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American myths: Aunty Greenleaf.

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by , 16th January 2011 at 08:36 AM (233 Views)
Aunty Greenleaf was a scrawny old woman with a wild thatch of gray hair and a crooked nose. She lived in a hut surrounded by pines just outside Brookhaven, and she sold herbal remedies to the folks in town. Mostly, people avoided her, except when someone got sick because it was said that Aunty Greenleaf was a witch. Her home remedies worked too well to be natural. Folks figured she had to have help from the devil or one of his familiars.

There were many stories whispered in Brookhaven about Aunty Greenleaf. People said she had hexed a farmer's pigs once after he spoke rudely to her, so that they all died, one right after another. One prominent citizen dreamed of Aunty Greenleaf, and the next morning her daughter fell ill with a fever and nearly died. It was also rumored that Aunty Greenleaf and her witch friends crossed the Atlantic in an egg-shell and frolicked with the witches in England. Then they put a spell on the egg-shell so that it brought them back here before sunrise

In the early fall, folks in town began talking about a large, pure-white deer that was seen roaming the woods near Brookhaven at night. Several hunting parties were gathered to go after the large animal, but it seemed to be impervious to bullets, and folks began saying it was a phantom deer. Around about that time, several women in the town began having trouble with their churning and a number of cows and pigs began to sicken and die. Folks blamed the incidents on the phantom deer, though each of the people afflicted with the trouble had crossed Aunty Greenleaf at some time in the last month.

The men of Brookhaven got up a hunting party to chase down the animal. They were gone all day, and well into the night. Finally they spotted the white deer. It was the largest deer any of them had ever seen, and was fast too. They couldn't keep up with it. The men got several good shots in, and swore that at least one of them hit the deer, but it just kept running. They returned home empty-handed.

One local farmer became obsessed with the white deer. Every moment he could spare from his work, the farmer would take his gun and go hunting in the woods around town. He saw the white deer several times, but he his shots always seemed to go astray. Finally, he decided the white deer must be a witch of some sort. The farmer melted silver to make bullets, and then he took his gun and went out hunting the white deer. He managed to make three shots with his silver bullets and the white deer actually stumbled as if one of the shots had hit it. Then it jerked upright and ran away. He tracked it almost to Aunty Greenleaf's hut, but then he lost it in the dark somehow, which was mighty strange, seeing as the deer was pure white.

The next day, the farmer learned that Aunty Greenleaf was ill. From the moment she took to her bed, the local farm animals stopped dying and the families who were having trouble with their churning were back to normal. Less than a week later, Aunty Greenleaf died and the doctor who cared for her told the minister he found three silver bullets in her spine.

After the death of Aunty Greenleaf, the phantom white deer was never heard of or seen again in Brookhaven.

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