The Witch of Dumpling Dill
Short Story by: AemmaBella
Once upon a time, when little girls with no homes served as maids and slaves, there lived a young girl known as Aurore. She lived in a large cottage perched atop a lone hill, hidden in the wood of
Dumpling Dill, the most beautiful of cottages in all of Dill. Aurore was a young maid, belonging to the house of the Quills, a rich family with yet no morals; ordering young Aurore about asking for
this and asking for that. Aurore's youthful sister suffered the same fate, handling her duties with utmost haste, as well as a mere baby could suffice. Aurore herself could only daydream during
most of her days, for what she wanted most she could not have, because orphans could never survive on the streets, freedom could be only a dream for her. And so her master had once told her
“You will never survive these streets, my dear, only the rich can have such luxuries, shopping and dinning in the finest venues...” And so on.
Although her master's words were cruel she never stopped wishing for her and her sister's freedom.
She wished and wished for freedom away from the Quills, and she wished for money and no grownups to ruin their fun.
Sometimes she shared her thoughts with their nanny, Olea. She was eighteen and quite nice to Aurore and her sister, but sadly did not believe in magic anymore more than Mrs. Quills would have, and therefore she rarely shared her fantasies with Olea. Her sister, though, loved Olea like a mother and would tell her anything and everything without an inkling of embarrassment. One stormy afternoon the sisters cleaned and cleaned the cottage, gossiping about the Quills and sharing each others secrets and wishes.
“I wish we were free of them!” said Aurore, “no more grownups and cleaning for us!”
“Oh yes! That would be a delight!” cried the sister, “But oh how will we do such a thing? We are poor and but children, that cannot be done.”
With this Aurore began to imagine that such things could be done by magic!
But Aurore had never met a witch or a sorceress and she had not really believed in them at all even though rumors had passed that they were heinously burned upon sticks as they screamed and preached their rights while they crisped.
“You're right, my sister, this cannot be done, but had you an inkling of imagination you would not have said such a thing, you have ruined my fantasy forever!”
Her young sister apologized sincerely and told her that she too wished of the same things as she, but sadly her upbringing had caused her common sense to trigger reality more quickly and therefore she did not believe in witches nor magic.
Several months had passed and the sisters did their duties with loyalty, though they were far from loyal servants, everyone knew they would leave if they could, and plainly did their work in
silence, there had been no talk of magic in this long spand of time, only gossip about who’s dress had made who’s hips look the largest, and whom was Mr. Quills sneaking into the cottage with at
all hours of the night..
Neither girl had known that that very night, when neither girl had been thinking of the magic at all, that a witch herself would be in their room!
There she was; a beautiful pale woman with thick long black hair and skin so smooth and white as porcelain cloaked under a silky green floor length gown spotted with little rhinestones that shown
like stars in the moons gracious light. But her eyes were the most inhuman eyes they had ever seen! they were as orange and fiery as the sun itself and she burned the girls with her gaze as she sat
atop the sister's bed.
“Have you forgotten about me, child?” asked the witch with a mocking smirk, gazing only at Aurore.
“Forgotten you, ma'lady?” said Aurore.
The witch laughed a horrible laugh and beautifully settled her voice again:
“My dear, you have a wish for me, do you not? You want freedom and candy and lots of fun!”
Though Aurore was sure she had never said or thought anything of candy, it now seemed like an excellent addition for her and her sister's wish.
“Oh yes! Candy ! Oh I do love candy!” the sister gushed.
“Shush, sister! Hissed Aurore, “ I would very much love a wish, ma'lady, but how shall it come true without magic?”
The witch chuckled kindly this time and said:
“Lovely girl, I am magic, whatever you wish I shall grant, but beware, girl, nothing is for free. I will want something in return for your wish. Your hair maybe, it is so fine and long and brighter than the stars, I shouldn't wish to waste such beauty on one who doesn't plan to use it.” Aurore, being only ten years old, had never thought very much of her beauty, she had only stinky rags to wear and dirt and dust always chalked her cheeks. Her hair had never crossed her mind as a beautiful trinket from the heavens.
“Yes please! take my hair, and grant our wish!”
“Oh! little girl, this be only your wish. Would you like to think about it for a bit? If it does not turn out to your liking there is a greater consequence than beauty if you should change your mind.”
Aurore could not think of any greater consequences and so agreed to the witches terms and was granted her wish with no hesitation from the witch.
“You will see the difference to-morrow, child, be patient and sleep, dream sweet dreams, for you will need them.” said the witch with a menace to her pitch.
And so the girls fell quickly to sleep dreaming sweet dreams of their new found morning, and of all the fun they were going to have. No grownups, just freedom.
It was early morning when the girls awoke to silence.
It was so quiet they could hear the birds as clearly as pots and pans banging around in the kitchen like they would if this were any other morning.
The girls got up and dressed and wandered around the halls of the magnificent cottage, their heels click click clicking on the marble floors. Awing at the paintings and tapestries along the walls.
But where was everyone?
The house was eerily empty and frightened the young sister to a shiver.
“What happened, Aurore?” said the sister.
“I think this is our wish...But it's so quiet, I can't possibly see how we will have fun here.”
They searched every room in the cottage, expecting to find Olea in her room fast asleep under her thick quilt. They instead found her room filled to the roof with gold. Bright gold beaming light out of the room as they peered inside.
