A Gift of Mother-in-Law
This mystic story I heard from mother of my friend Kate, when we were sitting at her kitchen and complaining to each other of mothers-in-law. Everyone, who has such a classical mother-in-law as we, will understand. So we were sitting over a cup of hot tea and putting nails in coffins of our husbands’ mothers.
Suddenly Kate’s mother Angelica had got in a word. She said that she had listened to us and also that in comparison with her mother-in-law our own in-laws were just angles and that we have to worship them. Kate started to clamor trying to prove that all the mothers-in-law are devil’s incarnations, which exist with only aim – to suck blood of poor daughters-in-law.
Angelica shook her head and said her mother-in-law was devil’s incarnation indeed. Then she hesitated a bit, gave up and told us her story.
“I have married quite early being already pregnant for 3 months. My fiancé was a common guy without big money and coat-tails. What is for me – I was just a tatterdemalion. That is how my mother-in-law called me when she got to know that her daughter-in-law had neither dowry, nor rich parents. Thus, we registered marriage and started living in the flat of my husband’s parents. The flat was quite big – a three-room apartment. We had been able to get the smallest room, all the wardrobes of which were jammed with clothes of mother-in-law. She could enter the room without a knock early in the morning and start digging in her clothes paying no regard to me and my husband. Such a behavior offended me and I couldn’t understand why my mother-in-law gave the cold shoulder to me and what she was insulted with. When I started trying to talk to her she either kept silence or mumbled something unclear what led conversation to none.
On time I delivered Katherine – she was rather loud and restless child, and my mother-in-law started perpetually losing her temper due to her screams and cry. She was irritated with child’s napkins in bathroom, feeding bottles and go-cart in the anteroom. All-in-all one fine day parents-in-law asked us to rent a separate dwelling and not to distress the olds – though by that moment mother-in-law was about 50 years old and she was quite a wholesome woman.
Thus, we found a room and left. For several years we had been seeing in-laws rather seldom, but by the third Kate’s birthday the miracles began. Mother-in-law came with splendid bouquet of flowers, a doll for Kate and little velvet box, in which there were amazing earrings – an emerald encircled with diamonds. I was astonished yet more when mother-in-law started telling guests that she loved me so much that decided to present me such a gift for lasting memory.
Of course, I felt something was amiss: I have never been humored with such expensive gifts – what does mother-in-law want? In the mean time she proceeded to chatter something like “Put them on, let me admire you, blah-blah-blah”. Well, I had to put them on. They were really fine-looking, but I was confused with face of mother-in-law – it expressed some latent triumph, some wicked exultance, which, however, glimpsed and quickly disappeared. That day I taken off the earrings just before going to bed and noticed my ears were red a bit.
Since that time mother-in-law had become a frequent visitor in our house and constantly insisted me to put on those earrings – or she would take offence. So I had to put them on. Later I noticed that the more I wore earrings the worse I looked. My health started going down: one day my head hurts, another day pressure rapidly drops. Plus, constant feeling of tiredness… And my mother-in-law on the contrary became more cheerful and bouncy.
Then something had happened – even now every time I remember about it, I get goosebumps. I started to notice some shadow near me: either in a window or in a mirror. With time the shadow became more condensed – it was high and lean and as if tried to merge with me.
By that moment doctors declared that I have a serious gynaecological disease, they had been talking about operation and couldn’t give me an ironclad guarantee that I would survive. Upon that I constantly cried and felt I was a rickety old woman. Forlornly I’ve decided to go to a wisewoman – if she could help? So I went to her. I can remember as it was yesterday –I hardly came in, she howled: “It smells like carrion, you have brought death with you.” I was horror-stricken and the wisewoman just flourished her arms asking me to leave.
Then I remembered about Kate – what will happen with her, if I die? So I bowed down to wisewoman’s feet, started crying and asking her to help me, to save from death. She grumbled a bit, but invited me to some room where she started to act. She burned candles, poured wax, fanned me with some whip and at last said that I had some item stripped from a decedent and that due to that item I was loosing my vitality. “The only way to save you is to give that item back to a decedent or to a person who made such a present. Otherwise, the decedent will take you with him”, she said.
Here I remembered about earrings. Were they that present the wisewoman was talking about? I came in great hurry home, grabbed earrings and rushed to in-laws. When mother-in-law opened a door, I hurled earring to her and cried that all the evil she wished to me would backfire on her. Then I came back home, got Kate and left for my mother. Later my husband asked me to return, but I refused.
Mother-in-law died in eight month after my escape. There was an inoperable tumor found, and she burned away very quickly. What is for me – all the symptoms were completely gone, and doctors just shrugged their shoulders. So, it turns out that mother-in-law tried to pass her disease to me through the earrings that she took from her own dead mother-in-law. So it goes, girls”, - in such a way Angelica finished her story.