The two teenage girls were walking home slowly from school. They were the best of friends.
The Catt Box
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The Secret Of The Gypsy Witch Basket!
This is the only one of these baskets I made like this. All of my display baskets are completely one of a kind.
They had a slumber party planned for the weekend and it was all they could talk about. It was Friday, school was out, the weather was incredible, and they couldn't have been more excited about the fun they were anticipating.
As they giggled over their Slam Books and discussed the music that would be played on Saturday night, the girls saw something peculiar peeking from under a large gathering of bushes.
It looked like a small wicker suitcase.
Indeed, it was a small wicker suitcase...it measured about 14 inches long, 4 1/2 inches wide, and 4 1/2 inches tall.
They immediately rushed over to inspect the 'odd find'. They could tell it was full of interesting things....but who left it there? Where did it come from? Who did it belong to?
The two girls sat right down and decided to take a look inside. Perhaps the basket would give a hint as to the identity of the rightful owner.
They were hesitant as they slowly opened the lid of the well-made wicker basket. The first thing they experienced was a rush of wonderful scents rising from inside the basket. It was practically intoxicating with delicious aromas.
The girls were astonished to see the contents of the basket. They knew immediately that the basket belonged to the local Gypsy Witch.
But why was it left in the bushes?
Did she leave it there?
Did someone harm her and leave her basket behind in haste?
It was as though the girls discovered the Holy Grail itself. They could have sworn that the basket gave off a glow as they peered inside at all the dozens of treasures.
This was the secret basket of the Gypsy Witch.
It was very scary to have this personal basket in their possession, but they couldn't help themselves, they HAD to explore it's contents.
They took note of the black handmade card that was laying beside the basket. Perhaps it was some sort of a greeting card that the Gypsy Witch gave to her clients. Maybe it was some sort of advertisement for her 'services'.
The girls also took note of the way the basket was lined with fabric and handstitched into place.
On the top of the basket lid was a black cushioned area. It was full of tiny treasures such as two buttons that were bound together with heavy string. They were made of real bone and the hardened 'marrow' could still be seen in the centers.
They shuddered at the thought.
The girls also noticed that the 'tucking' on the black velvet cushion was made of tiny bone skulls. One of the girls giggled and remarked that the cushion had been 'skull tucked'.
The other odd bits of jewelry consisted of a wooden cross, a ball-and-claw charm, a half-moon charm, and an unusual metal piece that looked like a mask with arms and legs. And when they touched it, the legs move back and forth.
They also noticed a cluster of three glass vials with silver tops. Each small vial was filled with something, but the girls had no idea what any of it was.
They assessed that the vials were filled with something 'vile'.
Again they giggled.
They were delighted to see the beautiful blue glazed ceramic half-moon urn with the cork top. It was tied to the cushion with a black ribbon. They wondered at it's contents, but didn't dare to open the urn to find out.
Next on the lid of the basket was a gathering of cards and a photograph. It was a picture of a small girl, and it was obviously an 'older looking' picture. Who was the little girl? Was it the Gypsy Witch as a child? Was it a family member or a childhood friend?
Whoever it was, she had to be very dear to the Gypsy Witch.
The cards were held in place by a green and gold ribbon that was printed with moons and suns. The cards were of tattered diagrams for palm reading.
On the other side of the lid of the basket was an old painted flower. The girls could only guess as to why the Gypsy Witch kept it.
It could have been from a lover from long ago. It could have been from the grave of a loved one. Perhaps it was used in making spells and charms.
Now it was time for the girls to dig deeper into the secret basket. They moved the black crocheted scarf from over-top the contents.
They marveled at the four small dolls.
The larger doll was made of stained muslin and was just over 6 inches tall. It was wearing a muslin dress with a metal heart stitched into place. And draped over the entire doll was a piece of aged gauze tied with jute. They could only guess it was a doll used in making charms for love and romance.
Then there was a smaller doll made of corn husks. It was about 5 inches tall. Perhaps it was used in charms for gardening and crop success.
There was also a small brown knit doll that was just shy of 4 1/2 inches tall, and an even small doll that was made of wood. It had been painted black and distressed.
Next, the girls inspected the tiny black shoe pincushion that was made from a Netty LaCroix pattern. It was in the shape of a shoe. It had two very tiny spools of thread that dangled off the back of the shoe, and a tiny jingle bell that was sewn onto the toe section.
Other interesting oddities included two small red candles, bound with aged string, and a beautiful maroon bag filled with wonderful smelling potpourri. The bottom of the bag, as well as the tie ends, were decorated with tiny beads leaves.
There was also a yellow maraca, a tiny cardboard box with the image of a black crow on the top of the box, a gathering of 'poison' labels that were held together by a wooden clip, and a tiny envelope of old postage stamps.
The girls was amazed at the countries the stamps represented. They wondered who the Gypsy Witch knew in all these foreign lands. Why did she save only the stamps? Why didn't she save the letters they came from?
Exploring the contents of the secret basket was making the Gypsy Witch more of a mystery. It wasn't revealing anything about who she really was.
Then, very carefully, the girls handled the special vials. One of the vials was taller and had a green and white checked fabric tied to the top. It contained tea leaves. There was little doubt as to what she used the tea leaves for.
They also saw a small amber vial of Belladonna. And the top of the bottle was decorated with black lace and black flowers. One of the girls mentioned the fact that it's also referred to as Nightshade. They were quick to place the deadly bottle back into place in the basket.
The girls noticed a deck of Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling cards. They were still sealed....brand new.
Just then they noticed a small picture frame with a picture of a very beautiful woman. Who was she? Was she the Gypsy Witch herself, as a young woman?
Then the girls saw a VERY interesting small wooden box that had been painted black and distressed. On the lid was a very old picture of some kittens and a puppy.
They opened the box and peered inside. There were so many tiny trinkets and curiosities. The girls were sure that each tiny treasure meant something special to the Gypsy Witch. Maybe she used these things for her charms and spells.
The girls never did find out why the basket had been abandoned in the bushes. No one ever saw the Gypsy Witch again. It's anyone's guess as to what really happened to her, where she went, or why she left her basket of secrets and treasures behind.
The legend of the Gypsy Witch lives on within her most prized possession...her basket of secrets, treasures, and the instruments of her craft. They need to be kept together, intact, and in a home where they'll be loved and on display in honor of The Gypsy Witch.
There are a few other treasures that I didn't photograph. I wanted to make the basket even more fun and surprising to inspect.
Copyright © December 24, 2003 Cathy Palmer-Scruggs / Catt Alexander
Special thanks to Brenda, Bonnie, Mal, Annie, Connie, and another extra special thanks to Heidi for a little 'inspiration'.
Another super special thanks to eBay seller imosh for the tiny skull cross, claw and ball, and half moon charms .
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My dolls are not for everyone, they are my art. If you are offended, I suggest you hit the back button. It will not do you any good to write me 'hate mail'.
In spite of the dolls I create and the stories I write, I do not use recreational drugs, I don't smoke cigarettes, and I don't even drink alcoholic beverages.. I out-grew a lot of things a long time ago.