Hershel Worthington is a tax collector employed by the king who visits Granny to collect owed taxes from her. She is unable to pay so he offers her an extension. Granny gives him a pie for his trouble, without him knowing the pie is actually two days old, and Hershel takes it with the confirmation he will return Thursday for the money. He turns up at the village market and purposely blocks Red's path, startling her that she drops her baskets and coins. Hershel doesn't apologize for scaring her and instead picks up her money. He informs her about the taxes she and her grandmother owe him and then suggests if she wants a spot as a market vendor near the farmers she can pay half or if she would rather be near the gypsies in the alleyway she can pay less. Another villager, Amos Slade, intervenes when he sees Hershel with Red, however, Hershel shows him a royal decree that allows him to collect market vendor fees on the king's behalf. Amos then curses before forfeiting his money to the man, as other villagers also comply with Hershel's orders. Disgusted by Hershel, Red requests her money back as she will not be buying a spot in the market, to which Hershel returns the coins to her.
Much later, Hershel stops by Granny's cottage again, this time to deliver another decree from the king which states since they cannot pay their taxes she and her granddaughter have three days to vacate their home. Hershel leaves after giving them the message, and on his way down Main Street, some of the village boys throw rotten tomatoes at him, hitting him on his three-pointed hat. He goes into the tavern where he has a drink while chatting with the bartender Willie. Red, having tracked him down to persuade him to forgive Granny's unpaid taxes, overhears him telling Willie that he wanted a son but it's not possible now that his wife Ernestine wants nothing to do with him. To settle the debt she and her grandmother owe, Red forfeits her mother's precious necklace, which Hershel accepts by biting it to see if it's made of real gold. However, Hershel ponders what the king would want with a piece of gold when he already has so many riches, so Red fibs about the necklace being enchanted with a love spell which a man can use to win his lady love's heart. This interests Hershel who wishes to rekindle his wife's feelings for him, and he agrees to wipe away Granny's tax debt.
At the town meeting that Mayor Filbert calls after Amos is killed by the wolf terrorizing the village, Hershel asks Red about what magic words he should use to activate the necklace's power. Red says the magic words are he just needs to tell his wife how he feels about her. As Hershel considers this suggestion, Peter interrupts and informs Hershel that Mayor Filbert wants to speak with him and points him on where to go outside. Only after Hershel has left, Peter mischievously reveals to Red that his brothers are waiting out there to pelt the tax collector with rotten vegetables. Hershel comes back into the town meeting with vegetable stains on the back of his shirt and then takes the stand to discuss the new fee being charged for market vendors. Unknown to Hershel, while he was busy dodging vegetables, Peter switched Red's necklace that the man had on and replaced it with a replica necklace in order to return the original to Red.
|Once Upon a Time: Novels|
- Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 11
- Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 5
- Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 16
- Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 17
- Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 20
- Red's Untold Tale, Wendy Toliver, Kingswell Teen, September 2015, Chapter 21