Some people have asked me why my ears are crooked. Well, that’s an interesting story.
My sister is a witch. Yes, that’s pretty nuts, but it’s true. As far back as I can recall, she's been involved in the mystical and mysterious. As a child, I recall her bedroom being the epicenter for the fantastic. It was filled with potions, oils, books, cards, crystals, and all sorts of magical wonders.
There wasn’t a time where she didn’t possess several decks of tarot cards, Ouija boards, and other interesting artifacts. She also had a nifty herb garden in our yard where she grew all sorts of cool things like Rosemary and Lavender. Needless to say, she obtained a bit of a reputation in the neighborhood when I was a child, so much so I used to warn other children that if they didn’t leave me alone, my sister would turn them into a toad
. Typically, they listened.
Sometimes my sister and I would talk for hours about potions and spirits and magical things. However, those conversations didn’t quite prepare me for my first numinous encounter, which would lead to my crooked ears.
You see, when I was eleven years old I awoke one summer morning to find that my left ear had been stolen. Naturally, it was quite a shock. I believe I looked everywhere — in my sheets, under my bed, in my closet — but, it was nowhere to be found. As I was about to really
panic, I noticed something on the floor...strange little footprints. They were about the size of a small egg and scattered everywhere. I followed them to find they led to my windowsill and hanging there was what appeared to be a little rope made out of human hair of various shades.
Whatever had been in my room in the night had apparently entered through the window and stolen my ear. I had no idea what they would've wanted with it. While I had been tearing my room apart looking for my ear, Tina heard me and knocked on the door.
“Jimmy, what are you doing in there?” she called.
“Looking for my ear!” I replied.
With that odd statement, she opened the door. I showed her that my ear had vanished and led her to the little footprints and rope. I expected her to think me crazy, but instead she appeared to know exactly what had transpired.
All morning, she worked in her herb garden collecting various plants and roots. She combined these with oils and powders to create a small cauldron of a crimson potion.
“Now, you go and play. Stay away from the shade especially where things are overgrown,” she said. “When the sun begins to set, come and get me.”
I did just as she instructed and once the sun was beginning to disappear I returned to her room. She had prepared a small satchel of items including the strange little rope, which she had soaked in the solution she had brewed earlier. Then, she took me by the hand. We began walking across the street towards the large wood that sat near our house, adjacent to the old graveyard.
We entered into the forest. The thick branches of the great trees shielded the remaining sunlight of dusk. We walked for what seemed like forever to an eleven year old until we came to a clearing where red moss grew on the trees. There was one large tree that appeared to be dead. In the lower part of the trunk was a small hole.
Tina bent down to the tree and knocked on the trunk.
“Go away!” yelled a small voice.
“Come out this instant!” Tina replied.
“Oh, what do you want?”
“I would like for you to return my brother’s ear.”
Then, I saw him. He poked his little head out of the trunk of the tree. He was small, possibly four inches tall. His flesh was a greenish-brown color and he had a bulky snout. On his head he wore a tiny cap that was tilted to the side. He looked at her and then to me.
“Well, you can’t have it back!” he said.
“Now, now. That wasn’t the deal,” Tina said as she reached around and took hold of her long braided pony tail. “I gave you some of my hair and you weren’t to return.”
“So what!” the little thing shouted.
Tina stood there for a moment and then said, “Well, at least take back your rope.”
“My rope!” he said stepping completely out of the tree. “Give me my rope!”
Tina quickly snatched up the little creature and as he fought and struggled against her she tied him up tight with his twine made of hair. Then, she sat him back down. He struggled and struggled against it. He even tried to cut it with a little dagger, but it wouldn’t budge.
“You can stop that now. I’ve made it invincible, unbreakable
. It can’t be cut or burned,” Tina said.
“Invincible?” he said as his curiosity peaked.
“Yes. So, you can either give my brother’s ear back, or I can leave you tied up right here. I’m sure a fox would find you pretty tasty.”
He sighed. “Fine! Can I have the rope back?”
“Yes, after you give me the ear,” she replied.
She unbound only his feet so that he could go back into the tree and in a moment out he came dragging my dirty ear behind him.
“Here…sorry,” he said.
Tina took my ear and placed it in her pouch and then untied the little troll.
“Now, I want your promise that you won’t come back into my house.”
“Promise…the troll’s promise
,” she said.
He huffed and rolled his little yellow eyes. “I promise.”
“Thank you,” she said with a smile.
“You’ll miss me,” he said smiling as he ventured back into the tree.
“Perhaps, but I can still come visit,” she said.
Tina sewed my ear back on when we arrive home that night. To this day, if you look very close at my left ear, you’ll see that it sits differently on my skull than my right.
And that is why my ears are crooked. Tina, this story is for you.
I thank you for being one of the wonderful things that made my less than perfect childhood so magical. If God finds it fit in this life to bless me with greatness always know that you are one of the main things that fashioned me in that manner. Your imagination, wisdom, and determination remain one of the most important inspirations I’ve known.