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... she cut off her left hand, boiled away the flesh, and sold the precious Golden Bones. In this way, she was able to support herself and the child.

Of course, the boy asked his mother where her hand had gone. 

The Widow made a story about the bad Lord Judas, how he ordered the Devil to fetch her husband's soul for sins the man committed in his youth. But good Lord Jesus looked down, and he knew the whole of a man's life. The good Lord Jesus whisked her husband's soul to Heaven.

"This happened," she said, "in the time it took your father to die, between one heartbeat and the last."

"Where is Papa?" the child persisted. "And does he have your hand?"


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The Black Walnut Tree 3: GB0003