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The Dunny Seat

NUNNY's OUTBACK and other tales
Picturing the outback in ways you could never imagine!

SHORT STORIES

The Singing Geese

 

After throwing her down a well, Patrick’s wife returns to haunt him until he traps her ghost in a jar. They make a pact that will see her set free and Patrick get rich.

 

(Note: Grainne - pronounced. Gronya)

 

 

Patrick thought he was rid of his wife after he threw her down the well. But now she was back, bleating those awful sounds.

“Enough!” he yelled marching to the door of his bedroom. “I will catch you, Grainne Rafferty! And when I do, I’ll put you in a jar and bury you twelve feet deep!”

 

She started again at midnight. He silently slipped down the hallway on all fours to the room from which the caterwauling came. The high pitched squall reeked through the walls. He stood up, burst through the door and threw the plastic bag over her. The ghost of Grainne, bounced around inside.

“Let me loose!” she shrieked.

“Shut up, woman,” he grumbled as he tied the bag and kicked it down the hall.

 

In the kitchen, a contrivance of jars and tubing, pumps and seals filled the table. He forced a hose through the firmly tied opening of the bag and started the pump. Grainne screeched as she was sucked through and deposited unceremoniously into a jar at the end.

“Ha! It worked!” Full of self-satisfaction Patrick tucked the jar under his arm and trotted off to the barn.

 

Grainne’s muffled voice pleaded with him, “Patrick, don’t do this wicked thing! I can make you rich!”

Hmm, he thought. Maybe she could.

“How?”

“I could sing in the show when it comes to town!”

“Ha!” he laughed, “I’d sooner listen to the geese!”

“That’s it!” she exclaimed, “I’ll teach the geese!”

Patrick bent over laughing, “You really think– ?” he started, then paused “Aye then, I’ll give you a week. And if you can teach the geese to sing, I'll set you free." He carefully and securely fastened the jar to a post where the geese nested.

 

The next morning he returned. Grainne had a gaggle of geese around her. They paid full attention, honking in unison as she called out different notes. Hmmph! He thought, a honk isn’t a harmony. He opened the bull’s stall and led it out by the ring in its nose.

 

After a week, Patrick strode back into the barn.

“Well?”

Grainne said nothing. She tapped her finger on the inside of the jar and six handsome geese gathered in front of her. They began to sing:

 

Silent night, Holy Night,

All is calm, all is bright,

Round yon virgin.......

 

Patrick fell over. “I’m rich!” He untied the jar and walked the half mile to the cliff, repeating, "I'm rich, I'm rich!"

Grainne bounced around inside the jar. "Let me out! We had a deal! LET ME OUT!"

"I said I'd set you free. And what could be freer than forever sailing the ocean in the safety of a cosy little boat! Ha ha ha ha...." and he threw the jar, watching it fall into the deep, dark blue.

 

A week later, he assembled the townsfolk to see his amazing singing geese. Everyone was there; the town Chair, superintendent, doctor, priest and common folk. Patrick gave a humble speech about how God had sent an angel to comfort him after his wife had deserted him and, as a miraculous sign, his geese could now sing holy songs. He lifted his finger and the geese began:

 

Ohhhh! Patrick threw his wife down the well,

If you go there you can clearly tell,

Just follow the god-damn awful smellllll…

Oh, Patrick threw his wife down the well!

 

A year later, an old fisherman picked up a barnacle riddled jar and unscrewed the lid.

The Woman in the Wagon

Mother was busy. She dropped Davey at daycare, where he drew pictures and listened as the workers read stories. After lunch he took a nap. It was here he met the woman in the wagon. She wasn’t busy. She played with him for hours, running and hiding and riding horses, telling him stories and playing all manner of instruments; guitars, drums, cimbalom and violin. They played until late afternoon. At five, mother collected him.

 

That night he heard the wagon. He sat up and watched as it entered his room, drawing up beside his bed. The woman stepped down and hugged him.

 “What would you like to do?” she asked softly.

 

Davey pointed towards the violin case hanging on the wagon.

“Do you like the violin?”

He nodded and smiled, eyes transfixed on the ghostly figure as she opened the case. Her skin was dark and her kind, brown eyes soothed him. At the end of her nose a gold ring glinted in the moonlight. She put the violin under her chin and lifted the bow, but Davey reached out to her. She lowered the bow.

“Do you want to play?”

He smiled and nodded again.

 

The woman handed him the violin, but he had trouble holding it. It slid in his hands like silken cloth, soft and ethereal.

“Would you like me to help?” the woman asked.

“Yes, please,” he whispered quietly, looking up at her.

