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  • Writer's pictureJoyce Slater

Story of the Month: The Time Thief

James kicked at the rocks, picked them up and threw them to the side of the field as he plowed his rocky field and grumbled, “It just isn’t fair! I love Maggie and she loves me. How can I prove to her father that I can provide for her?”

One particular rock would not budge. James stopped and tugged with all his might. Slowly, slowly the rock gave way and James carried it to the side of the field. Looking into the hole, he was astounded to see the glint of gold. Kneeling in his field he pulled seven wee bags of gold from the hole. He wondered how these bags of gold had ended up in his field and who had hidden them there.

James took the bags of gold and used them to show Maggie’s father that he had the means to support her as his wife. The Wedding Banns were posted. Finally, the wedding day came.

Maggie looked as beautiful as the morning dew as the exchanged their vows. After the wedding celebration, James took Maggie back to his farm.

Wedding or no wedding, farm animals still need to be fed and watered. James gave Maggie a quick kiss, left her standing in the kitchen still wearing her wedding finery, and headed out to the barn. As he neared the barn, James heard crying. He wondered who would be out at this time of night and why they would be crying. He held up his lantern and followed the sounds of weeping and wailing.

At the edge of his field, James saw a small wee woman sitting on a rock, crying, twisting her handkerchief and wailing, “Gone, tis all gone! Where did it go?” James approached her and asked what was wrong. The wee little woman exclaimed that all her bags of gold were gone!

James admitted that he had found them in his field and took them. He did not know that they belonged to her.

She brightened and asked for her bags of gold back. James admitted that he had spent the gold fixing up the farm preparing to marry Maggie. The little old wrinkled woman looked deep in thought. She asked James how many bags of gold did you take? James answered her seven.

Then she smiled and said that it was all right, you can keep the gold. James could not believe his good fortune. He thanked her, finished caring for the animals and returned to the house. When he entered, he saw Maggie had changed clothes and was fixing dinner with a child on her hip and a toddler playing on the floor. He wondered who would ask them to babysit on their wedding night. Then he noticed his friend Tom sitting at the table.

James called out to Maggie. Maggie turned and almost dropped the baby. “James!” she exclaimed, “what happened to you and where have you been these last seven years? We searched for you and thought you dead. When you didn’t return I married Tom and these are our children.”

James explained what had happened with the bags of gold and the wee woman. James and all his dreams were shattered. She had indeed given James seven bags

of gold, but she had taken seven years of his time.

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