The Witch and the Devil

Just before being nice was invented there was a rather pretty girl called Gurlina, who everyone in the world hated. No matter where she went she was ridiculed, taunted, and even punched. She wasn’t sure why; she certainly never did anything to provoke anyone.  Maybe it’s because I have freckles? But others had freckles so that couldn’t be it, she thought. Maybe it’s because I have bad vision? But others had bad vision too, so she knew that couldn’t be it.

She stared in the mirror all day trying to find out what it was about her that everyone hated so much, but she could find nothing. Little did she know that this was a time when being mean was entertainment.

Before long Gurlina could bear it no more and ran far away where she hoped never to see people again. She found a little wooded grove on the edge of a cliff where the sun never shines completely. There she built a small cottage and braced herself for a long life of isolation. However, as people were so fond of hating, they tracked her down and organized special tours to go to her cottage and torment her with insults and play mean tricks on her and laugh at her. This made her cry, which made everyone laugh even more.

Gurlina found it very hard to eat and sleep at night and even harder during the day. Soon her heart became heavy and she wished nothing more than to do harm to all those that had done harm to her. She was desperate. ‘Perhaps that is the only way to make people leave me alone,’ she decided.

But she did not know how to be mean, as she was a good person. She practiced frowning and throwing out random insults in front of the mirror, but it only made her laugh and want to apologize to the mirror, as if it were a real person who might take offense. Being mean was harder than she thought. She read books on meanness before realizing only the devil could help, as being mean was his area of expertise. So she prayed for him to come and teach her how to be mean like everyone else.

However, it isn’t enough to pray to the devil, one must also do strange things that will get his attention. The strangest thing Gurlina could think to do was sing through her nose and chew her food with her ears.

Finally after what seemed like an unusually long and unnecessary amount of time the devil strolled into her cottage and stared at Gurlina in disgust. She was just too nice.

‘I-I am so terribly sorry for bothering you, but I-I-I need you to do me a favor, good sir,” Gurlina stammered. ‘I beg you to make me mean, evil and capable of doing bad things to other people. I suppose I want you to make me a witch.’

‘And you want to be a witch so you can taste the delicious fruits of revenge I suppose?’ the devil scoffed.

Gurlina hesitated and blushed. The devil took note of her uncertainty and looked questioningly at her. Then she nodded as if her mind was made up. ‘Yes. Really, I just want people to leave me alone. I suppose the only way to do that is to do bad things to them.’

‘And what will I get in return?’ the devil asked.

‘A faithful servant.’

‘Ha,’ the devil laughed. ‘I already have 99 billion servants. I hardly think one more will make a difference.’ Of course one more made a difference, but the devil was hardly one to reveal his hand.

‘I will sell you my soul then,’ Gurlina said.

‘But that is how I would make you mean to begin with. So not only would I be giving you what you wanted but also paying you for giving it to you. That will not do. Either you think I am a fool or you are very naïve. Do you not know what the work of the devil truly is and why I am feared by my 99 billion servants?’

‘I–’ Gurlina began. ‘I’m not so naïve as everyone likes to think I am.’

‘So you think I am a fool,’ roared the devil. ‘Well, let me show you my true nature. You will fear me. You want me to make you mean? You want me to make you clever and heartless so you can take revenge on all the people who have hurt you? Well, let me show you what it means to make a deal with the devil.’

And so the devil did the exact opposite the girl wanted him to do and made the ‘witch’ even nicer and smarter than she had been before.

Gurlina was about to protest when she realized that this was a good deed the devil had done, and now that she was at least as clever as the devil, she didn’t want to let on how happy she was. ‘But this is not what I wanted,’ she said.

‘I know. Feel the full wrath of evil,’ the devil roared with laughter before leaving her.

So because Gurlina was ten times nicer than before, she attracted many curious tourists. As a result, there were many legends of niceness floating about in the world. Within a few years, she opened a school to teach people how to be nice and since then being nice has spread over the world like wildfire, though there are spots where people know nothing about it. However, maybe that’s just gossip.