MADAM HUNSICKER’S FINISHING ACADEMY FOR YOUNG HAGS
“Les araignées vous observent” -- Est. 1948HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL:
In 1942, Madam Ariadne Hunsicker, disguised as the rear end of a horse, infiltrated a German munitions factory, with the result that a large-scale bombing mission over the Southeast of England dropped shells full of soft cheese and fruit compote, instead of explosive ordnance, in the battle remembered today as Blintzkrieg. The most amazing part of her feat was that the Italian clown in the front half of the horse costume knew nothing of Madam Hunsicker’s mission.
Madam Hunsicker was awarded the Order of the Brazen Brassiere in recognition of this mission and her many other valiant contributions to the wizarding war effort — an honor only six other witches earned in the last century, most of them posthumously (e.g., Lily Potter).
Following the war, Madam Hunsicker was reduced to mending robes and hats in a sweatshop on Wizard’s Wharf. Most of her coworkers were destitute hags with a hopeless addiction to eating children. Moved with pity, Madam Hunsicker pawned her Brazen Brassiere in 1948 to make the first payment on her finishing academy for young hags. Since then, the academy has grown and flourished, bringing hope, refinement, vocational skills, and heavy cosmetics to generation after generation of hags. Many of her graduates currently hold careers in civil service, theatre, education (mainly the sport department), and the military, and a few have married quite successfully.
COURSES OF STUDY:
Here young hags learn skills that will enable them to keep a decent, well-appointed home within reasonable means, and that may also lead to a regular job with a living wage.
Cooking classes provide recipes for family dining, as well as entertaining guests, all of them tasty and nutritious alternatives to eating children. Students progress from sculpting onions, sharp cheese, and turnips into child-shaped tortes, to such creative classics as: mock-urchin soup; gingerbread tykes; fish fingers, wrists, and elbows; piggies in blankets; boneless-flour bread; steak and kid-knee pudding; littlest-angel-food cake; and roast lamb (really lamb, mind) with baby corn, baby carrots, and baby onions.
Sewing classes teach young hags to mend clothes and to create a unique look for themselves and, perhaps, for others. Some of the often-used designs include bouncy shoes (providing anything from a spring in one’s step to the ability to clear tall buildings with a single bound); backscratching smallclothes; shapechanging robes (just in case someone else shows up wearing the same design); pockets that seal themselves against anyone but the wearer; and much, much more. Special emphasis is placed on alternatives to wearing skins stolen from living people.
Then there are basic housekeeping classes, covering such topics as: “How to visit your vault at Gringotts without having an irresistable urge to bite a goblin”; “How to keep your floor clean without falling back on the old house-built-on-chicken-feet tactic”; “Entertaining banshees without causing the neighbors to complain”; “Dental hygiene for hags, or People want to see your smile, not smell it”; and “Understanding the Estate Market, or Why Live in a Hole in the Side of a Cliff When Your Realtor Can Find Something Convenient to Tesco’s.”
In addition to Home Wiccanomics, Madam Hunsicker’s Academy provides a second emphasis on refining the physical grace and coordination of young hags. Topics include: “How to enjoy a moonlight swim without forcibly drowning other people”; “Fly on that broom and leave the mortar and pestle at home”; “Gliding is all very well, but dancing is another thing altogether”; “Sports you can play without breaking bones,” and “Riding is for horses, not sleeping people.”
Finally, no young hag’s education can be truly finished without at least a taste of some the cultural heritage they share with other beings. Here the topics include: “Not just hagiography: significant hag contributions to history”; “Reading the Baba Yaga Codex in its original language”; “Black Annis, Peg Powler, and Jenny Greenteeth: Freudian interpretations”; “Cailleach and the hag’s positive contributions to religion and literature”; “Elocution and Conversation: how veiled cursing can be just as much fun as the literal kind, but not as socially isolating”; “Penmanship and composition: the hemoglobin content of your ink isn’t the only key to powerful writing”; “Coloratura banshees: hag music can be beautiful”; and “Socially acceptable art: maximizing the clothes and minimizing the naughty bits.”
Students are housed in clean, fireproof dormitory with arrow-slit windows and a heavily barred door. Uniforms, materials, and nutritious (people-free) meals are provided at a reasonable cost. Next of kin will be notified in the event that your bunkmate kills you. By applying to Madam Hunsicker’s Academy, you indemnify said Academy against all damages including loss of life, limb, sanity, or one or more eyeballs.
HOW TO APPLY:
Send an owl to Madam Hunsicker, stating in writing what you hope to accomplish with a finishing-school education. Remember to write your name and address on the letter. And please realize that if you pull the owl’s feathers, your message will not be delivered. Tuition will be negotiated upon acceptance of your application. A term of custodial or clerical service may be accepted in lieu of financial remuneration.
+++ DOUBLE CHALLENGE FOR TMQ #118 +++
To help choose the direction of the next few chapters of The Magic Quill, visit the Discussion Forum, or send Robbie feedback. The survey answer with the most votes, and the contest entry (or entries) Robbie likes best, will be featured in the chapter after next.
SURVEY: What couple of Magic Quill characters should get married?
CONTEST: Why did Sid Shmedly smell so bad when he duelled with Spanky in TMQ #112?
[Originally posted 4/1/07]