The Little Witch book report - detailed analysis, book summary, literary elements, character analysis, Otfried Preussler biography, and everything necessary for active class participation.
The little witch lived in the forest with her friend, the talking raven Abraxas. She was already 127 years old but for a witch that wasn't a lot but it didn't allow her to be present at the dance for Walpurgis Night during which all witches would gather and celebrate.
She was very curious so she went to the dance thinking she would go unnoticed but evil aunt Rumpumpel saw her. She wanted the little witch to be punished for breaking the rules. The witches thought up a punishment for her and told her that she has to come to them in a year so that they would question her to see if she did well and became a good witch, but it was all a trap and the little witch managed to outsmart the other witches.
The moral of the story is that children should never give up on their dreams and that they should use every opportunity to do good.
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Setting: witch's house in the forest, the village, the city; the time is not specified, once upon a time (somewhere between winter and spring)
Point of view: third-point
Narrator: an omniscient narration
Mood: live, vivid
Theme: a story about how a little witch became good
A long time ago, a 127-year-old little witch lived in a forest, she wasn't old for a witch despite her age. She lived with her talking raven Abraxas, they were true friends and they shared their most honest opinions and feelings with one another.
The little witch learned how to do magic at least six hours a day but she thought she was learning slowly. She used to sit on a bench and study everything that was in her books. Abraxas kept her company while she was studying. He was a bit dissatisfied when she couldn't get a spell right even after the fourth try. She had to make rain but all of her practice made sour milk fall from the cloud. She was sure she was doing something wrong but Abraxas told her that her concentration was the one to blame because she thought about other things while she was doing spells.
Little Witch closed the book, she couldn't do magic because she was furious. Abraxas asked her about it and she told him that she wants to attend the witches' dance. Abraxas explained that she was still too young to attend the dance and that the witches will catch her if she tries to get in. The dance was taking place in Blocksberg and she had every intention of being there. Abraxas tried to talk the little witch out of it but she was determined to go to the dance and leave before it finishes. The little witch was sure the older witches won't even know she was there.
The little witch went to Blocksberg and didn't pay attention to what Abraxas was telling her. There were about 600 witches all of them dancing cheerfully around the fire and on their brooms. While they were dancing, they were shouting "Hey Walpurgis,'' laughed loudly and at that moment Rumpumpel saw the little witch and asked her why she was there.
The little witch begged her not to punish her but her aunt was an evil witch and she told the little witch she had to be punished. All of the witches gathered around her and proclaimed unanimously that she will be taken to the main witch. When the little witch came to the front she wanted to know how she dared to enter the dance. The little witch said she didn't know what she was thinking and the main witch advised her to go away before she got even more furious.
The little witch realized that the main witch was easy to talk to and she asked if she could come to the dance next year. The main witch said she can come in a year and that she will be questioned about her deeds. If she becomes a good witch in a year she will be allowed to attend the dance.
The other witches weren't satisfied with her not being punished so they thought of a way to punish her themselves. After all sorts of suggestions, they decided to take away her broom so that she would have to walk for three days and three nights. Rumpumpel wasn't happy with that punishment but the other witches thought it was enough. The little witch went home walking.
After a tough journey, the little witch came home to her friend the raven. He was worried about her and asked her about the injuries she sustained on her walk home. Little Witch didn't have the strength to answer all of his questions, she wanted to take a nap and eat.
When she did what she wanted she told him all about her adventure. The little witch later said that she was hurt because her aunt (Rumpumpel) spotted her and turned her into the other witches, adding that she wanted to get revenge on her aunt. Abraxas told her that she needs to think twice about it because the only way she will enter the dance next year is if she becomes a good witch.
Little Witch had to heal her injured knees so she did it with special herbs and witch's formulas. When her injuries were healed she could walk normally again. Afterward, she had to go and get a new broom because hers was confiscated. Abraxas was on her shoulder and they walked to the city. Their road was awful because it was bumpy. The only comfort for the little witch was that she will have a new broom and won't be forced to walk anymore.
They came to the shop where she first bought some sugar for Abraxas and then she bought the broom. The salesman saw her on her broom but convinced himself that he did not see it right.
