Jack Chappell, Storyteller Extraordinaire
Adus F. Dorsey II
Going for a visit to the Chappell’s house in Lyman, Utah is like popping into to just say hi and always leaving with another good Jack Chappell story and zip lock baggie full of Owena’s homemade cookies. All it takes is a few minutes of your time and a couple of willing ears to listen with.
In A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway’s famous a novel based on Hemingway’s own experiences while serving in the Italian campaigns during the First World War, Hemingway fell in love with his nurse in a hospital in Milan after he had been wounded. He had planned to marry her but she spurned his love when he returned to America, the year was 1923, Jack Chappell of Lyman, Utah was 4 years old. What little Jack Chappell didn’t realize at the time was that he too would find himself in a similar war situation in Italy a little over twenty years later. The life-changing Italy event for Jack Chappell of Wayne County, Utah would be World War II.
During World War II in early months of 1943 the allied forces were slowly inching their way up through the boot of Italy like a bad case of athletes foot when Army Medic, Private First Class, Jack Chappell landed in North Africa. Eight months prior, at 22, young Jack Chappell left Wayne County and stood at attention in Fort Douglas while being poked and prodded like a newborn calf, Jack was eventually issued a new pair of Army boots that were way to big, but in Jack’s optimistic disposition he said, “It was nothing a few pairs of heavy wool socks didn’t fix.”
For three months when Jack Chappell wasn’t doing sit-ups and push-ups or running from a red faced screaming drill instructor Jack found himself in an Army Medic’s class practicing the fine art of puncturing anything he could find with a huge needle or drawing sticky fluids from anything that he could make lye still. At his home in Lyman, Utah in 2018, Jack slowly tilts way back in his motorized RC Willey recliner, smiles and says to me, “What we learned in three months about being a war time Medic took those Army doctors three years to soak up in some fancy medical school.”
Although the fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had seen his fair share of military defeats in Northern Africa, in the winter of 1944 Mussolini still envisioned his likeness cast in bright bronze, standing stoically in the center of some Italian piazza directing future generations of young Italian couples on mopeds in a round about. What Benito Mussolini didn’t realize was that a year later there would be no bronze likeness of him anywhere in Italy, and in April of 1945 the Duce would be shoved up against a brick wall facing a firing squad and puffing frantically on what would be his last Cuban cigar, all the while Army medic Jack Chappell was dressing battle wounds of soldiers that had recently seen fighting at the Gothic Front in central Italy.
In the spring of1945 Adolf Hitler was still fiendishly barking orders at a military style phone from some faraway buried cement bunker, Eva Braun, his mistress was by his side nervously biting her manicured nails right down to the quick, for the both of them their demise was near and in their unflinching, evil anti-Semitic minds they knew it was coming. During those tense times Jack, the Army Medic, was tending to a Polish School teacher a victim of the Holocaust. For weeks the field hospital staff had been trying to put weight on the Jewish survivor and he was finally showing signs of a slow recovery. In Jack Chappell fashion he played the part of the Polish schoolteacher right in front me and with a lone tear drop forming in the wrinkled corner of Jack’s eye he remembers the boney being before him sitting at his bedside having just finished his meal and reminiscing how for years he only had crumbs that he had found in the dirt to eat.
On average World War II field hospitals had about 400 beds and evacuation hospitals 400 or 750 beds and they usually arrived within a few days of an invasion and followed the army from a safe distance, staying about thirty miles away from the incoming artillery shells. Field hospitals were close enough to treat patients quickly and eventually send the soldiers back to the front as well. It was on a night shift in a field hospital while Army Medic Jack Chappell was making his rounds that he had to give a wounded soldier a shot of penicillin, the drug penicillin was new at the time, and in Jack’s own words, “The Army only used what seem to be the biggest needles there were and with only a flashlight to see with I poked that fellow a half a dozen times before I finally got the needle to go in, I was feeling really bad for him because he was a moaning and groaning but I had to do it. The next morning on my rounds I came up to that fellas bed in the light of day and he said to me, “Ohhhh boy am I glad to see you, that nurse last night with that big needle just about killed me.”
Benito Mussolini the once Fascist dictator of Italy during World War II, and the narcissists that he was, overextended his forces and was eventually killed by his own people in Mezzegra, Italy.
