Griffin in the Tomatoes: Letter I

I thought my short stories might come together more easily if I had a theme, so I’m exploring silence. Last month was the silence of not being heard (No More Ink). This month’s sprung more from the idea of silence as a means of protection. I’ll admit it went a little off the rails and I wouldn’t submit it as a thesis on the theme. But the whole point was to get me writing, and at that it was a success! 


February 12, 19–

Miss Saylor,

I called on you this past Monday to inform you that your griffin has moved into my greenhouse and has made a nest for itself out of my tomato plants.

One wouldn’t think that its removal would be a difficult request, honestly. Our two households have dwelt side by side amicably for the past four years. Until this past Monday I would have even dared to call us friends, but your silence in this matter makes me question if I have perhaps assumed too much. My wife is upset as well, and wishes me to tell you that she won’t have you for tea on Friday until you remove the beast.

You have mentioned before the difficulties of housing your griffin due to his temperamental and catlike personality, but I am sure something could be arranged in a manner satisfactory to you and I (and the griffin) if you would simply have the decency to talk to me about it.

Or at the very least acknowledge that there is indeed a griffin running amuck in my vegetable garden. He has squashed every single one of my Beefeater Tomato plants and they have taken Best in Show for three years running in the county fair. I had hoped that they might do the same for a fourth year.

He has also frightened my wife Kathrine and scared off my head groundskeeper. Friday morning Mr. Thompson, who is as top-hole of a groundskeeper as can be hired in the entirety of England, came to me in a state of extreme alarm and told me that though the windows were not broken and the door was shut, he had stepped inside the greenhouse to find himself face to face with a large griffin standing in the walkway and clacking its beak at him.

Even as he spoke to me, I heard Kathrine scream and come running back into the house. She had gone out to gather some herbs and the creature tried to speak to her. She now refuses to go outside for any reason. I have lost privacy, my tomatoes, a peaceful wife—and Mr. Thompson has refused to return until the griffin is gone, which will put the gardens in a sad state.

As you are aware, we have a guest at our house, a Mr. Oliver Hastings. Mr. Hastings and I went out to attempt to reason with the creature. Perhaps I should have left him inside after all; the meeting did not proceed exactly as I imagined…

I do not remember all the etiquette rules for conversing with a griffin but I did my best. I went in and found it lying in the tomatoes with its great, terrible paws hung over the side of the raised bed.  I bowed as I remembered you said they appreciate. I said, “Good griffin, my home is open to you, but may I ask why you have chosen to reside in my tomato bed?”

But the creature only hissed at us and looked at us hard with those copper eyes. Mr. Hastings was so upset that he screamed and ran out of the greenhouse. I admit I had not expected such timid behavior from him, nor such speed (as he is quite elderly) but I cannot have my guests terrorized while they visit me.

Naturally, I immediately went to see you to rectify this problem. You can imagine my disappointment when I hardly got more of a civil reply out of you than out of your beast!

I am aware that young ladies of society often speak in riddles and expect their listeners to understand somehow, and we have all heard tales of magicians being even more prone to this particular foible, but I find ma’am, that I do not care for this method of communication.

I did think we were friends, Margret. I do not understand your silence in this matter.

Sincerely yours.

Baron Jefferson Tarkington, Esq.

Reardon House, Yewsford Village

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