The countryside was bright with all the colors of the trees. Fall was in the air. Maple trees were displaying their wide fan-like leaves with reds, yellows and orange colors. All the other trees were shedding their coats of leaves browns getting ready for the winter season. Pecan trees hung heavy with nuts and squirrels were taking good advantage of this time. All forms of wildlife were stocking up on food supplies for winter when food would be very scarce.
A small whisper of smoke could be seen coming from Eldora’s wood-framed shanty. The cooler morning made it necessary for a little heat until the sun became full enough to warm the air. Eldora sat in a wooden rocking chair knitting her a winter shawl. She had learned how to make things for herself rather than paying the prices in most of the stores nearby. Eldora was known by all around the state as one of the most wicked of all witches. The authorities had not been able to catch her doing anything and had little evidence with which to prosecute her. She was a very sneaky and sly old woman. So sly was she that she could walk into a store with her shawl around her and come out with many items tucked all about herself. This was another reason she didn’t have to purchase things for herself. She just simply took things that did not belong to her.
Not only did Eldora steal things but she also stole cats. She adored cats and if she saw one anywhere and took a notion she would cast a spell upon the cat. Then she would simply call the cat and it would come to her following her home. She had hundreds living in the woods behind her house. At night you could hear them screaming and howling as if they were in horrible fights.
Now there was this little girl named Dorothy who had a very small baby lamb that her grandmother had given to her. She totally adored Cuddles and took a great deal of time brushing her curly white coat. Every day she took Cuddles for a walk allowing her to nibble on fresh fruits that grew nearby. At night Cuddles was allowed to sleep in Dorothy’s bedroom. Dorothy was totally responsible for taking her out to do her business on a regular basis. All was well and Dorothy was a very happy little girl.
The news soon came to Eldora about the precious little lamb. Even the editor of a newspaper came out to Dorothy’s house to take pictures of Cuddles for his newspaper. Now this was much more than Dorothy could handle. She must have the lamb for herself.
So one night while Dorothy was sleeping, Eldora cast a spell upon her sending her into a very deep sleep that would last for hours. This gave Eldora time to sneak into the bedroom and take the little lamb to her house without being seen.
When Dorothy awoke she could not find Cuddles anywhere and became hysterical. She cried until she began to throw up. Days went by and Dorothy could not eat. The doctors were called but Dorothy withdrew into a shell and would not speak. Her parents were so distraught they offered a handsome reward to anyone who could find Cuddles and bring her home. The men in the community decided to band together and go from house to house looking for the precious lamb.
In the meantime Eldora kept Cuddles inside her shanty. If Cuddles tried to leave Eldora would cast an evil spell upon her. So Cuddles was helpless against the evil witch and began to starve to death. Eldora would look over at the tiny lamb and cackle with laughter. “I’ll use your wool and make me a nice hat for this winter. I will shave your hair off down to the skin and it will be too cold for you to run away. Then you will have to stay here.” She threw her head back and cackled feverishly thinking she had once again taken something valuable from someone else. Now it belonged to her.
Closer and closer the men got to the area in which Eldora lived. It was about dusk and Eldora had a small lantern burning near the window. The men stood among the trees trying to keep from being seen. Then one man decided to go peek into the window to see if he could see anything. Slowly he moved closer and closer to the shanty. At last he came to the window and peered inside. There on the floor was Cuddles. Her hair had been shaved completely off. This sent chills of anger across the man’s body. How could anyone shave a little lamb when it was soon to be very cold weather? He motioned for the other men to silently surround the cabin. Within seconds they burst inside the doors. Eldora’s eyes became wide with fury. How dare they come and break down the doors to her house.
“I’ll turn every one of you into frogs just you wait and see!” She squealed.
“I don’t think you will have time you old bat. We are going to teach you a very good lesson right now!” One man shouted to Eldora.
Three men took Eldora outside and tied her to a tree. Several others brought tar and began painting her all over. They even poured it on her long hair and head. When they had finished this, they took feathers and stuck feathers all over her body. She looked like a chicken with no head.
“Now we will wait till morning and we will carry you down the streets of town. Everyone will know who the thief is.” He laughed. “The last laugh will be on you my dear Eldora. Maybe you will think twice before you take something else that doesn’t belong to you!” He pointed his finger in Eldora’s face.
So it came to be that the next morning Eldora was put in a wagon and sat in the middle of town for all to see. The baby lamb was returned to its owner who was overcome with joy.
At the end of the day Eldora was untied and told to either leave the state or be killed. She chose to leave and leave she did. With a nod of her head she simply disappeared into thin air and was never seen again.
Where did Eldora go? Did she go to another town nearby or did she go the YOUR town. No one knows for sure what happened to Eldora. You can bet your bottom dollar she will never forget being tarred and feathered though.
Taking things that are not yours is a very bad thing to do and breaks the laws our officers try to enforce.
People have been tarred and feathered to this very day as a way of keeping crime from getting out of control.
So there is always good and there is always evil. Let’s all work together to keep crime to a minimum. You do your part and God will bless us all!
Question: Why does a person steal?
Written by Sybil Shearin
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