She took Davey’s hands and stroked them gently. They became light and airy, like the violin. Davey held them up in wonder. He could see through them, like stained glass. He touched the woman, felt her cheek, her arm, her hand.

 

Davey picked up the violin. His hand melded into it. Drawing the bow across a string, he released a long, haunting note. The woman smiled.

“I am Lavinia.”

Davey touched her with the bow, “Lav-ia”.

“Would you like to play some more?”

He nodded. She sat him on her lap and wrapped his arms in hers as she taught him the secret songs of the Gypsies. Like his hands, his arms blended into the silky, moonlit air. He fell asleep, wrapped in the smell of smoke and perfume.

 

In the morning, mother didn’t notice when he showed her his hands. She was busy on the phone. She dropped him at daycare.

 

That night, Lavinia came again. Davey was waiting for her. She held him closely, pressing his head into her bosom. He could feel her heart beating, engulfing him in a warm, thick ether. He burst with visions of stars and planets, of times gone by and times yet to come. His eyes became galaxies and his spirit glowed as it lifted into the air. He looked down to see his body lying on the bed.

“You may come, or you may stay,” she said.

Davey drifted toward Lavinia as she mounted the wagon and settled onto the seat next to her. He picked up the violin and began to play.

The Farm Pic 1.jpg

THE FARM

by J. Nunn with help from Hannah and Jesse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time there was a farm that had all sorts of animals. There were geese and giraffes, cows and rhinoceroses. The fences of the farm were very high. At least they were high on one side, but not very high on the other side.

One day the geese tried to escape from the farm. They flew up onto the fence and were just about to fly over when farmer Jesse caught them and put them back into the paddock. Then he realised that the fences on that side of the farm were too low. So he started to make the fences higher. Once he had finished his work, he stood back and looked at the fences and said, “Now they are high enough. The animals can’t get out anymore!”

But then the rhinoceros looked at the fences. He thought to himself, “These fences are too high. I don’t want to be fenced in." So he started to bang the fences with his rhinoceros horn. Part of the fence broke down and the rhinoceros went straight over to the apple tree and began eating the farmer’s apples!

The farmer came back from feeding the pigs and saw what the rhinoceros had done.

“You naughty rhinoceros!” called the farmer, “You must go back to the paddock!”

But the rhinoceros didn’t want to go back. He liked apples and now he had his eyes on the strawberry patch. The rhinoceros galloped over to the strawberry patch and began munching all the strawberries. The farmer jumped on his motorbike and zoomed over to the rhinoceros.

The rhinoceros was scared of the motorbike and he ran away, but not before he had eaten all the apples and strawberries. But the rhinoceros didn’t look where he was going and he ran straight back into the paddock. All the other animals looked up to see what was happening.

“What’s going on?” asked the giraffe. “What’s all the commotion?” asked the cow.

 

The rhinoceros was huffing and puffing with a fruit salad face that was dripping with apple juice and strawberry skins.

 

“Ummmmm,” said the rhinoceros, “I think I upset the farmer. I ate all his apples and strawberries.”

The cow gasped and the giraffe jumped in amazement while the geese just chuckled and honked. The geese knew what it was like to steal strawberries because they had done it before.

The giraffe thought this was all rather exciting and jumped over the fence. She wanted to eat strawberries too, but there were none left. So she ran straight towards the vegie patch. She munched up the lettuces and carrots. Then she made for the broccoli and brussels sprouts but she didn’t like these as much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just then the farmer came back to see what was happening. To his amazement and surprise, the giraffe was out and had razed his vegie patch. The farmer honked his horn and this scared the giraffe who ran away, straight back over the fence and into the paddock.

The rhinoceros, cow and geese all looked at her in amazement. “What’s happening,” they all said at once.

“I just had a salad and a side dish of vegies!” said the giraffe. The other animals looked at her in wonder. But then the farmer came over. He was very angry. He wanted to know why the animals kept getting out.

 

“Why are you breaking the fence and jumping over it all the time?” he asked in a grumpy voice.

“We are just getting bored with eating grass all the time,” said the rhinoceros. “Can we please have some nice things to eat sometimes?” asked the giraffe. “Then we won’t break out of the paddock anymore,” said the geese.

The farmer looked at them, jumped back onto his motorbike and rode to the shed. A short while later he came back with a bucket of strawberries and apples and a crate of carrots and lettuce. “If you behave well all week, and don’t break out, then every Saturday I will bring you some yummy food. Is that a deal?” asked the farmer.

“DEAL!” yelled all the animals.

While the farmer had to spend a little more time growing fruit and vegies, he no longer had to fix broken fences or torn up vegie patches.

And they all lived happily ever after…

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