Grimace Street was awash with rumour that Miss Marble, of 46 Grimace Street was ill and generally unwell.
Miss Marble was a witch and as long as anyone could remember she had administered to the sick in the street and had never to anyone’s recollection been sick herself.
Her long time neighbour Mansour Stigglefod was at a loss to explain the phenomenon to all and any who asked.
Miss Marble she reported was confined to bed. She was mostly sleeping and had asked to be left alone save for one request that Mansur bring her the Book of Durfur, a Beginners Guide, from her cauldron room and leave it by her bed.
Mansur had done so and had promised Miss Marble that she would look in on her later in the day.
Miss Marble had only known the sensation of being ill once in her life. It was way back when Grimace Street was in its fledgling days and shortly after her mother had passed away. The Batter Sisters, witches from across the other side of the village had expected to take over the witching duties for the village and expected that the young Miss Marble would acquiesce to their demands.
But Miss Marble had been taught well by her mother who prepared her for the real possibility that the Batter Sisters, who were excellent makers of potion, but lacking in ethics, might try to muscle in on Miss Marble’s turf.
Miss Marble in keeping with the tradition of offering foodstuffs upon the passing of a family member had accepted such gifts as a matter of course. One gift was a casserole from of the Batter sisters, and Miss Marble who was deep into her grieving took little notice and ate a portion that evening.
The next morning she felt violently ill such that she stayed in bed, unable to eat and unwilling to seek help. She lay there all day before a neighbour stopped by and saw her condition. All Miss Marble could do at the time was point to the Book of Durfur and indicate the remedy on page forty-eight. Thankfully for Miss Marble, the neighbour was canny enough to read the recipe and prepare the mixture that eventually set her on a path to recovery.
Now she was in need of it again. This time though she had the strength to get out of bed and mix the potion. She was glad she always kept the ingredients on hand, even though she hadn’t needed them in such a long time, she had constantly reminded herself that she needed to keep a supply on hand.
They weren’t the most inviting of ingredients, she knew it would taste vile, and it did, after all, pond scum, ground beech bark and whole dried witchetty grub no matter how you sweetened it, would never pass as an easy to take potion. And that was the point, you couldn’t sweeten it, you held your nose and downed the vile concoction and hoped you didn’t throw it up.
Once down Miss Marble closed the book, ever grateful her mother had insisted she always keep her copy handy and went back to bed.
By the time Mansur Stigglefod return just on sunset Miss Marble was feeling much better and asked Mansur to return the book from where she found it. Mansur ever curious tried to take a peek inside the book, but it refused to open.
“Interesting book Miss Marble,” she stated upon her return.
“Yes,” said Miss Marble reclining peacefully, “it has a locking spell on it, so nosy people can’t take a peek.”
“Oh I see,” said a flushing Mansur Stigglefod.