The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Dream Smith

  A Short Story in the [Witch World Saga] by Andre Norton


See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index]

[Expanded Reading Order] [Bibliography Page] [Read it Here[Return to Contents]


Edition Used for Analysis:
[Spell of the Witch World] (1972) Published by DAW, PB, 0-451-UQ100-1, $0.95, 159pg ~ cover by Jack Gaughan


A blacksmith with two fine sons takes in trade some strange material from a trader out of the hills surrounding their village of Ithondale. When his son Collard tries to work the metal, there is an explosion, which maims and cripples him for life. After he had healed as much as possible, he discovers a way to work the metal into small figurines. Vecys, the Lord of Ithondale remarries and to appease his new wife, he sends his crippled daughter, Jacinda, to the Keep above Ithondale; the new wife fears that always seeing such a cripple will affect the new child she is carrying.

To make Jacinda's exile a little more tolerable, Collard begins to make "happy" figurines for her. One day, he dreams of a Keep to make out of the strange metal, and does so. Just as he finishes it, the Lord Vescys dies, leaving his only heir the crippled Jacinda. Vescys new wife, disappointed of her hopes of bearing the Lord an heir, makes plans to marry Jacinda off to her brother, so the lands and title stay in her own hands. Collard fears it will mean Jacinda's death, so he carries his Keep to a shrine of the Old Ones and following the Wise Woman's directions works a spell to transform both him an Jacinda into the Lord and Lady oh his tiny Keep. ~ SL

Timeline Points:

  1. p85. 'This was in the days before the invaders came and High Hallack was at peace, save with outlaws, woods-runners, and the like, who raided now and then from the wastes.' 'Vescys was lord in Ithondale. But the Dalesmen saw little of him since he heired, through his mother, holdings in the shorelands and there married a wife with more.' 'It was the third year after Vescys' second marriage (to the Lady Gwennan)…' that a trader comes with metal from The Waste.
  2. p86. There is an explosion and Bronson's son Collard is left a twisted mess.
  3. p87. Sharvana the Wise Woman does what she can to aid Collard. 'The next summer [after Collard's accident] his brother Arnar marries Nicala of the Mills, but Collard does not attend. On the third year after his accident Collard does appear again when a trader comes to his father's smithy.
  4. p88. Collard sells some of his figurines to the merchant, including some made from the strange metal which he now has a talent for working.
  5. p91-92. Time passes (how much is not said) and the people of Ghyll find out the Lady Jacinda, daughter to the Lord Vescys through his previous marriage, will be staying at the local keep.
  6. p93. Lady Jacinda arrives while Collard works on his figurines.
  7. p95. After giving his works three times for Sharvana to bring to Jacinda, Jacinda wants to thank Collard.
  8. p96-97. He meets Jacinda and the next day feels an odd urgency. He creates a hall out of the metal and two figures for the thrones on the dais one of Jacinda as she should be and one of a man.
  9. p99. Lord Vescys dies of a fever and Lady Gwennan has sent for Jacinda but thanks to Sharvana the Lord Huthart is riding to marry Jacinda so they can keep the wealth and lands.
  10. p100. Collard brings the hall to a place of the Old Ones in the hills and to call three times on Talann.
  11. p102. Collard and Jacinda are transported into the hall where they shall live happily forever.

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Fortune's Children

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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