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A Story a Day #25: Thomas H. Raddall




March 6th, 2020

"Blind MacNair"

Thomas H. Raddall


In a small enchanted town, they sing no more ballads. This seems to be linked to man called Blind MacNair. Before telling his story, they tell the story of Nellie Bullen who was beautiful but came back pregnant one day and then lived quietly. Blind MacNair was once singing ballads with a bunch of other men when one asked if he was really blind. It was clear that he was as they ripped off the fabric from his eyes to reveal a giant scar. They apologize and ask for one more song. He says he only knows one and it goes on forever. At this phrase, Nellie perks up and realizes this man is the father of her child who she had lost long ago. They live together on their farm.


This story very much has the feeling of an old folktale. The details and fantasy feel of it lend itself to nostalgia and old stories your relatives would tell. You often wonder if these exaggerations and coincidences are really true and you never really find out if they are or not.


I like the whimsy of this story and how every detail seems to serve a purpose, especially those that tie into later events. In this story, Nellie is the Chekhov's gun that reappears at the last moment to reveal who our protagonist really is. Because of this effect, the story seems complete though it doesn't tie up all its loose ends. It is still never really explained why the town fell into disuse after this one night.

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