“The secret,” Hiltha said, “is air holes.”
“Air holes,” repeated Gretta dubiously.
“You have to poke a few holes in the lid before you screw it on. The trick is to make the holes big enough for air to go in, but not so wide that they can get out. Took me a while to figure it out.”
She reached out and flicked a jar. Tiny, squeaking voices erupted up and down the shelf, accompanied by the clink of tiny fists against glass sides.
“Come over here and try that!”
“Big fat slobbering hag!”
“Piss on you!”
Gretta winced. “What a racket.”
“I know,” Hiltha said ruefully. “You learn to live with it. I have to feed and water ’em every day. It’s all nuts and berries, but still. They eat so much that I spend half my day foraging. And don’t get me started on the smell. It’s a nightmare mucking them out.”
“Why do you bother, then? There are plenty of other ways you can store them. Alith smokes hers, and Ruth pickles hers with dill. And jam is always a favorite. It doesn’t seem worth the hassle of dealing with them alive after you’ve caught them already, so why?”
Hiltha flicked another jar, eliciting a second high-pitched burst of temper tantrum from the jars’ occupants and several extremely rude hand gestures. They glared at the two ogresses with fearless impudence. Hiltha grinned.
“Keeps ’em fresh.”