Gratitude Knows Not


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This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.

For many generations, Gypsies have been welcome on Chesteen land.
It isn’t easy being a Gypsie in this modern era, in fact it has never been easy.
Their nomadic lifestyle and all the legends that have built up around them has made it hard for them to live their lives peacefully.
Chesteen land is a sanctuary. A place of welcome and safety. The family will not tolerate any harassment by the locals or the police, and the Chesteen family has the clout to back it up.
Chesteen Pies have been the districts biggest employer for more than a century.
Their pies are extremely popular right across the country and although the contents of their pies are just the usual good quality beef and gravy, the difference comes from the crust.
Their competitors think that it is just a marketing ploy but there really is a secret ingredient.
It was decided long ago, by the company founder Brenton Chesteen, that the secret should not be written down for fear that it might fall into the wrong hands.
Only two members of the family hold the secret in any one generation.
It is handed down, quite often on a death-bed, to the eldest in the family.
The secret is currently held by two eldest daughters.
This may seem a bit dramatic and a little unnecessary but the family thinks otherwise, and with good reason.
Large multinational companies have been trying to gobble up this family company almost from the time it came into existence.
The founder of the company was kidnapped not long after sales of Chesteen pies began to boom. They tortured him over several days but he would not give up the secret. He barely escaped with his life and only after a band of wandering Gypsies came to his rescue.
His family honour his memory and his rescuers by giving all Gypsies free access to their land.
The main gate leading to the estate has a sign that reads, ‘Gratitude knows not the passage of time.’



This story is a reworking of a story from June 2013. You can read that story here, and I would be interested to know which version you prefer, if any.

28 thoughts on “Gratitude Knows Not

    • In this case the photos came second, but often a story comes from a photo [or illustration]…… thank you for noticing, I put a lot of effort and thought into making the images part of the experience. It’s fun.


  1. Just to rock the boat…I prefer the style of the first story – its much more succinct and punchy, much more natural. E.g:.

    ‘What made Chesteen pies special was the crust.’ as opposed to ‘Their pies are extremely popular right across the country and although the contents of their pies are just the usual good quality beef and gravy, the difference comes from the crust.’
    ‘Brenton eventually died of his wounds but he did not give up the secret.’ as opposed to ‘The founder of the company was kidnapped not long after sales of Chesteen pies began to boom. They tortured him over several days but he would not give up the secret. He barely escaped with his life and only after a band of wandering Gypsies came to his rescue.’

    They way you impart action and feeling with such punchy sentences is one of the reasons I always love your stories. This new one seemed to be a different style to your usual approach. Not bad by any stretch, just different.

    But I love the topping and tailing of this version with the Gypsies. Makes it more complete and touching when the reason for their welcome is revealed.

    You did ask 😉


    • I did and I appreciate your detailed comments. Hit a bit of a flat spot recently and I have not liked anything I have written recently…. partly due to distraction working on something else. This ‘rewrite’ was an attempt to get back in stride. It is different. The first one came out in one go, the second was an attempt to reshape something that already exists. Personally I like them both but for very different reasons. My mojo is out there somewhere and I’m going to find it. Thanks for your part in the hunt.


      • My mojo is a ninja. When it strikes its a thing of beauty and precision (in my head anyway), but most of the time the sodding thing is hidden in the shadows. Sulking usually.

        You’re writing. It’s more than I’ve done when I’ve got distracted. Think of it as painting a great big target for your mojo.

        So don’t fret. It will find you when you’re not looking.

        Like a ninja.


        • In a funny kind of way this is a pleasant experience. Usually I’m waiting for bad shit to go away, so waiting for good shit to return is kinda nice.
          Thanks for the encouragement….. I needed it. promise not to ask again….. I’ll just come and read these comments again…. next time.


  2. My humble opinion after reading both is that each have quality. I think if you re-read them together you could take the best elements from each and meld them together. Mind you I have done that and ended up with a third and still haven’t been able to decide 🙂
    I like the whole concept. That mojo is a tricky little fellow but he never leaves for good.


    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. I agree with your observations. I think the exercise was a success in that the second one works for different reasons. It gave me a bit of a boost, which was what I was looking for.
      My real life muse, my ‘ideal reader’ is a bit out of it at the moment and it is affecting me quite a bit. I’m not the kind of person who constantly needs the approval of others but there are exceptions and my soul is tied to this person.
      I must say that I’m touched that so many of you have taken the time to compare the stories. You folks have busy lives, but you took the time. Thank you.

      P.S. My first instinct is to leave a piece of work alone once it is deemed to be ‘finished’. That is why this exercise was so interesting, it goes against what I usually do. It has come from editing a novella sized work. Rewriting is new to me. I’m swimming in uncharted waters, that you for your encouragement.


  3. I like the newer one in terms of the secret ingredient, the motto on the gate, the two eldest daughter. But some of the succinct prose in the old version is better, as a previous commenter pointed out. Great story in general, though. 🙂 I want to know how the gypsies saved him…


    • I have to say that I’m moved that so many readers have taken the time to comment. And some, like your good self, have broken down your reasons. This has been very helpful for me. It is always hard to know what people like or don’t like, and even harder to stick to writing what I like in the face of this information.
      In the past I have talked about happy endings. My ‘ideal reader’ likes them and on the odd occasion she has demanded them! I like to take each story as it comes. Sometimes things just don’t turn out well for my characters and I try to be true to them. They decide their fate and it would be dishonest of me to fiddle with that.
      Having said that, it does fascinate me that people like or don’t like certain stories. I often wonder what you folks see when you read them, but I guess that is non of my business.
      As a general rule [and rules were meant to be broken] I don’t like to ‘expand’ my short stories but the one time I did it worked out very well.
      You question regarding how the gypsies saved him is an intriguing one and I will have to give it some thought. I’ve got a feeling that there is an interesting story in there somewhere and I thank you for sparking the idea.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and analyse, it’s very much appreciated.


      • If I haven’t liked something it’s quite likely it was posted at a time I was snoozing or looking after the kiddies, and I can only get so far in my reader before the next task presents itself. I try to keep up, visit frequently, but life intervenes. Chances are, I missed it. I aspire to read everything by everybody… but there are not enough minutes in the day. Just keep writing for you, what makes you happy, and let the chips fall where they may. I do like your writing. The humor, the characters, the situations. Love it.


        • I hear that. I too try to keep up but sometimes there are just too many talented people on WP…… and life does get in the way. I appreciate your support as I do all my readers, but I know that sometimes you have other stuff to do. Frankly, I’m still at the ‘amazed’ stage. Amazed that people keep coming back! Hope you are having an excellent weekend.


    • Thank you and yes I do. I love the effect of words and images. Either one is great but when you combine them it can be magic. The trick seems to be not to give to much and let the words inspire images of their own.


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