The Targe – Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by the wonderful Rochelle, the undisputed master of what I call Sound Bite Fiction.
She sets the weekly challenge, the standard, and the prompt photo.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture below, which this week is supplied by Dale Rogerson.

© Dale Rogerson

Click here to hear the author read his words:

The Targe

I slump into my chair.
Another long day in the fields, with little to show for it.
The ground is frozen, stony, infertile.
I stare at my plate.
Porridge.
For dinner.
She’s all apologies but I don’t blame her.
Three bairns, one on her hip, and we all need to eat.
I’m not providing.
On the wall, not quite covering the worst damp patch, hangs my targe.
I see the signs of battle upon it.
I remember the glory days.
I remember the day I sold my claymore.
The day I became a crofter.
The day I stopped being a man.

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51 Responses to The Targe – Friday Fictioneers

  1. Re-adjustment to normal even mundane life is very difficult for men who have experienced war, from old days to modern. I felt your character’s angst and his struggle. So well written, CE.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. James McEwan says:

    A great piece. You have taken me deep into the heart of the man, who not only lost in the Jacobite era, but has failure thrust deep into his mind. There is more pain to come with the land clearances as the crofters in that era were driven out. Let’s hope he finds a good life in America for his family.

    Like

  3. plaridel says:

    he stopped being a man. does it mean his wife now wears the pants in the house? at least, she’s still willing to cook for him. 🙂

    Like

  4. Michael Humphris says:

    So sad to read, as it read true to life, yet selling ones shield often led to grim death.

    Like

  5. Dora says:

    You paint a picture of a Ulysses-like man whose only regret is that he ever came home from war. So vividly constructed, C. E. I see an underlying irony as well, that it takes more manhood to nurture a family than to kill enemies.

    Like

  6. I like that he didn’t put blame on his wife, which could have easily be done. One of your very best. A joy to read.

    Like

  7. granonine says:

    One of your best, CE. I had to look up “targe.” Always love learning a new word.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. draliman says:

    It doesn’t need a war to make a man, but I guess crofter is very different to the life he knew.

    Like

  9. James Pyles says:

    Breathtakingly sad.

    Like

  10. subroto says:

    There is regret and pain here, of leaving a life and starting a new one. Very well done indeed.

    Like

  11. ahtdoucette says:

    What a powerful story. I hope that things get better for him and his family soon. You touched a lot of feels with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Powerfully told and the story of many whose stories were not told.
    I have friends whose ancestors fled the Irish Famine, where most of the extended ancestry perished to blight and their oppressors’ greed. The realities of crofters and serfs and injustices all captured in your few words. Excellently searing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Im sure i’m not the first to admit I had to look up targe, seems the American dictionary (don’t ask) doesn’t have a clue what fit is. Beautifully written CE, good stuff

    Like

  14. msjadeli says:

    Such a heartbreaking situation that sings with the ghosts of so many. Excellent storytelling.

    Like

  15. I think this is a specatcular write, CE. BRAVO !!!
    I enjoyed listening to you read the story. It gives the words more of an aspect.
    I must admit I had to look up – targe, crofter, claymore. New words I can now
    say I know. I’m always looking for new things to learn.
    Be Safe 😷 … Isadora 😎

    Like

    • ceayr says:

      You are always so kind, Isadora, and I especially pleased you liked the reading.
      Learning from different cultures is always fun, isn’t it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it is fascinating to learn about other cultures. I’m always fascinated with the Scottish and Australian accents. I listen to your readings as well as read your story. I just saw a movie recently where the cast was from Scotland. Unique sound in the tones. If I could travel anywhere, it’s the place I’d want to go. Too late … too old. 😉 Have a wonderful weekend … Be Safe 😷
        Isadora 😎

        Like

  16. liz young says:

    Excellently portrayed, and how sad that he can’t take enough pride in being a crofter to think himself still a man.

    Like

  17. An epic tale. Wonderful.

    Like

  18. pennygadd51 says:

    Wow, that says a lot about poverty and Scottishness, love, gender roles, masculinity and violence. Wow. And it’s a bloody good story too!

    Like

    • ceayr says:

      From your list probably only gender roles have changed significantly in the intervening 270 years, although I believe that it is still the female who has the babies.
      Happy you got so much out of it, Penny.

      Like

  19. He has memories but little else it seems. A poignant piece skillfully conceived CE.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. jenne49 says:

    You took me right into that man’s pain. And your accent in the recording just situates it beautifully. To use your expression, it’s a nailer!

    Like

  21. Dear CE,

    Heartbreaking. In a few words you built a scenario and three dimensional characters. One of your best.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  22. Iain Kelly says:

    A hard life, both as a clansman and a crofter, both with little reward.

    Like

  23. neilmacdon says:

    I learned a new word from you, targe. Claymore and crofter, of course, I knew. The life of the clansmen was a great deal less romantic than the movies suggest, and you capture this beautifully

    Like

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