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Monday, November 5, 2007

The tale of two spinsters

WHEN WE WERE YOUNG, my late father would always warn us not to get inside the big compound owned by two spinsters, which occupies at least one-thirds of the entire block. Since the owner of the compound is a distant relative, and being young and innocent, we did not see anything wrong wandering and playing hide and seek inside. He would irrationally scold us whenever he saw me playing with my cousins and my nephews and nieces my age inside the compound. The compound was like a mini forest, planted with bamboo groves, fruit trees, bananas, bushes and tall grass. It was enough reason for a scolding because there might be snakes especially near the bamboo groves.

However, I could vividly recall that I could only freely roam if my father were with us during some gatherings and every time he would be asked to butcher pigs and other livestock. Aside from extracting tooth, he had the talent of hitting the jugular vein that allows faster and seemingly painless death of animals--without the long shrieking and crying sound. He also had the sharpest bolos and knives, thus the invitations for him to help relatives during birthdays, weddings, fiestas, and in every handaan.

One of our neighbors abhorred the two spinsters. She had a psychotic son and daughter. However, she was in denial that she attributed the mental illness to the spinsters, spreading gossips and openly uttering invectives redounding to the conclusion that they are evil and that they are witches playing with their lives. Hence, she always had herbolarios (quack doctors) in their house, sometimes living with them for months supposedly to cast the spell out from the bodies and minds of the psychotic children—only to find out that they could not. In the end, nobody was able to treat her son and daughter, until they got old. One of them, a lady, died due to infection after she was soaked in floodwater while being chained to her waist. She was the violent type. The other patient is under the care of his son and continues to have medication. Eventually, the old woman got old and weak, got bedridden, and succumbed to death.

The story about the two spinsters eventually mellowed down when the mother of the psychotic patients stopped accusing the spinsters. The spinsters also have grown old.

Although our house was re-built on a property line, we still had some windows on their side because no house was built in the adjacent lot anyway. From the windows, we could see macopa and guava trees teeming with fruit, which only fall on the ground. When the younger spinster was still stronger, she would habitually leave some guavas on our windowpane. They were big, yellow, and seemingly sweet. However, they only rot until my mother would throw them away. One day, my father and the younger spinster had the opportunity to chat by the window; she offered my father some guavas, which he ate after she left. A few minutes after he had them, he had severe stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting that caused him to be bedridden for a day.

He never expected they would do “it” to him since he is a relative. He was mad as hell and hurled invectives, too. Then, he realized they had a spat some years back when our house was reconstructed. The property line had to be redefined and reclaimed on our favor.

Only then did he tell me about their witchcraft. It was like a piece of a puzzle. This could be the reason why he was always scolding us during our childhood when it comes to playing inside the compound. I did not believe what he said, thinking it could be medical in nature because he had a history of stomach ulcer.

Recently, when I had the chance to go home, I would still see some guavas on the windowpane. It would not hurt if we would follow my father’s order not to eat any fruit left on the windowpane. Therefore, I took the liberty to throw them away—even if they were delicious, and even if my wife would have wanted and almost ate them (as in biting the guava). Lately, however, I noticed that no one was giving us guavas anymore. I wondered where have the two spinsters gone?

The two old spinsters are already old and bedridden.

My first reaction was, “You mean they are still alive?” They are even much, much older than my father, and we never heard any news that they ever got sick!

Legend has it that witches cannot die until they pass on their power to one of their kins. Could it be that they are real witches and that they are waiting for their power to be inherited by one of their nieces or grandchildren?

Their middle-aged niece, who is the only one left to take care of them, sees through their needs. She told her cousin-in-law that she is only doing it out of respect and pity for the old women and not for any inheritance. It was even a butt of joke between her and her cousin-in-law, if she was promised a hefty inheritance.

“What inheritance? Their evil powers? No way!” she vehemently said.


2 people have commented. Leave your comments too!:

i believe there indeed are witches out there, better be careful, if i were you i would have spent time talking to them when they still could, masyado lang siguro akong tsismoso, hehehe

Lord Manila Stone, it gives me the creeps by the mere thought of it. Now I realize why their house was so dark. We were going in or out their house. It was neat and clean, including the gardens. But inside, it is dark and eerie!

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