The hundreds-year-old tree between the two houses was the only one still alive who knew how it all began.  Past residents of those houses, Ruby and Dottie, had stood under its wavering, winter-bare branches years ago and argued about some trivial, forgettable, nonsense.  Each woman, seething with rage, had marched inside and told their respective husbands not to speak to anyone next door again.

Ruby and Dottie were gone now. It was Ruby’s four-year-old great-great-granddaughter, Pearl, who decided to defy her mother and venture to the other side of the tree. Leaning against its trunk was Sam, Dottie’s great-great-grandson, who was absentmindedly playing with a pocket-watch he’d found in his attic. There was a folded note inside.  Before the children could open it, the wind picked it up and carried it away.  It was in Dottie’s handwriting, addressed to Ruby, and bore only the words, I’m sorry.

The watch forgotten, Sam and Pearl laughed and chased each other around the base of the tree, as she sighed with relief and showered them with blooms.

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers


32 thoughts on “Feud

  1. Wonderful story, Jenn! Too bad that Ruby and Dottie didn’t end their argument before they both passed away but at least the great-great grandchildren were able to end it for them! Great story!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I always shake my head when I hear about families that dislike each other and have no idea why. Sometimes the kids are smarter than the adults.

      1. I agree. Who knows, maybe Sam and Pearl will get married and unite the families permanently? I’m getting way ahead of myself! 🙂

  2. This was really wonderful! We teach kids to apologize but as adults we let our egos get in the way and stubbornly refuse to do so when it really matters…. hopefully these kids will grow up to be good friends! ☺

  3. These grudges honestly are they worth all the effort it takes to be mean to each other? Better to be like the four-year-olds, who chase each other around and have fun — no awareness of grudges of generations before. Great write 🙂

  4. A lovely ending, and the words on the little note were a reminder that saying ‘I’m sorry’ can sometimes be so hard to do. It’s good to know that the feud is finally over.

  5. A nice happy ending. I’ve found that kids tend to be much wiser than adults, as is the irony of life. The older most of us get, the more caught up in the unimportant things we get as well, but children, while they still have their innocence, never lost sight of the important things. I think that’s such a great message that your story tells, Jenn. Really wonderfully written 🙂

  6. I really liked that the characters displaying wisdom and understanding are an ancient tree (great choice to frame the story) and two young kids – seemingly powerless characters who can overturn established stupidity.

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