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Two Witches

 Once upon a time, there was a witch of middle years who had much to do. She had herbs to care for and to harvest, potions to brew, villagers to tend to, and quite frankly, the cottage's dust was growing beyond one layer. It was all very well to do two or three tasks in a day, but the demands of her life were never equal to two or three tasks. No, more often than not, it was the case that all the tasks had to be done every single day. For the herbs were linked to the rise and fall of the moon and had to be cared for accordingly, the potions were in constant use by the villagers for all their ailments and needs―the bulk of whom seemed to be injured or sick or listless on a scheduled rotation―and the dust, well, that was just a byproduct of living in a house with drying herbs, a sooty fire, and a cat. 

    And so, she gardened and harvested and brewed and cared and cleaned day after day. 

    Again and again.

    Until the day she went mad, sold all her things, and moved to the coast.

   And that is why it is always best for a village to have two witches.

The Weary Woman and the Fairies

Once upon a time there was a woman who was weary of the world.      There were any number of reasons why she felt this way, and all of them amounted to a mad desire to spend the night in a glade in the center of a wood under a full moon on a crisp and bitterly cold autumn night. It was, perhaps, the chill that bit into her swirling mind filled with anxious musings that set it to other things. For suddenly her thoughts left her at the sight of frost creeping upon the ground onto blades of grass and up trees, the infinitely tiny bits of glassy ice caught in the moonlight.      Indeed, the moon was shining fully when she saw them. Cautiously they darted from behind leaves and branches, trunks and roots. And then came one that shined, his gossamer wings glowing with a light all his own. His hand extended, he bowed to the air. Another moment, and a second a fairy came and joined him, her delicate crown upon her hand as she placed her hand in his.       They began to dance.     Slowly th

The Road that Appeared from Nowhere

It was a strange day when the three women appeared, walking along a long road into the village. Indeed, the road itself was perhaps the most curious part, for it had appeared overnight where before there had been only a green meadow. Along each side grew tall, gnarled trees, jagged shrubs, and strewn wildflowers—all of an ancient feel that looked as though they had been growing since time immemorial. Of course, no one saw how it was made, nor who put it there, nor how it appeared, or even when. But it could not be denied that the entirety of the village saw the road itself, and, coming down it, the three women.     The first woman had the grace of a dancer, the second the stance of a fighter, and the third was bent and wrinkled like an old crone. But all three had a fearsome Fae stare that struck terror into the hearts of the humans who looked on them.     It was made all the stranger for it was the day after a village woman had given birth to a child, although she had had no

Sometimes the Broken Battered People Get Lucky

 The wind turned. It kept doing that lately. It was trying to turn the tide of something. But at the moment, it was just irritating. These were the witch's thoughts as the wind whipped at her from the other side. She was tired, bordering on exhaustion, and the wind was just enough to tip her in that direction.     It was all from the burden that she carried.     A child. A little girl.     Broken.     Battered.     Heavy.      The witch had found her that way, carelessly discarded as though she were worth nothing. The witch knew differently. The girl was worth everything. Worth being carried the miles to the witch's home. It wasn't that there was anything particularly special about the girl — as could yet be determined, anyway. But one could never be too careful with any wounded creature. And a human child was special... just because.      Just because.     No technical term, that.     But it was true. It was one of those true things the witch knew in her bones. Strange tha

A Rat, a Cat, a Turtle — and a Human

 Once there was a rat who was very sure of himself — which is to say that he was very sure he was a rat.     Then there was the cat, who found it off-putting that the name of her species rhymed with such a loathsome little rodent of a creature. All the same, it did nothing to make her doubt her status; she was a cat. There were no questions there.     Of course, there were turtles. Somewhere in the span of a universe, there would always be turtles. Indeed, there are those who say that the universe is filled with turtles; turtles holding things, and letting things go, and just generally turtling. One might say it's turtles all the way down. And perhaps all the way up. Possibly sideways. And, regardless of the features of this universe  — or others — they were all confident that there nature was, more or less, that of a turtle.     It was the human who had problems. Sure, it was possible there was some general humanness going on. The human could in fact be 'human'. But was