Burned by the Stake

Illustration courtesy of the rights-free Collection of the British Library

I was passing through the main square of a village, selling pelts so I could feed all the children I have at home, when a man tried to stick his hand up my skirt. Without hesitation I slapped him in the face, and that’s when he screamed, “Witch! Witch!”

Before I knew it, all the villagers had descended on me. A man, carrying a copy of the Malleus Maleficarum, yelled to the villagers, “What should we do with her?”

Someone in the mob shouted, “Tie a huge rock to her leg and throw her in the river, and if she floats, then she’s not a witch.”

Someone else cried, “No! We did that to the last one, and it seems like it’s a bit of a flawed system.”

So someone else hollered, “Let’s chop off her hands,” to which someone else shrieked, “Gross!”

Finally, an agreement was made when another person suggested, “Let’s burn her. We haven’t done that in a while.”

The crowd cheered enthusiastically, and I sighed. They set up a stake in the square and tied me to it, ripping the front of my dress so my nipples were practically hanging out all over the place.

The man carrying the Malleus Maleficarum yelled to the crowd, “I’ve got an idea: let’s wait till night falls. It will look better and we can roast marshmallows after.”

I sighed again as they left me waiting. The villagers went back to whatever they’d been doing, and for the most part I was left alone until a guy walked by and said, “Hey, sweetheart.”

I exhaled sharply and said, “Could you maybe let me go?”

He smiled and asked, “What do I get out of it?”

I sighed once more and said, “I have many children at home to feed.”

He shook his head.

“I’ll give you all my pelts,” I said.

He shook his head again and then pointed at his crotch.

I was getting tired of all the sighing, but let out another one anyway before I said, “Forget it.”

All the villagers came back at dusk with their bags of marshmallows and roasting sticks. I’d had a nap in the meantime, and dreamt that I was floating on a wonderfully fluffy white cloud and getting a foot massage from God while angels sang Ella Fitzgerald songs to me.

The man carrying the Malleus Maleficarum did the honours of lighting the fire beneath my feet. I couldn’t help myself and sighed again. All this waiting was getting on my tits. When the fire reached my toes, the flames suddenly leapt away, spread out like the wings of a colossal angel, and engulfed all the villagers save the children. The aroma of charred flesh and marshmallows filled the square as the roasting villagers screamed and writhed in an excruciating agony that I could only imagine must have sucked big time.

Gobbets of blackened flesh swirled all around me, burning the rope binding me to the pole. I was finally free to go.

As I rounded up the children to take home to meet their new family, I said to myself, “If I had a nickel for every time that happened, I’d be rich.”

Then I sighed one last time.

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