Story: Trouble at Travellers’ Rest
There was once an old inn called Travellers’ Rest, which was on an ancient highway, travelled by many. Folk passing were always glad when they came upon it for it offered much needed warmth, shelter and a bed for one or two nights.
The owner, Charles employed James and Lilly to help with the running of the place. James would do the heavy work and any repairs and Lilly, the cooking and cleaning.
All was not well at Travellers’ Rest. What was happening was this. James would be mending a chair, for instance and before he had done much, Lilly would stop her work and say: “Look at that chair. What a state! Everything in this place is falling apart..” James would start to frown and look around him in consternation.
When carrying travellers’ bags to their rooms, Lilly would say: “Charles is using you like a slave. You watch your back. All that carrying!” James would feel the heaviness of the bags and wonder whether his back was hurting him.
One day, Lilly saw Charles talking to someone and reported to James that she thought Charles was planning on selling the place and they would be thrown out and probably starve.
There came a time when Charles needed to visit a nearby village and was to be gone two days. He left James in charge. “He doesn’t pay you enough to be in charge.” said Lilly, when she heard. The stress of it is too great. Something could go wrong and then what?”
That evening, James was putting a log on the fire when Lilly walked up behind him so quietly that he didn’t see her. “Be careful of that fire!” James jumped and disturbed one of the burning logs that fell onto the floor. Lilly yelled: “There’s a fire! Help!” Quickly, James put the burning log back into the fire, made sure that there were no burning sparks and turned to Lilly, his face dark with anger.
“Shut up, Lilly Parks” he said “and get on with your work, otherwise you are sacked. You are nothing but a merchant of doom!” Lilly was stunned. She picked up her duster, and without another word, she scurried downstairs to the kitchen.
James finished what he needed to do. He checked the bolts on the doors, put the guard in front of the fire and went to bed. That night he slept more soundly than ever before.
When Charles returned, he found all was well and peaceful at Travellers’ Rest – in fact it seemed better that when he had left it, so he gave James a rise.