The April Witch by Ray Bradbury

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The April Witch Summary

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

In April, the spring of the year when gentle breezes blow and flowers begin to bloom, young girls everywhere dream of falling in love. Young seventeen-year-old Cecy Elliott, from whose point of view the story is told, also desperately desires to fall in love. Cecy, however, is unlike other girls. She possesses magical powers. She can travel through space and time, she can soar in doves, stop in trees, and she can become one with frogs, dogs, grass, moles, and every living thing. She sleeps by day and flies by night. She can leave her plain, bony body and spiritually possess any living thing. However, Cecy cannot marry a mortal. As Cecy’s parents warn: “We’d lose our magical powers if we did.”

Despite her parents’ warnings to be careful, to be patient, telepathic Cecy satisfies her longings for love in a special way. Because Cecy cannot experience love for herself, she decides to experience love through a human. She promptly dispatches her mind and quickly possesses the body of nineteen-year-old Ann Leary, a girl quite unwilling to have Cecy possess her. When Ann drinks from a well, Cecy enters her body and, through Ann, comes to cherish human love.

Cecy must work hard to experience and to maintain this love, however, and herein lies the story’s intrigue. Cecy forces Ann to accept a date with an admirer, Tom, a twenty-two-year-old whom Ann has never really liked. While inhabiting Ann’s body before and during the date, Cecy faces a constant struggle in trying to develop and nurture the relationship between Tom and Ann. When Ann spills water at the well, Tom wipes her shoes with a kerchief. Unappreciative of his kind gesture, Ann kicks at Tom and then thanks him only because Cecy forces her to respond.

Cecy is ecstatic when Tom asks a reluctant Ann to the dance that evening. Cecy has never worn a long gown, and she has never danced. Cecy controls Ann’s movements as Ann prepares for the dance. They heat water for a bath, iron a gown, and prepare for Tom to arrive with his horse and buggy. During the evening, Ann and Cecy dance with Tom. Both have a wonderful time even though Tom wonders about Ann’s new demeanor.

As they return home from the dance, Tom confesses that he still loves Ann, despite her fickle nature and despite his fear of being hurt. Inside Ann’s “roundly fleshed” body, Cecy tries to force Ann to return Tom’s love. Nothing happens. Tom reveals that he plans to...

(The entire section is 650 words.)