Ask Freda

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Little Star. A tale of loss and hope.

Published July 19, 2014 by Annie Oliver

when you can


Good day, dear readers.

I get a lot of letters from people who have lost those that they love. It’s hard to understand when someone we love dies. It’s a pain like no other and it’s beyond my capabilities as a godmother to even begin to explain it. However, my writer friend Annie sent me a childrens tale she had penned when she lost her own dear brother. I’d like to share it with you, and I hope it helps.

Freda x


Little Star.

One cold and crisp winter evening, far, far above the world, a little star was born. She was so brand new and small that she was still just a tiny twinkling pin in the blanket of night.

There were many stars around her, each so very different. Some were brighter, some were gentler. Some were still learning how to shine and some were the oldest and wisest of all, but the little star was the youngest, smallest star in the sky.

Very close to the little star was a star that sang and shone proudly. He was the bravest and brightest in the sky for as far as the little star could see. When the little star could not keep herself warm, for her light was not yet strong enough, this bold, bright star shone even brighter, and made the little star feel cosy and safe.

Then came the time when the little star had to shine all on her own, but she was very scared and she began to cry.

“Why are you crying, little star?” said the bold, bright star.

“I am crying because I have to shine all on my own and I am scared” said the little star, quietly, so that the other stars could not hear.

The bold, bright star laughed, sending sparks of fire flying across the night. “Oh, child,” he said. “Why are you scared?”

“I am scared because my light is so small and my voice so weak. I am scared that the other stars will see me and laugh, because they all burn so brightly and sing so loudly.”

The bold, bright star laughed again “Silly little star. Do you think I always shined so brightly? Do you think I always sang so loudly and so clearly?”

The little star thought about this. “Yes,” she said. “I think maybe you did, because you are so very bright and so very loud that you could never have been small, like me.”

“Little star” said the bold, bright star, “all stars have to begin somewhere. We all have to be born and we all have to learn to shine.”

The bold bright star pointed to a wise, old star further away, which shone gracefully and quietly, quite unlike his own flashes of red and silver-white, which spread across the night sky like a flickering fire. “Some of us are bright and colourful and some of us are gentle, like the wise, old star. But we all must shine, in our own, special way.”

“What if I don’t want to shine?” said the little star, quite stubbornly. “What difference would it make to anyone?”

The bright, bold star sighed. “That would be very sad indeed, little star, and I will tell you why. Do you see that golden speck, far, far away?”

The little star looked hard, and saw a beautiful golden speck of dust, far away into the sky.

“Look closer, little star,” said the bold, bright star.

So the little star looked closer and she saw that the golden speck was a bright globe, full of vibrant green and blue, spinning so fast that it made her quite dizzy just to look.

“Look even closer, little star,” said the bold, bright star.

The little star looked closer still and she saw, beyond the brightness and beyond the vibrant shades of green and blue, that the globe was full of life, full of beautiful beings that shined almost as brightly as the stars themselves.

“What is this place?” said the little star, who had never thought to look so far beyond the sky before.

“That is the world, little star. That is the world for whom we shine.”

“Why do we shine for the world, bold, bright star?” said little star.

The bold, bright star became very still and thoughtful. Then he broke out into a beautiful smile, sending a wave of warmth through the night sky. “We shine because we are here to remind the world that even in the darkest of places, there is light, and there is hope.”

“Then how does the world see us, when it is so far away?” asked the little star, curious how the beings on such a small speck of golden dust could possibly be interested in the stars, which were so very far away.

“Our light takes many, many years to reach the world, but when it does, it burns in the night sky for many more years to come and it fills the beings of the world with joy.” Then, the bold, bright star began to sing and shine more than ever, filling the sky with so much brightness that the other stars began to gasp and cheer in wonder.

This filled the little star’s heart with happiness and she quite forgot to be scared, shining her own little light out as strong as she could manage, being so very small. All of the other stars did not laugh, for they were all so proud of the smallest star in the sky, shining for the very first time. Happiest of all was the bold, bright star, filled with pride that made his bold, bright light fill the sky with beautiful colours.

With each night sky the little star got brighter and brighter until she shone and sang a beautiful little light towards the golden speck in the distance. Every now and then she would turn to the bold, bright star and say. “Do you see me shining, bold, bright star? Do you see how very bright I am getting? I am sure the beings of the world must be able to see my light by now.”

The bold, bright star would shake his head and laugh, and say, “Oh, little star. You are doing a very good job of shining so bright, but the light from a star takes many thousands of years to reach the world below. So keep shining, little star and one day your light will break through even the darkest of nights.”