On April 30th anticipating the inevitable Eva Braun popped a cyanide capsule into her mouth while Hitler put a bullet through his right temple with a German Ruger pistol.Their corpses were carried up the stairs and through the bunker’s emergency exit to the garden behind the Reich Chancellery where they were torched, Eva Braun was 33 years old when she died, Adolf Hitler was 56.
On a windy Wayne County afternoon, telling me once again about World War II, Jack pushed the yellow button on his easy chair control and settled back and said, “That is my war story, I never had to fire a shot or did I ever have to carry a gun.”
Jack and Owena Chappell still live in Lyman, Utah and celebrated their 70thwedding anniversary on April fools day 2018. Jack is a master woodworker and if you ever find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, at 98 years of age, Jack can still recall all kinds of stories like they happened yesterday.
Adus F. Dorsey II
23 April 2017
On Friday afternoon about three o’clock a real live fist fight of sorts broke out between two asparagus hunters right alongside the big ditch in Torrey. I think they were foreigners as they were using rather strong, unfamiliar language that I have never heard before; either that or I am losing my hearing. There was a lot of flailing of arms but I don’t think anyone actually got hit. From where I was standing I believe the guy with the bloody nose had it coming and it was self-inflicted. If you ask me, he really should have his blood pressure checked.
Nobody has really talked to me yet, but when they do I am going to tell them that I don’t think the pudgy lady in pink curlers was anticipating any kind of armed resistance, so to speak, while on her Friday afternoon asparagus quest. If the truth were to be known, my guess is when pudgy Patty was installing those pink curlers in her hair, a Main Street fistfight in Torrey, was about the last thing on that gal’s mind.
True, and in my opinion, pudgy Patty, did, kind of, in dramatic fashion freak out at the sight of a little nose bleed, and to my surprise and without much forethought on her part pudgy Patty did unintentionally let go of her asparagus bag, which was crammed with tender, spring, Torrey asparagus. I could see the green spears from where I was casually observing.
Being the conscientious objector that I am, I chose to watch the asparagus fracas from a safe distance, at least until the dust had finally cleared and it was semi-safe to move about.
After the local authorities had waved to everybody to leave the premise, “as there was nothing else see,” I looked around as if I knew what I doing, and without much fanfare walked across main street and picked up pudgy Patty’s asparagus bag. Inside it were three small green bundles, about a pound and half, maybe two, of tender stalks of Torrey ditch-side asparagus. To my credit, I did leave Patty’s pretty bag near the fight sight, just in case she came back looking for it… and I did help myself to the thick stalks of asparagus… because I was somewhat concerned that they might go bad… and I was absolutely positive they would taste pretty good with my supper.
I am not real sure what happened to either one of the asparagus fist fighters; I am not even sure if they were from around here or Boulder. But these days that doesn’t mean all that much, as people are moving to town faster than the new asparagus can grow.
Adus F. Dorsey II
11 Sept 2015
In my imagination the “law dog” job in Wayne County, in the early twentieth century was most likely filled by a hard of hearing Fremont farmer or anyone in Rabbit Valley large enough to cast a lengthy shadow, one that might scare off a potential criminal. The part-time law enforcement position probably came with a ten-cent silver star that someone in the county clerk’s office stamped “Wayne County” on…. And as the newly sworn in sheriff you were responsible to provide your own safety pin. If you were fool enough to take the “Wyatt Earp” oath, the County Commissioners, at the time, reached down into the bottom drawer of a courtroom desk and handed you a rusty six-shooter that surely hadn’t seen a bullet in the chamber since the Civil War and then they said “Good Luck, see you next September, maybe.”
Early Wayne County lawbreakers, generally consisted of chicken and egg stealers, which in most cases turned out to be a “sly, hen-house fox,” or some local Wayne County high schoolers naively planning a secret “Chickeree,” on or about every other Friday summer night in some secret moonlit location. In either or both cases, the sleepy eyed Sheriff often came to the conclusion that there was never enough left over evidence to prove a crime had been committed.
Maybe it is just me but, I would think that the toughest part of the “Law Dog” job in Wayne County, like in the hard working days of 20’s and 30’s would be having to arrest someone. In most cases you probably had to wrap handcuffs around someone’s wrist that you somehow knew?
