Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Glurge: Hospitalized man yearns for the bed by the window.
Example: [Healey & Glanvill, 1996]
Origins: The plot of this "legend," originally a short story penned by Allan Seager and published under the title "The Street" in Vanity Fair magazine in
101 Plots Used and Abused summarizes the tale thusly:
Two seriously wounded veterans occupy adjoining cots in a hospital. One, whose morale is good, is near an open window. He recounts things of interest he observes through the window. What goes on outside holds the attention of the other man who, suffering from melancholia, listens and is so fascinated he forgets his troubles and gradually improvesDifferent writers add different flourishes to flesh out a tale. When this story is circulated as a legend, it includes a plot element of the envious man's doing something to cause the end of the window-gazer's life in order to gain the window for himself. (Alternatively, he fails to summon help when the window-gazer experiences a medical crisis.) When served up in this legendary fashion, the story becomes one of retribution: The wondrous window only existed through the eyes of the now-dead man, and the action (or inaction) of the envious one thereby cost him the very thing he hoped to gain.
For those who might care to read the original version, it was included in Seager's 1950 shory story collection, The Old Man of the Mountain and Seventeen Other Stories.
Barbara "yet another disappointed windows user" Mikkelson
Last updated: 11 March 2007
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