The Child Whose Feet Hurt the Earth

The banging on the door grew louder, and the expensive wood began to splinter.

"Come here, Rosita sweetheart. Come to mama." Esmeralda begged while crouched down next to the large dining room table. The tremor in her voice made her realize she was shaking.

The young child stood up and took a step toward her mother, but a tremor in the earth shook the child back to the ground. There, off her feet, the tremors stopped, and Rosita began crying. The banging at the door stopped momentarily and then doubled in intensity.

"Come on little apple. Come quickly, sweetheart.” Esmeralda's breath caught in her throat as Rosita pressed herself up onto her hands. “That's it little apple. Come on."

Rosita clumsily climbed back to her feet. Esmeralda did her best to smile and clap her hands playfully to encourage the child. She was the only weapon they had left to protect them.

This time Rosita was able to take two steps before the angry earth knocked her down again, but it wasn’t enough to keep the door from giving way. Esmeralda jumped forward to snatch up her child. She barely had her hands on Rosita's shoulders before the mob of women was upon them. It took seven of them to drag Esmeralda away screaming into the hot noon sun.

The remaining miner’s widows stood in a circle as two of them held the small, crying child down. A third brought forth a large stone and positioned it high over the child's feet.


Commentary

Children quite commonly meet a sloppy end in Ungeheuer's stories and his dislike for children was rivaled only by W.C. Fields. He and his wife, Inge, though married for 56 years never had children of their own.