Tag Archives: witch

1952. On wicked witches and stepmothers

For too long now witches have been denigrated by folk tales. It’s atrocious the press they get. They have hooked noses with warts. They have bony fingers. They wear black gowns and pointy hats. They are ugly. They are cruel. They are revolting, and turn nice children into frogs when they are not eating them.

The only thing worse than witches are stepmothers. Stepmothers are buxom and have a nasty streak. They are cruel, usually to step daughters, and there is very little explanation given as to why a husband ever married one.

Bodice was both a witch and a stepmother. She had the worst characteristics of both. Her plump face with a hooked nose matched her buxom physique with its bony fingers. She was nasty in the extreme. Once, when the lovely Cinderella was singing quietly while sweeping the kitchen, Bodice crept up behind her and whacked Cinderella one over the head with the broomstick. There was no reason for it, and the broomstick was determined not to fly again in the foreseeable future.

Cinderella was prepared. She whipped out a pistol hidden under her duster and was able to bind the wrists of Bodice. When she locked Bodice up in the dog pen she had no intention of fattening Bodice up further. “I don’t like tough, stringy meat,” said Cinderella. “She can starve to death.”

“Let me out! Let me out!” cackled Bodice. “I repent! Never again will I be cruel.”

“Now you know what it’s like when the shoe is on the other foot,” tinkled Cinderella sweetly. “I hope you have learnt your lesson and that your repentance is genuine.”

Cinderella let Bodice out of the dog pen. Immediately Bodice turned Cinderella into a frog, which she would have done earlier while in the dog pen but then there would have been no way for Bodice to get out.

And since folk tales should end reasonably nicely, Bodice also turned the handsome prince into a frog and all lived happily ever after until they croaked.

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.

1686. A rose in name

What a delightful person Rose was. She would brighten any room; any company. Her laughter tinkled like crystal bells that caught and reflected sunlight. Her smile was wonderful but her lips merely reflected the gaiety in her eyes. Her hair hung down in natural ringlets. No need to flat wrap her hair with a curling iron; Nature did it for her.

People said it was all in the name; Rose in name, Rose in nature.

All that was years ago. These days she has thin lips and a slightly pointy nose. Her laughter is like the cackling of a witch. As Ms Angelina Bright from down the road declared, “Her straight grey hair is best covered by a pointy hat.”

People said it was all in the name; Rose in name, prickly in nature.

1570. Acting the goat

(The closing sentence for this story was suggested by Pleasant Street!)

They say the devil sometimes takes on the guise of a goat. Kristian knew this with certitude. He had been driving along a lonely country road at night when he stopped to pick up an apparently lost hitchhiker.

“Where are you heading?” asked Kristian.

“Anywhere where there’s a roof over my head,” said the hitchhiker.

The hitchhiker got into the car. As he drove along, Kristian noticed something strange; his passenger wasn’t wearing shoes and had cloven hoofs. Gradually the passenger changed into the entire aspect of a goat.

“I’m letting you out here,” said Kristian, bringing his car to a stop.

“No you’re not,” said the goat. “I’m coming home with you.”

Upon arriving home, Kristian’s wife, Karen, was beside herself. “We don’t want another pet. Where did you get this hideous creature from?” Kristian sensed that the goat didn’t like Karen very much. But the goat was there to stay.

Over the next several years the goat became a major attraction in the village; after all, they make lovely pets. Little children would bring it treats. People passing by couldn’t resist giving it a pat. The goat grew to be more and more popular. Then it became an obsession with the townsfolk. Before you knew it, a rumour began that the goat was obsessively attractive because Karen was a witch; a real witch who should be burned at the stake.

Karen knew it was either going to be her or the goat, and the townspeople seemed to be cheering for the goat.

1531: The closed door

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by River of The Stories In Between. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

When it comes to doors, they are either open or closed, and this one is definitely closed. Thus growled the witch to Gretel. Hansel and Gretel had been captured by the witch at the very moment they were breaking a chunk off the witch’s candy house. Contrary to what is believed, Hansel and Gretel never shoved the witch into the oven; they were too polite. Hansel had wasted away and died of forlornity. The witch took Gretel and threw her into a small room.

“When it comes to doors, they are either open or closed, and this one is definitely closed,” said the witch pointing a skeletal finger at the door at the back of the room. “Open that door and you will die.”

Gretel pined for freedom and life. She, naturally, did not wish to die. “Oh woe is me,” she said. “If only Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother could turn up and save me. Even Batman in spandex would do.” You, Gentle Reader, should know better. That is not going to happen.

Gretel lived in that little room for seven years. In the end, just like her brother Hansel, she died of forlornity. Little did she know that the door that was “definitely closed” was unlocked and led to the great world outside and freedom.

