Sunday, November 07, 2010

Wolves howl

Tarragona, 10th August 1713

It happened little after noon. There was an air of simple happiness in the Perelló's humble cubicle that day, because Granny Teresa had perceived her first payment in money after having healed the disease of a councilman, and she had decided to allow her young ones a somewhat more appetizing meal. Thanks to this, they had on table their first meat since their arrival in Tarragona city, and such circumstance seemed to predict the arrival of better times.

Young Mireia was the happiest of all, no doubt. Ever hungry as she was, she started devouring her partridge portion just after sitting at table, amidst small grunts of satisfaction.

-Mireia, you should be a bit more polite at table -gently scolded by her mother.

-Yes I should, Mum -she glady admitted with full mouth, albeit persisted dredging with genuine delight.

The girl was plainly comical with that small trickle running down her cheek, and all three women started laughing eagerly. Then it happened: Mireia suddenly stopped laughing and stared to somewhere beyond with open wide eyes, her face rigidly frozen in a stupor expression first, then full of terror. Mireia then abruptly stood up and bent on her belly, in a sharp moan of acute pain.

The girl fell down, still holding her belly with open hands, as if suddenly hurt by a knife, in a mix of painful breathing and moaning. Alarmed, her relatives gently took her to their common bed and stood for a few minutes close by her, professionally checking their younger, but could see no obvious symptoms. After a while, Mireia shaked violently and gave a loud scream of genuine terror, as if trying to escape from some invisible threat closing to her. And then she fell again, her hands around the throat, all consciousness lost.

Mireia remained unconscious for several hours, under a permanent care of her deeply worried relatives. When she finally came back to life, her expression was plenty of grief and mourning. She simply said:

-Albert is dead, Mum. He's dead, as all those who accompanied him.

-Dear, don't be silly. You don't know, you can't -old Teresa answered in the firmest voice she could, vainly trying to hide her own deep unrest and doubts.

-Yes I do know -she sharply replied, her eyes in tears-. I've been shot and tailed along with him.

That night, both women heard her younger quietly crying all night through.

That night too, all Tarragona city's inhabitants could clearly hear an unusually dense, mourning choir of wolves howling, as if the hugest pack ever, an entire army of these beasts had gathered around the city. Howling all night through.

1 comment:

abdul666 said...

From time to time -generally no more than once every three or four generations- a deep empathy with wolves (*) appears in a member of the pure bloodline of an outstanding warrior who died heroically long, very long ago.
It is said that, for the most gifted among those endowed with this affinity, ravens are of good omen and can ever, sometimes, be used as messengers, scouts and spies.

Such as least is a traditional belief well remembered in Monte-Cristo.
----
*: and sometimes more:
Even a man who is pure in heart
And says his prayers by night
May become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms
And the autumn moon is bright.