"As some called her." The Superior Maunt sniffed.
"Not I. Her name here was Sister Saint Aelphaba, but I seldom called her
anything. She was more or less under a vow of silenceher own. She needed no
"You recognize him from youth to now?" said Oatsie.
"You've seen him since?"
"No. But I do not forget a face."
Oatsie raised her eyebrows.
"I have seen so few faces," explained the Superior
Maunt. "We will not talk now. I must have Sister Doctor here to look the
"What was his name?"
The Superior Maunt vanished without answering.
By nightfall, as Oatsie's clients finished their nightcaps,
the next generation of rumors was launched. The man-child was the Emperor's
confessor. He was a brigand trafficking in the sex trade. He spoke in the voice
of a Loon. Except for a single rib, the man-child had broken every bone in his
Many of the rumors were contradictory, which in the aggregate
made them all more amusing.
The foregoing is excerpted from Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire, pages
rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written
permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY
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