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The Wren Hunt

continued from The Green Monster


The mountain horses and ponies, stout, shaggy little things, steamed in the early morning cold as the hunting party readied to depart. Maggie stood at the head of Odnar’s pony, whispering to it as she tied ribbons around its bridle. She’d tried to ribbon Tenk’s goat, but he’d waved her off– his mood had not improved one bit, it seemed.

Maggie stood back to admire her work. Odnar beamed at her and blushed.

“Can I help you on your pony?” Odnar asked, holding out his hand to her. Around them everyone was starting to mount.

“I can’t go.” Maggie said, sounding apologetic, “it’s forbidden for me to hunt the King of Birds.”

Odnar looked startled and behind him a sharp laugh sounded from one of the three sister. “It’s good luck to hunt the wren. Everyone knows that.”

“Not for me it isn’t.” Maggie’s crossed her arms, defensively. Odnar looked over his shoulders at his nieces and stepped from foot to foot.

“Then I’ll stay here with you.” He said, which brought up a chorus of protests from his nieces who suspected that if Odnar stayed, then Tenk would stay as well.

“And miss your chance at luck? No! Go, go, I’ll be fine.” Maggie insisted.

“She will be, Oddy. Miss Maggie asked if she couldn’t help me clean while you lot are away and not here tramping mud all over my home.” Odnar’s mother had emerged from the house. She was a broad, thick-armed woman with steel grey hair and a smile that made her cheeks particularly rosy.

Odnar nodded and mounted his pony. Ahead of him one of his brothers blew on a horn and all the other brothers answered with their own, it was time for the party to move out.

“Odnar, catch!” Maggie said and tossed something to him. It was a small painted bird strung on a thin piece of leather.

“What’s this?” Odnar asked, holding it up.”

“It’s a whistle, silly. For calling birds.”

He smiled and hung it around his neck, tucking the wooden bird beneath his coat. He tapped his heart, twice, and bowed his head at Maggie. Maggie curtsied to him in reply and in another moment the party was riding away into the woods.

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  1. Mr Tenk Mr Tenk July 21, 2014

    As soon as the party left the road for the woods, the Halberstadt sisters formed a phalanx around Tenk and his goat and coaxed them from the main party, but being that his mood was foul and also that it takes quite a bit of attention to keep a goat on your own business instead of its own, Tenk had not noticed until it was too late.

    “Mr. Tenk,” Petronella started coyly, “why is it that you ride a goat instead of a pony?”

    “Because this is a riding goat, and we are on a wren hunt, and someone has to ride the goat.”

    Petronella tried to think of a way to continue the conversation, but all she could come up with was “Oh.” She reined in her pony and let Solvieg and Dagmar ride at his sides instead.

    Solvieg started next. “Isn’t it always wonderful weather for Christmas? The air always seems so full of light!”

    “Mmm.” Tenk grunted.

    “Oh do cheer up, Mr. Tenk,” said Dagmar brightly. “Or we won’t have any luck at all.”

    “Good luck or bad?” Tenk said grimly.

    “What?” asked Dagmar, confused.

    “Luck isn’t always good, you know. How do you know the person who gets the luck isn’t going to get the bad luck, eh?”

    Something unspoken passed between the sisters, and Dagmar’s pony suddenly bolted ahead. Dagmar shrieked and wobbled in her saddle. Tenk rolled his eyes, then gave Solvieg a baleful look as he whipped his goat into a trot to follow Dagmar. When he caught up to her and calmed her pony, she lifted her skirt, revealing a charming but stunted leg that required straps to hold her on the saddle, rather than stirrups alone.

    “Oh dear. My buckles have come loose. Could you help me, Mr. Tenk?

    Tenk helped her right herself. “Do you always lift your skirts to the men you chase?” he asked her in a matter of fact manner, as he made the straps snug. Dagmar looked away. “Dagmar. You seem like a very nice girl, but maybe you shouldn’t listen to your sisters so much. Where I come from, women are admired for their accomplishments.”

    “You mean in the city?

    Tenk nodded. “Don’t put your hopes on me, Dagmar. Don’t let your mother do that to you either.”

    “So there is someone else then, Mr. Tenk?”

    Odnar rode over suddenly and grasped the horn of Tenk’s goat. “Leave him be!” he commanded to the women, as he pulled Tenk to safety.

    He sighed and shook his head after the protests of the three sisters faded into the distance. “They don’t mean any harm,” said Odnar. “But tell me, cousin. What do you think about me and Maggie? Do you think she would have me?”

    Tenk tugged on his beard thoughtfully. “Mmm, she does seem genuinely fond of you. Perhaps you could do something to impress her. Show her the family jewels, maybe?”

    Odnar looked skeptical. “She’s like that?”

    “I mean open the vault.”

    “Oh. OH. The family jewels, of course! You think she would like that?

    “Of course she would. She likes shiny things. Just make sure you don’t turn your back on her if you let her in the vault. She can have sticky fingers.”

    “Tenk!” Odnar said reproachfully.

    Tenk shrugged, but before he could answer, a happy exclamation arose from the main party of the hunt. They rode back together to see who had been lucky to kill the king.



    tags: write something tenk you’re holding up the story, odnar goes next,

    • Tepic Harlequin Tepic Harlequin July 21, 2014

      Kill… kill…..? WHAT! Daft buggers! Yer ain’t supposed ter KILL the King, just catch it an tie it ter a pole fer the night! Ain’t nuffin good gonna come of this, yer mark me words, an we all knows the luck as will flow from this, just good Miss Maggie ain’t there, that’s all i gotta say….

      Tepic looks darkly at the company and slinks into the gloom……

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