September 3, 2018

“Only eight casks today, Mad Marge,” said the burly sweep, and he dragged the last cask into the hovel.

Mad Marge shot a quick glance of hatred at the sweep, then turned to her task. Her daily task. Her endless task. Her mind numbing boring task. She opened the first cask, plucked out a diamond and began to polish it with the Cloth of Gold. For she was the Polisher of the Royal Jewels. Each morning some eight or ten or fifteen casks of jewels were hauled to her hovel, where she spent all the day long and halfway into the night polishing them.

After the sweep went off, Mad Marge muttered, “Relief, relief. How May I find relief?”

“It is quite simple,” said a scratchy but pleasant voice.

“Who’s there?” said Mad Marge, looking up. “Oh, only you. Go away. Leave me alone.”

The friendly witch, for it was the friendly witch, stood in the hovel’s doorway. Her name was Balka. Famed for friendliness because she always asked what sort of frog her victims would like to be transformed into, otherwise she sat in the woods combing snarls from her ever snarled hair.

“If you pluck a cluster of twilight blossoms, you will be delivered from your present situation into one more restful,” said Balka.

“Let me guess. Find the twilight blossoms, eat them, and I will be transformed into my favorite sort of frog. Right?” said Mad Marge.

“True. Give it some thought,” said Balka, and so saying, she disappeared.

Mad Marge gave it some thought, several snorts, and a few violent polishes on a ruby. Then she froze and thought Why not? Anything is better than this.

She threw the Cloth of Gold against the wall, left the hovel and headed straight for the wood. She marched to Balka’s hut, where she found the witch combing snarls out of her snarled hair.

“Well, where is it then, this twilight blossom cluster? Tell me,” she demanded.

Balka pointed with her comb at a bush. “Under there, but you have to wait for twilight.”

Mad Marge crawled under the bush and stared impatiently at a cluster of tight buds. At twilight, they bloomed. Mad Marge tore them from the earth and ate them. She was a luminous blue tree frog on the limb of a tree beside a stream. She was very happy.



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