In a little town, upon a hill, there was an old castle. An old woman lived there. This woman’s name was Madame Ethelinda. She was said to possess great affluence. Not many people had seen her leave her home. Madame Ethelinda had a daughter who came a checked up on her periodically and bought her what she needed. The old castle had once been very magnificent. Now the building had lost its grandeur and was dilapidated. One who looked at the structure could barely discern what patterns were in the brick because there were copious amounts of leafy vines covering it.
This mysterious house was extremely interesting to curious little children throughout the town. There were many stories that had been made up about the castle and the old woman who occupied it. All of the children were very gullible and believed the stories that they heard. Older siblings, with the malign intention of getting their younger siblings in trouble, took advantage of their credulity by telling them that the old woman was a witch! The older siblings thought that they were so cunning with this plan they had contrived. They believed it would induce the naïve adolescents into the yard.
At first, the youth were scared of the stories they had heard, but this was summarily gone. They were all filled with implacable curiosity. The children wanted to see the castle up close. They began creeping up in the yard one by one through the large cast-iron gate that led to the courtyard out front. It was endowed with an eerie tranquility. After they had been in the yard awhile, the kids began cavorting around the yard playing tag and running around the statues. They were filled with great felicity.
This did not please Madame Ethelinda. She was watching the children from one of the upstairs windows where she could view the wide berth of the courtyard out front. If anyone could see her countenance, they would have seen a look of disgust etched on her face. Seeing the minors running around her yard nettled her extremely. She thought the sight was almost jocular, but she abhorred the fact that they were trampling her extensive gardens.
The yells and screams of the juveniles were unremitting. Madame Ethelinda could not tolerate this sight before her. She called all of the now slovenly children into her front sitting room. The vituperative Madame Ethelinda thought their appearances to be abominable after they had been playing outside. The youngsters were all covered in grass stains and dirt from head to toe. She did not desire to have dirt tracked around her home. Madame Ethelinda allowed them to sit on one of her couches, but only one with a plastic upholstery cover.
Now the children were terrified. Most started to whimper presuming they were going to be scolded. She realized she had been wrong all along about these harmless children that just needed a bath. Madame Ethelinda began to shush and appease the kids. She informed that they were not in trouble. She told the children that if they wanted to play in her yard that they must come and ask her. Madame Ethelinda stated that there was no harm in what they had done. She walked into the kitchen and brought back the children some sweets and cookies.
After this day the children came and visited her very often. Madame Ethelinda began leaving her house more and traveling into town for her necessities instead of sending her daughter. She could be seen in her courtyard pruning her gardens or showing the children around. They learned that though she seemed cold and aloof, Madame Ethelinda was a very amicable person.