The Witchy Enchantress

This is an excerpt from Barry S. Brunswick’s Chapter-Book Fantasy Adventure The War of The Turnips.

“Heroes of Chutney, welcome, one and all. Please warm yourselves by my fire,” the maiden said in a spooky voice.

Each of the boys stepped forward to enter, lost under her hypnotic spell.

The princess held her arm across the door to stop them. “How do you know we are from Chutney?” she asked the maiden.

“Why, everyone knows of the legendary village of Chutney,” she answered. “His shield bares the coat of arms.” She pointed at Timmy. “Please come inside. You are most welcome, and I have the ripest turnips for you all to share.”

Timmy pushed Gertie’s arm out of the way and entered the maiden’s house. He was closely followed by Jimmy, Shep and the wizard. It seemed the promise of turnips and the spell they were under were far too much for them to bare.

Despite her best reasoning, Gertie knew she had little choice but to follow them inside.

The maiden shut the door, and they each took a seat near the fire, each except Gertie, that is. She was prepared for anything.

“Please, take a seat,” the maiden offered.

“No thanks, I’ll stand,” the princess replied abruptly.

“Oh, fine, suit yourself. I’ll get you all some turnip tea.” The maiden turned and left the room.

That was Gertie’s chance to talk some sense into the others. “Guys, we’ve got to get out of here. This will not end well. I just know it.”

“Oh, Gertie,” the wizard said. “She’s so pretty, and we’re so warm, so very warm. Let’s stay here for just a little while.”

“She’s a witch or an enchantress or a sorceress or something else magical, probably a witchy enchantress, and you’re all trapped under her spell. She means to do things most terrifyingly terrible to us all, and…” she finished, “and she’s not all that pretty.”

“No, no, no, Gertie, you’re wrong.” The wizard’s voice echoed strangely.

“Well, if you’re all staying here, then I am very much going alone. I’m not going to be tricked by any witchy enchantress. Somebody needs to get our turnips back. Have fun, boys.” She turned to leave, but the witchy enchantress swooped silently back into the room, holding a tray with five steaming cups on it.

“You’re leaving us so soon, princess. Why don’t you stay a while?”

A warning went off in her head. She had never introduced herself. “How do you know I’m a princess? Your treacherous trickery won’t work on me, madam. Goodbye.”

“Oh no, princess, please, have some tea.”

Gertie took a look at the concoctions in the cups. “That’s not tea. It’s a potent and powerful potion.” She knocked the tray out of her hand and the cups crashed down onto the floor. The liquid fizzed and smoked as it dripped between the floorboards.

The witchy enchantress spoke most spookily indeed. “Oh no, princess, it’s you I need. It’s always been you. These fools…” She pointed at the boys who sat, staring into space with silly grins etched across their faces. “These fools mean nothing to me. You’re the one I want.”

“Well, you can’t have me!”

“I will have you!” The woman pulled a small crossbow from behind her back. “My enchanted arrow will stop you.”

In less than the blink of an eye, in a micro millisecond, and in no time at all, Gertie rolled across the floor and spun around, swooping out her leg, tripping the woman over. The crossbow came free from the woman’s hand and bounced along the ground. The princess, with the speed and agility of a superfast and ultra-agile cat, rolled again, picked it up, and jumped back to her feet in one swooping motion. There she stood over the witchy enchantress facing the arrow point towards her.

“Break your spell, witch,” she demanded.

“Ha, ha, ha,” the witchy enchantress laughed defiantly.

“Break your spell, or I will shoot you with the arrow, and you will perish by enchanted arrow in a demise most grisly.”

The lady laughed again.

Gertie fired an arrow that skimmed just millimetres past the witchy enchantress’s head and stuck in the wall.

“Break the spell, or I swear to the great Turnip God in the sky, you will meet your doom.”

