Birth of a Witch
Long ago, everywhere and nowhere, lived an ancient child girl who spoke to bluebirds and crows and loved running through fields and glens.
One day, as she rested near a warbling brook, she heard a new song, a flute melody that prompted her to stand up and enticed her to follow wherever it may lead.
As if sleepwalking, she went through the forest, came to the furthermost boundary of the kingdom, crossed steep mountain ridges and came to the vast opal expanse of the sea for the first time.
Nowhere was the mysterious piper to be seen, but the melody went on between the ebb and flow of the waves.
The girl, who in her long wanderings had grown into a bonnie lass, stood baffled before the sea.
She opened her chestnut eyes wide, she stretched her arms towards the sea and the moment the sun grew big on the horizon before setting down beyond what her eyes could see, her desire smote her heart sharper than ever.
She stared into the sun – as the sun turned violet – and saw a winged chariot ablaze with fire.
Hence came the music.
As soon as the sun disappeared, the melody ceased.
Silence wrapped up the sea and the sky in its cloak of stillness.
The girl stayed on the beach, waiting for dawn, for she reasoned, with the sun the piper and the music would be back.
Her will was set: she would wait there till morning.
That night, as the girl nestled behind an upturned keel, to prepare for the night, the wind blew fierce.
Before she realised it, she heard a mellow voice. He belonged to a young man who had been observing her from afar. He approached her.
The girl told him about her journey and its reason. The young man was as attractive as he was sly.
Before dawn, he left her hugging her own knees with chattering teeth, tears streaming down her cheeks, her trust broken, her body a cradle of shattered dreams.
Dawn came. Little by little the shadows drew back and the sun rose again, but the girl could neither see the winged chariot nor hear the piper’s music.
She fell down, exhausted, and slept.
In the following years, she moved from village to village, from town to town, offering her body in exchange for food.
Often the men looked at her dishevelled hair and dirty childlike face with horror and fascination; yet, they craved the sweetness of her eyes and her lithe, supple body, her cup-like breasts and the swing of her hips. Therefore, even those who felt moved could not prevent themselves from robbing her again. Some would go away crying.
One evening, as the girl crossed a dark marsh rumoured to be haunted, she caught her own reflection in the moon-lit, dead-still waters.
She started back, gulped for air and went on her knees.
The air was motionless, the night was still. Only the frogs chanted their sing-song.
Crying, she felt there was nothing else to do, no other place to go, and decided, there and then, she would take her own life by drowning. Only, before drowning, she would watch the rising sun for the last time. Then she would say goodbye to the world.
She thanked the pale moon disappearing in the morning sky. With stillness in her heart she raised her eyes and stared into the sun for the last time.
Then, the winged chariot appeared. The piper, holding his flute, spoke to her.
“Come,” he said. “I am here.”
The girl spurned him with her lunar gaze.
“What did you come here for? I know enough now, to trust you again.”
The piper alighted in front of her, his hair and girdle were golden. Their brightness blinded her.
He played his melody again to soften her heart. Then he said:
“If you want to die, I cannot prevent you from doing so, but I hope you will think again.”
There was a long silence between them.
The girl closed her eyes to feel her tumultuous emotions, like a river rushing towards the sea. Nothing could stop the tumbling flow of her brimming heart.
The warmth of the sun enveloped her. As she heard the music again, she opened her eyes. The piper had disappeared into his chariot.
Sun rays, like long fingers, stretched towards her.
She smiled for the first time since the night she had met her robber.
With glinting eyes, she turned towards the woods.
There the fingers of the sun could touch her on her own terms, and the moon would keep her company in the long nights.
There, was her home.
Picture by courtesy of Lucas Allmann, via pexels.com