Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Leaving



Goody Prymm had fallen ill and taken to her bed, something that, in all her seventy-one years on this earth, had never happened before.  For two days, Remember, carefully following Goody Prymm's sage advice and instruction, had tried the use of herbs to restore her to health, but the fatigue and chest pains persisted until finally, on the second day, the young girl sent for John Dane, Ipswich's chirurgeon and physician.  After a thorough examination, Doctor Dane shook his head and soberly informed Remember that there was nothing further that could be done---that the best Remember could do would be to stay close by and see to her comfort as best she could.  With that, the good doctor departed, leaving Remember to attend to Goody Prymm.  All the remaining day, Remember kept close by her side, providing what sustenance Imagination would take and talking softly to her of good things.

When the dark night had finally descended, Goody Prymm's breathing became more shallow, and she seemed to slip into a dreamlike state, Remember holding her hand all the while...


Yes, the moon is waning gibbous...a releasing of the old...oh!  the cry of the wewes, yes, that's what the Wampanoags call them that announce the coming change....death!... Tansy! did you hear them? run!  the black pool reveals the coming darkness....it's so cold, so cold in this lonely place...and it's so black in here. I'm no witch! Mercy, bless you, dear...why, it was only a poppet for a lonely child! poor child...losing her mother and father when so young and tender.  now losing your own little one...why did you do it, Remember? I never had one...you can be mine, though! those amber eyes...like two bay candle flames in the velvet night...did you see that shooting star?  oh, black bobbin lace is special, made only for the most important occasions...

Remember stoked the coals to keep warmth in the room and returned to Goody Prymm's bedside. There she kept vigil throughout that dark night, gently and lovingly dabbing the old woman's forehead with a cool herbal compress, watching her as she lay motionless, in a deep place where Remember could not go...

We have to cut the branches while they're still green.  yes. that's the way. the soil must be enriched with herring. oh, kittens like fish.  Smoke? yes, you can bring her home. it's beautiful, Samuel, a perfect place to raise a family. it's a perfect day for spring soup! how I love the woods...you, too? we're cut from the same cloth, we are...I gave her the beautiful red-dyed material. buried it with her. don't worry about the baby! the calf is grown enough to survive now...it's a difficult journey, Samuel...I don't know if I can do it...this place is so different...oh, I miss my mother and grandmother! yes...it's a boy! and twins!  why couldn't I...you know you'll have to set him free...set him free, Remember...


Some time, in the wee hours, at that moment when Remember had dropped off to sleep still gently clasping the old woman's hand in hers, the spun thread broke...and the wheel slowed to a stop, never to turn again.




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She awakened to the sound of birds and morning sunlight streaming through the diamond paned window, its light casting a pattern across Imagination's bed.  Remember sat up with a start and, looking at Goody Prymm, now very still, Remember's eyes slowly softened with the realization, and she bowed her head and wept.

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Goody Minter, now Goody Cooper, and Longing came to assist with the preparations, Goodman Cooper fetching a rough fieldstone to be used as a marker.  Not having been Puritan, nor Anglican, nor even Catholic, Goody Prymm would be buried on her own property, there at the edge of the woods she had so loved.  Ever since she set foot on these shores so long ago and so far from her Lancashire home, she had walked a solitary path---her path---one of healing and mercy and compassion for all those she met.  There would be no minister in attendance, only the few, and a quiet breeze whispering through the great white pines in the bordering woods.  Somehow, the Indians knew Goody Prymm had passed over, and had brought gifts in the night to be buried with her...gifts of honor for this woman of great manitou.  Remember too would add her own gift, a piece of black silk bobbin lace she had only recently completed, with which she had intended to surprise Goody Prymm...but which would now be placed in her hands, the hands of the woman who had loved her and taught her so much.

