This fairy tale is inspired by true events
Once upon a time, high on a mountain peak, surrounded by fog night and day, lived a wicked wicked witch. She was tall and thin and had long bony fingers. Her fingernails were green and she had a hard heart from which her purple blood ran cold.
She awoke when the crow cawed and slowly creaked to her feet. She cooked her breakfast of four slices of freshly butchered piglet and two sheep intestine tubes filled with finely minced calf flesh and fried tomatoes and toast. She consumed it all with relish and washed it down with a tall glass of baby growth fluid squeezed from a cow.
After breakfast the witch wiped her greasy mouth with the back of her hand and put the dishes in the sink. It was time to go to work.
For many hundreds of years the witch had been working on her plan to turn the world into a dry, desolate, poisonous place, somewhere only she and the cockroaches could thrive. That may seem like a long time to you and me but to the witch, who had lived in her castle for over ten thousand years, it was nothing.
She walked down the mountain with a spring in her step. When she reached the road she saw a large eye-catching poster advertising fried chicken on the side of a bus shelter and smiled. Her plan was working so well that it barely needed any help from her anymore.
The walk had made her peckish and as she passed by the mothers at the school gates she reached into a baby’s pram for a little snack. Just in time she remembered that the human hypnosis she had contrived only went as far as the babies of other species. She hadn’t yet got them to delight in eating their own young and, if they saw her doing that, the spell might be broken. She withdrew her hand before anyone noticed and snatched a robin from the hedge instead.
As she bit off the little fellow’s head she thought about how things used to be; the nauseatingly green, fertile lands; the abundance of forests, clean springs, streams and rivers. She remembered the infuriatingly thriving oceans, full of so much life. And then she thought about what those places had become. She sighed with satisfaction at her achievements and laughed when she recalled that she had previously not thought it possible. She’d observed how close humans were to nature; believed they could never be manipulated into destroying it; they depended on it and they knew it; they respected it and valued it; they protected it, even worshipped it. She scoffed at her own naïvety back then, how little she had understood, how little she had believed in her ability to put them on the path to their own destruction.
She had been banished from her home-world for chopping down trees and poisoning streams; for eating birds’ eggs and baby rabbits, and for keeping mice in cages. Being banished made her miserable and very angry. Finding this world, which was just as beautiful as the home-world, had not lifted her spirits. She hated beauty. She hated harmony. She wanted chaos.
So, when she realised how short-lived the dominant species was she felt her superiority and was sure she would gain control of the world when they died out. But they didn’t die out. They reproduced fast and they kept reproducing. Their numbers kept growing. This filled her with rage until she realised that humans, unlike other species, did not instinctively restrict their numbers to levels the world could sustain. She knew then that if she could manipulate them into thinking something destructive was good for them, they would want more of it, they would insist they needed it, they would have to have it, whatever the cost. And as their numbers grew, so would the destruction.
But what? What damaging thing could she manipulate these plant-eaters into thinking? Then she had an idea. An idea so fantastic, so ambitious and so outrageous it just had to work.
First she worked out what she’d need. Animals. Different sorts. Small ones like fish and birds. And big ones. Big, docile, herd animals who could be easily controlled. After some deliberation she settled on sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, salmon, cod and crabs. She captured one of each and imprisoned them inside the castle walls. Then she waited for the full moon.
As the moon rose she stood in front of the bewildered animals and screamed at the sky.
“Heavy beasts and hairy beasts
And scaled and shelled and feathered beasts,
You will, from now, ’til end of days
Be food for those in stupid daze.
They’ll slay and slice you for the taste,
Your flesh they’ll bite without shameface.
The more they eat, the more they’ll crave,
Your babies they’ll imprison, enslave.”
Then, with sharpened flint, she cut her thumb and wiped blood across the mouth of each animal before continuing.
“With purple blood I fix this spell,
To turn this world to putrid hell.
