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The April Witch [short story]

de Ray Bradbury

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Warned not to mix with ordinary people and thus lose her magic powers, a young witch who wants to be in love decides to risk all by trying to experience love through someone else.
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“I want to be in love,” she said.


Sweet and wistful, this short but wonderful little fantasy by Ray Bradbury has a life all its own. Though steeped in fantasy, it touches upon the heart and its yearnings, and in the end, simply touches the heart.

In language and descriptions as lovely as anything Bradbury ever wrote, he introduces us to Cecy, a seventeen-year-old girl in Illinois whose family is different from others. They can float on the wind and inhabit anything, seeing and experiencing life from the perspective of a flower petal, a rock, a dove, or, a human. But Cecy must be careful, because if she mixes or marries with an "ordinary" person, her ability to travel by magic will be lost.

Here, Bradbury casts an enchanting spell, showing the reader the heart of a seventeen-year-old girl, plain on the outside, yet aching to experience love. Losing her ability to travel magically, and soak in the wonder of the world around her is unthinkable, yet the ache to experience love that Cecy shares with all mankind, is strong. And then along comes Ann Leary and Tom, and Cecy cannot resist.

“Being in this body, this head, was like basking in a hearth fire, living in the purr of a sleeping cat, stirring in warm creek waters that flowed by night to the sea.”

I can’t reveal more, but what Bradbury accomplishes in only a few short pages puts most writers to shame. The April Witch is delicate and romantic, filled with gentle longing. Bradbury seems to be using a feather rather than a pen to write the story, so light and airy is the presentation. A marvelous, unforgettable bauble from one of the most unique writers of all time. ( )
  Matt_Ransom | Oct 6, 2023 |
Here's an odd but interesting idea: take some short stories, remove them from their original anthologies and re-print them in individual specially designed volumes. The idea seems to be to allow the story to shine its own light and not be over-shadowed or out-shone by the other stories in the anthologies. Further, I think, the idea was to create physically beautiful books.

This project, going by this one volume alone, was a partial success; the literary merit of this story comes out clearly to me. I'd read it before, somewhere, being a Bradbury fan through-out my teens, but it had not stuck in my memory the way more famous works such as Zero Hour or A Sound of Thunder had. It's a delicate story, fragile, apt to be torn apart in the slightest breeze from a passing fictional sky-rocket such as The Veldt. Giving it its own space works. The melancholic mood of the story somehow evades falling into the Pit of Maudlin that awaits such works and instead climbs the Hill of Poignancy as we share the yearnings of a young, lonely, isolated witch, one Spring evening. The writing, as should only be expected, is beautiful and uniquely Bradbury's own; a delight.

The possible other objective, of creating a book as beautiful as the story it contains, was for me at least, a complete failure. The illustrations do nothing for me, in fact detract by being unappealing. I'm not very sensitive to typefaces, either, so the careful choice made here is a bit wasted on me. Other aspects of the design are unremarkable, accept for one; the author and title printed at the top of each set of facing pages in most books are at the bottom in this one, which I don't like. On the other hand, the page numbers are at the top, which I prefer to the more common placing at the bottom.

I was given an overdue reminder of Bradbury's mastery by this book. Time to read more. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
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Into the air, over the valleys, under the stars, above a river, a pond, a road, flew Cecy.
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A single short story. Do not combine with collections having the same or a similar name.
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