas
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, six geese a laying
Mrs. Bosworth was not a woman that liked to do very much, aside from work. She hated to sit down and waste time; after all there was always something better that she could be doing, especially around Christmas. Mr. and Mrs. Bosworth had no children of their own, three had been born and all died before they had reached the age of five.
For Mrs. Bosworth, it made Christmas a rather difficult time of year. Mr. Bosworth had borne the loss of two sons and a daughter with remarkable fortitude, and had buried himself in his duties at Grangeback. Mrs. Bosworth had looked on Lucy Kneelingroach as a surrogate daughter, satisfying her maternal instincts by mothering the young lady. When she had died, it had caused Mrs. Bosworth to become even more fastidious than she had been before.
Every Boxing Day, when she and Mr. Bosworth were not working, Mrs. Bosworth would sink into a quiet depression. She didn’t speak a word to Mr. Bosworth for the whole day, but sat in their room, holding an armful of old knitted geese. When Mrs. Bosworth was pregnant she spent her evenings knitting things for the baby she was expecting. She wasn’t very adept at knitting, but had skill enough to create blankets and toy geese. Each pregnancy she had done the same thing – knitted two blankets and two geese. The blankets had been put to good use when Lucy had been a baby, but Mrs. Bosworth couldn’t bring herself to give the geese to the young lady of the house. Instead she kept them for herself, a reminder of the children she had once had and the short time she had to cradle them before they were taken from her.
Mr. Bosworth never tried to take the geese from his wife, nor did he offer any word of comfort. He knew that there was nothing that he could say that would make the loss of their children any better. When their daughter had died, Mrs. Bosworth had told her husband that she couldn’t take losing another child and the two had agreed that there would be no more children. Mr. Bosworth was a man that kept his feelings to himself, he had his own pain over the loss of his children, but he didn’t want to burden his wife when he knew of the pain she was suffering. He consoled himself every year by watching his wife as she cuddled the six geese and gazed out of the window at the lake.
A Thief in Stickleback Hollow
If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can read more about the characters in Stickleback Hollow in the first book the series of The Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow. Digital copies from £1.80 and paperback copies from £6.99.