The Mill

1024px-henri_rousseau_-_un_matin_de_pluie (1)


Juliette trudged up the hill in the rain. Day was turning to night, and she wanted to make certain her beloved boy made it home safely from the mill. Henri was only twelve and small for his age; Juliette worried about him. Though he made little working at the mill, it was enough to help the family a bit. He had not complained about having to leave school, though he loved his books.

Henri is a good boy, she thought, fondly recalling the way he gently teased her. Maybe he’ll tell me a new joke tonight.

She pictured the family sitting around the dinner table, eating the stew she had left simmering at home. She knew Henri would appreciate it. He was a growing boy, after all.

She continued walking and musing about him, as she did every day at this time. As she had been doing every day for fifteen years, since the mill had been destroyed in a fire. Her Henri would not be tasting her stew tonight–or any night. He would never again tease her in his quiet way. But he lived still in Juliette’s mind and dreams, forever a boy of twelve.


This story is in response to Jane Dougherty’s microfiction challenge . The prompt is the above painting by Henri Rousseau.( I can’t find any information about it.) Also, the word “abandon.”


25 thoughts on “The Mill

  1. Powerful story, Merril. You and Rousseau are a perfect example of the connection between the artist and the person who views the art. Rousseau rained sadness on that woman and you picked up on that emotion. His story may have been different than yours, but both are equally true.

  2. Hi:
    The parallels are amazing between our stories. I set mine in France due to the painter and Henri and Francois came to mind. I, too, wondered why the woman would go to the mill in the rain.
    Wonderful story, great plot :):, well told tale.

  3. This was a precious and tear jerker of a tale, Merril. So sad about the stew and poor Henri not able to ever make it home to be with her… As a mother this tore me up, made me cry. 😦
    I cannot imagine and would surely Never Let Go of the haunted memory of losing a child (or grandchild.)
    You wrote this beautifully, Merril. ❤

  4. Pingback: Microfiction challenge Abandon: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

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