“Uhhh, Brother Robert, you are under arrest for, well uhhh I am not real sure what you are under arrest for but if you will just come along quietly maybe we can discuss your law breaking ways on the drive to Loa. And in the event there is some kind of mix up, maybe we can cordially sort it all out over some strong courthouse coffee first thing in the morning…. Ok Bill, mumbled Bob, but please don’t put those hand hobbles of yours on me too tight? Ok Brother Bob sad Sheriff Bill, but you will have to promise me you won’t try runnin off again like you did last time when I didn’t tie your hands behind your back withba. My bad heart about give out on me while I was chasing you through the Jeffery place last March burped Sheriff Bill… I won’t hesitate one minute to shoot you in the butt, Bob, if you try and escape on me again. Ok Sherriff Bill, said Bob.
As per some ancient “Richfield Reaper,” newspaper accounts, “crime” per se’ in Wayne County in the 19 teens wasn’t something the majority of “church going” folks in Wayne County were all that worried about. “It was a crime if you had the time to commit a crime in those days.” Said Wayne County fictitious Sherriff Bill Brown.
Over the course of many local Wayne County conservations, I always ask my dependable 90 + years old Wayne County informants about everything I can think of that happened in the “early days.” The more I did, I became curious-er and curious-er about some of the “stand out’s” of the time, you know the type, the one’s that had that funny look in their eye Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, then again on Friday. The scary looking ones that had never dared put any kind of scrub brush to their decaying teeth and the thought of a bubble bath on the back porch just made them grin a toothless smile.
Stuffing his stub of an index finger into his hairy right ear to scratch a itch, my old Wayne County friend slowly nods, “No, no one like that, that I can remember right off the top of my bald head, but I am sure those types were always a hanging around, and everybody knows one or two of ‘em. And just in case you are wondering what I am really thinking, my advice would be to steer clear of ‘em, mark my word, you will be better off if you do.”
In the book “Stories from the lives of Amasa Lyman and Fannie Mae Stewart” there is a detailed account of when in the 1920’s Amasa Lyman of Teasdale was deputized to dismantle some of the more unscrupulous whiskey stills in the Torrey and Fruita area. The badest of the bootleggers were selling to anyone that could produce two bits. “It made no difference to whom those dirty low-down buggars sold booze to, a kid or the town drunk, that sort of thing went against my grain.” snarled Amasa Lyman.
Amasa Lyman was widely known to be better with a gun than anybody in Wayne County was with a rope; “He could shoot the head off a sage hen at 100 yards with that World War I German Luger of his.” In fact there was hardly a kid in Teasdale in the mid 30’s that didn’t have a prized Buffalo nickel with out an Amasa Lyman bullet hole in it.
Amasa Lyman Jr. was a sure fit for the Wayne County Deputy Sheriff position in the early 1920’s. Amasa Lyman, with the memory of an African elephant remembers his Wayne County deputy days like they were yesterday, “I served as Wayne County Deputy sheriff for about 8 years, during that time I had to do most of the work of sheriff too.” Amasa recalls, “Charles leaned a little bit to far to the timid side to be a good “Law enforcement officer,” especially when it came to carrying a gun, with actual bullets. Charles never had spine enough to enforce the law.“
Bless his big Amasa Lyman Teasdale heart; in his memoirs, Amasa, with a chest full of pumping pride said, “With my Wayne County Deputy pay I bought my sweetheart Fannie Mae (Stewart) a new “Water-Witch” gas powered clothes washer. Boy, was she one proud girl, and busy… she was so busy washing everything we owned that she spent all her egg money to buy one hundred new wooden clothes pins, and with that irresistible smile of hers she smoothly talked me into stretching out two of my favorite lariats for her to hang our most personal and private possessions on. In that big brimmed straw hat she always wore, Fannie would invite everyone in Teasdale to stop by and see how clean she got my home sewn bloomers. It was about six months before everyone in Sunday School or Sacrament meeting quit snickering when they saw me. But for that little while, sweet Fannie, with her new gas powered “Water-Witch” was the envy of ever female in Teasdale.
In the early days of Wayne County, many months, sometimes years would often pass with out the need to intentionally pull out the Civil war era pistol or point its bullet-less barrel at anyone in any attempt to maintain
Not that I really know for sure, but I might surmise that the Civil war era rusted six-shooter that once was single handedly credited with maintaining law and order in Wayne County has been long replaced and is probably Wayne County court house.resting peacefully in some dusty bottom desk drawer at the
Law enforcement techniques of the 1920’s has been long ago replaced by electronic tazers and a lightening fast inter-net connection, so fast that it has been known to intermittently set off the blinking speed limit signs near Serenity Springs in Loa. Often times resulting in the slowing down of traffic coming from Jerry’s dairy barn on the Fremont cut off road, all the way back to Phyllis’s house in Lyman.
