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When Bill Nelson's cow stopped giving milk, he called the veterinarian.
"There's nothing wrong with that cow," the vet said. "She's just stubborn. That, or some witch got hold of her."
Bill and the vet both laughed.
"That old hag, Addie Fitch, I guess she's the closest we've got to a witch around here," the vet said. "But witches have gone out of style, haven't they?"
Bill had had a run-in with Addie Fitch the month before. He had hit her cat with his car and killed it.
"I'm really sorry, Addie Fitch," he told her. "I'll get you a new cat, just as pretty, just as good."
Her eyes filled with hate. "I raised that cat from a kitten," she hissed. "I loved her. You'll be sorry for this, Bill Nelson."
Bill sent her a new cat and heard nothing more.
Then his cow stopped giving milk. Next, his old truck broke down. After that, his wife fell and broke her arm.
"We're having a lot of bad luck," he thought.
Then he thought, "Maybe it is Addie Fitch getting even." And then, "Hey--you don't believe in witches. You're just upset."
But Bill's grandpa believed in witches. He had once told Bill that there was only one sure way to stop a witch from causing trouble.
"You find a black walnut tree," he said, "and you draw her picture on it. Then you mark an X where her heart is, and you drive a nail into the X. Every day you drive it in a little deeper.
"If she's causing the trouble," he said, "she'll feel pain. When she can't stand it anymore, she'll come to you, or send somebody, and try to borrow something. If you give her what she wants, that breaks the power of the nail, and she'll go on tormenting you. But if you don't she'll have to stop--or the pain will kill her." That's what his nice, gentle old grandpa believed.
"It's pure craziness," Bill thought.
Of course, his grandpa didn't have much schooling. Bill had been to college. He knew better.
Then Bill's dog Joe, a perfectly healthy dog, dropped dead, just like that. It made Bill angry.
Despite all his schooling, he thought, "Maybe it is Addie Fitch after all."
He got a red crayon from his son's room, and a hammer and a nail, and went into the woods. He found a black walnut tree and drew a picture of Addie Fitch on it. He made an X where her heart was, like his grandpa had said to do. With the hammer he drove the nail a little way into the X. Then he went home.
"I feel like a fool," he told his wife.
"You should," she said.
The next day a boy named Timmy Logan came by. "Addie Fitch isn't feeling well," he said. "She wonders if she could borrow some sugar from you."
Bill Nelson stared at Timmy in amazement. He took a deep breath. "Tell her I'm sorry, but I don't have any sugar right now," he said.
When Timmy Logan left, Bill went back to the walnut tree and drove the nail in another inch.
The next day the boy was back. "Addie Fitch is pretty sick," he said. "She's wondering if you've got any sugar yet."
"Tell her I'm sorry," Bill Nelson said. "But I still don't have any."
Bill went out into the woods and drove the nail in another inch.
The following day the boy was back. "Addie Fitch is getting sicker," he said. "She really needs some sugar."
"Tell her I still don't have any," Bill answered.
Bill's wife was angry. "You've got to stop this," she said. "If this mumbo jumbo works, it's like murder."
"I'll stop when she does," he said.
Toward dusk he stood in the yard staring at the ridge where the old lady lived, wondering what was going on up there.
Then, in the half darkness, he saw Addie Fitch coming slowly down the hill toward him. With her pinched, bony face and her old black coat, she did look like a witch.
As she got closer, Bill saw that she could barely walk.
"Maybe I'm really hurting her," he thought.
He ran to get his hammer to pull the nail out. But before he could leave, Addie Fitch was in the yard, her face twisted with rage.
"First you killed my cat," she said. "Then you wouldn't give me a bit of sugar when I needed it." She swore at him, and fell dead at his feet.
"I'm not surprised that she dropped dead that way," the doctor said later. "She was very old, maybe ninety. It was her heart, of course."
"Some people said she was a witch," Bill said.
"I heard that," the doctor said.
"Somebody I know thought Addie Fitch had witched him," Bill went on. "He drew a picture of her on a tree, then drove a nail into it to make her stop."
"That's an old superstition," the doctor said. "But people like us don't believe in that sort of thing, do we?"
If you do something that makes a witch angry, she'll get even with you and cause you to suffer.
Add a Comment:
Dragondash98 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2018
..... running over a cat BY ACCIDENT is one thing...... but killing a dog in cold blood..... bitch needed to get nailed.
Pikachu-Train Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2018
I know. That's what Bill Nelson's grandfather told him to do.

1. Find a black walnut tree.
2. Draw a picture of a witch on the tree.
3. Mark an "X" where the witch's heart is.
4. Drive a nail into the "X". 
Dragondash98 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2018
kinow Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Great story!!!
Pikachu-Train Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2017
Thank you!
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