Aphelion Issue 253, Volume 24
August 2020
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The Witch and the Fool

by Ron Larson
Adapted from a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Near a secluded forest basin, a witch
Was speaking with a young but wretched woman.
The woman said: “I sought to be famous and rich,
But it all came to naught in the bitter end.

“I abandoned my loving family,
And I never thought my lover would be like that,
So I want to find out how they are doing.”
The hag said: “You’ll see; lay your head in my lap.”

When she did so, her head was covered with a cape.
She heard curses and cries of woe from her parents,
Denouncing her in the crudest billingsgate.
It was apparent that they would never relent.

Then she saw her former husband and his wife.
Her children were as happy as they could be.
They all rejoiced that she was out of their life.
The fallen woman was filled with misery.

She arose and staggered to the stagnant pool.
She plunged into it and drowned herself.
The witch, too, arose and looked at the dead fool,
Cackling: “I’m so pleased that I’m beside myself.”

2019 Ron Larson

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