This is a story from my childhood. I had completely forgotten about this incident as I had dismissed it as a figment of my childhood imagination. But a picture brought the memories back and I still don't know whether they were real or imagined.
I was about 4 years old when it first happened. We were staying at our family home which was quite sprawling, surrounded by a spacious garden and big ponds. There were a lot of people staying there at the time including my parents and my brother, uncles and aunts, my cousins, my grandma, some relatives, and a host of servants, cooks and gardeners.
Everyone used to hang around with their groups: my mom with my aunts, all my uncles with my father, my older cousins (in their mid to late teens) formed a racket team together and my younger cousins 10 -14 yrs, had a secret playhouse where they spent all their waking hours. Since I was the youngest, I was a maverick and spent most of the time playing by myself in the morning and in the evening, with the servants, telling me stories in the kitchen.
One evening, I was in the kitchen as usual, sitting next to my nurse. I still remember everyone talking and laughing and having a good time. It was then dusk outside and one could see the ghostly outlines of the trees in the garden in a hazy manner. The kitchen had two doors - one leading to the dining hall and the other into the back garden. Both the doors were open at the time.
It was winter and I was wearing a woolen cap. I was sitting just inside the door leading off to the dining hall facing the kitchen when all of a sudden my cap was snatched off my head and thrown to the ground next to me. I quickly looked around and did not see any one in the hall. I turned around and asked the servants who had done that and they just laughed and went on with their chores. After picking up my cap, I turned back again to the hall to catch the culprit. The dining hall had two floor-length windows through which one could see the passage beyond clearly. When I was peering around, I saw a big black shadow hurry past the windows on all fours. It looked fleetingly like a huge black dog, but our German Shepherd had died a few months back.
Being quite young, I quickly forgot the incident and started pestering my nurse to tell me a story. Suddenly, I saw a movement from the door to the garden and I looked up to see who it was. What I saw is still beyond my comprehension. Standing at the door was a man who was easily 6 ½ feet tall. He was a dead ringer for the Michelin Man only he didn't look so friendly. And unlike the Michelin Man, his body was totally green. He had luminous green eyes, his mouth snarled in menace and his right hand was raised holding a big green sickle which he was menacing me with.
I looked around to see if anyone else had seen it, and nobody gave any indication of doing so. I suddenly felt light headed, and for the first time in my life, I fainted.
I woke up to my Mom's anxious face. By the time the Doctor made a house call, I was running an extremely high fever around 105 degrees. After his examinations, he said that something had terrified me and had caused my fever. Needless to say, all the servants got a good round of scolding for scaring me, though they denied doing so.
The next incident happened during spring time about 3-4 months later and at dusk as usual. A cousin and I were netting tadpoles from a small waterhole close to the kitchen, when something made me look up to the second story of the house. I saw the same man standing at one of the windows and threatening me with the same gesture and the sickle. As usual, I fainted, and woke up to a high fever.
The third and last time I saw this thing was about 5-6 months later. We were going on vacation and had to start by 4:30 am. I was up and ready by four and went out to the garden with my Dad. We were standing next to the pond in the hazy early morning light. That was when I saw it at the other side of the pond looking at me and threatening with the sickle. I looked at my Dad to see if he had seen anything since he was also looking at the far side. I looked back and saw it walking away towards the boundary wall. It gave me one sneering look and just vanished into the wall. And strangely, I did not faint.
That was the last time I saw it. In fact, I had forgotten this whole incident when it all came back to me in my mid thirties when I was leafing through an auto magazine and saw a Michelin Ad with the Michelin man. I was with my family at this time and when I related the above incidents, I was absolutely sure that I would be laughed at. Strangely enough, they all believed me and not even one snort was heard.
I know the whole story sounds quite absurd. It is also strange that I could remember so much since I was quite young. But somehow this incident which I had forgotten for about 30 yrs, came rushing back to me only because I saw a picture of the Michelin Man in a magazine. I had never seen the ad before since I lived in India and Michelin didn't have a presence here then.