Parlez-vous Anglais?

Taking a slight break from the Nano talk, and the zombie talk too for that matter. Just because I stumbled across something that reminded me of my heart-child. Urban Legends. I always loved those, i used to absolutely troll the library for them as a kid (Yes that was before the internet). And something i read just reminded me of this old-time fav urban legend of mine.  I think I’m just gonna tell the one that i have heard, and then after the end, account for the different versions i met.

A mother and her daughter were on their way from India and home to England, and since it’s before the charter planes, they had to take this trip by steam train. They have travelled far and during this trip, the mother falls ill, so by the time they reach Paris, she has a high fever. So the daughter decides to check into this neat looking hotel, and call a doctor. And she does just that, lets the mother pick the room, with lavender drapes and flowery wall paper. When the mother fell asleep in her fever haze, the daughter calls for the doctor.

When the doctor comes, the daughter tries her hardest to understand what he is saying, since he speaks no English, but luckily the night porter at the hotel does, and he explains to the daughter that the doctor is afraid that her mother is very ill, fatally so in fact. But he did not bring the medicine he needs, and now he needs the daughter to take a note to his wife, using the doctors own horse carriage to get to his house. And the doctors wife will make the concoction needed.

The daughter takes the note from the doctor, and tells the night porter, to tell the doctor that she will be right back. She then goes to the horse carriage, and since the driver failed to understand her English too, she just waved the note at the driver, which seemed to understand.  But what should have taken a short time, drags on, hours the daughter spent in the confinement of the horse carriage, as the driver seemed to drive in circles and perhaps was lost on the roads.

Finally she makes it to the doctor’s house, she gets out and knocks the door. The wife opens and the daughter shoves the note at her, assuming that she didn’t speak English either. The wife looked worried, but set to work while the daughter waited angstiosly. And around an hour later the wife finally hands the daughter the portion. The daughter pays, thanks and walks back to the horse carriage.

It takes the carriage a lot shorter to get back to the hotel, and as she arrives, holding the portion, she asks how her mother is faring, but everywhere she is met with blank stares. No one seems to remember a mother, and even the night porter claims that the daughter checked in alone. The daughter runs back and forth trying to communicate with the hotel personnel, but those who understand her, all have the same story.

Then the daughter goes to her mother’s room, the one with the lilac drapes and the flowery tapestry. But her mother is not there, all she finds are some strangers luggage, someone who apparently checked in later than her.

Story has it that she never found her mother, even if she searched high and low. But eventually met her own end in an insane asylum, gone crazy while trying to solve the puzzle of her missing mother.

– This is the version i have been told, i know that some stuff vary in this story, like the two women aren’t always women, or related, and other minor stuff.

The biggest difference i have seen is that the doctor actually wrote ‘plague’ on the note, along with some random stuff, which transforms this story into resemblance of the ‘this is the last i send you today’ urban legend. But in the version with the mention of what was written on the note, the story also goes that the mother contracted the plague while in India, and the hotel owner was afraid of loosing money if it got out that a patron of his had the plague, so they get rid of the mother in a hurry, and therefore sending the daughter on a wild goose chase. But that story also ends with the daughter hanging herself.

It’s a classic plot, and i am sure you can come up with at least 3 horror movies that has been created from this blueprint. Still i like the paranoia in it. =) It’s still a solid scary story.

Oh and for those who don’t know the ‘this is the last one i send you today’ story, it is really short, so i guess i can tell it.

It’s this fella who walks down the street, and is stopped by a war veteran (it’s up to you the storyteller, which war) and he asks for help waving a letter at the bypassers. The fella feels sorry for the cripple and walks over to him, and says ‘you need help mister?’ and the war veteran says ‘could you deliver this letter for me? it’s a couple of blocks that way, but i can’t make it there’. The fella nods, and takes the letter and as he walks off, out of the corner of his eye he sees the crippled war veteran get up from his wheelchair and hurry off into the crowd. This of course alerts the fella, and he looks at the envelope, debating with himself if he should open it. In the end he opens it and it says ‘This is the last one i am sending you today’.

-This has different versions too, the fella is a woman, the war veteran is blind, and hurries off without his cane, and sometimes the cops are called and makes a bust at the address on the envelope, and there they find a human meat butcher shop.



2 responses to “Parlez-vous Anglais?

  1. I really need to read more urban legends. I know a few, but this one is new to me and is just such an amazing plot. With all the variations, obviously other people thought so too 🙂

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