Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Cobbler's Ghost: My Friend.

Here's a wee tale to kick it off for Halloween.

On our trip around Ethiopia and Scotland there were several weird happenings.

Under Edinburgh's Royal Mile, recently discovered, is a warren of covered over old cellars, streets and  houses. Covered over after the Black Death era, and long since forgotten, reopened about 1979 I think. Anyway, today walking tours take you under to explore this damp, dark, unlit labyrinth.
So we sign on for the Dungeons and Ghosts Tour and get shown around the hanging sites in the Royal Mile and then go underground. Our guide takes our group of 19 down and through several cellars, telling us about all the ghosts that have been seen down there.

As we walk into one of the larger cellars, I am not quite sure why, but being towards the front I walk in to the cellar and go to the far end and place myself in the very left corner...just because I thought I felt most comfortable there. Just seemed to me I should be where else. I'm now looking back at everyone else arranged in a semi-circle facing me, with our guide against the centre of my end wall facing back at them. I'm on his extreme right.

Anyway, he starts telling us all about the 3 ghosts that inhabit the room. When he gets to the last ghost story he turns to point dramatically at my corner, directly at me, and says "And in this corner there is a cobbler!"

Well.....Jimshu? I am a custom shoemaker. Go figure....

"He's a nice guy. Older, slightly balding and he's looked at all your shoes you're wearing. And he likes you all being here" Sure, I'd sized everyone up by then. And I'm quite nice... well often.

I'm straight faced, reach out to my left and hug this 'ghost' standing next to me, my arm around thin air as if hugging a friend. My wife is cracking up. I don't let on that indeed there is a cobbler right in the spot he pointed to:  me...and my new found friend.

Then we get taken into a room for a wine in another underground cellar and everyone by now is scared and start telling of their past encounters with ghosts. Now normally that would be an entrĂ©e for me to get going, but strangely I shut up and kept quiet and never let on that indeed there was a cobbler standing in that corner. In fact there were 2!

So how did I know it was the right place for me to stand ? All I remember is thinking to myself I would feel most comfortable standing there. That was where I, as a cobbler, should be.

My wife meantime is rearing to get going and tell the guide that she did see the cobbler standing there. Well she certainly did!  She still wonders why I didn't let on that I was in fact a cobbler.

Perhaps it was between me and my cobbler mate to share in? It was our joke. A joke between two old cobblers, who are really nice guys...we wouldn't want to scare anyone now would we?.

(We aren't cobblers really, that's a shoe repairer - the term for we shoemakers is cordwainers but people commonly refer to us as cobblers.) 



Anonymous said...

GOOD ONE JIM..I loooove ghost stories! O:
I would have loved to been on this trip!

Michael said...

Great amusing piece, had fun reading it. I'm not one to believe in ghosts but also willing to play along sometime. ;-)

Jim said...

Thanks ,I don't believe in ghosts , but I don't disbelieve in them either.
It's weird Michael, but there have been experiences that some would say were ghosts.

lilypond said...

Brrrr.... I love ghost stories too. I also love lake monsters. A story about them will appear shortly in bootsnall.

Renee King said...

Your lovely story gives new meaning to the term "kindred spirits". Thanks for sharing that....I do believe that you were drawn to that spot for a reason.

Norbert said...

I'm just like you Jim, I don't believe in ghosts but i don't disbelieve them either. Would love to see one eventually though... lol

Jim said...

Lillypond, send a link to me about your story when published.Would love to read it.
Hi Renee and Norbert.We were dining with friends last night, and this tale got told because they were asking about our recent travels.And Kay cannot understand why I kept quiet and never let on to the guide and the other tourists that I was a 'cobbler'.
And in fact, I wonder myself why ....
But I think it's because I have a terrific respect for the old time craftsmen shoemakers who made beutiful sturdy and long lasting shoes , stitching each piece together by hand by candlelight.No sewing machine.Soles handsewn and welted.
So I can only explain it by saying that it was 'our' moment together...two craftsmen, each with the greatest respect for each other...I didn't see the need to make anything more out of it.
When the guide turned and made that annoucement, he did it such a manner as to try and scare me, and I could see a fleeting expression cross his face , of ''well, that failed to scare that old guy!" when I showed no reaction.
Anyone got any other scary stories?

Gordana said...

Well, sometimes things happen that we cannot explain. Why should we believe we are the only ones? :) There have been lots of stories of people who saw 'ghosts' or 'angels' - depending on what they looked like and I think it must be fascinating to actually see a ghost. I never saw one myself but I was in situations where I thought I was not alone... pretty scary, huh?

Ayngelina said...

I totally believe that the line between the living and the dead can be blurred. Love the story.

Anonymous said...

Great story, enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing.

Deanne said...

Nice post. I have been through those old city streets under Edinburgh's Royal Mile with my young daughter. What an exciting experience. we didn't see any ghost but we loved the tour. I also loved all the Close's in the area. You could feel the history in this city. No wonder JK Rowling was so inspired there.

Did you see Fettes college as well. We walked for miles to find it after I saw it from a bus window. I told my daughter we were trekking across the city to find that place. We found Wanna Burger too. Great trip. Thanks for taking me back there with you story!


Jim said...

Only there for 3 days and so much to see in such a short time, Deanne. An inspiring city as you say.One of those cities that winds it's spell around you to bring you back.