The old hag stumbled around in her worn down cottage. Her determination to finish the magic was of pure passion. The cauldron bubbled and glooped as she went looking around desperately for some ingredients.
Her hair was withered and white, her eyes rolling around crazily. She looked under old pots and pans, searching through ash and soot. She found it! She cackled hard and loud.
It was a jar of clear liquid. She was about to put it in the cauldron.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” Said a small voice behind her. She grinned evil and narrowed her eyes to the side.
“Conarght!” She turned “Always a pleasure!” She bowed respectfully.
A little man no taller that a foot stood near the doorway. His Brown beard making him look wizened and a red hat that struck out against the night.
“And the same to you Margharta!” He looked at the jar “and..ah…what would ye be needing that for?” He nodded at the item.
“Oh this! Well I’m using it for my health, dear friend!” She screeched and guffawed.
“You truly are insane” he muttered under his breath, she didn’t notice.
“You know that’s not meant for the likes of you! It’s the sap of the Hawthorne tree!” He sighed “when will you mortals realise?”
The witch slyly looked around, she slowly danced inbetween the ruined braces of the cottage.
“But we both know I’m no mortal, don’t we? My wee saviour! I’ve been this way for a hundred years” She hissed “it’ll be fine! No worse than what I am!” She snarled and stormed back to the cauldron.
“Please don’t, you don’t know what will happen!” Conarght pleaded.
The witch unpopped the lid, looked at Conarght while the liquid fell out, about to go in. It didn’t go in, what happened was it turned direction in the air. Safely away.
The witch cursed at him, the leprechaun remained steadfast.
“Don’t be meddling in things your not supposed to!” He warned poking his finger at her “that Hawthorne tree is not to be touched!”
With that he left and the witch was alone. She hated him, always meddling in her affairs. She grabbed the bottle again but found it replaced with a beer bottle.
She screamed blue murder for the whole night, even conarght heard it two miles down the road as he entered the portal to his home in that Hawthorne tree.
Somehow he knew she would try again.
He would stop her.
Conarght spied on the witch for a good two weeks, he didn’t trust her and always knew she was up to no good. He remembered how they first met.
He had honest intentions.
It was 1710 and he was walking by a cottage in Islandmagee, he heard a racket from inside. A woman screaming insanely, he walked closer to the house to see the trouble.
He relished in mischief and could not resist the urge to look. He hopped up to the ledge as quick as a flash. As he peered in he saw a woman sitting down at a table, she screamed “leave me alone!” And all manner of curses.
As she screamed things were flying around the room by themselves, plates smashed into walls, cups dancing around and chairs scraping the floor.
Conarght looked amazed, he started to grin. Someone or something was doing this, he went on the hunt. He tipped his little red hat to the woman and hopped off the ledge.
He sensed magic.
Like a beacon he was drawn to it, away from the cottage and through some hedges into the forest. He walked another 40 yards or so and went through some shrubs. There!
He saw her. A silhouette of a woman who looked as of she were conducting a band. Her hips swayed with the magic her hands waving to and fro, flicking and jerking.
She was a young thing, no more than 25 years old. She cackled under the waning moon. Conarght was about to go interrupt her, when some men jumped out and grabbed her.
“Margharta! You are to be on trial as a witch!” One of the four burly men grabbed her arms, another her legs. She screamed and kicked out but she was overpowered.
Conarght giggled at the scene. He loved all this drama, he stepped out unseen. The men had ropes and tied her person about a tree. They were interrogating her.
Conarght was standing right beside them unseen. Except her, she saw him, he cursed himself.
She started to grin.
The men looked on at her, she was a beautiful young woman with jet black hair with several white stripes in her hair. A sign she had dealt with death to be sure.
“What say you witch? Have ye been tormenting yon widow in that cottage over yonder?” Asked the leader.
The witch cackled.
“Yes! She deserves it you Fools!” She screeched, the men held their ears “she murdered her husband, my lover! she needs to leave this mortal coil .. as do you!” She looked at Conarght.
“I wish you four would die a slow painful death!”
Conarght groaned, he flicked his hand. Immediately the four of them put there hands to their chest. They were slowly suffocating, lungs filling with water, panting and screaming the men slowly died. It went on for hours, the pain killing them. One of the last screamed with his last breath to let him die.
The witch cackled all the way through the mass murder. She screamed happily. “Show yourself leprechaun!”
Conarght made himself visable, he grimaced at the thought of her. She smiled.
“Where did you get your powers?” He inquired, she was a powerful mortal. He didn’t understand, and there wasn’t alot he missed.
“My mother’s side have been strong with magic but I’m not revealing anything to the likes of you!” She continued “I made a pact with the devil!”
Conarght laughed out loud, the devil! Of course, always the devil.
She was not amused by this.
“I wish for these ropes to be released from me”
He flicked his hand and the ropes fell loose to the ground. She stepped over the ropes and bent down to each man, she drew little stars on each man’s forehead, the third eye.
Conarght had witnessed this in tribes a long time ago, it was normally for protection from spirits. Dependant on the way it was drawn, it could have been a curse on their families.
This woman was evil.
“Why have you spent two wishes so quickly?” Conarght had his hat off scratching his thin Brown hair, he was trying to change the subject.
“I don’t need you!” She snapped and stormed towards him “I don’t need anybody!”
Conarght was a great judge of character. Arrogance. That was her trait.
“I wish to live forever now be gone with you!”
Cornarght sighed, he flicked his hand and went away through the bushes. He went to the woman’s house, he jumped on that same window ledge. He peered in once again.
