Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Story of Hegatty Pegatty

Hegatty Pegatty lives alone. Her house crouches low against the barren hill like a withered mushroom and the smoke from her fire twists and curls in solitude up through the vast and lonely sky, Hegatty Pegatty looks out from her small window and sees the empty valley. Hegatty Pegatty passes at dark along her track and hers are the only footfalls that echo the night.

Hegatty Pegatty is happy to live alone. The stillness dreamily caresses her thoughts. The silence stoutly feeds her soul. Hegatty Pegatty's world is infinite and minute. Hegatty Pegatty travels far and deep and high, and she moves not a step from her hearthside. Hegatty Pegatty walks a rich and ragged road.


Hegatty Pegatty is that kind of old woman about whom stories abound. She can scarcely spit over her gate or fart into the wind but the flames of eager rumour are being fanned into the furnace of bizarre and grisly folk tale. Village gossip, fiction and fable tenaciously cling like ivy across the surface of her life. Such are the children of nervous minds. There are none so afraid as those who fear that a difference should walk among them..and Hegatty Pegatty is an old woman who likes to live alone.

The nervous minds say: you are uncomforming and therefore very untidy in the scheme of things. The nervous minds say: you are not understood and therefore most uncomfortable to behold.

Hegatty Pegatty hears the stories and spits across her gate. Hegatty Pegatty listens to the tales and farts into the wind


Hegatty Pegatty is a witch. Of course she is. Does she not harvest strange greens from her tiny garden and ferment unlikely purple brews on her autumn sill? (Hegatty Pegatty is a firm believer in fresh salad and tonic wine as the route to certain health.) Does she not chant in unearthly tongues and sing to the waxing moon? (Hegatty Pegatty has a fine ear for melody.) Does she not jump naked into the winter stream? Does she not consume fat black slugs for supper and play poker with the devil? (Of such fancies have many old women been accused.) Does she not cast and curse and bind and break and hex and howl? She does indeed, and is a little inclined to harness a naturally robust and expressive spirit. It is said she wears live crows around her hat, she has been seen to ride a fox across the hills. Ah yes.

In the village, the children know her for the witch she must most surely be. They crowd her like bogflies, irritate her passage through the lanes. Hegatty Pegatty plays this game. She has played it before and she knows how it goes. She is, in fact, very good at it. So she madly snarls and blackly scowls across the village green, trailed by the teasing children. Hegatty Pegatty is a witch, isn't she?...


Hegatty Pegatty answers to no-one. As she chooses she takes a cup of tea, grows hairs on her chin and sleeps through the afternoon. As she chooses she talks to herself, observes the unseen and does the unexpected. As she chooses she lives the impossible dream, reinvents reality and tangos with time. Hegatty Pegatty cannot be tamed or tied or trapped. Her spirit is swift footed and canny and her walls are built of impenetrable courage. Roof of resolve, door of determination. No- one can touch she who is a castle unto herself.

And yet it is true that a hundred, thousand, million times her body was cracked and grilled, cracked and grilled, assaulted by the assembled forces of outrageous fear and vicious stupidity. Yes, there were many nights when Hegatty Pegatty sat chilled and grey in her chair, rocking to the cold rhythms of distant sufferings. But a pot keeps warm on a single ember and Hegatty Pegatty's stove is hotly singing once again. It is said that to declare your belief in witches you have only to put the kettle on.


Hegatty Pegatty walks to the village. The bog flies gather. They are chanting the tight lipped words of their nervous parents: mad Hegatty, bad Pegatty, eater of children and spoiler of milk, hairy Hegatty, stinky Pegatty, where are you going, alone..

Hegatty Peggaty walks inside a coat. It is made up of other people's eyes and what they see. Inside the coat she is walking strong and straight and clear, light of heart and bright of mind. Outside the coat Hegatty Pegatty does her bit: mutter, spit, mutter, mumble, ugly grimace, twisted scowl, creep and stumble, shake a fist, suck a slug, leer and grumble, mutter spit, mutter, mumble..The children are delighted


Hagatty Pegatty stops on the outskirts of the village. She turns to face the bog fly children who push and fidget, bump and huddle a little way behind. The children watch. Slowly carefully Hegatty Pegatty peeps around the edges of her coat. The children stare. She grins, she winks, she pauses, she lets them see her long enough to wonder if she's really bad and mad or just a bit surprising...then she is off, wrapped again in her coat of other people eyes.

Hegatty Pegatty lives on the moor, chant the children softly as she disappears along her track, Hegatty Pegatty OPEN YOUR DOOR!

Source Unknown

**Found this delightful story in my files.  This was shared in an online group I used to belong to called A Solitary Witch back in September of 2006.  I thought some of you might enjoy reading about Hegatty...I know I did.  Blessings...


  1. Lovely story! thanks for sharing!!

  2. I love this story! How wonderful is she!!
    Thanks so much for posting again..I love your blog! and you! Hugs!

  3. ~i am so happy to see you here again...each year i read this little story to my littles...wonderful are you to share with us...much l♥ve and light upon you always~

  4. I bet she really enjoys all the attention...and is a lovely person when not playing the 'game' ... cool story...


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