Thursday, June 16, 2011

Las Brujas

We started a new book this term called "The Witches" by Roald Dahl. The kids were in love with the book even before we started reading. That's probably because I told them the author was the same guy who wrote "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Fantastic Mr. Fox", and "Matilda". Mind you, they have never read any of these books (I asked), but of course, they've seen the movies. And in their minds, a book written by the same guy who wrote about a fantasy chocolate world must be a good book.

In case you never read it, "The Witches" is about, well, witches. And in the first chapter of the book, Dahl explains that witches are everywhere. They look like ordinary women and have ordinary jobs. Then he writes (and I read aloud), "...she might even be your lovely school-teacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment. Look carefully at that teacher. Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of the suggestion. Don't let that put you off. It could be part of her cleverness."

At that point, my students were completely consumed by a big case of the giggles.

A few chapters later, one of the characters in the book explains how you can spot a witch from the rest of the regular women. She gives a long list of characteristics to look for. After I read each one, my kids would discuss whether or not I could still be a witch. Now, some of these characteristics include being bald (which I am not), having color changing eyes (which I don't have) and having no toes (I have ten). They finally agreed I wasn't a witch when we got to the last characteristic: blue spit.

Too bad I wasn't eating a jolly rancher, or some other type of hardy candy that changes the color of your tongue. I'm sure the kids would have just loved that.


  1. Those characteristics are plants - by - who else _witches_. It was a really sneaky way to convict Jolly Rancher suckers (pun intended).

    A different twist on this type of thing came from the clever people of Salem Ma. who wanted to remove enemies or rivals and decided that drowning was the best test - A witch couldn't drown and if the victim drowned then oh well sooorrrry about the dead thing but hey, not a witch yes?

    The real story about witches is that they usually do not eat meat (with the exception of a tender child here or there (see Hansel and Gretel). They tend to live with 1 to 4 other women (the perfect number for a coven is 5 - alternatively 3) - this number can vary due to their regular movement in search of tender children. Most significantly they tend to be in positions of child care - baby sitters, day care workers, maids/nannies, and teachers.

    -------song by the sonics "The Witch" ------

    Say there's a girl
    Who's new in town
    Well, you better watch out now
    Or she´ll put you down
    'cause she's an evil chick
    Say she's the witch.

    She got a long black hair
    And a big black car
    I know what you're thinking
    But you won't get far
    She gonna make you itch
    'cause she's the witch.

    Well, she walks around late at night
    Among startled people sleepin' tight
    If you hear her knocking on your door
    You better sneakin´away

    Now, you know the score
    'cause i set you straight
    Well, you better be careful
    Before it's too late
    She gonna make you itch
    'cause she's the witch


    Well, she walks around late at night
    Among startled people sleepin' tight
    If you hear her knocking on your door
    You better sneakin´away

    While you know you will
    Say don't you know
    And do you remember
    That i told you so
    Gonna do you in
    'cause she's the witch

    So, Miss. Maggie, (he said while scratching his head) where do you keep the big black car?

  2. When I saw the title of your post, for a second I thought it was going to be about Las Brujas, a disco in Stgo! Then I remembered you're not likely to write about that, and also, that the place is in all likelihood closed. LOVE Roald Dahl, but you forgot my favorite: James and the Giant Peach! And very glad to know your students are enjoying great literature!