“She was supposedly a witch—according to the legend, anyway,” Freida piped up.
Anders shook his head slightly. “Yeah, I know the story. A weird little old widow woman, so old that no one living then remembered when she’d been born, or where she’d come from. Lived high in the mountains above Paign’s farm. Didn’t seem to have any way to support herself, yet she never seemed wanting. Wandered all around the valley, always muttering under her breath like she was casting spells and incantations, tottering along with a long, gnarled walking staff.”
Pausing for a moment, Anders sighed. When he began speaking again, he sounded agitated. “She didn’t seem to have any friends but no one thought ill of her, just thought her plenty peculiar and eccentric. Then, according to the ever-reliable crazy Hermit , Helmut Sandersohn, the little Widow Vellhelmina climbs the ridge we just did, in similarly nasty conditions, and then shuffles into the cave below Ruar’s Peak, only to have the cave’s opening snap shut behind her with such force it could be heard all the way into the village. So complete was the cave’s closure that no one could be sure where the opening had been. And the Widow Vellhelmina was never seen again…perhaps until today, when her skeleton falls onto Paign!” Anders laughed at his brilliant new ending to a story they’d all grown up with. Paign slugged him.
“Not funny, Anders,” Paign said, his fist still clenched.
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