Spreading the seeds of generosity from one story to the next.
Writers responded to the prompt, and what follows is a collection of perspectives in 99-word stories arranged like literary anthropology.
Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.
Love Grows by Liz Husebye Hartmann
A spring wind puffed and released tiny skydivers of cherry blossom every time she walked by. She couldn’t have helped it, even if she’d wanted to, which she really didn’t want to be able to do. Those sweet blossoms spread joy and peace to all who walked under its showers or over its flowers.
Better yet, the effervescent blessing of that spring shower passed automatically on to anyone within five miles of those so affected. She was grateful the season was short; it was exhausting, being the origin of so much good.
At least she got her Steps in!
The Queen’s Gift by Nicole Horlings
The girls from the human village eagerly peered into the forest, some bouncing up and down in anticipation. When a bright light appeared from within the darkened space, they all respectfully stepped back and cleared the path. The Fairy Queen gracefully flew out, smiling at them. The girls held out cupped hands, and the Queen gave each of them a small handful of enchanted wildflower seeds. They curtsied and ran off to scatter their seeds around the edges of their family’s farms, where the Queen’s magic would bring luck and a rich harvest in the fall through the flowers.
Obituary by Reena Saxena
Very few people know that the much-eulogised greenery and ambient temperatures of this small town are a gift from my father.
I take pride in being born to this humble auto-rickshaw driver who carried seeds with him, and planted some on the roadside, whenever he did not have a passenger to ferry.
When I lost my job, he said the house and a retirement fund he’d built over the years was all mine. I’d a decent fund of my own, but we stayed together after that.
I know his soul will always be there, caring for me.
The Racing Car by Norah Colvin
Jamie was spending his birthday money—a rose for Mum, gum for Dad, balloons for Baby and a racing car for himself.
Mr Green counted Jamie’s coins. “You’ve only enough for three.”
Jamie pushed the car aside. “These three, please.”
As Jamie left, Mr Green called, “Wait!” He held out the racing car. Jamie beamed.
Nearly home, Jamie saw a little boy crouched beside a drain. A car, just like Jamie’s, lay far below.
“Foolish boy,” said the mother. “I warned you.” She dragged the howling boy away.
“Wait,” called Jamie, holding out his racing car. The boy beamed.
Equity by D. Avery
People even ranked on the new kid’s lunch.
Surprisingly, Chet actually offered him his sub. The kid refused it.
“What? Ever… Loser.”
I went and sat with the new kid. “Trade?”
Honestly, mom’s sandwiches are as good or better than Chet’s deli subs. But don’t go thinking I’m generous or anything; honestly, I just wanted to show up Chet.
The second day— that was generosity. Again I choked down his bland bologna sandwich while he enjoyed mom’s egg salad.
But these days? It’s just lunch with my new friend. We split our lunches, share what we have between us.
Contentment by Padmini Krishnan
Marie felt intense hunger as she marked the papers. She took out her snickers. She just had a little time before she got ready for second grade.
“Excuse me, teacher.” She turned at a low voice. It was Mina, one of the shiest girls in first grade.
“I didn’t get the fractions you taught today.”
After ten minutes of explanation, Marie was satisfied that Mina had understood.
“Here, take this.” Marie smiled as the girl’s face brightened at the snickers.
Though a little late, her heart was filled with contentment as Marie walked to the second grade.
Lessons Learned by Kerry E.B. Black
Toddlerdom is difficult. Janice pulled a doll from her younger cousin’s grasp – not to cuddle it, but to keep it from her cousin’s cuddles. Her mother speaks in soothing admonishments until the doll finds its cousin cuddles restored.
Preschool is difficult. Janice hoards crayons and markers, exacting yowls of classmates’ outrage as payment. Her teacher instructs with patient practice until order again rules.
Janice weathered childhood and young adulthood, wearing the lessons on her heart. As an adult, she runs a homeless shelter with fairness and honor, pouring upon all her volunteers and residents equal portions of no-nonsense love.
