Flash fiction

Follow that dream.

A long time ago, in the way back when of the world, John Chapman, a peddler from Swaffham in Norfolk, dreamed that if he stood on London Bridge, he would make his fortune. Pondering on this over his morning mug of ale he recalled how his granny had always encouraged him to follow his dreams. So he packed fresh bread and a hunk of cheese into a leather bag, said goodbye, and started the long walk to London.

He arrived in the capital footsore and weary but made straight for the bridge, standing there all day under a lowering sky, marvelling at the sights of the city and the bustle of its inhabitants.

Nothing happened.

Undeterred, he returned the next morning and stood all day in the rain.

Nothing happened … again.

Towards the end of his third day of waiting a shopkeeper approached him – for this happened in the days when shops and houses lined the bridge.

“Young man,” he said, “I’ve seen you standing here for three days now apparently doing nothing. Tell me what you are about or I will call for the constable and have you arrested for vagrancy. A night in the lock up will soon loosen your tongue I’m sure.”

John told of his dream at which the shopkeeper gave a great bellow of laughter.

“You young fool! Why only last night I dreamed that if I went to Swaffham – a place I’ve never even heard of – and dug beneath the oak tree that stands in the orchard behind the peddler’s house I would make my fortune. Now am I going to run off into the middle of nowhere on a wild goose chase? No I am not for I have a business to run and a family to look after. Now go home and don’t be so foolish!”

John thanked him kindly for his sage advice and returned home, leaving the shopkeeper scratching his head, bemused at the stupidity of his fellow men.

When he arrived home, John went into the orchard behind his house and started to dig under the oak tree that stood in the far corner. It was a hot day and soon the sweat and dirt coated his face and stained his clothes, but John worked with a will. It was not long before he discovered the rim of an old clay pot … and the glint of gold.