The Witch Who was Good on the Inside

 Ava was a witch, and not a very good one. It wasn't her fault, exactly. Some people were born to be witches, while others were... Ava.

    But what she lacked in actual talent, she made up for in witchly enthusiasm. She did this by joyously wearing her black pointy hat, exuberantly striding about with a broomstick, and bombastically making all manners of healing potions as best she could — none of which, of course, worked... but they tasted nice... there was a lot of mint.

    It was the blacksmith's kid who really pointed out the flaws in Ava's witching. His name was Toby, and he was a very blunt person. So, when Ava's potion didn't work, and when her broom didn't fly, and when her hat lacked that extra sort of witchyness that screams 'powers at work,' Toby was the first to say so. And he said it loudly.

    One day, he said it so loudly, that Ava heard him.

    She tried to stop her lip from trembling. She tried to stop the tears welling up in her eyes. And she tried to stop the sad feeling that was settling in her belly. He was just a kid after all. What did kids know?

    But Ava knew that kids knew an awful lot. And more often than not, they knew the truth.

    So she went to her cottage and sat down at her scrubbed pine table — the kind that all witches have, which in this case, incidentally, was a very fine scrubbed pine table indeed. She placed her head in her hands and a few tears came out. You see, Ava knew that she wasn't that good of a witch. She knew that she wasn't fooling anyone. But it still hurt all the same to have it told to her.

    As she was realizing how her feelings had been hurt, Ava heard a knock at the door.

    There was Toby, looking a bit sad.

    'I'm sorry Goodwitch Ava,' he said.

    Ava grimaced. 'Ah, but I'm not such a good witch, am I Toby?'

    Toby scrunched his lips.

    He tilted his head to one side.

    'Well, it all depends on what you mean by 'good,' he said. 

    Ava raised an eyebrow.

    'You see,' Toby continued, 'there's good, as in 'good at;' then there's good as in 'just good,' that is, good on the inside. And you're so good on the inside you're practically made of gold. And it seems to me that I like you better because you are good on the inside, than if you were good at being a witch and really mean.'

    Ava's eyes crinkled a bit. And her mouth tilted up a little.

    'Well, Toby,' she said, 'that was quite a speech.'

    Toby shrugged. 'Anyway,' he said airily, 'I just came over to say that.'

    That was all Toby did say to Ava — and it was quite enough.

    From then on, Ava still tried to be a better witch, but when witching failed — and it did that a lot — she always knew to smile because she was good on the inside.

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