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15. The Truth About The Witch Of Ballyyahoo

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Hi I’m Lucy. Welcome to Ballyyahoo. This is where I write about my adventures as I search for the Witch of Ballyyahoo. If you’ve been here before you will already know that I suspect that a woman called Biddy is really a witch and that I have been following her to find the truth.

But, if this is your very first time visiting here you won’t know anything about this story so the best thing for you to do would be to start reading right from the very beginning.  Go ahead and do that right now by clicking right here.

The story so far…

rocky-meadow

Last week I followed Biddy into a very wild and rocky meadow and then I watched as she climbed up some very strange steps, steps that seemed to lead to absolutely nowhere.

When she got to the top of the steps I was about to take a picture of her when she turned right around, looked me in the eye and said in a very loud voice:

‘What in the name of the Banshee from Ballyyahoo Bog are you following me for, young one?’

I don’t mind admitting that I was scared. Not just because I had been caught following Biddy but also because she mentioned the Banshee of Ballyyahoo bog.

Nobody from Ballyyahoo. In fact, nobody, in their right mind would ever say the words ‘Banshee of Ballyyahoo bog’ out loud. Nobody!

The Bog of Ballyyahoo is a very dark place even in the day time. And when the mist comes rolling down the hills it’s a very scary place – with a very scary story to match. You see it is supposed to have a secret, a secret that’s been buried in the darkness of the Ballyyahoo bog for a very long time.

Rumour has it that the secret is about the Banshee. She’s not just an ordinary Banshee, they are scary enough, but the Banshee of Ballyyahoo bog is very different from the ordinary Banshee.

The Banshee of Ballyyahoo bog is the most beautiful, the most powerful and above all, the most scary of all the Banshees in Ireland.

Oh and by the way there’s an awful lot of Banshees in Ireland because we have an awful lot of bogs, and we have an awful lot of bogs because we have an awful lot of rain. Some say when it rains in Ballyyahoo it’s the Banshee crying…

The Banshee of Ballyyahoo bog is sad. Something happened long ago to make her that way. She is also very shy. She is so shy that she doesn’t like anyone talking about her, or even mentioning her name.

If she hears anyone mentioning her in any way at all, even just to say that she’s a lovely Banshee, she will cast her eyes upwards until the lovely clear white around the blue of her eyes turns blood red.

red-night-sky

Then she will stare at the sky until it turns the colour of the darkest bog oak and then, if she’s really annoyed she will turn the clouds so red it’s as if the sky is on fire.

After that, she will rise from the bog on a whirling cloud of mist and with her hands dripping with blood, she will set off to find whoever it was that was talking about her.

If a Banshee comes for you it will be your blood that’s going to be dripping off her hands and that also means that you are going to die, sooner or later, maybe sooner, maybe later but you will definitely die and you will probably be screaming.

So you can see why nobody mentions the Banshee, even my mother never mentions the Banshee of Ballyyahoo bog, except in the slightest of whispers.

Yet here was Biddy, not only mentioning the Banshee of Ballyyahoo bog but she was mentioning it in a loud voice. A very loud voice.

So, now that you know all this you will understand why I was so scared I nearly turned and ran. But I couldn’t run. You see there was one thing stopping me – I couldn’t move, not an inch and not even a half an inch.

My feet were stuck to the top of the steps. It was like some invisible glue had stuck them firmly to the ground. I tried desperately to lift my feet one at a time, but it was no good. As soon as I managed to unstick one foot the other one got even more stuck.

I tried jumping up in the air to set myself free but that made it even worse. I got more desperate by the second but all Biddy did was watch me and it seemed to me that there was even a little hint of a smile as she watched.

Soon I was exhausted, I had goose-pimples everywhere and my arms and legs were shaking. I had no choice but to stop trying to free myself.

Biddy smiled and then she spoke, in a quiet voice this time.

‘Stop it Lucy – you can’t get away. You followed me here for some reason, so now, here’s your opportunity to tell me what you want.’

‘Please, Biddy, I’m sorry I followed you, just let me go, please,’ I said.

She laughed. ‘Of course I’ll let you go, what on earth do you think I would want with you? Just tell me why you’ve been following me and don’t tell me any porkies. I know you’ve been following me for some time, so just tell me why and I’ll let you go.’

I felt stupid. How could I tell her to her face that I thought she might be a witch. Even an ordinary woman would go mad if someone said they were like a witch, but there’s no telling what an actual witch might do.

‘I’m carrying out an investigation,’ I said.

‘What investigation?’ She asked.

