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The Infant's Cry


The Lost Mind by Elihu Vedder

"They say that I have lost my mind, and perhaps what they say is true;
but I know it is out there somewhere, and maybe someday I will find it."
 
The people of the village whispered that Esther was crazy, spending all her days walking in the wilderness,  eating and sleeping alone in her own small dwelling, and rarely speaking to anyone. 

Seven years ago she had fallen in love with a handsome young man from another tribe, but their marriage had been forbidden since his religion differed from her own.  When her father discovered their relationship he and fellow council members of the tribe had run the young man off, swearing to kill his mother and his father if he ever set his eyes on Esther again. 

In her grief Esther had lost the child she was carrying, and the elders had taken it and buried it in the wilderness in an unmarked grave, saying that a child created outside of marriage was unclean and unfit to be known to man by God or man.  They would not tell her where her baby had been buried, yet everyday she searched the hills for it, claiming that she could hear its cry. 

Esther's mother said of her that she was a tormented soul, and that much was surely true.  She no longer cared about her appearance, or being rational, or involved in village life.  All that mattered had been stolen from her, and she could think of nothing other than finding what had been lost.  She would continue to roam the wilderness all her remaining days, searching for her heart buried out there somewhere amidst the shattered pieces of her mind.

Years later, when she did not return to the village at sunset, the tribal men went out in search of her.  The elders whispered among themselves how strange it was that they had found her body curled up at the base of a date palm at the exact spot where her unborn child had been buried so long ago.  
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I'm linking up with Meghan Genge's Sunday Scribblings
where the prompt this week is "it's out there"

32 comments:

  1. This is a truly lovely tragedy (?) beautifully written.

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    1. Thank you Altonian! Yes, there is so much tragedy about it, everything she loved was stolen from her out of ignorance.

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  2. Nothing is more precious to a mother than her child. You have captured that well in this tale as well the unreasonable bigotry that allowed her to lose her mind.

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    1. Thank you Old Egg, that's the message I wanted to include, that the bonds of love are stronger than hate and even stronger than the limitations of death.

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  3. Perhaps it is not strange at all that she should be found there..that is where her mind was lost..with her child..i don't know my bible stories very well..but i wonder if there is an element of Esther in this piece..beautifully told..

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    1. Thank you Jae! It wasn't strange to me either, I knew her mind and soul could never find peace until she found her child. I don't think this has much in common with the Biblical Esther, but when I saw this amazing artwork, I just felt that had to be her name. :-)

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  4. That is such a beautiful story! Sad but beautiful. And it's even more sad that things like that still happen in real world too.

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    1. Thank you Petro! Yes, that is the greater sadness of this story, that such things still happen because of ignorance and hatred. All of this tragedy could so easily have been avoided, but as it was, three lives were destroyed.

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    2. Which brings to mind the tragic story of the 2 sisters from India that both committed suicide maybe a couple of weeks ago. My mouth hung open the whole while I read. Sisters becoming too "Westernized", one falling in love with a boy outside her 'circle'; another sister being ashamed of how it would reflect on the family. Two beautiful young ladies gone. :-(

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    3. I haven't read that story, Tracey, but there are so many similar and tragic in that place. Our news is full of it these days, the horrific mistreatment of women. I sometimes find myself wondering, are they animals or men?

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  5. Things like this happen. My granny used to tell a similar tale. Some things, such as love, can go beyond what we easily comprehend.

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    1. I believe that love transcends the boundaries of this world and the next, McGuffy Ann. A mother's love for her child is a force more powerful than words can limit or define.

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  6. My eyes nearly clouded with tears. Poor Esther. You brought the story so alive. I know I've never heard it as you just told. You are a true story teller. Excellent writing, my friend. :-)

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    1. The maddening thing is that they continue to let her wander all those years, when just a few words of direction could have given her some peace. That was the most cruel part of all. Thank you for your for your encouraging words, I often see myself as more of a storyteller than a writer, and I am good with that. I share whatever story comes to me.

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  7. So powerful! I got the chills! You are a fantastic story teller!

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    1. Thank you so much Lena! Your comment really made my night (and thanks for restoring it after my clumsy fingers accidentally deleted it from the comments tab...ugh! :-)

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  8. onc again you have moistened my eyes...you have a marvelous way of telling a story...simple...honest...streight forward...easy to read...if you have a tissue handy.

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    1. Thanks GS! Glad to see you back! Some of my stories require a tissue because they are sentimental in nature, while others just make you cry because they are that bad... or I have killed off yet another main character! ;-)

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  9. Good writing, Josie. It is sad how badly we treat other people, especially the ones without power to stop it. No wonder that I do like stories with happy endings too, even better than these 'tear jerking' ones.
    ..

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    1. Thank you Jim, you are write, the cruelty that people can show, even to those that are part of their family or group, is incredible and heart-breaking. I agree, I wish all stories ended "happily ever after".

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  10. Very good writing Josie, I must say it moved me to tears. Excellent fiction

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    1. Thank you sincerely, Brudberg, that's the impact I was hoping to have.

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    1. I appreciate that, Damyanti, there was a message I wanted to convey.

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  12. Wildly imaginative and quite moving...

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    1. Thank you Berowne, it pleases me that you appreciated my effort!

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  13. This also serves as an historical comment on the lot of women in those days. Esther had so much hardship; at least she died next to the one she loved most, her unborn child. Poignant and rooted in Scripture... great stuff. Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2013/03/18/life-cycling/

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    1. Indeed it does Amy, and not only "those days", in some countries women fare little better now, as we know. I absolutely believe this story could have happened just as written. I can feel the truth in it.

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  14. Even today in supposed civilised countries such as ours, some family members still find themselves estranged if they don't do what is expected of them. A great piece of writing which really got me thinking!

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    1. That is very true Keith, the sad part is that families will go to such lengths to "teach a lesson" to someone who don't conform, while losing someone who should be dear to them in the process. What is the price of being correct, and isn't kindness more important than being right in such things? Who knows, the man Esther chose might have been a very good man who would have become an asset to their village, but fear and hatred drove him away. He should have been given a chance to prove himself.

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  15. This is well written, beautiful, and sad.

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    1. Thank you so much Belva, to me the painting told a tale of great sadness, even before I had read what the artist called it.

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)