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The Horned Women (1) [The Horned Women]

The Horned Women (1)

Five hundred years ago all well-to-do women had to learn how to prepare and card their wool and spin it to make yarn.

One evening, a rich lady sat up late in her chamber, carding a new batch of wool.

Everyone else was in bed ; the house was quiet.

Suddenly, there was loud knocking at the door and a high-pitched voice shouted
" Open the door ! "
 

The lady of the house, who did not recognize the voice, was puzzled.
" Who is it ? " she called.

" I am the Witch of One Horn, " came the reply.

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The Horned Women (2) [The Horned Women]

The Horned Women (2)

The lady could not hear clearly and thought it was a neighbor needing help, so she rushed to the door and threw it open.

She was astonished to see a tall woman, with a single horn growing in the middle of her head.
The newcomer who was carrying a pair of carders, strode across the room, sat down, and set to work carding some of the lady's wool.

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She worked in silence, then suddenly she said, " Where are all the others ? They should be here. "

Straight away, there was another knock on the door.
Although she was rather frightened, the lady of the house opened the door.

(2/6)

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The Horned Women (3) [The Horned Women]

The Horned Women (3)

To her surprise another witch came into the room, this time with a pair of horns and carrying a spinning wheel.

" Make room for me, " she said.
" I am the Witch of Two Horns. "

And no sooner had she said this than she started to spin, producing fine woolen yarn faster than anyone the lady had seen before.

Again and again there came knocks on the door, and the lady felt she had to let in all the newcomers until there were twelve, each with one horn more than the previous witch.
They all sat around the fire, carding and spinning.

The lady of the house wanted to run away, but her legs would not let her ; she wanted to scream, but her mouth would not open.

She realized that she was under the spell of the horned women.

As she sat watching them, what she could do, one of the witches called to her, " Bake us all a cake. "

The lady found she could stand up but she couldn't find a pot to collect water from the well.

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The Horned Women (4) [The Horned Women]

The Horned Women (4)

One of the hags said to her, " Here, take this sieve and collect some water in that. "

The lady knew that a sieve could not hold water, and as the water poured through the sieve, the lady sat down and cried.

Then she heard a voice, that seemed like the spirit of the well.
" There is some clay and moss nearby. Mix them together to make a lining for the sieve. "

The lady did as she was told, and the voice spoke again.
" Go back and scream three times, and shout as loudly as you can : " The mountain of the Fenian women is all aflame. " "

As soon as the lady screamed she was echoed by the cries of the horned women.

They all flew off to their mountain, Slievenamon, and the lady was released from the spell.

She sighed a huge sigh of relief, but she saw quickly that the witches had made their own cake and poisoned the rest of her family.

The lady turned to the well, asking the spirit " How can I help everyone ? And what if the witches return ? " 

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The Horned Women (5) [The Horned Women]

The Horned Women (5)

So the spirit told the lady what to do.

She had to sprinkle on her threshold water in which she had washed her child's feet.
Next she was to put a piece of the witch's cake in everyone's mouth, to bring them back to life.

Then the spirit told her to put the cloth woven by the witches into her chest.

And finally she was to place a heavy oak beam across the door.

The lady did all these things, and waited.

Soon the twelve witches returned, screaming and howling , for they had arrived at their mountain and found no fire, and were mad for vengeance.

"Open the door ! Open, foot-water ! " they yelled.

" I cannot open, " called the water, " I am scattered all over the ground. "

" Open the door ! Open wood and beam ! " they shouted, their noise could be heard over the hills.

" I cannot open, " said the door.
" For I am fastened with a stout crossbeam. "

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The Horned Women (6 完) [The Horned Women]

The Horned Women (6 完)

" Open the door !  Open cake that we made with our enemies' blood ! " they screamed ー they could be heard by the sea.

" I cannot open, " said the cake.
" For I am broken in pieces. "

Then the witches knew they were defeated, and returned to their mountain, cursing the spirit of the well.

When the lady of the house went outside, she found a clock that one of the witches had dropped.

She hung the clock up in her room, and it was kept in her family for five hundred years, in memory of her victory over the twelve horned women.

(6/6 完)

The Horned Women ブログトップ