Helga The Witch
Helga's long matted hair fell over her coal black eyes. She leaned over her crystal ball and shrieked, "Those children must be stopped!" Everywhere she looked there were children laughing and playing. It was enough to make any witch cranky. But Helga was not just any witch. She was one of the most powerful witches that had ever walked the earth, or flew in the sky, for that matter.
Helga raised her magic wand and cast this spell:
Water play, water fun
Makes me sick, I'll have not one
Drop of water, left for play
I cast this spell, right away.
At that very moment, the sky turned black, the wind whistled through the trees and the magic took hold over the entire earth. Every drop of water, yes, every drop of water, vanished into thin air. Bathtubs were dry, with little soapy boys and girls calling for their mothers. Children were left stranded halfway down hills on toboggans. The beaches were just a lot of sand and flopping fish. Everyone wondered what had happened.
A little girl named Claire noticed the glow from the castle just before the darkness. She had heard the stories of the wicked old witch that lived there. She was afraid, but she had to find out if the witch had anything to do with the water disappearing. She walked up the creaky steps, and knocked on the castle door. The huge door half-opened. Helga's bony hand appeared. Claire could only see a dark shadow flickering by the candlelight.
"What do you want? Be quick about it. I have no patience for children," barked the witch. Claire stood tall and said boldly; "You must return the water!" Helga laughed, "What spirit for a puny little girl. How amusing. Why should I listen to such a mouse?"
Claire cleared her throat, and then she said, "Surely a powerful witch such as yourself is willing to accept a challenge from a little mouse." "Challenge? What challenge? What could you possibly have to offer me?" asked the witch. "I bet, that before sunset, I can convince you to return the water." Claire swallowed a big gulp, and she added, "and if I fail, I will be your willing servant for the rest of my life." Helga grinned; this mousy little child was brave, but not too bright. "All right, you have a deal," Helga chuckled as she stepped out from the shadows. Claire stepped back, as the witch towered over her. She looked just like the witches Claire had read about in the fairy tales, only she was bigger, scarier, and smellier. Claire took a deep breath, and walked passed her into the castle.
Helga looked puzzled when Claire took her shoes off. Claire said rather boldly, "What are you waiting for? You have to do as I do 'till sunset." When the witch took off her gray galoshes, her feet were shades of green, with warts protruding in every direction. "What now, you silly girl?" said the witch. Claire dug a hole in the dirt floor, and asked the witch to fill it with water. Once this was done, she stuck her feet in the mud. "Surely you do not expect me to put my feet in there?" asked Helga. Claire nodded, then said, "unless you wish to quit already?" The witch frowned, but when the cool mud squished through her toes, Helga cackled, "Child, you are making this too easy."
"Next, I need a hoop, some water and soap." When Helga conjured up these supplies, Claire made a huge bubble, which glistened in the sun with all the different shades of the rainbow. "Ha!" said Helga, "that is child's play." Helga blew a bubble that grew bigger and bigger and bigger 'till it filled the room. When it popped, water sprayed everywhere and Helga chuckled.
Claire was impressed but she tried not to show it. "I thought witches had magical powers. Take me to the lake." Helga summoned her broom, and they flew off. The lake was deserted, and there was not a drop of water in sight. Claire turned to Helga and said, "I will need water, follow close behind." Claire ran splashing into the waves. Helga floundered in the water, but soon she was floating. Claire had to wait for Helga to return to the shore. Claire had already finished making a sandcastle. Helga laughed, "You call that a castle?" Helga made a castle one hundred times the size, and she surrounded hers with a moat. When a fire-breathing dragon appeared, Claire quickly stood up, and agreed she was beat on this one.
"Where to now, my little servant girl?" Claire thought for a moment, then she smiled. "To the amusement park," she responded. Using some magic dust, there was a puff of smoke, and both were standing next to the log flume. As before, it was necessary for Helga to produce some water. As the two went hurling down the ride, Helga could be heard for miles letting out an earth shaking scream. Helga smiled briefly, but then her face was once again cold and gray.
The sun was about to set. Helga taunted, "Soon you will be feeding my pet lizards their bugs, my little one. You might as well give up now, victory is mine." Claire knew she only had one more chance. "Helga, please make it rain." Claire caught a drop of rain on her tongue. Cool water splashed on Helga's face. When she tasted her first raindrop on her tongue, her cold exterior melted away. A good witch now stood before Claire. Helga smiled at Claire, "you are both brave and clever my little one. You win."
Brightly colored lights flashed across the sky as Helga spoke these words,
Water sweet, water cold
Fall to earth as in days of old
This witch now knows
The richness water bestows.
From that day forward, Helga and Claire were best friends. So if you ever see a large angel next to a small angel in the fresh fallen snow, look around. Helga and Claire might just be playing in your backyard.
©2000 John Subity