Hanksville and Bloated Bovines
October 24, 2015
Adus F. Dorsey II
When it comes to living anywhere, life often times has its rewards and its challenges, let’s take Hanksville for an example… For those that are unfamiliar with life where people see the morning sun before anyone else in Wayne County does, that far away place beyond the reef that no one seems to know or talk much about. Well there are some incredible people and happenings that take place down there, you know the one, the town that transects the junction of highway 24 and 95, a place where you can get gas and a Mountain Dew and pay for it in a hole in the rock. Who would have ever thought?
Putting my life on the line I would be willing to bet a nickel that 95% of up county folk know little of what happens in Hanksville. And putting as much as 10 cents on the table I am near positive that 99% of the people in Hanksville could care less what the up county folks think. I mean Kevin Hatch comes up from there every day and is as tight lipped about it as you can get about happenings in Hanksville. I think you have to take some kind of blood oath if you live down there.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of mental effort to realize that the folks in Hanksville march in any parade to a different kind of drummer. In fact Hanksvillians have been known to hold a parade of their own with out as much as an invitation to the Wayne County highlanders to attend. “Rightly so,” the famous Barbra Ekker once announced as she pranced around her yard in pair of pedal pushers rolled up to her knees. If you knew Barbra or know Jason Ekker you know what I am talking about. George Coombs knows about Hanksville too, and he ain’t to shy to tell you that if there is any kind of competition in Hanksville there is gonna be a Ekker in it, and one of them is sure to win a prize, “That is just the way it is in Hanksville!” says my ole friend George.
I can honestly say that I am no real expert on Hanksville, by no means, but what I have seen happen down there in the east desert over the past few years I can attest to, and it is now my belief that there is life in the here after. And as part of my testament and I hope Ernie won’t arrest me next time I have to pass through Hanksville in my Subaru for openly saying so, things are happening in Hanksville, and life is good. Just stop in for a sandwich at the Slickrock Grill sometime and just try and say it ain’t so.
And what about that unlucky black dead cow on the side of the road near the boys ranch on highway 24, damn, I hope no one got hurt when they hit her. Surely the investigating officer on that accident had to be scratching his head while filling out the police report? A dumb deer, or a blind raccoon maybe, but a wayward black cow on that section of highway where there is never none, it boggles the mind of every cowboy in Loa, Lyman, Bicknell and Fremont. I wonder how the Wayne County public information officer Cassidy Brown explained that one to the Salt Lake Tribune and how the new guy on the state road crew is going to pick it up without it popping? Makes my nose quiver and my body shiver at the very thought of it.
And all the scarecrows that are displayed through out Wayne County, I don’t dare look at them for fear I will dream about all those creepy characters in my attempt at a good nights sleep. I have trouble enough catching some shut eye these days worrying about all the potential Bambi poachers in my front yard and now there are low life thieves lurking around under the cover of darkness. Really, and I mean really, do we have really have to start putting a lock on our stuff so the stupid among us won’t steal it? Don’t the stealers know people in Wayne County have guns by their bedside with big ass bullets that go in them?
If you are a stealer and haven’t figured out yet that you are going to get caught sooner or later, well it is best that you just go ahead and turn yourself into the Sheriff for just being stupid because more than likely someone you know is going to do it for you. That is why they call it a reward and people deserve it. My advice is that you take that stuff back to its rightful owner right now before you end up at the point of the mountain with a bar of soap hanging around your neck on a piece of rope and you wishing you had eyes in the back of your head.
Speaking of stupid things people can do…
There is a lot of talk about the tax increase for the schools in Wayne County and like everybody else I know it is a hot button subject. But it has to and it is going to happen and if you have ever spent anytime in our schools like I have, lord knows they need it. Our kids are worth what ever it takes to educate them in the ways of the world. If you are wavering even a little bit about what to do go volunteer at the elementary school sometime and see for your self how far just a little bit of help can go. You can’t put a price tag on a contributing citizen, sit in on a county court session sometime and see how much it is costing youto send an idiot to jail. With out question I am voting for it because I too know how important education is, I mean I am still taking classes to try and figure out what it is I want to be when I grow up. Ring that morning school bell, Colton Jeffs and I are always ready.
