Moral Mondays : To turn a witch pricker

Wood fire

Image : Pixabay

Master North spears the fire with a poker, sending sparks flying.

I lick my lip, feel cracks like chasms. When did I drink last? Time slips away like hot grease.

He looks to me, the glow of the rush light turning his nose to a hook. ‘Who else was at Grimmin’s Hill?’

The bodkin slips twixt his fingers.

I know who pointed that beak my way. I’ve kept my peace so far, faced Hell alone. But that bodkin could find other flesh to punish …

‘I saw Goody Huggins was with the Devil. I saw Goody Wallace with the Devil …’

 


Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays. See the moral – this week it’s Judge not lest you be judged – and write a suitable post.

Here be one about witches and witch prickers. Want to know what a witch pricker is? Take a look here.

 

36 thoughts on “Moral Mondays : To turn a witch pricker

    1. Haha! Scary stuff, isn’t it? I don’t understand why those last victims of hers were still burned to death even though she’d admitted she wasn’t really a witch pricker. Grotesque to think of those poor women being manhandled like that, humiliated into confessing. Dark times indeed. Thanks so much lovely. I do love a witch story 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m very glad not to live in a time and place where such witch hunts were commonplace! A great story, Lynn. 🙂 Thanks for the link to the article – I’d heard of witch prickers but not of Christian Caddell.

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    1. Thanks Louise 🙂 I hadn’t heard of her before either, but when my brain turned from the day’s moral to witches, I stumbled across the story. Yes, dark and dangerous times – especially for women. Thanks for reading

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      1. TBH, Blair Witch scared the pants off me! I find that slow creep of dread much more frightening than out and out horror. Ever seen a version of the Woman in Black (ghosts not witches)? Similar, creeping feeling something awful is going to be in the mirror next time you look … For the sake of sleeping, I really should leave such tales alone 🙂

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      2. Haven’t seen that but love the sound of it. It’s all about the teasing of the imagination for me, Rosemary’s Baby style. That ultimate dramatic irony there, everyone but her knows what’s growing inside her. No need for blood.

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      3. Absolutely! It’s more terrifying to tear apart the mind than the body. Funny you should mention Rosemary and her offspring – mentioning her in tomorrow’s post. I really do have a one track mind 🙂

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    1. Thanks Jane! Love a witching tale … Links help to fill in the gaps when the word count is so small, I must admit. I must write a longer witch tale some day … Thanks for reading 🙂

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      1. You’re so good at conjuring up the stuff of nightmares, and witches have been fashionable ever since Old Shakey took up his quill and wrote the words “When shall we three meet again?”

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      2. Thank you, Jane – that’s a gratifying thing to hear.
        I wonder who was the first to write about witches – the earliest I know of was Euripedes Medea, but I’m sure someone predated that. Lots of conjuring in Egyptian books of the Dead, though not fiction. Hmm. Interesting. Thanks for reading, dear Jane 🙂

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      3. I Googled it -obviously it didn’t teach me anything except that when you Google anything with the word witch in it, Macbeth appears on the first page, but he’s beneath Roald Dahl.
        I love Roald Dahl’s books, but that’s shocking, though inevitable.

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      4. Well, it could be worse – top of your search results could have been Hocus Pocus, a truly dire ‘comedy’ witch film with Bette Midler over acting her ginger wig off. The Witches is a good book – and a great film too, actually. The creepiest bit is the story of the little girl who gets trapped in the painting by a witch and grows old and dies there. Dahl had a great gift for the macabre 🙂

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      5. Roald Dahl is a – whatsit – not quite a paradox – one of those things that makes you scratch your head and wonder. His books suggested a genuine love for children, and yet he was a horror of a man in reality. Karen, the manager of the Oxfam shop where I work lived near him in Bucks (so did I, for a year in my early teens. Karen and I lived just over a mile apart, in quite a rural area, but never met. Now we work together, 200-odd miles from there) She often bumped into RD, and didn’t like him.
        Wish I didn’t keep losing my words – it’s not practical for a writer to lose words.

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      6. I’ve gathered he was ‘difficult’. We used to live in Bucks too and I worked witha girl who used to deliver flowers to him – an irrascible old man I believe.
        And as for the word loss – I was having the same problem a few months back, they’d come eventually but it was very annoying to lose what I wanted to write. I’ve taken up sudoku and I think it’s helped. Anything that makes your brain do stuff it doesn’t usually do – learning to dance is supposed to be a good one to stave off mental degeneration! 🙂

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      7. I went through a sudoku phase the last time I was worried about my memory, but I got bored with the standard Sudoku and started doing more complex Japanese style puzzles like kakuro and hashi, and there aren’t many books of those around. Maybe I’ll take a look at what’s on line 🙂
        I can believe that about learning to dance.

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      8. I don’t like leading in dance. For me, dance embraces the best of the traditional roles of the sexes. I could do a post on this – but I don’t need the aggro I’d get from feminists who wouldn’t understand that I’m a feminist too.

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      9. I think you can be a feminist and still like a man leading you in a dance – it’s romantic, isn’t it? The stuff of Austen, all those chaste encounters that can lead to more. Or am I being fanciful?

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      10. I don’t think it’s fanciful – I think dance is pretty much the most romantic activity there is. That’s why it’s used in so many films.
        Have you ever seen The Waltz of the Toreadors, with Peter Sellers? I love, love, love it.

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      11. Has it never happened to you? It happened to me once, and I’d like to say it’s over-rated, but it’s not. I think the secret is to be swept off your feet by someone who disappears forever soon afterwards – due to some unavoidable event – so that you never discover his repulsive habits, or find yourself downwind of his vicious temper, and, for the rest of your life, every time you think of him you go all starry eyed and soppy.
        On the other hand, if you spend the rest of your life with this feet-sweeper-off-er you’ll probably regret it. I think the guy who goes around with a metaphorical broom looking for doe-eyed women is not to be trusted 🙂

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      12. I think I was always a little too cautious, too cautious of men, to be swept off my feet. I feel in the love with the other half, of course but had known him a while first and knew he was a good sort before the love bit started. Certainly any man who makes a habit of sweeping women off their feet is a dodgy bet, definitely. These things should be spontaneous and preferably mutual, not part of some grand manipulative plan.
        We’ll have no sweeping here, thank you 🙂

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      13. So – you knew he was a good sort, and you said to yourself “I’m going to jolly well fall in love with that good sort over there.” 🙂
        It sounds to me as if you have something far better and more lasting than shallow romance.

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      14. Haha! He actually went out with my best friend to begin with and as I played gooseberry quite a lot, I got to know him before they stopped going out – because he was more attracted to me than her! We had our wild and giddy early days and though that passes, and familiarity creeps in, we know we’ll always be there for each other as we have been for the last 26 years. It’s a good feeling 🙂 Though I always say, if for whatever reason we weren’t together anymore, I wouldn’t bother with men ever again. No reflection on the other half, just men in general 🙂

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      15. I love the way you talk about your relationship. It sounds so strong and healthy. Makes me feel happy 🙂
        Did it cause a rift between you and your friend? Or was she OK with it?

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      16. Well, there was a rift, followed by healing, followed by us all moving away and losing contact. I don’t think she held a grudge in the end as the fact that we didn’t speak for a while meant she met new people – her husband included. Last time I heard they were still together and had two kids. It all turned out okay, I’d say 🙂

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