The witch’s name was Winifred, but her friends called her “Fred.” Or, rather, her friend called her Fred. Her friend Brian. Brian the Bat. Winifred had no other friends because…well, because she was a witch. Not surprisingly, witch’s tend not to have many friends. You know, with the curses and the spells and the evilness.
Well, one day, Winifred was working on a magic potion to turn fish into baboons (which, admittedly, doesn’t sound too evil, but you can’t do poisoned poppy fields every day of the week) when she found she needed to add some powdered black cat whiskers, which she kept on the very top shelf of her ingredients cupboard. She climbed up on a chair to reach it, but one of the legs of the chair broke. She started to fall, and began grabbing at anything to stop herself falling. Unfortunately, the first thing she grabbed was an enormous can of liquefied frog eyes (ew!) which fell and hit Winifred on the head.
“Fred!” cried Brian the Bat, flapping over to his fallen friend. “Fred, are you okay?”
“Wh…who…who are you?” asked Winifred.
“Who am I? It’s me, Brian. Don’t you recognize me, Fred?”
That’s when Brian realized what had happened: When the can hit her on the head, it had caused amnesia. Poor Winifred had forgotten everything, even who she was! Luckily, Brian was there to remind her. He showed her all around the cottage where she lived and worked her black magic.
“So I’m a witch?” asked Winifred. “And I can do magic?”
“That’s right,” said Brian. “Here, let me show you.”
Brian flapped over to the bookshelf and picked up a scrapbook Winifred had been keeping of all her best spells. He showed the book to Winifred. “See,” he said, pointing at one of the pages, “this is from when you made that poison apple to put that oddly pale princess to sleep for the rest of her life.”
“Wow!” said Winifred. “I put a princess to sleep for the rest of her life?”
“Well, no. Actually a prince came along and kissed her and she woke up.”
“Oh, I see. But, she was asleep for a long time, right? Like a few years or…”
“No, actually, he woke her up after two days.”
“Oh. Well, what about this one?” Winifred was pointing to another page of the scrapbook, showcasing another spell she had cast.
“Oh, this is when you locked that girl with the long hair up in your tower for the rest of her life.”
“So, I’ve got a girl with long hair locked in a tower, huh?”
“Not exactly. A prince climbed up her long hair and rescued her.”
“Another prince? Does that happen a lot?”
“Kind of…oh! But this one time you cast a spell on a prince! You turned him into a frog!”
“Hey, that’s not bad! I…wait…don’t tell me…”
“Yeah. Princess. Kissed him. Happily ever after.”
“And what about this guy? The one I turned into a big, horrible, monstrous beast with a long ugly snout and sharp cruel fangs?”
“I can honestly say that a princess did not kiss him and break the spell.” Winifred just stared at him for a while. “No, I swear…she wasn’t a princess. She did kiss him and break the spell, but—”
“You’ve got to be kidding me! Didn’t any of my spells work?” Winifred began tearing wildly through the scrapbook, trying to identify one successful spell. But it seemed that pretty much every spell she had ever cast had ended with someone (usually, but not necessarily, a prince or princess) kissing her intended victim, breaking the spell and living happily ever after. Now, for you or me, this might be regarded as good news. But, from the point of view of an evil witch, it is a little discouraging.
“Okay, you haven’t had a lot of luck with spells and potions,” said Brian. “But you do so much more than that. Like your magic beans!” He pointed out the window and he showed Winifred her vegetable garden, where she grew ingredients for her potions and other magical vegetables and herbs and thingies, including beans.
“Magic beans? What do they do?”
“Well, when you plant them, they grow into enormous beanstalks that you can climb to reach an enchanted kingdom in the clouds!”
“But…but that sounds…sort of nice, actually. How is that evil?”
“Because the kingdom is ruled by giants! You climb up there, you get crushed by a giant!”
“Hey! That’s something! So how many people have I sent to their doom with my magic beans?”
“Er…one…and, actually, he outsmarted the giant and killed it.”
“So if someone plants a magic bean and climbs up the beanstalk now they’ll find…”
“An enchanted kingdom in the clouds full of unimaginable riches and absolutely no danger.”
“Are you sure we’re supposed to be friends?”
“Okay, okay, how about this—”
“No, shut up! I don’t want to hear another word!” And with that, she looked around for a suitcase and started to pack her things.
“What are you doing?” asked Brian.
“Obviously I was a complete failure as a witch, so I’m giving it up. I’m leaving and going to find some other line of work. So long, Bats!” And she left the bewildered Brian the Bat behind.
So, Winifred the Witch never did get her memory back, but that’s okay. She found that her potion-making skills made her a natural born cook and she opened a little seaside restaurant called Fred’s Fresh Fried Fish n’ Chips where she lived happily ever after.