Tale #98: The Woman Of Small Miracles

There was an old woman who could, quite by accident, cast miracles. Fruit would grow on her trees when all else withered. Money would be found just when it seemed that she would thrown be into debtors’ prison. Storms would blow in but stop before her door.

A family of bandits, having heard tales of her wondrous (yet modest) feats, imprisoned this old villager in her own house, and forced her to provide for them. The mother of the bandits starved her till food appeared in abundant quantities from her cellar. The father of the bandits stole from her until, nearing destitution, a smattering of gold coins emerged from the thick black ash that lined her hearth.

Finally the bandits’ son beat her, not with any plan of miraculous reward, but simply out of spite.

That afternoon, the old woman’s sister, long considered dead, rode through the town on an ash grey mare. Each house she passed she set aflame, until finally she came to her sister’s house. This she circled round three times, calling out her sister’s name as she did. Then she stopped, took aim, and fired three shots from her gun.

From the three windows, three bandits fell dead, the mother, the father, the son. From the front door stepped the old woman, while from the mare stepped down the sister. What they said to each other as they embraced none of us could hear, but moments later, the tears still wet on their cheeks, they rode out into the woods.

Neither the woman, her sister, nor even the mare, were ever seen again. The bandits bodies burnt with the town, and their ashes blew away on the morning wind. Our family made its way to the next town, and avoided thereafter miracles of all descriptions, whether large or small or somewhere in between.



1. Written on August 2nd, 2019


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