Particular About Predators

This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for December 26. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create. The photo prompt this week comes from Bjorn Rudberg, a fine fellow that all of you should take the time to meet.  My piece this week weighs in at 105 words, just slightly over the limit, but I think you’ll all forgive me in the spirit of Christmas charity.

Copyright Bjorn Rudberg

Copyright Bjorn Rudberg

Particular About Predators

Dottie hated descending the stairs into the cellar on Grandma’s farm. Snakes lived down there. When she complained, Grandma said, “Those are just little ol’ black snakes. They’re afraid of you. Leave them alone. They eat rats.” Dottie didn’t like rats, and she knew better than to sass Grandma. Instead, she avoided the cellar.

One morning, Dottie and Grandma were collecting eggs when they saw a black snake slither into a nest box. Instantly, Grandma grabbed the snake and gave its neck a twist. Its head popped off, and Grandma tossed the carcass out of the chicken coop. “Can’t have that thief stealing my eggs.”

Author’s note: The story this week takes us back to my great grandmother’s farm. We were there last week with a fictionalized story set in the Dust Bowl. This story brings us into the late 1950s and early 1960s when several double cousins (including my mom and her cousin Sharon) spent some of the best days of their lives on the farm. This story is a collage of sorts based on two different memories. My mom specifically remembers Grandma being protective of black snakes because they hunted the rats that caused problems on the farm. Sharon remembers Grandma snapping the head off a black snake for sucking eggs in the chicken coop. I believe it is fair to assess that Grandma appreciated all life–as long as that life stayed where it belonged.

33 thoughts on “Particular About Predators

  1. Oh yes.. I think grandma wanted the snakes in the right place.. and I think it’s understandable.. yet it could look funny in a way. Thank you for the great stories on my picture.

  2. Dear Marie Gail,

    You’ve painted a vivid picture of Grandma in few words. But I will have to send you to the cellar for those five extra. 😉

    Well done. I enjoyed this and the author’s note afterward. Sometimes fact is better than fiction.



    • storydivamg says:

      NOoooo!!! Not the cellar! 🙂

      Thanks so much for the kind words. Actually, I wrote the story this way to “settle” a friendly disagreement between the cousins about whether Grandma Dalke liked or hated black snakes. My guess is that this story pretty well sums up her true feelings about them. but we may have to wait for Heaven to find out for sure.

      Marie Gail

  3. rgayer55 says:

    I dislike snakes–all 5 kinds. Big snakes, little snakes, live snakes, dead snakes, and rubber snakes. I hate to hear that Rochelle is sending you to cellar for being 5 words over the limit. I went over by 6 words–at least you’ll have some company. We can be scared together. 🙂

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Marie Gail.

    • storydivamg says:

      The cellar will be a much pleasanter place with your company, Russell. At least we won’t be accompanied by any rats (my most hated pest).

      Happy Christmas to you, the wife and all the hens on the biddy committee (and the rooster too, if he’s along for the ride).

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  4. Geez, my neck hurts. 😀

  5. A wise woman indeed. Curse them rats!

  6. aseemrastogi2 says:

    Now that’s a fiesty grandma 😀

    • storydivamg says:

      Yes, she was a feisty woman, among other things. So glad I was able to get to know her before she died–although she wasn’t snapping heads off snakes or anything else by the time I came along.


  7. Margaret says:

    Grandma’s an appealing character. I like her approach – and I like your explanation about solving a family disagreement with this story. Your title says it all. Most entertaining.

  8. This reminds me of my Grandmother. She had a lot of spunk – I think they had to back then. Lovely little tale of by-gone days.

  9. Grammar was a tough nut.

  10. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Marie,

    Grandmother is quite the character. Eat rats, cool. Steal her eggs, done. You have painted a detailed picture of life in hardscrabble times. Well done.



    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks so much, Doug. It seems that life on a farm is nearly always hard scrabble. At the same time, it seems that most of the best memories for my mom’s family came from that farm. It’s been a joy to take you along on a journey through time to this special place.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  11. Ellespeth says:

    Oh! A woman with a plan and don’t cross her! I had a grandmother like that. And that was that in her day. A tiny bit of her rubbed off onto me.
    Happy Holidays MG!

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Ellespeth. I’m glad this little vignette brought back memories for you. The spirit of our grandmothers is alive in us, and I believe we are better for it.

      Happy New Year!

      Marie Gail

  12. Marie Gail, Good remembrance story. People who live on farms are practical about animals. They have to be. When it comes to protecting their livlihood they have to do what’s necessary. I can understand that. My mother grew up mostly on farms. My dad’s one set of grandparents has a farm. Well written. 🙂 — Suzanne

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks for the astute comments, Suzanne. I always count on you for that. Your reflection reminds me of how my great grandmother would never name an animal that was going to end up on the dinner table. This continues to be a topic of debate between me and my wife, who thinks all animals deserve names. She insists that names like “T-bone” and “Bacon” are harmless enough but fails to recognize that a name other than “pig” or “cow” turns into an identity, which makes it harder to make that animal your dinner. And if we don’t do that, we could all starve before winter is through, couldn’t we?

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  13. Kirsten says:

    This was great. I liked seeing how your Grandmother reacted to the snake according to its purpose. Rat killer or egg stealer! My Grandmother grew up on a farm as well and I’m sure she’d have had the same response.

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