The Ink Well Is Having a Short Story Contest: 25 Hive First Prize!

in The Ink Well3 months ago (edited)

In celebration of our community contest, I have decided to write a story. (Obviously, I'm not entering the contest.)

Each story submitted to the contest should be based on one of 50 loglines. A logline is a " one-sentence brief of what a story is about — characters, scenario and conflict". You can find the 50 loglines here.

The logline I've chose as inspiration for my story is:

As grapes shrivel in the sun in the worst heat and drought Italy has ever seen, an enterprising farmer invents a way to make rain, never suspecting the sequence of terrible events that will ensue from toying with nature’s already upset balance



vineyard australia 1935 public2 captain frank hurley man.jpg
Image credit:The History Trust of South Australian, South Australian Government, Public domain and Heinrich Nauen (1880-1940), Public domain

The Natural History of Giuseppe Cavallo

Giuseppe Cavallo lived a solitary life. There was not even one person who knew his favorite food. It was because he was so alone that he wanted to leave a mark. The world would know that Giuseppe Cavallo had once lived. His name would be remembered for generations.

Every day Giuseppe's bent body could be seen toiling over the few desiccated grapes that remained in his vineyard. At night, he would close the door to his cottage and descend a steep stone staircase to his laboratory. There mysteries were revealed.

He had discovered a grape that needed so little water it could survive severe drought. He had discovered a way to expand water so that one bushel could be multiplied to three. But his most recent, most revolutionary, discovery was rain. He had devised a method for creating rain.

Giuseppe was devoutly religious. His religion was not one that could be identified by an established orthodoxy. Rather it was a faith in the earth, in the regenerative properties of life itself. He had not shared his great discoveries because he thought each was an affront to nature, a denial of his basic tenet that nature finds a balance, in time.

But lately it seemed earth had turned against the people of his village. Giuseppe had waited patiently for nature to find its balance. He had walked past parched fields, cracked earth, dried basins.

And he waited.

For the first time in his life nature defied his expectations. Was this a challenge?

One night he left the cellar and walked into the moonless night.

"When will this end"? he asked the withered trees.

The temptation to violate his faith had grown of late. Was he not part of nature? If a design for making rain came from him, was that not natural?

The next morning Giuseppe opened his cottage door and beheld an ancient oak that had lost a limb. The wood had become so dry and lifeless that the tree could no longer hold itself together.

“This is my answer,” he decided.

He put on his best clothes, smoothed his hair with creme and trimmed his beard. He collected his rain-making invention and walked the dusty road to the village.

He approached the Mayor's office. But the Deputy at the door would not let him in.

"I must speak to the Mayor," Giuseppe explained. "I can make rain."

On a good day, the Deputy might have laughed. But it was hot. His wife was angry with him, and his dog had chewed his slippers that morning. He saw no humor in the old man's absurd claim.

Giuseppe fell backwards as the Deputy shoved him off the steps.

"Don't come back," the functionary warned Giuseppe. "Next time I won't be so gentle."

Giuseppe was astonished. The man was a fool.

What to do now? The sun was reaching its zenith. Perspiration stained Giuseppe's shirt. He found a seat on a scarred bench and decided he would not wait for the Mayor. After all, what was government good for? Government hadn't helped the people so far.

He decided to talk to the people directly. The dry goods store was just a few steps away.

He rested his invention on the dry goods counter--for he was tired and the apparatus had grown heavy in his hands.

"What you got there, old fella?" The story clerk had a round pleasant visage.

"I can make rain," Giuseppe declared. He realized this was not the proper way to introduce his invention, but he was so tired he wasn't thinking straight.

The corners of the clerk's mouth twitched as she struggled to suppress a laugh.

Giuseppe started to collect his invention. Not here. He would go elsewhere. Someone would listen. As he was about to move off he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Make rain, eh?"

An odor of stale oats and rum emanated from the sallow face that leaned in close.

"You don't want to run around saying things like that old man. People are kind of touchy about rain these days.”

