In the plain where mandrakes spring from the loam to dance in the burgeoning purple thunderheads of new spring, the crone huddled in her gourd shaped house, surrounded by rounded, organic things. A traveling bible salesman knocked at her door, his red galoshes trailing biting snakes fang trapped in deep rubber. Waggling a finger, she told him, “No squares!” The round door was slammed in his bulbous nose and he slunk away, his pride damaged as much as his nose, for his nose and his pride was the one and same. When night fell, a fire crackled in the center of the house, its smoke pluming upwards to a hole on top of the gourd shaped house. Oval windows let in the pinprick lights of the millions of stars that adorned the world-ceiling. Bathed in warmth, the crone’s severe features were dampened somewhat by the fire’s frolicking light, smoothing the harsh lines of her face, the thinness of her limbs deceptive in the shadows with which light played. “I have a tale…” the crone said, her gapped teeth sounding sparks into the gloom. The crone cackled at the strange mandrake child doll that sat across from her, its green fronded hair bound with a leather thong.