I found this picture right here
I knew to beware of witches....but I just couldn't resist the temptation to enter a gingerbread cottage! These opportunities appeared only once in a lifetime, and who knows if I would be able to stumble upon the cottage again, or if it would suddenly disappear when Halloween was over? I just had to take the risk of running into a witch.
With a pounding heart, and feeling as though I might be walking right to my doom yet unable to stop, I approached the house and knocked on the door....
No one responded, so I carefully pushed open the door and walked inside. The autumn breeze was cool and chilly, and I pulled my sweater closer around myself, suddenly trembling with a ferocity that had nothing to do with the cold. I was regretting entering the cottage after all, but my feet wouldn't run away. Somehow, I just had to keep walking.
Inside, sparse sunlight streamed through the windows, surprising me--I had expected witches to live in secluded, dark hovels. But I had been wrong. The first thing I spied was a shop set up on the mantel of the witch's fireplace. Her hat was perched on the chair right next to the shop, so I knew she couldn't be far. What witch would leave behind her hat on a long expedition? Silly silly. I knew she was nearby, which meant I had to hurry.
I was captivated. I approached the shop cautiously...
The sign Hazel's Apothecary sat above the items displayed on the mantel. My eyes scanned the items hungrily, wondering what goodies she held in her shop.
Another sign notified me that everything was ten shillings. I was suddenly grateful I had brought along my money pouch. Oh, a crystal ball? How divine! I could definitely use one of those....but I musn't be too eager....I must look through everything before making a decision...
Another sign notifies me of the magical items in stock. Spells, enchantments, miracles, magic....oh how quaint! I do so need some of these things...I may never be able to find them again, either. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I open my palm to examine how much money I have brought...
Oh, just enough for one item! I close my fist around my precious shillings....
I continue to examine the bottles and items across the shop, wondering what magical properties they possess....or poisonous properties. That choose your poison sign may be more literal than I realize.
Now wary, I continue my search.
Mermaid hair? Hmmm...not sure how I would use that, although I'm sure it's valuable.
Pixie dust? Oh, such beauty! Maybe it can make me fly!
A witch's spell? I wonder....is that good or bad? My enemies would be in much trouble should I select that potion....
Oh, a wand! How wonderful! I could use a wand for sure! But I should look at everything first before making a decision.
Mmm, fairy wings! Those look very special. Do they possess healing qualities? That could come in handy, oh yes, oh yes....
And what is that I see next to it? Poison? I'm not so sure I would have much use for that, as I don't wish to fatally harm anyone.
Ah, what is this, what is this? Just lying by the little pink love potion....a beautiful antique ring. I wonder what it does? Oh how tempted am I to try it on! It is precious, gorgeous, enchanting....
Carefully, I hold it in my palm. It does not rein a horrific curse upon me, so I take that as a good sign. Should I put it on? Do I dare?
Finally, the temptation overwhelms me. I slip it onto my finger....
Suddenly, a powerful surge washes through me. I am rejuvenated, awakened, new. How can this be? I feel such power, so in control. This ring is definitely the one for me.
And then I hear the creaking of a door behind me. Oh no! The witch has returned! What will I do? What should I say? I will be caught trespassing any moment! She will most certainly turn me into a toad! What do I do, what do I do????
I quickly remove the ring and place it back where I found it. I am certain now that it must belong to me. It was made for me. I will hold my ground and offer the witch my money. If she turns me into a toad, well....I try not to think about the alternative.
"Excuse me?" I say into the house, summoning my voice and my courage. "I found this ring in your apothecary, and I hoped to buy it! I am sorry for entering without your permission, but I just couldn't help myself." I stop speaking for a moment, and there is only silence. I wonder suddenly if I have made a very bad mistake.
"Ah, do not worry, child," comes a voice from the shadows of the doorway. "Only the princess of Hallow's Eve may find my shop each year on Halloween. You must be very special if you were able to find it. Help yourself to whatever you'd like--for ten shillings, of course."
"Oh thank you!" I cry, feeling jittery with relief and happiness. I am the princess of Hallow's Eve? How can this be? Why has the magic chosen me?
