FROM: The Demonic Forces, LLC
TO: Local Coven No. 4872, Blandville High School


It has been a matter of some discussion among supervisors and staff down here that the quality of rhymes in your spells has fallen off markedly in the past few years.

It costs us a lot of effort to make the head cheerleader sprain her ankle or give your algebra teacher hives. It seems to us that the least you can do is cast spells with real rhymes. Just yesterday we heard this sorry attempt at a spell from one of your members:

Seven goats and six young lambs,
Make this year’s musical go off with a bang.

Never mind the rhythm, which is sorry indeed. What made anyone think that “lambs” rhymed with “bang”? Have you young ladies learned nothing at all in English class? Are we rappers or guitar-strumming coffeehouse-open-mike-night folk singers, that we should be satisfied with half-rhymes and assonance? No, we are not. We are proud members of the Kingdom of Evil. We demand the real thing, and will not come through with the goods for anything less. Our tender, shell-like ears sometimes burst into flames when we hear especially atrocious spells, and we have enough to do with flames already without aggravating our condition.

We still remember a lovely spell by Miss Aralia Lumpen, Class of 1923, that nearly moved us to tears:

Eyebrow of weasel and leaf of begonia,
Make Mr. Bittern come down with pneumonia.

We were glad to comply with such a beautifully worded request and sent Mr. Bittern his pneumonia at once—although, as it was a highly contagious strain, Miss Lumpen ended up joining us down here much sooner than she expected.

It is plain that your members require remedial training in the elements of simple doggerel. We have decreed, therefore, that all spells from your coven must henceforth be submitted to your English teacher for evaluation. (Miss Pym has been in our service for some time. How do you think she snagged the vice principal last year?) Only if she approves of your rhymes will the spells be forwarded to our Action Committee. This extra step is regrettably necessary to ensure the quality of your work.

Love and kisses,
Your Friends Below.


  1. Eyebrow of weasel and leaf of begonia,
    Make Mr. Bittern come down with pneumonia.

    Good rhyme, but do weasels have eyebrows? Possibly that factual error (if it is an error) accounts for the pneumonia’s virulence? Perhaps an emendation would help?

    Whisker of weasel and leaf of begonia,
    Make Mr. Bittern come down with pneumonia.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  2. Robert St. Agamemnon-Fargy says:

    This one from a Pittsburgh coven was hardly better:

    Skin of newt, eye of bat
    Gives Mr. Rampulski arthritis n’at.

    And then there’s this one, in which the author hasn’t quite got the point:

    Leg of mutton, ear of kangaroo,
    Will grant Mrs. Gennaro down the street a really bad case of eczema.
    Who knew!

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