A tale of 'Old Wives', The Moon and lots of wishful thinking.
The Pub on that June evening was for some reason pretty full. A few were local but the majority were from the Hotel across the road.
Most of the strangers were young. Well young compared to the average age of the locals that is. A few were in their early 20’s but most were in their late 20’s or early 30’s.
“What be you young’uns doing here?” asked one of the regulars.”
“We are down here for a University reunion. We all played for the Football team when we were students but the place is going to merge with the other one in the city so we all decided to have one last bash together before our old Alma Mater is no more.”
“Why here?” he asked.
“This is not exactly on your regular ‘have a weekend and get drunk’ tour?”
The student he was talking to gave a laugh.
“Yes. I suppose you are right. One of the team stuck a pin in a map. And here we are. Looking for something to do until we head back north on Sunday Afternoon”
The man looked into his almost empty tankard.
“If the’ll buy me another pint I’ll tell thee of summat to do.”
The young man smiled and acquiesced to his request.
He waited patiently for the local to savour the local Scrumpy.
“Rumour has it that on a year when Midsummer Night coincides with a Full Moon then if a young man such as yourself runs up Manly Tor dressed as a Parlour Maid and dances around the Gibbet on the top of the Tor 10 times in a clockwise direction, then again 10 times in the other way, he becomes the Maid.”
The young man laughed.
“Hey guys, listen to this,” he called out. All his friends turned to look at him.
“Come on Old timer, you have an audience now. Can you repeat what you just said”?
“Aye. For another Pint I will.”
“Speak first, answer any questions and then I’ll buy you another. Deal?” asked the young man.
The old man repeated his tale. This time he added a lot more detail.
“How often is this event supposed to happen?” asked another visitor.
“Some say that it only properly matches up once every hundred or so years.
This year being the one”
True to his promise, the old man got his drink.
The visitors all decided that they’d go up the Tor the following day.
One of them who seemed to be the natural leader said.
“Well Team. Why don’t we meet outside at 09:00 sharp and we will run up the Tor. I’m sure the landlord would make us some lunch when we get down.
The deal done, the visitors left for a relatively early night.
When they’d gone, the barman said to the local who’d told the story.
“Why did you have to repeat that old wives tale Jonas?”
Jonas, who was well plastered by this time simply said.
“Because in 1891, the last time it happened a young stable lad from up at the big house doubted you as they all did me. He went up on the allotted night, did the dance and next morning, we were a lad no more. We woke up a lass.”
“Now you are kidding me.”
The old man even though he was pretty pissed looked the barman right in the eye and said.
“If it didn’t happen, then I’d not be sitting here now. Me Great Grandma was that stable lad.”
There was nowt more to be said that evening or for that matter that weekend.
One of the young men who was in the pub that night had returned alone to the village. No one knew of his hopes for the night. For many years, his desire to become a woman had been growing stronger with each passing year. His parents has spent thousands of pounds on one Psychiatrist after another in the hope of ‘curing’ him of this disease. All they would say that he has this thing called ‘Gender Dysphoria’ and that they should let him live as a woman if he wanted.
This was not for them so they made the child promise not to bring dishonour on their family by doing this ‘thing’. Their South Asian cultural & religious heritage meant that ‘Honour’ was very important for them. They made him swear on the holy Koran that he would not bring dishonour upon the family.
He kept his promise through University. He made a deal with his Father that he would not bring the family into disrepute if his father would in turn not force an arranged marriage upon him. After many long arguments, he got the deal.
The young man no longer lived in the same part of the country as his family.
His job made him move to a place where he was just another young man in the crowd.
He took to dressing as a woman, and after donning a full ‘Nicab’ he would go out in Public. He would do his weekly shop. The face veil with only his beautifully made up eyes showing made people not want to stop & talk. He didn’t even have to speak to shop assistants. For nearly three years, he’d lived this dual life.
All the time, he was coming closer to making the change complete.
When this troubled young man had heard of this local legend, he was intrigued. He decided that he would give it a try. If it was a lie then there was nothing lost? If on the other-hand, he could have his dream come true then he would be happy.
He parked his car on a lane outside the village and got ready to walk up the hill. He’d changed into what he thought of as a Parlour Maids outfit before leaving home earlier in the day.
Gathering the long skirts in his hands, he set out on the path to the top of the tor.
As he approached the top, he looked at his watch. 11:45pm. The Moon was full & appearing really big overhead.
He stopped short of the gibbet and looked out for other people.
There was silence. A gentle breeze was coming in his direction from the Tor. It carried no sound.
An Owl called in the distance.
A car travelled along the winding road in the valley below.
He looked at his watch for the umpteenth time.
It was time.
Gathering his skirts once more he walked the final 50m to the Gibbet.
His watch gave a small bleep. It was midnight.
With one final swallow, he started to dance.
The moonlight made it seem a weird sight.
10 times clockwise.
10 times anticlockwise.
Then it was done.
The man looked down at himself. He felt his breasts. There was nothing there apart from the wrapped up socks he used as padding.
“What a total waste of time,” he quietly cursed to himself.
Gathering up the skirts, he made his way carefully down the hill to his waiting car.
If you had seen him from behind you might have noticed a small green glow around his head.
When he reached his car, he just got in and drove home. By this time, he was in a foul mood for even believing that the old wives tale could be true.
It was well after sunrise on this shortest of night before he got home exhausted.
He just flopped down on his bed and fell into a deep sleep.
This was a sleep that lasted for some 24 hours before the call of nature made him stir from his slumbers.
When he walked into the bathroom he let out a small curse when he saw that the toilet seat was up. He sat down and then as the liquid started hitting the water, he realised that he was peeing sitting down and said out loud.
“Oh shit. It worked. That frigging Moondance tale bloody well worked”.
He, now a She, broke out into a huge grin and gave a little dance of joy as she revelled as her small breasts started jiggling up and down as she danced all around the house.
I wrote this story on a late September morning in 2010 while I was sitting on top of the Col de Porte in the Pyrenees. It was a beautiful morning. The mist was slowly clearing from the Valleys below and a little bit of snow was still on the sheltered Northern slopes of Mt Ventoux. Swallows were heading south by the dozen. An Eagle was soaring overhead. What more inspiration could I need?
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