Abraxas and a little witch flew on the broom and it took her a lot of time to tame the broom. They almost crashed into a belfry but she managed to turn the broom in the other direction.
Abraxas was a bit scared and he told the little witch to slow down if she doesn't want to crash into something. The broom remained disobedient until it got tired and made their flight more comfortable. Abraxas saw a man with a hat, a little witch then spat on him. The raven disapproved of her behavior because she had to become a good witch. She thought about his words and decided to really become a good witch in order to make her aunt Rumpumpel jealous.
Little witch read her books every day for seven hours and she learned everything. She wanted to learn everything there was to learn until the next Walpurgis Night. She would take a break to ease her mind and once she stumbled upon three old women looking for firewood. She asked them what they were doing and they responded that they only had a half basket of branches because there weren't many on the ground, and the little witch didn't understand them immediately. There were no branches because there was no wind.
The raven asked if Little Witch could help them and she said she could. When they went further away Little Witch created the wind, which made more branches fall on the ground.
She ordered the wind to blow but not for too long or too strong. It stormed through the forest and the branches started falling down. She ordered it to stop so that the women could pick up their branches. Abraxas was proud of the little witch for helping them and it seemed to him like she might actually become a good witch.
From the day she made the wind the women came every day to the forest to gather branches. One day they came crying to the little witch saying that the new forest keeper doesn't allow them to gather branches because it was against the law and that he will put them in prison. The little witch told them to go home, come back for the branches tomorrow and let her take care of things. When the women left, the little witch filled their basket with branches and sat next to it. She waited for the new forest keeper to come and tell her to take out the branches because it was illegal to gather them. He really did come and told her that but she cast a spell on him.
In the end, he let her take the branches and he carried her and her raven back home on his back. He thought about the reasons for which he became so good but nothing came to his mind. Little Witch was happy about her little mischief and she decided to do good to those who are good and to pull a prank on the bad people. Raven believed it could go without the pranks but it wasn't fun for her that way.
One day, a little witch wanted to go to the market which was in the city but she couldn't go on her broom because people would see her. She agreed with Abraxas to hide the broom in the suburbs and walk to the market.
It was filled with people who were buying or selling their homemade products, vegetables, etc. Everyone was selling something and there was a very loud man. He sold everything for half price and the little witch bought a lighter from him and he threw in a ring for her.
When the little witch saw everything there was to see, she noticed a small girl selling paper flowers in the corner. No one wanted to buy them so Abraxas suggested that little witch take care of her. She agreed and went to the girl who said that her mother will be very sad if she doesn't sell any flowers because they will be unable to afford food. Little witch had mercy for her and made her paper flowers smell so nice that everyone wanted one. The girl sold the flowers but she never ran out of them. It was another spell cast by the little witch.
The little witch and the raven went to the field where they had left their broom but they didn't find it there. It was stolen by the little witch's evil aunt, she was spying on Little Witch. The raven wasn't concerned about it because he saw the little witch grow into a good witch with each day.
The rain was falling for a few days and the little witch was tired of being inside the house all the time. After a few days, the sun shone again and she flew out on her broom. Little Witch wanted to find an opportunity to use her magic.
She and Abraxas were soaring above the forest and meadows. Everything was completely wet because of the rain. They saw two horses pulling beer barrels and their owner was whipping them to pull even harder. Abraxas found that scene disgusting and hard to look at.
Little witch decided to help the horses and punish their owner. She waited for him to go to the bar and she told the horses they will no longer be whipped. The little witch only asked them not to move next time their owner forces them to do it. They thought they would get whipped for such behavior but the little witch said not to worry that she would be keeping an eye on them. Before that, she made a small knot on the whip.
The horse's owner got drunk and came to the horses and harnessed them but they didn't want to move. He wanted to whip them but instead of a whip, hitting them it hit him every time. He was furious, grabbed the whip, and whipped it hard but he only ended up punching himself in the nose and bleeding. When he came to his senses a little witch came to him and forbade him from beating his horses ever again. On her mark, the horses trotted down the road and thanked her for her help. Their owner swore never to touch a whip again.
On Friday the witches were forbidden from doing magic, it was their rest day, little witch also respected this. She would lock her books and broom in order not to get tempted to do magic.
