A Tyrolean fellow’s diary for this day in 1905:
Phew! What a day! I went out in the morning to inspect the medical facilities in this small Tyrolean village, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t trust them an inch. My wife is heavily pregnant, and I am not convinced that giving birth here is a good idea. So I made a snap decision that we should go to a hospital in Vienna. No sooner had the train chugged out of the little village station than my wife went into labour, and our daughter was born before ever we arrived at the Imperial capital.
Once I was assured the baby was whole and healthy, I sloped off to the smoking carriage to light up a celebratory cigar. It was there I was accosted by some sort of Tyrolean Woohoohoodiwoo Woman, all bangles and scarves and with piercing blue eyes.
“Cross my palm with Austrian currency,” she intoned, “And I shall reveal to you what the future holds for your daughter who has just been born aboard this train.”
I rummaged in the pocket of my Tyrolean jacket for a few schillings and pressed them into her outstretched hand. All at once her countenance grew horribly grim, and I feared the worst for my infant. The Woohoohoodiwoo Woman read my thoughts.
“Don’t worry about your daughter,” she said, “You need not dash back along the train corridor to be at her side. Sit back and enjoy your cigar. No, the horrible grimness of my countenance is occasioned not by your daughter’s fate, but by yours, and that of your good wife. For the pair of you will both be dead seven years hence. And your daughter, an orphan, shall be cast into a nunnery. But there she shall cause great trouble and vexation and the Mother Superior will be at her wits’ end to know what to do with her. Thus she will be ejected from the convent to take up a position as governess to the seven tiny children of a widower baron, a baron who will bear a striking resemblance to the as yet unborn Canadian actor Christopher Plummer, among the highlights of whose career will be his portrayal of Atahualpa in The Royal Hunt Of The Sun. And your daughter will wed this baron and teach the tinies to sing their little hearts out on concert stages across Austria. But then a darkness will descend upon the land in the form of bad, bad Nazis, and your daughter and the baron and their singing nippers will flee across the mountains in the night, and eventually end up in the United States of America, and showbiz legend.”
“That is all very interesting,” I said, contemplating my imminent, or imminentish, death, “But pray tell me more about this Atahualpa fellow.”
But the train screeched into a tunnel, and the lights went out, and when we emerged, I was all alone in the smoking carriage. The seat the Tyrolean Woohoohoodiwoo Woman had occupied, opposite, was now empty, but for a sprig of Edelweiss.