The first one was a surprise. The second too. The third produced a snigger. The fourth a chortle. The tenth, a flinging down of the spade.
‘Whatever’s the matter, Henry?’ said Beatrice as she rushed into the garden.
‘It’s these bones. They’re flipping everywhere.’
Beatrice looked at the ever-increasing pile. ‘I see what you mean.’
‘Any idea what they might be?’
She picked one up and rubbed the smooth surface with her fingers as though it were a genie’s lamp. ‘Ostriches.’
‘And how did ostriches end up buried in a Scottish garden?’
‘I’m sure there’s a logical explanation, dear.’
Henry remembered the odd comment made by the estate agent when they purchased the house.
‘You won’t be able to plant anything there, sir.’
Poppy-cock, thought Henry, but he suddenly realised that the previous owner must have owned an ostrich sanctuary and buried each dead bird in the garden.
There was no choice. He’d just have to keep digging until he’d got rid of the whole damn lot!
And so he continued while Beatrice went to stay in a hotel ‘until he came to his senses.’
He never did and six months later was admitted to a mental asylum, where he was often heard counting. 1,567, 1,568, 1569…