“The Ballad of the Mournful Tavern” by K. McCullers in brief

A small town in the American South. Cotton mill, workers’ houses, peach trees, a church with two stained-glass windows and a main street of yards in a hundred.

If you walk along the main street in the August afternoon, then little will be pleased with the eye in this kingdom of boredom and desert. In the heart of the city stands a large house, which, it seems, is about to collapse under the onslaught of time. All the windows in it are boarded up, except for one, on the second floor, and only occasionally the shutters open and a strange face peeks out onto the street.

Once there was a store in this house, and it was owned by Miss Amelia Evans, a large man-like person who showed intense business activity. In addition to the store, she had a small distillery in the marshes outside the city, and her alcohol was very popular among the townspeople. Miss Amelia Evans knew how much in this life, and only with people she felt not quite confident, if they were not partners in her financial and trading operations.

In the year when she was thirty years old, an event happened that dramatically changed the course of urban everyday life and the fate of Amelia herself. One day her store had a dwarf hunchback with a suitcase tied with a rope. He said that he wants to see Miss Amelia Evans, whose relative is supposed to be. Having received a very cold reception from the hostess, the hunchback sat down on the steps and wept bitterly. Baffled by this turn of events, Miss Amelia invited him into the house and treated him to dinner.

The next day, Amelia, as usual, was busy with her own affairs, but the hunchback fell through the earth. Rumors spread throughout the city. Someone did not doubt that she got rid of a relative in some terrible way. Two days the townspeople made guesses, and finally at eight in the evening the most curious appeared in front of the store. To their surprise, they saw the hunchback unharmed, in a good mood. He entered into a friendly conversation with the locals. Then came Amelia. She looked unusual. On her face – a mixture of embarrassment, joy and suffering – so usually look in love.

On Saturdays Amelia successfully sold alcohol. She did not change her rule even now, but if earlier the trade went exclusively to takeaway, that evening she offered customers not only bottles, but also glasses.

This opened the first zucchini in the town, and henceforth every evening at the shop of Miss Amelia the locals gathered and took time for a glass of whiskey and friendly conversation.

Four years have passed. Hunchback Lymon Willis – or, as Amelia called him, Brother Lymon – stayed in her house. Zucchini made a profit, and the hostess served not only alcohol, but also food. Brother Lymon participated in all the undertakings of Amelia, and she sometimes got her “Ford” and drove him to a nearby town to watch a movie, or to a fair, or to cockfights. Brother Aaimon was very afraid of death, in the evenings he was made especially uncomfortable, and Miss Amelia did her best to distract him from bad thoughts. That’s why, actually, this zucchini appeared, which greatly brightened the life of the adult population.

The townspeople were sure that Amelia fell in love with a dwarf. It was all the more surprising that the previous experience of the marriage life of Amelia was unsuccessful: her marriage lasted only ten days.

Then she was only nineteen, and she recently buried her father. Marvin Macy was considered the most beautiful young man in the district, many women dreamed of embracing him, and he brought some of the young and innocent girls to sin. In addition, his temper was steep, and, according to rumors, he wore in his pocket the dried ear of a man whom he once stabbed... with a razor in a fight.

Marvin Macy earned his living by setting up weaving looms, he had his money, and in the awkward, shy, self-contained Amelia he was interested not in her real estate, but herself.

He proposed to her, and she agreed. Someone claimed that she wanted to get more wedding gifts, someone said that her just dopekla malicious aunt, but in one way or another the wedding took place.

However, when the priest announced young men and women, Amelia quickly left the church, and the newly minted spouse fought for her. The wedding night, according to curious, ended in embarrassment. The young ones, as it should be, climbed into the bedroom, but an hour later Amelia came down with a roar, slammed the kitchen door and kicked her in her heart. The rest of the night she spent in the kitchen, reading “Farmer’s Almanac”, sipping coffee and smoking her father’s pipe.

The next day, Marvin Macy went to a nearby town and returned with presents. A young wife ate chocolate, and put everything else on sale. Then Marvin Macy brought a lawyer and made a paper, according to which all his property and money went into her use. Amelia carefully read the document, hid it in the table, but did not relent, and all attempts by Macy to take advantage of her marital rights led to the fact that she generally forbade him to approach himself, rewarding for disobedience with cuffs.

Ten days later, Marvin Macy could not stand it and left the house of his cruel wife, leaving a letter in farewell, where confessions of love were accompanied by a promise to get even with her for everything. Then he began to rob gas stations, got caught, was convicted and got a term. He reappeared in the city six years after the courgette opened.

Marvin Macy made an indelible impression on Brother Lymon, and the hunchback began to follow him on his heels. He came to Macy’s house early in the morning and waited for him to wake up. They were together appearing in the zucchini, and Laimon treated him to a drink at the expense of the establishment, Amelia resignedly took off this whim of Brother Lymon, although it was not easy for her to accept such humility. Once the hunchback announced that Marvin Macy would be living in their house. Amelia took it, too, for fear that she would lose Brother Lymon if she threw her ex-husband to the door.

However, it was clear to everyone that the case was moving towards a denouement, and every evening the courgette filled with more and more local residents, not going to miss such a spectacle. It became known that Amelia is practicing with something like a boxing pear, and many were inclined to think that if it comes to hand-to-hand combat, then Marvin Macy is not worth it.

Finally, the match took place in the evening of February. A prolonged exchange of blows did not give advantage to either side. Then boxing went into the fight. Soon the position of Marvin Macy became almost hopeless – he was on his back, and Amelia’s hands already closed on his throat. But then Brother Lymon, who watched the fight from the table on which he stood, made some fantastic leap and fell on Amelia from the back…

Marvin Macy got the upper hand. His ex-wife somehow rose and retired to her office, where she spent time until morning. In the morning, it turned out that Marvin Macy and Brother Lymon left the city. But during the night they made a uniform devastation in the house of Amelia, and then destroyed her distillery.

Amelia closed the shop and every evening she went out onto the porch and sat looking at the road. But Brother Lymon never appeared. For the fourth year she ordered the carpenter to board all the windows of the house and since then has not appeared in public.


“The Ballad of the Mournful Tavern” by K. McCullers in brief