Chapter Five

What a sorry lot we humans are.

So how did the brother, sister, thing happen with May & George? When Henry’s wife briefly came up for air, that was the question I asked her. I think it was the only time I managed to get a word in that night.

It happened because of wagging tongues. The paradox of that statement coming from Henry’s wife wasn’t lost on me, but then again, I’m the one who asked the question – we hypocrites tend to flock together!

After the death of May’s dad, everyone expected May & George to tie the knot, have a brood of ankle biters and live happily ever after.

Twelve months down the track, George was still living in the house, and no wedding invitations had been received. Gossip sprung up like thistles in summer.

Self-righteous chatter is one of the deadliest poisons on the planet, and soon its infection was spreading through the local community. When George got wind of it, he was devastated, impugning the character of the woman he loved was too horrible for words. Heartbroken, he told May and her mum he was leaving the farm in the morning and wouldn’t be back.

No one knows what was said that night, except for May and George. May’s mum heard her daughter sobbing in the next room, and in the wee hours of the morning, May knocked on Georges door. The two of them went to the kitchen and talked until daybreak, that much we do know.

When May’s mum got up to get breakfast ready, they were still seated at the table. May’s eyes were red with tears, and George had a haunted look on his face.

Instead of leaving the farm, George moved to the shepherd’s hut and never returned to the house.

May lived with her Mum until she passed on and then lived by herself in the family home. George and May were never seen alone together, not even once. As one generation of gossipers passed on and another were raised up, the goal posts changed.

Unmarried people, living together, is no longer considered a worthy topic for wayward tongues. But a feud is. So the hapless couple became the victims of a different lie. Instead of fornicators they were now greedy siblings, scrapping over their father’s will.

What a sorry lot we humans are. So before you start chucking stones around (and I’ve thrown a few in my time), remember  May & George.



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