"So every old woman who lives in the forest alone is a witch?"
When a woman is mysterious and solitary, at least in terms of a husband. The town community will probably shun her, calling her a witch. In a fantasy story it might be true as she is a Wicked Witch
who wanted to get rid of her husband so she cast a spell to help things get going
or perhaps there is a curse on her family
that makes it so they lose men. If the story is not one of fantasy, the witch impression might just be the vibe the old woman gives off as she is in mourning for her late husband.
The whole thing exists because of the Unfortunate Implications
of the similarities between widows and witches. It is understandable that the neighborhood would feel that she's creepy if the woman still dresses in black and her only friends are women or she only lives with women. Although her lack of interaction with men might be because she's not actually interested
or they aren't interested in her because she's as ugly as a witch like the Fag Hag
. Other similarities include tending to the herb garden that reminds her of all that is living and healthful, having a cat
because it's easy to take care of and will keep her company, being very old and unwell, being bitter towards people as the widow is old and lonely and laughing wickedly
because she's out of touch
Contrast Cute Witch
, Hot Witch
and Determined Widow
Anime and Manga
- In Witch Trials, one of the available suspects is a widow who, according to the flavor text, "has buried three husbands and is working on the fourth". Not that this means much in terms of her supposed witchiness; two other suspects have "uncharacteristically nice for his age" and "is suspiciously persistent in her claims for innocence" on their cards.
- Practical Magic has Sandra Bullock playing the part of a Widow Witch... same curse as below.
- In Eve's Bayou, Mozelle is a fortuneteller and hoodoo practitioner whose husbands have a tendency to die. This isn't always the result of a curse, however. One husband was murdered by her secret lover when they fought over her.
- Nanny Ogg from the Discworld novels. She's had three husbands, "and that's only the official score." A jolly old woman with a lot of children, mostly by said husbands, it's unlikely she did anything to get rid of them. (It's also not clear how many of them are dead. Sobriety Ogg is, but in Thief of Time, Death comments that witches are matrilinear because they find it easier to change men than change names, possibly suggesting the traditions of witchcraft include quickie divorces.)
- Also heavily discussed in the Young Witch series, where the main character decides to become a witch because this happened to an old lady fitting the description. She was thought to be a witch (and persecuted for it) but she turned out just to be a confused old lady who lived alone and had a cat. There was an actual old lady witch as well, but she was lonely by choice, as her family lives close by.
- The Widow Arden in Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede.
- In The Sun Witch, the Fyne sisters are cursed so that their husbands die.
- In John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick, the women of the village of Eastwick only gain powers after their husbands/significant others either die or divorce them.
- In Sweet Valley Twins #3 The Haunted House they think a witch lives in the neighborhood who keeps her husband chained up in the attic.
- Another series for young girls is Babysitters Little Sister, spin off to The Baby-Sitters Club where in the first book, Karen's Witch, she is sure that the neighbor, Mrs. Porter, who dresses all in black is a witch. It's never stated what her marital status is but the girl never considers that the black might be for mourning, not being wicked. In fact, Mrs. Porter is actually very kind, hosting a Halloween party for the neighborhood kids, and letting Karen pick a goldfish out of her pond.
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is this, using a chest of potions (left by her late Pirate husband), as well as Reverse Psychology, to cure children of bad habits. She's a bit of a subversion, as she is most certainly a good witch.
- The Witches of His Dark Materials are members of an all female race. They sometimes marry mortal men. By the time the story reaches them, all of the major Witch characters have been widowed many, many times. While a Witch are technically immortal, the grief of mourning over all those husbands will eventually kill her.
- In El Chavo del ocho, this is played with La bruja del 71 ("The Witch from the [Apartment] 71"), whose appearance, antics and bad judgment on pet naming makes everyone in the neighborhood (especially the children) think she is a witch; however, she has been presented as an old spinster. Averted with Doña Florinda, who is a widow, only much younger and just bitchy.
- Grams of Charmed is a widow for at least her first husband, Alan, who died. She went through a few more husbands after that.
- In the BBC/Starz series The White Queen, Jacquetta Woodville, Lady Rivers, the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, who becomes consort to King Edward IV and the eponymous white queen, is revealed in the first episode to be a witch, and becomes a widow after Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, kills her husband. Elizabeth is also a witch (it runs in the family), and is a widow even at the start of the show because her first husband, Thomas Grey, had died. She becomes a widow again when her second husband, King Edward IV, dies. Note that in Real Life, both Jacquetta and Elizabeth were in fact accused of witchcraft at different times, but no real historian takes the accusations seriously. They surely did not have actual supernatural powers, as they are shown having in this series!
- In City of Heroes, every member of The Cabal (except for Kattie Hannon, who was a child at the time) is a widow because their enemies the Red Caps killed all of the men in their village.