He Married a Yeti
by Lloyd Hudson Frye
“ABOMINABLE SNOWGROOM” — The 1952 headline read like a fourth-page piece in the gossip rags. Here in the grand ballroom of the London Historical Society, with reporters from all the major papers of the world, it seemed to be the biggest story of the century.
My name is Random Spencer. I work for the London Daily, third largest paper in England. When my editor said, “This is your assignment,” I almost sent spittle into his face, but when he continued with that worried look on his mug, I sobered up. He said there wasn’t time to go to Tibet to verify the story, just have to report what this chap has to say.
Jimmy T. (for Tall) Long would be my photographer, the best in the business, at 6’ 10” tall, he always got the perfect shot. He would lean over the crowd of reporters and take his shot from above. We had worked together before on several assignments and got along brilliantly.
Traffic was worse than usual, but the cabbie found a couple of passable back alleys, and dropped us off in front of the impressive façade in plenty of time. I tipped him double, and he gave me a great big toothless smile.
The front steps were packed with reporters in front of their cameramen, using the massive, marble-covered building as a backdrop. I followed Jimmy up through the solid mass of suits, fedoras, and umbrellas. He always managed to cut his way through a crowd like an Antarctic icebreaker, using size and weight to push men to the side.
There was quite a delay at the door when a Press Pass didn’t seem to be enough to get by the coppers with the clipboards. I stepped in front of Jimmy, and folded a hundred-pound note into the hand of an eager-looking young man with a badge marked Monitor. Soon our names were added to the list by hand, and he winked at me as we squeezed through the opening.
The room was immense; ceilings at least twenty-five feet high, mahogany paneled walls, huge chandeliers, and carpet with pile so thick it was hard to walk. The dais was six feet off the main floor, and several white-haired men sat in tuck-and-roll, red leather, high back chairs, seemingly bored with the proceedings at that point.
The noise level forced me to scream into Jimmy’s ear, “Get closer for the close-up.” I would stay back and record from the recording stage, using one of the plug-in circuits provided.
Using a large gavel repeatedly, a tall, thin man with a handle-bar moustache called the press conference to order. He then introduced the guest speaker, Sir William Benchley Larchmount IV, Earl of Dover.
A very old man entered from a side door, hunched over. With the aid of a walker he inched toward the lectern. The flashes were increasing in intensity, and finally he stood in front of what had to be a hundred microphones, jammed together like tiny POWs in a small battlefield prison.
Loud-mouthed reporters in front were yelling out questions, but the old man just stood there, silent. Finally, the roar died down and the speaker asked if those in the back could hear, a trick used by pros to get a crowd to quiet down. In a soft, shaky voice Sir William began his tale.
“In the summer of 1743, several landed men of my acquaintance formed an expedition to the Tibetan Himalayas, to search for the Abominable Snowman. Legend had it that they were to be found high in the mountains, in ice caves. Money was no object, so supplies were carried by over a hundred locals from base camp to the first high camp. This would serve as the focal point for any number of small excursions looking for signs of the Yeti.
“It was on one of those small hunts that our party fell victim to an avalanche. In our attempt to dig out, my guide, Mantunin, and I managed to loosen an ice bridge over a chasm. The bridge collapsed, and both of us fell a score of meters into the abyss. When we came to a stop, it was dark, with just a dim hint of sunlight from far above. I checked for broken bones and cuts, both deadly in the higher elevations. Mantunin said he was good for hunt, but he groaned right after.”
Sir William paused, held a glass of water to his lips, and returned it somehow without spilling it. His trembling hands were noticeable from the back of the room. He smiled, as though taking a drink was an accomplishment, then continued.
“Before we could even brush the snow off our parkas, two huge forms leaned over and lifted each of us to our feet. Even in the dark it was obvious they were giants, at least three meters tall.”
The room broke out in chaos, as the obvious finally hit the slowest of the reporters. Shouts of “Fraud” and “Imposter” were heard. Sir William remained calm, taking advantage of the situation to take another drink of water. As the shouting turned to grumbling, he continued.
“We were brought into a monstrous cave, with twenty-foot stalactites hanging from the top. The bottom was made up of ten-foot stalagmites, which formed small rooms with smooth floors. There were torches in sconces around the entire perimeter.
“Sunken down four meters, in the middle of the complex, was a small volcanic fountain, complete with churning red-orange lava. Around the fountain were three rows of seating, just like the Coliseum, only smaller. Seated around the circle were dozens of Yeti with...”
Again the room erupted into a din. As many covered their ears, the flashes started up again. The man who had introduced Sir William stood up, leaned over to the microphone, and said that if this continued, the press conference would be over, and everyone would have to settle for a standard issued statement.
“We were ushered to the edge of the fountain. Thoughts of human sacrifice to the mountain ‘God of Fire’ raced through my head. My resolve to be brave to the end had me standing straight and holding a stiff upper lip.
“Mantunin, on the other hand, had bent over as if his ribs were broken. The Yeti discussed our fate for some time. I watched their faces for signs of anger, but no emotion was in their speech.”
He stopped. The room was totally silent.
“Then, from the back, a shorter Yeti raced down to me and threw its body over mine, taking me to the floor with its weight. The voice was high, I guessed it was a female. She seemed to be pleading for my life. The story of Captain Smith and Matoaka, ‘Pocahontas’, came to mind. Could this be some sort of redemption ceremony?
“What had to be a warrior dropped his hatchet onto the floor with a deafening clank. My body relaxed for the first time since the fall. I noticed how heavy she was, thirty stones or so. The king or leader called out a final decree and the tribal meeting ended, with everyone returning to their rooms.”
He stopped for another drink. The men in the room were spellbound; not a single conversation could be heard.
“The girl Yeti took my hand and placed it on her chest and said ‘MEEO’. I told her my name, she shook her head and holding her hand over my chest said, ‘OOHO’, which later I found out meant ‘small hairless one’. The next thing I knew she pulled me to my feet, dragging me off to one of the outer rooms of the cave. I turned to Mantunin, but he also had a smaller Yeti dragging him off, in a very possessive manner.”
He stopped, smiled, and continued. “I won’t go into any details of our life together, even in my book. What I will tell you, is that Yeti women are what men dream about, when they think of the perfect woman. There were several children from that marriage, each one a gift from God Himself. After her death I left the cave, never to return.”
At this point Sir William broke down and cried. No one moved. Finally he regained his composure and asked if there were any questions.
“Sir William, did you mean the 1943 expedition to Tibet?”
“But how could you live over 200 years?”
“The Yeti worship a tiny white frog that survives freezing. Once thawed, it is ground into meal. There are ceremonies where each member of the tribe is given a flat wafer on their tongues and told it is their right to life.”
“Will you go back someday?”
“My heart would break in two, if I ever returned to our room in the cave.”
The clamor rose to a fevered pitch as men pressed forward to shout their questions. The cameras flashed, shouting increased, and the pushing started. The announcer got up, said the conference was over, and led the old man back to the side door.
I slumped into an empty chair. It was certainly an interesting story, but with no time to substantiate before for the midnight deadline I was forced to settle for finding out whether there ever had been an Earl of Dover by that name in the 1740’s.
I called the library in Dover and sweet-talked a Miss Louise Thumb to look in their records for an expedition to Tibet in 1743 and a certain land owner named William Benchley Larchmount IV, Earl of Dover. She came back a few minutes later and confirmed both for me. I promised I would send her a signed copy of his book.
Copyright © 2007 by Lloyd Hudson Frye