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The White Witch and the Landlord. (A Short story)
Oh That Red Sky.
Daphne pressed her nose to the upstairs window, silently looking over the countryside below. She had lived in this house woman and child, and could never see herself living anywhere else. She noticed the condensation that had formed on the window from her breath, and allowed her forefinger to trace the shape of a heart in it. Stepping back, she mused for a moment before rubbing the heart out with the sleeve of her jumper.
Daphne knew that she could never live in a town, all the traffic and sirens. People rushing like bees around a honey pot, drunks falling over the pavement, being sick on their shoes and falling legless in shop doorways. How could people ever live like this she wondered, a rat race was just the very appropriate name?
Daphne allowed herself to succomb to her personality, a free spirit, one who lived her life in touch with the earth; and Mother Nature was her guardian. As a white witch, she knew how to make the cures; and how to help people come face to face with their demons. Daphne's garden was the countryside that surrounded her; green, beautiful, and imposing for those who had no respect for it.
Her mother had always known that Daphne was a special child, non-conformist from a very early age, a lover of her own company, one who could read the clouds from afar, but more, her compassion was never compromised. Even as a toddler, Daphne was surrounded by animals. The fox visited regularly and seemed to sit and listen to Daphne gurgling in the summer sun. His huge ears flicking from side to side intently, and with a dip of his nose, he was gone. The large barn owl spent many evenings in the branches of the tree overlooking Daphne's bedroom window. He would put his head under his beautiful white wing and wait patiently until she was asleep, before flying back to the barn where he nested.
Today was totally different, Daphne had no spring in her step, no chatter for the animals, she was melancholy, despairing of the news she had just received. Her land lord was evicting her, he was going to raise her home to the ground. All her memories to be left in a pile of rubble.
She stood at the front of the house, and pulled her shawl tightly around her slightly built shoulders. Her flaming red hair blowing with the breeze, and she looked inertly up into the sky. The beautiful, tantalising red sky; clouds tumbling over and over as if they where entering a vast storm, but the breeze was slight; Wistfully sighing to her self, Daphne wondered what the red sky was trying to tell her. The clouds rolled so vivaciously, tumbling in ever different directions. Her imagination convinced her that she could see gladiators duelling to their deaths. Over and over, faster and faster they tumbled, and Daphne could make no sense of it at all. All the time the sky became redder, almost like looking at the hot coals of an open fire. She sat down on the stones outside her gate, crossed her legs, lay her head on her chest and opened her mind to let the thoughts flow. "Fight," she said aloud to herself, "FIGHT" of course that was it. Running in through the open kitchen door and taking her pots and pans down from the shelves, Daphne married around until she found her mother's rather ancient spell book. Not the eye of a newt or the foot of a toad spell book, but her mother's spell recipe book. She would invite the landlord to supper.
All day Daphne spent in the countryside gathering her ingredients, she collected dark red shiny berries from the hedgerows, milk thistle and wild garlic from the road sides. Mushrooms from under the limbs of the large oak tree and wild strawberries from the garden. She busied all day, toiling to produce the finest countryside meal. Jugged hare for the main course, and a delightful syllabub with softly whipped and chilled cream. Elderflower lemonade and a good batch of nettles for nettle tea.
Daphne admired the table she had created with the gorgeous red spotted tablecloth and red coasters. The elderflower lemonade cascaded ripplets of ice cold condensation down the outside of the jug and all that was left now was to change into more subtle clothes.
Tying her vibrant red locks of hair into black ribbons, and changing her old dress and shawl for a spectacular cheese cloth embroiderd dress, showing just a little cleavage, she opened the door to her guest.
The chill in the atmosphere was more than apparent, but as the food was consumed and the lemonade drank, the atmosphere soon lifted. Daphne and the land lord danced around the house, into the field and away to the copse. The smell of honeysuckle lingered heavily in the air and the fox brought his family to meet the landlord. Dancing and cheering the pair continued, entwined like the knarled roots of a tree. In the blink of an eye, the landlord fell to his feet. Silently he looked into Daphne's face, and suddenly with what appeared to be with no control at all, he blurted "Marry me", for I am enchanted!