Any Fool Would Know

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Long ago, a Scottish man is suddenly free to find adventure, but he has an ex-wife to deal with.

Submitted: May 31, 2016

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Submitted: May 31, 2016

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In a time long ago and in the Scottish highlands lived a wealthy land owner, he was a shepherd by choice and his name was Flanagan Moore.

One afternoon, Flanagan and his shepherds had finished sheering the last of his many sheep, so he invited his men to his home for their yearly celebration.

Upon arriving at his house he found that the door had been locked from the inside and his wife, of seven years, stood looking out of an upstairs window.

"Open the door Lassie!" Flanagan bellowed.

His wife, Kathryn Thaddeus Moore, Katie for short, bellowed back. “I'll not be opening the door to you Flanagan Moore; I am divorcing you and claiming this house and a parcel of land as my own. Your shepherds and my servants stand as witness to this proclamation and according to our law, it is done."

Flanagan thought for a few moments and noted the facts that no matter how attractive she was, she was stubborn as an Ass, she was not a very good cook or homemaker, nor had she given him any boy children to help with the sheep and to tend to the land. Therefore, Flanagan thought that it would be good to agree to the divorce.

Flanagan bellowed in a load and angry voice, "As per the law, I reluctantly agree to this divorce.

"Now listen Lassie, Go to the roof and fire an arrow in each of the four ways the wind blows, where the arrows land I shall mark off and that shall be your land, I will deed it to you.   I will give you three sheep and one goat, of your choosing, for every year we were joined. You shall have this house and the barn, the chickens and the coop, the ducks, the pond, and any animal that lies within the arrow shots.

But let this be known, all else belongs to me, and anything else that I acquire from this day forward, that is mine and mine alone! Is that agreeable?"

Kathryn Thaddeus Moore agreed to that, after all, it was far more than she had expected from Mr. Moore, after all, he knew that she was an excellent archer.

Now Flanagan, being a honorable man, did all that he told Katie that he would do for her, then he made preparations to leave for a seafaring adventure.

Flanagan Moore had always fancied himself as an adventurer.

But Flanagan's Father had died young, and as the oldest male of the family, Flanagan had to tend to his father's business and his flocks. It was also his duty to care for his aging mother and keep his brothers and sisters out of trouble.

Well, the years had passed and Flanagan's Sainted Mother had passed on. His brothers and sisters were adults and had lives and professions of their own. And now Flanagan Moore was rid of his last millstone. He was wealthy enough and still young enough to have that adventure that he had always wanted; so to sea he would go.

Flanagan's younger brother, Byron Scott Moore, two years his junior, was put in charge of Flanagan's business affairs. Others were put in charge of shepherding his sheep, and as for Flanagan, he bought a ship.

It wasn't the most graceful ship, but it was a Galleon in good repair and dubbed seaworthy by Flanagan's cousin, a former whaleboat captain named Finnegan O'Rourke. Flanagan Moore hired Finnegan O'Rourke to be his ship’s captain and O'Rourke did the choosing and hiring of the crew.

Supplies were bought and loaded, sails went up and this unlikely adventure began.

 

***

 

Twelve years had passed and people were wondering if Flanagan Moore and his adventurous crew would ever return. After all, Flanagan was well into his fifties now and surely tired of the life aboard a ship; --- and they were right.

In the later month of September came a sharply outfitted Schooner, it entered the harbor. It was followed by six cargo vessels that were all sitting low in the water, obviously heavy laden with cargo.

The whole town and those for miles around came to the docks to see who had come to port, even Katie.

Yes, it was Flanagan Moore who stepped off of the Flagship's shore-boat. His beard was fuller and showing signs of graying, his skin was more weathered than before, and the ladies were saying that he had grown thinner, more handsome and much more distinguished.

When Flanagan's brother saw who it was he ran to greet him. There were hugs and pleasantries exchanged and then Flanagan returned to his brother's house with him.

When Katie saw who it was she stomped her foot to the ground and left in a huff.

At dinner that night Byron told Flanagan what Katie had been doing for the past two years, ever sense she married Dillard Mullen, the local barkeep and so called handyman. She had been stealing Flanagan's lambs and then selling them at a discount. She had taken six lambs last year and four this year, four lambs that they know of.

"Well, why didn't you have her arrested? Flanagan questioned. Ex-wife or not, she should not be selling sheep at a discount, it is bad for the economy and business in general."

Byron replied, "The magistrate said that your own words prevent him from arresting her. You said, ("You shall have this house and the barn, the chicken coop, the ducks, the pond, and any animal that lies within the arrow shots."). Well, those arrow shots are now a fence with a gate leading onto your property. She, or her useless husband, opens the gate and then they lay down ivy to lure your lambs. When a lamb wanders in, the gate is closed and the lamb is hers; any animal that lies within.

You and she are bound by your words as long as you own the property that surrounds her property," his brother concluded.

Flanagan lightly pulled on his beard for a time, obviously thinking, then he slapped his brother on the back and said.  “Not to worry dear brother, that agreement is about to become null and void.”

The two brothers talked for hours about Flanagan's adventures and a new business venture that Flanagan had well underway, and then they turned in for the night.

After breakfast Flanagan sent one of his brother's children to fetch the Magistrate, they returned within the hour.

After a brief discussion the two men took a buggy ride up to Flanagan's old house and Flanagan banged on the door. Katie was surprised to see them there and somewhat nervous because of her recent thievery.

"I didn't steal any lambs, they wandered onto my property and in your own words they are then mine," she said in a winning sort of voice.

The Flanagan replied with a smile on his face, "Yes, that is true Lassie, for as long as I own that property, and I will not own that property any longer. I have an agreement to sell the bulk of the land to my brother and the rest to two faithful shepherds that have been in my employ for many years. And now the Magistrate is aware of the sale and will be a witness to it."

At that moment Katie's new husband, Dillard Mullen, came to the door and started yelling, "What the hell is Flanagan doing here? Get the hell off of my property before I throw you off!" And at that moment he charged at Flanagan.

Flanagan used his walking stick and with two quick motions the half-drunk man was face down in the dirt.

Flanagan turned his attention back to Katie and said, “Not all fools make mistakes, but rest assured, some mistakes make permanent fools.

I'm telling you Lassie and in front of the Magistrate, my brother will not be lenient with you if he finds you pinning one of his lambs, nor will this Magistrate. So I will do you a parting favor and open your gate as we leave."

Katie looked puzzled and asked, “What kind of favor is that?"

Flanagan smiled and said, "The kind that lets my brother’s lamb out so that it may return to its mother. Can't you hear her calling to it and it calling back? Any fool would know which side of the fence the little lamb belongs on."

 

D. Thurmond / JEF  ---  05-30-2016


© Copyright 2017 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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