So the little star kept shining and growing, until she too, was bright and filled with colour. Her voice sang out across the night sky, causing all of the other stars to gaze at her with wonder, for no one had ever seen such a little star that was so very bright.

The little star was so proud of herself that she turned to show the bold, bright star just how very bright and colourful she had become, but the bold bright star was no longer there. She looked everywhere for her friend, seeking his strong, beautiful colours among the many stars that shined in the night sky, but the bold, bright star was nowhere to be found.

The little star began to cry.

“Why are you crying, little star?” said the old, wise star. The little star stopped crying quite suddenly, for the old, wise star hardly ever spoke, as he was a graceful, quiet star.

“I was crying because the bold, bright star is gone and I cannot find him. Do you know where he is?”

“Oh, child,” said the old, wise star, his gentle light warming and soothing the little star. “The bold, bright star is gone because it was his time to stop shining. The light that burns within us does not last forever. Once it has left, so must we.”

The little star did not understand. “Then why did he not tell me? Why did he not say Goodbye?”

“We do not know when our time will come, little star. We do not know what light lies within us, or how long it will last, so we must shine while we can.”

“Then I will never shine again,” said the little star, feeling quite angry. “For I do not feel like shining without my friend the big bold star beside me and I do not see why I should shine, when one day I will stop, for what is the point?”

The old, wise star became very sad, his light dimming to a shimmering glow of silent warmth. “Because you must, little star. Because you are so very important.”

“Why am I important, old wise star?” said the little star. “I am the smallest star in the sky and my light does not even reach the world, for I am too young.”

“One day, the light that you shine now will reach the world, little star. You are important because the beings of the world below will look up into the sky and you will fill their hearts with gladness and joy. That is why you shine and it is also why I shine.” The old, wise star began to fill with a pure and gentle light, which he spread across the sky with warmth and grace.

The little star still felt very sad. “But my friend was so beautiful and so loud and you are so very old and have so gentle a light. Why is it that you did not stop shining before he did?”

“It is how it is and how it always will be, little star,” said the old, wise star. “Some stars burn with a long and gentle light, while some stars burn with a fierce brightness that leaves us far too quickly. Oh! What a light your friend had! What a beautiful, bold, bright star he was!”

The little star could not stop feeling sad. It hurt her to think of what a beautiful, bright star her friend was, because when she thought of him, she could only think that he would never be beside her again, teaching her, guiding her and making her feel safe. “I still do not want to shine,” she said, “because my friend is gone and I feel so sad and alone. How can I shine when I feel so very, very sad?”

“Little star,” said the old, wise star, “do you remember what the bold, bright star told you about the world?”

The little star looked at the golden speck in the distance. “Yes, he told me that our light is a message of hope, but I do not feel like giving hope, because I am so very, very sad.”

“He also told you, little star, that our light takes such a long, long time to reach the world, because it is far, far away.”

“Yes, I remember,” said the little star.

“Then the bold, bright star’s light still shines strongly over the world below and will for many thousands of years to come.”

At this, the little star felt glad. “So the bold, bright star is not gone after all! He is still shining over the world below, reminding them that there is hope, even in the darkest of places?”

“That is right, child,” said the old, wise, star. “So you must shine. Shine as brightly and sing as loudly as you can, and then your light can sit next to his once more.”

At this, the little star was filled with happiness, for although her friend was not beside her, she knew that his light still warmed the hearts of the beings below. So she shined with a light so warm and bright that all of the other stars gasped and cheered in amazement.

She shined in colours she never knew she had within her. She shined for the world and she shined for her friend, the bold, bright star, for she knew he was waiting for her light to reach the world, where they would sit together in the night sky once more.



Ask Freda – To Hex or not to Hex?

Published April 8, 2014 by Annie Oliver


Here’s one I get all the time…

Dear Freda,

Someone has upset me and I would like you to hex them for me. Actually, its my ex-boyfriend. He dumped me for someone else. Ideally, you could hex both of them, but if you can only manage one then just hex him. A nice few weeping, puss-filled face-boils or cursing him with fish breath would do. If you could send me the hex I’ll do it myself.

It would make me feel a lot better. Name your price.

Helen, Edinburgh.


Dear Helen,

A word of caution. While I do love a good smite I do have to make sure that it’s a genuine smite and not a spiteful one. The reason for this is simple.


Yes, ducky. So if you don’t want the breath of a trout or weeping sores to sprout in unpleasant areas, you need to think long and hard about your motives. A bit of common sense might be best applied to this situation. One of the worst things to be is unhappy. Perhaps he was just unhappy and knew it wasn’t going to last between you.  ‘Twouldn’t have been fair for him to continue pretending. There may be someone even better awaiting you around the corner, in which case, he has done you a favour, my love.

