If the legend is still circulating, as Dr. Lockhart fears, there are a few things I could tell my girls. I could tell them that the Crevecoeur family did lose their youngest daughter, Iris, but she didn't drown. She caught a chill from a mishap during a boating party with her two older sisters and died of the flu in her own bed. I could also tell them that nineteenth-century drawings of the lake show the three rocks, which were called, by early settlers, the three graces. But I know that the harder you try to dispel a legend the more power it gains. It's like Oedipus trying to avoid his fate and running headlong into it at the crossroads. And once I begin to talk about the legend they might ask if there were any suicides when I went to school here. Then I would either have to lie or tell them that during my senior year both my roommates drowned in the lake.
I might even find myself telling them that since then I have always felt the lake is waiting for the third girl.
Excerpted from The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman Copyright 2002 by Carol Goodman. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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