Plumb Bob? by JulesPaige
lessons are good seeds
they can be invisible
multiplied when plumb
The seeds were planted by example. Do as I do, and they did. Some made professional careers out of helping the public, while still continuing to volunteer in multiple locations. While growing up the seeds blossomed by helping one on one with differently abled students, training for firefighting, leadership, counting replies, rescuing strays. Being involved with extra school programs to entertain the public to raise funds.
Watching what their parents did, the children grew into adults worth bragging about. Though their parents were careful not to embarrass them…
A Tolerance on the Loss of an Infant Unborn by Bill Engleson
I stood there in the shadow
of my spiralling desire,
watched the fleeting rainbow
shine on the communal choir.
I know my own shortcomings,
as clear as spring-scrubbed glass,
as loud as heartfelt drumming’s
that suggest this too will pass.
Beyond my own meandering,
I gaze into their mounting grief,
side-step any sorrowed pandering,
that bent to be a teary thief.
I’ll offer discreet compassion
should we meet in a public space,
wordless, and, after a fashion,
my own nod of silent grace.
For this I know,
that such a loss,
‘tis a massive blow,
time longs to cross.
Life’s Threads by Saifun Hassam
Jamila’s son Lateef was born with spina bifida. A year later, she was divorced.
Lateef underwent major surgeries. He was six now and, ready in his wheelchair, would race you to the kitchen for lunch!
At their local mosque, people donated time, exercise equipment, computers, anything to help Lateef. His gratitude showed in his beautiful smile and shining hazel eyes.
Lateef longed to learn at school. Brian, a special education instructor, stepped into his life. Lateef’s dream turned into reality, step by step.
For Lateef, it was the most beautiful day in his life when Jamila and Brian married.
Little Steps Back by Dave Williams
Charles apologized, muttered “I thought I was ready,” took his coffee cup, left the table. Startling Scott. Yet he snagged sense, followed Charles from the cafe, joined him strolling the sidewalk. Scott said, “We clicked online, let’s not leave it like this.” Charles said, “I warned you.” Charles’s message on the dating website: long relationship ended, time passed, he was taking little steps back. Scott, pointing to the park a block away, said, “Let’s sit. You need a friend more than a boyfriend. I’ll listen when you’re ready to talk.” Charles gave a little smile as they kept walking.
Rich Heart by Simon Prathap D
“Mam…” beggar cried.
Cathy ignored him.
Julie took some money from her bag, Cathy stopped her and reminded ‘Look at him, he is all good, he can work and earn’
‘Mam… it’s been two days I’m hungry, no food’ beggar cried to someone.
Cathy walked back, asked him to show his plate and gave her entire lunch on his plate. Beggar thanked her.
Julie stared at her in shock.
Cathy replied ‘You don’t have to be rich to be generous, your good heart is enough. Your money will make him lazy, my food will give him power to earn’
Help Is Always Free by Frank James
Phillip, an attorney, buzzed by a downtrodden man.
Phillip muttered, “I’m glad I’m not him.”
His tire became flat. He stopped, locating his jack and spare. He removed the tire from the Maserati. He placed the tire on the axle, but it didn’t fit. He struggled for an hour to wedge it in place.
The vagrant appeared, taking the wheel from Phillip. He slid it on, dropping the car. He tightened the lugs.
Phillip stood in awe offering cash, “What’s your name?”
The vagrant replied, “Joe. Helping people is always free.”
“I should be more like Joe,” Phillip mumbled.
Generosity by Floridaborne
The prophet spoke to his followers:
Look not at what generosity is, but what it isn’t.
Give money to a drug addict, or an alcoholic, you’re helping him step into a grave.
Give money to a narcissist and you’ve just robbed yourself.
Give money to a child as you apologize for missing her soccer practice, you’re teaching her that money is more important than love.
Unless money is given without the need for repayment, it is nothing more than spiritual extortion. Give generously of your love. Kind words used generously will heal.
Then he passed around the collection plate.
Warm Welcome by Rebecca Glaessner
“Pathway closed. Rift secure,” announced a warm voice, filling the air around two bewildered humans. Adult and child; woman and girl.
