The Witches of Pendle  Author:Rowena Akinyemi

On the twenty-seventh day of April, the guards took my mother and James to Lancaster Castle, and my life at Read Hall began. Suddenly, it was spring. The sky was blue and there were beautiful flowers on the hills. From Read Hall, Pendle Hill looked different: it looked smaller, and it was not so important in my life. Sometimes I walked along Sabden Brook to Sabden, and then to Newchurch, and I felt happy to be near Pendle Hill again. But I never visited Malkin Tower again.

Spring changed into summer, and in August I went to Lan-caster with Mr Nowell. Lancaster was thirty miles from Read Hall, and I got very tired because I sat on a horse for hours. It was a big, noisy town. I never saw so many people before in my life and I felt afraid.

The trial of the witches of Pendle began at Lancaster Castle on the eighteenth day of August, and the judge was an impor-tant man from London. Judge Bromley listened to many people on that day, because there were a lot of witches from Lan-cashire in the prison. Old Demdike was not there because she died in May, before the judge arrived.

I waited with Mr Nowell's servant, and when a guard called my name, I went through a big door and saw the judge behind a table. Judge Bromley was rich and important, but his eyes were cold. Suddenly, I saw my mother! She was dirty and very thin. When she saw me, her face went red. My hair was clean now, and I wore shoes and an expensive dress. I saw my mother's eyes: she hated me!

'Are you a witch? 'Judge Bromley asked my mother.

'No, I 'm not.' my mother answered angrily.

'Did you kill Jack Robinson, of Barley village? '

' No, I did not.'

'Jennet Device is here.' a voice said quietly. It was Mr Nowell.'she can tell us the truth about her mother.'

For a minute, my mother did not move. Then she ran across the room and shouted at me.' You know nothing, you bad child! And I'm your mother! Don' t forget that!'

The guards ran after my mother and pulled her to the floor.

' I'm no witch!'my mother shouted.' It's all lies! Jennet, you're a witch—a child of the Devil! You're my daughter, and I know!'

I was afraid and I put my hands over my eyes. I didn't want to see my mother's ugly face. The guards pulled my motherout of the room and the noise stopped.

'Jennet Device.' the judge said.' Tell us the truth about your mother.'

Roger Nowell lifted me up and put me on a table in front of the judge.

'My mother is a witch.' I began.'she has a friend, a dog called Ball. When she wants to kill somebody, she tells Ball…'I talked and talked; I told the judge everything.

Judge Bromley listened carefully.' My child, is this the truth? '

'Yes.' I answered.' I'm telling you the truth.'

The guards brought my mother back into the room again. Her face looked tired and her eyes were red.

'Elizabeth Device, your daughter told us about your dog, Ball. Your son, too, told us about the clay pictures. We know everything.'

My mother said nothing. She didn't look at the judge and she didn' t look at me.

Next, the guards brought my brother James into the room. When I saw James, I wanted to cry. James was thin and dirty and his hair was very long. He looked at the judge and at all the rich and important men in the room and he began to cry. Then he sat down on the floor.

'Stand up, James Device.' Judge Bromley said.

The guards pulled James up, but he fell to the floor again.

'You killed Mr Duckworth.' Judge Bromley said.

'I wanted a shirt.' James cried.

'Is your brother a witch? 'Judge Bromley asked me.

' Yes.' I said. My brother sat on the floor, his mouth open. He looked at me, but he didn't know me. I was clean, and fat because of all the good food at Read Hall.

'James told me about his friend, Dandy.' I began.' Dandy was the Devil and—'

James heard the name Dandy, and he began to cry again.' I want Dandy! I want to go home!'

The guards pulled him up from the floor and took him out of the room. I never saw my brother again.

When the guards brought my sister Alizon in front of the judge, I said nothing. John Law, the pedlar, came into the room. He was a thin man now. He walked slowly and he talked slowly and his face looked ill. He told the judge about that day near Colne when Alizon cursed him and her dog ran after him.

