4: Beating the Stake
Now, were there any witches in Misty who got away and escaped the burning? Oh, yes, and we all love it when the witch hunters get beaten, and far more often in Misty than in the real witch hunts.
Artist: John Richardson
Sixty years ago Miranda arrived in a village to sell good luck charms. Those who refused to buy one got bad things happening to them. Miranda was arrested for witchcraft, which she denied. The courthouse mysteriously fell down before the trial could proceed. This got Miranda convicted of witchcraft and she was sent to the stake. Rain started before the fire was lit, and just wouldn’t stop, so the burning was put on hold indefinitely. Miranda disappeared from the village, but the rain hasn’t stopped in all those sixty years. The man telling the story reckons she must have been a witch after all.
Was Miranda really a witch or would things have just been different if people had bought her good luck charms and they would have had fantastic things happening to them? After all, she did warn that bad things might happen to anyone who did not buy them.
It is a bit surprising that the village is still there after sixty years of rain. You’d think it would be submerged by now.
The Fourth Swan
A white witch is pursued by a witch hunter, who incited a mob against her. She hides her baby with a swan and calls upon the creatures of the sky to protect her. The witch hunter finds her, but she has already drowned. The swan leads a couple to the baby, who adopt her and call her Marigold. Marigold always seems to dream of flying and has an affinity for birds. When she tries to stop a nobleman from shooting the swan he drags her off to his castle, and makes her work like a slave. While trying to escape her parentage is discovered, and the same witch hunter sends her to the stake. At the stake, three swans arrive. Marigold disappears from the stake and then there are four swans in the sky.
Artist: Jordi Badia Romero
Frida and baby sister Anna are being pursued by a witch-hunting mob. In flashback, it is revealed they think Frida is a witch because she always seems to have good luck, food, money etc., with no apparent explanation other than it must be magic. They catch Frida up and tie her to a tree, ready to burn her. But then it is revealed that it is Anna, not Frida, who has the power. Anna uses her powers to save Frida and drive the witch hunters off, with a thunderstorm.
Artist: Josep Gual
In historical Spain there is a statue of Witchfinder Iserte in San Dominic, purportedly erected in commemoration of him after he mysteriously disappeared. Actually, the statue is Iserte himself. He was in the witchhunting for profit, so he was out to identify (through fraudulent means) and burn as many ‘witches’ as possible to make his fortune. But while Iserte was trying to burn a group of village women after ‘proving’ them witches, a real witch stopped the burning. She then turned Iserte into stone to match his heart, and his henchmen into trees to replace the wood they used to burn people.
Here we have three cases of witch hunters who get foiled, and in some cases punished, when their quarry (or helper) turned out to have genuine powers. But it’s not in the way they imagined or led their followers to believe. And we all cheer because we just love it when the victims of witch hunts get to strike back at the witch hunters. After all, it’s a thing that seldom happened in the real witch hunts.
What’s On the Other Side?
Artist: Jose Canovas
A medieval witch, who has the power to possess people’s bodies, is about to be burned at the stake. But she just laughs, saying her powers are too great for that. She escapes from the stake and travels to the future (and gets a bit of culture shock too, when she sees the 20th century). The witch selects the lazy, disobedient Peggy as a suitable candidate for her to possess. She hides inside the TV set to observe Peggy first, and marvels at how Peggy just seems to sit there watching it non-stop (welcome to TV addiction, witchy!). When she is ready she takes over Peggy’s body and leaves the real Peggy trapped in the TV set.
Unusually for the witch-themed Misty stories we have discussed so far, here we have a witch who definitely is dangerous and evil. In a serial she would be an all-out villain, and her power to possess others sure would make her an effective one. But Misty keeps her as a means of comeuppance for an unpleasant girl, although she is evil herself. Misty also appears to be making a statement about the evils of TV addiction.