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A Witch Whispers to a Young Handmaid with a Tale

Dear Not-So-Little-Red, whose dreams are not quite dead (I know because you had enough curiosity to peek at a hawk-sent missive),

I went to bed to dream of better days than my own. I saw you instead, with my crone’s foresight, saw almost won battles still being fought, saw the men who felt entitled to squeeze hearts hard until they pumped in discordant measures, saw it all being done with the excuses that seem ancient even to my aged ears. “This is done in the name of goodness,” they shouted over the whimpers of the impious.

Dear Not-So-Little-Red, for a moment I despaired too. All my proud insurrections, what good were they? I freed my little Lucky from a father who was willing to sacrifice flesh on the altar of respectability. I kept a dozen others from a similar fate, grew them to be true and honor their strength. I knew I might not live to see an era where covetous old men no longer cowed the stupid to keep their power or collected on fear of words they used to condemn those who, like me, dare deviate from their rules. But I had hoped for better for my children.

Dear Not-So-Little-Red (I refuse to call you by a name impaled upon your orifices. I could search for your true name every month to infinity, but you must name yourself in the end. All I can do is remind you that you are more than an appetizer for wolves). I saw you freeze like a hare, when hailstorms of indignities pelted you. They claimed your birth as a less-favored gender was reason for you to bear anything they demanded.

Dear Not-So-Little-Red, believe this old woman, whose womb did not prevent her from becoming the mother she wanted to be—you have a weapon you can use. No, it will not be like what I would choose. We all must fight according to our nature, and you Dear Not-So-Little-Red have a far more tender heart than mine. The path of nightshade and toadstool is not for you.

But you do have the power to birth children that will thwart their plans. It’s in your voice, which you can choose to raise as you’d like. I’ll promise you what I promised the farmer. Your progeny, the tales you can tell, will grow hearty with your pain and anger and get stronger with each telling until they can raze every building filled with presumptuous old men.

You are free now, Not-So-Little-Red. Do what you’d like. You can pretend you are as powerless as an ant. You can walk away. Or you can sow your words in all the fertile soil that will bear fruit past even the time I can dream of. Set them down so others will know. And even in that time, so far past yours and my own, even if they don’t remember you, they will have the luxury of debate in a world that has no conditions on what it means to be human.

The choice is yours.

All my love,

*sigh* What she said.

Song Choice: Quiet by MILCK

Liner Notes for This Groove: I hadn’t planned on doing a post on Thursday, but Sherry’s prompt for the Toads, Being A Woman in Times Like These, proved too irresistible for words, especially when I stopped to consider how a character in my book, TheTrouble with Wanting and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales (Rowena from What’s a Little Blood to a Mother’s Heart), might respond to the events in A Handmaid’s Tale. I can’t imagine she wouldn’t have definite opinions about that or the on-going battle to simply declare women as equal to men (yeah Rowena, I’m not thrilled that the ERA hasn’t passed yet either). I imagined this letter as something Rowena might send with magic via her favorite hawk to Offred during the interlude where Offred was freed by the Mayday resistance and before she recorded the tapes.

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A Witch Whispers to a Young Handmaid with a Tale


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