The Witches is a children's fantasy novel by the British writer Roald Dahl. It was published in 1983 by Jonathan Cape in London, with illustrations by Quentin Blake (like many of Dahl's works). The story is set partly in Norway and partly in the United Kingdom, featuring the experiences of a young boy and his Norwegian grandmother in a world where child-hating evil witches secretly exist.
The book was adapted into an unabridged audio reading by Lynn Redgrave (ISBN 0-060-53616-0), a stage play and a two-part radio dramatisation for the BBC, a 1990 movie directed by Nicolas Roeg and an opera by Marcus Paus and Ole Paus.
A seven-year-old boy (who is never named) goes to live with his Norwegian grandmother after his parents are killed in a car crash. The grandmother was a wonderful story teller. He loved all the stories, but he was enthralled by the ones about witches, which she says are horrific creatures who seek to kill human children. She tells the boy that she knows of five children who were cursed by witches and tells him how to recognise them. She also tells about witchophiles, who hunt witches, which she is retired from, telling of an encounter with a witch which cost the grandmother her left thumb, but otherwise said her witchophile career was a failure as she never killed another witch. While witches look and act like human women, they are actually "demons in human shape." They have bald heads that they hide with wigs, clawed hands that they usually hide with gloves, blue spit, large nostrils and toeless feet that make it extremely painful to wear pretty shoes.