It used to be that every town and village had someone like Thalia, a woman living alone or perhaps with a child on the edge of the forest. Gathering her herbs by the light of the full moon, infusing her elixirs, brewing her tinctures, boiling her concoctions, she was indispensable to townfolk for her wisdom and her expertise in healing their ills, soothing their pains and easing their woes, and it was that necessity that made her dangerous. A person one needs is a frightening person indeed. Fortunately, no one came after Thalia with a pitchfork or trussed her up to a stake, but she was isolated and avoided and had only her owl and mouse for company, at least until pain stabbed through a man’s heart, or a woman’s baby refused to be born or until all the desire simply packed up and moved out of someone’s marriage. Then would come a midnight knock on her door, a gift of money, or embroidered cloth or simply a hen offered to her and Thalia would pack up her poultices, her tiny vials and her foul-smelling powders and set off to do what she did best, and gratitude and relief would pour forth from the healed – at least until the next time they saw Thalia at market.
Thalia’s closest secret is that she preferred this arrangement. She loved her tiny house tucked in the woods, the arcane mysteries of plants that unfurled before her, her familiars and her solitude. And of late a young woman often came calling, a girl with a spark Thalia immediately recognized and a talent for the art that they both delighted in uncovering.
This original artwork and story are copyright Ramona Szczerba 2009. Copyright to this material is in no way transferable with the sale of this item. The buyer is not entitled to any reproduction rights – neither image nor story can be reproduced without my express written permission. Thanks!