Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Witch's Broom

Once upon a time there was a witch named Grizelka who chalked up a very enviable record when it came to witchery. If you don't believe me, just look at her resume:

-Sleeping Beauty: Cast highly effective spell on young female, putting her in a state of slumber for several decades.
-The Frog Prince: Turned member of the royal family into an amphibian. Received wide publicity.
-Hansel and Gretel: Successfully enticed two young siblings to a house in the Forest using sweet food as bait.

Naturally, when it came time to give out the award for The Best Witch of the Year, Grizelka won. At her acceptance speech to the Academy of Witches, she moved almost everyone to tears.

"I'd like to thank all the little people who made this possible. Like that guy I shrank to fourteen inches tall after he said something about the wart on my nose. And I'd especially like to thank my assistant, also a little person, the gnome named Harry. I'll treasure this gold-plated skull the rest of my unnatural life!"

Well, sir, after that, Grizelka's stock soared high, and as far as she was concerned, every night was like Halloween. One day, a typical day, Harry and Grizelka were busy in her cobweb-filled house, hashing out her schedule.

"Okay," Harry said, glancing at the clipboard. "Tomorrow you're due to fly to London to touch off the Year of the Plague. And then you've got a banquet for the Society for the Humane Treatment of Trolls."

"Cancel that till Monday. Tomorrow I've got to lock this lady Rapunzel in a tower and then run over to the--"

Suddenly, the door to the witch's little house creaked open and there stood the most handsome prince in the world. "Ah, fair lady, could I trouble you for a flagon of water?" Such a request wasn't exactly the wisest thing the prince had ever done. In fact, it was tantamount to committing hari-kari.

"Instead of water, try a sip of this!" said mean old Grizelka, handing him a hissing, steaming cup of newts' knees, bat tripe, and other ingredients that would probably not pass FDA inspection, but would turn the prince into a tree stump. Still, witches too have hearts and, at the very last second before the concoction touched the prince's lips, Grizelka's was struck by Cupid's arrow.

"Don't drink that!" she shouted, and knocked it to the floor. The liquid burned a hole three feet deep. "My word," said the prince. "It must be carbonated."

With that, he made a courtly bow, and excused himself to go to the well outside to quench his thirst. Grizelka stared wistfully through the window. For the next few days, Grizelka just couldn't concentrate on her witchery. She sent Snow White a poisoned kumquat instead of a poisoned apple. She turned bats into bunny rabbits. She tried to put people to sleep, but just made them tired and cranky. Finally, she admitted to herself that she was in love--but because she was horribly ugly, even by witchly standards, she knew she could never win the prince. And so she went to the magic mirror--which charged only $100 for fifty minutes--and asked for advice.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall--and don't you dare crack on me--how can I win the prince's love?" The mirror responded, "Why don't you cast a spell on yourself? I'm afraid our time is up. I must go before I crack up myself."

Of course! The mirror was right. If Grizelka changed herself into a beautiful princess, the prince would fall in love with her. For two weeks she worked on the project, stirring a cauldron full of wolfbane, mice wings, and artificial flavors and colors. Finally, it came time for the age-old incantation. "Over the teeth and through the gums, look out stomach, here it comes!"

She drank it and--POOF!--where the witch once stood, there was an enchanting princess. The next day, the newly beautiful witch went to the royal ball. When she got there, the prince and the king were in the corner, talking.

"Well, my son, how are you enjoying the ball?" asked the king.
"Oh, I'm having a ball, Dad."
"I know that, but how are you enjoying it?"
But before the prince could answer, he spotted the most beautiful maiden he had ever seen. "You're beautiful, you're lovely, you're engaged...to me! Am I rushing things?"

Grizelka shook her head. A whirlwind romance ensued. They went to the opera, to the ballet, to be-headings. But there was one little problem. They were never alone. For wherever they went, along came a broom--they broom that Grizelka used to ride on her nightly forays. It would ride i the carriage with them, sit next to them at shows. There was just no escaping her past. The prince began to get a bit suspicious. "Now, I have nothing against cleaning instruments in general," he said. "I just want to be alone with you."

Desperate, Grizelka decided to shell out another $100 and go to her old mirror on the wall. The mirror counseled her, "Ah, well, it is all psychological my dear. You see, that broom over there has a sort of dust complex. Now that you're a princess, it's lonely. It misses its former owner. And it no doubt still thinks you are a witch."
"Well, what can I do?"
"The answer is simple. Get it a gride."

Now, in medieval English, which is what the mirror was speaking, the word gride mean dustpan. So, the witch immediately purchased a small but attractive dustpan and set it beside the lonesome broom in the broom closet. The rest happened naturally.

In the end, when the prince and princess got married, they had a double wedding with the happy cleaning instrument couple. So, as you can see, not only was there a bride and a groom, but there was also a gride and a broom.