The End of Mother Goddess

Cuevas de Zugarramurdi |  © Ernesto Vizcaino Abad, Google Maps

“Explain yourself,” the Inquisitor-General said. As he paced, his long cape billowed behind him. The woman rambled on, the sounds of her language a puzzle to his ears.

When she finished, the Basque translator turned. “She says they have done nothing wrong. That it is just—how you say—a ‘woman’s meeting.’”

The man snorted. “What nonsense is that? What good can come of a ‘meeting of women?’”

The translator turned, a tangled string of sounds issuing from his lips as he asked her. She answered.

“She says it is there they pass down the ancient wisdom. That they teach how to prepare the leaves that ‘bring the moon’, and what herbs will cure cangrejo. These cures render prayer unnecessary. She says this is sacred wisdom, passed mother to daughter, since the time of Mother Goddess.”

The Inspector-General walked closer, nodding. The woman dipped her head.

“Now we’re getting somewhere.”

149 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

Sorry I’m so late this week. I wrote a story I didn’t like, and wanted to do another one. I then promptly fell into a rabbit hole of fascinating research about the Basque Witch Trials that had me wishing I had more time to know this topic. As it is, this is 90% made up…

Or is it?

Looking forward to everyone’s stories this week!



  1. Fantastic story, though I imagine it ends poorly for the women. Female enlightenment is a threatening thing to the patriarchy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are a number of instances where it doesn’t work out, for sure. Thanks for reading, J. Hardy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this, Karen. Have to agree with Josh… don’t know that it will fly in this type of society… or any, for that matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, it still seems to be the case, doesn’t it? Ah well, that’s what writers are for–to change it 😉 Thanks for reading, Dale!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the sense of immediacy you create. Such a feeling of menace from the Inquisitor – power stacked on his side. And the woman’s honesty. Recognisable then and now- good writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Francine!


  4. Abhijit Ray

    Who is this woman? Is she a terrorist?


    1. Oh no, definitely not Abhijit. I fear she and her friends will go to trial for witchcraft though. Thanks for reading!


  5. I like the way you describe the incomprehension of the Inquisitor-General when faced with a woman whose language he doesn’t understand, and whose actions seem pointless to him. He is both confused and hostile, and you capture that well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Penny. I’m glad that came across. I was trying for it.


  6. Fascinating tale. What good can come of a ‘meeting of women?’ Perhaps he should ask what ‘anger’ can come from a meeting of women. He may be in for some trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, I got such a giggle from your comment. What good indeed? Thanks for reading, Lish.


  7. Just lovely writing – love the image you found, the scene you set, the feeling of oppression and threat that the inquisitor coming through so clearly. ‘What can come of a meeting of women?’ just sums up attitudes of the time. Wonderful and thanks for the link to the Basque witch trials – I’d never heard of them

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The Basque witch trials is some fascinating stuff. I could have easily spent a week reading on it. That period of history has always fascinated me. Thanks for reading and thank you for your very kind words.


  9. I’d never heard of the Basque witch trials until 7:50am GMT, just now! It makes me happy there is so much I don’t know! Thanks for enlightening!

    Liked by 1 person

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