Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Two Wives and the Witch

There was once a man who had a wife that was not pretty. He became
tired of looking at her, and so went away and married another wife.

His first wife was in great sorrow, and wept every day. One day as she
was crying by the well, where she had gone for water, a woman asked
her: "Why are you weeping?" The wife answered: "Because my husband has
left me and gone to live with another wife." "Why?" said the witch,
for that is what the woman was.

"Because I have not a pretty face," answered the wife. While she
was talking the witch touched the wife's face, and then she said:
"I cannot stay here any longer," and went off.

When the wife reached home she looked in the glass and saw that her
face had been changed until it was the most beautiful in the town. Very
soon a rumor spread through the town that in such and such a house
there was living a very beautiful woman. Many young men went to see
the pretty woman, and all were pleased with her beauty.

The bad husband went also. He was astonished that his wife was not at
home, and that a pretty woman was living there alone. He bowed to the
lady and avowed his love. The lady at first refused to believe him,
and said: "If you will leave the woman who is now your wife and come
to live with me right along I will take you for my husband." The man
agreed, and went to live with the pretty woman.

The other woman was very angry when she heard the news, for it was
reported that the pretty woman was the man's first wife, who had
been changed by a witch. She determined to try what the witch could
do for her, and went to get water at the same well.

The witch appeared and asked: "Why are you weeping, my good woman?" The
woman told her that her husband had gone away to live with the pretty
woman. As she was speaking, the witch touched her face, and said:
"Go home, my good woman, and do not weep, for your husband will come
very soon to see you."

When she heard this she ran home as fast as she could. All the
people whom she met on the road were afraid of her, because she was
so ugly. Her nose was about two feet long, her ears looked like large
handkerchiefs, and her eyes were as big as saucers. Nobody recognized
her, not even her mother. All were afraid of such a creature. When
she saw in the glass how ugly she was, she refused to eat, and in a
few days she died.

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