Of course, they asked Grandmamma where her arms and legs had gone, finding her curiously different from the grandmammas of their playmates.
The Widow made stories for them:
how she had wrestled in a terrible battle with the Devil and been maimed.
how the Virgin’s Magic Mirror reflected the Widow's body whole and perfect because her soul remained intact.
how the Virgin’s twins, Lords Jesus and Judas, started it all with their quarrel over dead Grandpapa.
how he now lay buried under the black walnut tree and blessed its fruit.
She instructed the children each to find a walnut shell and keep it for a time when the wide world brought them sorrow.
“If you are good children,” she said, “and love the Virgin and her good son, Lord Jesus, then your shell will hold whatever is needed and not one object more.”