Who's Got My Golden Arm...as I knew it, growing up.
Growing up with 5 kids in the family every night was a slumber party. But on the week-end, one or two of us would invariably have spend the night company. And about 5 times a year we would have a true slumber party and that is when the ghost stories would fly. This is the story of the Golden Arm, as we knew it then, as children sitting indian-style upon the wooden floors, huddled in a circle, hanging on every word...
He was so rich that people would travel the winding road that led up to his house to ask for favors and donations of money.
Children would venture to his door, trying to peddle their girl scout cookies, candy bars and magazine subscriptions for school. But even more often, parents would arrive with their daughters in tow...knowing this rich man was not married, they hoped that he would fall helplessly in love with their daughter.
He turned the children away, despite all the wonderful goodies they had to offer. Likewise, he turned all of the fair women away...many of which were young and beautiful. He turned them all away because he beleived that no-one was really interested in him...that they were only really interested in his money & his castle on the hill.
One day, a woman arrived at his door. She was not looking for money or for love. She simply needed directions. He was suspicious, but after listening to her tales of getting lost, he found himself most captivated by her arm...her Golden Arm.
He invited her in for tea....she must be very thirsty after her long & lost travels. He would give her the directions she needed, but curiosity got the best of him & he wanted to know more about this Golden Arm of hers.
So over a glass of tea, she told him how she had been born the daughter of the richest man in the land (a man even richer than himself) and how she had been in a terrible horse riding accident as a little girl riding the horse her father had given her. Her father felt terrible.
When she lost her arm, she cried & cried & cried. Who would ever fall in love with a one-armed girl? How would she ever tend to a home, a husband and a child with only one arm? Her tears of pain & loss only made her father's guilt grow.
So when she was a young lady, her father gave her the gift of the Golden Arm. It was made of the finest gold of the world & made to look exactly like her other arm, but of solid gold. Her father told her that no-one, no thing, no accidents, no horses could ever take this arm from her... it was her Golden Arm.
Entertained by her tale of the Golden Arm, he gave her the directions she needed and then invited her back for tea the next day.
Day after day, they enjoyed afternoon tea together and eventually they married.
He thought no man was as fortunate, as blessed, as lucky as he.
Then suddenly one day, his wife died.
He was saddened, but truth be known, he loved her Golden Arm much more than he had ever loved her.
(voice drops, slightly above a whisper) So, not long after his beloved wife had been buried, he grabbed his shovel & began to dig.
With each dig of the shovel into the dirt that covered his wife, he thought to himself... oh, that Golden Arm... I must have that Golden Arm... I am going to get that Golden Arm.
And eventually, he found her & her Golden Arm.
Covered in dirt, her face was so pale.
In the moonlight her lips were so ashy...
but that Golden Arm...it glistened, it shined, it was so bright & still so beautiful.
He grabbed it out & quickly covered his dead wife with the fresh dirt he had piled up.
All the while, thinking to himself...I have the Golden Arm! I got it! I finally got the Golden Arm!
He ran with the Golden Arm through the cemetary, through the woods and up the foggy dark hillside, back to his castle. He took the Golden Arm & hid it deep in the secret safe. The safe that no-one else had ever known about, not even his beloved wife.
After all his hard work digging & his wild uphill running, he found himself exhausted. He sat in his chair, the chair he always sat in for afternoon tea & quickly fell asleep.
He awoke to a sound
(voice in a sing-song whisper)"Who's got My Golden Arm?" (story teller looks maniacally into the eyes of the first child)
The old rich man is startled by the ghostly vision of his dead wife before him.
(sing-song whisper)"Who's got My Golden Arm?" (story teller peers deeply into the eyes of the second child)
Her skin was so pale, he was terrified.
(sing-song whisper)"Who's got My Golden Arm?" (story teller looks frantically into the eyes of the third child)
Her ruby red lips were ashen & gray...could it really be her?
(sing-song whisper)"Who's got My Golden Arm?" (story teller looks insanely into the eyes of the fourth child)
Her hair was clumped with fresh dirt...could she still be alive?
(sing-song whisper)"Who's got My Golden Arm?" (story teller looks nervously into the eyes of the fifth child)
(sing-song whisper)"Who's got My Golden Arm?" (story teller looks painfully into the eyes of the sixth child)
(Whisper falling to just a trace of a voice...singing in an increasingly desperate, eerie, high pitched tone, causing us children to reel in closer, gripping our knuckles tight & keeping our eyes wide open) "Who's Got My Golden Arm? Who's Got My Golden Arm?""Who's got My Golden Arm?"
Once all of us kids were torn between anticipation and desperation, the story teller would abruptly scream 'YOU DO!' as she grabbed hold of one poor childs' arm.
All of us would scream, year after year.
None of us ever wanted that Golden Arm & we still don't!
Original Story written in 1883 by Aarne Thompson. Artwork by JustGiveMePeace artist, SAS.