In the year 1907, there lived a witch in the village of Brooklyn or so it was said. The house in which she lived was called “the haunted house” and the villagers, be it even the bravest of men in town, were scared of going near it. Spooky tales were told about the house, “Hey Sara, my brother was telling me that his friend heard sounds from the house; God knows how true is that?” said Hazel, a villager. Unknowingly, people did stroll by the haunted house unaware of the stories told about it and its eerie atmosphere, only to find windows and doors swinging to and fro. Terrifying shrieks could be heard from within, and sometimes, one could hear the howling of a wolf coupled with hooting of an owl. The story ran as such: Years ago in the village, there lived a very beautiful young woman, Sandra. Her beauty was compared to the beauty of the moon, and poets would write poems about her. She would turn down many suitors because she was in love with a man named Jack, a rich and handsome guy from a nearby village. However, Jack did not turn out to be as faithful as Sandra thought him to be, and he left her in order to marry another woman. Sandra could not bear this, so she sought her revenge on him. It was then that she became evil. She became so evil that she came to be known as the witch. Rumours started to spread about her all over. “I am so sure she would have untied unruly hair, long pointed nails and a crooked nose. Exactly like a witch!” said Gertrude to Jane. Children would throw stones at the windows of the house and to their thrill, a shadow would soon be running towards them. Before ill could catch up on them, they would run for their lives. Sabrina had now grown into a fair maiden, but she was silent as a stone. One day, her grandmother came with the news of a wizard in a nearby village. It was also said that he might prove to be of some help. They tried to contact the wizard, but he refused to meet anybody, without giving a proper and good enough reason as to why he couldn’t One day, it so happened that a girl, Sabrina who had strolled near the haunted house with her friends was captured by the witch. Her friends, however, managed to escape. When she returned to the village, she could not speak. The witch had cast a spell on her. She was an example for the villagers to stop going to the haunted house and think twice bothering her, otherwise everybody would face the consequences. Sabrina had a very pious grandmother, and she tried hard to break the spell but failed to do so. She prayed very hard, but even her prayers were not powerful enough to break the spell cast by the witch. “I feel so sad to see Sabrina silent,” said her mother to her friend. “She was a child with a sunny disposition,” said the friend. They left no stone unturned in their various attempts to try to break the spell. So much so that somebody suggested, “A fortune of gold coins should be offered to the witch.” They even went to the extent of calling the village’s priest to help them break the spell, but that too, in vain. The priest, though, had a suggestion, “Take some holy water and sprinkle it on the witch. You will definitely break the spell then.” However, this did not work either and certainly didn’t break the spell as well. In reality, there is no such thing as a witch or a wizard. ‘It is pure evil in a person that reveals itself at one point or the other’ Sabrina had now grown into a fair maiden, but she was silent as a stone. One day, her grandmother came with the news of a wizard in a nearby village. It was also said that he might prove to be of some help. They tried to contact the wizard, but he refused to meet anybody, without giving a good enough and proper reason as to why he couldn’t. One fine day while Sabrina was sitting in her backyard peeling fruit, one of the apples slipped from her hands. To her surprise, she cried to her mom for help. She could not believe that this was happening. She had actually called out to her mom. She tried again, and there it was – the word, “mother!” Her mother heard her, not believing her ears at first. She ran outside and hugged her daughter. It was time to rejoice. Her mother asked her father to get as many sweets as he could. “I may distribute them in gratitude of the mercy God has shown us,” she said. As they sat together, happily, now that Sabrina could speak, her grandmother explained: “Yesterday, I met Mrs. Anne. She told me that the spell on Sabrina was broken when the wizard visited the witch. A woman’s ego matters to her the most. The witch’s ego had been deeply hurt when Jack was done with her. When the wizard visited her, they had a long talk, while she realised that it was unfair to make the villagers suffer because of her own miseries. It was then that she broke the spell.” She further explained that in reality there is no such thing as a witch or a wizard. “It is pure evil in a person that reveals itself at one point or the other.” The writer is the author of ‘Short Stories for Children’. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, January 27th 2018.