He said, “Wait and see how the bidding sheet looks and then make your play. I’m going to the wine bar. Would you like red or white?”
She was staring at the ring. A beautiful pure silver band wrought in a design found on a headstone in a sixth-century Scottish graveyard. It was made by a famous jeweler in the Orkney Islands.
“Red or white?” He asked again.
They left before the bid winners were announced and received the good news in the morning. The ring had a new home on their farm later that day.
“It’s beautiful. I love it.” She slipped it on her finger, kissed her husband, and pranced around the kitchen, waving her hand like royalty.
The following day, the dishwasher broke. The next day the TV burned out, and the tractor battery died. Over the next few days, the water heater failed, egg production was down, and the goats were off their feed. The dog got skunk sprayed, and the husband got stepped on by a horse.
There was only one possible cause of this bad luck. In desperation, she removed the ring, wrapped it in plastic, and put it in the freezer, hoping that might calm the malevolent spirits. He laughed and said, “That’s ridiculous.”
The husband took a more practical approach. He emailed the jeweler, described the events, and, to rid the house of this spirit, suggested they may have to ceremoniously sacrifice the cat. Twelve hours later, the jeweler’s husband replied. It began, “Please don’t sacrifice the cat,” and further explained that they had used these headstone designs many times. No one had ever complained of supernatural problems. He suggested it might be a coincidence, or maybe the weather. The husband sent another email saying the cat thing was in jest. But they planned to take the ring to the harbor for the Blessing of the Fleet and hold it over the water as the Bishop’s flower-bedecked boat sailed by. That was also said in jest, and the ring remained in the freezer.
A friend suggested purifying the house and gave them sage bound in twine and two candles made of special tallow to burn. They opened the windows and waved the smoldering sage throughout the house. That worked. The bad luck disappeared with the smoke, but the ring remained frozen.
Years later, the farm was sold, and they moved south. She asked, “Have you seen that Scottish ring?”
He shrugged and replied, “You brought it. I remember that. Is it in the safe box?”
“No, I’ve looked everywhere.”
“Have you tried the freezer?”
She stared at him for a minute with “the look,” then went into the other room without answering.