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In the middle
of math class, a fourth-grade girl clutched her stomach,
let out a sharp scream and fell to the floor. By the
time her teacher reached her, the child was dead.
The rest of
the students became hysterical. The principal closed the
school for the rest of the day and called the parents,
the police and an emergency medical team.
"I don't know
what happened," the teacher said, sobbing. "She was
working quietly on the math problems I had assigned, and
chewing on the ends of her braids like she always did
when she was concentrating hard. Then she cried out and
fell out of her chair."
and the medical team held a brief conference together
and then announced to the parents, "We're awfully sorry
to do this to you folks. But we'll have to perform an
The next day,
the parents met with the county coroner. "I understand
your daughter was in the habit of chewing on her braids
whenever she was doing her schoolwork."
right," the father said. "All her teachers said the
harder she was working, the harder she'd chew on her
braids. It was so sweet."
shuffled some papers on his desk top and cleared his
throat several times.
that your daughter died of a large obstruction in her
intestine. You see, she wasn't merely chewing on her
hair. She was eating it. It formed a hairball in her
stomach. And it was the hairball that killed her."
The most common variant of this legend is of a barber
who keels over at work one day. An autopsy reveals that
he was suffocated by an enormous hairball in his
oesophagus, the result of years of breathing in his