“Proof That Sister Greeley Is a Witch (Even Though Mormons Don’t Believe in Witches)” by William Morris

  1. Sister Greeley’s first name is Agnes. Agnes is a witch’s name. No woman named Agnes has ever not been a witch.
  2. Sister Greeley doesn’t wear a pointy hat, but she always wears a gray shawl on her head and shoulders. Even in summer. Even when it’s 90 degrees out with no cloud cover.
  3. Sister Greely rarely laughs, but when she does, it’s… Well, it’s this high-pitched “ah-ha-ha-hah” followed by snorting that while not exactly a cackle is cackle-like.
  4. When people in the ward get sick, she shows up at their doorsteps with weird smelling poultices, creams, and teas. Even when people make a point of not telling her they are sick, she still shows up. Everyone usually thanks her and then tosses the stuff out after she leaves, but Sue Ann says her mom actually uses them and claims they work about 3/4 of the time. Of course, Sue Ann’s mom doesn’t let her eat anything with refined sugar in it.
  5. She owns a cat. His name is Harold. He is a very large white cat with very green eyes. I know witches normally have black cats, but maybe things are different for Mormon witches (even though Mormons don’t believe in witches). Not only that, but this cat follows her everywhere. Even to Church. Except he doesn’t come into the building (which might also be proof she is a witch).
  6. One time when we were kids, Sue Ann, Mark, and I were playing Harriet the Spy (I was Harriet, Mark was Sport, Sue Ann was Janie), and we spied on Sister Greeley while she was working in her herb garden, and we overheard her tell Harold to go catch her a grasshopper, and what do you know, but the darn thing went and caught one of those flying ones with bright yellow wings and brought it to her, and she buried it next to her horsemint plants.
  7. Okay, this one is just hearsay so grain of salt and all that, but Mark’s older sister Tiffany told me she heard that one time there was this sister (who has since moved away) who started bleeding and was losing her baby to miscarriage, and all the brethren were at a stake priesthood meeting, and somehow Sister Greeley found out, and she went over and anointed her with oil—on her stomach, not on her head—and gave her a blessing except she talked about the power of Eve and Esther and Mary and Sariah and Abish and told her that she was to be like Hannah and offer this baby to the Lord, but that her next one would be for her, and she did lose that baby and was super sad about it, but then she got pregnant again and had a healthy baby and was happy again.
  8. Sister Greeley has a wart on the side of her nose. That probably should have been an earlier item, but it seemed rude to point it out right away.
  9. Mark says that one time they horsing around outside at church, and Chris tried to pet Harold, but Harold hissed at him, and Chris said you’re a mean cat and your owner is an ugly wart face, and later that week he got, like, seven warts on the bottoms of his feet. Mark says that’s probably just because he skips showers after PE, but I don’t know about that.
  10. Sister Greeley invited me to her house for tea and cookies last week. I didn’t want to go, but my mom said it was a great honor, and that I should go. So I did. Her house didn’t look that different inside than any other old lady’s house. We sat at the end of the table in her dining room that wasn’t piled with quilting supplies and drank Brigham tea from porcelain cups. I didn’t like it at first, but then Sister Greeley put two more sugar cubes in mine and added some half and half, and after that I didn’t mind it so much. We talked about the normal stuff kids talk about with old people: school, church, weather, the Utah Jazz. Then Sister Greeley asked me how my mother was. I said she was fine. Sister Greeley noted that my mom had been a rock for Sister Hansen when her husband ran off to Reno with a waitress. I agreed. Sister Greeley said she knew a long time ago that Brother Hansen was going to be trouble, but the Bishop hadn’t listened to her. I said something about the Bishop being a very busy man. Sister Greeley nodded and said there are some things the brethren of the priesthood just can’t understand. And there are often things they just can’t do. That there are things they shouldn’t even try to do. She said some sisters try to ignore that fact and that only leads to more trouble. But other sisters were different. There was hope for some sisters. My mom was one of these sisters. I just nodded. Then Sister Greeley reached out and grabbed my hand. Her grip was firm but gentle. Her skin papery and cool. She said, I hope you’re going to be one of those sisters, Heidi. She said, the Church needs us. The priesthood might not know it, but they do, and you must promise me you won’t let them drive you away. Can you promise me that, Heidi? All I could do was nod. I didn’t exactly know what she meant. But that was the last bit of proof I needed to know that Sister Greeley is a witch. A Mormon witch. I know Mormons don’t believe in witches, and I don’t know for sure if I can keep that promise. But I’m planning to.


A Q&A with Wm Morris about this story is here