"He was with Elphaba?"
"Now you remember, I see you do."
"The Wicked Witch of the West . . ."
"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 addressing."
"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 boy over."
"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 body.
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 1-8. All 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 10022
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