A Rattle and a Wee Book on Her Grave

“Her own people stoned me half to death for trying to help her.”

“It’s not wise to mettle in villagers’ affairs, Pali. They must’ve had their reasons. It was none of your concern. You should’ve stayed out of—”

“Don’t shame my ears with your ignorance,” I said, stopping a few steps from the graveyard’s gate and squeezing my cousin’s arm. “She took a risk letting a Romani youth into her schoolhouse, teaching him how to read in secret. We pay our debts, Manfred.”

He lowered his eyes. “Forgive me. Without the learning you got from her, I wouldn’t be here.”

“Don’t be daft.” I let go of Manfred’s arm. “I wasn’t asking you for payment. Like I would let Lord Căcat Cu Ochi whip you for dancing on Sunday. Besides, his lady wife thought it was great fun before—”

“Shhh!” Manfred stopped, crouched and pulled me down with him.


“Listen,” he said, cocking his head towards the graveyard. “Someone’s in there.”

I heard it, too; a low wail mixed with shaky sobs. My hand reached for the red pouch that hung from a cord around my neck. “A lot of villagers have gone angry into their graves. There could be hordes of spirits gone mad with fury haunting this place.”

“No,” Manfred said.

“I saw them do it,” I said. “The women beat her and ripped her clothes. Then the men dragged her to the center of the village and stoned her until she stopped moving.” I shook my head. “Kids spat on her.”

“No, Pali, look. There’s a man.” He pointed towards the side of the graveyard where the village buried those they thought wicked. “He’s hugging a post. Can’t you see him?”

Still crouching, we moved closer to the sound. “It’s… the reverend,” I said. I went to him when they dragged the teacher out of the schoolhouse. He wanted to help. But there were too many of them. A good man, the reverend… His servants always brought food to the schoolhouse, and he made the teacher smile every time he brought her one of his illuminated little books.

Manfred and I hid in the bushes until after the reverend’s sobs of “Forgive” and “Man is weak” quieted, and he walked out of the graveyard. I was relieved to know the teacher’s grave was not ever lonely. A year had gone by since the reverend, his servants and I stood on the fresh soil that now covered her bones. Thirteen moons was too long to spend unwanted under a pile of dirt.

The school teacher rested under a naked tomb. “Bring her comfort and peace,” I whispered into a bunch of red wild flowers, and bent over her grave. As I put down my offering, I noticed two very small trinkets that had been laid on the dirt by a puddle of hardened candlewax.

I must’ve watched the two little shapes for a lot longer than I thought, because Manfred came to crouch next to me, and asked, “What’s that?”

“Strange,” I said. “It’s a baby rattle and a wee book.”


pre-Witches in Fiction 2015, third giveaway:
Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures

Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures (1)
The third giveaway for our pre-Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances is sponsored by Gothic Miniatures. The cover of this wee piece of massive beauty is handmade from faux leather with raised spine.
Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures (2)

There are over 30 pages in the book, made of linen paper painted gold along the edges for a faux gold leaf finish. The gold thread, at the top and bottom of the spine where the paper connects to the book, gives the mini book an extra touch of bling.
Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures (3)

The image of the form weeping over a post, which inspired the tale attached to the giveaway, is of a U.S. Graveyard with statues. The book measures approximately 1 1/8” tall x 1 5/8” wide.

Here is how to enter this giveaway: Leave a comment telling me what classic book you would love to own in miniature, and where would you keep it. For one extra entry, visit Gothic Miniatures and come back to tell me a bit about piece you liked. Wishing for a second extra entry? Share this post on Facebook (tag me and Gothic Miniatures). You can get a third extra entry, if you add these words at the end of your comment: “Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron!”

Giveaway Rules, details and stuff…
* I need to be able to contact the winners. If you don’t have a website or social media profile, through which we can interact, then please add your email to your comment. If your name comes up, and I have no way to contact you, I will choose another name.

* You can group all your entries in a single comment—or not… the choice is yours.

* To my Canadians, before you can claim your prize, I must test your mathematical brilliance by asking you a very obscure question, such as… what’s 13 + .5? Yeah, obscure…

* All Witches in Fiction 2015 giveaways will end on October 20th, 2015, at 10:13 pm, EDT. The winners will be chosen using Random.Org, and announced on October 21st, 2015.

