Perspicacia Tick

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Miss Tick
Name Perspicacia Tick
Race Human
Occupation Witch
Physical appearance Wears black, she is skinny with a sharp thin nose.
Marital Status
Books The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, The Shepherd's Crown, Mentioned in I Shall Wear Midnight
Cameos {{{cameos}}}

Miss Perspicacia Tick is a witch living in the lowlands. She earns her money by doing bits of medicine and misfortune-telling. She has also been seen as a teacher. Miss Tick does not look like an ordinary witch, because looking like a witch can be dangerous when walking among the uneducated. She does not wear magic jewellery nor carry a magic broom. However, she does wear a hat, which is a stealth hat and so only points when you press a secret switch. The hat is however normally occupied by a toad with legal tendencies. In case she does end up tied up and being thrown in a river somewhere, she has a certificate in swimming from the Quirm College for Young Ladies and a book on escapology.

These are all part of her occupation as a witch finder. She looks in the regions which are are hostile to witches for girls who have the potential to become witches. A person with the gifts of a witch but without the opportunity to develop them can be an unhappy, even dangerous, girl.

Given her education at Quirm College for Young Ladies, in the company of people like Sybil Ramkin and Brenda Rodley (Dowager Duchess of Quirm) and other "ladies who organise", Miss Tick must come from at least a reasonably prosperous background. But she puts up with the discomforts, risks, and indifferent pay of life behind enemy lines (as it were). When she needed to travel by coach, she achieved this by putting stamps to the value of ten pence on herself, and declaring herself to be within the two ounce weight limit. Though the clinching argument with the coachman, it has to be said, was her pointy witch's hat, when she could get the hidden bit to unfurl. It tends to stick because it gets rusty due to her being ducked in ponds a lot.

Though she may not be considered one of the more powerful witches, she is an expert with a shamble. She may be a bit prissy ("I am a teacher as well as a witch. Therefore I make lists. I make assessments. I write things down in a neat, firm hand with pens of two colours.") but should not be underestimated. Miss Tick was sharp enough to capture Tiffany's imagination, and she knows her own limitations. Tiffany's adventure takes place while Miss Tick has gone to get help from two "edge witches".

In The Wee Free Men it is by means of a shamble that she discovers Tiffany Aching and that an incursion from Fairyland may be on the cards. She is quick to recognise some of Tiffany's qualities, even if she does not see all of them. Despite that fact that Tiffany lives on the chalk that neutralises most of Miss Tick's magic powers, she observes that Tiffany has both First Sight and Second Thoughts, and has not only met the Feegles but been helped by them, and was able to see Jenny Greenteeth. Miss Tick did not pick up the possibility of Tiffany having Third Thoughts.

Joining the travelling Teachers, she started to teach Tiffany about witchcraft, and encouraged her to leave home to continue her training. "I don't teach people to be witches. I teach them about witches. Witches learn in a special school. I just show them the way, if they're any good." The thing about a special school was an idea that needed to be tested.

Tiffany absorbed a lot of sound stuff from Miss Tick e.g. "Always face what you fear. Have just enough money, never too much, and some string. Even if it's not your fault it's your responsibility. Witches deal with things. Never stand between two mirrors. Never cackle. Do what you must. Never lie, but you don't always have to be honest. Never wish. Especially don't wish upon a star, which is astronomically stupid. Open your eyes, and then open your eyes again."

And definitely, as Miss Tick said: "Once you learn about magic, I mean really learn about magic, learn everything you can learn about magic, then you've got the most important lesson still to learn." "What's that?" "Not to use it. Witches don't use magic unless they really have to... We do other things. A witch pays attention to everything that's going on..."

What Tiffany said to the memory of Granny Aching shows the benefits of listening to Miss Tick. Up on the Downs by the remains of the old shepherding hut, she said, "I have got to go away. I... I've got to learn proper witching, and there's no one here now to teach me, you see. I've got to... to look after the hills like you did. I can do things but I don't know things, and Miss Tick says what you don't know can kill you." The last comment was definitely accurate.

Something else Miss Tick told Tiffany: "Mistress Weatherwax says witches are people who look up." i.e. ask questions about things.

Miss Tick is also a bit of an author, having penned the book "Magavenation Obitsis" (witch hunting for dumb people) which she deposits in various non-witch-friendly villages. She also wrote "Fairies, and How to Avoid Them", and "A Feegle Glossary", presumably for those who failed. Also the "Bestiary of Transient Monsters".