Pappy Gadosh was my great grandaddy from my momma's side. Momma was always reminiscent of the stories her great grandma told her momma. Her favorite which was, The God's Honest Truth, according to great grandma was the story of how they lost poor Elsie.
Now Elsie was always known as the towns Little One. She didn't get that name because Elsie was little or because she was a child. "Nooo Mamme" she was given that name because Elsie was little in her mind and only in her mind. She was the youngest of eleven children and it was reckoned that her momma just didn't have the strength to implant any sense in little Elsie.
Pappy Gadosh, and Big Bella shared their small meager farm with their oldest daughter Minerva, who had lost her husband through a drowning accident right after Elsie was born. The story goes that Jimbo attempted to cross a rain swollen river one night when returning home from his last inspection of the family stills that were hidden deep into the woods that surrounded the farm. He was none to steady on his hoofs after sampling too much of his good ole home brew. It wasn't a surprise to the town folks that he misjudged the old wooden bridge by a good forty feet.
Well that was niether here nor there, everyone got on as best they could. Elsie started to grow into a pretty young thing. Maybe not the brightest in the head, but a darlin to look at. She was Pappy Gadosh's favorite, and he looked out for her. When Elsie had to go to fetch water from the well, old Pappy would usually be watching from a distance. No harm was ever going to come to his Elsie, he vowed.
Elsie was indeed growing. The horror was she was growing out Not up. Bella began watching poor Elsie's every move. She began to question her endlessly. Maybe she was slipping off to meet one of the male youngens from the other side of the ridge. NO,NO Granny, NO boys." Bella began to question Elsie's male siblings. Well; they might have been ignorant in some ways, but they were never dumb enough to dispoil any of their sisters, specially poor dumb Elsie.
Elsie seemed to be crying all the time now. Not only was her belly always hurting, but everyone started being very nasty and mean to her. Pappy Gady, her term of endearment for him, had also began to be ornery towards her.
Each week brought the terrified Elsie closer and closer to her seeming due date. She had no idea what was happening to her. She would go and sit down under the apple tree down by the well. Many times she was found sleeping soundly in the shade of that old tree. No one missed her. She could have stayed forever, she bet. and no one would care.
Only the moon heard her piercing screams, and hid behind a cloud.
Elsie never came home that night. First thing the clan thought was, that Elsie was a liar and must have run off with whoever was responsible for her condition. Granny Bella insisted they go and look for the Little One.
What they found was burned into their memories, and the picture of it was handed down from one generation to the next.
Poor Elsie laid under the apple tree, dress above her head, ripped and bloody. The newborn, it's green scales covered with blood, was chewing on the umbilical cord. One swing of the pitchfork, and the lizard made a fast escape up, over and down the well.
Poor Elsie had her reputation back as far as the family was concerned. What the town folks thought made no never mind to them. No questions were ever asked.
The well was filled in and sealed forever.
Background by: Nancy