Two stories exploring the border between skepticism and belief. Part of my Women Writers of Folklore and Fiction series.
Two more translations! One by Juana Manuela Gorriti, and one by Emilia Pardo Bazán. This is a kind of matched pair: two stories about the tension between rational explanations and the desire to believe in the supernatural.
- Herbs and Pins (Yerbas y alfileres) by Juana Manuela Gorriti: The celebrated Doctor Passaman tries to cure a patient whose mysterious illness resists all treatments.
- The Talisman (El talismán) by Emilia Pardo Bazán: Why does the Baron Helynagy have such miraculous good fortune?
Many marvelous-seeming phenomena in the world are really quite natural; Sir Walter Scott dedicated an entire letter from his Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft to debunking ghost stories of this type. One such example is the tale of the dead club president’s ghost, which has a perfectly rational explanation.
As a story, though, the supernatural explanation is far more satisfying. And that may be the case with Gorriti’s and Pardo Bazán’s stories as well.
Featured Image: Mandrake. Folio 90 Folio 90 from the Naples Dioscurides (7th century). Source: Wikimedia