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The Hole-seller

Spring had come to the village. The snow slowly melted, the streams began to plash and chuckle, and once more the old hole-seller tripped along the road, carrying her basket lighter than dreams. Before she reached the first house, a child saw her and called out. Somebody else passed on the word, and all over the village, doors opened and the people came out to buy her wares.
She sold post-holes to the farmers, doughnut-holes to the baker, and ten thousand gimlet-holes in assorted sizes to the carpenter. With every hole she sold, her pocket grew heavier with coins, and her basket grew heavier, closer to the natural weight of a basket. Girls on the verge of womanhood came up to her, in shy twos and laughing threes, to have their ears pierced.
Old Billy Beckett the well-digger threw down his pick and shovel, stretched his callused hands, and clumped over. He interrupted her just as she was trading two dozen buttonholes for three mouseholes that Granny Brooke had found around her cottage and didn't need. "Sell me a hole one yard across and ten deep," he said.
She shrugged. "I'm sorry, but I've got nothing that large right now."
"Useless bitch! There's only one sort of hole you have to sell, and that's--" A hole, a yard wide and five deep, appeared beneath his feet. He fell with a shriek, and landed heavily in the earth at the bottom.
She looked over the edge. "I'll be back next year with the other half." Then she hoisted her basket and walked away.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, June 20th, 2019
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