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The Gypsy Witch
The gypsies in the camp near Minoc tend to keep mostly to themselves, but when you visit them as much as I do, you almost become one of them. It is due to my frequent visits that they often share with me the news of the outside world that they hear during their travels - and occasionally something of interest in their own daily lives. 

As rare as it is, the gypsies were recently forced to expel one of their own number from the band. Apparently, the old woman they called Adelle was believed to be partaking in dark practices that the band disagreed with and would not allow in their camp. While it was difficult to determine how many of the rumors were superstitions and how many were fact, it was clear that this woman was no ordinary gypsy and that her knowledge of the arcane went far beyond the reading of the tarot cards. 

Adelle's main trade during her life with the gypsy band had been the dispensing of cures. She was very good with her chosen profession and it was said that she could create a cure for anything. Most often those who dared to seek her cures were concerned family members of someone ill beyond the care of an ordinary healer - often a parent or a sibling who would pay any price to return the health of a loved one. Adelle's cures were never heard to fail. 

For this, the gypsies may have commended Adelle if not for their awesome fear of her. None of them could give any clear explanation to why they were afraid of the woman, except that she was simply a woman of dark powers - strangely powerful despite the apparent frailty of her body. Even the oldest of the elders in the gypsy camp recalled daring their friends to enter Adelle's tent in their childhood games. They had called her an old witch even then. 

None of the gypsies in the band had ever dared seek one of Adelle's cures for their own loved ones. It was always said that her prices were far beyond what anyone should be willing to pay and it seemed these prices must rarely be paid in gold, for she had perhaps the most decrepit of all the tents in the camp. Stories told and retold throughout the years suggested that bad things often happened to those who received a cure from Adelle. 

One day a man came to the camp with a convincing story. He told that he was orphaned as a child as a result of the price his mother had paid to cure a strange magical illness that had befallen him from sources unknown. He claimed Adelle had somehow cursed his mother and that he had watched her weaken more and more every day until she died. 

With the fear the elders and all others of the band had of Adelle and for all the other similar stories they had heard over the years, they decided to ban her from their camps. The elders still tremble when they recall the woman's eyes when she was told of their decision and they cannot help but wonder if they shall find that Adelle has cursed their kin in the years to come. 

Those gypsies who have traveled since Adelle's expulsion have heard rumor that she has taken up residence in the foul swamps north of Britain. A good place for her, all have said, for the creatures of the swamps are not nearly so fearsome as she. 

Published: March 2001
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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