"There was a story that was told to me by my grandmother, who told me it had been shared to her by her own grandmother. As the legend goes, my great-grandfather had fallen ill as a small boy. His fever ran so high that steam was said to come off him in the bitter winter air of Acadia. They feared for his death and so they sent for all of the wise folk of the colony. They brought first the Jesuit, who prayed over the boy. When his blessings and prostration before the Lord and His intercessors failed to break the fever, the family sent for an old woman who some whispered was a witch. She boiled and mashed her plants and spread green paste thick upon the boy's forehead. The fire within the boy did not cease. Lastly, my great-great-grandmother sent for the native man who was baptized Jean-Baptiste, a man who had an uncanny and fey atmosphere around him and was rumored to have the powers of sorcery. All attempts were to no use, and the boy lay tossing and turning in his bed, soaked through with sweat, and delirious.
Until a knock at the door came, and the small crowd moved to allow my great-great-grandfather passage to the door. Opening it, they all gazed upon a short man covered in thick leather and furs, hood up and enveloping his face. A thin pale hand attached to an emaciated wrist was conjured from the folds of his sleeves and bade the boy's mother forward. She was frozen to the spot, mouth hanging agape at the entrance of this creature. As she drew near, she could see that from his other hand hung a wooden box with a wire handle wrapped in cloth.
My great-great-nan was said to have faced the man, looking down at eyes that were lost in shadows. He whispered something, but it was in tones so hushed and slippery that no-one overheard, and the woman was known to have taken the secret words to her grave. The boy's mother ushered everyone- including her husband- out of the house and thanked them briskly for their aid. After the house was clear, she was instructed to leave as well, but fearing the strange man she watched him through a hole in the wall.
The man had thrown back his hood, and she could see an ink symbol painted on his forehead. She watched as he opened his box, which was held together by crude hinges. The man removed a variety of glass containers, with skinny necks and large bulbous bases. Some were skinny and thin, and some looked merely like jars. The man took a small leather pouch from the inside of his tattered coat and removed a flint and steel, as well as a small pile of brown tinder and struck a fire on the flat grinding stone she used for cooking.
She watched as he boiled strange fluids from tiny vials secreted away in his coat, adding water, and milk. The soft sounds of clinking glass could be heard through the hole in the wall, and the muffled sound of boiling liquids. Eventually, the man filled a small cup with a dark brown elixir and walked into the boy's room. My great-great-nan couldn't see where he had gone, and so thought to sneak around and peer through the window. But by the time she had arrived, he was gone and the boy was laying peacefully in his bedclothes. She rushed back to the hole, and thrust her face forward, straight into the eyes of the strange man. She ran off, and found her husband at a neighbors, and searching together found no trace the man or his demonic instruments had ever been there. But the boy recovered."
"But nans do like to spin tales." My friend said, giving up on using his crowbar to wedge away the boards that had been nailed to the front of the ancient dwelling's door frame.
"Mine did, that's for sure." I replied. "It's going to be a great story for my vlog, after we've stayed the night."