Yesterday I was challenged by The Britchy One:
“please write me a witch story!” she said.
“Good Witch or Wicked Witch?” I asked
“Both” She replied.
“Challenge Accepted” Said I….
Well here we go.
Deep in the forest, in a verdant forest glade, lived a woman all on her own.
It was difficult to determine her age. She was clearly not in the first flush of youth, but her face didn’t have many wrinkles and there wasn’t a grey hair amongst her lush reddish-brown locks.
Her clothes were simple but immaculately clean. Her hands were rough from working in her garden plot, which produced everything she needed to keep herself alive and healthy.
She kept a flock of hens and two goats. The goats helped to keep the grass short and provided milk to drink and make into butter and cheese.
Not many people came to visit the woman. She was left pretty much to her own thoughts, which is what she’d wanted and why she had chosen to live in the middle of a large and lonely forest. She’d had enough of people long ago. The scars from that time were still deeply etched on her heart.
She hadn’t been born in that woodland cottage. She had been born far, far away in another land. A land of mountains and castles, Knights and damsels, dragons and dreams. Another land, another time.
She had come to this lonely place for sanctuary and that it had provided in spades.
The people hereabout were simple folk. They suspected her of being a witch and so kept out of her way, unless they had need of her. When they had need of her, they came. Folk who could not afford the administering’s of the doctors. They were better off attending her. She knew the ways of natural remedies. She kept a stock of many a healing herb in her garden. The Doctors could only resort to bloodletting and using leeches to suck bad blood from the wound. Often the patient died of it. Her methods were much more effective.
People came to her for tonics to relieve the pain of childbirth or arthritic bones and she provided them. Occasionally young women came to her to relieve a different pain of childbearing, that of bringing one into the world who they could not afford to feed. She did not like it, but she felt it was a lesser evil to deal with it than to leave the poor girls to deal with it their own way, possibly ending up in killing themselves. She encouraged them to come to her early and she tried to give them wise counsel. Prevention was better than cure. She taught them ways and means to avoid repeating their unfortunate situation. Sometimes wealthier ladies came to her who just wished to rid themselves of a nuisance. She would have no part of that and often received a curse or two in return from women who called her a witch!
Truth be known, she was a witch. She had knowledge and power at her disposal that were available to many had they but the wit or imagination to believe in themselves.
It was actually the jealousy that those powers had provoked and her refusal to put those powers to use in the ways that others wished her to, that had led to her self-imposed exile. She refused to lend her aid to support armies sent to conquer and repress others. She refused to help rich and powerful men and women force their will on innocent souls. They had sent their armies to take her. They found her not so easily dealt with. Loathe though she may be to use her will to make war and enslave the innocent, she was not so loathe to wreak her vengeance on her enemies. And so they burned and she escaped to live a simpler life.
Was she a good witch or a wicked witch? Many people had wondered, including the woman herself. She was human, and therefore had plenty of both in her nature. She knew her dark side but also knew that she had the control to keep it inside, unless others insisted on bringing her to release it. Let those fools reap what they sow.
She was good and kind to the needy and kept very much to herself. What more could we ask of someone?
One day a visitor came that was different. He was not from one of the villages that surrounded the forest. He didn’t come with a need but a gift.
But that is another story, for another day….
Part Two is here:
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 11/May/2018