by Raji Singh
In the late 1800’s, my immigrant Russian great grandmother, Shelva Fiction was barely able to speak English. She learned it by beginning a journal about her husband, ‘Doc’ Fiction. His was a life dedicated to folk and patent medicines, and cures in general. One of them was Madame Rrrose Heather’s Whure’s Delight, or as G-gra’ma Shelva called it, ‘R-R-Ruse’s Pride’. It was, and still is, a popular pastry aphrodisiac. For generations wives have been serving it to husbands, quoting G-Gra’ma “with delightful boudoir results.”
Shelva compiled copious note on the ‘Delight’. Another product she often wrote of – Goat Scrotum Juice. Again, quoting G-Gra’ma, “Doc Fiction’s male virility elixir for men 18 to 108.” They were two of Doc’s most purchased items in his line of products that numbered into the hundreds.
She eventually compiled all her information about them into a book – a very popular one entitled, Return Ye to Paradise. It was published under her husband’s name. Only recently, while archiving the Fiction House have I realized it was she who did the writing. Why wasn’t she listed as author? Reading her journal, I must assume she craved her privacy nearly as much as she loved my great grandfather, the Doc.
Here now are her words.
‘My Doc’s, my sweet druzhyna’s book, Return Ye to Paradise. Peruse it. You be surprise, find so many useful health tips first conjured in the Leezian’ bayou; and, so many others, spirited from thousands of years-old ancient Lindian medicine cures.
‘The knigi, the books, sell two million copy – so far. 20 cent per knigi. Yes, indeed, more than enough to buy nice trip for dainty Shelva to visit relatives in Moscow – show off fancy Amerikan fashion – ermin, lace, mink, the knigi buy for me. I show off too, the strapping baby boy, James III, the Goat Scrotum Juice and Ruse’s Pride delicacy helped bring us.’
~ ~ editor note; Shelva’s figures were pre 1900 sales. That is unprecedented for the time.
I have been tracking sales data figures from Fiction House Publishing ledgers. In its decades on bookstore shelves, and in mail order Doc’s, Shelva’s knigi, has sold over five million copies.
With the new interest in folk, integrative, and alternative medicine, here at Fiction House we’re considering re-issuing Return Ye to Paradise under the all-new publishing line rage of ‘fol-gra-native’ medicine.
But why bother with buying it if we do re-issue (I guess I’m as interested in your health as Doc Fiction was for your great grandparents’ in their younger days – so I’m willing to lose sales.) You probably have an old copy of it relegated to a dusty spot in your attic or basement.
One slight worry though (so you just might want to buy a spanking new copy after all.) This is for the sake of full disclosure – –
– – Fiction House founder and publisher, James Thaddeus ‘Blackjack’ Fiction (Senior), was printing so many copies of his son’s book – proud papa that he was – he used an ultra high-grade Lindian paper. The pages are, for all practical purposes, indestructible – so Return Ye to Paradise would guarantee, ‘to always be around’.
One major side effect: The residue left by the worm that spins the silken ingredient that makes the paper nearly eternal also attracts brown recluse spiders that nest in the binding. ~ ~
NEXT WEEK: SHELVA FICTION’S GRAND, NEARLY DEADLY AMERICAN ADVENTURE.
(Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE, but that’s a different story. It’s available at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.)
©Raji Singh, 2012