Image: © kamipallet – DeviantArt
Amelia Marble’s Apprenticeship
The first thing Amelia heard upon awakening was the sound of her mother in the kitchen preparing for the day ahead. Amelia’s first thought was, “Oh great it starts today.’
Today her mother, Tolly, had told her daughter she would begin teaching her the art of being a witch.
Ever since she could walk Amelia had followed her mother around the place watching her gather the herbs first thing of a morning, cut them up, dry them out, mix them with this and that, deal with customers who came for relief from one ailment or another.
She particularly liked it when her mother worked with the cauldrons. They were housed in a separate room behind their house, which was several miles from the nearest house.
People in those times gave great respect to the witch and at the same time were wary of her as she had powers they didn’t understand.
But today was Amelia’s first day of officially learning the art of witchcraft.
As she entered the kitchen her mother handed her the bucket and Amelia knew that meant a trip to the well to fetch a pail of water. There was always water to be gathered and so she trekked down the well-worn track to the well at the bottom of the garden.
Her mother had spoken to her before about becoming an apprentice and that it meant learning all the tiresome mundane jobs, gathering the herbs each day, the preparation of them and the mixing and boiling that could take the best part of the day.
By the time this day had arrived Amelia was well aware that witchery was a lot more than spells and potions.
Her mother was also very aware that her daughter had an innate sense and enthusiasm for why things worked as they did. So it was going to be as much a learning curve for her as it was for her daughter.
On the first day of her apprenticeship Amelia learned that collecting the herbs and storing them was an exacting task. Some herbs could not be stored with others, some herbs looked innocent until you squeezed the juice out of them and they took on a whole new outlook.
Preparation her mother told her was paramount in the success of becoming a witch.
It took Amelia many years at her mother’s side to learn the ins and outs of witchcraft. There was always something new to learn and every now and then they discovered a new use of an herb they had not known of before.
Amelia in her own time was often experimenting with one herb or another. Often nothing happened and sometimes the pop of a clash of chemicals made her sit up and try and understand why.
Over time as customers came and went Amelia would slip a customer a different combination and see if there was any reaction. Every time she made a note in the concoction book as her mother called it. If a customer reported a failure, which was often a bad gastric reaction, Amelia would amend the book with a note to discontinue that idea or if the reaction was good then a note to say it had worked well on the village blacksmith’s bunions.
The concoction book was a growing tome that sat upon the shelf in the kitchen. It was placed there as Tolly pointed out it needed to be ready at hand as she received her customers in her kitchen.
Amelia as part of her apprenticeship began her own and over time it too grew into a sizeable volume. By the time she was twenty she had started a new one, as the first was so big and heavy.
It took Amelia many years before her mother introduced her to the cauldrons. Amelia had always been there with her mother as she stoked the fires and prepared for the ‘boiling’ as her mother called it. This was where the potions and the sometimes magic occurred. Here anything could happen and often did.
The young Amelia studied hard, she developed her own spells and potions, she attracted customers, and she also attracted the naysayers who saw her as evil and a danger.
She countered all opposition by always helping the villagers when in danger or when there was the threat of plague.
It was when she saved the life of Constance Goodwoman, a renowned anti-witch advocate in the town that the attitudes to Amelia changed and she was treated from then on with reluctant respect.
Amelia Marble grew into the witch she is today, the same Miss Marble at 46 Grimace Street.
If this is your first time reading a Miss Marble story and you are curious as to how she could still be alive you might like to look at this tale explaining her longevity.