Lady In The Treetop
Hazel Mae Cajandig, Bangkok, Thailand
I must admit that I'm addicted to Castle of Spirits, especially the stories. But while I believe in ghosts, I haven't seen one nor do I wish to see any of them. (Of course I'm scared) I don't have any interesting story of my own, but when I went home to the Philippines for a short vacation, my mother told me this story of her neighbor "Anna".
It happened some 45 years ago in the Philippines, a country inhabited by ghosts, witches, dwarves, elves, gnomes, goblins, fairies, you name it....
It was right after sunrise in a secluded area not far from where the notorious Osama bin Laden-linked Abu Sayyaff guerilla group is now occupying. The morning was cool and quiet and the little farm was just beginning to come alive. The first thing Anna did after getting out of bed that day was hurry to their mango tree, a big, tall one, to pick up the mangoes that had fallen during the night. They were fresh and luscious and they would make a great dessert for breakfast. While Anna was filling her long, wide skirt with the mangoes, something made her look up and when she did, she just suddenly dashed to their house like crazy, the mangoes falling off her skirt and scattering to the ground. Upon arriving at their front yard she passed out.
As the nearest clinic was hours away, her parents confused and shocked, tried to revive her. When she finally came to her frightened folks were frantic to hear what happened.
Rubbing off goose bumps, and in a trembling voice Anna related this: At the topmost part of the mango tree, in one of the branches sat a woman breast feeding her baby. She looked like anybody else but was someone Anna had never seen anywhere before. The woman did not utter a word, did not move, she was just there but she did do something - she flashed Anna a strange, eerie smile.
Anna might have been only going through a kind of dream considering that she had just woken up when she started picking up the mangoes. Perhaps she was half awake and half asleep thus seeing that kind of sight. Sometimes things like that could happen as we are probably aware of. But dash away and pass out? Was there really a need for that if what she saw was not terrifying enough to be called extraordinary? How could a woman with a baby climb a tall tree? Let's just say she's very agile, adventure-loving and not suffering from, which phobia is that? that fear of heights? But then why should a mother breast feed her baby in, of all places, a treetop? and for what? a dramatic variation sandwiched by risk and danger? We could go on refuting this forever, but I'd rather not see what poor Anna had seen.
Anna's folks who are believers of the paranormal, like most Filipinos, simply told her, "Ah, so our mango tree is haunted. Next time Sweetie, don't pick the fruits that early as 'some of them' could still be there."