This is the first of a set of stories featuring regular characters, all inspired by a book of Romany spells I happened across. Who knows, by the end of lockdown, I might have a book-full of stories!
‘Think on it, Agnes,’ said her mother. ‘Robin dotes on you, you know it. And he has a steady trade.’
There followed a long and profound silence, broken only by the spitting of twigs in the fire. A steady trade, Agnes thought. I should think it is! A grave-digger. A grim and grimy trade, too.
‘Oh, but Mother,’ said Agnes at last, ‘what a life! Think of the melancholy – think of the laundry!’
‘Think of the steady income,’ said her mother, a woman of immense practicality.
But Agnes saw only Robin’s long face, the inevitable mud on his clothing. ‘I don’t want him,’ she said.
‘Try a spell to find your true love, then.’
‘Get a sprig of bay leaves. Tie a pink ribbon round it. I know you have some. Put it under your pillow. When you wake, look out of the window and you’ll see your true love.’
Agnes snorted. But, well, who knows? It might work. She said nothing to her mother, but went out for a sprig of bay, tied on the ribbon and slept on it. She awoke to the scent of the leaves and peered through the window. Smiling up at her was Robin the grave-digger. Quite nice-looking with a smile on. And he did have a steady trade.
Robin had had his instructions. ‘Be outside her window before dawn. Wear clean clothes and in the name of Heaven wipe that grim look off your face. A smile will work the spell.’
Look out for another Spell Story next week