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I wrote about this on the TVTropes YKTS, but never got any bites. I read it as a little child, mid 1980s or so. It was a book in our house in Ashland, KY. It was a short book, more a short story than anything else. It had sketchy pen and ink drawings in it. The main character was a little boy who somehow makes a pact with a group of witches (I want to say three of them) which granted him three amazing vehicles that were some sort of mishmash in that there was a car that flew, a boat that could drive, etc. This endangers his immortal soul, and he's hiding in long grass when the witches find him. Fortunately, a mysterious old man with a beard, I think also a source of wonders, steps forward and volunteers to be taken instead of the boy, and vanishes in a cloud of sparkling dust along with the vehicles.

Possibly related, or maybe tied to a different book at the same time, I want to say that the witches were very proud of their double-chins, and tried to develop them by pressing their chin to their breastbone repeatedly (when I was a child, I was very proud of being able to do the same). I want to say that there was an illustration of one of the witches doing just that, smiling up through their lashes at the reader.

It's one of those weird things where I read it at face value as a child, but realized later in life that it had a sort of Christ-like overtones, the man sacrificing himself for the sins of the boy.

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"Walker, the Witch, and the Striped Flying Saucer" by James Stevenson has some of those details.

Witch passing by Walker's window asks him if he has seen flying saucer, he finds it: enter image description here chats with the man on it, takes the car for a ride and it flies, then tries the biplane and when he returns, the witch has made the saucer invisible.

It can be read on archive.org

  • As mentioned in the comments above, I obviously got a number of details wrong, including more than a handful which probably came from other books, but this is certainly the correct answer. – FuzzyBoots Jul 26 '18 at 14:43
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This reminded me of The Midnight Folk by John Masefield, in which the protagonist Kay Harker gets tangled up with a coven of witches. One of he witches is masquerading as his governess, and she has taken away his toys. When Kay gets some of the toys back from the witch, they have magical powers (including a toy boat being capable of carrying Kay over both water and land).

Per GoodReads:

Young Kay Harker lives in an old house in the country, filled with portraits of his ancestors. His only companions are his unpleasant guardian Sir Theopompus and his governess Sylvia Daisy Pouncer (who, Kay suspects, has stolen all his toys). Life is lonely and dull, until one night Kay’s great-grandpapa Harker, a sea captain, steps out of his portrait to tell him about a stolen treasure that belongs to Kay’s family. The evil Abner Brown is searching for it too, but Kay is helped by the midnight folk: creatures like Nibbins the cat and Rollicum Bitem Lightfoot the fox, and even his lost toys, who will join him on his dangerous quest.

I do not remember it ending with a Christian allegory, but Masefield's (significantly better) sequel The Box of Delights has a very Christian character, dealing (among other things) with the attempts by the witches' male leader, Abner Brown, to prevent the celebration of Christmas.

  • Thank you. This was not the one after all, but I do plan on reading it. – FuzzyBoots Jul 26 '18 at 14:43

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