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ID
b255
Title
"The Poison Ladies."
Genre
Story
Page Count
10
Word Count
2470
Publication Year
1959
Topics
Boyhood

The narrator recalls an adventure, at four years old, in which he followed an older and cocky lad in hopes of seeing two old women who "poison you fust, then boil you arterwards." Following his companion's instructions, by "screw[ing] up my eyes like an owl's," the boy "sees" "the two old poison ladies, one with yellow eyes and the other with a green mouth and long white pigtails, both of them with awful ears, like sows." They run away in terror, only to relax in immense laughter upon reaching a big open field, chanting"We see the poison ladies!..They chased us! They nearly got us!....Everything Ben shouted I shouted too. When he laughed I laughed. What he believed I believed." In The Watercress Girl and Other Stories (1959), The Poison Ladies and Other Stories (1976). Reprinted in Snapshots: A Collection of Short Stories (1995).