‘Your grandmother,’ she said, ‘did she wear a hat?’
‘What? Oh … not usually,’ said Tiffany, still thinking about the show. ‘She used to wear an old sack as a kind of bonnet when the weather was really bad. She said hats only blow away up on the hill.’
‘She made the sky her hat, then,’ said Granny Weatherwax. ‘And did she wear a coat?’
‘Hah, all the shepherds used to say that if you saw Granny Aching in a coat it’d mean it was blowing rocks!’ said Tiffany proudly.
‘Then she made the wind her coat, too,’ said Granny Weatherwax. ‘It’s a skill. Rain don’t fall on a witch if she doesn’t want it to, although personally I prefer to get wet and be thankful.’
‘Thankful for what?’ said Tiffany.
‘That I’ll get dry later.’ Granny Weatherwax put down the cup and saucer. ‘Child you’ve come here to learn what’s true and what’s not but there’s little I can teach you that you don’t already know. You just don’t know you know it, and you spend the rest of your life learning what’s already in your bones. And that’s the truth.’
She stared at Tiffany’s hopeful face and sighed.
‘Come outside then,’ she said. ‘I’ll give you lesson one. It’s the only lesson there is. It don’t need writing down in no book with eyes on.’
She led the way to the well in her back garden, looked around on the ground and picked up a stick.
‘Magic wand.’ She said. ‘See?’ A green flame leaped out of it, making Tiffany jump. ‘Now you try.’
It didn’t work for Tiffany, no matter how much she shook it.
‘Of course not,’ said Granny. ‘It’s a stick. Now, maybe I made a flame come out of it, or maybe I made you think it did. That don’t matter. It was me is what I’m sayin’, not the stick. Get your mind right and you can make a stick your wand and the sky your hat and a puddle your magic … your magic … er, what’re them fancy cups called?’
‘Er … goblet,’ said Tiffany.
‘Right. Magic goblet. Things aren’t important. People are.’ Granny Weatherwax looked sidelong at Tiffany. ‘And I could teach you how to run across those hills of yours with the hare, I could teach you how to fly with the buzzard. I could tell you the secret of the bees. I could teach you all this and much more besides if you do just one thing, right here and now. One simple thing, easy to do.’
Tiffany nodded, eyes wide.
‘You understand, then, that all the glittery stuff is just toys, and toys can lead you astray?’
‘Then take of that shiny horse you wear around your neck, girl, and drop it in the well.’
Obediently, half-hypnotized by the voice, Tiffany reached behind her neck and undid the clasp.
The pieces of the silver horse shone as she held it over the water.
She stared at it as if she was seeing it for the first time. And then…
She tests people, she thought. All the time.
‘Well?’ said the old witch.
‘No,’ said Tiffany. ‘I can’t.’
‘Can’t or won’t?’ said Granny sharply.
‘Can’t,’ said Tiffany and stuck out her chin. ‘And won’t!’
She drew her hand back and fastened the necklace again, glaring defiantly at Granny Weatherwax.
The witch smiled. ‘Well done,’ she said quietly. ‘If you don’t know when to be a human being, you don’t know when to be a witch. And if you’re too afraid of going astray, you won’t go anywhere. May I see it, please?’
Tiffany looked into those blue eyes. Then she undid the clasp and handed over the necklace. Granny held it up.
‘Funny, ain’t it, that it seems to gallop when the light hits it,’ said the witch, watching it twist this way and that. ‘Well made thing. O’course, it’s not what a horse looks like, but it’s certainly what a horse is.’
Terry Pratchett – "A Hat Full of Sky"