(A Dorset tale, as first told by Morgan River the Travelling Allergen. Image and inspiration the Wild Woman of the Water).
Gather ye round, oh folk of field and furrow, of axe and plough and rough ship’s timber; huddle ye close to the hearth and listen well to the tale of the midwife of the waves; a legend of Dorset’s fair and treacherous shore.
‘Twas the night of the Solstice, when the slim crescent of a young moon slivered the heavens and the dancing earth turned ‘pon her heel towards to the dark, when the lusty fishermen lining the shingle shore bore witness to the coming of the Sea Witch of Swyre. Aye, from the rolling surf she strode, the three-nippled midwife of West Bexington; tangle-haired and moon silver buttocked, she marched from the waves as sure as arrow-flight. Arr, and the fisherman were pain amazed, with gaped jaw, and young green Joe of barely fifteen summers, who were hauling out a difficult sturgeon, clean forgot himself and dropped his rod.
The coming of the Sea Witch was foretold by a storm of portents and omens. Oh! Such a tumult in these lands of glow-in-the-dark cousins was ne’er before seen! In Totnes a woman gave birth to a jellied eel, the youngest of three princes broke a nail in mortal combat with a recalcitrant washing machine, and a man crossing the moors as the moon was rising swore upon the Mass he’d seen a horse with two heads, which on closer inspection turned out to be two horses standing next to each other.
The triple-nippled one, resplendent in her many breastedness, came into the houses of healing amongst the simple folk and in a voice like the ringing of underwater bells in all the old, drowned cities of the world, she spake thus:
‘You’re doing it wrong.’
And she beheld the sorry state by which the healers of old were stymied in their duty; aye, she beheld the digitalised and empty soul of the modern cunning one, wrapped in tape of bloodied red, and she despaired, and gnashed her coral teeth. And with fingers webbed from her long habitation in the womb of the Mother, or possibly from a thousand years of uninterrupted inbreeding, the three-nippled midwife threw aside the spreadsheets of the Deceiver, as surely as Christ did overthrow the tables of the merchants within the temple.
And upon the scorched earth of irrevocably damaged electrical sockets, she laid a blessed mantle of correct administrative process, and within the healthcare system, particularly in the department of obstetrics, there was much rejoicing.
Her work complete, the three-nippled witch of the waters walked back to the roiling threshold of land and sea, and mooned reproachfully her milk-pale behind at the barrel-chested fishermen of the village, and leapt into the cold blue waters that stretch beyond our sight to distant lands, and watched the womenfolk birthing their babes into hands free from all but the laughter lines across their palms, and howled her victory to the summer stars.