Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Witch Who Decided to Leave the Craft

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

There was once a young witch who fell in love with a cowan, and they decided to marry.

Now, in those days people felt strongly that if you married out, you had to leave the Craft. But there you were, it was love and no price seemed too high. The date was set, the banns were read. On the chosen day, the church filled up with people and the witch and her intended stood before the altar.

But just as the priest is about to pronounce them man and wife, crash! the door flies open and a broom comes sailing in. First it knocks the old priest over the head, then it chases the boy out of the building, and next thing you know, there it is again, back for more. Everyone was terrified, and they all got out of there as fast as they could.

So they picked another date, and the banns were read for a second time. The church fills up with even more people, come to see the fun, and the service begins. But this time, just before they start, they lock the door.

Well, if they thought that was going to stop the broom, they had another think coming. Sure enough, the broom comes crashing in through the big window over the altar, and, if last time was bad, this one was worse. Several folks got knocked out cold, with not a few trampled underfoot when everyone ran for the door all at once—which, of course, was locked. A disaster!


Now if you’re thinking, like I am, that maybe that witch should have learned her lesson and given up on this whole ill-fated scheme, you don’t know witches and their wills very well. No, instead the girl picks up and goes to none other than Granny Weatherwax, the wisest old witch in Thirteen Counties (though don’t you be telling her I called her “old,” mind you), and pours out the whole sad tale.

Granny, of course, sees through to the heart of the matter immediately. “The broom is lonely, girl,” she tells her. “It feels that you've deserted it.” She didn't need to add, Which you have. Even a cowan could have heard her thinking that.

“Isn’t there anything I can do?” wails the poor lovelorn girl.

So Granny, leaving no doubt whatsoever that the girl is settling for second best, tells her.

They set a third date, and banns are read again. The day comes, the church is crammed to the walls, and the service begins. Right in the thick of things, the broom comes flying in—they’ve been careful to leave the door open this time—but just as it reaches the couple, the girl pulls out from behind her back a dustpan, which, as I'm sure you know, is called in the Secret Language of the Witches a gride.

So that day there were two happy couples at the altar: the bride and the groom, and (everybody, now) the gride and the broom.

And that’s the end of the story, and that’s the beginning of the story, and let us all say: So mote it be.


With a tip of the black pointy hat to Fractured Fairy Tales

and the immortal Edward Everett Horton




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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Sunday, 15 February 2015

    :o :) :D

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