River Mist Tales: The Cauldron

Hurry, this way, before the river mist settles upon the dooryard. It may be a while before your path home is revealed.

The seat by the window is most comfortable and there’s tea in the pot, if you haven’t brought a wee dram of your own.

Ignore the cats, don’t open the windows when the crows come calling.

I’ll be working in the darkened alcove across the room if you have any needs or she knocks upon the door.

She doesn’t like to be kept waiting. Enjoy her photographs and her 12-line tales. Though she is a bit loose with the truth and a bit too revealing with magic, as your kind calls it.

Until your next visit, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

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The Cauldron

“This will never work,” said Dorcas shaking her head.

“Not with that attitude,” said Lynney, wondering why her cousin was giving up so soon.

“She’s right Lynney, we need the cauldron, we need Granny Briar’s cauldron,” said Tanith, “ she infused it with wind energy, and, well, we could use her help.”

“The dead Granny Briar, the woman none of our mom’s will talk about, the woman whose cottage disappeared in a dark fog, that woman’s cauldron,” said Lynney beginning to doubt her own abilities, her own attitude.

“Yeah, that woman, but I’ve been reading her books we found, all we do is ask, give thanks really for already receiving the cauldron, and, and it will reveal itself to us,” said Dorcas, confident that her studies were leading them in the right direction, “so let’s go.”

Without another word, the three girls packed away their jars of dried herbs, their collection of bird feathers, dried leaves, sky blue candles, braided ribbons the colors of summer sunsets and storm laden winter skies, placing everything with care into a leather and wood travelers trunk, locking it shut, shoving it against a shadowed wall, placing their alder handled brooms, broomcorn bristles upright, into a dark corner of the hay loft.

“My mom’s not happy about all this, about us, about me, she’s asking more and more questions” said Tanith as the three climbed down the ladder, left the barn.

“Don’t lie Tanith, you have a gift, don’t lie about it, none of us need lie if anyone asks anything,” said Dorcas, “speak with care though, for now focus on the cauldron, practice the incantation, remember our words have power.”

Anyone following the cousins might have wondered why three teenage girls were walking in deep silence, only the rising breeze, the crows, the bare-limbed trees, heard the growing song of enchantment, heard the strengthening desire, the overwhelming rise of gratitude, and willingly added their own energy to the call.

It was Lynney who stopped first, having raised her eyes from the familiar path through the field, around the out buildings, of her father’s farm.

“Look,” said Lynney grabbing Dorcas’ arm, “look, there by the old storage sheds, you are gifted, scary but gifted.”

Leaving Dorcas standing guard over the grounded cauldron, drawing the circle, invoking the wisdom and blessing of their Granny Briar, Tanith and Lynney retraced their steps back to the barn, collected the feathers, candles, ribbons and other items they considered supportive for the spell work, the enchantment they were calling, the flying spell the three were casting upon their brooms, upon themselves.

River Mist Tales: The Witch Doll

Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.

I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.

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The Witch Doll

The first time Nessa saw the witch doll, it stood, vibrant and alluring, in a clothing shop window, giving the display a dose of Halloween fun.

She grabbed your attention, the witch doll, in high contrast to the clean lines, solid colors of the designer clothes, the witch wearing patterned flowing patchwork, pieces of plaid and linen print of bright yellow mushrooms.

Nessa smiled, remembering a coat her aunt Tildy wore, patch upon patch, full of red hearts and blue squares. Her memory continued along, walking her aunt’s overgrown cottage path, recalling the overflowing baskets of mushrooms Tildy collected, orange, brown and bright yellow.

The second time Nessa saw the witch, she was surrounded by several unusual dolls, depicting cunning women, part of a display for a newly released novel.

Again the witch captured attention, standing taller, more severe in her expression, more life-like in her posture than the other dolls.

As readers clamored for an autograph from the author, Nessa was lost in a web of images spinning a vision of an abandoned cottage, a jealous rage, words chanted in anger, sister against sister.

Jostled by the crowd, Nessa abandoned the forceful day dreams which had left her feeling confused, a step out of place, out of time.

Without another glance at the witch, Nessa left the bookstore, arriving home in the blink of an eye, unaware of how she had managed to walk the two miles with such ease and speed.

The third time Nessa saw the witch was at an open air flea market, she was surrounded by bottles filled with strange herbal concoctions, talismans created from twig, glass and metal, and various other tools and supplies any alchemist would envy, or cunning woman use.

As Nessa passed the heavily curtained booth, she heard a laugh float out from the shadows, more a cackle than a cheerful expression, followed by a woman’s voice calling her name.

Nessa stopped, turned, greeting a woman wearing plaid and bright florals, her wavy hair pulled back revealing a softly crinkled face, the woman’s smile pulling Nessa close, her voice a gentle whisper, promising a solution to the tragic enchantment haunting her, imprisoning her aunt.