The Witch Sisters of New Orleans
We will get to the fairy tale rewrite but just a quick reminder that my Mardi Gras Mystical Tarot Deck campaign on Indiegogo is drawing to a close. If you can throw something my way, I would really appreciate your support.
Since I started the path of this fairy tale experiment, I've found myself unearthing less known and rather unusual old fairy tales. I read "The Jezinkas" and, while my re-envisioning bears very little resemblance to the original, it did give me the seed of an idea to create my own.
See No Evil
Once upon a time in the far-off land of the French Quarter in the kingdom of New Orleans, a young girl, Jade, and her mother had to move into the city and away from their small country farm when her mother had to sell the farm to pay off their debts.
Jade did not like New Orleans. She didn't like living with her aunt and helping her aunt tidy her little milliner shop. They all lived above the shop on the second and third floors of the building.
Jade longed to be out in the fields skipping with her friends. She wanted to be hunting for crawfish or fishing for bass.
Jade especially did not like her two cousins: Tristan and Maximillian. The two made fun of her well-worn clothes and her accent, calling her a country bumpkin.
The only thing that Jade did like was spending time with her great-grandmother, Antoinette. Even though her great-grandmother had lost her sight, her eyes gone milky, Great-Grandmother Antoinette still created the most beautiful embroidery, needling up delicate glass beads and silk thread in the most intricate patterns with the tiniest of stitches.
Late one afternoon, Jade sat on the second-floor porch, enjoying the cooling breeze from the river. She watched the busy street below, noting when the three sisters directly across the street headed out into the gathering twilight. Two of the sisters looked to be in their early twenties, but the youngest sister seemed to be about Jade's age. She'd smiled and waved at Jade once when Jade had been tidying up the shop window for her aunt's shop.
The three sisters were always very elegant and fashionably dressed. Jade stared down sadly at her own faded dress. Would someone as pretty and stylish as the youngest sister even want to be friends with a poorly dressed girl from the country?
Tristan stepped out onto the porch and followed Jade's gaze. "Better stay away from the Dupond sisters."
"They're very pretty, and nicer than you," Jade responded.
"They're witches," Tristan told her gravely. Jade frowned at him in disbelief.
Maximilian emerged onto the porch. "What do you think happened to Great-Granmother's eyes? They were jealous that Great-Grandmother's embroidery was better than theirs so they stole her eyes."
Jade rolled her own eyes, but part of her wondered if it might be true. New Orleans was said to be full of powerful and dangerous witches.
The next morning, Jade crept down the back stairs and made her way to the street below. She gazed across the street, wondering if Tristan and Maximilian's story was true.
Suddenly, she felt a tap on her shoulder. She spun around to meet the eyes of the youngest sister who smiled widely at her.
"Do you want to go jump rope?" asked the girl.
Jade stared at her mutely for a moment, finally answering. "We don't have any jump ropes."
The girl grabbed Jade by the sleeve and pulled her across the street and into the narrow alley that led into her family's inner courtyard. She introduced herself as Lizette Dupond, mentioning how happy she was that another girl had finally moved into the neighborhood.
Jade gazed in wonder at the Dupond's courtyard while Lizette dashed inside to find a couple of jump ropes. The Dupond's furniture was elegant and well made, but what seized Jade's attention were the long strands of what looked like eyes hanging in the corner of the courtyard. Jade stared at them in horror. Tristan and Maximilian had been telling her the truth!
Lizette emerged from the house and grabbed Jade by the sleeve once more, steering her down the street toward the small park a few blocks away.
Despite her continued uncertainty, Jade enjoyed her morning with Lizette. When they were tired of jumping rope, the two played hopscotch and skipped merrily around the edges of the park. By the time the sun rose toward late morning, Jade knew that she liked Lizette and didn't even care if she were a witch.
Lizette sighed. "We better get back. My sisters will be furious if I'm late for lunch."
Jade took a deep breath and seized her courage. "Lizette, could my great-grandmother please have her eyes back?"
Lizette stared at her in confusion.
"I saw the eyes hanging in the courtyard," Jade explained. "Tristan and Maximilian said that you and your sisters were witches."
"I hate those boys," Lizette said angrily, adding, "My sisters do healing and work simple spells. We may be witches but we certainly don't steal eyes. The eyes in the courtyard are made out of glass. They're protective talismans and redirect any dark energy that gets directed at us."
Jade felt awful. She wished she'd never listened to anything her cousins had said. Now the only friend she'd made would hate her.
"New Orleans is full of witches," Lizette explained, "But most of us aren't scary. My sisters even send over the cream that helps with your great-grandmother's arthritis so that she can continue creating the embroidery that she loves so much."
Jade apologized, acknowledging that she'd acted out of fear and ignorance. Lizette graciously accepted her apology and the two linked arms as they headed back toward their homes.
Lizette giggled a little. "Maybe we could pull a prank on your cousins."
Jade smiled, feeling like she'd made a friend and that maybe living in New Orleans wasn't going to be so bad after all.