The house was at the end of the area of cramped street far
apart from the other residences. When I opened the heavy
sliding door, I found a number of people, children too,
looking at me anxiously. Nobody tried to move at all in the
narrow room. I barely managed to find a place for me to sit
down. In the middle of the room, a large wood stove was
burning noisily. "Doctor, her condition changed suddenly a
said the attending midwife.
Surprised by the
patient's look, I held her wrist but couldn't feel her
pulse. She was dead.
When I said, "She ascendedto heaven", "Ascended?, oh, no....... Can't do anything,
then?" said the midwife. The room quieted for a moment. I put my
hand on her abdomen, and I could easily make out a part of the limbs of
an unborn child. I judged it was from her hysterorrhexis. To know the
reason, washing my hands, I examined her gynecologically. The tip of my
finger clearly touched the buttocks, which I thought were smaller than
"It' a breech. Twins, moreover. She
couldn't give birth because they stick to one another. I will pull them
out." I said in a low voice as if I was telling to myself. Nobody
replied me. I heard sobbing from here and there in the room. Then, an
old man sitting close to me said desperately. "Stop it please, doctor.
There are eight children in this home. We are too poor even to eat. We
can't tell what to do from now on. If the babies remain in their mother,
one coffin is enough. If you pull them out, we need two or three
coffins. We have neither money nor wood for coffins."
Suddenly at the corner of the room, an
infant let out a piercing cry, who must have been born in the previous
year. When I looked back at the infant, the midwife who had been giving
in to tears a little time before stood up. And she began to wrap the
infant in her black shawl. She said "I will bring up this baby. " Nobody
answered. Sobs filling the room became louder and louder. Giving a bow, she opened the sliding door,
holding the baby wrapped by the black shawl with care in her arms, and
disappeared into the darkness of the heavily falling snow.
I cannot forget about her appearance from
the back at that time. The times have changed bewilderingly in awful
speed. I cannot see the steam train equipped with the potbelly stoves
and the black shawl which wrapped the baby, anymore. To my sorrow, I
don't have any chance to meet anything like the appearance of the back
of that midwife who had so beautiful thought.