Once during a time of uneasy peace, a storyteller roamed from village to village. This storyteller wore a tattered green cloak and a drooping gray stocking cap. When news of her approach arrived, the elders would send all the children to gather in the square while they themselves hid away in cellars, not making a sound and hardly daring to breathe. And when she left, the villagers would mourn for the lost one, give thanks for the saved.
And so one day it happened that the children of Wheatfield, a village serenaded by a nearby stream, were gathered in the square awaiting the arrival of the storyteller. They were all quietly terrified, never before having experienced a storyteller visit. That is, all save one were terrified. Clever Tamitha, the blacksmith’s daughter, wasn’t the least bit afraid. She had heard about the so called ‘horrible’ storyteller, of course, and now she was eager to see her.
‘Finally,’ she announced to the crouched, huddled together, and quivering children of the village, ‘we get to hear what this scary storyteller woman has to say. I’d like to see her try to scare me with some silly story. Ha!’
The huddled children exchanged glances, eyes flaring up with the tiniest flickers of hope. For you see, they all knew about Clever Tamitha and how she was smarter by far than anybody ever had been in the history of Wheatfield.
‘Who will answer?’ cried a cracked voice from beyond the village wall.
“I will!’ shouted Tamitha in reply.
Bony hands, green flash of cloak, drooping cap, withered face, scraggly white hair, these appeared all of a moment on the path at the head of the square. A wide crooked smile revealed the razor teeth.
‘You?’ asked the storyteller, voice flavored with scorn. It must be said here that Tamitha, the only child standing, was small and thin.
‘Me,’ said Tamitha, arms folded across her chest in defiance.
‘Very well,’ said the storyteller with a cackle. ‘One of three Wishes I offer thee, the Wish of Ice, One, the Wish of Wind, Two, and the Wish of Fire is number Three. Choose your story wisely.’
Tamitha thought hard. In icy winter the stream froze. Fields of grain waved wildly in stormy winds. The ember glow at her father’s forge were for Tamitha a comfort.
‘Three,’ said Tamitha.
Green flash of cloak, thunder clap, a fiery number 3 raced from the sky at Tamitha and consumed her. The storyteller left. The villagers mourned the lost one, gave thanks for the saved.
And where Tamitha lived the birds sang sweetly and the garden grew lovely flowers.