Mad Bessie, the Worst Witch

“Jings, but they’re no’ very nice tae auld Bessie in this toon. No nice at a’!

They set her feet on fire, ye ken! I mean...that’s no’ friendly, is it?

Maister Norris, the Magistrate, he says it was on account o’ Auld Bessie bein’ a Witch. “Thou shalt not suffer a witch tae live!” he says. He said a lot o’ thing like that did Maister Norris. Bessie canny remember maist o’ them, though...she wasnae really listenin’.Mad Bessie

Somebody’d just set fire to her feet, after a'. That kind o’ thing can be quite distractin’!

“You are charged”, they says, “Wae tryin’ tae kill a bitch in heat, tae use its liver for a charm!”

Jings! Bessie widnae dae that! I mean who wants a boggin’ thing like that bobbin’ frae their bracelet?

“Bessie Stivenson!” He says “You must be put tae the test!” An he took a long thin blade – a bare bodkin it was called – and poked Old Bessie with it. ‘Cos they say that when a witch is pricked no blood will flow or pain be felt!

Nae blood?

It was scooshin’ oot all ower the place, so it was. Ower the walls, the floor…a’ ower Mister Norris as well. Old Bessie tel’t him, so she did: “That’ll leave a mark!”

So Maister Norris he says “Shuttit! It’s a witch’s trick. Just you wait ‘til ye see my Pilniewinks!” he says Saucy swine! Bessie's a good girl, so she is!

“Ho-ho!” he says, locks Bessie’s legs in a muckle big cage, an’ hoisks her ower a burnin’ brazier. Waxin’ was the least o’ Auld Bessie’s problems, I tell ye! “Ye’ll confess noo!” Says Norris. “For ‘twas good King James hissel that brought this fine device frae Denmark – a weddin’ present from his faither in law!”

Gettin' a Toaster for a weddin' present became quite a tradition, after that!

Then they put The Boot on Auld Bessie – a muckle big metal thingie it was, that clamped ower her feet. – an’ they tightened a’ the gears so that it slowly squeezed an’ squelched an’ squished her toes til’ they swell’d up a’ purple an’ popped like…well…wee purple poppy things!

Now, I ken whit ye’re thinkin’!

“Bessie” ye’re thinkin’ “did it never occur to you to just tell them that you WEREN’T a witch?”

Well o’ course it did, I mean…does Auld Bessie look daft, or somethin’? They just didnae seem very interested, tae be honest. But Old Bessie was too clever for them then, Oh aye!…Aye! I tel’t them I WAS guilty. Ha! They didnae expect that, I can tell ye!

Mind you…that was when they set my feet on fire!

Jings! Maybe Auld Bessie’d better hotfoot it oot o’ here afore they come back for her!”


Monologue taken from Stirling GhostWalk 2006

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