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Story No. 207

The Witch and the Horseshoes

Book Name:

The Key of Gold: Czech Folk Tales

Tradition: Czechia

Once there was a farmer's wife--I can't tell you which one--who was a witch. Now these folks used to have a feast every Eve of St. Philip and St. James. As soon as they began to burn the brooms she couldn't rest: go she must. So she stripped her clothes off, and, standing under the chimney, she anointed herself with some ointment. When she had finished, she said: "Fly, but don't touch anything." And away she flew in the twinkling of an eye. Yes, that was just how it was.

But the farmhand was watching all this from the stables, and he watched carefully where she put the ointment. So he went in too, stripped his clothes off, and anointed himself. He said: "Fly, but don't touch anything." And off he flew till he came to the place where the witches were having their feast. Now, when he came there, the farmer's wife knew him, and, to hide herself from him, she turned herself into a white horse. But he did not lose sight of the horse. He mounted it and went to the smith with it, and told him to shoe it. Next day the woman had four horseshoes on, two on her hands and two on her feet. And she had to stay like that always!



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