Poverty In Sicily – Part 5

“My little girl of five kept wanting to go somewhere.  ‘I couldn’t cry when Baby died, Mama – I had such a pain I thought I was going to die, too,’ she whimpered. ‘It hurts me – my tummy started to hurt me after I’d drunk some of his medicine -‘ As soon as she said that, my eldest son smashed the glass into which I’d poured a drop of the syrup into pieces, and I snatched up my little girl and ran to another chemist who had a shop near the fishmarket. ‘Please – she took some cough syrup and it’s made her ill – do something for her quick,’ I panted, and he looked at her and led me into a room at the back. I was sure she was dying. He examined her and felt her tummy and gave her some medicine. ‘Are you the mother of the little boy who was poisoned?’ he asked. ‘Poisoned?’ I said. I didn’t understand. It seemed that the man who’d made up the syrup for Baby was a beginner who didn’t know his job – he’d mixed into it some stuff that came out of a bottle of poison.

The chemist gave me a purge for my little girl to clear everything out of her tummy. ‘I’ll take it, Mama,’ she said to me, ‘then I’ll get better, won’t I? ‘Yes, darling,’ I said. I wouldn’t let her have anything to eat for the next few days, I kept her on milk.

At the end of the week, a man came to see my husband. ‘Friend, Peppino,’ he said, ‘I won’t waste words – I’ll only say that this is a dreadful business. But keep quiet about it: if you start speechifying – well, you’re poor and they’re rich, so what can you do? What could you gain, friend, by making a fuss? If you have your little one’s body dug up, you’ll have to pay for it – all the expense’ll fall on you. Don’t think you can show them up – they’re rich, I tell you, they’ll get the best of it. Take Mr advice, leave things alone….”

And there ends Nonna Nedda’s mind boggling interview. There’s so much in it, it’s hard to know where to start.

The beatings?
The stone licking?
The mother’s death?
The baby’s poisoning?
The fact that this all only happened 60 years ago? And in Europe?

Mind boggling.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Alex Jones on August 31, 2014 at 07:47

    Crazy situation.


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