a Women Writers' Showcase

The Truth about Halloween
(Well Almost)
by Sharon M. Haley

Four graceful birds glided through the sky over the sleepy little town of Turkeyville.  They flew so high it was difficult to tell what kind of birds they were.  Not so long ago, everyone would have assumed they were turkeys.  That’s right, turkeys.  In fact, the town was named after the magnificent turkeys that climbed the sky and flew with the eagles.  But, everything changed when the witches moved into the cottage near the edge of town.

Weena was very pretty with chestnut brown hair that hung down her back in a long braid.  Her beautiful brown eyes had golden flecks in them that caught the moonbeams on a clear night.  Beena was very tall with extended features.  Her nose was long and pointed with a big hairy wart growing from it.  She often bent the end of her nose on doors and windows because she couldn't judge the distance between her nose and other objects.  Greena’s face had a green scaly appearance and her mouth was rather wide with full lips.  That’s right; she looked like a big mouth bass.  Cheena was short and stout with a wide chin that was so long it had to be tucked inside the collar of her gown.  Meena was the oldest therefore she assumed charge over the rest.  Her forehead bulged out in great yellow rolls with deep creases that kept her face in a constant frown.  She always seemed to be searching for something on the ground because her body bent in a forward arch.  The four older sisters were very ugly and Weena noticed every time they did a particularly evil deed, they grew even uglier. Weena had not developed her witch powers yet but her sister’s were powerful witches who also happened to be very “MEAN.”

One might ask, “How mean were they?”  Let me give you some examples of their “meanness.”  Beena has been known to steal the last bone from a hungry puppy.  One spring day as Greena stood in the forest feeling especially bored she saw a kitten running from a bobcat.  She thought it would be funny indeed to curl the claws of the kitten as it ran up a tree trying to escape the bobcat’s ferocious jaws.  The kitten tried to hold on to the trunk but couldn't and slid all the way down – no more kitten!  Last spring, the four sisters stood in front of a newly planted f lower garden preventing the sun’s rays from shining on the flowers.  None of the flowers bloomed so the bees didn't have any nectar to make their honey, and all the humming birds flew away.  One hot summer day the witches drank the water from all the bird baths.  The thirsty birds had to fly a long way to get a drink and to take their summer baths.  It’s been rumored that Cheena stole the squirrel’s winter supply of nuts and berries.  Why, the witch sisters were so mean that whenever they walked by a tree, its branches would actually shudder.  Now that’s MEAN!

Weena was very unhappy so one night as her sisters snored in their beds, she ran away.  She crossed over a fast flowing creek and felt quite safe because everyone knows evil witches can't cross over running water.  She found a cave, which became her new home.

When October arrived and the people of Turkeyville finished harvesting their crops, the witches worked extra hard to cause lots of trouble.  The witches changed the children into ghosts, goblins, and thorny toads and their families were so frightened, that they chased the children into the woods.  The witches stole the treats from many Turkeyville homes so the families wouldn't have anything to eat during the winter except dried meat and porridge.  Then the evil witches sneaked into the pumpkin patch and painted awful faces with big frowns on all the pumpkins.  They were sooo….scary-looking, no one would pick them to make pies and treats for the h olidays.  Finally, as the great turkeys floated gracefully on the air currents high in the sky, the witches grabbed them and plucked out all their feathers.  The turkeys were so embarrassed that they went into hiding so no one had turkey dinner that year.

Weena felt so sorry for the people she decided to undo some of the terrible things done by her sisters.  All year long, she practiced magic spells and experimented with potions until she was more powerful than any of her sisters.  Since they were four, the sisters were able to do their evil deeds in the North, South, East, and West, so Weena worked extra hard to become expert at flying her broom and became faster than the eagles and could maneuver through the clouds in every direction like a humming bird.  By the following October, she was ready.

On October 30th as night spread its cloak over Turkeyville, Weena blew away the clouds that covered the moon and began her work.  The first thing was to go to the pumpkin patch where she began cutting away the ugly faces from the pumpkins and carved bright smiles with large happy eyes on them.  A young boy named Jack happened along pulling an empty wagon and being very strong agreed to help Weena carry the pumpkins to town.  There they placed one on every porch in Turkeyville with a candle in it.  Weena magically lit all the candles at once and the whole town was brightened by the pumpkins which later became known as Jack-O-Lanterns.

Then Weena flew into the woods where she found all the children who had been changed into ghosts, goblins and thorny toads.  She changed them into ballerinas, super heroes and cuddly animals and instructed the children to go door to door until they found their own families again.  But something wonderful and unexpected happened.  The people enjoyed their costumes so much, they gave the children apples, candy, and wonderful treats which they saved for their own families.  Now all the people in Turkeyville would have treats for the long winter nights.

Weena still had one more thing to do.  She went into the woods to speak to the turkeys.  She explained that if they would stop flying so high and stay closer to the ground, the evil witches could not find them.  The turkeys would be able to hide in the trees and bushes and save their feathers from being plucked.  Since the turkeys were a little vain, they decided that keeping their feathers was more important than flying.  Eventually they forgot how to fly and to this day you'll seldom see a turkey soaring through the sky.

The people of Turkeyville were very grateful for Weena’s help.  They wanted to honor her in some way so they gathered in the town square to decide what to do.  The Mayor of Turkeyville suggested that when Weena passed through town, everyone should bow down and say, “Hail Weena!”  No one liked that idea too much.  Someone else suggested that they give Weena her own special day each year so that she would always be remembered for her good deeds.  Everyone agreed that this was a fine idea, but when would it be, and what should it be called?

“That’s easy,” said the Mayor, “We'll have it at the end of harvest on the last day of October.  Since all the people like to greet her by calling out, Hello Weena, we can call it Hello Weena Day.”

All the people cheered and to validate their vote, the mayor wrote it down in the great Special Days Planning Book of Turkeyville and put his official seal on it.  Several years later, the Special Days Planning Book of Turkeyville became old and ragged, and the people agreed it was time to recopy the great book.  Alas, the gentleman who was in charge of copying had lost his glasses so when he came to Hello Weena Day, he accidentally changed it to read, Halloween Day.  It has been called that ever since.

Sharon:  In the past seven years I have written fifteen children’s stories, seventy-five poems and am currently working on a novel.  My interest in writing motivated me to take three college English classes, participate in several creative writing classes, and attend the Duke Writer’s Workshop last spring.  I have been a tutor in the local elementary school for the past four years and have read my work to children at five local elementary schools as well as the local library, the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro, two Reach-Out programs, and at a story-telling program at two different events.  Much of my inspiration comes from my eight grandchildren.

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