24 January 2014

Published January 22, 2014 by rochellewisoff


Seize the opportunity to free your muse and allow her take you on a magic carpet ride. 

Henry David Thoreau said it best.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”


Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going a few words over the count.)


Make every word count.


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Copyright - Björn Rudberg

Copyright – Björn Rudberg

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            “Better to harvest the sugarcane fields in Hawaii than starve in Madeira,” João Fernandes told his reluctant wife.

            During the monotonous, sometimes perilous, four months at sea, he entertained his fellow immigrants on the braguinha.

            Enamored with the new music form and João’s lively style, the Hawaiians treated him and his little guitar like royalty. Even Queen Lili’uokalani requested private evening concerts.

            One lonely night, homesick for her mountains, Senhora Fernandes waited up for him.

            When he greeted her with, “Behold the queen’s favorite musician!” she seized his ukulele and smashed it to pieces over his head.

            “Behold your instrument!” 




Just for fun:

118 comments on “24 January 2014

    • Dear Björn,

      It was a tough choice. A lot of great pictures to choose from.

      Of course this is historical fiction so the events are pretty much true. I love history!

      Thanks for a great picture.




      • I remembered I actually saw an ensemble of young students playing on different types of Portuguese guitars.. some of them looked like Ukuleles .. other bigger. The other interesting thing is to listen to fado.. Guitar and a very specific singing. We went several times to restaurants were there were fado-performance together with grilled fresh fish… Recommend that..


    • Dear Sandra,

      I’d like to see them both in person one day. Hawaii more than Madeira, though. And in the midst of another arctic Missouri blast, Hawaii sounds quite inviting.

      Thanks for your comments.




  • Ha! A great ending to a charming story! Loved looking up and learning more about the migration of Portuguese people to Hawaii. You always lead me to more knowledge!

    Also looooved the music, and the musician’s voice is delightful 🙂

    Just one little typo–should be spelled “Madeira” in the beginning of the story.


    • Dear Jan,

      Nothing makes me happier than knowing I’ve passed on some just-learned knowledge. Thanks for the typo-tip. Surprisingly I was able to fix it on my phone. Another wrinkle in my brain for having figured out how to do something new.

      The musician is Sarah, my youngest son’s girlfriend. She is delightful. 😉




  • Rochelle,
    It sounds like he was adjusting to life a lot better than she was. When a couple goes to another culture together, it’s not uncommon for them to grow apart, one taking to it, while the other longs for home. Of course, in this case, there might be more going on. 🙂 Great story. (I found a computer this week in my travels, so I can read and comment much more quickly.)


    • Dear David,

      I’m so pleased that you were able to find a computer to write on. I found it challenging to correct a typo on my phone yesterday. Besides the fact that I write my stories in Word and then copy them to my blog. This way I can (usually) correct typos beforehand.

      I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never been uprooted for my husband’s job. As for the story, history didn’t afford me with much information. 😉 Glad you liked it.




  • There is a group of teens at my daughter’s school and fellow members of the high school band that have a ukulele ensemble. It is a totally different form of music, but something enjoyable as a change.


    • Dear Joe,

      I never really thought of the ukulele as a serious instrument until I caught some clips of Jake Shimabukuro who plays Bohemian Rhapsody on one. Amazing.

      I bet the ukulele ensemble is a fun to see and hear.

      Thanks for coming by.




    • Dear Ed,

      Thank you on all three counts. I’ve watched the video over and over. Ukulele Sadie (Sarah) is Christian’s girlfriend. I haven’t met her in person…only on Facebook…but I find her to be delightful.




  • As a wife who left home for her husband’s job, I can definitely sympathise with your main character, although I’m sure he thought he was doing the right thing. I’m interested that you call this historical fiction – is it a true story?
    Autobiography from me this week, for a change.


      • Dear Jen,

        You are a long way from home, aren’t you? I hope your experience has been better than Senhora Fernandes. 😉

        Originality is the art of concealing your source. 😉 Yes, it’s a true story as told by João’s granddaughter. The fictional part is the set up and execution. I love it when my research and muse take me unexpected directions.

        Going to read yours now.



        PS Thanks for the typo alert. All fixed now.


  • Hi Rochelle – I read a story or two (which I liked) and wanted to leave a comment or two…but unable to because I’m not with WordPress.  Sorry about that. 