A different being approached. Human, only in appearance.
“Welcome,” it said, robes fluttering, “we trust your journey was painless?”
“Please help,” the woman held the girl close, “she’s-“
“Yes, we’ll take care of the child,” the being smiled.
Others came to collect her.
“No need for thanks,” the being motioned, “there’s much time.”
A chill ran through the woman before the warm voice gently eased it away.
“She’ll be healed soon,” the voice uttered, lulling her into inaction.
Aalen Meets Vilja by Joanne Fisher
Aalen was walking home. Tired, hungry, and cold, she looked forward to a warm fire and hot stew, but that was still far off. She came across a lone wolf cub.
“Where’s your mother?” she asked. She saw blood on it’s fur and knew there’d been some tragedy. She rummaged through her bag and fed the cub strips of dried meat and whatever else she could find. After it had eaten the last of her food, she picked the cub up to keep it warm and continued to her village. Aalen hoped her Elder would let her keep it.
Pilgrims by Hugh W. Roberts
Making footprints in the dusty soil of the piece of land The Mayflower had brought her to, Margery’s ears picked up the sounds of the waves crashing against her ship.
She signalled to her crew to begin unloading the cargo and help bring this land alive.
As the pilgrims left the ship two by two, they each, in turn, thanked Margery for the kindness she’d shown them by setting them free again.
As The Mayflower took off into the sky, the pilgrims named the new world New Plymouth and set about thanking their god, Generosity, for bringing them here.
In the Footsteps of Anonymous by Anne Goodwin
Under the studio lights, the author doesn’t see the face behind the question, but the microphone amplifies his words. “Who are your literary influences?”
The author reels through her gratitude list. “But I’m most indebted to Anonymous.”
The interviewer laughs nervously. “People too humble to take the credit?”
“Didn’t get the chance,” says the author. “Anonymous published in obscurity. She was female, poor, black.”
From the corner of her eye, the author sees the producer slice a finger across his neck.
She hurries on: “Who would have thought an unnamed courtesan’s plague diary would spark a bestselling 21st-century novel?”
Seeding Generosity by Doug Jacquier
On the critique site, ‘Jane Air’ nitpicked her way through my post, trailing pedantry and ignorance behind her as she dripped 500 words of bile on my 250 words of flash fiction. Finding one of her literary gems, I offered a generous assessment. ‘In a parallel universe, unicorns may well have had carnal relations with Vikings and faeries and created a dystopian apocalypse. You have seeded in me a blinding insight into the follies of representing the so-called real world in literature. Thank you for alerting me to the error of my ways. PS Keep on taking the tablets.’
Surly by Lisa Shea
Her creased face wore a scowl like a faded wedding ring, almost forgotten in its presence until noticed by a stranger. They say owners grow to look like their pets. In this case it was her house which was unadorned and stark. No flowers. Pulled blinds.
Her edged sharpness radiated shards as she strode out to check her battered mailbox on a beautiful spring morning.
I was still settling in, but I sat down and wrote a friendly letter. Stamped it. Put it in my mailbox.
Two days later …
Her smile warmed my heart.
Gloria by Jennie Fitzkee
Gloria. That was the name children gave her. She was old, shy, and people had always called her a witch. When she came into a classroom of children, she couldn’t even speak. They were startled and curious; Gloria was, well, different. She lived in a picnic basket in the classroom. Whenever she visited the children, they were excited. When Halloween came around, children rallied to help Gloria pick a costume. The years rolled on, Gloria became a member of the class. Suddenly the tables were turned. She was the one who was ‘there’ to help children. Tears and hugs.
Money or Time by Sue Spitulnik
Three Sundays in a row Lexi found a gift bag for Emma on the front porch. In exasperation, she called her mother. “I appreciate Grandma’s generosity but she’s buying Emma newborn stuff that she’s too big for. And I don’t get the surprise factor bit.”
Tessa sighed. “I guess mother is trying to make up for not spoiling you as a baby. She means well.”
