There is a tale of a boy and his witch. A tale so old most have forgotten it. Though it used to be sung at great feasts by the most accomplished of entertainers. Traveling performers would reenact it on the stage. Nurses would tell it to their young charges before tucking them in bed. Time has a way with stealing things or hiding them from our view, however, and so it was with this tale. It is not, perhaps, one of the easiest of tales to hear. Not everything ends up precisely as one might wish. And though there’s a satisfying amount of magic and mayhem, there are serious and weighty matters to attend to too, things that aren’t easily shaken off once the tale is told.
For the sake of the boy and his witch, this tale will be told once more, possibly for the last time…
Once, in a land that was undergoing much political upheaval, a land where magic was fast becoming a dirty stain on any soul who owned possession of it, there was a small village wherein a girl-child was born to two humble parents. She was completely ordinary as babies go. A thick crop of dark curls adorned her head, and when she managed to open her eyes long enough, her mother could see their grey-blue color. That curly hair would straighten in time, and her eyes would lose their greyness, becoming a clearer, purer blue. However, that would not occur until she grew older.
The girl-child was the first and only child to be born to these parents, and they loved her well. A rambunctious thing, they’d often find her with scraped elbows and knees. She seemed to know only one speed, which grated on her mother’s nerves at times. “Slow down, Evadna!” she’d beg, attempting to teach her daughter the ways of cooking. “There’s no need to be so frantic. Look at the mess you’re making!” Evadna tried to obey her mother, but it was painfully difficult for her. Then too, she found cooking was, in itself, a very boring endeavor.
Evadna’s father would return home for dinner each night to have Evadna throw herself into his outstretched arms, beaming from ear to ear. “Oh! I have missed you, Papa!” she would exclaim, squeezing him tight. Pulling at the skinny arms which were attempting to choke the life out of him, he’d manage to say, “And I you, my little dear. Now let go. I can’t breathe.”
It was a happy home, filled with contentment. Evadna reached her tenth year and halfway into it, discovered an odd occurrence. She showed it to her mother one day while tending the garden. “Watch, Momma. Every time something hurts me, a single drop of rain falls.”
Her mother smiled. “Of course it does. It is called a tear, sweet.”
“No, Momma. Not a tear. Watch.” To demonstrate, Evadna took a thorn from one the rosebushes and cut herself with it.
“Evadna, are you mad child?! What are you doing?! Give me that thorn at once!”
Evadna did as she was told, allowing her mother to clean her small wound, and letting herself feel the pain of it. She watched as a very small shadow shifted over her mother’s face.
“Momma, it’s about to happen. Pay attention.”
Her mother didn’t heed her, but continued to fuss over her. Then, as predicted, a single drop of rain fell, splashing ever so perfectly on her mother’s nose.
Her mother paused in her ministrations, her mouth slightly open.
“See. I told you.”