What really happened to the wicked witch of the east?
By: R. Renée Bembry
“Rub your eyes – get out of bed,” commanded caroling voices. Chicky’s fingertips wiped her face as she peeked over her nest to spy fellow pygmies kicking up their heels and singing about a dead witch. Dismounting her cradle, she joined the jollity, vocalizing as if she’d known the lyrical ballad all her life. “Yo-ho, let’s open up and…”
Not understanding the purpose of harmonizing, “Ding dong the merry-oh,” before breakfast because a witch had died left Chicky confused. The lyric gave her a scare since the only witch she knew was Glinda. Glinda, the witch of the north, was a good sorceress – not one to sing happily about had she died. Within seconds the words, “Let them know the wicked witch is dead!” passed her lips calming her worries.
Suddenly, the munchkins stood still and the singing ended. Chicky squeezed through the crowd of taller pygmies to see the mayor bestow a welcoming tribute on an unfamiliar girl. The girl wore a blue dress and stood two feet taller than all except Glinda, who to Chicky’s surprise, was standing on a platform next to the girl.
At length, the coroner assured the mayor he had examined the wicked witch and could verify that she was “most sincerely dead”.
Now, Chicky’s mom worked for the coroner. Sometimes she took Chicky to daycare there. Once, Chicky spied the coroner conducting an autopsy, which really grossed her out. Embedded in her memory, however, remained images of what happens during a dead person’s examination.
Standing in the square amidst hundreds of fellow munchkins, Chicky wondered how the coroner could’ve autopsied the witch so quickly. Only a short moment had passed since the witch’s legs, protruding from below the house, had nauseated her as she skipped over the bridge.
By time a trio of ballet dancers in pink tutus curtsied after performing for the girl, Chicky had shuffled back through the crowd and was standing at the fallen house. Sure enough, the limbs dressed in striped socks and shiny red slippers still protruded from beneath the dwelling.
Chicky’s quivering hand wrestled over squeezing the appendage, and then, a muffled sound escaped a crack separating the house from the dirt. Realizing her hunch had been correct – the wicked witch was still alive – Chicky knew she must hurry to tell the coroner. As soon as she turned around the crowd started skipping and singing, “Ding dong the witch is dead!” again.
Just as Chicky fought her way through the scattering crowd and spotted the coroner the wicked witch of the ‘west’ appeared through a cloud of smoke.
Glinda told the girl that this witch was worse than the deceased one. Chicky rushed toward Glinda in hopes of whispering the truth about the other witch in her ear. Only as soon as Chicky reached Glinda the ruby slippers appeared on the girl’s feet. “There they’ll stay,” mocked Glinda, waving her magic wand, and smiling at the witch of the west.
Chicky stared in amazement at the ruby slippers.
Glinda glanced down at Chicky.
A twinkle in Glinda’s eye assured Chicky the witch of the north had known all along that the witch of the east had not died from the fallen house.