She would get lazy on Fridays and she didn't know what to do with herself because her desire to do magic was bigger than ever. All of a sudden, someone knocked at her door, children appeared at the door; a boy and a girl. They got lost while picking mushrooms so they came to ask for directions. She offered them some tea and cake. They talked and when they realized she was a witch they got scared. The raven told them they shouldn't fear her because she was a good witch.
The little witch was ready to do magic in front of them but Abraxas warned her that it was Friday. She said that no one would see a thing and she closed the doors and the windows. She made animals appear on her table and she made them disappear. The kids loved it!
It was time for them to go home and when they took their baskets there were all sorts of mushrooms in them. The boy told the little witch to come and visit them at their parent's bar in 14 days, that is when they will be having a party/ceremony. She said she would come and told them to hurry home.
Abraxas noticed a black cloud above their house and he was sure that it was her aunt Rumpumpel, that she was spying on her and that little witch was being punished for her deeds. Days went by and nothing happened. Little Witch thought that her aunt didn't see her do magic for the kids after all.
The day of the ceremony came. Many people gathered and little witch and Abraxas were looking for their two little friends. She found them behind a tent and they were sad. They explained to the little witch that their father offered a prize as a reward for the best shooter and they were sure that the ox would be killed. Little Witch asked what would happen if they didn't have the best shooter. The kids said it was impossible but the little witch had a plan.
The shooter's captain welcomed all and thanked the ox's owner for his generosity. The ceremony started. The kids and little witch observed it from a meadow, at the end of the same meadow was the target that the shooters were supposed to hit. The captain went first but he missed and so did everyone after him. They didn't know how that was possible. Little witch enchanted all of their weapons so that no one could hit the target.
When all of the shooters tried it was time for the boy to try. Little Witch encouraged him to try and he hit the target. The captain was shocked and he wanted to chase the boy away but the people wanted to see him shoot. The boy shot the target and became the new captain. The audience rewarded him with applause and shouts. He won the prize.
A journalist asked the boy when the ox would be served as a meal but he told them that he was going back to the barn when the little witch got onto her broom and went home. Abraxas was proud of her again.
Winter came and the little witch kept warm next to her fireplace. When she wanted something to eat she would just snap her fingers. The same thing was with her fire. Abraxas loved her magic because it entertained him.
She couldn't stay long by the fireplace so she suggested to Abraxas to go somewhere. He wanted to stay inside the warm house but since she wasn't afraid of the cold when she went out. After putting many layers of clothes on she flew away on her broom.
Little witch soared above the village, observed houses and children, and then went into town. After coming down, she carried her broom over her shoulder and it didn't look weird. It looked like she was cleaning up snow. The little witch went to the market and saw a man freezing next to a fireplace. She asked him what he was doing and he responded he was making chestnuts. Little Witch wanted to buy some but she didn't bring any money with her.
He gave her some for free and she decided to do something nice for him. He was really freezing next to his chestnut stand and she made him feel warm again.
When the little witch came home, Abraxas wanted to know what she did. She was so cold that she couldn't even open her mouth. The little witch was making tea while Abraxas kept on telling her that he warned her about how cold it is outside. After warming herself up with some tea she took off most of the clothes she put on and said she had a great time, despite the coldness.
The little witch told him all about the chestnut seller and he asked her why she didn't use a spell to keep herself warm. She never even thought of that but then she cast a spell so that both of them would feel warm. It was definitely better than wearing seven skirts. Neither of them felt cold again and they could enjoy going outside even if the temperature was way below zero.
Abraxas and a little witch were soaking up the sun. The weather was nice, even though it was still winter. The snow-covered everything and the sky was light blue. After some time they heard children playing. The little witch sent Abraxas to check what they were doing and they were building a snowman.
The little witch wanted to dance with them and all of a sudden seven boys appeared and destroyed their snowman. She shouted that they needed to leave the kids alone and the boys ran away. The kids were sad because they didn't have a snowman anymore and Little Witch told them to build a new one but they thought that the mean boys would destroy it again. She encouraged them and they started working.
In a blink of an eye, those boys were back and they wanted to destroy the snowman again. Little Witch told the children not to run away and see what will happen. When the boys went after the snowman it came to life. He confronted the boys and pushed them into the show. He even threw more snow on them until they were completely stuck in the snow. After that, the snowman went back to his place and acted as if nothing happened. The boys and the witch were happy to get rid of the boys who ran away.