The man with the sallow face grabbed at Giuseppe's invention.

Giuseppe held tight.

"There you go old man. Let's have a look."

The man pushed Giuseppe to the floor and took the invention from him.

"Lookie here, everyone. Looks like we got ourselves a wizard." The man was hollering the words out the door, into the dusty street. A crowd gathered.

"He's goin to make rain for us with this here contraption." He picked up Giuseppe by the collar and dragged him into the street.

"OK, old man, make rain."

Giuseppe looked around at the crowd. Scowls. Raised eyebrows.

Giuseppe tried to walk off, but his way was blocked.

"Make rain." The shouts went up from a crowd that was getting larger. They were jeering now.

"The old fool. Says he can make rain. What kind of game are you playing?"

Giuseppe thought, “I was wrong about the tree. It wasn't a message. It was just a tree that lost its limb.”

He sat down and didn't try to move. His passivity seemed to infuriate the crowd.

"Look at him. Thinks the drought is a joke."

Someone threw an old shoe. Then a handful of dirt. Then a rock.

Giuseppe's head was bleeding, but he didn't resist. He had violated his own principles. He had tried to upset nature's balance. He would accept its punishment.

On that very day the first drops of rain fell. Clouds drifted over the town and opened with such fury that Giuseppe's passive body was washed away, and was lost. The legend grew that nature had been angered by Giuseppe's arrogance and had claimed him for its own.

So it happened, in the end, that Giuseppe's prophecy came true. Generations repeated his name. Giuseppe Cavallo. The man who perished in the town square on the last day of the Great Drought.



Our contest will be running for two weeks, through August 1. However, there's a catch. Your stories must be submitted by July 25, the first week of the contest. During the second week, you will submitted an edited (improved?) version. Details for the contest are described here.

Have fun.

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You are a gifted storyteller A.G. Your delightful story kept me interested throughout. A sad ending for poor well meaning Giuseppe. It shows how best of intentions are sometimes frowned upon.

You are so good to me, my friend, @redheadpei. Giuseppe was an easy character to write. I felt as though I knew him. Sometimes I struggle to get an idea out. Giuseppe cooperated :))

Hope your Canada summer is full of balmy days and good experiences.

Thanks for writing this wonderful story about drought, the concern of the old man, and the ultimate result. I also came to know about your Italian connection. Nice reading your story and I suggest you should write more often! I will tweet and reblog this.

Hello @sunnyag,
You are very kind and gracious. I appreciate the reblog and the tweet. Have to look you up on Twitter now :)

With such encouragement I might write more 😇

Oh dear Giuseppe Cavallo
The struggles of clashing believe
To make rain and be arrogant
But then not to when he can?
So sad and yet, what he wished for did come true
Look, his name is even now on the Hive blockchain and will live forever more...

Hello @kaerpediem,
Your comment tickles me.

his name is even now on the Hive blockchain and will live forever more.

Thank you for reading and for caring about my character. When I write, sometimes the people are real for me 😊.

Have a great weekend!

That is so sad! He deserved a chance to live, and perhaps share some of his wonderful finds!

Thank you for reading my story, @wrestlingdesires. I don't often write stories, but every now and then the spirit moves me. I wanted to demonstrate how to use loglines. It was actually the first time I used one, so a new experience for me, too.

It was a new experience for me as well - though the story was not difficult to imagine :) For me the hardest part of this one was keeping it under a thousand words.

You did excellent!

Thank you very much for that generous assessment of my story. Believe it or not, I love to write but have little confidence (I think I'm really hard on myself). Keeping the word limit down is easy for me. I tend to chop, chop, chop when I write. One day I may write a story that has only one word :)))

One word??? If you can do that you are indeed a professional :)

I didn't notice that you had chopped away. I would have loved to read more about our genius vineyard owner though :)

Don't be hard on yourself, please? It only deprives us of your great stories!

You are very, very kind.

