Warning: children's stories

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shockheadedpeter.jpg

Now see! oh! see, what a dreadful thing
The fire has caught her apron-string;
Her apron burns, her arms, her hair;
She burns all over, everywhere.

from The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches in Shockheaded Peter by Heinrich Hoffmann

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Strangely enough, this is exactly what happened to my Mom's mom. It was 1912 in rural northern New Mexico. She was 3 years old and wanted to help her mom. So she filled her apron with sticks. When she threw them into the woodstove, her apron caught fire, then her long skirts. She was burned over 70 percent of her body. She was in the hospital for nine months. They didn't have burn units in those days. The doctors suggested she should be put out of her misery. She wasn't, else I couldn't be writing this. She was the toughest, ornery-est, little old woman I've ever known. Here's a photo of her, 40 years later, with her dad--the Sheriff of Colfax County.

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