Epenthesis


Epenthesis (e-pen’-thes-is): The addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word. A kind of metaplasm. Note: Epenthesis is sometimes employed in order to accommodate meter in verse; sometimes, to facilitate easier articulation of a word’s sound. It can, of course, be accidental, and a vice of speech.


Hi ya Ho! Down we go. Into the mine of dis-saster. Everyday we work away. We don’t whistle while we work. Most of us just cough. We have jobs though—worshipping at the altar of hourly pay. It is barely enough to feed my family, to clothe my family and put a roof over their heads. The baby—little Jimmy cries from hunger. The other two kids have learned to be quiet, although they are hungry too. My wife struggles with what she has—dividing and dividing the dried beans, and slices the fatback so thin you can see through it. The boys work at Cliff’s so they can get a discount on milk and turn their earnings over to me to help pay for gasoline, the cellphone, heating oil and firewood, and electricity. The boys also spend a lot of time fishing in the summer, and hunting in the fall and winter for deer and raccoon with our ancient blue tick hound, Alice. Every little bit helps. When you’re poor you’ve got to go beyond the grocery store to stay fed. Which reminds me, we have a big garden that feeds us well in summer and fall, and with jarred preserves all rear ‘round. We also harvest wild berries, mushrooms and greens—especially fiddlehead ferns and ramps. There are also abandoned apples trees that still yield a lot of apples. We’re not starving, but it could be better.

Yesterday something happened that made me doubt my sanity. We had busted out a new vein of ore, really deep under the ground—deeper than ever before in the history of the mine. I was in a hurry to see what we had. I got too far ahead of my fellow miners. I heard the voice of a little girl singing: “I want my mommy. I’m very cold. I wander in the dark., but I found the gold.” She stepped out of the shadow cast by my headlamp. Her white dress was immaculately clean. Her hair was tied in different colored ribbons. She looked like she was going to school, but she was nearly transparent—a shadow with color. I asked her who she was. She told me to shut up and go away and threw a large gold nugget at me. It hit me in the head and cut my forehead. I picked it up and put it in my pocket. The little girl disappeared and I could hear my colleagues nearby. I told them I had cut my head on a low spot I didn’t see coming in my haste to have a look around.

Taking found nuggets out of the mine was strictly prohibited. If I got caught, I would be immediately fired. At this point I didn’t care. I put the nugget in my underpants and went home. I didn’t get caught. I weighed the nugget—it weighed three ounces. I sliced off a little and headed to see the guy at the mall who bought gold. I got $200.00 for my slice. I went be back home and checked my nugget. The piece I had sliced off had grown back!

I was rich! We moved south from Alaska to Washington. We bought a small fruit farm and continue to live our lives modestly, forever grateful to the little girl in the mine.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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