The Wicked Witch of the North

Once upon a time in the Land of Stark there lived a benevolent King and Queen. All was provided for, including free food and flowers in the garden. The King even held court once a month to resolve disputes. The Blue Jays raised their families with all the peanuts they could eat, while the Squirrels played on the castle lawn. The Raccoons and the Possums roamed the country side and Hughie the cat slept peacefully under a tree. The Mourning Doves and the Sparrows would wake each morning, drink from the pools of fresh water and then go off to eat the seed left by the Queen. The Kingdom lived in peace.

One morning everybody was startled awake by a horrible noise coming from somewhere deep in the woods. It seems that the Wicked Witch of the North, who lived on the northern border of the Kingdom of Stark, was determined to change all this happiness.

For months now her Ghouls and Goblins were reporting back to her about all this happiness and she was determined to do something about it. She thought, "How wonderful it would be if the Kingdom of Stark was dark, wet and depressing like her kingdom."

The two kingdoms were divided on the north by the river Swale. The Wicked Witch of the North had, long ago, built a pump house at the edge of the Swale. Water was pumped into a large lake creating a moat around her castle with dark bogs and marshes where the Ghouls and Goblins lived.

One day she decided to put a spell on the great pump, creating a terrible noise that would be heard throughout the Kingdom of Stark. Overnight, everything changed. A terrible plague covered the land.

No longer could the mother Blue Jay sit on her eggs in peace. She became so nervous that she almost knocked the eggs out of the nest. The Squirrels kept looking around thinking that the great bird of pray was diving down to get their young. Something had to be done. A delegation was sent to the King to stop the noise.

The King listened to the complaints. Yes, something had to be done. But even he could not work with all the noise coming from the pump. What could he do? He would send an emissary to plead their case to the Wicked Witch of the North to break the spell on the pump. The Witch just laughed at the emissary and sent him back to the King saying she would do nothing.

Only the Great Wizard could help him now. So off went the king to the Great library in the castle where the Wizard lived. The Wizard told the King that he must go to the Imperial Wizard, for only he could help. The Imperial Wizard lived in the far off land of Nike over looking the great Ocean in the west.

The King set off the next day in search of the Imperial Wizard. He hadn’t gone far when he came across a hunting party led by the Lord of the Land of Corbill. The Lord of Corbill asked the King where he was going in such a rush. The King told him of the spell that the Wicked Witch of the North had put on the great pump and that he was off to see the Imperial Wizard to get his help. The Lord said that he could hear the noise all across his lands and that he too would like it stopped. The Lord asked if he could join the quest to find the Imperial Wizard. Of course, said the King.

So off they went to seek out the Imperial Wizard with the Blue Jays flying ahead to mark the trail and the Squirrels and Raccoons following. The only inhabitants not part of the group were the Possums. The King had insisted that they stay home, because if they were to become scared they would roll up in a ball playing possum, and nobody would ever get to see the Imperial Wizard.

The group wound their way through the countryside until they came to the mysterious land of Porbend. This land was controlled by the Wicked Witch of the North. Her spies were everywhere. The Wicked Witch of the North was determined to stop them from ever reaching the Imperial Wizard. Once inside this dark and dreary land, everything was continuously moving. As soon as they would start down a trail, the trail would change directions, leading them back into the dark corners of the country. It soon became evident they were totally lost. The King would have remained forever locked in the land of Porbend if it wasn’t for the Blue Jays who flew high above and could see the way out. Once out of the Wicked Witch’s domain they quickly reached the cave of the Imperial Wizard.

The King asked the Imperial Wizard for his help to break the spell on the great pump. The Imperial Wizard told the King that only the Wicked Witch of the North could break the spell, but he could put his own spell on the Witch that would force her to release the great pump and stop the noise.

The Great Imperial Wizard picked up his magical wand and decreed that every time the pump made a loud noise a piece of the Witch’s castle would fall off. When the Witch heard about the spell, she just laughed and said "Let the castle fall down, I will do nothing" Not wanting to let the King down, the Wizard placed another spell on the Witch. The Wizard said that from this time forward the Ivy on the Queen’s side of the river Swale would grow, every time the pump made a loud noise, covering up the drain to the river and that only the Queen would be able to cut it. Still the Witch would not lift the spell. And so it was that every day the Witch was forced to cut the ivy to prevent the river from overflowing and undermining her whole Kingdom.

The King returned to the Land of Stark, no closer to a solution of the problem. How, he said, will we rid the Kingdom of this horrible noise? He decided to once again talk to the Castle Wizard. After several days of studying the problem the Wizard suggested to the King that he provide earplugs and earmuffs for all his subjects.

To this day, people visiting the Kingdom of Stark witness a strange scene. Blue Jays and Mourning Doves wearing earmuffs, while there at play on the castle lawn are the Raccoons and Squirrels wearing earplugs. High on the hill overlooking the Castle is the river Swale with the Wicked Witch of the North cutting ivy as fast as it grows.

End of Story

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