The Cottage Of The Old Woman

<<Lady Xenia, she cursed the village.>> old Maro said to her granddaughter.

<<What do you mean grandma.>> asked Sofia, a grown woman but still grandma’s little girl, who always loved her stories.

<<There was a dark period in the village. I was still a young girl, and I remember it like yesterday.>> the grandmother began to say. << At that time, all families experienced death very closely; many family members died one after the other. It was unpredictable and unexplained. My big brother died, you know, and my newborn sister.>>

She remembered the village, her lovely old village, right before most of the young people left for the capital. A village that lived brightly until death surrounded it like some dark cloud. Old, young, everyone knew each other, the good and the bad. Not a day passed without them learning about the baker’s family’s fights, the blacksmith’s infidelities, and the active milkman’s activities. They were all terrified when the villagers began to die one by one. All deaths were different, but the village had between one and five relatives dead.

Even now, Grandma Maro remembers the little house on the edge of the village. When Grandma Maro was still young, she, Mrs. Xenia, lived inside. Locked in her little dark house, always quiet, she didn’t provoke anyone. She was widowed young and never had children. She avoided any contact with the world. She was one of the favorite gossips of the village women. Others justified her absence in mourning, which they said she never got over. Some spoke of madness, but she never bothered anyone. Other women spoke of “fear in people,” fear of catching the bad luck of the villagers and dying, of never wanting to meet her husband again, whom she was so afraid of.

Those who were old enough remembered the married life of Mrs. Xenia. Married at an early age, her parents gave her to a barbarian man before she was even sixteen. He had property, and some fields in the area, so it was a good marriage for the time. But the man had a weakness, drinking. When drunk some evenings, he would come home and beat the ill-fated little Xenia. Her voices, cries, and pleas could be heard through the evenings in the village, but no one ever responded.

One day, little Xenia’s husband had a strange accident. They found him dead after the night he didn’t return to the village from his field, inside the circle of dead and barren parts of the field. His scythe was stuck in the middle of the dead earth, and his face was deformed with terror. They said it was a heart attack. The reason he was in this part of his field, which he never went to, was never known, of course.

<<Many assumed his death because he was a drunkard.>> Grandma Maro said to her granddaughter. <<Others said that he deserved it, that God punished him for how he treated the young girl.>>

<<What do you think?>> Sofia asked her grandmother.

<<I agreed with the stories they told me, I couldn’t know, I wasn’t born then. But their conclusions were disproved the day they discovered her dead in her hut.>>

One morning, when a long time passed for Lady Xenia to be unseen in the village, a fog spread over her hut. The doctor noticed this, and although he was not superstitious, he decided to find out about the health of the lonely old woman since death came to this village in any way. When he approached the hut, he felt a shiver. At least, that’s what he told his fellow villagers. He knocked on the door and shouted, but he got no answer.

He managed to convince the villagers to disturb the quiet life of the old woman. They gathered outside her sealed hut and shouted or knocked on the door. Dead silence was the answer they got. They sent the little children to see if they could find her in a field. Old Xenia was nowhere to be seen. They decided to break down the door.

Darkness bathed the hut inside, and the suffocating atmosphere suffocated their lungs. The only air in the house was the smell of garbage and rot, her dead flesh lying on her bed. The villagers took off their hats to show respect for the dead old woman.

The rumors continued in the village, that she died of sadness and loneliness, that she was pretty old and her time had come. Others said that the misfortune of their dead fellow villagers overtook her. Once they buried her, they went in to clean her hut and found out what was going on.

Scraps of mouse hands, crow feathers, cat and dog eyeballs, and bat wings were all arranged in various jars on her shelf. Animal skin burnt and rotted inside a trunk. Papers from archives, names of the villagers, and the dead were erased with one imperative line. Last and most serious, a map of the area and fields, with various marks marked on the map.

The villagers got sly and decided to look at the signs. They found tiny black dolls with black hair full of pins buried in the soil of the fields almost two meters deep. Raven feathers threaded through animal eyes like skewers. Claws from unknown predators wedged between the wood and bricks of the huts marked on the map, the ones that suffered the most deaths.

They immediately dug her up and burned her inside her hut, along with all her possessions and magic.

<<She cursed her husband, and then cursed the whole village for not protecting her, as well as her parents, who died almost immediately after her husband’s death, the first deaths.>>

Created by Diana Chemeris

Story in Greek link below:

Δημοσιεύτηκε από τον dianachem

Fairy Tales May Be Real


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