Ti Jean hurried back home with his three baskets of silver and his empty barrel. He set the barrel on his porch and went into the house to weigh his silver. To his surprise, Ti Jean found one of the baskets on his scale was missing. He shrugged and stepped over to Jean Gran’s house where he borrowed one of his baskets. Back home, Ti Jean weighed all that silver straight away and, pleased with his profit, returned the basket to Jean Gran.
Almost immediately, Jean Gran noticed two pieces of silver that had gotten stuck in his basket. Curious, he ran over to Ti Jean’s.
“Where you get this money?” Jean Gran asked.
“That’s just a couple of coins from the three baskets of silver I was paid,” Ti Jean replied. “Got it all for the hide of my horse. The one you killed.”
Jean Gran’s jaw dropped. “Three baskets of silver for the hide of that sorry nag? Why I could get twice that for my stallion’s hide, sure.” And without another word, Jean Gran went home, shot his stallion, skinned it and took the hide into town. He stood around the local smithy all the next day trying like nobody’s business to sell that hide, but no one would even make an offer. By supper time, Jean Gran was livid. He marched back to Ti Jean’s house and beat on the door until the little man appeared.
“Stop that racket,” Ti Jean said. “You wake up my Grandmother you wish you hadn’t.”
“You lied to me, Ti Jean.” Jean Gran threw the bloody hide at his neighbor’s feet. “No one would pay me a dime for this fine hide.”
“Well of course not. You have to cure the hide first. Man, you dumber than a hammer.”
“I’ll show you dumb.” Jean Gran pushed past Ti Jean. “I’ll kill your Grandmother and then we’ll be even.”
Before Ti Jean could protest further, Jean Gran did kill poor old Granny in her sleep. The big man picked up the woman and took her down to the dry goods store where he set her up in a chair by the stove. Then he went home, whistling.
Ti Jean came along to the store, as calm as you please, and asked the storekeeper for a glass of water. Then he glanced over and saw his Grandmother. “Why there’s my Granny asleep by your stove. How long she been here?”
“Don’t know,” said the storekeeper. “I was in back when she came in.”
“Huh,” Ti Jean said. “I wonder she might like a glass of water too.”
“Why not wake her up and ask her,” the storekeeper said.
“Oh no. Waking her up could frighten her right to death.”
“No such thing.” The storekeeper walked over to Ti Jean’s Grandmother and touched her shoulder. Sure enough, she keeled over like a dead woman, which is what she was. “Oh no!”
Ti Jean hurried over and, after looking at his Grandmother, he turned to the storekeeper. “I told you! You killed my Granny!”
“Don’t tell. Oh please don’t tell; I didn’t mean to. Look here, I’ll give you a basket of silver if you just don’t tell.”
Ti Jean looked from his Granny to the storekeeper and then he said: “Make it two baskets of silver and I won’t say nothing.”
So Ti Jean walked home with two baskets of silver. He wasn’t surprised to find Jean Gran on his porch looking smug. When the big man asked him if he found his Grandmother, Ti Jean said: “Oh sure, and I got two baskets of silver for her.” He went on into his house without another glance at his neighbor.
Now Jean Gran was really mad, and he spent all night thinking how much more his own Grandmother would be worth if he killed her and took her down to the dry goods store. The next morning he did just that, but the people at the dry goods store were so horrified by Jean Gran’s calls of “Who wants a dead woman?” that they sent for the law. Jean Gran had to run, and of course he ran straight to Ti Jean.
Despite the loss of his dear old Granny, Ti Jean is a very rich man now. But with the law involved, what will become of the two Jeans? We’ll find out next week when the story comes to its conclusion. Bon Samedi ~
Header: The Village Smithy by Jan Victores c 1650