Wayne Football, The Pink Game W
October 13th, 2017
Adus F. Dorsey II
The Wayne High football field in Bicknell is 120 yards long and 53 yards wide, knowing little to nothing about common core math I believe that works out to be approximately 2 acres. Andy Taft told me that if he was farming it he could get about 4 ton per acre, on Glen Dee’s pocket calculator that works out to be about 188, 85-pound bales of hay. If it were put to a challenge, I would be willing to bet that Boone Taylor could squeeze out closer to 200 bales. If I were made to farm it, certainly it would be better off left as a football field.
In the annals of time the Wayne High Football program story reads something like the Iliad. The Iliad tells the final chapter in the story of two major Bronze Age “Greek” alliances battling each other. It ends when the Achaeans (people mainly from what we now call Greece) sack Troy/Ilium (located in modern day Turkey). It’s a long, meandering epic, but it primarily revolves around the “godlike Achilles'” struggle to confront his hubris and become humanized. Without going into great detail, just try and imagine a hostile crowd carrying baseball bats and shoulder pads and using jock straps to sling insults at a financially frustrated Wayne County School Board and you should get a pretty good picture of how hard the Wayne County community pushed to make the Wayne High football program into a reality.
Today, the Wayne High football program is still so new that the football cabinet in the front hall of Wayne high school still does not have a trophy in it and most of the player’s uniforms, although showing some wear, still have their original sales tags stuck to them.
At 5:00 o’clock sharp on Friday afternoon October the 13th, Coach Brice Mitchell’s Badgers stormed the field with purpose in their hearts and they did not disappoint the large crowd that had gathered to witness the last football game of the season. The Wayne Badgers football team hosted the White Horse Raiders in Bicknell in a game that will give the Class of 2018, and their fans, a lot to write about in their secret Disney character diaries that they keep tucked under their pillows.
Wearing Pink knee high socks, it quickly became apparent that the Wayne High Badgers had dedicated their last game to their friends and family that had survived, were living with or had lost the battle of cancer. As a cool north wind blew it was heart wrenching to listen to all the names that cancer has claimed. But often is the case that someone you love smiles down on you from above and Friday night in Bicknell, there were a whole lot of folks sitting in the bleachers in heaven rooting for the Wayne Badgers.
Jim Murray once wrote that some teams remove the football from you and then there are some teams that remove you from the football, that was clearly the case for the White Horse Raiders at the Badger football game on Friday night, the Wayne Badgers could do no wrong.
Barking orders like a bulldog chained to the sidelines, assistant coach Jeremy Burningham, had the Badger football machine running full blast on all pistons, and on the field Senior Braden Erikson was plowing through the Raiders front line with the power of a brand new John Deere tractor. Before the Wayne high cheerleaders could even finish their first cheer Barlow Pace seemed to sprout wings and suddenly the score was 6 – 0, Badgers, and before the shiny Purple and Gold poms poms even hit the ground the score was 13 and 0. With 27 seconds still left on the first quarter clock, Braige Jacobsen, somehow snagged the football out of thin air with an interception and sent the numerical digits on the big scoreboard spinning like a Las Vegas slot machine to 19 -0.
I think the quick first quarter action had Cory Anderson and his jolly band of striped prison guard referees trying to catch their breath as they were kept pretty busy hustling up and down the field chasing all the action, as was Mitchell Pace packing the yard stick on the far side lines.
With an interception in the end zone by Kash Beeler, that returned the ball back to the Badgers, and then two touchdowns later in the second quarter, the scoreboard at the end of the field almost short circuited but came to rest at 32 – 0 at the end of the first half. The Wayne coaches with their heads held high were walking in tall cotton when they and their team came off the field at half time.
It was the 2018 seniors time to shine at halftime and Braden Erickson, Jay Jackson, Barlow Pace, Calvert Taylor, Logan Stevens and Luke Dahl took to the field with their parents to the applause of the appreciative crowd.
When the White Horse Raider’s team came back from the locker room for the second half, one of their fans must have shown them cell phone video footage of their first half performance, as they were a somewhat different team, with a different attitude. As the White Horse Raiders lumbered back onto the Badger football field for their final chance to save face, their coaches had surely come to the realization that if they didn’t at least try something radically new, it was going to be a long bus ride back home to Montezuma Creek, and there was not going to be the mid-night celebratory parade at the county line that they were hoping for when they finally arrived there.