I place my coins into her cauldron, still unable to see her face. I then slip the ring back onto my finger, and I know it is in its rightful place.
"What does this ring do?" I ask her shadowy form.
"Ah, that is for you to discover," her crackly voice responded. "And now, princess, I give you a choice. A very important choice. You may choose to leave now--return to your home and never see or hear of this cottage ever again. After all, each year, a new Hallow's Eve princess must be chosen. Or, you may choose to stay for just a while longer and have your fortune told. You may like what you hear, you may not. Nevertheless, you will learn your destiny. Which shall you decide?"
I thought over my options carefully. I didn't know what do do. Did I really want to know my destiny? Or should I return home and never experience this magic again?
"I propose a third option," I heard myself say, surprised at my own daring. "If you allow me to attend the witch's gathering in the Fairy Tale Woods tonight under the full moon, I will give you this." I extract a spellbook from my pocket, containing witch's spells, sacred to all magical beings. I had acquired it one day in the trunk of an old willow tree, left there by a wind nymph or elf.
This image found here
I heard the witch sharply inhale in the shadows. "I do not usually allow haggling. But that is a very valuable item. I agree to your terms."
I smiled. She was going to let me attend the annual witch's gathering! I couldn't believe it!
"Follow me," the witch said. She mounted her broom, and for the first time, her face was not cast in shadow. A black hood covered her ageless face--a face that could have been either twenty or fifty, beautiful or ugly. It was impossible to tell, for it continued to shift.
"Climb aboard, child," the witch said. She grabbed her pointy black hat and handed me one as well. I held onto the broom tightly as we sped off into the night, away from the little gingerbread cottage and deeper into the forest.
This image found here
We arrived at a clearing in the woods, where other witches in their pointy black hats, striped stockings and pointy shoes laid up their broomsticks and gathered around a large black cauldron.
One of them gasped. "Hazel! You have brought an outsider!"
"Calm yourself, Cackles. She has offered us this--" Hazel held the spell book up for all of the witch's to see, "--in exchange for her coming here to witness our annual gathering."
"I am sorry, Hazel, but we can't just allow an outsider to fly into this secret gathering and--" began one of the other witches.
"This is the princess of Hallow's Eve!" Hazel cried.
The witches were silent.
"Forgive me, princess," Cackles said, curtsying formally. The other witches followed her lead, quietly murmuring "sorry" and curtsying.
I was stunned. How could this happen to me? I was beyond thrilled. I was royalty!
"I just wanted to see what went on at a witch's gathering on Halloween," I said in a small voice, fingering my ring.
"Of course, of course!" they all said. And then they began to chant words that I didn't understand, waving their arms around the cauldron, extracting wands and tapping the bubbling brew within the black cauldron, circling the heated pot. This went on for some time until finally, they stopped. I didn't know if I should speak or not, but I gathered enough courage to whisper, "What happened?"
"We have gathered Halloween magic, child," Hazel informed me. "Enough for all of the creatures of the Fairy Tale Woods. We distribute it across the forest."
I was starstruck. I couldn't believe what I had witnessed. This had been the most exciting adventure I had ever embarked on.
"Thank you for allowing me to come here," I said, and I handed Hazel the spell book. "I hope that someday, we will meet again." I then started to walk away, but Hazel called to me:
"Wait! Don't you want your Halloween magic, princess?" I turned to see Hazel fill a small vial with some of the sparkling potion. She handed it to me along with a piece of paper that said:
On Hallow's Eve, the ghosts will play
The witches will work
On this memorable day.
They distribute the magic
And then they depart.
But first, a caution, as is their art:
Beware, for this spell expires,
So wish with your heart
For the thing you desire.
Hazel winked and waved her wand. A tiara materialized out of the air. She placed it on my head and whispered, "Just believe."
And then she and the rest of the witches disappeared, along with their bubbling cauldron. But I still had my tiara, my ring, and my little potion. I already knew what I would wish for.
What about you? What would you wish for?
Tell us in the comment :) Who knows? Maybe you are the Hallow's Eve princess this year? Could it be?
Happy Halloween to all,