Wednesday, July 23, 2014

magpie tales 229

It has been a few weeks since I participated in a Magpie Tales writing challenge. If you haven't discovered Magpie Tales yet, it's definitely a site worth checking out. Every Sunday, a new photo is posted. All you have to do is write a poem or vignette based on the photograph, post your link to the list and read some brilliant work! For a novel writer like myself, it's a challenge in communicating succinctly. With limited space, it's always a workout to say what needs to be said in the fewest words possible.

On with the tale!


Nell knew the coins in her pocket were few. She'd found them in the gutter on the way home from school. Four dingy quarters, like treasure, sitting amongst leaves, gum wrappers, and pigeon droppings. They shone when she rubbed them against her skirt, smiled up at her from her fingers.

"How many today, love?"

Nell let the coins clatter on the counter.

The old lady smiled her toothless smile and shifted something, produced a brown paper bag.

"Fill it up," she said.

Nell blinked six times.

"Fill it up," and when Nell wasn't looking she put one of the quarters in the bottom of the bag.

That night Nell's mother smiled for the first time in weeks. Her sisters clambered for "just one more". And her father, her dear, over worked father, let the citrus juice drip over his chin.

That night they laughed. That night they were all children with full bellies and sweet dreams.


  1. Oh, I like it. What a sweet story. i can picture her touching the coins, her dress, the kind shop owner, and the dripping chins.

  2. Oh, I like it. What a sweet story. i can picture her touching the coins, her dress, the kind shop owner, and the dripping chins.

  3. I want to hug that old lady. Toothless old souls have the best hearts, don't they?

    Love what you did in the first sentence, how your words cleaned the coins before Nell got them to the shop.


  4. Perfect Jen!
    That first paragraph is AWESOME!

  5. Lovely tale and a smile to my morning. Thanks! and I'll check out the link/site. Momentary inspiration is always a good thing.

  6. This gives the feel of stepping back in time to the rationing during WWII. My mother-in-law often spoke of how tight things were. Everyone having a "victory garden," trading and sharing. Fresh oranges and fruit a rare treat indeed.

  7. Mary: Thank you! At first, I thought the story wanted to be sad but I fought it. I needed something uplifting!

    Eddie: Thank you! And thanks again for the reminder of Magpie Tales :)

    Magaly: Thanks so much for visiting! I'm glad you liked it :)

    Michelle: Thanks a bunch!

    Dean: Thanks. Yes, do check it out! I never think about what I write for the site. I just see the picture and go for it. Spontaneity has given me some rather interesting pieces!

    Ginny: Thanks so much for stopping by! At first I thought the piece was old fashioned but then I wasn't so sure. I now think it kind of shifts, is whatever time the reader wants it to be :)


Thank you for taking the time out of your busy, fantastic life to pay a visit! I appreciate every, single comment and I'll continue the conversation here :) It makes this big blog-verse of ours feel a little more like home.

Cheers! ~J