“Oh my lovey! We are rich, Aurore!” cried the sister as she jumped around like a little bunny rabbit.
“Yes! I see we must go shopping, sister! Think of the candy we can buy! And the clothes and jewels! We'll look just like Mrs. Quills!” said Aurore with glee.
The girls rushed out of the cottage, pockets full of gold, with such bliss on their faces, they had never been outside the fences of Quills Cottage, never outside the wood into the town of Dumpling Dill. There were always guards standing inside the fence, shooing beggars and salesmen on their rounds, fending off the wolves that roamed around the estate, but never had the girls heard of such a thing as a wolf.
“Come on, Come on!” shouted the sister running towards the fence, nothing but joy in her haste.
“SISTER! THE BEAST! WATCH OUT FOR THE BEAST!” cried Aurore a steady panic rising in her throat as she watches a wolf advance on her sister, the sister paid no attention to the beast and so kept running with pep in her steps.
“Come on Aurore!”
The sister finally stopped and turned to glance at her sister with a question upon her face.
The beast had been skulking around the sister quietly behind the bushes, waiting for the moment to strike and have its mid-morning snack, it pounced frighteningly fast at the sister with only the sound of rushing wind to warn her of the battle. The sister screamed “HELP! HELP!” but there was no guards or grownups to help them and the cottage was too far from the road for anyone to hear them. The sister ran back to house, the wolf quick on her tail leaped again at the sister landing right on top of her.
“Aurore!” cried the sister as the wolf bit down on her leg leaving a ghastly mark the size of a rather large rock.
Aurore had been standing in shock watching her sister run away from the wolf, but her shock had soon subsided and she was now very angry with the wolf. She picked up a smooth ample rock and hurled it at the wolf as hard as she could, hitting its head with an awful Whack! sending the beast whimpering away in its tracks.
“Sister! Oh my sweet sister, please speak to me.”
The sister was bleeding pools of scarlet liquid as she lay still, not quite dead but ghostly pale and shaking.
“I want Olea.” whimpered the poor little sister, her cheeks stained with tears.
“But sister she is not here, what am I to do?”
“I want Olea!” cried the sister. “I don't want candy or jewels. I want my MOMMY!”
Aurore flinched when her sister referred to Olea as "mommy". She herself had never so much as thought of her as a sister let alone a mother, but they had been slaves in Quills Cottage for several years and it only made sense for her to make that assessment. But how was she to find Olea when there were no adults around? She couldn't very well leave her sister and fetch the doctor, she had wished for no adults and so there probably was no doctor. In addition to that, she did not know where the doctor lived.
“Oh what have I done, sister.” said Aurore quietly. She had no experience with serious injuries and so knew nothing of what to do.
She and her sister could only do one thing; they cried.
The little girls wept tears of loneliness and stupidity as the sister rapidly lost her blood. Even Aurore knew that was fatal.
“I'm sorry, sister, I'm so sorry.” wept poor Aurore, she never even heard the gentle footsteps approaching them.
“My dear girl, why are you crying?” said the witch.
Aurore jumped up with surprise for she had not heard the witch's steps.
“My sister-she was attacked by a wild beast...she's losing blood and there are no grownups to help us. Oh! ma'lady what will I do! I don't want her to die because of my foolishness.”
“I told you, stupid girl, that you should think more of your wish. Now you want me to take it back and I mustn’t do this labor for free. I told you there is a greater consequence than beauty should you change your mind. And looking at your situation I would call this a give and take.”
“Give what? What must I give ma'lady?”
“Your sister is dead now, little girl, you must take her place if you want me to bring her back and I will also undo the wishes you made before now.”
“I have to die for my sister?”
The witch grinned a hideous grin and said yes.
Aurore was distressed over this simple solution, but she just couldn't part with a world she barely knew. She wanted to see new places and people, she wanted to eat in the finest restaurants and wear the jewels of a princess. But somehow those things seemed meager compared to her sisters life, a life she herself would have to give for her sister to live as a servant for the Quills. She did not want her sister to live her life as a slave but it was her own fault that her sister was now dead. She made an irrational wish, for freedom they never got to perceive and candy they never got to taste. She now thought that maybe things would have changed if she had been patient enough to live into adulthood meeting her own prince and having her own money, her sister right there by her side where ever she went. That , sadly, would not happen now, she killed her sister for trite luxuries.
“Yes..Yes please do it. I want my sister to live. It is my own fault she is dead, and that is not fair. Please bring her back and put everything back to normal!”
The witch smiled her terrorizing smile and said:
“As you wish, my child.”
And so the witch switched the sisters places leaving Aurore dead and the sister alive and healthy. The guards were back patrolling the grounds and all the grownups were up and about in the cottage cleaning and cooking to earn their bread. The witch told the sister what happened, leaving her crying and speechless at that. But the witch told her not to worry for she was sure her sister earned her plot in the heavens. The witch told the sister that she was leaving now, that she will take no more request nor will she ever come back. She had been in that cottage long enough and that it was time for her to move about.
And so the sister ran back to the cottage, found Olea and told her the disaster. They then rushed outside and wept until the sky turned amber. They had the funeral swift and quick with Aurore in a sad little coffin for orphaned ticks.
The little sister searched heartily for the witch hoping to wish for her sisters bliss, but never in all of the twenty years of her hunt, had she once saw the witch again.
© Copyright 2017 AemmaBella. All rights reserved.