The Midwifes Apprentice is written by Karen Cushman. The setting takes place in the past nearly five hundred years ago from now. It is also a fiction book
Alyce formerly known as Beetle or Dung Beetle has found a home in a village with a Midwife who feeds her only morsels of what hard work she does. But before that the tale of how she was found must be told.
Beetle found herself snug as a bug in a dung heap. She slept for warmth, completely dismissing the horrid smell of it. Then a sharp question asked You girl. Are you alive or dead? she promptly opened her eyes and was taken in after tell the woman she could do hard work and not eat much. So thats how she ended up as where she is.
Well the midwife didnt really treat her as an apprentice for she spoke unkindly and forbid that Alyce would ever see what she was helping women do. But Alyce did! And how horrible it was, the Midwife would scream, curse and slap the poor women until they could take no more and push out the baby.
Once the midwife was not there and Alyce had to help the woman with the baby. She told the husband to brew whatever was needed to help her. Then she began talking to her softly and soothing her till the baby came out into the world when it was almost certain that it would not make it. When the midwife got there she was thoroughly mad. The husband of the wife said Alyce was more kind and efficient and that the midwife was no good.
In the end she fled to a small inn near the village where she saved another baby. She returned feeling she was up the challenge of the mean midwife. So she returned to the cottage saying she could care for babies and nurse and be a good midwife apprentice. The midwife asked if that was it and she said yes so the midwife didnt want her. But then she knocked again and said she was a hard worker and would learn fast remembering why the midwife took her in.