Princess Raniel felt like getting up from the fireplace, running out through the door, down the path, and out of this Witch’s house. The crone was looking into her eyes and said “Now!” in a firm voice, like a door slamming shut in a windswept room. Instead of fleeing, the princess bit her lower lip and was surprised to see the crone doing exactly the same. She felt bewildered and wondered if She hadn’t been bewitched!
“Now!”, repeated the crone, " The time has come, Princess Raniel. You must ask me the question, one question only".
Raniel just sat there and bit her lip.
“Now!” said the old witch for the third time.
Raniel was dumbstruck. Without thinking she said “Can you please give me something to quell this bleeding on my thigh?”“Aha!” said the old one and began to rock with laughter. " I can help you with that if in three years time you decide to knock on Mother Wisegood’s door instead of knocking on Widow Kava’s and decide to learn the healing arts instead of Bewitchments and potions. Raniel didn’t know how to react to this, but there was a sudden rap at the door which made them both jump. “That’ll be Widow Welby for the warts” said the old one, jumping up with surprising agility and heading for the door. She opened the door and ushered a strikingly tall lady into the room.
“Ah Mother Freegrass, come on in, what a lovely surprise, I thought you were Widow Welby about the warts”
The new arrival was dressed in a handsome, if unassuming travel cape – “Well, Mother Raniel, who’s this lovely young lady?”
Part 6 of Raniels story where she finally asks the most important question