Monday, July 14, 2008

Statute of Limitations?

In a small Russian village in the pale of settlement back in my grandfather's day, a young mother- to- be was about to deliver her first child.

Female family members gathered to witness the event.

The midwife went about her chores culminating with holding the newborn infant girl by her heels and giving her the traditional slap. But alas no crying out.

Try as she may, the midwife could not get a response from the otherwise perfectly formed child.

The family went into conference.

It was Friday and by Jewish tradition the remains must be buried before the sundown of the Sabbath.

A boy was sent to summon Hyam, the grave digger.

As the gathering began their mourning, the seven year old sister of would be mother sidled up to the crib. Projecting out from the blanket covering the baby was a doll-like hand.

An uncontrollable impulse seized the child. She grabbed a pin and poked at the tiny fingers.

A lusty wail ensued. The ladies rushed in in response. The infant's pallor had been replaced by a rosy hue and she was bawling out her greeting to the world.

The seven year old was hugged and feted. The story was told and retold. People came from miles around to see the seven year old aunt who had saved her niece's life.

The young couple invited the heroine to come and live with them. As she neared marriage age they suggested that maybe she should seek a husband. She replied that she had saved the baby's life she must remain and take care of her.

When the niece became a bride, she transferred herself to the newlywed's hut. Each time it was hinted that the place was small and the budget was smaller the Aunt would remind the couple that had it not been for her----.

The Aunt lived to be ninety nine years old moving in with each generation. After all, she had saved the infant's life and therefore made their life possible. They couldn't convince her she was "impossible".

Obviously, there is a moral to the tale but I have forgotten it.


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