In the early 1980s, I read a picture book about how a group of men destroyed the coven of witches that were terrorizing their town. As I remember it, the style of the illustrations was similar to that of Tomie dePaola, but none of the books he illustrated sound like what I am looking for.

I do not recall what the group of witches actually did to make trouble. However, I do remember how they were destroyed. The witches were vulnerable to rainwater, or maybe any water (like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz). However, they were smart enough not to leave their cave when it was raining.

A group of men from the town—the same number as there were witches—headed out to the cave in a downpour. Each of them carried a watertight jar with a fresh set of clothes inside, and they changed out of their wet garments and into the dry ones after they were just inside the cave. Then they headed deeper in, to where the witches were; the men told the witches that they were beautiful, and they wanted to dance with them outside. The witches were suspicious, but the men pointed to their dry garments and said that they were so dextrous that they could walk in between the raindrops without getting wet; they could protect their dance partners from the rain in the same way. This fooled the witches, who went out with the men; but when they started dancing, the rain washed all the witches away.

Does anyone know what book this was?

1 Answer 1


Could it be The Rabbi and the 29 Witches by Marilyn Hirsh?

The picture style looks just like the artist you are describing:

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The Goodreads page also mentions the dancing and dry clothes (from a review):

I like the concept that witches only come out on full moons and scare the villages. But they won't come out on full moons when it rains. Therefore, if 29 men went to the witches caves when it rains, and were dry, well that would be some trick. The witches wanted to know how the men could walk between the rain drops and not get wet. So the Rabbi and the men lured the witches in the rain to dance...and you can guess the rest...a whole Wizard of OZ "I'm Melting, MELTING M-E-L-T-I-N-G"

Found with the search "trick cave witches rain picture book".


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