This is a one-off.
When Ned Wharton lost his wife Amelia to childbirth, he, too beset with grief and too busy with his work to think of courting another woman, made a golem of clay mud and salt tears to serve as a nanny to his infant son and housekeeper for himself. For a heart, he gave her the glass rose he had given Amelia on their first date, and for a brain, he gave her an abacus. For her voice, he installed a music box Amelia had loved.
He named her Adamanta, and, as his son grew to adulthood, she served the family faithfully. She did not age, and did not sleep, but she could pass, for a short time, as human, and many people assumed that Ned had simply remarried on the quiet. The stone woman was entirely faithful to Ned and young Edward Junior, a devoted house-woman and a scrupulous house-cleaner. She neither gossiped nor was the subject of gossip, and was said by many to be a perfect wife.
As young Ed Junior grew up, Ned, who did on occasion notice what was going on under his roof, saw that Adamanta was becoming quieter and more withdrawn, and would often spend time in the old nursery, holding Ed’s outgrown toys. So he created for her a child, a daughter of clay mud and seasoning salts, a tiny teddy bear from Eddie’s childhood for a heart, a flute for a voice and a puzzle toy for a brain. He called her Adora, Adamanta’s daughter, and treated her as he treated his own flesh and blood.
She was a lovely girl who would never age, never grow up, a sweet thing who loved to hug people and would spend hours drawing strange mystical cities. Eddie was mystified by her – but Adamanta and Adora were invited to his wedding, and had a family’s place of honor next to Ned.
As more time passed, Ned resigned himself to the fact that he was aging. His son had children of his own, who were growing more rapidly than seemed possible, while Adamanta and Adora stayed young and fresh and loyal. As the cough set in, one late, damp February, Ned understood that he would not be around for his wife and daughter for much longer.
He built for them a man of mud clay and salt tears, with a diary for a heart, Ned’s very own journal, and a set of clockwork gears for a brain. He did not give the man a voice, for he had never found he needed to speak much at all, but he did give him a stomach of brass and copper. And with his last breath, he gave this husband of mud a name.
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