The woman that had been petrified earlier looked relieved and happy enough. Everything had stopped moving and she was enjoying some food. Conarght felt sorry for the young woman, her tears were on a pool on the table.
He was going to meddle.
He put both his hands together and started to rub. The magic stirring in his hands, he put his hands to the window and an invisible beam went straight into the woman’s body.
The woman felt a rush of joy, she began to cry tears of happiness. When the beam had finished she rejoiced to god. Her hands up to the sky.
Conarght jumped off the ledge. As he turned he saw a shadowy figure approaching the house, the witch. She started to run towards the house.
The leprechaun hit her with a disabling magic, she fell to the ground.
“You’re not to go near her, ye hear me?” Conarght boomed. “If ye do, I will murder you a thousands times and more, I’ll keep bringing you back too!”
The witch spat.
“She killed my lover, you imp!” She started to sob.
Conarght pointed to the house “that place is protected, she is protected! You cannot touch her, if you do the magic will return to you tenfold whilst she remains unharmed. And.” He added for impact “that includes all her kin from now to eternity.”
The witch cursed and ran off.
That was the first time Conarght encountered the Wild Eyed Witch. For 80 years or so their paths crossed. She was very tricky to deal with.
And here he was two weeks after his last encounter, watching her trying to get more Hawthorne sap. She dug into the tree roots and recoiled in horror when she was thrown across the forest floor.
He protected his home.
She was a nuisance.
The witch sat in crumpled mess from where she’d been thrown. Muttering curses at the air. She wasn’t hurt, just in shock. She started to rub debris off herself and slowly stood up.
“Show yourself devil” she said without conviction.
Conarght appeared right by her foot, his height reached her knee joint. How old and withered she had looked, how fierce her eyes still glared.
“You did this to me, wretched thing. All I ask is for some Hawthorne sap to get me some youth. You deny me!” She glared at him and pushed on “why???”
“If I recall rightly you’re the one who wished to live forever” his little finger pointing, accusing “ye should never take wishes for granted!”
She went to kick conarght but he dodged so quickly, she had no hope. Conarght giggled at the kicked leaves falling around her.
She looked pitiful, the once beautiful witch was now a hag. Destined to grow older and older till she was nothing but bone. Conarght had a bit of sadness for her, not much and not even sadness. He couldn’t place it, his eyes brightened. He knew what it was, it was pity.
The witch started to sob. Conarght shown himself, the witch stopped sobbing. She wiped her tears.
Conarght went to a large stone and sat there, his feet dangling over the edge moving to and fro.
“Why do we cross paths so much? There must be a reason!” He asked out loud, perhaps not even to the witch.
“Well, you are meddler. I am but a magic user, I made a simple mistake with a wish” her eyes still wet “is there anything to reverse the wish?”
Conarght shook his head, he stood up and pointed in her face “I told ye, ye must be careful what ye wish for! I can’t magic an unwish, there’s nothing I can do for you!” He started to pace up and down with his hands behind his back.
He wanted to help, at least if he did he would have little trouble with the witch as she wouldn’t be long for living. He took his hat off and peered inside the big hole. He started to whisper into it and the witch swore she could hear a whispering back.
The leprechaun looked up from the hat, he shook his head.
“There is a way of reversing the wish” he shook his head knowing full well her answer already “but you have to give up your magic.”
The witch was angry. She physically shook with rage.
The leprechaun knew full well this would not end well. As he put his hat back on his head a lightning bolt hurtled fast at the leprechaun. A powerful bolt from the witches hand.
The leprechaun put his hand up and repelled the bolt like it was a rubber ball. The lightning bolt smashed into the witch and she fell back, stunned.
Conarght tutted, she should have known better. He went to check the witch and she was breathing fine, he clicked his fingers and her body rose up in the air. It was levitating and following the leprechaun.
He took the floating body to the Hawthorne tree, he waved his hand and a black mist appeared. It was a portal to his home, he disappeared into it with the floating body.
Inside this portal was pure brilliant white, a room of immaculate cleanliness. There was nothing in the room but Conarght and the floating body. He waved his hand and the body dropped.
The witch woke up. She was amazed.
“Ah-where is this? Am I alive?” She was checking herself.
Conarght looked at her “you are deep in the heart of my magic, from here you can do anything. Be anything. The only thing you can’t do is hurt, this is your home now. This room” he waved his arm around “is your kingdom, all you need to do is think”
“So I’m your prisoner?” The witch snapped.
“No nothing of the sort” the leprechaun grinned. “You’ll never age, if you want to be young just think. Trust me this the best offer you’ll get from me.” He added with a bit of smarm “or I could take your magic.”
She looked angry again. Always angry this one, if only she knew what he had done. She would be as angry as the old Gods of Ireland!
“I’m helping you, Margharta!” Conarght turned away and flicked his wrist, the black mist forming.
“Farewell, my angry little witch!” He turned and bowed with his hat. He turned back to the mist.
He walked through it and was once again in the forest.
He chuckled. The witch was imprisoned all right, she was in an illusion, a room created out of magic. Nowhere near his home, he wouldn’t have that.
The witch would still be there for millenniums, but the most important thing is he wouldn’t have to deal with her anymore.
And Sometimes, just sometimes when the full moon was out, the little leprechaun could hear faint cries of help.
He smiled every time because he knew they were her cries. And she deserved it. Arrogance will get you no where, especially when dealing with a leprechaun.
The world was better off without that Wild Eyed Witch.