It was the night of Halloween and the children wore all kinds of masks. That night the little witch met another witch in disguise and they talked about their age and sorcery. The witch didn't believe the little witch was 127 so they decided to make a bet. The witch gathered all the children, the little witch had to prove she can fly on a broom. She was outsmarting the kids until a cannibal came and ordered her to fly the broom or she would be eaten. She flew high and everyone was amazed. They told them she knew other spells so she made doughnuts fall from the sky.
Abraxas talked about Halloween and said that he really wished to have a celebration like that again in the forest. Little Witch listened to him and decided to organize a carnival without telling him anything about it. She only told him he had to tell the other animals to gather at her house. Abraxas said he will do it but that he needs a reason for the gathering. The little witch told him they will have a carnival. Abraxas started asking all sorts of questions but she didn't want to tell anything in advance.
Abraxas called the animals the next morning and the little witch already had plans and knew the spells which would help her to turn her animals into something different. She made the rabbit have horns, she turned mice into rabbits, and so on. Abraxas had a squirrel's tail and she made owl eyes and horse teeth for herself. She kind of looked like her evil aunt Rumpumpel.
Everyone was transformed and the carnival began. A weasel wanted to join them, but she wasn't invited because no one trusted her. The little witch told her she can come in if she promises to behave. Little witch enchanted her to have a duck's mouth.
The carnival lasted for a long time and before everyone left, the little witch wanted to make sure that they all had a delicious dinner. The weasel was the last one to get dinner. After all the animals left she got some sausages.
Spring was coming, the ice was melting and flowers started growing everywhere. Everything felt and smelt like spring and everyone was looking forward to it because it was a long and cold winter.
The little witch was wandering through a field when she saw a sad woman. She wasn't looking forward to the spring weather and she said she was unhappy because of her husband. The woman wished to disappear and the little witch was worried for her. She decided to help her because she was a young woman and she had kids she needed to take care of.
The woman told the little witch that her husband didn't earn a lot of money and that he spent all of his money in the bowling alley. He would go there instead of coming home every night. The little witch wanted to know if the woman talked to him about his problem but she said that she has no influence over him. The little witch told her to bring her some of his hair and that she will cure him and save him from ruining himself.
At the next crossroads, she buried his hair, said the magic words, and scratched the soil with her finger.
Just like every night, the man went bowling. He and his friends had a beer and then they started playing. After throwing the ball it went in the wrong direction and made a hole in the wall. His friends asked if he was okay and he said that it was the ball's fault and he took another one.
Something worse happened the next time. The ball smashed the cones and made an even bigger hole in the wall. His friends were furious and they told him to be more careful because they will throw him out. When he threw for the third time the ball made a hole in the wall again and the ceiling came down. They told him that they don't want to see him ever again.
He tried his luck at other bowling alleys but the same thing happened all the time. He wasn't able to throw a ball without making the ceiling cave-in. Everyone chased him away because they knew how dangerous his bowling was.
In the end, he gave up on it and came home to his family every day. It didn't make him happy in the beginning but the little witch took care of it. She helped that poor family to be happy and to never starve again.
Abraxas used to say that he lived more comfortably as a bachelor because he didn't have to think about things like getting food and making a nest. Little birds grow up and fly away anyway. Abraxas had many brothers and his favorite one had a nest in a village nearby. He would always visit him after Easter.
When Abraxas came back from his visit, the little witch noticed that something was off about him. She asked him about his brother and Abraxas said he is fine for now. Their problem was a rumor about two boys taking nests off of the trees. They took the eggs and threw the nests. His brother was scared for his family and his home.
The little witch told Abraxas to send her regards to his brother and tell him not to worry about anything. If the boys dare to climb on his tree he had to notify her immediately because she will take care of those boys.
After a few days, little witch forgot about it when Abraxas's brother came to her door. She was making coffee but she left everything immediately to go and help him. She flew on her broom and the ravens followed her.
