Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stories for the Witchlettes

Recently I've been adventuring around Witchy Grandmother's site and taking in her adorable children's stories. It spurred me to dig out some stories of my own. Well, not quite my own, but ones that I've had with me ever since I was a kid. This particular storybook once had a title on a title page and on a cover, but what remains of the anthology is being held together by one of the great enemies of time itself - duct tape. Flipping through and saying to myself, "Ooh! I remember this one! Ooh! And that one!", I came across one of my favorite, instantly recognized a Pagan theme, and thought I'd pass it on to all of you. Enjoy!
A long time ago old Miss Daw lived in a narrow house on the edge of the town, and young Kate was her little servant. One day Kate was sent up to clean the attic windows, and as she cleaned them she could see all the meadows that lay outside the town. So when her work was done she said to Miss Daw, "Mistress, may I go out to the meadows?"
"Oh, no!" said Miss Daw. "You mustn't go in the meadows."
"Why not, Mistress?"
"Because you might meet the Green Woman. Shut the gate, and get on with your sewing."

The next week Kate cleaned the windows again, and as she cleaned them she saw the river that ran in the valley. So when her work was done she said to Miss Daw, "Mistress, may I go down to the river?"
"Oh, no!" said Miss Daw. "You must never go down to the river!"
"Why ever not, Mistress?"
"Because you might meet the River King. Bar the door, and polish the brasses."

The next week when Kate cleaned the attic windows, she saw the woods that grew up the hillside. And after her work was done she went to Miss Daw and said, "Mistress, may i go up to the woods?"
"Oh, no!" said Miss Daw. "Don't ever go up to the woods!"
"Oh, Mistress, why not?"
"Because you might meet the Dancing Boy. Draw the blinds, and peel the potatoes."

Miss Daw sent Kate no more to the attic, so she stayed in the house and mended the stockings, and polished the brass, and peeled the potatoes. Then Miss Daw died, and Kate had to find another place to live.

Her new home was in the town on the other side of the hills, and as Kate had no money to ride, she was obliged to walk. But she did not walk by the road. As soon as she could she went into the fields, and the first thing she saw there was the Green Woman planting flowers.
"Good morning, young Kate," said she. "And where are you going?"
"Over the hill to the town," said Kate.
"You should have taken the road, if you meant to go quick," said the Green Woman, "for I let nobody pass through my meadows who does not stop to plant a flower."
"I'll do that willingly," said Kate, and she took the Green Woman's trowel and planted a daisy.
"Thank you," said the Green Woman. "Now pluck what you please."
Kate plucked a handful of flowers, and the Green Woman said, "For every flower you plant, you shall always pluck fifty."

Then Kate went onto the valley where the river ran, and the first thing she saw there was the River King in the reeds.
"Good day, young Kate," said he. "And where are you going?"
"over the hill to the town," said Kate.
"You should have kept to the road if you're in anything of a hurry," said the River King, "for I let nobody pass by my river who does not stop to sing a song."
"I will, gladly," said Kate, and she sat down in the reeds and sang:

Early one morning
Just as the sun was rising,
I heard a maiden sing
In the valley below:
O, don't deceive me,
O, never leave me,
How could you use
A poor maiden so?

"Thank you," said the River King, "now listen to me."
And he sang song after song, while the evening drew on, and when he had done, he kissed her and said, "For every song you sing, you shall always hear fifty."

Then Kate went up the hill to the woods on the top, and the first thing she saw there was the Dancing Boy.
"Good evening, young Kate, where are you going?"
"Over the hill to town."
"You should have kept to the road if you want to be there before morning," said the Dancing Boy, "for I let nobody through my woods who does not stop to dance."
"I will dance with joy," said Kate, and she danced her best for him.
"Thank you," said the Dancing Boy. "Now, look at me."
And he danced for her till the moon came up, and danced all night till the moon went down. When morning came he kissed her and said, "For every dance you dance, you shall always see fifty."

Young Kate then went on to the town, where in another little narrow house she became servant to old Miss Drew, who never let her go to the meadows, the woods, or the river, and locked up the house at seven o'clock.

But in the course of time, young Kate married, and had children and a little servant of her own. And when the day's work was done, she opened the door and said, "Run along now, children, into the meadows, or down to the river, or up to the hill, for I shouldn't wonder but you'll have the luck to meet the Green Woman there, or the River King, or the Dancing Boy."

And the children and the servant girl would go out, and presently Kate would see them come home again, singing and dancing with their hands full of flowers.
P.S. Apologies on the scribbles. My 5 year old self got easily distracted.


Anonymous said...

And I love your visits. Thank you for sharing the story. I like the scribbles too - hugs and sparkles - WG

Linda in New Mexico said...

I love the story. Thanks for sharing it with us. After the past several of my posts on Ye Olde Crones Gazette.....this is how I grew up....just like this story. I love the universe and how it speaks if we only listen. I'm so very glad I found your blog. Blessings, The Olde Bagg, Linda

Kate said...

This is lovely! Could you tell me the author's name? Being a Kate, I'd love to add this to my library, if possible. :-)

Thank you for sharing this!