Sunday, February 04, 2007

As related in my family

I don't know how much of the following is true. I'm told I had a great-great-aunt-or-cousin-or-something named Lethal, who lived in a little village in the old country. I guess her name was actually Lisel, and somewhere along the line of remembrance someone had a lisp, so I'll call her that. The name of the village is lost, and anyway it's not there anymore.

Lisel is said to have lived in a small house along a lane. She was remarkable for little except the roses she grew at the edge of her plot of land. The village was also of no note, being a poor and quiet place in a time of great upheaval. The one unusual resident was an angel. The villagers were much in awe of him and hoped his presence meant they were sheltered from politics and war. He was not the best of neighbors, though, for every spring morning at dawn he walked his dog along the lane, pausing to look at the roses in front of Lisel's house, roses which in their white and butter and crimson radiance were almost as beautiful as the long feathers of his wings; and every morning his dog made a mess there. So every morning Lisel would come out and clean the street, especially on Sabbath mornings, when people would be walking past in their good shoes and clean dresses.

Needless to say this led to grumbling in the village. But everyone acknowledged that the other side of the lane, muddy from a nearby stream, was unsuitable for walking, and the synagogue couldn't be moved, and no one wished to anger the angel by pointing out the trouble he was causing; and no one could convince Lisel to stop growing her roses in her front yard. The yearly tensions got so bad that Lisel's son, having scrimped and saved for ten years, packed his bags one spring and moved to America.

That's how we know what little we do about her. The son died childless and intestate and by law the money he left was to be divided among all his living relatives. Inquiries to his birthplace revealed only that men had come one day and torn up the rosebushes, and no one who had lived there was heard from again.


Blogger Steve said...

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21/3/07 21:57  

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