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Witch gets State Grant


		November 2, 2003

	 OSLO (Reuters) - A witch has won subsidies 
          from the Norwegian state to run a business of potions, fortune-telling 
          and magic. 
		  
		  Lena Skarning, 33, won the unprecedented start-up grant of 53,000 crowns 
		  ($7,400) after promising not to try out harmful spells with her business, 
		  Forest Witch Magic Consulting. 
		  
		  Skarning, who owns a white cat and says she has been practicing witchcraft
		   for 13 years, said the runaway success of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books 
		   about a boy wizard may have made society more tolerant of sorcery.
		  
		   
          "But Harry Potter is a fairy tale and I'm not," she told Reuters Tuesday. 
          "I'm the real thing. And now I'm Norway's only state-backed witch."
		  
		  
          She said the government subsidy would help her tell fortunes from Tarot 
          cards, teach magic tricks at corporate seminars and develop products 
          like magical bath oil, water potions or face creams meant to help users 
          have clearer dreams at night. 
		  
		  "The ingredients are mostly herbs -- nothing scary," she said of her products.
		  
		   Skarning said Harry Potter was unrealistic. 
          "He rides his broom backwards. Real witches ride with the brush part 
          in front," she said. 
	
	
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