The sound of music; The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe; The inn of the sixth happiness

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
These three movie titles provided by @yvonnefankhanel

The hills were alive the the sounds of clanging metal and crashing wood. Their cacophony was carried through the valleys below.

In a small cottage carved into one of the hillsides, a witch worked, dancing around her cauldron, throwing in many different ingredients. Carrots, leaks, cabbage, potatoes, celery, onions, beats, garlic, beef, venison, and chicken. Using a big spoon she stirred the stew while thinking of the dinner she had been unexpectedly invited to serve at the Inn of the 7th happiness. Or was it the 6th? No time to waste on meaningless details.

As the stew boiled, the witch prepared a basket with breads, butter and jams. Outside she hitched up a scraggly donkey to a cart twice its size. She changed robes, an identical long dark green robe with a hood, and brushed her hair.

The cauldron would be impossibly heavy and hot to carry but she had placed the fire under a steel cart with wheels that could be locked. Unlocking the wheels, she rolled the hot cart with steaming stew out to the donkey cart.

It was dusk, so she’d need to hurry and get down by night fall.

She pulled off a wrench from the back of the donkey cart. By the handle of the smaller stew cart, she clasped the wrench and began turning it, slowly lifting the pot to the level of the donkey cart.

Once at the right height, she pulled herself up to the donkey cart and attached the wrench to another lever, twisting it. This time, two boards extended out from the donkey cart underneath the cauldron, like the tines of a fork gently cradling a pea or shallot.

Shimmying the stew cart under the extended wood planks, she ensured the pot was secure, then she pulled the pot into the back of the donkey cart by reversing the twists with the wrench.

She lifted the stew cart, now cooler, behind the pot and secured the back gate of the donkey cart.

The distance down to the inn was short. Had she walked it would have taken a few minutes but with the full pot of stew, it took her nearly half of an hour.

When she arrived at the inn, the guests and innkeepers were waiting.

“I’ve brought the stew, now we can all eat!”

A few villagers ran around the back of the cart, pointing.

“As we suspected! That cauldron must be 10,000 pounds at least!” said a villager.

“Not quite, but it is heavy.” replied the witch, but nobody noticed.

“She must have had to use witchcraft to lift such a heavy object herself!”

“No, I built this–” started the witch but she didn’t finish because the villagers had grabbed her.

“She’s a witch, trying to poison us with her magic brew! Burn her!”

And so it would be an incredibly long and unnecessary time before machinery was introduced to humans as they burned her, the cart, the donkey and of course, the stew was ruined.