The Dead Wife-The Yellow Fairy Book
A man and his wife once lived alone and got along just fine, but the wife died. The man loved and missed his wife greatly. In her place, he made a wooden doll. For a while, the man had to do everything himself. He cooked; he cleaned; he hunted; he did whatever it is the men did besides hunt. One day, he came home and found all the house chores completed. There was even food cooking over the fire.
When he looked around, the wood doll had turned into his wife. She told him that the great spirit felt sorry for the man since he missed his wife so much. He could have her back, but he could not touch her until they were back with their own people. The couple packed up and went on their way, but on the journey, the wife stumbled and the husband went to help her. She told him, “No,” but he touched her anyway. As soon as he touched her, there was nothing there but the wooden doll. In the snow were normal person footprints and then there were only the footprints of the wooden doll in mid-stride. The man made it back to his people and told them all about his sad tale of woe.
What I liked
I’m pretty sure I’ve read this story before when I was reading Native American fairy tales. It’s a sad story, but it’s the kind of sad that makes for a good story.
I kept thinking of Shadow Moon’s wife from American Gods as I was reading this story. In the television show, the leprechaun always called her “Dead Wife.” The story of a dead wife coming back to life because a husband pined so much over her has been told again and again. There is even an episode of Supernatural where Bobby gets his wife back, as a zombie, of course. Usually, none of the returned from the dead wives end up staying. Something happens and they go back to the land of the dead.
What I didn’t like
These stories are already sad, but then they become even sadder when the husband gets his wife back but then loses her all over again. Can you imagine getting a loved one back from the dead only to have them die all over again? You really, really loved your wife, but she died. When she died the sunshine was sucked out of your life and it didn’t seem like worth living much at all. You put one foot in front of the other, but you didn’t know why you do it. One day, you get your wife back through some gracious act of fate and you’re happier than you’ve ever been in your entire life, but then, she dies, again. That would be so devastating. How could a person even live? I don’t know that I could in this situation. I think I’d just have to curl up and die hoping that I would be reunited with my loved one in an afterlife.
Losing a person once is difficult; it sucks, but their absence eventually becomes our new normal. Losing a person twice would simply break any one of us with no hope for recovery.
Just wait until Pixar decides to make this into a movie, for children no less. Get your hankies.
Honestly, do you think you could go on living if you lost a loved one twice?
If you were in this man’s situation, do you think the guilt of knowing you caused your wife to go back to the spirit world would be greater than the sadness you felt at her absence? Would they both be equally as bad?
If your loved one ever comes back to life and they tell you they can only stay if you do or don’t do XYZ, for goodness sake, heed their instructions, unless they’re a zombie and they want you to hold still so they can eat your brain. In that case, run.