I took a writing workshop for several years. Most of the people in the workshop were poets (I am not a poet). Poetry is often about economy and I think that's where the habit of chopping came in. The instructor (Poet Laureate of Nassau County, NY, USA) used to call extra words 'energy vampires'. So, whenever I write I ask myself, does that word advance the story or is it dead weight? That's what I mean by chopping.

Hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate very much your encouragement.

That kind of chopping is a great habit :) While I love to read a long story I don't enjoy it feeling like it's being dragged out - it needs a good flow. And you are expert in that :)

 3 months ago  

A beautiful story indeed. The name Giuseppe Cavallo would not be forgotten in a hurry. Reminds one of the reasons we must make impact while alive...😁

Thank you, my friend, @bruno-kema, for your kind assessment of my story.

My Sicilian grandparents were named Cavallaro, and I had an uncle named Giuseppe (Joseph in English), so I'll remember the name :))

Have a great weekend.

Hello friend how are you, your story is very interesting, from the beginning it keeps you attentive to the events that are going to happen, it is a story that motivates reading. I wish you success.

Thank you for reading my story, friend @cetb2008. I am glad you enjoyed it. This one was fun to write (I think I was imagining my Sicilian ancestors in a vineyard).

Hope to see you around LMAC as we begin our new summer project--creating a picture library. @shaka is putting together the announcement now. It seems quite exciting.

Be well and enjoy the summer with you family.

What a good friend, I will be pending. Thanks and a hug

Oh my, this is fantastic, captivating and well written.

I raced through the story hoping that Giuseppe would succeed and those who doubted would be shamed. Alas, he died because of his own lack of faith in nature! Good part is, he left a mark.

Nicely done, ma'am. I hope to participate in this contest but I'm yet to decide on a story. Hopefully I'll post one soon. 🙂

Thank you, @kemmyb. I'm so glad you liked my story. The prompt called to me I think because my maternal ancestors came from Sicily. While my grandfather was a tailor in Sicily, some of my other relatives grew grapes after they arrived in the U.S. I remember visiting their vineyards in rural New York.

Looking forward to reading your story!

Have a great, creative week.

I look forward to reading your story, Kemmy :) It took me over an hour just to decide which one I wanted to use, so I know how you feel!

Yahh ! I am also interested

I look forward to reading your story! It's going to be a fun week.



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Nice story of that lonely old man, @agmoore. Drought is such a recurring problem that this story of a death that brings rain, water, life, should be a common legend in many cultures.
I would love to hear it in that legendary tone

Thank you for reading my story, @gracielaacevedo. I can see where you might like to read it in a legendary tone. However, I chose to have irony as an overarching theme. While this can be done in a legendary tone,for me this would be inconsistent with the thrust of the story.

Thanks again for stopping by and reading my long story.

This is absolutely wonderful, @agmoore. I wish you were actually entering the contest! I love how you immerse us in Giuseppe's world and thought process. I was captivated by the way he comes to terms with the inner conflict he is experiencing between his reverence for the natural world and his need to invent things that have an impact on nature.

I had intended to provide suggestions for improvements, so that others looking in on the contest can see how the workshop portion works, but this is a virtually flawless story. Your setting is excellent, with great sensory details.

Every day Giuseppe's bent body could be seen toiling over the few desiccated grapes that remained in his vineyard. At night, he would close the door to his cottage and descend a steep stone staircase to his laboratory. There mysteries were revealed.

Your character development is also fantastic. We really get to know Giuseppe and his struggles and dreams. Also, the conflict is well defined and interesting, and it resolves well with Giuseppe's legendary demise. I couldn't even find any grammatical problems!

Thank you for starting the contest off and setting an example of writing from a logline. Well done!

Thank you, kind friend, for the wonderful, suggestive prompt. That logline is a miracle, almost like having a director over the shoulder helping us along.

The story was fun. That you think I did well, makes it a delightful experience.

Waiting, waiting, waiting for our dear community members to show some magic :)

And the wait is paying off!