Short Folktale: The Witch Who Was a Crow

In a small town near the Belgian city of Antwerp there once lived a free-spirited lady who was feared and shunned wherever she went. Not that she minded. The unnamed woman dragged her spinning wheel outside every day and spun until the sun went down while a black cat rested at her feet.

The other townspeople did mind though! There was no way the baker’s son or the butcher’s wife would risk certain death by walking past the derelict cottage where the witch was said to live. People even preferred making a detour through the woods, but they kept her house under careful observation. Quickly the townspeople started to notice that while she never left her home or unearthly front garden there was one creature who did: a crow.

They all speculated and how they loved to speculate. Some claimed the crow was none other than the outcast living in their midst. Whenever the crow was spotted flying through the air they would exclaim ‘ah, the witch is there.’ Others thought the crow was the ghost of her deceased husband, still visiting her from the realm of the death.

Whatever the case, there was magic involved and some of the inhabitants visited the monks whenever bad luck came their way as they were all certain the witch was responsible. Besides, the monks were always happy to help. They knew how to break curses and defeat witchcraft with powders and prayers – for a fee of course.

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