A witch… has magic in her fingers and devilry dancing in her blood. She can make stones jump about like frogs and she can make tongues of flame go flickering across the surface of the water. These magic powers are very frightening.
I do not wish to speak badly about women. Most women are lovely.
But the fact remains that all witches are women.
Roald Dahl (1916-90), a popular British writer, especially of children’s books
From earliest times, people in all parts of the world have believed in witches. Originally, a witch was either a man or a woman who had magic powers. Through the years, however, only women came to be considered witches.
People once blamed witches for any unexplained misfortune, such as a sudden death or illness, or a crop loss.
They also thought that witches could raise storms and turn people into beasts. The legendary Circe, for example, turned Odysseus’s friends into pigs.
Witches, it was believed, worked with the devil and did everything they could to please him. Their job was to do harm and to bring bad luck. But they could help people too. For example, a person in love could ask a witch for a love potion.