This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Friday, 12 October 2012


“Don’t worry, madam,” said the doctor. “Your son will be fine.”

“But, doctor,” the woman began, “he doesn’t talk at all.”

“Yes,” said the doctor, “You’ve already told me that.” He studied her speculatively. She was a fine looking woman, obviously not rich, but someone who took care of herself as far as she was able. Her hands, red with hard work, twisted together on the table.

“He…,” the woman began. She stopped and looked at the child, who looked back at her with his great luminous eyes. The doctor looked at the eyes as well. They were fascinating eyes, so deep and compelling, the gaze almost hypnotic. “He was never strong in his childhood,” she said. “We have two others, but he – he was never that strong. And now he’s already three, and he won’t talk.”

“I’ve checked him, madam,” said the doctor. “There is, I assure you, nothing wrong with him.”

“I…well, it’s a silly thing really, and my husband would be angry if he knew. He doesn’t believe in these things…you know I’m an educated woman, but sometimes…anyway, a gypsy woman had come round once. My husband had been at work, and I gave her a coin to tell his fortune.” She raised her chin defiantly. It was the same strong, determined chin the child already had. “She told me he would be a famous man someday, that he might even lead this nation, and do his bit to restore it to greatness.”

“I wouldn’t put too much faith in what gypsy fortune tellers say, madam.”

“I’m afraid.” She shivered, and he saw something was worrying her. “You know, she also said he might drag the nation down to ruin. His destiny was unclear, she said. But she was clear about this – he would be famous always.”

“I really can’t say anything about that, madam,” said the doctor. “But I assure you your son will talk in time. In fact I suspect he will end up talking a bit too much.”

The woman smiled suddenly and when she smiled she was beautiful. “Do you hear that?” she said to the child. “The doctor says you may even talk too much. You’ll have to, if the world is to get to know the name of Benito Mussolini.”

Copyright B Purkayastha 2007


No comments:

Post a Comment