“It was a splendid day. The birds sang, the wind gave a mild rustle to the trees, the sun beamed with a gentle radiance. However, in a strange happenstance, as Podge walked back to the Inn from picking flowers in a meadow for Cascabela’s wedding bouquet, he was struck down by a blast of lightning from a cloudless sky, incinerated right where he stood. The stench was horrific and the townspeople knew almost immediately something was wrong.

“Clearly, this was more than Cascabela could endure. In tears of rage, horror, and disappointment, she locked herself away in her room. Her father, not knowing what to do to console her, offered a small bowl of her battered pickle creation, to remind her of happier times.

“It seemed to do no good. For weeks, no one saw or heard from her. They brought food and endeavored to console her through the locked door. However, there was no reply from within. The food went untouched, the drink neglected, the flowers wilted.

“One day, her father besotted with concern, was left no choice but to forcibly enter the room to check on her state.

“To his shock and distress, he found Cascabela, dead, face down in the bowl of pickles he sent up weeks earlier. He couldn’t take the strain and a malady of the heart struck him down, in the very same room.

“The pickles were immediately stripped from the Inn menu. From that day forward, the town had a mortal fear of pickles, considering them the harbinger of ill tidings. Those letting rooms immediately moved out with no new tenants taking the vacancies.

“With the Inn abandoned, an attempt was made to sell it. But the dark cloud of misfortune resulted in no takers.

“Left with that failure, it was torn down, chopped into scrap and burned for a swine roasting.

“After that, no one spoke of Cascabela or her fated betrothments. The townsfolk erected a small marker and that was the end of that.

“However, to this day, Cascabela is said to be seen within the Inn. And on certain nights, she can be seen eating those deadly pickles in the light of the pale moon.”

“Gadzooks man!” I yelled. “A ghostly apparition! What do we do?”

“I don’t believe there is anything we can do, except share the space and make sure pickles are never served.”

“Blast!” I cried. “Easier said than done! What about gherkins man?” I asked. “Can we have gherkins? They are a delightful and tangy little snack! Not quite a pickle though,” I said hurriedly. “There is a difference!”

“I wouldn’t push my luck,” he said sourly.

“Damn and blast! What about the Grilled Corpion Tail? Can we sell that? As you know, I love me some tail!”

“Well, of course we can!” he replied exuberantly. “Who doesn’t love a bit of that?”


More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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