Last year Michael and I outlined a short story that takes place in the north woods of Wisconsin. Although the story is in its early stages, I will share the story with you, dear Reader.

Lake of Many Tears
by Berta Jane and M. Witless

Setting: An isolated hunting shack surrounded by a thick pine forest on Lake of Many Tears, which some natives call "Land of Lost Souls." There is a beach only 300 yards away from the hut.

George DeBouef and Britany Adams (nickname: Brite) are a retired couple. He's a world renown retired chef and she was a concierge at the finest hotels across the US and Europe. They met while quite young, fell in love instantly and married. They have been working together ever since. They grew tired of all the glitz and heavy traffic of people coming in and going out in their former life. Now retired to ye old hut, George loves his cooking.  Brite loves her organic vegetable gardens of squashes and herbs and her flower gardens.

George does all the cooking in a fireplace with cast iron pots hanging from trivets and a rotisserie. There are damask napkins upon the rough plank trestle table surface. The centerpiece is a pair of taxidermy rabbits sitting facing each other and surrounded by a bower of pine boughs. George cooks wild goose and wild duck, etc.

Brite loves working in her gardens and gazing out at the lake. The wavy old glass of the window causes distortions as she looks out.

George and Brite, while reminiscing of old times, often visualize the tycoons and society matrons from their past parading along the beach through the wavy glass windows of their shack. Imagine their surprise when they hear a sad moaning through the tall, dark pines and actually see someone else walking along the old man carrying a 3-legged stool with reindeer hide. The arms are made of antlers. He wears a coonskin cap. As he trudges along the shore, he's bent over deeply. The tail of his coonskin cap bobs erratically with each tremulous step. He sets his stool down several hundred yards in front of the shack on the shore and stares out at "Lake of Many Tears." His rheumy eyes turn out to the midlake as if seaching for something dear and lost.

"Piney," murmurs George. "That's what we'll call him," he suggests as he stirs the onion, wild garlic and butter mix, adding in the wild cabbage. The scent of his latest creation flows softly on the candlelit room and enters Brite's sensitive nose making her eyelids lower as in a trance.

Just as suddenly as he appears, Piney's entire being slowly begins a shimmering dance turning into an evanescent mist. With a light plaintive sob, this tiny misty cloud goes far over the lake and disappears. Left behind as proof of his reality remains the reindeer hide stool.

Brite drops her fork. As she hears it clang to the floor, she and George slowly turn toward each other.

"He certainly doesn't fit into our apparitions of high tea ladies and...and..." she sputters.

Piney returns many times with the same sad eyes seeking something over the lake. Every time before Piney appears, George and Brite hear a soulful moan through the branches of the tall pine trees.

One day one of their old native friends comes by. George cautiously asks if there is any talk about an old man who stared out at the lake.

"Oh, yes," replies the native. "Some trapper who lived in this very hut. He lost his wife out there. One winter day while Samuel was scraping hides in the old shed, his lovely wife, Pretty Flower, was ice fishing. She accidently lost her balance and fell through the ice. Samuel was too far away to realize what was happening until it was too late. After he lost Pretty Flower, he used to sit out there on a 3-legged stool made of reindeer hide with arms of antlers. He'd gaze at the lake for hours on end. He died of a broken heart."

George and Brite nod quietly, but say nothing.

That very evening, near dusk, Piney returns. He gazes out across the lake. Suddenly his face lights up with love as he sees an apparition of his wife over the very place where she drowned. Piney's body shimmers as it turns into a cloud and he floats out to her.

George and Brite look out with awe on their faces. Their eyes search for the reindeer hide stool left behind...but this is no longer there.

The End

Below is a partial list of George De Bouef's favorite "Wild Game Samplers:"

Moccasin Bisque and Lizard Tails as an appetiser.

Bootstrap Golash

Water moccasin pate served with cricket crisps

For dessert : Eye of Newt Tapioca

For a  light lunch, there's always French Cabbage soup with earthworm sausage with firefly croutons

Other entrees are:
Rattlesnake Medallions

Bullfrogs en croute

Wild duck with blueberries

Honey Bee Risotto

Quail frittata

Rattesnake Tongue Ratatouile

Tadpoles in Wine Sauce

Roast Porcupine

Breaded Beaver Tails stuffed with Apples

Wild Suspender Lasagna  (George's secret: "Remove all metal before serving."

                                                                               Bon Appetit, dear Reader, Bon Appetit!


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