Short story: Home truths


Flora remembered her mother, Ingrid, sitting on the edge of Hedda’s bed telling stories about Queen Cnut of Norway who succeeded in turning back the tide, and Wilhelmina Walker who spent six years – as long as Flora had been alive – putting concrete under the cathedral so it wouldn’t sink into a watery grave. Hedda, who was twice Flora’s age, rolled her eyes at the tales and then pretended to be asleep. Ingrid always finished by saying, ‘Women can do anything men can do’.

Years later, when Ingrid left them for a new life, Flora knew that what her mother had said was true.


The picture this week reminded me of William Walker, a deep-sea diver who did william walkerspend six years underwater, shoring up Winchester cathedral so that it didn’t collapse. You can read more about him here.



For those who don’t know how Friday Fictioneers works, this picture (this time supplied by Doug Macllroy) is our inspiration for our weekly online writing group hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Each story is only about 100 words long, so why not read a few others: click here to read some more or to join in.  And please comment below with any suggestions on mine, or just to show you’ve visited.

44 thoughts on “Short story: Home truths

  1. I was reading a blog post the other day about parents reading stories to their children whilst reversing the gender of the protagonist. Some people had some very strong opinions about it!


  2. Interesting idea. Not sure I totally follow what happens at the end. Also did a double take at Cnut…read a story on Speakeasy yesterday which had the n and u the other way round. Thought for a moment you’d done the same thing. Glad you didn’t!


    • Apparently Canute is not the proper spelling. I’m thinking about how to make the end clearer. Ingrid leaves her family and that is what men often do (or certainly more so than women), so Flora understands that ‘women can do everything men can do’. But at the moment I’m not sure it quite works.


  3. Dear Claire,

    It’s hard when either parent leaves, but it seems worse when it’s the woman. I’ve seen this firsthand. Turns out in that situation the father was much better at nurturing than the deadbeat mom.

    Nicely told.




  4. Dear Claire, This is such a good story. So much information about the restoration of Winchester Cathedral. Queen Wilhelmina visited the mountains between Arkansas and Oklahoma and there is a park named in her honor with a beautiful hotel on top of the mountain (since I was there last, it has burnt down). Your story is so touching with the mother leaving instead of the father. This is so very sad – yet such a touching story. Thanks for bringing back memories long forgotten! Wonderful story! Nan 🙂


    • I didn’t realize there was a Queen Wilhemina! In my story Ingrid just changes the names and the genders in the stories she tells her daughters. But I’m glad you enjoyed it and it brought back some good memories.


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