The Witch of the Woodlands

..or The Cobbler’s New Translation, a fairy tale of adventures by L.P. published in 1655, starring Robin the Cobbler who, shall we say puts it about a bit in his village and is punished by the local witches, although it does have a happy ending. On the front page we see Robin confronting a witch. He wears a rather battered hat and what looks like a sleeveless doublet over a shirt with a workman’s apron on top. The witch (we know she’s a witch because of her pointy coif and what I assume is a broomstick in her left hand) has petticoat and waistcoat over the top. The group in the background are the girls he left “with child”. More pointy coifs.

In the next chapter, Robin begins to regret his actions upon the girls of the village and cries out:  “I would that my Father had never begot me, then should I never have begotten so many wenches with childe; or else I would that some honest Sow-gelder had done his office upon me”. Hence this rather gruesome image, though rest assured it was all a dream!

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