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41 16 The Witch A man had several daughters. Every time he came home, he noticed that one of them had disappeared. When he asked what had happened the others replied: ‘‘When you left, an old woman came by. She offered to do our hair, and afterwards we noticed that one of us was missing.’’ A few days later the old woman returned to do the girls’ hair. Another one disappeared. Frustrated, the man went to get a grain basket and a knife. He told his daughters to climb into a tree that was in the middle of the courtyard. ‘‘If the old lady asks you to come down, don’t do it!’’ he told them. Once the girls were up in the tree, the man took his knife and hid himself in the grain basket. A few minutes later, the old woman arrived. She asked the girls where their father was. They told her he had gone out. She asked them to come down so that she could do their hair. The girls refused. The man came out of his hiding place, and with one strike of his knife, cut open the belly of the old woman. The missing girls came tumbling out and the old woman vanished into thin air. This is how it was discovered that she was, in fact, a witch and a tenkugri1 . 1. Literally, ‘‘alter or shrine.’’ The Moose believe that certain people entrust their protection to a sacred place called ‘‘tenkugri,’’ or ‘‘shrine.’’ ...


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