Hexing is really best left to those who have studied it for years. ‘Tis a complex skill requiring great judgement, patience and the ability to see a situation clearly without festering upon it.

For those reasons, I’m out, although, if you are feeling really put out, a tiny little Glare wouldn’t do much harm and can be most potent when applied correctly. See my previous posts for some tips on Glaring. Withering Glares are particularly appropriate in this situation.

The best hex on an ex is happiness. Put your best frock on, get your hair done and paint your face pretty colours. Then get yourself out and enjoy life. This is a more powerful message than any curse you might put upon him.

Freda x



Ask Freda – A Love Spell, please.

Published March 20, 2014 by Annie Oliver


Well my dearies, if I had a piece of tack for every letter I get asking for a love spell then I would never have to peddle false teeth again. So this is for all of you lovelorn ninnies who are waiting for true love’s kiss to come your way. Here’s one I received earlier…

Dear Freda,

Freda there’s someone I really like but he doesn’t like me. I think about him all the time and last week I plucked up the courage to ask him out. He said he thought I was a nice girl but he’d rather be friends. I feel like my life is over! I’m so heartbroken. Do you have a spell to change his mind?

Jen, 12.

Dear me, ducky.  Unrequited love is worse than a weeping boil curse in my opinion. Well, the first bit of advice I can give you is to give your head a good shake. Stand in front of a mirror (magic, if you have one but if not, one from Argos will do just as well) and shake it vigorously for at least five minutes. Then give yourself a good Glare and scare the lovelorn-ness out of yourself. It worked for my sister Edna when she had her head turned by a dark wizard. He turned out to be trying to steal our precious spell book. We soon sorted him out with a bit of well-worded hexing. Wizards are no match for fairy godmothers, although they like to think that they are.

There is a spell to make someone love you but I would never repeat it here. ‘Tis dark magic indeed and usually results  in injury, obsession, death, or even worse, an unhappy marriage. Ask Cinderella how she felt about her godmother’s interference once Prince Charming started following her about the palace constantly with a stupid doe-eyed face and always asking a-where she was going and could he come with her? She soon got sick of that.

The point I’m trying to make, dearie, is that you wouldn’t want to be with someone who was charmed into loving you. You should want a sweetheart who sees magic in your eyes and spell dust in your smile without a charm ever having been cast. That is what is known as True Love, and – while it makes me a little vomitous to say this – ’tis a magic far more powerful than any spell this old Godmother could cast.

Don’t settle for anything less and if I find out you have I shall have to put a pox upon your house!

All the best, dearie,

Freda x

Ask Freda – Is my Stepmother Wicked?

Published February 23, 2014 by Annie Oliver


Another letter from a Freda fan seeking my no-nonsense advice…

“Hi Freda,

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?

Rebecca, 11.”

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.

Freda x

Ask Freda

Published February 16, 2014 by Annie Oliver

It has been said that I can dish out a good dollop of advice, when needed. My writer friend Annie often comes to me for advice and she says it’s so good that she will magically entrap my advice onto the screen using her laptop contraption. I never cease to be amazed by her skills. A little tuition in finger-wagging and she’d make a fine Witch.

This is one I answered earlier…

“Dear Freda,

I had a really good friend at school but just lately a new girl started and we both made friends with her. Then they started hanging out together without me, which I didn’t mind except now they’ve started being mean to me, leaving me out all the time and calling me names.  It really hurts and I don’t understand why they would do this.

Danii, 11.”

Well, Danii, if this were happening in my home land of The Shade it would be easy solved. I would have given you an Empathalot charm to slip in her lunchtime drink. This is a great charm, as it makes the person feel the effects of the actions they do to others all day and soon puts paid to any vileness. However, as I keep being reminded I’m not allowed to meddle in that way here so I would put paid to this by practising your best Glare.

Each day, for at least thirty minutes, stand in front of a mirror and squint as though you are squeezing mud from between your eyes. Centre all the hurt you feel and shoot it right back out of those eyelids. If she starts to look a bit green and sickly every time you look at her, then you’re doing it right. Move on from that to the Death-Smile – it’s a smile you give when a Glare isn’t quite enough and you do it through your teeth, with all the malice you can muster.

As I’m being reminded by my writer friend that Glaring isn’t the answer to everything (although I sincerely think it is) my other advice is to concentrate on your other friends, the ones who don’t make you feel bad and get yourself out and about with them, show the other one what she’s missing. Also, as we don’t have Empathalot charms here apparently Talking is an acceptable form of making the other person know how you feel. Talk to your parents, talk to a teacher and get it sorted out.

And, of course, you can always talk to your old Aunty Freda…