Another letter from a Freda fan seeking my no-nonsense advice…
I hope you can help. My dad got married last week after being on his own with me for a long time. I really think that my stepmother might be evil. She has a thin mouth, beady eyes and she has this habit of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. She is always trying to be my ‘friend’ and cooking me big tasty dinners. You may think this is nice, but I suspect she is fattening me up to be eaten.
She must be some kind of witch, as my dad seems bewitched and is constantly walking around with a soppy smile on his face. I just want it to be me and my dad again. Can you tell me how to find out if she is evil so that I can tell my dad and we can both be rid of her?
Well, Rebecca. This is quite easily solved with a ferret, some moondust, newt’s spittle and a yard of twine. Most people think ferrets are only good for sniffing out rabbits but ferrets are excellent at sniffing out anything at all, particularly evil stepmothers and bad intentions.
Infuse the newts spittle for three days with a hair from your stepmother and a dash of her ear wax. Catch a wild ferret by the tail and sprinkle it with the moondust. Wrap the twine around the ferret’s ankle – taking care not to let the teeth near you – and recite thricely thus:
‘Ferret’s nose, remove my doubt; Ferret sniff the badness out; Is she wicked, is she wise? Ferret, clear my clouded eyes’
Then wait until your dad is sleeping. A-creep upon him and dab him on the nose and trouser hem with the newts spittle. Then loosen the twine and release the ferret. If the ferret clings to his face, he is bewitched and your stepmother is evil. If it runs up his trouser leg and around three times, you can rest easy.
If you cannot catch a wild ferret, or have no moondust, then try talking to your dad. It may just be difficult to have someone new in the house, and if she is not an evil witch fattening you for the cauldron, chances are she could just be trying to be a good mother to you. Give her the benefit of the doubt, but if she does turn out to be evil let me know and I shall send an unhexing charm and a witch-slayer at the earliest opportunity. For a small fee.