'I'm sorry!' Alizon said.' I was angry with you that day, but I'm sorry now.' Alizon 's eyes were dark and afraid, but she had no friends in that room and nobody wanted to listen to her.

Then Mr Nowell took me out and I waited with his servant in a different room. An hour later, there was the noise of many people shouting and crying.

The servant smiled.' The trial is finished.' he said 'You're a good child Jennet. You told the judge the truth about the Witches.'

Mr Nowell took me home to Read Hall. And on the twen-tieth day of August 1612, the guards took my mother, my sis-ter and my brother out of prison , and hanged them in front of Lancaster Castle.

And so I lost my family.

When I was a child, I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be warm, to wear shoes, to eat good food. I wanted someone to take care of me. That's all. My mother gave me nothing. She gave me no love. She never took care of me. Because my moth-er was a witch, my father ran away and I never knew him. My father was a rich man without a name, and I lived hungry and cold with a witch. And so I told Judge Bromley the truth about my family. Was I wrong? I don't know.

I was happy for years at Read Hall. For twenty-one years, I forgot my family. I learned to cook for the Nowell family; I worked many hours every day but I was warm and I ate good food. Every Sunday, in my best dress, I went to church; every summer I walked over Pendle Hill. I never thought about my family, because I was happy at Read Hall.

In August 1612, the guards hanged my family in front of Lancaster Castle. But their dead faces waited for me there; and a year ago, in 1633, when the guards put me in the prison in Lancaster Castle, I met them again. Day after day, I see their ugly, dead faces and hear their cold, angry voices. I think of them all the time. God is with me here, in prison. I believe that. But my dead family is with me too.

Mr Webster, from the church at Kildwick, visits me again. His blue eyes are tired, but he smiles at me.

'Edmund Robinson and his father told the truth in London.' he says quietly.' The child told lies about you be-cause he was afraid of his father. He wanted his father to love him.'

I say nothing. Mr Webster wants to be kind, but he cannot help me. Mr Nowell cannot help me because he is dead. Ed-mund Robinson is only a child; he tells lies one day, and the truth the next day. But the truth cannot help me. What can I do against hate , and lies? When Mr Nowell was alive, the Vil-lagers didn't talk about me. But when Mr Nowell died, the lies began. The villagers are all afraid of me——because my name is Device. They hate me——because my name is Device. They say I am a witch—— because my name is Device.

I come from a family of witches, but I am not a witch. No-body died because I cursed them. I never made clay pictures, I never had a cat or dog. I only wanted to live quietly at Read Hall and watch the changing skies over Pendle Hill.

When I was a child, I was always cold and hungry, and I hated my family because they were witches. In 1612, I told the truth, and the truth killed my family. Now, twenty-two years later, lies are going to kill me, here in Lancaster Castle, and I am cold and hungry again.

Mr Webster gives me bread, and I go back into the prison. I can never go back to Read Hall; I know that now. I must stay here in Lancaster Castle, with my dead family.

They are watching me, and waiting for me. I can never be free of them.

This is my true story; and I want to finish it now.


4 真相与谎言

4月27日, 看守们把我妈妈和詹姆斯带到了兰开斯特城堡, 我在里德宅院开始了新的生活。转眼间, 春天来了。天空一片湛蓝, 山上开着美丽的花朵。从里德宅院看去, 潘德尔山显得和过去有些不同:它看起来小了点, 而且它在我的生活中不再那么重要了。有时我沿着萨卜登小溪走到萨卜登村, 然后再到纽丘奇村; 我真高兴能再次靠近潘德尔山。但是我再也没有去过马尔金塔。

春去夏来, 8月份我和诺埃尔先生一起去了兰开斯特。兰开斯特离里德宅院有30英里远, 因为一连几小时坐在马背上, 我很疲惫。兰开斯特是一个大而喧闹的市镇。我以前从来没有见过那么多的人, 所以有点害怕。

