The story goes that ages ago, in the Black Forest Mountain range in Germany, there lived what the locals referred to as a witch. As the legend goes she would grant anyone desperate enough a single wish, as long as they were willing to make a great sacrifice in return. It was said that people had given up wealth, fame, their very homes or whatever they had. They gave them up for love, for revenge and anything their hearts desired great enough to pay the price. Though the price was always high it was understood that her “customers” were always happy with the results.
One day a beautiful young woman, who was the object of attention of many men, desired greatly to always be beautiful. She wanted so much to never lose her good looks that she ventured deep into the black forest to ask that the witch to cast a spell on her. She wasn’t a very wealthy woman, but she packed up every piece of gold jewelry she had and hoped it would be enough. As she approached the witch’s worn down hut she could feel the air around her grow cold, even though it was a warm Summer afternoon. This corner of the forest was dark and deathly still. It was quiet and the woman felt uneasy approaching the door, but she valued her beauty so much that she raised up the courage to knock. After a beat the door slowly opened and revealed a hut that looked disorganized and smelled foul, but she wanted to remain beautiful and cautiously stepped inside. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness she could see an old woman sitting in a chair, staring right at her. The old woman frowned at her and asked her what she was doing trespassing into her home, and the young woman explained her wish. She also explained she wasn’t very wealthy, but that she had brought all the jewelry she had as payment if the witch could grant her everlasting beauty for as long as she lived. The witch scoffed at her gift, however she could see the desperation in the young woman’s eyes. She agreed to grant her wish, saying that if she truly wants to remain beautiful for as long as she lived, she will leave the jewelry and take a small vial the old woman grabbed from off a shelf. If the young woman drinks it her wish will be granted. The young woman thanked the witch, left the jewelry and took the vial.
It wasn’t long before the young woman, on her way back to the village, opened the vial and eagerly drank the foul tasting liquid inside. Her heart raced at the thought of being beautiful for the rest of her days. All the men pouring their attention on her, showering her with gifts. And then a strange feeling began to take her over. Her joints began to stiffen, it became difficult to walk. It became difficult to move. Her skin hardened and as she finally turned to stone she realized just how high a price she had paid before becoming a magnificent work of art to greet future intruders upon the witch’s home.