French hens

They met as a knitting circle every weekday afternoon, nestling on stools in the shade under the apple tree in the village square. The women had spent the morning with their household chores, prepared the food for the evening meal, and now took a few hours to discuss the topics of the day with their peers.

For such a small village, nestled high in the sleepy Burgundy hills, it was a wonder there were any topics to discuss at all, but the women always had something to say. There were barely enough hours in the day.

At first the baker presented them with free hot rolls to compliment the free coffee provided by the local café. The men didn’t mind bestowing gratuities upon the good village women, and the clacking of the needles made a pleasant ring on a lazy afternoon.

But, as topics became thin on the ground, talk turned to closer issues at hand. Such as the rolls, the stodginess of the dough, the burnt aroma of the coffee, undoubtedly due to old beans not being freshly ground, even the ricketiness of the stools which the village carpenter was too bone idle to repair for them. All topics fit for afternoon discussion.

Soon, the men shied away from the village square in the afternoon and the coffee and rolls stopped appearing, thus providing another topic to be clucked over. Although the clucking and clacking had long lost it’s initial charm, the quieter the afternoon, the louder it seemed.

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