8月18日, 在兰开斯特城堡开始了对潘德尔地区的巫师的审判。法官是一位从伦敦来的重要人物。由于监狱里关着许多兰开夏郡的巫师, 布罗姆利法官在那一天听取了很多人的证词。老德姆代克没有出庭, 因为在法官到达之前, 她已经在5月份死去了。

我和诺埃尔先生的用人在一起等候出庭。当看守叫到我的名字时, 我穿过一扇大门往前走去, 看见了桌子后面的法官大人。布罗姆利法官十分富有并且地位显赫, 但是他的眼睛冰冷无情。突然, 我看到了妈妈! 她又脏又瘦。当她看见我时, 她的脸变红了。当时我的头发很干净, 我还穿着鞋子和一条挺贵的裙子。我从她的眼神中看出:她恨我!

“你是女巫吗? ”布罗姆利法官问妈妈。

“不, 我不是。”我妈妈生气地回答。

“你是不是害死了巴利村的杰克·鲁滨逊? ”

“不, 我没有。”


有一小会儿, 我的妈妈一动不动。随后她跑着穿过房间, 向我大喊:“你什么也不知道, 你这个坏孩子! 我是你妈妈, 别忘了这点! ”

看守们追着我妈妈, 把她拉倒在地上。

“我不是女巫! ”妈妈喊道。“那全是谎言! 詹妮特, 你是个女巫——魔鬼的孩子! 你是我女儿, 我知道! ”

我很害怕, 用手挡住眼睛。我不想看到妈妈那张丑陋的脸。看守们把妈妈拉出了房间, 吵嚷声止住了。

“詹妮特·迪瓦斯, ”法官说, “把你母亲的真实情况告诉我们。”

罗杰·诺埃尔把我举起来, 放在法官前面的一张桌子上。

“我的妈妈是个女巫, ”我说道。“她有一个朋友, 是一条名叫鲍尔的狗。当她想杀死谁的时候, 她就告诉鲍尔……”我讲啊, 讲啊, 把一切都告诉了法官。

布罗姆利法官仔细地听着。“我的孩子, 这是真的吗? ”

“是的, ”我回答说。“我说的都是真话。”

看守们又把我妈妈带回了房间。她面带倦容, 眼睛红红的。

“伊丽莎白·迪瓦斯, 你的女儿对我们讲了你的狗鲍尔的事。另外你的儿子对我们说了泥像的事。我们什么都知道了。”

我妈妈一声不吭。她既没有看法官, 也没有看我。

接下来, 看守们把我的哥哥詹姆斯带进了房间。当我看到哥哥时, 我真想哭。詹姆斯又脏又瘦, 头发长长的。他看了看法官和房间里有钱有势的人, 哭了起来。然后, 他坐在地上。

“站起来, 詹姆斯·迪瓦斯, ”布罗姆利法官说。

看守们把詹姆斯拖了起来, 但是他又倒在了地上。

“你害死了达克沃思先生, ”布罗姆利法官说。

“我想要件衬衣, ”詹姆斯大声说。

“你哥哥是巫师吗? ”布罗姆利法官问我。

“是, ”我说。我哥哥张着嘴坐在地上。他看了我一眼, 可是没认出我来。因为我很干净、胖乎乎的, 那是由于在里德宅院吃得很好的缘故。

“詹姆斯给我讲过他的朋友丹迪的事, ”我说。“丹迪是魔鬼, 并且——”

詹姆斯听到丹迪这个名字, 又叫了起来:“我要丹迪! 我想回家! ”

看守们把他从地上拉起来, 带了出去。从此, 我再也没有见过哥哥。

当看守们把我姐姐艾丽森带到法官前面时, 我什么话都没说。小贩约翰·劳走进了房间。他变得非常瘦, 走路、说话都很缓慢, 一脸病容。他对法官讲述了那一天在科恩村附近, 艾丽森诅咒他以及她的狗追赶他的事情。

