On a “truly wild night”, surrounding the kitchen table, “a family of natives were playing cards”. Much laughter and merriment was had, and as the night wore on, the storm getting fiercer and fiercer all the while, the children of the house started to come inside from their play around their dirt floored home.
Sometime after the last child made it inside, a bang at the door, louder than the wind blowing around it, shocked the family into silence. Not sure if it was merely a noise of the night, or if it were a visitor at the door. Slowly rising, the man of the house approached the door; stretching his gnarled and wizened hand to the handle, an enormous banging happened once more. In fright the man’s dark feet left the swept dirt floor, and the hushed silence deepened within.
Who would be out on a night like this?
Swallowing any fear he may have held, the large man opened the door, to find a tall, long coat wearing, and thoroughly drenched stranger standing there before him. Beckoning him in, the stranger followed, and oddly did not utter a word, yet, by appearance at least, happily joined the table, and the card game recommenced.
Children, being what children are, were still slinking around, doing the best to pretend they were under no circumstance tired, and playing quietly amongst themselves. One child, “the little mite was probably about bloody four” years of age took it to crawl around on the floor, again in the manner of children the world over, and decided that it could better hear the grown ups at the table, and have the perfect hiding place beneath it. The child, squeezing between chair legs, as well as legs of the barefoot variety, and finally made it into the darkness the table provided.
A minute or so passed, and the child under the table “let out an almighty bloody scream!”, banged its head beneath the table, making all effort to escape its confine with all speed possible. “The pickaninny moved like a bat out of hell!” Causing an upset of cards on the table, the adults revelry was brought abruptly to a halt. The child was told in no uncertain terms to “bloody well settle down!” which the child did not.
At exactly the same moment as the little one was being reprimanded, the tall stranger, long coat still on him, pushed his chair back from the table and the game. Not uttering a word, he turned to the door, and let himself out into the raging storm and the night.
Believing the man’s sudden departure was in direct response to the behaviour of the noisy wee bairn, the child was admonished further. When asked “what the hell was that bloody racket about anyway?!”, the child said, “the man had hairy goat legs, and goat feet.”
“Well, you could have heard a bloody pin drop and a mouse sneeze…..”, the wind continued to howl, and the kerosene lamp over the table guttered and fluttered. Had the devil just dropped in for a visit?
This story I am quoting (verbatim as best I can. Hence the outdated word usage.) was told to me a while ago at the New Norcia Hotel by an old bloke local to the area. It was a tale that was told to him that was alleged to have occurred in the 1920’s/30’s. I have published it here before incidentally. More importantly, I have heard the tale retold by other locals to the area, both black and white, since I last published it.
So there you go.
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