With 9 minutes and 55 seconds left to go in the Pink game the Wayne Badgers scored a bone crushing touch down that brought the score to 40 – 0. By that time the White Horse Raider fans were watching the football game through spread fingers on their faces, but one of them was still blasting a horn, honking like he was calling in geese, which seemed to work, because at the 4 second mark the Raiders made a leap of faith from the fifty yard line and landed smack dab in the middle of their end zone, and when the scoreboard clock sunk to zero the final score was 40 – 6, Wayne Badgers.
In a rendition of “Our House,” the Wayne Badgers ended their 2017 season on a winning note. Walking out to the parking lot I was following the White Horse coaches and one of them said, “It wasn’t like we weren’t trying, it was just like those Badger boys were everywhere we weren’t.”
What is it that women really want?
King Arthur and the Round Table
Re-written and narrated by Adus Dorsey II / 2006
There was a time when King Arthur was young and he was caught poaching in the forest of a neighboring kingdom by its King. He could have been immediately killed for this as that was the punishment for trespassing in those days. But the neighboring King was impressed by Arthur’s youth and winsome character. So the King in his generosity gave Arthur the chance to reconcile his transgression. Sitting high on his throne and looking down on young Arthur, the generous King told the young poacher, if he could find the answer to a question that had been troubling him, within one year, he would spare the young man’s life. The question, “What does woman really want?”
Even in his youth, Arthur knew that this question had confounded the wisest of men, since the beginning of time. The King slumped back into his golden throne, watching as young Arthur’s face went white. But being the arrogant Arthur that he was, he accepted the challenge, as it was better than thinking of himself swinging from the gallows.
Arthur returned home, exhausted from his recent poaching encounter with the neighboring King. The burning question of what women really want was still ringing in his ears. Young Arthur began questioning everyone he could find, from the wisest of court scholars and astronomers, to women he met on the street. He even went to the Queens chamber and ask all the Princesses he could find. But no one knew the answer but they told all him about one, who did.
She was Baba Yaga, the old wise witch who lived alone in the forest. She was the wisest of women and knew the answer to such things. It was well known that the to gain anything from Baga Yaga the price would be high, much higher than most people of the day, were willing or could pay.
Young Arthur had heard of Baba Yaga but like every one else he dared not venture near her door. Baba Yaga was known to practice witchcraft and transform Princes into to toads. She lived in a mud hut, made from the roots of the biggest trees. She usually had a hot fire burning and big black pot on her stove.
Arthur shivered every time anyone told him he would have to go see Baba Yaga to get the answer to his question, and he put it off as long as he could.
On the last day of the year young Arthur knew there was no other option than to finally go see Baba Yaga. He rose early from a restless nights sleep and went out on his quest. Even during the brightest time of the morning the forest was dark as night. On his trusty horse Arthur rode deeper and deeper into the darkness. The path was muddy and narrow, and it was hard to see, and his grey mare horse was as anxious as was he.
The darkness seemed to be alive and it was strange there were no birds in the trees. Ducking through the branches Arthur soon began to smell smoke and he knew he must be getting near.
Baba Yaga’s hut was just what he had expected from the stories he had heard. His horse stopped and would go no further, and Arthur thought to turn around. But his life and King honor depended on getting the answer, to the question he came to find.
The closer to the root hut door that Arthur had to enter the more he more he questioned his choice.
Standing in Baba Yaga’s doorway Arthur found himself faced with a horror like he had never, ever had seen. The old hag was worse than he had imagined, like a nightmare in his dreams.
Baba Yaga did not even look up at Arthur standing in her door, she just kept stirring the pot upon her stove. She knew what he had come for with out him even saying a word.
“So, your life depends on the answer, to what every woman really wants”
Baba Yaga kept stirring the pot upon the stove; and laughing, as young Arthur thought to run.
When Baba Yaga did look at Arthur with her toothless grin, what she had to say next, sent Arthur’s head into a spin.
What we need to discuss first is the price for your answer, and since I am the only who knows it the cost is going to be mighty high. Arthur took a deep breath upon hearing this, but his life was on the line, and in squeaky voice, Arthur ask what it was to be?
I want Gwain for my husband and I will take nothing less you will see.
