Another in my series of tales inspired by a book of Romany spells.
The washing hung damp and lank on its line. Agnes shook out her apron, waiting for the breeze. None came. It remained stubbornly as still as could be. She looked around, searching, as if the wind might be hiding itself behind the outhouse. No, not a breath.
‘Oh, come now,’ she said in exasperation, ‘not a puff of wind and all this linen to dry! What am I to do?’
Her mother’s voice said, quite clearly, over her shoulder, ‘You know what to do!’
Agnes turned and thought she glimpsed her mother – or was it a trick of the light? No, there was no-one there. Nonetheless, she searched her memory and found she did indeed know what to do. You simply faced the breeze and blew into it. Or did you put your back to the breeze and blow at the washing? But there was no breeze at all to blow into or away from. Which way to face to work the spell?
Cover all possibilities, then, Agnes thought, and she edged around the washing, blowing towards it and away from it, from every angle. A tiny breeze responded. ‘It works!’ cried Agnes and redoubled her efforts, pleased with her witchery.
It was a while before she realised the rising wind was coming from all directions, and forming a bijou tornado centred neatly on her washing line. When the line was torn from its mooring and the washing vanished goodness-knows-where, Agnes fled indoors. She was still cowering in the kitchen when her mother breezed in.
‘Wind spell, was it?’ she asked. Agnes nodded.
‘I thought so. One direction at a time, girl, for pity’s sake.’
‘Oh, Mother, I thought I had destroyed the whole world!’
‘Don’t flatter yourself,’ said her mother, crisply. ‘Your washing’s in the cattle yard, by the way. I should cut along if I were you. The old speckled cow is wearing your under-linen on her horns and people are laughing.’
Look out for another spell story next week.