Winter’s Bounty

Samuel stood and stretched, and the man began to formulate a plan. First, he would need to fashion a halter for the cow, and he would need to find a rope so he could bring the cow along on his journey home. Picking up the leather bridle and reins from off the peg, he decided he could alter the horse reins and use them to rig a halter for the beast. The lean-to was organized, and Samuel spied cotton ropes on a peg on the back wall. He picked one up, a piece in each hand, and simultaneously tugged on each end. The rope would hold as he led the cow down the trail. 

He also knew he would have to carry the girl, but he would want to keep his hands free. He would use the softest rope to tie the girl close to his chest to keep her from falling off his horse. He would wrap the woolen blanket around her and tie it in front like a shawl.

Now he wondered about the child. Did she have a family? Would she be an orphan? Would Pru want to take in this child as her own?

For years after Samuel and Prudence married, she grieved a child’s absence. The barren woman simply could not conceive. She apologized over and over to her husband, for she knew he wanted children too. Then, one day, when he could no longer bear her sadness, the man grabbed his sobbing wife by the shoulders and shook her. “Stop!” Samuel bellowed. “That is enough!”

Surprised, Prudence looked up at her husband. He never raised his voice. 

“You need to know I do not blame you for not conceiving a child. Even if we could have known before we married that you could not have a child, I would have married you still. I love you, my wife. I love you,” Samuel told his wife.

“But Samuel,” Prudence began.

“No,” he whispered, “You are more than enough for this man.” He raised an eyebrow and continued. “Maybe it’s not you. Maybe I have bad seed. Did you ever think of that?” He wickedly smiled at his wife.

Prudence shook her head and smiled. When she laughed, he wrapped his world in his arms and kissed the top of her head, wishing he could give her the desires of her heart. From that moment, the couple decided to find joy in their circumstances and rejoice in their sweet union. 

Over the years, the townspeople of Salem had approached the couple, asking them to take in orphaned children. They had taken in a few, but often family members were found, and relatives claimed the children. 

One year, Samuel and Prudence were asked to take in siblings Thomas and Mary from Ipswich, a neighboring village. Their parents had died from smallpox. The children grew to love their new parents, and finally, the couple felt they had a family of their own. For nearly three years, the happy family prospered until a barrister arrived at their door one day. Apparently, the children had a grandfather in Chester, and he demanded that the children should live with him. Despite the wishes of the children or the concerns of Samuel and Prudence, the children were forced to sail across the seas and live with a complete stranger.  

It was too much for all involved, and Prudence swore to her husband that her heart could not take any more losses. From that moment on, Samuel intercepted any requests for homes, wishing to save Prudence any more heartache. That was over two years ago, and the man wondered how Prudence would react when she discovered his hunting trip delivered more than a winter’s bounty of wild game.

Writing Prompt:

For today’s prompt, include a flashback in your story

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