Everyone in their neighborhood feared an elderly woman and avoided her because they believed she was a witch. However, one day a little boy peeked inside her house, which changed the lives of several people forever.
When 6-year-old Jason and his mother Catherine moved to the countryside, all of their neighbors warned them to stay away from the house in their neighborhood where 87-year-old Terri lived.
Terri's neighbors suspected she was a witch, and they had several examples to show Catherine that they had not been wrong in accusing the elderly woman of being a bad omen.
Everyone avoided Terri's house | Photo: Shutterstock
Mrs. Bennet, the neighborhood's old gossip, claimed her cat was hit by a car the day after she saw Terri feed the cat milk, and Mrs. Jones, Terri's next-door neighbor, claimed there was a massive fire at their farm after Terri visited it one day.
Some of the rumors from the neighbors even suggested that Terri was a cannibal who would feed on children.
So, after hearing her neighbors' stories, Catherine began to believe the old woman was a witch and told Jason to stay away from her.
"You need to listen to mommy, honey," she'd said. "You should never visit the old lady's house. She is a bad woman who eats children. Her house is filthy on the inside, and she has a large vessel in which she cooks children."
When his mother said that, little Jason was terrified. As a result, he obeyed his mother and avoided the house like a good child. But one evening changed everything...
Jason disappeared one evening | Photo: Pexels
Jason and the other kids in the neighborhood were playing when their ball rolled into the forest that connected one suburb to another. Because Jason had failed to catch the ball, the other kids told him to go get it.
Jason ran into the forest searching for the ball, but when he couldn't find it, he continued to walk deeper and deeper inside. It was snowing, and the entire area was engulfed in snow, so Jason couldn't see clearly and eventually couldn't find the ball.
He resolved to look for it another day, but when he turned around to leave, he couldn't find his way out. He was somewhere in the middle of a dense forest, and all he could see around him was snow.
The little boy continued walking in one direction until he came to a road that led to another suburb. But he couldn't recognize his surroundings and burst into tears.
"Mommy, please help me!" He sobbed, looking around for help, but nobody appeared in close sight, so he kept walking, sobbing and wiping his tears, and reached a shabby old house a few minutes later.
The house looked old and scary, but Jason was freezing in the cold, so he decided to knock on the door. "Hello? Can you please help me?" he asked in a teary voice.
Terri came to Jason's rescue | Photo: Pexels
The door opened a few moments later, and a fragile woman appeared from inside. She looked at Jason, perplexed, and gently asked, "Hi there, young man. What's your name? What are you doing here so late?"
Jason looked up at her, teary-eyed, and said, "I'm Jason. I'm lost. Can you please help me find my home? Mommy will be worried about me!"
"Hi Jason, I'm Terri," the woman replied. "I can take you home, but how about you come inside first? It's snowing, and you might get cold."
Jason got scared when he heard the lady's name, and he turned around to leave. "No, I don't want to come in. You will cook me in the large vessel. You are a witch! Mommy told me not to come here!"
When the old lady heard that, she burst out laughing. "Oh, so you're the little boy who moved into my neighborhood? Don't worry, I'm not a witch. The neighbors say that because they don't like me."
Terri gave her scarf to Jason | Photo: Pexels
Jason quickly moved away from her. "No, go away! Mommy said you eat children. I'm not going home with you!"
"Well, Jason," Terri went on, "your mother said that because she listened to the other neighbors. I am not going to harm you."
Jason wanted to leave Terri's house as soon as possible, but then he realized he had no other way to reach home. So he came up with a plan.
"You walk ahead of me, and I will follow. If you try to harm me, I will run away. I watch crime shows, and I am smart."
Terri gave the boy a gentle smile and wrapped her scarf around his neck. "It's cold, and you need to stay warm if you're going to catch criminals. Don't fall ill."
"Mommy also gives me her scarf when it's cold," Jason said after a brief pause. "You are like mommy. You are not bad."