I wasn’t going to tell her, but her eyes looked straight into mine. It felt like she could see right through me, past the fields behind me, through the Witchy Woods, around the rivers, across the sea and straight through the mountains of county Clare…and back again.

‘I was trying to find out if there were any witches in Ballyyahoo.’

‘What put that idea into your head?’ She asked.

‘I overheard a mad one saying it,’ I answered.

‘A mad one? Sure Ballyyahoo’s full of mad ones! Which mad one? Oh never mind. I can guess which mad one told you I was a witch.’

Then she laughed. Not a mad witch’s cackle but a crinkly little laugh, quite a nice laugh really.

Still, I kept my mouth shut. I know enough about mad ones not to tell tales on them.

The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in the middle of a raging feud between Maggie-many-cats and Biddy, whether she was a witch or not.

‘Don’t worry, Lucy, you needn’t say any more. Just tell me this much. Are you afraid of witches?’

‘I am.’

‘Why?’

‘In case they put me under a spell and turn me into a frog.’

‘A frog?  Why on earth would I want to turn you into a frog?  Have you ever done anything wrong?’

I had to think about that. I must admit I don’t always do my homework when I should. Sometimes I tell my mother I’ve done it so I can carry on doing whatever I want. Sometimes I turn my bedroom light off and then get my torch out to read when I’m supposed to be asleep.

I’ve also played a few tricks on Gerry Mac but then we all do that. You see he is the laziest and eejitiest boy in Ballyyahoo. All he wants to do is swing back and forth on his gate.

He likes calling people names as well. One day he was calling me ‘Lucy the looper,’ when I went past him. It was about the fiftieth time he’d called me that and I’d had enough.

So that night I borrowed a screwdriver from my mum’s tool box and waited for Gerry’s mum to call him in for his dinner.

As soon as she called him he ran like a hare. I would have ran in too. They were having sausage and mash. I could smell it from where I was hiding behind the bush.

As soon as he went in I unscrewed the gate. I knew what to do because I’d watched my mother fixing our gate and so I just did the opposite.

It was so funny when he climbed on his gate the next day because he fell flat on the ground with the gate on his back and now matter how much he wriggled he couldn’t get up. I helped him up eventually, but only after he apologised – several times.

I suppose I’d done loads of wrong things like that. But, none of the wrong things I’d done were all that terrible, not really, but I was no saint either.

I had got quite lost in my thoughts about all the things I had done wrong that I almost forgot about Biddy but she hadn’t gone away. She was right in front of me and waiting for me to answer her question.

‘So Lucy, have you ever done anything wrong?’

I nodded and was about to tell her all about my wrongdoings when she put her hand up and stopped me.

‘That’s good,’ she said. ‘Very, very good.’

Well, I wasn’t expecting that. Normally when you tell adults you’ve done something wrong they tell you not to do it again, but all Biddy did was grin.

‘Nothing too terrible about that and the good thing is you were going to tell me the truth. I can see no need to turn you into a frog, can you?’

’No,’ I gulped.

‘Right then, so why don’t you stop all this rubbish about witches and frogs and let me tell you what we witches really do.’

We!  So she was admitting she was a witch?

‘Yes, Lucy, I am.’

Wait a minute I didn’t say that out loud I thought it. She must have read my thoughts.

‘I did. I not only read your thoughts I made sure you couldn’t get away by gluing your feet to the ground on my magic steps.’

‘Why?’

‘Now, Lucy that’s the important thing. I know you’ve been following me around and I know all about your mission to find out the truth about the Witch of Ballyyahoo and do you know what? I’ve been impressed. Yes, really impressed.

You see people listen to gossip and spread more of it around but you didn’t. You’re different. You decided to investigate and you did it in a very professional way. You’re no eejit, Lucy. In fact you’re not a bit eejity at all.’

Wow! I couldn’t believe my ears. Biddy was praising me. I wish my mother would say things like that. She thinks I am an eejit.

Biddy must have read my mind again because she said:

‘She doesn’t, Biddy. Your mother thinks the world of you, but she is a clever woman and she is clever enough to let you think for yourself.

Your mother might say you’re an eejit now and again but believe me, all mothers called their kids eejits now and again, especially in Ballyyahoo. But, your mother knows you’re not an eejit and so do I.

Now listen carefully, Lucy, because I’m going to tell you something very important. Something that is going to change your life.

Come with me now and I’ll not only show you where the magic steps really lead, but I will reveal to you one of the biggest secrets of the Witch of Ballyyahoo.

fiery-sky

Come back soon and I’ll tell you what happened when I went up the magic steps with the Witch of Ballyyahoo.

Love Lucy

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