Bring meat addiction escalation,
Demand for flesh be their damnation.”
And it worked. It worked better than she could have hoped or imagined. The humans began to eat flesh, as she’d intended, but not just flesh. They stole milk out of the mouths of babes, taking it directly from mothers’ bodies; they ate the eggs of birds and fish; they extracted bodily oils, fur, feathers – the list went on and on. Each new generation demanded more flesh and animal excretions than their forebears. Their depraved, unnatural appetites craved not only the witch’s selected species but so many more. And as demand increased, more animals were bred and enslaved, more water was used to hydrate them and more forests were chopped down to graze them or grow crops to feed them. It was marvellous.
Decade after decade flew by and the demand for flesh never wavered. Occasionally an enlightened individual would speak out against the horrors, citing compassion or health as reasons to refrain, but the witch didn’t worry. Her spell was too strong to be undone by such talk. Small groups would follow the shrewd advice for a while but the masses just ignored it and continued to pass on their addiction to their children.
Only once did the witch fear defeat. Some humans discovered the world was running out of fresh water, because of the vast quantities consumed by animal farming, and the animal fæces contamination of rivers and lakes. She felt sure that they were on to her, that the humans would feel compelled to curtail their appetites for flesh, that her spell would be broken and all would be lost. But she need not have worried. Most humans eagerly accepted their leaders’ assurances that flesh could be provided sustainably and that, as long as they took short showers, all would be well. They were wonderfully stupid.
The witch walked on past the school and into the town centre. It was time to revitalize the spell. She did it every half century and thought this would probably be the last time.
First she followed the fetid odour to the butcher’s shop. The ingredients required for the spell she could have brought from home but they would be more effective if they’d been procured by a human. The butcher greeted her with a friendliness that belied his macabre profession. He nodded as she listed her requirements, wrapped them in brown paper and handed them over in exchange for a few coins. Then he cheerfully wished her good day as she left his establishment and turned to his next customer.
For the spell’s recitation she needed the right location. She needed to be somewhere where decisions were made; somewhere connected to government. This time she chose the offices of the ironically-named Natural England, next door to the frozen baby growth fluid dessert parlour.
She strode in, looked into the receptionist’s eyes and spoke softly.
“I am here because I should be
Do not hinder, do not stop me.
Point me now in the direction
Of a place without detection.”
The receptionist handed her a key and directed her to room 16 on the first floor, in which the cctv camera was disabled and awaiting repair.
The wicked wicked witch entered the empty room and locked the door behind her. Then she closed the blinds, pushed the furniture aside and sat on the floor. From her pocket she took the brown paper packet and unwrapped a chicken’s heart, a pig’s liver, a cow’s kidney and a sheep’s eye. She placed them all on the floor in front of her and stuck a sharp, green fingernail into each of them. Then she hissed the spell over them.
“Listen now and listen well,
Revitalize my wicked spell.
As blood is blood and sinew sinew
They will stay stupid and continue:
Feed the beasts on precious water,
Plant the fields with grain for fodder.
Poison sea and lake and river
As weewee poopoo sludge flows thither.
Until the world is all used up,
And nothing’s left to glug or sup.”
One at a time, she sucked each impaled, gruesome object off its fingernail skewer and swallowed it whole. She licked the goo from her fingers and smiled. Now her spell was stronger than ever.
The witch left the building as unhindered as she’d entered it and strolled contentedly home.
Back at her castle she axed a hunk of flesh from the dry milk cow she’d murdered earlier and tossed it into the fire. She scooped a mug of stagnant water from the sheep trough – an elixir only to her and the mosquitoes – and drank deeply. It wouldn’t be long now. Only a few decades at most before all the clean water was gone.
When darkness fell the wicked wicked witch screamed, in euphoric frenzy, at the sky.
“My spell is old but still plays true,
It’s near complete I see.
This world’s not mine but in my view
Not long from now it will be.”
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