Once upon a time there lived a witch who was very mean and ugly. She was as ugly as burnt plum pudding. She had only one daughter named Broccolina, who was no better than her mother. The witch wanted to train her daughter in witchcraft, to take after her. However much the mother tried, Broccolina was not the least bit interested. She never wanted to be bothered with witchcraft, or housework either. She was only interested in becoming beautiful.
Broccolina was very worried about her ugly looks and she spent most of her time in front of the mirror making up her face. She painted her face in many colors and polished her claw-like nails until they shone. She did her hair, every morning, evening and night, in every style she could think of. She wanted to look pretty as much as possible, but she never realized that it only made her look worse.
One day, her mother had to journey to a far-off land. She ordered Broccolina to keep stirring a magic potion, which was on the fire, until she returned. “Why should I have to do it?” Broccolina complained. “You know how much I hate stirring the cauldron. The big spoon spoils my nail polish, and the steam makes my make up run.”
“It has to be done,” said her mother, heading out the door. “I’ll be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, keep that pot stirred!”
“It’s not fair,” Broccolina muttered. She picked up the big spoon and started to stir.
After a while, she heard an unfamiliar sound. It was like a swarm of bees droning, overhead. She lifted her head to see what it was. “Oh!” she cried. It was a lovely angel, flying over her. “What a beautiful creature!” Broccolina’s eyes widened at the sight. “If I could just be as beautiful as that!” she said to herself enviously, gazing at the angel. How did she become so beautiful? There may be some secret in it, she thought.
“If I could catch her, maybe I could get the secret out of her. Yes, I must hurry up and catch her.” She left the pot boiling on the fire, and ran into the house to get the magic carpet. But her mother had already gone away on it.
“Oh no!” she muttered. She was very disappointed that she would not be able to catch the angel. She sat in front of the magic pot sulking. “Oh, how can I ever become as pretty as that?” She thought and thought and thought, but nothing came to her mind.
….Suddenly, she had an idea. “Maybe my mother has a formula in her magic books, to make me pretty like an angel. Surely, she must have one.” Then she ran back into the house, and straight to her mother’s closet.
She rummaged about in the closet, looking for a recipe, turning over all of her mother’s magic recipe books, one by one. But couldn’t find any recipe to become pretty, like the angel. She was very disappointed. She couldn’t stop thinking about the pretty angel. She paced up and down angrily, not wanting to give up. “Well,” she thought, “I will just have to come up with a recipe of my own to make me beautiful.”
She went back to the simmering cauldron and went on stirring it, still trying to think up a recipe. She became nervous and angry, because she couldn’t think of anything. What ingredients should I use to make that magic potion, she said to herself. She thought and thought, but she just couldn’t think of anything that would make her beautiful.
After a while, Broccolina felt something rub against her ankle. It was her mother’s grey cat. “Get away,” she said. The cat wrapped herself around Broccolina’s leg, mewing. It seemed to be lonely. Broccolina, who was already angry, became even angrier by this, “I said get away!” she yelled.
When the cat didn’t leave, Broccolina grabbed it by the tail and flung it out the door. “Yeou!” The poor cat howled and ran away with her tail in the air.
Instantly a long tail popped out from Broccolina’s back, but she didn’t feel it. She stirred the potion faster, thinking of the ingredients she should put in.
Then her mother’s black crow saw something strange hanging from Broccolina’s back and came flying towards her. Thinking that it was a snake, he pecked at it and pulled.
Broccolina was angry about being disturbed again. She hit the crow with the stirring spoon. The crow’s thin leg got scratched and some of the potion spilled on the ground as well. The poor crow shrieked in pain and limped away, quickly. Broccolina was so mean, she didn’t care about the poor crow being wounded. She didn’t even feel sorry for him. She stirred the cauldron again. Soon, small wounds began to appear all over her body. But she was so absorbed in thoughts of becoming an angel that she didn’t notice the wounds.
The goat, her mother had brought to cook for dinner, smelled the potion that had been spilt on the ground. He stood up from the stack of hay and came to lick it up, because he was so thirsty. This angered Broccolina even more and she kicked the goat away. The thirsty goat staggered away in fear and pain.
