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Inside Front cover - A Twice Told Tale

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/8/1 (1241 reads)
 

A Twice-Told Tale We offer the following story as told by both Mary Ann MacDougall and her brother, John James Whitty. We heard the stories on different days, once in Ingonish and once in North Sydney. They are about the same event as related to them by their parents, but there ari' differences in what is remembered. Together, they make a more full telling of an inter-~ esting story, and happily, both Mary Ann and John James told the story well. Mary Ann MacDougall, Ingonish: I have an idea that it was a real true story because my mother and my father were together. She was a servant girl working at this house. He used to go to see her. An5rway, her moth? er was always against her going with my fa? ther. You understand? But she was dead now. So they kept on going together anyway. This night, where she was working, the man had gone away. He had no children. His wife had died and he had hired my mother for to work there. And my father, he was of a mind of always wanting to sing or something like that--so he was sitting on? to a chair--and the chair was back to the wall. And it came near nine o'clock. She wanted him to sing this song, so he start? ed to sing this song. He said the song was only about half over when he heard this bang on the wall. He thought it was just some young fellows were frightening him. So he--he didn't open the door then. He just hollered and he said, "Try it again." So he sat back in the same position in his chair again. He kept on with the song. The next time, he said it hit that hard that you thought for sure that the house shook. So anyway, he jumped, put his chair back--and he went to the door, went to open the door--and when he went to turn the knob one way, the knob twisted the other way. He tried it two or three times. He went and sat down, and he began to get weak. He asked my moth? er for a drink of water. And she found that he couldn't speak. I'm going to bring it out right--doesn't matter if you're a Catholic or a Protestant, doesn't make any difference--but she ran to a holy water bottle, and she got the holy water and she put a little stuff into his mouth. And his tongue, she said, was right thick then, couldn't get a word out. But after a lit? tle while, he began to come back to him? self. He got up again. He went to go open the door. He opened the door this time easy. There was a woman standing side on him. And there was a piece tied under her chin to the top of her head, and they knew who it was, too. So that's the time they went out of their minds all together with fright. They both nearly died that night. And when the man of the house came home-- that's the man she stayed with--he wanted to find out what was wrong. So they up and told him. So my father said, "I can't go home. I wouldn't go outside that door to? night." The man said, "Stay where you are." So he had to stay there all night. He knew who she was an5rway--it was her mother. My mother's mother. He said he knew her as soon as he saw her. (And she was the one who didn't want them togeth- Front Cover Photo of Sandy MacLean by George Thomas. Margaree Harbour. er?) Yes. That was almost her last words to my mother. She wanted her to part with him. But she never listened to her. So then he saw her a second time. (Where?) John James remembers the second time. I'd have to find that out. But the second time he saw her, he had to go to the priest, told the priest about her. Priest asked him, did he think he knew her. Said, "Yes," He said, "You have a mass for that soul and you won't be bothered any more," So he had a mass for that woman. And from that day till he died, he never saw her, he was never frightened any more. So that seemed kind of true. Because I know I could believe my mother, same as I could believe God Almighty, anything she told me. She'd never forget that night, she said, as long as she ever lived. John James Whitty, North Sydney: Well, my son, I'll tell you, like the other fellow said, I never saw too many things--but there are other people that saw things down there, I'm telling you right here, and I know it to be the truth because my father saw things. He told me one night that he and my mother--they were going to? gether then--they called into a house close by the church (in Ingonish), The reason they called in is because my moth? er's cousin was in there--she was keeping house for a poor fellow who had lost his wife, died about a month before that--and

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