“I figured, but it’s a waste. I’ll invite her to lunch. I can tell her we would rather have her visit.”
“An invitation to babysit would send her over the moon.”
“Right. Got it.”
Sliding Into Home by D. Avery
“What do you want?”
“Everybody wants something. I’m not giving.”
“You looked like you could use some company.”
“Hmmf. No thank you. Go home.”
Before the old man could finish skimming the sports section of his paper the little boy summarized the previous night’s baseball game, complete with statistics and his own predictions. The old man put the paper aside.
“A genuine fan, ey?”
“We are not a charity,” the boy’s mother said stiffly.
“I know. Thing is, I could use some company.”
Seeing his mother softening, the little boy grinned.
His neighbor wanted his company. At Fenway.
Generosity by Ritu Bhathal
“No, no, Mum, just scroll down. Tap the one you want.” Nisha rolled her eyes.
She’d been on the phone with her mother for an hour now, trying to help her set up her new phone, so she could enjoy the family video calls, along with everyone else.
But this hour was worth it.
Finally, Mum would be able to see her family, regularly. Nisha hadn’t seen her for over six months.
Just then her phone beeped.
“Good to see you, Mum! Now, if you could just hold the phone higher. I don’t want to see up your nose…”
Shared Between Neighbors by Charli Mills
Mara’s untamed yard tumbled toward Randal’s. He kept his edges squared, lawn clipped, and garden fenced. Dandelion seeds drifted and yellow globes emerged next door in spring. Mara offered to uproot the plants when Randal returned with herbicide. He scoffed. She persisted. He wavered. She mentioned cancer. Mara dug on hands and knees for three days, preserving roots and flowers. Order reigned over Randal’s lawn once again. She bottled the root tincture to control her menopause. In the fall, she gifted her neighbor a jug of sweet dandelion wine with a vintage label that read, From Seeds of Generosity.
Splish Splash by D. Avery
“Generous? Heck, Pal, I’d give ya the shirt off my back.”
“Please, don’t. I mean I know we’re fictional an’ all, mebbe even more caricatures then characters, but jeez Kid. Thinkin’ yer a might over-generous with water conservation. How ‘bout ya give ta the clean air fund by doin’ laundry an’ takin’ a bath? A’tween you an’ yer friend LeGume an’ thet pet pig, the bunkhouse is a funkhouse.”
“Yer air quality assessment stinks Pal.”
“Fine, Mr. CleanJeans. Ya happy?”
“Ya still got thet shirt on yer back.”
“Launderin’ an’ bathin’ simultaneously Pal. Water don’t grow on trees.”
A wonderfully giving collection!
Generous of all the writers!
[…] Submissions now closed. Read the full collection here. […]
Thanks for sharing the link!
A generous collection of stories. So many different settings in which generosity can be given and received.
Lots of good examples for us to ponder.
Indeed there are.
A very lovely collection.
Thanks for reading!
With your lovely debut 99-word story! Thank you for joining in, Jennie!
Aww…🥰 That’s so nice, Charlie. Thank you! Pleased to finally be at the Carrot Ranch.
You’ve been here all along. Literary art is more than writing. It’s also reading and reflecting. You’ve added to discussions and given writers a glimpse of those who are reading. It all counts. Together we create space for art with words and stories.
Congrats to all for your storied generosity. IMHO particular treasure was stored up in heaven by Liz, Norah and Bill.
Storied generosity and heavenly stores — stuff gifts are made of. Thanks, Doug!
Yer a jeweler Ms Mills. These gems are well strung. Thank you for it and as always, for the heartfelt post and prompt that inspired all these stories.
Oh, yes, I do feel like a jeweler working with all the gems! Different sizes, lusters, and colors that form a statement piece.
What an amazing group of stories. Bill Engleson’s poem touched me and pulled at my heart. <3
Bill’s story was deeply moving. It’s stuck with me. The entire collection shines.
It was a memorable group, for sure. I love when we can connect emotionally to these stories. <3
These are great stories Very loving and giving. I wish I had been able to participate this time Oh Well next time
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