Chicken bones and cranberries

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The mischievous vendor

Priscilla liked to play tricks on her unsuspecting[1] customers. She enjoyed putting malicious[2] spells on some of the herb bunches. Though not deadly, the spells spoiled the jolly Saturday moods of the unlucky shoppers who happened to buy the enchanted herbs.
Priscilla liked making parsley turn into poison ivy just when it was the time to chop it into a pot of simmering chicken soup. And that, of course, left the cook wondering, where the parsley went, and how the stinging ivy stalks made it into the kitchen. At other times, the wicked witch would throw a handful of her vicious ogre ants into a bunch of basil, so by the time the doomed customer returned home, all of the groceries in the basket were devoured by the awful pests who grew bigger and heavier with every bite they took, yet still remained hungry.
Priscilla always tried to be careful; she did not want to be caught. She giggled quietly and rubbed her hands each time she played a wicked trick on someone, but she also enjoyed interacting with other vendors and shoppers at the market. She loved and hated people at the same time; she loved them because they were busy, happy, and fun to watch. She hated them because she knew from before that they would never like her for the way she looked. But much more than she could ever hate people, Priscilla hated their dogs and little dogs in particular. It angered and puzzled Priscilla, - how can people cherish the ugliest of pooches, spoiling it rotten and kissing its stinky head, and yet show no mercy to another human being who just happens to be unattractive.
Besides, dogs are much more sensitive creatures than people; they can smell a witch from far away, even if that witch is disguised very cleverly. That is why Priscilla tried to avoid customers that brought their dogs to the market. Every time the witch saw a dog nearby, she hid away to a storage shack behind her stand. It worked until one unfortunate Saturday, when the Larson family came with their pet.

Gloves off

The Larsons seemed like a usual family; two children, Jack and Lisa, their parents, Rob and Jenna, and their little dog named Stella, who got its name for lustrous[3] eyes. The parents walked in front, hand in hand, followed by Jack and Lisa, who took turns carrying the pooch. Little Stella enjoyed her first trip to the market. The starry-eyed dog looked around excitedly and sniffed the air with her wet black nose, trying to catch all the deliciously new smells. She wiggled her tail and tried licking the faces of the children. Jack and Lisa stopped for a minute to look at the kite seller’s tent, while their parents turned to Priscilla’s stand, just a few steps away.
Mrs. Larson had already purchased a large head of cabbage, a bag of golden potatoes, four ripe tomatoes, two big stalks of celery, and a jolly bunch of carrots. All she needed now for a good vegetable soup was a few bunches of fresh herbs, and Priscilla’s stand shone with the lavish[4] greens. “I would like two bunches of parsley, please,” began Mrs.Larson. Priscilla’s eyes squinted with joy; she bent down to her pest box and reached for a handful of ogre ants with one hand, pulling two bunches of parsley with the other. When the witch got up, she came face to face with Stella, the little dog, as Jack and Lisa had just caught up with the parents and stood at Priscilla’s market stand too.
It was Stella’s turn to speak; the little dog began to bark daringly, as she knew who she was smelling – a witch! Dogs can smell a witch from far away; Stella was quite certain that she had one right under her nose. Priscilla dropped her ogre ants and parsley, covered her terrified face and yelled, “Get it away from me!” But it was too late. Courageous Stella broke free, jumped forward and bit the witch’s hand, pulling the white glove right off.
“It looks like a hand of a witch…”whispered Jack, amazed. He knew what a witch’s hand was supposed to look like from his fairy tale books, but this was the first time he saw a real wicked witch. “It’s a witch!” the baker’s wife screeched and quickly climbed onto her market stand as if she was looking at a live rat.
Priscilla tried pulling her glove back on, then hiding her hands, but all in vain. The disguise spell was now broken; her long nose started to grow back, the warts popping on it, the perfect locks of silver hair began to tangle yet again into her usual dreadlocks[5]. Priscilla’s clinching teeth turned their natural greenish color and her lovely clothes turned back into rags. In fact, my dear, most shape shifting spells will break like this, if the spell caster is recognized by someone, despite the disguise. Priscilla was in need of another enchantment, immediately.
“A witch!” cried the baker’s daughter.
“She sold me rotten tomatoes!” added the butcher.
“Her basil is full of nasty bugs!” accused the wool spinner.
“She gave me pimples and hernia,” the milkmaid’s allegations were just too much.
“A witch!”
“Take her away!”
“Beat her!”
The screams echoed throughout the Bluebells market. The butcher’s son threw a pig’s snout at Priscilla. His brother liked the idea and threw a chicken liver; it hit Priscilla right on the face. Soon the air was filled with flying eggs, vegetables and garbage. The eggs cracked and splattered all over Priscilla’s face and body. Beets and potatoes bruised her. Somebody started throwing fish guts, and the disgusted crowd loosened quickly on the other side, as the unlucky bystanders were getting hit by smelly herring intestines. “What a waste! I wish they would just throw all these things into my basket instead,” Priscilla sadly thought. Using the opportunity to escape through the opening in the crowd, she ran as fast as she could. She needed a clearing to shift shape, and, as soon, as she reached an emptied walkway, she gathered all her strength and somersaulted[6] herself into a bat. This was not the best thing to transform into, my dear, since the bats are nocturnal creatures and the bright sun is too overwhelming for them. But werebats are a bit stronger, and there was no time and place to work on a better shape shifting task.
The crowd sighed in awe and froze, watching a giant bat heavily flap its black wings, flying away and leaving nothing but rugged clothes and a pair of beat-up leather boots.
The brave eleven year old, Eddie Muller, the accordion player’s son, was appointed to guard the witch’s belongings until the mayor of Bluebell arrives. The rest of the Bluebells folk returned to their home, a little troubled, but discussing a juicy story to retell at supper, indeed.
The Larsons returned home speechless.



[1] Unsuspecting: not aware of the presence of danger; feeling no suspicion.

[2] Malicious: intended to do harm.

[3] Lustrous: shining, radiant, bright.

[4] Lavish: splendid, rich, gorgeous.

[5] Dreadlocks: ropelike strands of hair.

[6] Somersault: an acrobatic movement in which a person turns head over heels in the air or on the ground.

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