Study Guide

A Monster Calls Chapter 15

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Chapter 15

The Second Tale

  • It's time for story number two, which takes place during the industrial revolution. There wasn't not much greenery left, but it was there if you knew where to look.
  • Bam: the monster conjures a field of green in the living room, and the story plays out in real time. 
  • The field overlooks a valley of brick, and from that valley comes a Johnny Cash-looking dude. He's dressed all in black, and he's frowning.
  • According to our monster, he's the town Apothecary (a.k.a. pharmacist.) That means he makes medicine from herbs, bark, leaves, and berries.
  • But those things are getting harder to find now that the land is being covered with factories, and the Apothecary's a greedy dude anyway. He's been charging people a lot for medicine, which seems pretty tacky to Shmoop.
  • When the people start seeking more modern remedies from more modern doctors, the Apothecary gets super bitter.
  • In this village, the monster says, there also lives a parson with two beloved daughters.
  • On the grounds of the parsonage is, yup, a yew tree, and the Apothecary really wants its bark. Apparently it's a cure-all for just about every ailment you can think of.
  • But in order to use the tree, the Apothecary has to cut it down, and the parson says no dice. 
  • That is, until his daughters get sick, and modern doctors can do nothing for them.
  • Suddenly the parson finds himself begging the Apothecary for help. But the Apothecary says no dice right back at the parson. See, the guy had stood in his way, refusing him the tree and telling his parishioners not to patronize bogus healers when there are real doctors to be had. So he's not really in the mood to grant any favors.
  • Please, says the parson, I'll give up whatever you want.
  • Including your beliefs? asks the Apothecary.
  • Yes, says the parson, anything.
  • The Apothecary's response: then I really can't help you.
  • That night, the parson's daughters die, and the tree comes walking.
  • But instead of punishing the Apothecary, the monster tears the parson's house down.

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