  • Of course I love this, Rochelle, being a native Hawaiian. You take me back to my childhood sojourns on Maui where I was born and raised. hugs…for the memories…and the humorous twist to which I can relate. I have moved several times because of my hubby’s job…the first when we left the islands. So I totally understand where your wahine is coming from.


  • So often happens. One partner has an interesting job which takes them into new areas, the other is left behind. Your story is a pithy well told reminder to us to either get an early divorce or pay more attention to the others in the family. And to hide the ukulele.


    • Dear Lindaura,

      Have you heard Jake Shimabukuro play Bohemian Rhapsody on a ukulele?

      I had the inside that the photo was taken in Madeira. I started with Madeira’s history and followed the research path to where it led. In the process I learned a bit of history I never knew before. Great fun.

      Glad you liked my story.




  • Dear Cuzin’ Pearl,
    I rather expected a clip of Tiny Tim singing “Tip toe through the tulips” after reading your tale, but this one works too. Sounds like Big Mama is a little jealous of his new found fame. Maybe it’s time for a few verses of Blue Hawaii.
    Yours truly,


    • Dear Jed,

      I thought of inserting a clip of Tiny Tim, but decided on Sarah instead. She’s dating my youngest son and since I think she’s a pure delight, I asked if I could share her video.

      For once I decided to follow your humor trail. I hope that it worked but don’t want anyone to think I’ve gone soft or something. 😉

      Shalom y’all,

      Cuzin’ Pearl


  • I try not to read any other stories before I write my own, but then a day later, I’m catching up! While I listen to Why Do Fools Fall in Love! thanks for that gem. 🙂 Have you ever listened to Jake Shimbukuro? You must, and you should start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puSkP3uym5k. That is my gem to you.
    As always, Rochelle, your story is alive with place and character. I love that your characters leave Madeira (I wondered where this was, had to ask Björn) and go to Hawaii… such a dynamic journey! Both places bring mystery to the story, even as the wife delivers humor. Well done!


    • Dear Dawn,

      I actually have listened to Jake Shimabukuro and hope that others will see your link and follow it. The young lady in the video is my youngest son’s girlfriend. She’s such a charmer, so I chose her over Mr. S.

      I prefer not to read anyone else’s story before writing my own. Before I became the bus driver of this group I never read anyone’s first.

      I followed the history threads from Madeira and found my way to Hawaii. It was a great trip for my muse and I. Glad you enjoyed.




  • This is such a rich nugget of fiction. Multi-layered, too, for although it is humorous there are seams of deep feeling too: what can be worse than homesickness, or feeling jealous and lonely, and all set against the unknown, the hopes and anxieties of a boat full of people seeking a living in a foreign land. Gosh you packed a lot in here.


  • I don’t like the wife! He’s trying to make a better life for the two of them and he’s lucked into something good and she’s annoyed? Alright so he’s a little obnoxious — I don’t want to hang out with him,but she married him!
    Okay, said my piece….


    • Dear Steve,

      No doubt João’s head was turned by the attention causing a lapse in judgement on his part. I think the ukulele across the skull was a good reality check for him. Thanks for commenting.




  • Dear Rochelle,

    A great story that fires on all cylinders as it explores the origin of ukuleles, migration to Hawaii, the preferences of a queen and the perils of serenading same with mixed success.

    Well done.




  • A lovely story and so interesting to find out about the ukelele…poor lady, must have been desparate to break it over his head though or perhaps she felt it might be a way to help unswell his head a bit… (lol)


    • Dear Sharon,

      As I told Elmo in an earlier comment, originality is the art of concealing your source. My muse led me on a delightful trail of discovery this week. Most of it is historical fact but the fiction is in the construction.

      Thanks for commenting.




  • Hi! Funny story Rochelle 🙂 I love the cheeky husband getting his just deserts from his feisty wife – spunky women make the best characters!

    I read that short story writing is often more difficult than to write a book – (I haven’t wrote a book yet!) but the person who said that wasn’t kidding; it’s taken me all week to get my story written – with 51 minutes left to add the link!!

    Someone also said to not ‘give up’ on a story and to keep writing, however hard, til it’s finished…. 100 words isn’t easy (well, 119 words!), but I’m glad I did it.

    I await the next challenge. And Thank you for being there 🙂 My writing efforts are most definitely being stretched 🙂



    • Dear Vic,

      Better late than never and Welcome to Friday Fictioneers. I’ve found that writing a complete story in 100 words or less daunting, exhilarating and a learning experience. It’s taught me how to make every word count.




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