A Story of the
by Peter Taylor
At last Rose
had a comfortable bed of her own.
She had longed
to own a comfortable bed for several years. One
day when she was 16, she went to her sister's in
town. It so happened that her sister's husband
had been away on business. So she stayed there
for the night. While lying on the bed, she felt
so comfortable that she didn't know whether she
was still on earth or had flown the sky. She
rolled on the bed again and again, like a small
child, laughing from time to time. Seeing that,
Rose's sister began to laugh too. That night Rose
slept soundly, and dreamt an exciting dream. At
that time Rose decided that when she got married,
she would try her best to buy a comfortable bed,
just the same as her sister's.
Rose got married, she had to spend the first
night on a simple old bed, because the man she
fell in love was too poor to afford such a
That night Rose wept, tears running down her face.
The man didn't say a word but kissed away the
drops of tears on her face.
Rose laid her head on his chest, saying to him,
"You should promise me that I am the last
woman that you will love."
"I do promise you." he said, embracing
her even tighter. And the wooden bed began to cry.
said that they should throw away the wooden bed,
but she suggested that the bed should be kept in
case of future use.
He said that it would be impossible for them to
lie on the wooden bed. But Rose would not listen
to him, and cleaned it, and put it in their small
an early dinner. When she had finished, it wasn't
yet dark. Their little son was playing on their
comfortable bed. Rose got on the bed, but her
husband, who managed a clothes shop in town, was
ready to leave. Rose said, "Would you please
not go to the shop tonight. Stay at home for the
night with me. We haven't spent a night together
for a long time."
He said, "Sorry, my dear, I am afraid that I
can't stay at home tonight. If anyone steals into
the shop, we would be ruined. So every night I
have to stay there." However, Rose stopped
him going out. "Please stay, just for a
while" she begged. He read her eyes, and
suddenly understood her. He had no choice but to
climb on to the bed lazily.
Now Rose and
her husband were in bed. She tried her best to
encourage him to make love to her, but to no
avail. So she got a little worried. Then she said
to him, "What's the matter with you? Do you
think that I am too old for you to love?"
"Don't be so foolish. Perhaps it is because
I am too old." he answered.
"You are only in your early thirties. Why do
you think that?" she said, Maybe you
are too tired. However, it doesn't matter. You
will be all right as long as you don't burn a
candle at both ends."
Both Rose's hands walked over his whole body.
Then she said, "It is getting too dark.
Please go." He put on his clothes and she
helped to do up his buttons.
He was about to leave when she said, "You'd
better take your light with you. Be careful."
"Why did you talk so much?" said he
when he went out.
Now Rose was
in bed, but she didn't feel the same as she did
on her sister's bed that night years ago. "Does
he really get too old to make love? But why was
he able to do it on the wooden bed only a short
time ago? Was it true what she had heard about
him?" Suddenly an idea came into her mind.
She threw her clothes on, mounted her bike and
set off to the clothes shop. A short distance
from the shop Rose got off the bike. She walked
towards the shop on tiptoe. She listened for a
moment, and a woman's giggle reached her ears.
She became sad.
Now Rose was
in the comfortable bed, tears flowing out of her
eyes. She thought, "Tomorrow I will go and
stay in the clothes shop, together with him. But
who will look after the house? My mother in law
is bed-ridden and needs much care." She
thought and thought, but couldn't find a better
Rose would never forget the days they spent
together. The wooden bed was too small for them
but every night she laid her head on his arm, so
she felt quite secure. But now she felt as if she
were a little child who had lost her parents.
The next day, when she met her husband, she
looked as if nothing had happened. As usual,
there was a smile on her face. However, her heart
was weeping. That night she tried her best to
prevent her husband from going to the shop. She
insisted that he should spend the night with her.
He wanted to quarrel with her but she was so good-tempered
that he couldn't. About midnight Rose was sure he
was in a deep sleep. She left.
Early the next
morning he went to the shop. He couldn't believe
his eyes. Their shop was nowhere to be seen. Only
smoke was rising from the roof. He sat down on
the ground, tears flowing. Soon Rose came, with
tears in her eyes, too. She dragged him up.
"Be a man!" she said.
"How can we live now?" he said.
Rose felt rather sad when she saw him weep.
"Let it be. When we got married, we did not
have enough to eat, but we enjoyed ourselves very
much." she tried to persuade him.
"Who the devil did it?" he said, "I
will kill him at once."
Hearing the words, she began to tremble. Then she
said to him, "We can make a new start."
He leaned against her and she felt like a heavy
burden had been placed on her shoulder.
When they got home, Rose decided to put away the
"Why?" he asked.
"Now we have become as poor church mice. I
won't feel comfortable if I lie on it." she
replied, "I think we'd better sell it. When
we become well-off, we will buy a more
His eyes were wet. "It would be too hard for
you he protested.
"It doesn't matter if only we love each
other Rose replied.
"I am terribly sorry about what I
Tears came into his eyes.
"There is nothing to be sorry about, because
we are husband and wife." said she.
That night they lay together on the wooden bed,
and she laid her head on his arm, feeling quite
"Now you have come back to me again. How I
wish my long life would be able to be shortened
to just this moment!" she said.
He didn't say a single word, but put his arms
around her waist.
"Now no woman will become interested in you
because you are too poor." she said, "You
will belong to me for ever. Before you were too
busy from morning till night, and I wished that
you could have lost both your legs so I could
serve you all my life as long as we were living
together." she said, and she began to cry.
He felt happy and kissed the drops of tears off
Every night the wooden bed sang a happy song