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Chapter 154 - The poisonous outer life sphere of the widow.
154,1. Mathael bows and immediately begins to give the details of a memorable death, the story being as follows: “In a small place between Bethlehem and Jerusalem a strange widow lived. She was married twice. The first husband died after only a year. With him she had one daughter who, apart from the fact that she was deaf and dumb from birth, was otherwise fresh, healthy and very cheerful, which is seldom the case with deaf mutes.
154,2. After she had been a widow for a year, a second quite robust man courted her and duly married the widow, who was at stage still very beautiful. But the man did not last much longer with this woman than his predecessor as he only lived for two years and a few months and died just like the first one in state of general emaciation.
154,3. This scared off all the other men from then on and in future no one dared to pay court to her. With the second quite strong man she had no children, while the deaf-mute daughter made positive progress and by her fifth year was as big and strong as any other girl in her twelfth year. She had a very beautiful face and every man looked at this deaf-mute girl with great pleasure and a certain longing.
154,4. The widow lived afterwards for another twenty years, remaining very beautiful and even quite attractive, and her daughter enchanted every man she met as there was no more beautiful or more attractive girl to be found in the Land of the Jews! This girl was at the same time quite intelligent and well brought up and knew how to communicate with others quite well using sign language - but always in a really artistic and elegant way so that every man was very happy to converse with her. Many wanted to marry the girl, but under the law deaf-mute people were forbidden to marry. A sensible justification for this prohibition eludes me but there was nothing to be done to change the situation.
154,5. The widow was quite wealthy, owned extensive properties, had many servants and hand-maidens and was very charitable to the poor. She would have liked to have married again; but as nobody now courted her and she also did not dare to look at anyone, partly out of fear and partly out of her own resolve not to commit the unwilling murder of a third man. She stayed single, led quite a moral and withdrawn life and comforted many people in distress.
154,6. At one stage a Greek doctor arrived and tried to cure her of her strange attitude but she sent him away and said as she told my father later in the following words, if my otherwise good memory does not deceive me -: ‘My parents were good god-fearing folk and as a girl I was known as an example of one who lived puritanically. Prior to my first marriage I never knew a man. How the bad trait of which I am accused, could ever have invaded my otherwise well disposed mind is a riddle to me. I am, however, Jehovah be praised, very healthy in other ways and therefore do not need medicines. My condition is therefore God’s will for me to endure with contentment! You, false Aesculapius ( Publisher’s note:-Aesculapius was the Greek and Roman god of the healing art), must go away, otherwise I will breathe on you, and you will also be hopelessly lost, regardless of the fact that you are a doctor and wish to help me. As I can see, you are not even able to cure yourself of the hideous goitre on your neck, or of the limp in your left foot! A doctor should himself be perfectly healthy if he wishes to help the sick! The fresh appeal and obvious good health of a doctor must give confidence to sick people enabling them to believe that the doctor has some knowledge. If the doctor presented himself as a cripple and tried to help a healthier person, he would be laughed at universally and if he then became objectionable in someone’s home, he would be expelled immediately!’
154,7. When the doctor had heard this assessment, he left the house growling and grumbling, but returned after one year, enquired about the health of the beautiful widow and started to seek her beautiful hand in marriage.
154,8. The widow became impatient however and from a distance of about three paces she expelled her breath towards the doctor and said: ‘Go and do not come any closer! If you inhale this breath you are a dead man; less than a year will pass and you will be rotting in the ground!’
154,9. The doctor however laughed and inhaled the air she had breathed out expelled with great pleasure in his desire to show the beautiful widow how little he was afraid of the trifling toxic threat from her breath as he was convinced that it would not harm him at all. The best part was that even the widow herself did not believe in the slightest what she was saying, but merely tried to exploit its deterrent effect as people were spreading rumours about her and nobody therefore dared to approach her too closely.
154,10. However, the people were not so wrong after all. If our widow was not passionately excited by something, her breath was clean and healthy; but as soon as she became a little agitated, it was not possible to stay close to her. Any man, who inhaled too much of her breath, did not live longer than a year and was a child of death. He became emaciated and nothing any well-qualified wonder doctor could possibly prescribe for him served any useful purpose. The sickness progressed relentlessly onwards and the sick person invariably fell victim to it! The same fate was experienced by our Greek doctor who soon afterwards started to waste away and within eight months he was transformed into a wretched, totally emaciated corpse, by comparison with which a three thousand year old Egyptian mummy would still look quite well fed!
154,11. Our widow soon found out about this and from all sides it was whispered in her ear that she would be taken to court. The widow’s heart was very much perturbed by this until finally she herself began to ail and sent for my father, who of course took me with him, as his indispensable clairvoyant, to find out if there was something to be established about this strange woman through my gift. We went carefully to the house of this unusual woman and found her lying in bed completely exhausted. Her deaf-mute but otherwise heavenly, very beautiful daughter and a couple of handmaidens were with her for support.
154,12. It should be noted here, that her strange breath only affected men and was not harmful to women or girls.
154,13. My father said when he came into the room holding his breath a little: ‘I am the doctor you called from Jerusalem - what does the lovely widow require of me?’
154,14. She replied: ‘What does a sick person need from a doctor except that he should cure her?! Help me if you can!’
154,15. My father said: ‘Allow me to observe you for a little while, then I will know if you can be helped or not!’
154,16. The widow said: ‘Do whatever you think is right!’
154,17. My father then to me in the Roman tongue: ‘Pay attention and find out if there is anything to be seen around here as there may be a very special reason for her illness!’
154,18. I immediately looked everywhere intently, but initially I was unable to make out anything that was of a spiritual or uncanny nature. After about an hour I did however notice a bluish cloud of smoke appearing above the widow’s bed and I asked my father if he could see it too. He denied that he could but inferred from my words that there was already something extraordinary happening. I continued to observe the apparition with the utmost concentration and discovered a large number of finger length rattle-snakes and vipers which were swimming around inside the cloud of blue mist like fish in water. The beasts writhed in a horrible manner, coiled into rings and flashed their steely fangs in an extraordinary way but not one of the large number of snakes attempted to leave the clearly defined hazy cloud. I immediately drew my father’s attention to the apparition and told him that, in my opinion, it was not at all advisable to approach the bed too closely. My father agreed with my opinion, but then asked me whether I could ascertain if there was any way that the widow could be helped.”
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