Escher created the Scholastica suite to illustrate the book The Terrible Adventures of Scholastica. Jan Walch, Escher’s acquaintance, wrote the book about the witch of Oudewater, a small town in the Netherlands famous for its Witch’s Scales. During the 16th century people accused of witchcraft could try to prove their innocence in the Weighing House. Defendants wanted to be tried in Oudewater because they did not rig their scales. As a result of this honesty, no one was ever found guilty of witchcraft.
None of the woodcuts in the book were given titles by Escher. This one is nicknamed Dead Witch. In addition to the six large woodcuts, there are 12 smaller woodcuts. Most of them are illustrated letters, but there is a title page and a vignette that concludes the story. The “Letter A” was created for the book, but never printed, and therefore not pictured here. Scholastica was printed in an edition of 300 in 1933.