Superstitions Ch. 14byJoseki Ko©
Angus McTavish has been dead for nigh on to ten months. He was murdered in the prime of his life by Chollum of the Black Douglas. I feel really bad that I'm digging him up now and not letting him rest as the poor man deserves. Let me tell you how it happened. It all started about 2 weeks ago.
"Maurin my darling." I called "Watcha be doing now lassie?"
"I'm catching fireflies." Came the response. I didn't hear her actually say it but I knew she was thinking. Watcha think I'm doing stupid.
"Honey might it be easier on you if it was nighttime and they were flying around lighting themselves up."
Again the six year old response came trying so hard to be nice when I was obviously being so stupid.
"But daddy I need to find them now so I'll have them for tonight."
I know when to give up. "Ok Maurin, but watch wear you're going, ok?
Maurin is the light of my life. She is 6 years old and already she knows she has the world by the tail. I went back to work cleaning the granary so that my crops this year could be stored in a clean dry place.
As I worked I began to hum a little tune, which passed away the time quite satisfactorily. A few hours later I broke from my labors and went into dinner. As I exited my granary, I noticed it had been raining for some time. I entered my humble house just as my wife was just setting the table. I helped her finish up and called for Maurin to come and eat.
My wife Anne looked at me strangely asking why I was calling upstairs when Maurin had been with me in the granary. I started to get worried as I told my wife that Maurin hadn't been with me but out catching fireflies.
We both headed for the door at the same time. The rain was cold as most highland rains are and our daughter had been out in it for hours.
We found her about a half mile away still trying to catch fireflies. I scooped her up and we all headed back to dinner. When we got inside I dried her off and bundling her up made her eat by the fire. She did thank me because she was cold. My wife and I dried off before dinner as well and we were hoping that she'd not get sick.
As it happened she didn't. The very next morning Anne my wife had come down with the chills and was starting to look a little peaked. I set Maurin to watching over her and went about my work. I stopped in at midday where my wife met me with lunch. She looked even worse and I admonished her and sent her back to bed.
I returned to work but my mind was on her the rest of the day. She was even worse when I got home that night. I made some onion soup and fed it to her but I had no hope that she'd feel better.
Sure enough by morning she was delirious and bed ridden. I set Maurin to watching her again and started off to the village to get the healer. I stopped at my neighbors some two miles away, and asked the Lady of the house if she wouldn't mind watching my girl and my wife. She was very glad to do so and headed off immediately to see to them.
I went to the castle and finding the Healer begged him to help me. He agreed promptly and packing his things used me as a packmule while we trekked back to my cottage. I was glad to do it though the sheer amount of items he took was staggering.
For two days we tried salves and potions. Nothing seemed to work. He even tried bleeding her but that just seemed to make her weaker. Finally he told me of the only remaining cure left available to us. We needed to find a murdered man and remove the white moss from inside it's skull. This would surely do the trick.
I was not wanting to be wasting time so here I am, with dark approaching digging up a murdered man. I hope Angus understands for I'd not want him to haunt me the way some folks happens. Just a little deeper.
I finished unearthing Angus about dusk and sure enough there was white moss in his skull. I scraped out all that I could and put it in the silk bag the healer had given me just for this. I set the bag next to my heart and shoveled the dirt back on top of poor Angus.
I headed for home and upon my arrival there presented my trophy to the healer. He boiled some water and took out several pinches of moss to add to the water. As he stirred it I started to wonder.
"Good healer, exactly how will this work?" I asked.
"Ah said the healer. The life force contained in the moss is what we're after. When someone dies their soul departs for heave. When a man is murdered his soul stays with the body. As the moss grows inside the skull it absorbs that life energy into itself. We have harvested this energy and will impart it into Anne."
He finished making the broth and we fed it to her twice that night and twice the next day. True to his word Anne recovered. I see her now baking bread and am thankful that I have such a knowledgeable healer around. For until she got better I had believed that to be a mere superstition.
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