"Of course not, Jason. Would you like to have some hot chocolate first? We can make it together!" Terry proposed, moving her hand forward to the little boy to hold it. Jason smiled at her as he held her hand and followed the elderly lady inside.
The two walked to Terri's kitchen, where they prepared hot chocolate together, and Terri brought the boy some cookies to eat.
Terri had several trophies at her home | Photo: Pexels
While Jason was at Terri's house, he was surprised to see it was nothing like his mother had described it to him.
It was well-lit, and there was a large shelf piled high with medals and trophies in the living room. There was some dirt here and there, but it wasn't too bad. And most importantly, there was no large vessel to cook kids!
"Wow!" Jason stated as he gazed at the shelf containing her trophies. "Are these yours?"
"Yes, Jason," Terri said. "Now finish the cookies and hot chocolate fast, and then we can go see your mother."
"Okay!" The boy smiled as he sipped his hot chocolate and ate some cookies. Meanwhile, Terri brought a warm sweater for him and told him to wear it. "Wear this before we leave, Jason. It's cold outside."
The boy thanked her for the sweater, and the two left for Jason's house.
Terri accompanied Jason home | Photo: Pexels
It took them 20 minutes to get to Jason's house that evening. However, Catherine wasn't happy to see her at the doorstep. "Oh my god! That's where you were, Jason? Why did you go to her house? I was very concerned, honey. I even informed the cops, and they were on the lookout for you everywhere. The kids said you went to the forest."
"I did, mommy," Jason said. "But I was lost. Then I met Terri. She is like you, mommy. She gave me a scarf, as well as cookies and hot chocolate!"
"I'm sorry, ma'am," Terri apologized. "I could have brought the boy home sooner, but it was cold, so I brought him inside."
"All right," Catherine said sternly. "I appreciate you bringing him home. We won't bother you again!" And then slammed the door in Terri's face.
"It's all right, ma'am," Terri mumbled to herself before walking away.
However, the next day there was a knock at her door. When she answered it, she discovered Jason and Catherine standing there. "Sorry, I didn't thank you properly, Terri. I was a little scared, and then the neighbors..."
Jason and Catherine paid Terri a visit. | Photo: Pexels
"Don't worry. Please come in!" Terri responded and showed them inside. She offered Catherine tea and brought milk and cookies for Jason.
"Oh, you didn't need to do all of this," Catherine said, embarrassed. "I just came to apologize to you, Terri. I shouldn't have been so mean to you."
"Don't worry. I'm used to people being impolite to me. They think I'm a witch, but I'm just an old lady waiting for God to take me home."
"I'm sorry, Terri," Catherine said. "I spoke with Jason last night, and he told me you were very nice to him. He also kept mentioning your medals, which made me wonder why someone as talented as you is looked down upon by others. I know it's none of my business, but I was a bit curious to learn more about you." Catherine said, looking around Terri's home, which featured several photographs of a couple and their children.
"Well, let's just say it's a long story. It all began when...." Terri said as she began her story.
It turned out she used to be a famous ballerina with a lovely family of two children and a caring husband. However, when they all died in a flight crash, Terri was devastated.
Terri used to be a famous ballerina | Photo: Pexels
She quit everything and became an alcoholic. She squandered all of her money at that point, and when she ran out of savings and couldn't afford to live in the city, she relocated to the countryside, where she began working on her farm to make ends meet.
However, because she was quiet and didn't speak much to anyone, she was labeled a recluse and, later, a witch.
"I agree that I didn't interact with the neighbors, but that's just how I am. I don't blame them for speaking ill of me," Terri finished.
Catherine's heart sank when she learned Terri's story. She felt terrible for the poor woman and began spending time with her in order to relieve her loneliness. It took some time, but it eventually worked.
Terri began to enjoy spending time with Jason, who started affectionately referring to her as Grandma, and Terri's neighbors who had been afraid of her began to associate with her.
Everything changed as a result of one fateful day, and Terri is now very much a part of everything that happens in the neighborhood.
What can we learn from this story?
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