The witchy enchantress had no choice. The look in Gertie’s eyes told her that she was not one to make idle threats. She would do exactly what she said she would do, and her witchy life was very much at stake. She clapped her hands and her spell, in a blinding flash, was broken.

Her smooth, pale and young skin morphed instantly into haggard wrinkles. With the breaking of the spell, her true ugliness was revealed. She had yellowing teeth and hairs sprouting from her upper lip and out of her nostrils. She had thin scraggly hair and greying skin.

“Don’t look at me,” she croaked, covering her face. “I’m so ugly.”

The princess duly looked away.

“That is why you see. That’s why I need you. I need your beauty.”

“You want to absorb my beauty and have it for yourself, don’t you? And what would happen to me? I’d perish in a demise most grisly, no doubt. That’s so mean of you.”

“But to be young and beautiful again, it’s all I ever yearn for; it’s all I ever think of. It’s all I ever dream of.”

“Well, you had your chance to be young and beautiful, and I’m sure you were. Now is my turn, but like any other part of life, it will not last forever.”

“I know it doesn’t. I know you’re right, but I need it, and I crave it so.”

Gertie looked down at the now rather pathetic looking lady. “Look just because you get old it doesn’t mean you can’t be beautiful. If you’re nice to people and you smile and you enjoy your life and if you are, most importantly, true to yourself, then beauty will always shine through.”

The woman smiled a little.

“And besides that, you’ve really let yourself go, woman. Try waxing your upper lip and use some aloe vera on your skin and some coconut oil in your hair. Go out in the sunshine sometimes. Get some flowers and pictures and nice things instead of living in a spooky house in the spooky woods, playing your creepy harp. That would be a good place to start.”

“Okay,” the woman said as a tear welled up in her eye.

Gertie went on. “You’re an awful witchy enchantress anyway. You want girl’s beauty, and your music only enchants boys.”

“I know, I’m a rubbish witchy enchantress.” She started to weep.

Gertie reached out a hand and picked her up from the floor and looked her right in the eye. “Look you are a rubbish witch, so why don’t you try being a nice old lady instead?”

“One that wears pretty dresses?” the lady asked.

“Yes,” Gertie confirmed.

“And one that bakes cakes?”

“Yes, that too.”

“Okay, that does sound nice. I will. I’m so sorry,” she sniffed.

“Okay, come here.” Gertie gave her a big cuddle as the tears flowed. They stayed like that for a moment as the woman wailed uncontrollably. It could well have been the first cuddle she’d ever had.

“What’s your name?” Gertie asked.


“Well, Marjorie, today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

“I suppose it is,” Marjorie said excitedly. “Now, I’m sorry I can’t offer you any turnip tea. I’ve only got parsnips.”

“There’s no time for tea anyway. We have a very important mission ahead. From now on just do nice stuff, and your life will be a lot more fun. Here.” She handed back the crossbow.

“You keep it. Nice old ladies don’t need crossbows, but brave Chutnians on a great quest do. It’s an enchanted crossbow. Each arrow does a different thing, and when that’s the right thing to do, that’s when the arrow does it.”

“Okay, sounds interesting.” She wasn’t really sure what any of that meant, but she gratefully took it anyway. “Thanks.”

There was an awkward moment’s silence as the lady thought of the new life ahead of her and the fun she could have.

“S’pose I might see you around then?” Gertie smiled and said, “Boys, let’s go.”

“Goodbye, brave warriors of Chutney,” the nice old lady said, as she watched them disappear back into the endless darkness.

This is an excerpt from Barry S. Brunswick’s Chapter-Book Fantasy Adventure The War of The Turnips.

Barry S. Brunswick is an Author and Best Selling Poet.
Have you read Barry’s blog about the Fantasy Series?
You can buy his books on Amazon: 
Dreamland Part 1 – The Fabric of Dreams
Dreamland Part 2 – The Masters of Light

Dreamland Part 3 – The Veil of Shadow
The War of The Turnips
Barry Brunswick’s Tall Tales – A Short Story Collection

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