Fairy tale witches are mostly evil creatures, ugly, although not always, and responsible for the hero's potential downfall. They cast their spells to make the hero fall into a deep sleep or to try and lure them into their lair.
Baba Yaga - from Slavic folklore, this witch flies around in a mortar and pestle and lives in a hut that stands on chicken legs. In some stories she is supposed to have iron teeth which she gnashes together.
The Evil Queen - although not called a witch, she uses magic to try and take down Snow White by disguising herself as an old woman and offering the girl a poison apple.
Ursuala - The sea witch made a deal with Ariel, offering her legs in return for her voice. She tries to stop Ariel from getting the prince to fall in love with her. In the original tale- she succeeds.
Maleficent- technically a fairy, she does use magic to send Sleeping Beauty into a deep sleep that can only be reversed with true love's kiss.
Very few stories depict witches as good characters although this has changed in the past few years. A remake of Maleficent told a more sympathetic story. The image of the old hag is being replaced by younger women who fight against evil.
Perhaps future fairy tales will be more sympathetic to witches, but there's no denying that the originals will stay with us.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”