Sunday, October 7, 2012

Magpie Tales 138...The Words

Sick Woman, 1665, by Jan Steen

She had been ill for many days, weak and listless, unable to keep anything in her stomach.  There were so many ways to die: Black Death, Influenza, Cholera; she knew one of them had come to claim her.  Anxious and worried, her husband had finally called in the doctor.

When he had given them his diagnosis, she had swooned, the rapid beats of her heart following her down into the peaceful, soothing darkness.

Drifting slowly up from the warm, soft layers of oblivion, she first became aware of her head resting on a pillow, the doctor gently holding her wrist, then she recognized the quick footsteps of her husband, saw his hand tightly clutching a small tankard of water as he rushed into the room.

The doctor's announcement echoed in her mind.  She felt half in this world of disappointment and dismay, and half in another of hope and prayers answered.  Hardly daring to believe, she looked to her husband, watched his lips as he whispered the doctor's words again:

"Madam, you are with child."

Magpie Tales 138.  I like the little smile on the woman's face, the look of wonder, almost disbelief.  I didn't see her with an illness, but perhaps with a secret hope realized.


  1. The dreaded morning sickness... well done!

  2. From "soft layers of oblivion" to a new life. Sweet ;-)

  3. My mother used to say pregnancy was having a parisite in your belly-my x-wife looved that analogy-so the illness angel is in great context.

  4. Way back then, pregnancy was fraught with danger ... let's hope hers progresses perfectly.

  5. A good answer to why she is feeling ill!

    By the way, I love your Peace Rose. Mine in the garden gave beautiful, fragrant roses this summer.

  6. A wonderful ending to a beautiful write! :-)

  7. Beautiful short story! Yes, there were many things to die of back then for which there was no remedy. I imagine being with child to be a relief, though countless women died of that too.

    By the way, I too have to mention your Peace rose. It's my favorite, and the first I bought for my mother which turned her onto roses 25 years ago.

    Thank you.

  8. Thanks everyone for your very much appreciated comments, and though pregnancy was especially fraught back in the Middles Ages, I'm going to imagine a happy result.

    Robbie: I prefer symbiotic to parasitic...though in the end, I guess they're both accurate.

    Harvee and Yvonne: Peace is my absolute favorite rose of all time. It's not only beautiful, but very abundant, with a most heavenly scent. And with an interesting history, too. What more could one want from a single plant? ;D