Attitudes to witches

Charles Butler hannibal at
Wed Feb 25 04:39:10 EST 2004

> >Who was the first "good witch" in literature? the
> >earliest I can think of is in Baum. Are there any
> >earlier?
> Baum.  !900?
> I think good witches were usually called "wise women"
> in for instance Perrault and Grimm and Lang.  Either
> that or both sorts were called "fairy", good or bad:
> the good ones quite often show up disguised as old
> women who ask for help, then suddenly turn into a
> beautiful fairy when the youngest son has been a kind
> boy and carried their shopping.

This is a bit of a stretch, but perhaps Baba Yaga might count, at least on
some occasions? Normally of course she's evil, but I remember reading at
least a few stories where she helps out the protagonist with gifts, advice,
or by killing their unpleasant relatives.

But then maybe she's more of a goddess than a witch?


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