“Mr. Gregory’s Fly”
Once there was a man with a big black moustache. His name was Mr. Gregory (the man and the moustache had the same name). Since his youth Mr. Gregory was bothered by a fly that used to enter his mouth when he spoke, and when somebody spoke to him, the fly would fly out of his ear. “This fly annoys me,” said Mr. Gregory to his wife, and she answered, “I understand, and it looks ugly. You ought to consult a doctor.” However no doctor was able to cure Mr. Gregory of his fly. Although he went to see several doctors, they always said that they had never heard of this disease.
One day Mr. Gregory went to see another doctor, but he got the wrong address and by mistake went to see a midwife. She was a wise woman and she knew a lot of other things besides childbirthing.
“Ahh, the fly, I know about that,” said the wise woman when Mr. Gregory said, “Pardon, I thought I was going to see Dr. Fontin,” and the fly, as usual, flew into his mouth.
“Me, I know how to cure your fly,” said the wise woman.
“Enchanted, Madam,” answered Mr. Gregory.
So the wise woman offered him a chair, saying, “Yes, I know how to cure the fly. But it’s going to be expensive, like three-quarters of your wealth.”
Mr. Gregory jumped a bit, then he said, “All right.” He wrote the following letter:
I give my house to the wise woman [the house was
not his]. I give my wife [he wanted to get rid of her
anyhow] ten shillings [he didn’t have them] and a
cow [this in fact was a ferocious bull].
George Lawrence Gregory [This was his real name.]
The wise woman knew quite well that Mr. Gregory was telling lies in the letter, but she didn’t say anything, she just took the letter and spat on the ground. Then she gave some pills to Mr. Gregory and she said: “Take two after every meal in a tea made of little drops of mustard in noodle water. That’s it.”
“Thank you very much,” said Mr. Gregory, and he left content. Later Mr. Gregory took the pills in the tea made of little drops of mustard in noodle water, according to the instructions of the wise woman. Next day the fly had totally disappeared, but Mr. Gregory had become navy blue with red zip fasteners over his orifices.
“It’s worse than the fly,” said his wife, but Mr. Gregory didn’t say much because he knew that he had cheated the wise woman. I deserved it, he thought. If I only had that little fly again, I’d be happy. But he was still navy blue with red zip fasteners and stayed like that till the end of his days, and this was very ugly, especially when he was naked in his bath.
from The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington
Dorothy, a publishing project