( Part 1)
“Meinen Schatze – Gerda”… I purred, taking on the persona of my constant companion … the rotund and narcissistic, black cat seated next to me. Gerda had found me one day by chance when I was out picking wild lavender for my calming spell.
I need the calming spell much more often these days. Just then Coughing racks my body as I am struck with yet another fit. I yearn for the days when I was younger and in better health. A deep seeded hunger has set in here in forest towns of Bavaria. The 10 years of drought followed by below freezing cold temperatures has made food sources scarce. I have removed the bark off of all of the trees with in a 100 foot radius of my home. Now that it is winter, I cannot venture out any further than that—in fear of losing my way back or freezing to death. I am growing tired of bark. I have made bark in every way imaginable. I look out my frosted window pane, I in the distance I can see the Snow covered Zugspitze. I am suddenly reminded of how I came to live out here in these deep woods.
I came to live by myself way out here in the forest to escape the witch trials in other parts of my country. You see I am the last of the Pappenheimer Family. The rest of my family was burned for witchcraft in Bavaria in the great year of Sixteen Hundred and One. I was wisked away when I was only a magad of 14, after our family was identified as practicing witchcraft. My aunt Gisela helped me get away and placed me here in my little cottage by Bad Chiemesee. It is here that I grew up and learned to appreciate the arts of spell making. My Mother handed me her heirloom spell book before she was taken away. I have read from it every day that I have lived on my own. I am now nearly 39 years old and the hard winters and the absence of doctors, has taken a toll on me.
I learned of the awful fate of my brothers and mother and father through letters from Aunt Gisela. The horrible things they did to my family it is unimaginable.
My family consisted of my father Paulus, my mother Anna, two older brothers named Jacob and Gumpprecht, and the youngest brother who was, ten-year- that year Hoel. They sometimes called Hoel; Hansel. Just thinking about Hoel and my other brothers and my mother and my father, has brought on a fit of tears and has caused me to succumb to yet another coughing spell.
I only receive letters from her once a year. A kind Woodcutter comes through here each year delivering my mail and picking up the letters I have written. It has been two years since I have heard from my Aunt Gisela. There were no letters from her last year. The woodcutter did not have any news of her either. I fear the worst, but think it is right as she would be close to 50 years old. There are not too many women that live too far past 48 anyway.
It is possible that a strange madness has come over me. I am starting to become delusional and find that I am talking to myself much more often. Gerda just looks at me with a deep seeded contempt each time I carry on full blown conversations with myself. She knows that soon she will not even have the bark suppers that I make for us. Gerda is resourceful and often catches a little brown field mouse to accompany her meal. She is usually selfish and does not share her rare find. I often lock her out of the house for hours when she has found yet another mouse and not shared it with me. Then I feel anguish for my actions and after listening to her constant mewing, and let her back in.
As I cough over and over, I start to hear the laughter of young children. I am sure this is not one of those “madness moments” that has come over me. I rush to the window and see that I am not mad. There are really two little cherubs walking through the woods, unaccompanied. They are talking to each other about finding the trail of bread crumbs to find their way back home. ….
To be continued….
German Pet Names: http://www.pet-net.net/pet-names/german-pet-names.html
Witches around the World: http://www.witches.net/germanwitchcraft.htm
Witch Hunt- WikiPedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch-hunt
Pagen Prose and Poetry – http://www.witchvox.com/xpoetry.html
Donna Jo Anpoli – http://www.donnajonapoli.com/biography.html
Ludwig Richter – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1903_Ludwig_Richter.jpg
Sur La Lune Fairy Tales – http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/hanselgretel/other.html,
Dramatized Folk Tales of the world.. Edited by Sylvia Kamerman