Child Accused for witchcraft and KILLED! A story back in the late 1600s

I’ve been reading this book by Paula Hawkins-Into The Water, and in the book, they talk about a specific lake near a small town in the book they call the “drowning pool,” It all started with a young girl and her grandmother in late 1600, accused of using witchcraft because they used herbs and plants as a form of medicine,
Let me share with you a story about Libby Seeton.

Libby 1679

Yesterday they said tomorrow, so that’s today now. She knows it won’t be long. They’ll come to take her to the water, to swim her. She wants it to come, wills it to come, it cant come soon enough. She’s tired of feeling so dirty, of the itch on her skin. Knows it won’t really help with the sores, putrid now and smelling bad. She needs elderberry, or marigold maybe, she’s not sure what would be best, or wether it’s too late to do anything at all. Aunt May would know, but she’s gone now, swung from a gibbet these eight months past.

Libby likes the water, loves the river though she’s afraid of the deep. It’ll be cold enough to freeze her now, but at least it’ll take the insects from her skin. They shaved her when they first arrested her, but the hair’s grown back a bit now, and there are things crawling everywhere, burrowing into her, she feels them in her ears, at the corners of her eyes and in between her legs. She scratches until she bleeds. It’ll be good to have all that washed away, the smell of the blood, of herself.

They come in the morning. Two men, young, rough-handed, rough-mouthed, she’s felt their fists before. No more though, they’re careful about that, because they heard what the man said, the one who saw her in the forest, her legs spread and the Devil between them. They laugh and slap, but they’re afraid of her, too, and in any case, she’s not much to look at these days.

She wonders, will he be there ti watch her, and what will he think? He thought her beautiful once, but now her teeth are rotting, and her skin is mottles blue and purple as though she were half dead already. They take her to the Beckford, where the river turns sharp around the cliff and then runs slow and deep. This is where she’ll swim.

It is autumn, a cold wind blowing, but the sun is bright and so she feels ashamed, stripped there in the bright light before all the men and women of the village. She thinks she can hear them gasp, in horror or surprise, at what’s become of lovely Libby Seeton.

She’s bound with ropes thick and rough enough to bring bright, fresh blood to her wrists. Just her arms. Legs left free. Then they tie a rope around her waist, so that should she sink, they can bring her back again.

When they take her to the river’s edge, she turns and looks for him. The children scream then, thinking she’s turning the curse on them, and the men push her into the water. The cold takes all of her breath. One of the men has a pole and he shoves it at her back, pressing her on and on and on until she cannot stand. She slips down into the water.

She sinks.

The cold is so shocking that she forgets where she is. She opens her mouth to gasp and sucks in black water, she starts to choke, she struggles, she kicks with her legs, but she’s disoriented, no longer feels the riverbed beneath her feet. The rope pulls hard at her, biting into her waist, ripping her skin. When they drag her into the bank, she is crying.

“Again!”

Someone is calling for a second ordeal.

“She sank!” a women’s voice cries. “She’s no witch, she’s just a child.”

“Again! Again!”

The men bind her again for the second ordeal. Different this time: left thumb to right toe, right thumb to left. The rope around her waist. This time they carry her into the water.

“Please,” she starts to beg, because she’s not sure that she can face it again, the blackness and the cold. She wants to go back to a home that no longer exists, to a time when she and her aunt sat in front of the fire and told stories to each other. She wants to be in her bed in their cottage, she wants to be little again, to breathe in woodsmoke and rose and the sweet warmth of her aunt’s skin.

“Please.”

She sinks. By the time they drag her out the second time, her lips are the blue of a bruise, and her breath is gone for good.

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

This was just a little piece of the book I wanted to share with you guys that I thought was fascinating the way she wrote her story so vividly. Love love loved this I hope you guys have an awesome day!!

xoxo -Brittany ❤

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