* This giveaway is open to the US only, excluding any place where prohibited by law.

This is a pre-party post. Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances won’t take place until October 17th; to join the celebration, click the link.

Other Witches in Fiction 2015 pre-posts:
– “Loving You through the Veil
Culture with Real Fictionalized Witches in It
Shaking It and Twisting It until It Says Yes
Not All Witchy Souls Are Religious

25 thoughts on “A Rattle and a Wee Book on Her Grave

  1. First, shared and tagged! I love the spell scrolls and the miniature crystal balls on Gothic Miniatures Etsy page. Classic book in miniature? Morte de Arthur, me thinks. I would keep it on my nightstand.
    I loved this story. The danger that comes from being other is still so real. And, of course, I saw where jealousy could have played a role in the mob behavior. A preacher would be a good catch. And, as in all, cases like this, a woman pays the price.
    Thanks for this slice of life.
    “Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron!”

  2. This story was hella good! Thanks for the bit o’ fiction to go with the prize. As far as which book I’d like miniaturized, she’s already done so for me in a custom order for a replica of something from one of my favorite anime series (she does wonderful work!). Though I have to say, after checking her page out again, one of her scrolls would be fun too! The post has been shared and for the finishing touch – Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron!

    • Show off! I’m just jealous. I told myself that I would not give myself a couple of custom ordered mini books until after all my tests are done–it will be my reward for not strangling anyone. I might have to cheat–and get the books earlier… Because she does do great work!

  3. Poor woman! Sweet wee tale, though. The book I would like miniaturized would be Tsun Tsu’s The Art of War. It would fit in well with my spell books. Oh, & Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron!

  4. This exchange was compelling and brutal, and the story had the exact right pacing. Well done!

    From Gothic Miniatures I love their “Glorious Gold Gothic Table”.

    Sweet Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron! 🙂

  5. This is a tale full of its own script of questions and answers, left to the readers mind to magnify into a readable state–like all good tales–you create a whole community, a framework of living here, with your characters and events. Loved the way you took the picture and –not ran–*flew* with it.

  6. Ohh, I can imagine her protecting her belly as she was stoned and saying nought because the mob knowing that sin should have been more vilified of their actions adding another ‘sin’ to her tally… Heartbreaking, that little rattle and wee book left in the dirt… I wonder what book it was(?) as it was left for the reverend’s loved corpse, along with the rattle never to be shaken… Too sad 🙁
    OK I think I should choose Oscar Wilde, ‘The Happy Prince’ in miniature with illustrations, and keep it on my dusty bedside table, and touch it before I sleep and remember the little sparrow, sacrifices, and how empathy and kindness changes peoples worlds, and how often people (the masses) judge superficially and celebrate glitz over substance.
    “Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron!” This is a beautiful treasure from “Gothic Miniatures” and would say after a little shop browsing, all is desirable, but I can’t go past the “Vitruvian Man” miniature open book, I’m a sucker for that dude!

    • The plotting of this story (done in my head while I was cleaning the house) was very vivid. I was imagining what the woman faced, and the desperation on Pali and made myself cry. Some stories just do that…

  7. Oh, I’m simple when it comes to classic books. I’d choose Wizard of Oz. I love Toto. I’ll pretend my vanity is clutter free, because that’s where I’d keep it.

    As for the miniature, I’d choose the Tree of Life. It’s lovely.

    “Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron!”

    I keep forgetting to leave you a contact address (though I follow your FB page and I’m now subscribed in other ways, too). My email is: michelle_willms at yahoo dot com.

  8. I would adore a miniature copy of my most favourite book “Wuthering Heights”.
    And that book would sit in the lap of my gorgeous Catherine Earnshaw doll made by the brilliant Rhissanna!!! ❤️❤️❤️

  9. And I had a visit to Gothic Miniatures!!! LOVED them ALL!!
    But the Illuminated Bible with all the beautiful details and little cross is amazing! ❤️
    And the Victorian Ladies Book!!! You know that’s my era ….. 😉

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