Witch Wendy of the Wood and Grainne of the Geis

Trees near the entrance of the Forest of Witch Wendy
Trees near the entrance of the Forest of Witch Wendy

Witch Wendy lived in the darkened wood
Hid from humanity whenever she could
Refused an honest living for to make
Came out at night her needs to take
From the poor, who found when counting stock
They had next morning less sheep in the flock
Or calves or colts, or even hogs
Witch Wendy, as a hare, bounded over the bog.

One year, the frost and snow stayed long
The rain poured down, all weather wrong
The seeds refused their heads to show
Those that did poorly did grow
The forest still had its fungi and fruit
But Witch Wendy preferred her traditional route
There is to thrill unless you steal
More alive it made her, she said, feel…

That year she took more than her need
For the thrill of taking,she took from greed
By funerals of the village dead she was awed
As hunger at the survivors gnawed
A widow with her dying breath
Vowed her kind would get even yet
Whispers “a girl upon a distant dawn
Shall avenge my death, she not yet born”

With Wendy went her merry way
Casting spells, driving the woods walkers away
Some said at night upon a stick
She flew when the air with bats and midges was thick
But more said she just chanted incantations
Being too inhuman to know lamentations
More crazy then evil, best avoided
As best they could that’s what most did.

But then in time the summers were better
The days were dryer, the nights were wetter
Work meant the villagers did not depend on their crop
Fear of hunger and of witches did stop
She even was bold enough to chance
To come to the festivals to dance
But trouble brewed when folk went to pray
They would not do the worship her way

Gráinne was known as “The Fair”
A child as good as any there
In any village around folk could find
Industrious, intelligent and kind.
She knew of a family prophecy
It would be her would bring down Witch Wendy
Witch Wendy thought it funny, this weak child who did smile
Forgot the weak have strength in guile.

“I have a herb garden you’d love to see
When your in the woods, come to see me”
Witch Wendy said to the child one day
When to the darkened woods too close did stray
But it was for Gráinne no mistake
She hatched a plan she over time did make
Made Witch Wendy in her own downfall a tool
The clever child played the role of the fool.

Witch Wendy had a favourite cat
Which on the windowsill was sat
Its favourite spot, the world it spies
With demonic glowing eyes…
But cats know fear, Gráinne knew cats
She beside the witches pet she sat
Sat up startled, her coat violently did shake
Slithered out a bright green slithering snake!

Witch Wendy blessed herself: “St Patrick failed”
She exclaimed, echoing the tale regaled
By clergy when the witch was young
But like Gráinne and spoke with the tongue
Now lost to most, centuries ago
For not many did they ever know
Wendy did not age since the cauldron she stirred
With newt, and boot, and toad and bird…

The cat ran out: the witch bereft
Said I cannot stay when from him cleft
But through the woods I cannot go
Unless I have him behind in tow
Worst of all, I cant grace the sky
Its his magic power makes my stick fly
Swiftly Gráinne the snake into the cauldron flung
Which bubbling over the fire hung…

The witch never knew that the snake
Was far from real, but a clever fake
She now was by Geis in her home jailed
So goes the tale the locals regaled
The widows granddaughter without drawing blood
Achieved what all the clergy never could
Wendy could not leave, she could not stay:
All because a child scared her cat away…

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