• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 04
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The Negotiator

“This pitch-fork will bring you prosperity and food,” declared Boris, handing his son, Frank, the tool he would use for the rest of his life.

Philippa watched her new husband take the fork and press the points with his thumbs.

“You’re the man of your house now,” continued Boris. “With this you will always be able to find what you need in the land.”

“Yes Papa,” nodded Frank.

Philippa couldn’t help but notice the tears welling in Frank’s mother’s eyes. Were they tears of joy that her son was married? Or tears of sadness that he was leaving? She held out her hand to the woman as Boris pulled Frank aside to embrace him.

“I will look after him Nancy,” she said, smiling and hoping to reassure her. Philippa’s mother had gone to great lengths to explain to her the new duties that as a wife she would have to learn – being a peace keeper and a diplomat.

“If you want to look after my son, take him away,” whispered a teary-eyed Nancy.

“Pardon?” whispered Philippa.

“Throw the pitch-fork away. Make him a suit and follow him to the city. He’s meant for more than turnips,” she hurriedly explained as her lips neared Philippa’s left ear.


The Negotiator

“What about the land?” whispered Philippa.

“That’s for us parents to worry about,” replied Nancy, pulling away and looking down at the ground as she stood next to Boris.

Philippa was taken by surprise. Why the city? What if Frank didn’t want to go? What if he and Boris fought over it? Was Nancy trying to sabotage her?

Frank put his arm around her as he bid his parents a nod and steered her towards their own out-building on the farm. Boris had sectioned them off some land where they could start a family and earn an honest and humble living.

It wasn’t long before they stepped over the threshold of their newly-built farm-kitchen. Straight away, Philippa noticed a parcel on the table wrapped in brown paper. She tugged at the string excitedly to find that inside the layers of paper were two fabrics. One, dark grey - ideal for a suit. Another, navy blue cotton – perfect for a socialising dress. Between the sheets was a note that read,

‘For your trip.’

“Frank,” said Philippa.

“Yes, my love?”

“Should we stay here or look for a life in the city? Where the real money is,” she suggested.

The corners of his mouth suddenly lifted into a smile.

“Will you make me a suit?” he asked.

“How did you know?” giggled Philippa.

“Mother normally knows best,” he replied.

That was when Philippa understood that Nancy was going to be the negotiator with Boris for the first hurdle.