I dragged the child through the forest by his grubby ankle. He howled and grasped at passing tree roots, but I gave him a sharp-hooved kick. I’d not tolerate his misbehaving ways. No, not I.
“Let me go,” he begged.
I flattened my ears and bared my teeth, newly sharpened for the occasion. I hung him upside down, my tail wrapped around one bare foot like a python. Quick as spit, I used my claws to peel off his clothes, and I tossed the rags into the fire. He wouldn’t be wearing those again. They were as grimy as he, so rank that a skunk would pinch its nose and flee.
Tired of his pleading and threats, I stuffed the flailing child into my pot and slammed down the lid. The worst of the ordeal was over but for the boulder to keep the youngster inside. That I’d planned in advance, and I used my knees when hefting it onto the lid. Earlier that afternoon, I’d prepared the kettle with an aromatic blend of woodland herbs mixed with salts and plenty of water for a long stew. Nothing less would do in this particular case. The parents insisted the lad was “tough.”
“Let me out, please,” the child cried and blubbered, but I didn’t care. His parents had given up and offered him to me, wanting no details regarding what I’d do to him. I sorted out the fire, pushing the embers closer to the pot. Not boiling, but hot enough to have him done by dinnertime. I placed a delectable casserole near the heat and satisfied, squatted on a rock. There was nothing left to do but wait.
“It’s dark in here,” the lad griped. “And it’s getting hot.”
I ignored the complaints until they fell silent, frittering my afternoon away with grooming while anticipating my supper. I combed my long beard and polished my horns, taking utmost pride in my appearance. Unlike one germ-ridden, flea-bitten child. Every now and then, I tossed a stick on the fire.
When the sun slid behind the autumn leaves, I knocked the boulder from the lid and peeked inside. The aroma was delicious, and the child perfectly done, his skin rosy and wrinkled. I wrapped my tail around his skinny body, lifted him from my pot, and set him on a level stone.
He glowered at me. “You’re mean.”
“And you’re clean.” I shooed his little naked self away. “Off with you. Scamper home to your parents. My casserole is done and so is your bath.”
I hope you enjoyed the story.
For those who celebrate the holiday, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
See you in December!