Comedowns

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

  • Shadows round the Moon by Roy Heath
    Collins, 254 pp, £12.95, May 1990, ISBN 0 00 215584 2

A well-known author with reason to suspect people who arrive bearing gifts of extravagant praise likes to tell this story. An African woman who had just had a child saw someone approaching her hut intending to view her new infant and compliment it. The mother ran as fast as she could, hid the baby, and in its place substituted a stone, which she wrapped in the baby’s blanket. The guest arrived and proceeded to tell the mother what a beautiful baby she had and began making predictions about the wonderful destiny awaiting the infant. When the guest left, the mother loosened the blanket, unwrapped the stone, and found it shattered into little pieces.

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