By Nanuk


The day had been perfect.

A warm summer morning had greeted them when they awoke, a soft breeze had filled the house with the frangrance of dry hay.
Morning and afternoon had passed away and left all of them pleasantly numb in mind and body, worn out by the day´s work, yet pleased with themselves for what they had managed to do.
They had met in the valley for a quick bath, then headed back home together, laughing, teasing.

Adam opened the front door, but before he took a step inside, he turned to his siblings.

“I´ll follow you in a minute”, he said, his eyes going in the direction of the outhouse.

Hoss and Joe grinned.

“Go, old hag”, Joe teased. “I´ll get you an armchair in a minute.”

Adam curled his lips up in a flashy smile and waved, in too good a mood to let himself be pestered.

Joe and Hoss just laughed out loud.

“You bet, ol´ Adam is gettin´old when he cain´t hold his waters no more.” Hoss shook his head.

Joe, hand on doorknob, turned his sparkling eyes to Hoss. “You think we should get him a diaper for his birthday?”

They burst out laughing again and entered the house – only to stop abruptly when they saw themselves faced with their diminutive cook. HopSing was standing in the great room, hands on hips, on his face a growl they had come to fear.

“You!!!” he said, his eyes ablaze. “Where you been? Wood not chopped, rooms not cleaned, clothes not washed! House a mess! Think HopSing slave? Think nothing else to do? Think you just sleep and eat here? Think you...”

Joe threw Hoss a desperate glance as the onslaught continued. Hoss just shrugged and cast his eyes downward in an attempt to get a bit of HopSing´s sympathy. Joe squared his shoulders and ducked his head, trying to bear whatever else might come his way.


Outside, Adam Cartwright sat in the rocking chair, book in hand and absorbed in poetry, enjoying the last rays of warm sunlight. He smiled as he heard the first china break.

~ * ~ * ~
The end