Far From The Island – 44

“You’re sure?” Donald asked.

Morag nodded.

Her husband beamed.

“A spring baby. A wee sister or brother for our Innes.” He enveloped Morag in a bear hug. “I thought I had good news to tell you, but I can’t top that.”

Morag promptly burst into tears.

“What’s wrong, lass?”

She blinked, frantically trying to stem the flood.

“I’ve been so worried, Donald. I’ve been feart to tell you that we’re going to have another mouth to feed when we can barely make ends meet as it is.”

“Come over here.” Donald pulled her towards the rough wooden settle by the fire and sat down, putting his arm around her. “A new bairn in the New Year.” He kissed her brow. “It’s wonderful news, Morag. I really am delighted. Now, ask your husband what he’s been doing these last few weeks.”

He had a twinkle in his eye that hadn’t been there for some time. Morag smiled affectionately.

“Seeing to the sheep. Cutting wood. Getting ready for winter.”

“Aye, but that’s not all.” Donald laughed. “You’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you. I’ve been talking to our new neighbours. Jacob has been a farmer all his life, over in Saskatchewan.”

“That’s prime farming country, isn’t it?” Morag asked, frowning. “Why would he want to move here to scratch a living like us?”

Donald shook his head, smiling ruefully.

“That’s exactly what I asked him. He’s a fascinating character, my love, and a clever man. Would you believe he came here as an experiment? He’s a kind of an inventor. He’s got all sorts of theories about new-fangled farming methods. For example, he’s been working on developing seeds that are better suited to the climate here in Ontario. He wants to test his theories out so they moved here, lock, stock and barrel.”

Morag’s jaw dropped in astonishment.

“That’s madness.”

“Aye, my thoughts exactly, until he pointed out that we’d made just such a rash move ourselves.” Donald grasped his wife’s hands. “He wants us to partner him, form a sort of co-operative, get some of the other local farmers to join us.”

“I don’t understand, Donald. I’m sorry, but . . .”

“It’s about sharing expertise. He has the knowledge we lack when it comes to crops, but we know a fair bit about livestock, sheep in particular, that he knows nothing about. What’s more, Elizabeth, his wife, is about the same age as yourself, with two wee ones and another on the way. You’ll finally have some female company living within striking distance. What do you think?”

“I’ve no idea what to think,” Morag said, laughing.

Donald kissed her again, this time on the lips.

“It’s the corner we’ve been waiting to turn, I’m sure of it. Next year will be different, for our wee laddie sleeping in his bed, and for this wee one, too,” he said tenderly, laying a hand over the gentle swell of her stomach. “We’re going to conquer this new world of ours, you mark my words.”

“I love you, Donald,” Morag whispered softly, as optimism rose afresh inside her. “Things are going to work out just fine, I know they are.”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.