Wednesday, March 6, 2019


Another "scene" in the "What a Good Boy Am I" series...


            One time I had warts. I had twelve of them growing down the length of my thumb, increasing in size. The biggest one was way down at the bottom, on the heel of my thumb.
            There was a blacksmith in Woburn Sands, the neighboring village, who was a wart charmer. He was reputed to have this special ability to cure warts. My father once took Hank, the dog, over there, to see if the blacksmith could cure a big wart that was growing on the top of Hank’s head. When Hank came home with my father, the wart was still there, on top of his head. But two weeks later it was gone.
            So when I got warts my father took me over to the blacksmith. We found him in his smithy, an oversized man with a friendly grin and a worn leather apron. We found him by his forge, with his sledgehammer in one hand and a burning, red hot horseshoe in the other.  He set the horseshoe back in the furnace and worked the bellows, sending out sparks. He took note, respectfully, of my father’s white dog collar and cassock and asked, “What can I do for you, padre?” Some people called my father “padre,” mostly men who had served.
“My son here has warts,” said my father.
The blacksmith looked at my hand, and ran a calloused finger over the long trail of warts. Then he asked me, “How many?”
            “Twelve,” I told him.
            “Alright,” said the blacksmith. “They’ll be gone in two weeks.” And went back to work.
            So we left. But two weeks later, the warts were still there.
            My father took me back to the blacksmith to register a complaint. But the blacksmith was unapologetic. “Count again,” he told me, running that calloused finger down my thumb again. “How many are there?”
            I counted again. There were thirteen. I must have miscounted, or perhaps another one had been growing there, unseen, the last time I’d counted.
            “Very well,” said the blacksmith. “Now they’ll be gone in two weeks. You’ll see.” And went back to his work.
            Well, this time he was right. Two weeks later, the warts had disappeared.

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