Gertie was a witch. At least, she was supposed to be. As her mother had told her at a very early age, she came from a long line of witches. A fairly crooked line maybe, but a long one all the same. Gertieâ€™s mother was a witch, of course.
â€œSo is my mother,â€ Ma Grimthorpe told her. â€œAnd her mother and grandmother were before her. So it goes, back through the ages. The Grimthorpes have always been witches.â€
So, what was wrong with Gertie?
In truth, Gertie had been named Gertrude. She soon got it into her head however that she really didnâ€™t like the rude bit, so she persuaded everyone to leave it out. This was one of her many whims.
Unfortunately, poor Gertie had been something of a disappointment since birth. As her eager mother and grandmother had hovered over the new baby, the smiles had left their faces as quick as a flash of lightning.
â€œShe looks â€¦ normal â€¦â€ Granny Grimthorpe said in disbelief.
â€œWhereâ€™s the Grimthorpe wart?â€ Ma asked in shock.
They all had one, right there in the middle of their rather long chins. (Or in some cases ONE of their rather large, long, chins). To not have a hair or two growing out of it could possibly be forgiven.
â€œAfter all, look at Great Aunt Mildred. She hadnâ€™t a hair in sight,â€ Granny reminded Gertrudeâ€™s mother. â€œNot on her wart, that is. Actually, she hadnâ€™t much on her head either, come to think of it. But thatâ€™s beside the point. Anyway, as I was saying, she proved to be one of the most powerful witches in the family.â€
â€œBut NO wart?â€ Ma added with a sigh.
This had never been heard of before. Granny rubbed the end of her wrinkled finger over the babyâ€™s smooth chin.
â€œItâ€™s true,â€ she croaked, shaking her head in horror. â€œNo wart. Not even a pimple. A blackhead would have done for a start. It could have got worse. But nothing.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think her nose looks hooked either,â€ Gertieâ€™s mother replied with tears in her eyes.
â€œGive it time,â€ Granny consoled with a grimace. â€œIt might grow crooked. Itâ€™s too early to tell yet.â€
â€œI hope so,â€ replied the now not so proud mum, looking at the pretty little pink bundle in front of her. â€œI certainly hope so.â€
Ma and Granny Grimthorpe loved the baby dearly. After all, it wasnâ€™t her fault she was normal. But still, they lived in hope that one day, soon, Gertie would show signs of being worthy to live in their exclusive village.