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Throughout the following week, many Ipswich folk stopped in to pay their respects, Remember greeting them as would a grown woman, with grace and appreciation.  When the dwindling visitations had at last stopped, Remember sat down in front of the great stone fireplace where the two of them had so often shared their thoughts and dreams as they happily stitched and spun and drank their herbal teas.  Patting the soft ball of grey fluff purring in her lap, Remember reflected on the joys they had shared...so many joys! and marveled at how two people could come to love each other so deeply in such a short span of time.  Goody Prymm had left her everything---the land, the house, the gardens---all she owned in this world.  As always, Imagination had been right.  Everything Remember would ever need was right here.  Then rising, she turned to Nightfeather's enclosure and, unhitching the woven top, scooped up the now fully healed crow and walked outside to the gardens she and Goody Prymm had planted and nurtured together, and then out toward the woods.  Stroking his sleek black-purple feathers and murmuring to him a few soft and secret words, Remember held Nightfeather to her cheek one last time and then, lifting him to the heavens, let him go.  Up, up he flew, his black silhouette stitching a joyful pattern of freedom in the blue sky!  She stood awhile watching and smiling and, finally turning to go, stopped in her tracks, as her eyes happened to cast to the edge of their woods where she saw the small fleeting shadow of a black rabbit stop, sit up, and then finally disappear.


                                                                Epilogue

Remember eventually had a proper tombstone made for Goody Prymm to replace the crude stone marker.  There she often visited, leaving small gifts of nature, things Goody Prymm loved.  To this day, if you go looking, you will find Imagination Prymm's tombstone still there where every winter, in late February, the tiny white blooms of hundreds upon hundreds of Snowdrops peep their heads out of the snow, stretching all the way back and further back into the woods, to welcome the coming spring.



© 2017 Nancy Duncan

                                                         












13 comments:

  1. I knew this day would have to come. What a gentle going. Thank you for sharing the story of these women with us. You are a gifted story teller and I have learned a great deal. We should all desire to travel the path of Goody Prymm -- "her path---one of healing and mercy and compassion for all those she met".

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    1. Awww. Thank you so much, Vicki Jo. Now I am cleaning up all of the stories, working on smoother transitions from one episode to the next...and then will submit to some publishers. Please keep checking back here for updates.

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    2. And, Vicki Jo, thank you for all your words of encouragement. It has meant so much to me in this new endeavor...

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  2. Good luck! I will definitely purchase a copy when your book is published!

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  3. What a wonderful story. It brought tears at the end, as I knew it would. Best of luck to you on the next part of this journey to bring Goody Prymm and Imagination to a wider audience. Blessings to you on this day.

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    1. Thank you, Lizzie Tish! And blessings to you, too...

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  4. Very fitting ending to your wonderful story! I will miss Goody and Remember! Can't wait for your book. Happy 4th of July and blessings to you.

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  5. Thank you, Mary A! I appreciate all your encouragement...Happy 4th!

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  6. my heart is aching....but it will slowly heal knowing Goody will be walking her path in the Summerlands with those that came before her. Thank you for the gift Nancy.
    Blessed be,
    Lori

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  7. She's leaving Remember to carry on! Thank YOU, Lori, for everything...

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  8. Another thought: will your storyline continue through Remember? What happens to her? How did Goody's lessons help or hurt her in the future? Will Remember welcome a new country's birth?

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  9. I can tell you wrote many-a-test question in your teaching days, lol! It is my intention to continue the story through Remember. Of course, Goody Prymm will be a part of it through Remember's memory (see why I chose the name "Remember"?); people in our lives may pass away but, if they were loved and left a good and lasting legacy, they never really leave us. I think that is an important thought for readers...to leave a good legacy. I don't think Remember will see 1776, unless through scrying. You know, she and GP had that gift, though it is barely alluded to through the dark pool. She would be 112 in 1776! She was 14 when GP took her in, meaning she was born in 1664...but she will see a changing country. Do you remember Goody Richmond's infant that she brought to GP for a skin ulceration/rash? And how quickly she healed? GP had written in her Book of Secrets "Life's Magick." That baby will probably come into play for a third book...Of course, first I have to publish Goody Prymm!!

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