Once upon a time there was a dark path that ran through the woods. Because, aren't all paths that run through the woods dark? Also, there was a mushroom ring. Obviously. But it was benign. What was important was the cottage. Well, it was almost a cottage. Really, it was just a few tens of roof shingles and a re-built chimney short of a cottage.

    Not that the witch who lived in it cared.

    She was easy going that way.

    Actually, she was easy going the way society said it wasn't possible for a woman to be easy going. The kind of woman who didn't run her finger along the shelf of another woman's house to look for dust. The kind of woman that didn't have a closet full of clothes — she just had the one set. The kind of woman who didn't charge for healing when the patient's ribs were on the protruding side of things.

    Hence the dilapidated cottage.

    She might not have cared, but she did mind. A bit. You know, the way people mind being poor and ostracized. But it didn't signify. Probably because she had a rather robust case of career satisfaction.

    She did have one trouble, though, and that was the cat. A witch, she felt, ought to have a cat. It was a fact of witchdom that she felt very strongly about. But the closest that she got to having a cat was the nearby village's baker's mouser who liked to slink through the holes in her roof on a given day and, very occasionally, rub it's head against her leg. It would be all very well if the witch could have asked the baker if he wouldn't mind giving her his cat — if that cat didn't mind, that was. But the baker was the type who thought that 'feminine' was a time of the month and that trade was a thing men did because of superior head size and that 'witching' was for sissies. As such, the witch of the sad cottage felt she could not request the cat.

    Given that the cat was an excellent mouser, it was assumed (by the baker) that it was a tom. He was incorrect. Naturally. The witch, being a healer, saw the signs. She also made some signs. Over the cat. And it just so happened that one of the kittens looked very much like his mother. The tom-look-alike was returned when of age, the baker none the wiser. Of course, he had never been very wise.

    So, the witch got her cat. And that was all very witch-like.

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