890. Happily ever after

902canary

The really horrible witch turned herself into a beautiful damsel about to be eaten by a wicked dragon. A handsome prince, called Prince Bogdan, came along and rescued her. They fell in love and got married and had five children. Then they got sick of each other and divorced.

The really horrible witch then turned herself into a beautiful sleeping princess who could only be woken by the kiss of a prince. Prince Bogdan came along and kissed her. They fell in love and got married and had five more children. Then they got sick of each other and divorced.

The really horrible witch then turned herself into a beautiful singing canary in a golden cage that would turn into a dazzling woman when released from the cage. By now, after marrying the witch twice and having ten kids, Prince Bogdan was onto it. He thought he would leave the canary in the cage. It would starve to death and the witch would learn a jolly good lesson. So the canary died.

But the witch was even more cunning than Prince Bogdan. She hadn’t turned herself into a canary at all, but was hiding in a cupboard. She came out of the cupboard disguised as a voluptuous lady of the evening, called Evening Primrose, and Prince Bogdan fell in love with her and they got married and had yet another five bloody kids. But Evening Primrose had run out of magic and stayed on as the voluptuous lady of the evening. Every day she had to cook for fifteen kids and stand at the sink and do the dishes. She was very fulfilled, and they lived happily ever after.

655. Peach Petal

© Bruce Goodman 27 July 2015

655peachpetal

Concheetah was a traditional witch, except for a few minor details: she didn’t have a big hooked nose with warts on it; she was married to a rich lawyer; she rarely wore black; she didn’t have a broomstick. But she did have a beautiful step-daughter, called Peach Petal.

Peach Petal was called Peach Petal because she was as gentle as a spring blossom; her skin glowed with a soft, radiant hue; her voice was as tender as a petal floating from a branch in a fragrant breeze.

For Peach Petal’s seventeenth birthday, Concheetah phoned Why-Not-Take-A-Ride-On-An-Elephant Inc. and booked a safari ride. Peach Petal was thrilled. She sat atop the elephant and off they went.

The elephant took her far, far away, through enchanted fields; across babbling streams; over distint mountains; through dramatic alpine passes. She saw baby giraffes; she saw two new-born buffalo playing a game of cavort-around mother; she saw a pride of lions, and she saw a more-than-handsome farmer moving a herd of unicorns.

“How do I get home?” asked Peach Petal of the farmer.

The farmer told the elephant. The elephant took her home; the quick way.

Concheetah was furious. She phoned Why-Not-Take-A-Ride-On-An-Elephant Inc.

“That horrid girl returned,” snarled Concheetah into the phone. “Take her away again, and this time don’t bring her back.”

Away went Peach Petal on the elephant again and, to cut a long journey short, Peach Petal and the farmer had eleven children and together they looked after the amazing animals on their wonderful farm.

As for Concheetah, she fell down a water well while snooping around on the farm. No! She didn’t drown. She is still screaming for help, but Peach Petal and the farmer can’t find a yarn tall enough to haul her out.

Maybe this yarn will do the trick.

313. I have a cat

313cat

I have a cat. It is black. My aunt asked if she could borrow it. She was going to a fancy dress party dressed as a witch. It’s not fancy dress at all for her. I know she practises witchcraft at home.

My cat is called Rutterkin. When it came back I was sure it wasn’t the same cat. It looked the same, but it wasn’t the same. My cat never liked to rub itself against my leg. This one does. My cat would lick my hand knuckles with its raspy tongue. This one doesn’t.

I asked my aunt about it. “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it, dear,” she said. “Everything is alright.”

I’m only eight. What do I know?

Once when I got up in the night to go to the toilet, I passed the door of my sister’s room. The door was open. The black cat was on the pillow next to my sleeping sister. It was sucking blood from her neck.

273. Lights witch, light switch

273switch

Some said she was a witch; others, just a nasty or a mad lady. Yet it was strange; she called her black cat Rutterkin. Some villagers said that Rutterkin would sometimes leap up to the woman’s neck and suck blood.

This horrid lady had a daughter, called Bernice. Bernice was lovely. She was nine years old, and was forever forgetting to turn the lights off when she left a room.

“You’re not the one who pays the bills,” cackled her mother. “If you don’t learn to turn the lights off, I shall teach you a lesson.”

Bernice forgot. Bernice was taught a lesson. Her mother locked her in the cellar. The cellar had one tiny, very-high-up window of light. Bernice tried the door. The door was locked.

“And don’t turn the light switch on next to the door,” threatened the witch. “It doesn’t turn the light on. It puts poisonous gas into the room. You can stay in the dark, until you learn to think.”

Bernice was locked up. Imprisoned. Lonely. Unable to escape. She stayed trapped in that cellar for two years. Then she died.

“Stupid girl,” said her mother. “She never started to think. Not once. That switch wasn’t a light switch at all. It was for unlocking the door.”