The White Witch & Black Witch

  • 29 Oct 2021
  • Folklore
  • Back

The difference in the practice of charms and of curses is shown in two notable Honeybourne characters. The beneficient activities of the White Witch were mainly in the direction of curing minor ailments, such as warts, or St. Anthony's Fire (Erysipelas). Her charm for the latter was very simple; 

'Out Fire, in frost, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost'.

The Black Witch's speciality, according to the accounts of the village folk, was the power to turn herself into a white rabbit, in which disguise she would go into fields at night and suck the cows, who of course yield no milk the next day. At last, a farmer who was determined to put a stop to her depredations, lay up for her one night with a gun. Whether he loaded it with a silver bullet the story does not say, but he caught her in the act, let fly as she bolted, and hit her, as was shown by the track of blood which she left behind. Next day, and for many days after, the old woman kept to her bed - with a bad leg as she told enquirers. Could any clearer proof of her gult be required?

Apparently, this narrow escape 'larned' she to be a witch, for the village heard no more further exploits.