She asked the boys what they were up to and they got scared. When they saw she was just a woman complaining, they refused to get off of the tree. They started mocking her and told her they will stay up there for as long as they want. She told them to do so and cast a spell on them. They were, quite literally, glued to the branches. The ravens started attacking them. The boys started screaming and some people came to see what was going on. When they realized that the boy's intention was to steal the bird's eggs they told that their punishment was right but no one knew why the boys didn't move. In the end, the fireman had to come and get them off of the trees.
The little witch was excited because the year was coming to an end which meant she would come before the Witches' Council before the Walpurgis Night. She repeated everything she had learned and she was already capable of doing magic with no problems.
Her aunt stopped by to give her the main witch's invitation. Her test was arranged to be the day after tomorrow at midnight. She also added that she doesn't have to come if she changes her mind. Her aunt kept on saying it was better for her to stay home but the little witch wasn't easy to scare.
Abraxas stayed home and wished her luck. He told her that she managed to become a good witch and that he is proud of her.
Exactly at midnight, she came to the arranged spot. She saw that her aunt was there and she was furious because the little witch did indeed become good.
The exam started and all of the witches gave her tasks. They wanted to see how much she had learned. She accomplished all of her tasks successfully and then her aunt told her to perform the spell from page 324 and she did it without breaking a sweat because she had memorized the whole book.
The head witch told her that she completed her tasks successfully and that, despite her age, she can attend the Walpurgis Night dance. She told the witches that they should express their disagreement now or be quiet forever. Her evil aunt said she can prove that little witch isn't actually good. She had a notebook in which she kept track of the little witch's activity. After reading the list, the main witch decided that the little witch was actually evil because she used her spells to do good and help people. It confused the little witch. Her aunt also said that little witch performed magic on a certain Friday.
After witches attacked her and hit her with their brooms, the main witch proclaimed her sentence. She will be tied up on the dance and watch all the witches have fun. Her aunt added that, after the dance, they will pluck her hair out and enjoy it.
The little witch came home and told her friend everything she's been through. He was sad because he advised her to do good. The raven felt guilty for her misery.
She started reading her books and Abraxas asked her to go with her to the dance. She said he can do it if he keeps his mouth shut. He promised to do so.
The two of them came to Blocksberg before the other witches. The little witch was sitting at the top of the hill and Abraxas asked her if she would gather the wood for the bonfire. She told him not to worry because she will prepare it all in time. He was a bit suspicious. They started gathering the wood when the little witch said a spell. Soon many brooms came flying in and she said another spell. Then many books came and she said the third spell was the best one because it made witches unable to cast spells.
Soon it was midnight and the little witch set everything on fire. It was a beautiful fire and she and the raven danced till dawn. She was the only witch that was able to cast a spell and she shouted loudly "Hey Walpurgis Night".
Characters: Little Witch, Abraxas, Rupumpel, the main witch
Little Witch - a good and naïve witch. She loved her friend the talking raven. She was punished for her curiosity. Despite trying to read books and learn everything about magic, she failed because the witches set a trap for her. She believed them and in the end, she managed to outsmart them. Her studying wasn't all for nothing and she spent Walpurgis Night dancing with her raven.
Raven Abraxas - was a loyal friend who tried to help Little Witch but he ended up feeling responsible for her failure. He always encouraged her to do good deeds and warned her to treat everyone with kindness.
Aunt Rumpumpel - was an evil old witch that hated Little Witch. Despite the main witch saying Little Witch did everything correctly, she insisted that the Little Witch was punished. She tracked her every move and in the end stated everything she had done at the Little Witch's test. Considering the fact that all witches must be evil and not good as she was, she wanted to pluck her hair one by one to punish her. Her evil plan didn't work.
Otfried Preussler is a well-recognized German author of many children's books and he was born in October 20, 1923. He came from a family who worked in a glass refinery. Soon after his graduation, he was called to join the army and was captured by the Russians in the war.
He lived in captivity with his family for 5 years when they ran away. He finished school and started working as a school principal.
He spent much of his time with children, so it's no wonder he decided to write for them. His literary work began with radio plays and then he started writing novels.
Preussler spent most of his life being penpals with kids across the world. He wrote 25 books translated into 40 languages and sold over 50 million copies.
He wrote: The little water sprite, The little witch, The little ghost, and many more before his death in February 18, 2013.