Chapter 41:

Round 4, Final Match: WittyAcorn vs TheDUCK. WittyAcorn:

Community Sudden Fiction Tournament Arc

Round 4, Final Match: WittyAcorn vs TheDUCK.

Prompt: Ouroboros.

Participant: WittyAcorn (

One morning, Elmer the farmer was awoken by a heavy, impatient knock on his door. There was a light drizzle and it was still dark outside. Wilbur the farmer, his neighbour, was standing there with an umbrella in his left hand and a rope in his right, tied loosely around the neck of a sickly puppy. 

‘Elmer, is this mutt yours?’ 

‘No, Wilbur. I’ve never seen it before.’ ‘

You don’t even hesitate before lying, do you?’ 

‘I’m not lying.’ 

‘I wanted to give you a chance to confess but you’re such a lowlife. You won’t admit to your sins.’ 

Elmer kept quiet. He knew Wilbur wasn’t there for any explanations. 

‘This little monster’s been pissing and shitting and vomiting all over my garden. I’ve given it a few beatings since his owner won’t take the responsibility to do it himself. But it won’t stop vomiting. I was going to shoot it but since my youngun’s a big dog lover, I decided to give it back to you. Now keep it away from my fields or my fatherly love might not be strong enough to keep my finger away from that trigger.’ 

And without even waiting for Elmer to respond, Wilbur left. Elmer knew it was just a stray that Wilbur would’ve put down without hesitation if it weren’t for the very recent ban on killing dogs. 

The puppy’s arms were as thin as twigs and he was shivering in the cold rain. Elmer took him into the barn and bathed him in warm water and wiped him thoroughly. He wrapped him in two warm blankets and started a small fire. The puppy went to sleep almost immediately. 

For a week, the puppy was on the brink of death and Elmer was doubtful that he would survive. But his son and his wife both helped nurse the puppy back to health and he made a slow but steady recovery. Within two months, he was jumping around and chewing curtains. They named him Porridge. 

After a year, Porridge was strong enough to help Elmer in the fields. He was exceptionally good at herding cattle in the day and scaring away jackals at night. 

Every time Wilbur saw how much Porridge helped Elmer, and how easy farm work had become for him, Wilbur reminded Elmer to be thankful to him since Porridge was only alive because of his magnanimity. 

Four years later, there was a drought and both Elmer and Wilbur had very little to eat. Wilbur refused to share his food with Elmer. He said, ‘First get rid of that cur of yours. One useless mouth to feed. Killing dogs ain’t banned anymore, ya know?’ 

But Elmer couldn’t bring himself to do it. He kept feeding Porridge. His family was on its last ropes. They were going to run out of food in a few days and almost everyone in the village scorned them for keeping their dog while everyone was starving. 

 One morning, Porridge was nowhere to be found. Elmer feared the worst. Wilbur laughed at his misfortune. ‘Serves you right. All that food you wasted on that mutt and it runs away? Haha!’ 

Elmer searched for him all day but in the evening, Porridge came back with two rabbits in his mouth. The rabbits had been almost impossible to catch, but here Porridge was with two of them. 

Porridge kept bringing in rabbits everyday and Elmer’s family made it through the famine and so did the village because Elmer shared his food. 

When times were better, seeing Elmer’s fortune, Wilbur bought a herding dog too. But he mistreated him and the dog ran away. From somewhere, that dog caught rabies and bit Porridge. Wilbur put his dog down without hesitation when this happened. Elmer tried to treat Porridge for a few days but he went mad and bit his son. Porridge had to be put down as well.

Wilbur again laughed at Elmer’s misfortune. ‘If only you’d been quick to kill him, your son wouldn’t be sick now.’ 

His son was bed-ridden but a doctor was able to treat him enough to keep him alive. 

A few weeks later, war broke out. Commanders from the King’s army came to the villages to round up all the young men. Wilbur’s son was drafted but Elmer’s son was considered disabled and spared. 

When news of Wilbur’s son’s death reached him in the form of a letter, he went to see Elmer on a rainy day and said to him, crying, ‘You know, that dog of yours – Porridge. I knew it wasn’t your dog.’ 

‘I know,’ said Elmer. ‘He was a stray.’ ‘No. He wasn’t a stray. My son was young at the time and he wanted a dog very badly. I bought one but I couldn’t take care of him and my son lost interest so I wanted to get rid of it. Killing dogs was illegal back then so I mooched him off to you.’ 

‘It’s alright, Wilbur. It’s alright.’ 

Wilbur dropped his umbrella and fell down, sobbing. Elmer hugged him and there they stood, in the rain.


Judge's Feedback

znf: Interesting circularity in the story. Didn't feel super cohesive but felt better written overall.

OscarHM: (N/A)

otkrlj: good story overall. Felt like the flow was well crafted and story was well made

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