Tess Kincaid's Magpie No. 84
Woman In The Rain
The land was burning.
There had been no rain for the whole of an exceptionally hot summer;
grass on the hillsides turned dry and brown, leaving sheep and cattle without feed;
hedges and verges grew dusty and trees lost their lustre.
Desperate and exhausted, the people turned to the Rainwitch for help.
Their plight moved her heart.
(She was one of the good witches, always willing to do her best for those in need)
She saw livestock dying in the meadows,
crops withering in the fields,
rivers running dry,
and fish suffocating in shallow pools which had been shimmering lakes.
She called her familiar, Old Raven, and bid him fly up into the skies.
"See where the rainclouds have gathered,
and bring me news of those ready to discharge",
When Old Raven returned he had a gossamer thread of the finest silk tied to his wing.
" I have found the clouds ,
see, I have brought a flock of them , enough to refresh the land."
duly did her magic.
lakes and rivers were overflowing,
bursting their banks.
The sky was black and heavy
with a flock of clouds,
darkness swallowed light.
day became night.
At first the people rejoiced.
They danced in the rain
as they watched their wells fill up with life-giving water,
and grasses, fields and hedges recover.
"Thank you, thank you", they cried.
"You have saved our lives and our livelihood.
We will be forever in your debt."
But by and by, as the rains continued to fall, new voices were heard.
"Enough already", they said. "Enough of a good thing.
Are you trying to drown us?"
Roads flooded, and the people couldn't drive their livestock to market.
Fields were sodden and crops in danger of rotting.
Bedding grew damp and mouldy and depression set in.
"Will these dark days never end?"
Old Raven brought the news to his mistress.
"They are fed up down there", he croaked.
"You know that humans are never satisfied, whatever you do for them."
Old Raven was a wise old bird, he'd seen it all before.
The Rainwitch was a little annoyed.
"Very well, then," she said,
"I shall return to them and stop the rain".
She climbed up on her rock rising from the lake, spread her arms wide,
and told the rain to end
and the light to return.
"But I'll tell you one thing, Old Raven," she said,
while the rain eased and daylight once more returned to the land,
"this was the last time I've come to their assistance.
From now on they can make do with the seasons."
She was true to her word
and the picture above was the last anyone ever saw of her again.