The Witch and the Seamstress
An Original Fairy Tale
Once upon a time there was a blind seamstress named Neeve. She was beloved by all in her village for her lovely smile that could make you feel that everything would be alright. Her eyes, like grey glass, were pure as a pool of frost.
She stitched by feeling the fabric and the stitches with her fingers. So excellent was she at her job that people from far and wide knew of her talents and asked her to sew dresses and embroider cloaks. She stitched beautiful patterns she had seen only in her dreams. She only wished she had more money to take better care of the poor children in her village.
One day there was a knock at her door.
“Who is it?” She asked.
“I would like to hire you to sew something for me,” said the visitor in a woman’s voice.
“Of course I would, but I just have too many orders right now. Perhaps you can come back in the summertime?”
“No, it must be done in three days…I can pay you more than all your orders put together, right now.”
The woman’s voice quivered with anger or worry, it was difficult to tell. She was a dainty woman by the weight of her footsteps. She handed Neeve a bag of coins. When Neeve touched the hand, it was covered in rings! The skin was soft as silk. This was no village woman.
“This is 1000 gold coins, enough for you to eat richly for a year.” Neeve considered her leaky roof and the poor villagers she could feed with this. It was just three days of extra work.
“Alright, I’ll do it,” she said.
“I have brought this special fabric. You must sew a tunic from it with these measurements exactly. My aid will bring you to my…house, to deliver it in three days.”
Neeve chuckled, “Dear Lady, I cannot read. Here is a matchstick, trace the measurements on the palm of my hand and I will remember them.”
Neeve got to work, but after a few hours, she felt the fabric stinging her hands. She tried to ignore it but they turned red and throbbed with pain. The lady returned the next day to check on her progress.
“My lady, I cannot finish this tunic. There is something wrong with the fabric, although it feels finer than the finest silk. Perhaps I can use some of my own fabric and sew something better—
“Ah, that is impossible” the lady responded.
“Then, you may have your money back, and hire someone else,” Neeve responded.
“If you do not complete this tunic, I will send someone to cut off your hands,” said the lady in a honey voice.
“You cannot do that!” Neeve’s useless eyes stung with tears as the lady got in her carriage and rode away.
Neeve’s friends and the families from the village all stayed with her that night. They cooked her dinner and all consoled her. If that lady showed up again, they would see her right away and kick her out. No one could touch Neeve while they were watching over her.
While she slept, Neeve had disturbing and vivid dreams of the lady. She saw what she looked like. She was a woman more beautiful than Neeve could have imagined. She had hair silver as moonlight, and wore a golden diadem on her head. It was the Queen!
“Listen,” sang the Queen, “You must complete the tunic, or I will send my guards to burn down your little village…It would be so tragic if you caused that. Look how dearly they love you” the dream showed the crying faces of the villagers she loved.
“Don’t let them down Neeve, dear,” the Queen said in her sing song voice.
In the dead of the night, Neeve awoke from the dream. She knew the dream was not her imagination. The Queen was a witch. She got to work right away. In two days time, a royal messenger arrived to collect Neeve and the tunic. Neeve held the package, neatly wrapped in her red and burning hands. She was numb, she was blind. She pulled her sleeves as far as they would go to cover her gnarled fingers.