One Possible Ending

8 Feb

Fussli, Johann Heinrich (Henry Fuseli) - The Night-Hag Visiting the Lapland Witches c. 1796The other day I heard an interesting tale regarding the island of Sardinia, which, frankly, had me thinking of Mother Gran. After doing some poking around, I came across some great information on Andrew Collins’ page on Sardinian Mysteries, from which all of the following quotes are taken.

Have you heard of an Accabadora? After reading this, you may be glad you haven’t – but let me say, the Eskimos have nothing on the Sardinians.

There would only ever be one accabadora in any one generation. Each would serve the local community until their own death, a successor having already been appointed and prepared for the role. Justification for the existence of the accabadora was offered in the fact that only a woman can bring life into the world, so only a woman can take it away.

I’m not sure what the resume for applicants to the role would look like; must have a strong arm, powerful thighs, an iron stomach, and an overwhelming hatred of the aged and sick?

[…] a mature woman who was appointed by a community to apply euthanasia to the old and the infirm. It is something she would carry out with the utmost precision using a cudgel made from a section of a tree branch from which extends another branch, the whole thing cut to form a hammer-like weapon similar in appearance to the Irish shillelagh stick. Another means of inducing death used by the accabadora was strangulation, either by applying pressure to the neck or by placing the victim’s neck between her knees

A Mazzulo, the stick used to end people.

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2 Responses to “One Possible Ending”

  1. bmj2k February 8, 2011 at 19:54 #

    When I read this I wondered if there was any relationship to abracadabra because of the similarity of words. Turns out there is not, and in some ways they are antonyms.

    According to wiki: “Abracadabra origin is thought to be from the Aramaic language. Abra=אברה which is “to create” and cadabra=כדברא which is “as I say”, ultimately when merging the two words abracadabra means in Aramaic is create as I say thus used oftentimes in magic tricks.”

    One creats, the other destroys.

    BTW- That entry has the worst grammar I ever saw on wiki.

    • JRD Skinner February 9, 2011 at 10:17 #

      Wow, I hadn’t even considered that aspect, although the words do seem so close.

      On a side note, I should ask Mac if, in Italy, the concept of an Accabadora is common knowledge.

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