by T. Gene Davis
Ivy clung to thick stone walls surrounding the cottage entry. Shade from the castle’s high turreted tower gave some relief from the summer sun. An herb patch rested to the left of the entry providing a scent to the thick muggy air. Smoke curled from the cobblestone chimney defying the summer morning’s warmth.
Entertaining a fire in the cottage was unpleasant, but the baker lived in the castle. Letal and Mary lived outside the castle. Taking their cooking to the baker took a lot of time. On days when Letal entertained the king with his music, Mary took the bread out to the baker. However, with Letal home she chose to endure the heat of the fire. He was glad for it. They were still sappy newly weds, and felt near physical pain at separation.
“Letal,” Mary called from the fire’s hearth laying thick her best damsel in distress tone of voice.
“Yes, my wife?” Letal responded, enjoying the playful attitude of his wife.
“When are you going to stop adding, ‘my wife,’ to everything you say?”
“I like the sound of it. So, never, … my wife.” He smiled at her as he spoke, showing imperfect yellow teeth. However, he had all of his teeth and was proud of it. He showed his teeth whenever he smiled.
“Do you have a tune in that fiddle of yours for getting rid of flies from the kitchen?” She teased Letal, knowing he hated anyone calling his viola a fiddle.
“My viola? Yes, my wife.”
“Well play it, my husband.”
He pulled the bow across the finely tuned cords, playing a simple tune composed of three repeating notes. The tune did not sound like much. However, the flies fled for the window.