Bella came rushing into the living room, breathlessly telling this story. This isn’t word for word but I’ve tried to catch the flavor:
The whippers came into my room and they were whipping Phia. And they ran away into the yard. Then they just came back in to my bedroom. And the whippers came back into my bedroom and they threw me away. Threw me away into into the hallway and I was very upset. And I just came into the living room. I didn’t like that at all it wasn’t very fun when the whippers came.
So I’m going to go say a prayer to Hail Mary because I’m very upset. I’m going to say a prayer. She gets a rosary and hands one to Sophia and kneels and says, Hail Mary full of grace, please help the whippers go away. All right. Stand up. Let’s put the rosaries back in the basket. All right lets go back to our bedroom. And oh the whippers are still in there.
You stay right there. [to Sophia] In case the whippers don’t want you in. I’m going to go get my baby. She’s crying. I’m going in. Can I go in and get my baby? Please don’t hurt my baby. The baby’s crying. I need to get her. No get out. I’ll take care of the whippers.
And then just like that the story is over. Next she’s reading If You’re Happy and You Know It to Sophia. And then she is playing high school, doing her work, playing with papers. Making sure the poor people have enough money.
I have no idea where she heard about whipping. Where the whippers came from. I know it’s common at Bella’s age to start to imagine bears or tigers, boogeymen or dragons. To start to know the world has things in it that can hurt her and forces that are big and scary and beyond her control. I’ve sort of been waiting to see it happen, wondering what form it might take. Nonetheless her story was a bit unnerving to say the least. As Dom said, it sounds almost demonic.
Still, I’m reassured that she turned to prayer, said a rosary, asked for Mary’s intercession as I’ve taught her to do. That she does know how to confront her fears and knows there’s a resource she can call on in times of need. Because the scary truth is there are whippers out there who could hurt my baby girl. There are forces beyond my control. She’s not the only one who as to confront these fears. And ultimately all any of us can do is pray. And that is not a little thing at all.