The Sharp-Tongued Wife and Her Hen-Pecked Husband by MD Presley
Long ago when glass was still new, there dwelt a little town on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. And on the edge of town, furthest up the cliff, lived a sharp-tongued wife and her hen-pecked husband. And though they lived together for a dozen years, no love flowed between them. Once a month the hen-pecked husband would say to her, “take care with your words, wife, or one day I will be rid of you.”
Yet the sharp-tongued woman just laughed, saying, “you will never be rid of me, husband, for who else would have a weakling like you?” And the hen-pecked husband knew the truth to her words and hung his head until the next month when his bravery returned again.
But all this changed when a Render came to live in the village, taking up the parsonage just down the cliff from the couple. And the Render’s daughter was fair, as the hen-pecked husband discovered when the two visited the parsonage. He could not help but stare, for it had been many years since anyone looked upon him kindly, and his wife noticed how his eyes lingered.
He feared her tongue when they returned home, but she just laughed. And so he said, “take care with your words, wife, or one day I will be rid of you.”
And she laughed all the harder, saying “you will never be rid of me, husband, for who else would have a weakling like you? Certainly not the Render’s daughter.”
So the hen-pecked husband sulked as she continued to chide his wandering eye. The only silence he ever received was when his wife went for a walk along the cliffs at dusk. And so the hen-pecked husband got to thinking as to how treacherous the cliff face was.
The very next day he set out at dawn and found a large paving stone along the path. And this he set about loosening until he was sure a single step would break it free and tumble his wife down the cliff into the ocean.
That night he endured her abuse with a smile, and when she set off on her walk, he followed at a distance to see what his handiwork wrought. But when she stepped upon the loosened stone, she felt it teeter and stepped back to safety.
The hen-pecked husband gasped at seeing his plan dashed, and the sharp-tongued wife turned to behold her husband looking on. She quickly understood his intent, and again she laughed, saying “you will never be rid of me, husband, for who would—”
He quickly shoved her over the side and did not stop laughing until her cries ceased.
Then he ran to the parsonage, saying how his wife had fallen over the side of the cliff. Moved by his loss and apparent sorrow, the family invited him to stay with them until the funeral, for they feared what he might do in his grief. And they fed him and gave him succor, the Render himself climbing down to the ocean to claim the sharp-tongued wife’s body and then bury her high on the cliff since he had heard how she loved her evening walks along the paths.
On the third day the hen-pecked husband returned home, happy to be free of his sharp-tongued wife and with a plan already forming as to woo the Render’s daughter. Yet when he arrived home, he found his wife waiting for him in her favorite chair.
But it was not his wife, rather a gast made up of her dead Breath. Her death at his hands did not allow her to return to Sol’s flow, and so she returned to hound him for the rest of his days. But she had no tongue now and could not speak, so he bought himself some relief at least.
Now the hen-pecked husband knew that only Renders could rid the world of gasts, and it was a simple matter of them slicing the abomination with their glass sabers. But he also knew that Renders could talk to creatures composed of Breath and feared the Render would hear his dead wife’s tale of her murder at his hands.
So the hen-pecked husband sought to wait out the gast in silence, which he managed for the whole day as the gast went about his wife’s usual tasks even though her spectral hands could touch nothing. He thought her presence much more pleasant than before, but at dusk she went out for her walk, her Breath lighting up the cliff face until her return.
She then climbed into bed beside him, her ethereal glow keeping him up throughout the night.
The next morning the Render appeared to check on the hen-pecked husband and found his eyes red with apparent weeping. And the Render inquired as to the strange lights he spied wandering the cliff from the parsonage. Afraid the Render might discover the gast of his wife, the widower lied, saying “I walked the cliff path last night with a luz jar in memory of my wife.” And so the Render felt pity for the murderer and swore to return in another week to see after him.
The week did not go well for the hen-pecked husband, the gast’s glow keeping him up every night to a greater degree than the sharp-tongued wife’s words ever did. So when the Render returned, he found a ruined man and insisted he return with him to the parsonage so they might nurse him back to health. And the hen-pecked husband went with him, glad to be free of his wife’s gast for the night at least.
But he knew he could not live this way any longer, and considered as to how to be rid of the gast without the Render discovering his deed. And he thought to himself, “at midnight I shall steal the Render’s glass saber to do away with the gast myself, and none will be the wiser.”
So that night when all those within the parsonage were abed, the hen-pecked husband spirited away the glass saber and returned to his home. But he did not find the gast within. Instead he spied her glow up the cliff path and followed her up to finally be free of her.
He found her awaiting him at the spot he shoved her over, and he smiled, saying, “this night I will finally be rid of you.”
But as he stepped forward to drive the glass saber home, the paving stone gave way under his feet and he tumbled to his death.
The next day the Render and his daughter found his body at the same spot they found his wife, the hen-pecked husband’s bones shattered along with the glass saber. And so they buried his body next to his sharp-tongued wife’s high up the cliff, wondering all the while why he stole the saber.
And next night, the Render and his daughter looked up to see two sets of strange lights wandering the cliff paths. The Render would have put a swift end to the two gasts, but having lost his glass saber, he was recalled in shame. And so the sharp-tongued wife and hen-pecked husband were never rid of each other as they wandered the cliff path together.
As they still do to this day.