Listen and read-along with this fun story by, Judith Cressy.
Night was falling in the Tangly Woods. The sky was bright with twinkling stars.
“Goo-ood nii-iight,” whispered the breeze. “Shh. Shh. Shh,” answered the ripples in the stream.
Furred and feathered heads nodded drowsily in their hollows.
Then something shooting silver sparks whizzed across the sky and it crashed into a tree. A very small witch fell out of the branches.
“Dratkins, catkins! Sorry friends, it’s only me!” said Little Witch Way, pulling twigs from her hair. A giggle erupted from under the pile of golden leaves at her feet.
“That wasn’t funny,” Witch Way said softly, reaching in and pulling out a little broomstick. “Keep it up, Matilda, and you’ll land us both in a heap of trouble.”
Yellow eyes blinked from nests and burrows. Curious bats swooped low.
“Come, let me take you home,” said kindly Owl, who’d begun his evening rounds. “If I’m not mistaken, that was the third time this week Matilda’s crashed into that tree.”
“And that’s not counting the times she’s gotten us lost,” sighed Little Witch Way, settling herself and her broom on her old friend’s back.
“If I say ‘up,’ she takes me down, if I say ‘back,’ she goes forward. She goes any which way she likes, except the way I tell her.”
“Whoooo! That’s a problem,” said Owl, waving goodnight to the little witch and her broom, He left them at the bright yellow door to their house in a giant oak tree. “But she’s a young broom yet,” he winked at Matilda. “Give her time.”
Little Witch Way lit the candles, fed the spiders, and wound the clocks. She put a tiny cauldron to bubble on the hearth and brewed a batch of sleepy-thyme dumplings. Then she joined her newt, named Fig, and her big black cat, Loulou, playing shadow games by the fireside, while Matilda whisked in circles around the room.
“No more flying tonight, Matilda. Rest your bristles,” said Witch Way. It’s time we all got some sleep. There’s been excitement enough for one day.”
But in the dark of the night when the others were deep in their dreams, Matilda was still bristling and scheming new tricks.
The next day, at dawn, when the four friends gathered on the lawn and watched their breath make dragon puffs in the chilly air, Matilda winked, made a sweeping bow and asked, “Which way, Witch Way?”
“East to see the sunrise, please,” said the little witch. Cat, newt, and witch leaped aboard the broomstick, and in an instant they had left the Earth behind and were gliding on the breeze, speeding smoothly to the east.
BANG! BANG! — Sparks flew and Matilda was suddenly bucking and spinning backward!
“STOP!” yelped Witch Way, holding on tight to Fig and Loulou.
“WHOA! STOP! Matilda. We’re not aiming east, we’re whizzing to the west!”
But Matilda only giggled and spiraled even faster
Far to the east sky was a hazy orange glow. But in the west, the sky looked mean and gray. And the longer Witch Way and her friends flew in that direction, the harder the winds blew and angrier the storm clouds below them grew.
“Meee-owww,” yowled Loulou.
“Eeep!” peeped the newt. “Let’s get out of here! Let’s go, let’s fly, let’s scoot!”
Thunder rumbled all around them. Jagged bolts of lightning stabbed the darkness, barely missing the speeding broomstick. And far, far below, the once gentle streams flooded their banks and trees lost branches to the screaming wind.
“Please!” Little Witch Way whispered shakily, then tried to sound braver.
“PLEASE!,” she called out. “This is no ordinary storm, we’ve got to warn our friends!”
“Our friends!” Matilda gasped. And without so much as a snicker or the tiniest twitch, she changed course in a blink of an eye and rose into the sky! Dodging hailstones and pelting rain, quicker than the lightning, faster than the wind, she raced homeward toward the Tangly Woods.
“Good Broom!” Little Witch cried, wrapping her arms tightly around Matilda. “I knew it, I knew it, I knew I could depend on you!”
Suddenly Witch Way’s neighborhood swirled into view below. “DESCEND!” she cried, and Matilda dove head first into the woods.
They zoomed and zigzagged down crooked paths calling out to one and all, “Come take shelter in our tree — there’s room for every beast!”
And by the time the roaring winds swept through the woods, Witch Way and Matilda’s furred and feathered friends were safe and warm behind the yellow door.
Loulou made buttered toast for all, Fig set out dominoes, and Owl read recipes out loud dressed in his most festive clothes.
It was a storm party for everyone except one exhausted little broom, who was fast asleep and snoring — and not even scheming up one silly trick — in the coziest corner of the room.
About the Author
Judith Cressy has been a writer and editor in the fields of art, craft, and design for all of her career, including six years creating children’s books for The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
When she’s not working on books, she enjoys knitting, reading, traveling, and engaging with her four grandchildren. She lives in New York City.
Categories: Audio Stories/Poems