“No! Not like that. Gently, gently. The children will be sleeping and you mustn’t wake them.”
“Why?” Frannie asked her forehead all wrinkled with concentration.
“All I know is what they told me when I was training. Both you and the children will be cursed from that day forward if the child sees you.”
“Because of teeth?”
“Because they saw the magic. The children are led to believe that we exchange the teeth for money. Very few of them ever ask what we want the teeth for. They mustn’t know that we turn the teeth into money.
No! Stop. I don’t know why. It just is. Think of it as a rule.”
“I’m never going to be able to do this. It’s too hard.”
“It is not. It just takes finesse. Let me show you again.’
Florence used her wand ever so gently to brush the tooth out from underneath the pillow. She circled the tooth clockwise three times with her wand, and then lightly tapped the tooth. In a moment, the tooth was transformed into a pile of gleaming quarters.
“That’s more than the last one. What’s up with that?” Frannie asked.
“Don’t know. The wand decides how much money. It’s always different.” Flossie then used the wand to sweep the gleaming quarters under the pillow one by one. ‘Sometimes it’s paper money. That’s a little trickier to get under the pillow. Most of the time I just use my hand. Slow and careful like. “
Once upon a time in the Queen’s Forest, a wise woman lived in a rather large cottage. In the nearby village, the more ignorant of them called her a witch and wanted her banished. Others sought her out for her wisdom and healing abilities. And then there were the children who scared one another by whispering about her craggy face, wrinkled hands, and wild hair.
Her name was Anne which is a rather uninspiring name for a wise woman (or witch dependent on your point of view.) The villagers called her “The Queen’s Forest Crone.”
Anne spent her days foraging, gardening, preparing potions, and cooking. She loved to cook. The alchemy of breadmaking still enchanted her after all these years. Occasionally, a villager would arrive in need of one thing or another.
Over the years, she learned that mostly they needed a sympathetic ear. Often, her potions were of no real use to the malady at hand. In those cases, she gave them fresh baked bread and honey from the hive in the Twin Tree.
The great tree grew a short distance from Anne’s cottage. Like Anne, it was gnarled and sometimes ugly but possessed of a great spirit. From the trunk of the old tree, a branch extended that formed another tree growing perpendicular in the air to the old one. Not really a twin, the younger tree was still in it’s prime. A woodsman had tried to cut it down, but her roots screamed in agony until the spirit of the old tree took hold to rescue her.