The Lady who Lived Behind the Mountain
By BC from her childhood in 2003
Once upon a time there lived a lady. She was lonely. She lived behind a mountain. Nobody knew she lived there because the mountain blocked her house. Many people pay lots of money just to go down to Texas and see that mountain. The mountain is beautiful. One day when a mother took her baby to the mountain. The baby crawled around the mountain. The mother was worried. When the lady saw the baby, she said, “This is wonderful, when I go around the mountain people will now know I live there.” She went around the mountain and returned the baby. The mother thanked her. Then, she left. Now people come to visit the lady. The baby and the mother visit the lady very often. The End
BC’s Present-Day Response
Welcome to another Aged Anecdote! ‘The Lady Who Lived Behind the Mountain” is a charming story to me partly because I have one of those hazy memories of actually writing this–we used this tan-colored newspaper-type paper that was half blank for illustrations and half lined with dashed and solid lines to guide our letters. I remember the drawing I did for it, a triangular mountain with a little house tucked away behind it.
This story focuses on a woman who lives in that house behind the mountain, and how she is lonely living there because nobody knows that’s where she lives, because, intuitively, “the mountain blocked her house.”
Now, the author does not seem to think there need be anymore explanation for this unique conundrum. So, a woman lives in a house behind a mountain, but because no one knows she lives there, she suffers from loneliness. Does she not have the ability to initiate phone calls? Does she have internet and emailing capabilities? From time to time does she emerge for groceries? Perhaps the postal system overlooked her because her house is apparently off the grid, but has she not at any point in time been able to reach out to other people and ask for a friend? Does she self-sustain on her property, farming her own food and making her own clothes, so that she never need to enter the public, and this is the only life she has ever known? Did the rest of her family pass away and she is truly alone living in that house behind the mountain? Or is she kidnapped? Is she actually being held hostage inside this house, and isn’t able to signal for help in any way? If so, who is her kidnapper? I want answers!
The real kicker is that this mountain is in Texas, which does have mountains–I looked it up–but it’s amusing to me to that my childhood brain chose Texas as the site of this beautiful mountain, a state I had no legitimate knowledge about and probably selected because it was far away and big. Not only that, but that “people pay lots of money…just to see that mountain.” So even in my cute little story, people have to shell over abundant cash in order to witness the earth’s natural formations. That element of realism is a nice little detail.
But, that just tells us that everyone viewing the mountain must be kind of wealthy, if they could afford to witness this beautiful mountain in Texas. Including the mother who lost track of her baby long enough for it to crawl around the mountain.
If you’ve ever seen a mountain in real life (free mountain-viewing counts, too) then maybe at this point in the story, things got a little weird for you. So, I’ve actually seen a mountain in the real life before, and it turns out they look a little different than the second-grade artistic rendering I created to accompany this story. You see, mountains are quite large. In fact, they’re so large, that it would actually be quite laborious, believe it or not, for a baby to crawl around one. And in fact in fact, I may even be willing to make the bold claim that it would be impossible for a baby to crawl around a mountain. Please contact me if I am incorrect and I will issue a statement announcing I was wrong about this, but I’ve seen a lot of mountains and a baby or two has crossed my path in my days, and I’m saying it’s just not a likely combination.
So that in and of itself is making me ask all kinds of questions about this baby. Clearly it’s not regular baby, but more like a super baby with incredible speed and strength, and a keen sense of curiosity with a knack for saving people. How did this baby get to be such an outstanding crawler? If it’s so good at crawling, why can’t it just walk yet? Are these powers inherited or was it genetically modified after birth? How did the mother lose track of her crawling infant? The baby must be incredibly fast to sneak off around an entire mountain without the mother realizing–unless she was so captivated by the mountain’s beauty that she was hypnotized into staring at it.
And in that case, I’d like to put it out there that perhaps the lonely woman behind the mountain was under some sort of curse or spell to where she wasn’t able to leave the mountain’s shadow, and it was only by the miracle of the Chosen Baby to crawl through the perimeter’s spell and break the magic with its pure superhuman power, which is why, afterwards, the lonely woman is suddenly able to simply walk out from behind the mountain with the baby, like, “Hey guys, I was hiding back there the whole time. But I needed this baby as an excuse to come out!”
If it were so easy for the lonely woman to return the baby, why didn’t she do this earlier and solve all her own lonely problems on her own? Why did her big reveal necessitate a baby intervening? Perhaps there was magic and spells involved, and the evil witch who cursed the lonely woman to a life of solitude also erected the mountain to distract people from seeing her, so that she would constantly be overlooked for the beautiful Texan mountain which entranced its visitors, and the super special baby was immune because it was too bored to care about a mountain and sensed feelings of peril nearby and initiated an investigation (good baby!).
Or, if you’re a realist, which may be slightly ridiculous of you in a world where our tiny human knowledge is so limited compared to the vast universe of wonders and seemingly unthinkable phenomena which occur every second unbeknownst to us humans who live with our heads so far buried in our artificially constructed societies that we dedicate the full force of our focus on the most trivial and inconsequential matters, then perhaps you could interpret the story as a fable, or a slightly exaggerated story with a lesson. Perhaps the lesson is that we all have the ability to solve our own problems, but maybe it takes a baby or a random occurrence to help us realize the obvious answers, and the power we hold over our own lives. Or perhaps the lesson is that everybody needs a friend, and that sometimes someone doesn’t feel strong enough to reach out, and that we have to step up and help be a friend, even if it’s someone everyone else ignores or overlooks because it’s not convenient to help them. Or maybe the lesson is that you should keep better track of your baby before it gets around an entire mountain and falls in the clutches of a strange cursed woman in a shack behind the world’s weirdest mountain. I guess we’ll have to ask the author what they had in mind!
In any case, the mother in this story is extremely grateful that the lonely woman made the right choice and returned the wandering baby instead of making baby stew, and her gratefulness leads to a new friendship, where the mother and baby often return to visit the lonely woman, who is probably less lonely in this arrangement. But not only do the mother and baby visit the less-lonely woman, but “people” visit her, too! It’s as though she gained somewhat of a celebrity status for “rescuing” the baby, and since the mountain was already such a pull for tourists, the news story I’m sure they did on this touching reunion of mother and lost baby probably only increased publicity for the mountain and spread the word about lonely woman wanting friends. A win for everyone! The mother and baby are probably raking in the cash, going all Kardashian style after their big break, using a little fame to get more famous, and that’s probably why they visit less-lonely woman so much, to pay their dues to the woman who gave them their first big break, and maybe to plan more ways of gaining media attention. But I guess I’m sort of reading between the lines on that theory.
Regardless, I’m glad everything worked out for everyone in the end, and hopefully that baby didn’t crawl around any more magical mountains unsupervised, and maybe the lonely woman learned how to socialize with humans after being isolated for so long, and maybe the mother in this story bought a leash for her speedy kid. We’ll never know those things, but I’m sure we could track down the author and send any inquiries their way. What do you think?
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