Arthur shook violently and nearly dropped to his knees.
Gwain was the noblest knight that ever sat at the round table and Arthur’s best friend.
Baba Yaga cackled with a voice that shook the whole hut, as she continued to stir her soup of bones.
Without saying anything Arthur turned and ran to his steed. He rode as fast he could through the dark forest, at great speed.
The Castle door was opening when Arthur made the last turn, and
Gwain was waiting near to hear what Arthur had learned.
Like he had just seen a ghost Arthur’s was as white as could be, with his head hung low, he told Qwain what he had just seen.
Baba Yaga is as ugly a person as you have ever seen, she gave forth a stench that would choke a goat, she is humpback, she made obscene sounds and was the most loathsome creature I have ever encountered. Arthur then fell silent when Gwain ask about the price for the answer to what women really wanted?
Arthur stumbled and stuttered and could no longer look Gwain in the eye.
The old hag wants “You” for her husband, Arthur replied, but I could not make that bargain, so on my horse I did ride.
You are my friend and best companion that I have ever had, and I could not agree to the burden that this would place on your head.
Without hesitation and being the noble knight that Gwain was, Gwain asserted he would agree to the terms, and be the old hags husband if it meant saving his friends life and preserving the round the table where they served.
Arrangements for the wedding were hastily made and a messenger was sent to Baba Yaga’s door, that Gwain had agreed to be her husband, forever more.
A huge feast for the occasion was put into place and the neighboring King came to get his answer to the question of what women really want. It wasn’t long after the meal started that Baba Yaga made her presence at the door. Everyone at the celebration was speechless, at what she wore. Her clothes were ragged, and she had not bathed in a year, her hair was mess and looked like a thicket, and all at the table were sickened when they seen it.
Arthur was at the head of the table and he and Gwain stood up when Baba Yaga came in. In a voice of authority Arthur ask the answer to the question she had come to give. The room fell silent, and the celebration came to a stop, and all at the table looked in Baba Yaga’s direction and you could have heard a pin drop.
Then the old hag in a voice that would hurt your ears, then spoke her infernal wisdom.
The answer that you seek, that has been on your mind, and will make Baba Yaga,
Qwains wife for the rest of our time.
Is that what women seek most, is respect and sovereignty over their own lives!
In that instant all those that had gathered, knew great feminine wisdom had been spoken, and King Arthur would be safe.
Then all eyes went to the neighboring King for his approval, of which he agreed, and with the wave of his goblet young Arthur’s life he did concede.
There was no one more torn between relief and distress than Arthur himself.
Gwain was courteous, gentle and respectful. Never before or since had the court of Arthur been subject to such strain but courtesy prevailed and the wedding was accomplished.
When Baba Yaga took her place at the table, not fork or spoon did she use, she shoved food in to her mouth and her dirty hands she did use. It was the most hideous site anyone had ever been witness to, and then all their thoughts turned to Gwain, and what he was going to do.
The celebration ended and all went on their own way. Arthur was feeling poorly about the decision his friend Gwain had made. But he knew choices are our own and we deal with them in our own way.
As the wedding night was upon him and Gwain was preparing their wedding bed, Gwain waited for his old hag bride to join him, and he had horrible visions swirling in his head.
But what happened next, was nothing like Gwain had ever expected, and he thought his mind was playing tricks. When the most beautiful woman he had ever seen appeared, he thought for sure he was in a fix.
Baba Yaga had transformed herself into a beautiful Damsel, like Gwain had never seen. In a sweet voice like from an angel or a dream Baba Yaga gave Gwain a choice, who she was going to be.
Since you have been so courteous and kind to me, you can have a choice. To have the old hag side of me by day, and my beautiful side by night, or my beautiful side by day and me be the old hag at night?
Gwain did quick personal calculations in his mind. Do I want the beautiful Damsel by day, so all my friends will be envious of me, and the old hag at night when we are alone. Or do I want the old hag during the day and the sweet Damsel at night, during the most intimate of moments.
The choice Gwain made did not surprise Baba Yaga at all, for she knew all along that he was the noblest knight that ever took up a chair at the round table.
So when Gwain spoke and let Baba Yaga choose what she wanted to do.
Baba Yaga announced that since Gwain had given her respect and sovereignty over her own life, that she would just be beautiful, both day and night.
Adus F. Dorsey II
26 Feb 2006