Friday Fictioneers – A failure of trust

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story with a beginning, middle and end in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - A failure of trust 170809

Photoprompt (c) C E Ayr

A failure of trust

A stone wall stood between two families’ fields. A sapling sprouted in the wall, and grew to be a mighty oak. After hundreds of years the tree perished, men cut it down, and left the stump to petrify with weather and time.

The wall was dismantled, and the two fields it had separated became one. The families worked together, prospered, and grew to love each other.

But some family members still disliked and mistrusted the other family. Now they’re rebuilding the wall, piling old stones about the stump and talking about the days the oak stood alone, tall and proud.

58 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – A failure of trust

  1. Lovely story, Penny. Sad for the two families , though .
    Did you intend the Oak tree to be a source of wisdom , spreading its roots of good will , resulting in temporary friendliness between the two families?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the comment, Christine. I hate it when fear, and prejudice and plain old self-interest win out – but I’m inspired by the other side of human nature which can be incredibly courageous, generous and clear-sighted. I’m sorry for the rather downbeat tone of the post.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Penny,
    I didn’t pick up the political overtones until Moon mentioned the tags and that intented meaning came to the fore. I still really like it as more of a metaphorical piece.
    I have been on a virtual tour of London lately and while researching Westminster Abbey, came across the Green Man and I thought you might be interested in this. I’d never heard of him before, although I have seen him on garden plaques. Indeed, I think my garden needs one.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rowena,
      Thank you for the diligence with which you read the story, and the comments, and the tags. The political dimension helped me structure the story, and gave me some emotional energy, but the more general interpretation was also intended. After all, our Friday Fictioneers efforts are read everywhere from Australia to Alaska, so we can’t write too parochially!
      Thank you, too, for the Green Man link. I glanced through it, and then bookmarked it for later. These archetypes are fascinating, aren’t they?
      xx Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do try to read at least 20 flash fictions every week and read them thoroughly. I find this really helps me, as much as the author. Being so short, it’s achievable most weeks.
        The Green Man fascinates me and I’m trying to think of how I can use him. I’ve found a few resin plaques and I’m wanting to put one up in my garden. It desperately needs his help.
        xx Rowena

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for commenting, James.
      Taking a slightly larger excerpt from the Robert Frost poem puts a slightly different slant on the traditional proverb.
      “He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
      Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
      If I could put a notion in his head:
      ‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
      Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
      Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
      What I was walling in or walling out,
      And to whom I was like to give offense.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you spotted that, Fluid Phrase. The storyline continues beyond the words into questions, and there’s certainly a children’s story there somewhere!
      As for the next generation being wiser – I feel cautiously optimistic. When I grew up, it was a crime to be gay. Even nice people used the N word about people of colour. These things are hard to imagine today. I think things will keep improving.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a beautiful metaphor for the world we currently inhabit. There are so many people that want to go back to the good old days and have forgotten they we not really good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To be able to survive alone and stand tall like an oak tree or any other tree one has to be complete in oneself, make do with whatever one is handed. How many can actually do that? It is great to be want to be like a tree but can one adopt the philosophy of a tree, where the real journey is within? A thought provoking post Penny 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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