Enid heard her daughter crying and dropped her wooden spoon into the pot as she ran to see what had happened.
When she got outside she had to bite her lower lip to keep from laughing. Bridget was sitting under the giant oak tree next to their house, her blonde hair looking like a rat’s nest with dried leaves and twigs sticking out of it at all angles. She sat with her back humped and a scowl on her face.
“What happened, sweetheart?”
Bridget huffed. “Remember when I said it was a good thing Rory wouldn’t be in school today?”
“He was in school today.”
Bridget heaved a huge sigh, her shoulders rising and falling dramatically. “I suppose I shouldn’t have said anything.”
Enid considered her next move carefully, her teeth going from biting back laughter to chewing her lip thoughtfully as she helped her daughter up and into the house. Looking around to make sure they were alone, she whispered, “Have I not taught you that spell yet?”
“Let’s go inside.”
Enid closed the door behind them, then rushed about their small cabin shuttering all the windows so there would be no witnesses to what was about to happen. “All right. We all know the Goddess is tricky and likes to make things happen just when you’re thanking her they won’t ever happen, right?”
“So, to appease her, any time you say something bad won’t happen, or that you’re grateful something bad happened to someone else rather than you, all you have to do is knock on a tree three times and say, ‘Thanks be to the Goddess.’ Like this.” She demonstrated on their table. “Now, you try.”
Bridget rapped her knuckles on their table three times, then said, “Thanks be to the Goddess,” quickly, as though it were all one word.
“How many times do I have to tell you that timing is everything?”
Bridget lowered her eyes and put her hand back in her lap.
Enid softened towards her daughter and showed her again. “Like this. ‘Thanks. Be. To the Goddess.’ See?” She spoke and knocked on the table at the same time, the first two knocks each getting their own word while the last knock got the last three words of the phrase together.
Bridget copied her mother and this time she got it.
“Perfect,” Enid said with a smile. “Now all you have to do to avoid bringing misfortune down on your own head is to use that spell and you’ll remain safe.”
Bridget nodded with a smile that soon vanished. “But what if I’m not at home when I say something foolish? What if I’m at school? Or a festival? Or – ?”
“Calm yourself. That is another reason why you must always be extra careful about the things you say when you’re not home, yes?”
“There’s my good girl. Now let’s get you cleaned up before your father sees you like this and has a fit.”
To be continued…