Footfalls thundered up the woodland path, and before long the Cuckhold came into view. He was gigantic, big even for a Big Person. Nearly as wide as he was tall, his feet were shod in heavy black boots that were twice as long as I am, and I’m quite long for a squirrel (they say I have some ferret blood in me, but that’s a story for another time).
Anyway, I completely forgot about my nuts and scampered over to a less leafy limb to get a better view. Below, the Cockhold’s cottage sat a few paces from the path, and I held my breath as the giant clomped his way to the front door.
Suddenly, though not unexpectedly (at least not for me), the door burst open and the Interloper stumbled out. The man was only half-dressed and had a wild, wolfish look about him. Long hair fell in brown and grey tangles to his shoulders. His shirt hung open, revealing the hairiest chest I’d ever seen on a Big Person, and his beard was so full and thick and covered so much of his face, I doubt I could have seen his eyes if they weren’t currently stretched wide in fear. The Interloper fumbled at the buttons of his pants and the Cuckhold, shocked at the man’s appearance (in both senses of the word), staggered back a step.
“Uh, beggin’ yer pardon, Jacob,” said the Interloper. “Seems ya caught me dead to rights.”
Before the Cuckhold could answer, and before the stunned expression had even left his face, the Cuckhold’s wife shot out of the cottage like a rabbit out of a fox hole. She also was nearly naked. Her white skin was sweaty and shone brightly beneath the blood red cloak she was trying desperately, if somewhat unsuccessfully, to pull over herself.
“Oh, Jacob! Dear Jacob! Wilhem has ravished me!”
If I weren’t a squirrel, I would have laughed out loud. As it was, I couldn’t suppress an amused chitter. The surprise drained from the Cuckhold’s face, only to reappear on the Interloper’s. The Cuckhold pulled a heavy axe from his belt loop and with one mighty blow buried it to the haft between the eyes of the Interloper. There was a sickening crunch, then a gurgle, and then a thump as the Interloper crumbled to the ground.
The Cuckhold turned to his wife. “With your mother visiting and all? Sakes, woman.” He shook his head and grunted. “You’re burying this one. I’m sick of it. And you’d better think of something to tell the sheriff.”
“The sheriff?” said the wife.
“Aye, the sheriff,” replied the Cuckhold. “He’s comin’ for dinner. Be here any minute. And when he sees all this blood,” he gestured at the still-twitching Interloper lying at his feet, “he’ll want some answers.”
With that, the Cuckhold stormed into the cottage, and I turned my attention back to my nuts, wondering what fairy tale the woman could possibly come up with in so short a time.