1890. A spelling competition

Once upon a time a coven of witches were having a spelling competition. These weren’t the nice witches that one finds in real life; these were witches one finds in fairy tales; bad ones. For example, Noratia Cacklebother had been involved in the abduction of Hansel and Gretel. On this particular day it was raining and all the witches were sitting in a circle bored out of their tree. Rutterkindle Not(e)worthy suggested they have a spelling competition, and since she was the only one with a dictionary it seemed wise that she be the compere and ask the questions.

There were many interesting words thrown up for consideration. Noratia Cacklebother got stuck on spelling “Handkerchief” because she pronounced it without the “D”. They had gone around the circle three times and everyone had got things right except for Noratia Cacklebother who also misspelled “pharaoh” and “cassowary”. She was embarrassed. She was enraged. She stood. She proclaimed.

“You want to know how to spell?” she screamed. “Then I’ll teach you how to spell.”

By the left eye of the crocodile,
With a little nip of parsley and a slither of snake,
By the tuatara’s middle eye,
With a dash of nutmeg and a wriggling worm half-baked.

All the witches were completely caught off guard.

WHOOSH! waved Noratia Cacklebother with her wand. All were turned into frogs. Permanently.

Good riddance, I say. They were a nasty lot. But be a bit careful if you bump into Noratia Cacklebother. She’s still in a fluster.

31 thoughts on “1890. A spelling competition

  1. dumbestblogger

    True story: I was sitting alone in a coffee shop one day when I looked up and noticed it was getting quite crowded. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, so I just kept reading my book. As I started to hear snatches of conversation around me I realized that it was some sort of witches coven. A couple older gentlemen were advising a teenage girl, new to the group, about which witch she should apprentice herself with. Then a man across the room started asking very loudly if anyone knew how he could get into the cremation business. I tried to be very discreet as I made my way for the exit.

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        1. Bruce Post author

          Ha ha! I must admit that a few years ago I’d take a pencil and paper into a cafe and jot down overheard people’s conversation. Not knowing the context made them entertaining! “But Berwyn, the water IS potable”.

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            1. Bruce Post author

              Someday I’m going to count the murders. It’s confusing because some of them look like murders but aren’t, and I don’t know how to categorize them!

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  2. observationblogger

    Witchcraft and Back Magic practices in general are very common here in Colombia. I’ve seen plenty of evidence of it which I shan’t delve into now. It’s infused partly and / or a consequence of their ritualistic obsession with Catholicism and their secular mythology which have dark-horror themes which they pass down through their lineage.

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          1. observationblogger

            Yeh, perhaps. In the developed world its probably more due to ideology (PC and wokeness), whereas in the developing world it’s because many might feel they have no choice but to steal so their family won’t die from starvation.

            Not only are people having to stay indoors here to minimise their chances of getting robbed or worse, but because of COVID. Colombia is now 5th highest in world for COVID daily deaths. 4th highest in daily new cases according to what I heard on the radio yesterday. Hmm. (slaps forehead).

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                  1. observationblogger

                    You’d be rich in Colombia as is. It’s all relative.

                    I’ll relay a brief caption of life here. Between you, me and that gatepost yonder (not to mention the millions who get your blog comment extension feeds).

                    I went to the bank this morning…. Giddyup! Later, I was on my way to a shopping center across the street and I saw this young African Colombian woman with her baby on the sidewalk. So I reached in my pocket and grabbed a note -. $50.000 COP. That’s around $15.00 US and I thought ‘F&%k it’! So I gave it to her and she thanked me and shortly thereafter high-tailed it. Now…. the Mother of my children who I love to death would always tell me like others have done – ‘You don’t do that’! Reasoning being the ‘beggars’ (‘limosneros’ in Spanish) will return in spades and expect the same etc… Yup, got it…makes sense, but and it’s a big ‘but’…
                    I’m relatively rich compared to most here even after I’ve given most generously for my children’s wellbeing and their mother etc. So I ‘feel’ it illogical if I didn’t do something to pay more forward.

                    I often leave the house with lots of change and small bills so I can offload them on my rounds. Am I actually doing a disservice to myself and people in my ‘barrio’ (neighborhood)? That’s the moral dilemma.

                    You’re an an ex Catholic priest so perhaps you can weigh-in on this. Haha. But today feeling comparatively rich since I’d been to the bank and mildly secure because I hadn’t been robbed like the poor girl outside my apartment building a few days ago, I thought could be momentarily fiscally irresponsible.

                    I often wonder when I see these destitute persons in the street if I am only being generous to get ‘my moral credit points up’ or if I am genuinely concerned for their welfare. Perhaps a bit of both. I honestly can’t tell you. My personal thoughts are that if everyone who was comparatively fortunate did their bit, then we might not be in this perpetual state of excessive inequality. That’s the extent of my socialist ideology right there and it reaches back to my early teens listening to Dylan sing ‘Chimes of Freedom’. That won’t leave me.

                    Sorry for this rather obtuse and self embellished comment which I can assure wasn’t meant to be when I started to write.
                    You see, I don’t have anyone I can relay any of these matters too and so I’m going out on a limb to express ‘something’ to someone who I feel comfortable in expressing this onslaught of ‘words’ haha

                    Thanks for being that ‘someone’ Bruce!

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                    1. Bruce Post author

                      Thanks for the comment Matthew. I don’t think you’re alone in this conundrum. I feel so bad walking past people who ask. I even feel bad walking past a table of raffle tickets “to raise money for ” this or that. Every time I go to the supermarket I get an extra tin of something and put it in the box for the “poor”. The bin for pets is usually crammed full, and the one for people is usually pretty empty.

                      My landlord’s wife volunteers at the charity food dispensing place – what ever that is called. She said they would get 40-50 people come in each week (this is only a small town) but she said that during the lockdown only 2 people came over 6 weeks!People were looking after everyone else during the lockdown. Perhaps we should have it all the time!

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                    2. observationblogger

                      Yes, Pets rights seem all the rage in the developed world, amongst the youth in particular. Thanks for the insights into the hardgoing in NZ. Jesus! How glorious it is everyone is looking after one another. Hallelujah.

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                    3. Bruce Post author

                      And further to that, giving something to someone (even though they might be not worth it) and saying “Fuck it” is much better than walking past and saying “Fuck you”.

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                    4. Bruce Post author

                      The last 48 hours have turned me into a wreck! The dog had five epileptic fits in 12 hours, and eventually we got him to the vet who increased the medication. It seems to be working but every canine twitch I just about have a breakdown thinking another fit is coming on! Hopefully things will settle but it’s going to take a good few weeks for me to not be on tender hooks. These epileptic fits are something – already he’s made two holes in the wall!

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