by Bob Wallace
Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a village, and in that village there lived many children. And like all children, they were adventuresome.
So one day many of them went deep into the forest to see what they could find. After a long walk, they came to a small cottage in a clearing.
Some of the children found the clearing very curious; there was nothing alive in it. Not an animal, not a tree or plant, nor even a bird.
Being curious (as all children are curious), they knocked on the door. To their surprise only one person answered the door; a woman who lived there by herself.
When she opened the door some of the children looked inside and saw something very strange: the interior of the cottage was full of mirrors, so that everywhere the woman looked she saw only herself.
Some of the children saw this as a bad omen. They thought the woman might be a witch (after all, she did have a drooping nose-tip, as all witches do). But they were polite, and so they waited.
"Children," said the woman (whose name, they found, was Alyssa), "would you like to hear some wonderful stories?"
Like all children, they loved stories, so they cried, "Yes! Yes! Tell us some stories!"
So Alyssa began to tell some stories about princes and princesses, and heroes and heroines on a great quest, and a great duel between good and evil.
But some of the wiser of the children saw that the stories were really about hate, and murder, and the worshipping of idols, and other great evils, so they knew then the woman really was a witch.
So they laughed at her, knowing that she was harmless (witches can only hurt you if you let them).
But some of the most foolish of the children fell under the spell of the story-teller. But the most wise of the children were not bewitched. They saw that the evil witch hated children (indeed, hated everyone) and sought to be worshipped and served (because like all evil witches, she thought she was good and pure, even perfect).
Sadly, the most foolish of the foolish children even became in thrall to the witch, and so slowly grew evil (as the witch had slowly grown evil). They even began to enjoy hurting other children, just as the witch enjoyed hurting children. They even began to think that they should be worshipped, just as they worshipped the witch. Worst of all, they helped the witch to bit by bit eat some of the children who were worshipping the witch.
Fortunately, some of the children were lucky enough to have the scales fall from their eyes, and so broke their spell. Then they finally saw that the evil witch really was an evil witch, and so were able to save themselves.
Still, some of the foolish children remained under the witch's spell,and so could not tell truth from lies, or good from evil, even seeing evil as good. Even after the witch died and crumbled to dust, still they worshipped her, and so remained ensorceled to the ends of their days.
(Copyright 2000 by Bob Wallace. All rights reserved.)