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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: No Good Crop
By Trish Green


Ian MacDaniel wedged the last stone in place and stood back to admire his handiwork. “Aye,” he said with a grin. “That dam’ll hold long and fast!” His grin faded to a scowl as he looked downstream at Daniel MacEan’s farm. “Let’s see ye raise any sort of crop without water this year, ye back-stabbin’ weasel,” he growled.

Gregory sighed as he wiped muddy hands on his dirty pants. “Why do you insist on keeping this feud going, Father? Don’t you think you’ve each done quite enough to punish the other for the deeds of your forefathers?” He inspected his fingernails. “After all, who cares now that great-great-great-granddad stole a few goats from Mr. MacEan and in retaliation, Mr. MacEan shot a cow?” Looking up at his father, Gregory spread his hands. “It’s over and done with a hundred years ago!”

“It’s not just the cows, lad! Think of the time MacEan salted my field or ‘accidentally’ started that fire in my barn!” MacDaniel’s face grew red as he jerked accusing fingers toward the MacEan farm.

“But, Father, he helped put the fire out and saved the livestock and even gave us grain the year the salt truck wrecked near that field,” Gregory pointed out gently.

MacDaniel glared at his son, eyes popping from his head and vein throbbing in his neck. Gregory held up his hands in defeat and backed away. “I’ve got some schoolwork to finish, Father.” He turned and walked toward the cottage slowly shaking his head, hands stuffed in his pockets and shoulders slumped.

“That boy’ll learn soon enough,” MacDaniel said. “Ye just can’t trust that MacEan.” Whistling, he sauntered toward his barn to tend the livestock.


MacDaniel sat in the pub that fall, nursing a pint and glowering at the other men who laughed and celebrated their rich harvests. He turned an evil eye on the man who dared to sit next to him and grunted when he saw it was Heath Donnaldson.

Heath clapped MacDaniel on the shoulder. “Are ye not celebrating the wondrous crops our good Lord gave us this year, Ian?” He took a large swig of ale and wiped the foam from his lip with his sleeve. “A grand year to celebrate!” He stared at MacDaniel when he got no response. “Didn’t ye have a grand crop this year, Ian?” He waved his tankard at the rest of the laughing patrons. “Everyone’s talking about the fine conditions, the bountiful harvest. It’s the best we’ve had in years!”

Glaring at a joyous MacEan, MacDaniel managed to grind out, “I don’t understand how Daniel MacEan got a crop this year at all. Creek dried up on his land.”

“Didn’t ye hear, Ian!” Heath banged his tankard on the table. “Daniel found an underground reservoir on his land and installed one of those fancy automated sprinkler systems for his fields! What a miracle!” Seeing this only made MacDaniel scowl further, Heath asked, “And how about your crops, Ian? Didn’t ye reap the Lord’s bounty this year?”

MacDaniel glared at his ale and finally mumbled, “My creek got dammed up somehow and my fields flooded. We got no good crop this year, Heath Donnaldson.”

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Member Comments
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Beth LaBuff 02/21/08
Ha -- served him right! Very good story... perfect for the topic. I really enjoyed the Scottish flavor of this (complete with names). Having lived a good part of my life in farm country I know how valuable the water is. Good work on this!
Joy Faire Stewart02/21/08
Very enjoyable read and well written. Good job on topic.
LauraLee Shaw02/21/08
OUch, great ending!
Jan Ackerson 02/24/08
Wonderful job of establishing the setting through the dialect and the other details.
Holly Westefeld02/26/08
Great job with the topic. I love the poetic justice.