“我很抱歉! ”艾丽森说。“那天我很生你的气, 不过现在我感到抱歉。”艾丽森的眼睛黑黑的, 流露出恐惧。但是在那个房间里她没有一个朋友, 没有人肯听她的话。

后来, 诺埃尔先生把我领了出去, 我和他的用人在另外一个房间里等着。一小时后, 传来了许多人的哭嚷声。

用人笑了。“审判结束了, ”他说。“你是个好孩子, 詹妮特, 你把有关巫师们的真相告诉了法官。”

诺埃尔先生把我带回里德宅院。1612年8月20日, 看守们把我的妈妈、姐姐和哥哥押出监狱, 在兰开斯特城堡前绞死了他们。


当我还是个孩子时, 我希望过得快乐。我想穿得暖和, 想有鞋穿, 有好东西吃。我盼望有人来关心我。仅此而已。我的妈妈什么也没有给过我。她从未给过我一点爱。她从不关心我。因为妈妈是女巫, 我的父亲跑掉了, 我根本不知道他是谁。他是一个没有名字的有钱人, 而我却和女巫一起生活, 过着饥寒交迫的日子。因此, 我把我一家的真相告诉了布罗姆利法官。我错了吗? 我不知道。

在里德宅院我幸福地生活了很多年。21年来, 我忘记了我的家人。我学着为诺埃尔一家做饭; 虽然每天工作很长时间, 但是我穿得暖吃得好。每个星期天, 我穿上最好的衣服去教堂祈祷; 每年夏天我在潘德尔山上漫步。我从未想到过我的家人, 因为我在里德宅院生活得很愉快。

1612年8月, 看守们在兰开斯特城堡前绞死了我的一家。然而他们死去的面孔在那里等待着我。一年前, 也就是1633年, 看守们把我关进了兰开斯特城堡监狱。在狱中, 我又遇到了他们。日复一日, 我能看见他们丑陋的死去的面孔, 听得到他们冰冷、气愤的声音。我总是想到他们。上帝在这里, 在监狱中与我同在, 对此我深信不疑。可是我死去的一家也与我同在。

基尔德威克教堂的韦伯斯特先生又来看我了。他看上去很疲劳, 但是他向我微笑着。

“埃德蒙·鲁滨逊和他父亲在伦敦说了实话, ”他轻声说。“那个孩子过去所说的有关你的事都是扯谎, 因为他害怕他父亲。他希望父亲爱他。”

我什么也没说。韦伯斯特先生尽量和善地待我, 可是他帮不了我。诺埃尔先生也无法帮我, 因为他已经去世了。埃德蒙·鲁滨逊只是个孩子; 他今天说谎, 明天说真话, 但是真话也帮不了我。我能做什么来对抗仇恨和谎言呢? 诺埃尔先生在世时, 村民们没有议论过我。然而诺埃尔先生去世后, 谎言便开始流传起来。村民们都害怕我——因为我姓迪瓦斯。他们恨我——因为我姓迪瓦斯。他们说我是女巫——因为我姓迪瓦斯。

我来自巫师之家, 可我不是巫师。我从未咒死过任何人。我从未制作过泥像。我从未养过猫或狗。我只想在里德宅院平静地生活, 我只想凝望潘德尔山顶上那片不断变化的天空。

孩提时代, 我总是挨饿受冻, 我恨我的家人, 因为他们都是巫师。1612年, 我说了真话, 而真话害死了我的一家。22年后的今天, 谎言将使我在兰开斯特城堡中丧生, 我再次陷入了饥寒交迫的苦难中。

韦伯斯特先生给了我面包, 我又回到了牢房里。我再也无法重归里德宅院了; 现在我知道这点了。我必须呆在兰开斯特城堡监狱里, 和我死去的一家在一起。

他们正在注视着我, 等待着我, 我永远也无法摆脱他们。

这是我的真实故事; 就讲到这儿吧。

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