In no time, she got a grey beard just like that of the goat and her hair grew bushy like a stack of hay. But Broccolina didn’t notice it, because she was too busy, thinking about the ingredients she should put in her potion.
The cow, who was in the barn, saw Broccolina’s new bush of hair. She was very hungry and thought that it was a stack of hay and came to eat it. Broccolina, without realizing why the cow came, threw a stick of firewood at her angrily. It hit on the horns and the poor hungry cow ran away mooing in fear. Within seconds two bumps emerged from the sides of Broccolina’s head and grew into two big horns. But, she didn’t notice!
When her mother’s watchdog saw this strange sight, he didn’t recognize Broccolina. He ran toward her, barking and growling. Broccolina got very annoyed for the dog barking at her and hit the dog with the lid of the cauldron. The lid hit the dog on the mouth. The poor dog ran away howling.
Suddenly, half of Broccolina’s teeth fell into the cauldron as she stirred the potion. But Broccolina didn’t notice it, because she was too deep in the thoughts of becoming pretty like an angel.
Then her mother’s little parrot awoke, hearing the noise. When he saw the ugly sight of Broccolina, he became frightened and flew about in the cage.
“Oh, Broccolina,” the parrot cried. “What’s happened to you? You’ve become very ugly. You are the ugliest sight I’ve ever seen,” the little parrot screeched in terror. Broccolina jumped at him shouting foul words. As she shouted, her voice cracked and became hoarse. “Oh! What’s wrong?” Broccolina was very confused and felt that something was not right. She ran to the mirror.
“Oh, no, no, nooooooooo…” she screamed. When she saw herself in the mirror she was horrified. “Oh no, I wanted to be pretty like an angel.” She ran out of the house screaming wildly. She was angrier than ever. She howled madly and crawled on the ground, saying horrible things to the angel.
Hearing Broccolina’s howling, the angel who was on her way back to heaven, came to see what was wrong. When Broccolina saw the angel, she burnt with anger and jealousy.
“You horrible angel! You horrible angel!” Broccolina shouted, throwing her hands. “All this happened to me, because of you.” she shouted. “Why did you fly above me? Then only I wanted to become an angel like you.” The angel listened quietly. Broccolina went on scolding. “See, what has happened to me? I’ve ended up looking horrible. You are responsible for all this. Now, you must tell me, the secret of how to be pretty like an angel. Otherwise I’ll teach you a lesson when I get my hands on you,” Broccolina shouted with anger.
“Broccolina,” the angel listened to her calmly and spoke to her with kindness. “No, magic potion can make anyone pretty like an angel. It’s only a secret that you should know in your heart. If you love and care for the others, be kind and patient and do all good deeds, you will look pretty like an angel. The love in your heart makes you beautiful.” With her mouth open, Broccolina listened intently to the angel. “A little while ago, you treated those poor creatures with meanness. That’s how you became ugly. When your heart is filled with cruelty and anger, you become uglier,” said the angel. “Broccolina, now you must go to them and care for them to get them well. You should love them and talk to them with affection. You should never use harsh words to anyone. Then your voice will be sweeter.” The angel went away fluttering her golden wings.
Broccolina ran around hurriedly looking for the cat, crow, goat, cow, dog, and parrot. They were hiding behind the barn, bruised and stricken with fear and pain. When they saw her they got even more scared. But when she talked to them sweetly, they were surprised and forgot their pain and fear. Broccolina nursed them and cared for them with kindness.
All of them were very happy and amazed to hear such kind words from her. Little by little as she spoke kind words, her voice became tender. When she treated the animals’ wounds with kindness, her skin cleared and began to glow.
When she nursed them with affection, her hair became lustrous. When she looked at them with love in her eyes, her eyes became brighter. Little by little, she became pretty like the angel.
Meanwhile, two little bumps emerged from her back and turned into lovely wings. “Oh!” She was very happy. She rose up into the air fluttering her wings. Eventually, Broccolina became an angel and flew to heaven happily. After that she was never unkind to anyone and was loved by all.