Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Dada Stories: Born with the caul

Dada Stories born with the caul nephithyrion
Dada as a baby
My father was born wearing a helmet --- with the top half of his body covered in some remnant of the amniotic sac. This is called a "caul" birth; caul refers to that "piece of membrane that can cover a newborn's head and face" (Wikipedia).

Because this kind of birth occurs rarely, surely there are many superstitions surrounding it, and it will differ in various cultures.

During that time, it was common to give birth at home. After my father was delivered, it was believed that the midwife took the caul and used it in gambling --- most probably sabong or cockfighting. According to my late grandmother, my father would turn gray one moment, then recover the next, and this would happen repeatedly for some time.

It was also believed that people born with the caul would turn out naughty and invulnerable, incapable of empathy. (I cannot help but think this describes a psychopath when I was told this story. The Cebuano terms my father used were momaldito, makublan, dili basta masakitan). So grandma went to a mananambal (healer/quack doctor) and asked for a counterspell. Thank goodness Dada grew up a very kind man.

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Dada Stories will be a series of interesting tales, real or otherwise, that my father loves telling.

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