A PITIFUL MYSTERY

Within the four walls of a hut in Wingdale, NY there once resided a couple, recluses who kept to themselves. It’s said that everyone has a story and this couple was no exception. 

Many years ago as young newlyweds they longed for a child but were not able to conceive. They sought the advice of seers, gypsies, magicians and an astronomer. They were given advice, told to try this method and that, including eating a stew made with boiled lentils, cows liver and tomatoes and a tea made with the branches of the nettle plant. 

The couple tried for years without success when suddenly the wife, now middle-aged, found she was pregnant. The thrilled couple consulted the seers, gypsies, magicians and astronomers who told them the wife was too old and the babe would not survive. But survive it did and grew inside its mother, causing her great discomfort, malformation and pain. Finally the time arrived for the birth and the midwife was called. 

The wife labored for hours and the baby’s head finally began to crown. As more of the head began to emerge, the midwife screamed in terror and ran from the hut, leaving the couple alone to deliver their baby.

Trepidatiously, the husband took the midwife’s place and immediately recoiled in fear and disgust. The wife pleaded for her husband to pull the baby from her body but the babe was so repugnant, he refused. Reaching down between her legs, the wife grabbed hold and her eyes filled with fear as her hands touched the baby’s body for the first time. When her next contraction came she pulled until the babe was finally free. Asking her husband to bring the lantern closer so she could see the infant, the new mother gasped and cried out in horror and sorrow. 

The poor babe was grotesque for directly on the top of his forehead grew a large second head. The eyes were fused closed and the mouth was a mere slit. Oddly enough, the boy’s ‘normal’ head was beautifully shaped with extremely handsome features. 

“Toss it into the hearth” the husband demanded “and we will say he died at birth.” 

“I will not” exclaimed the wife. 

Her husband stared at the floor, then without looking back, he left the hut, heading to the tavern to drown his sorrows. Word of the birth had already reached the town but the father informed everyone that the baby had died. After a few hours and filled with remorse, he returned to the hut only to find his wife and baby gone. In the morning he went searching for his wife and baby but never found them. Eventually he died, a broken man. 

No trace was ever found of the mother or baby. Possibly they died. Maybe they were befriended by a traveling circus. Perhaps they were apprehended and brought to the Wingdale Psychiatric Hospital. To this day the life of the pitiful and mysterious family remains just that – a pitiful mystery. 

NAR © 2019

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