The Women With Cat’s Eyes is a scary story for kids about Mexican witches. It is based on an old folktale from New Mexico. I found it in a collection of folklore titled Tone The Bell Easy. In Spanish, witches are called “brujas”.
There was a man named Panfilo who built a house in a remote Mexican village. There were two old women who lived near him and sometimes he would go over to their house to play cards. Their names were Pilar and Fefe. They were tall, thin women with pale narrow faces and dark circles around their eyes, as if they never slept.
The two old women were sisters and they were never apart. Wherever one of them went, the other would go too. They looked almost exactly alike and the only way to tell them apart was by their eyes. Pilar’s eyes were green and Fefe’s eyes were brown.
The people in the village warned him they were brujas and told him to be careful or they would put brujeria (witchcraft) on him, but he just laughed and said he wasn’t afraid. He didn’t believe in witches.
However, as time went by, Panfilo became curious. The old women never left their house after dark. He watched their house every evening, but as soon as night fell, he never saw them come out. Sometimes, he would peer through the windows, but the house was always dark. The only thing he could see were the eyes of their cats, glittering in the darkness. The cats would hiss at him and scare him off.
One night, he decided to go to their house and find out what the old sisters got up to after dark. When he peered through the window, the cats weren’t around. He knocked at the door, but there was no answer, so he cautiously opened the door and went inside.
The house was empty and there was a fire burning in the hearth. He was looking around when he noticed something glistening in front of the fire. When he bent down to see what it was, he recoiled in horror. There were two pairs of human eyes lying there. They looked as if they had been taken out of their sockets and left there to keep warm.
There was a big iron spoon standing beside the fireplace that was used to gather up the ashes. He grabbed the spoon and scooped up the eyes to take a closer look at them. The two pairs of eyes stared up at him. One pair was green and one pair was brown. It was almost as if they were glaring at him. They made him feel sick.
Panfilo was very frightened and his hand started trembling. He was shaking so much that the iron spoon tipped over and he accidentally dumped the eyes into the fire. They popped and sputtered as they hit the coals and then they began to dance. The eyes danced up and down, up and down, hissing and popping as they jumped.
He tried desperately to scoop them out of the fire, but it was too late. They were so charred and burned that they looked like 4 hard brown walnuts.
Just then, the two lean black cats came screeching into the house. They ran around his legs, hissing at him and trying to scratch him. Panfilo was terrified. He made the sign of the cross and ran out of there as fast as his legs would carry him. He didn’t stop running until he got back to the safety of his house.
The next morning, he was still afraid. He was worried that the two old sisters would find out what he had done. He decided to go over to their house and talk to them as if everything was normal, hoping they wouldn’t suspect him.
When he knocked on the door, he heard the sisters say, “Come in, Panfilo!”
He opened the door and went inside. The two old women were sitting in their chairs in front of the fire, but they had their faces turned away from him.
“We’re busy, Panfilo,” they said. “We can’t play cards with you today.”
Panfilo saw the two lean black cats lying on the floor and they looked up at him and hissed. He noticed that they didn’t have any eyes. Then, the two old women looked at him and, to his horror, he saw that they had the round eyes of the cats in the sockets where their own eyes should be.
Panfilo backed away and left the house. He never saw the two old sisters after that. They stayed in that house day and night and never came out. Even so, Panfilo made sure he kept his doors and windows locked and never went outside after dark.