|“||The poor poppet is failure itself.||”|
|— Yackle regarding Elphaba, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West|
Yackle is a mysterious recurring character in Gregory Maguire's The Wicked Years.
In A Lion Among Men, Mother Yackle tells Brrr that she awoke from a stupor already aged and having no memory of her prior life. She ventured out of the room she awoke in, walking right into Shiz, where she began her career as a clairvoyant. She adopted the name Yackle after she saw a picture of the mythological Yakal Snarling and adopted the name, dropping the Snarling. It is later revealed she came from the Grimmerie and was created as a witness to the life of Elphaba Thropp.
Yackle has had many guises and occupations throughout The Wicked Years.
After she came into existence, Yackle worked as a practitioner of pagan herbal magic and a prophet. She stayed for a time in Shiz, offering minor predictions, before leaving for the Emerald City.
In this form, Yackle is described as being a "saucy looking old-biddy from Shiz who can hardly see her own hand".
After leaving Shiz, she worked in the Lower Quarter of the Emerald City in a shop branded with an underground symbol representing the practice of alchemy. During Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Yackle provides Nanny with the pills that were supposed to prevent Melena Thropp from giving birth to a green child again (her first being Elphaba.) Instead, the strange magic remedy caused Nessarose Thropp, Melena's second child, to be born without arms and hardly able to support herself. Yackle drank some of the Miracle Elixir Nanny brought (which Melena was given by the Wizard) and predicts that Melena's daughters will change the history of Oz.
In A Lion Among Men, Mother Yackle admits to Brrr that before Nanny's visit she was a fake and had no actual powers. After her first vision, induced by the Miracle Elixir, she began to have some powers of prophecy, which she used to keep track of Elphaba.
Some 15 years later, Yackle mistakenly predicted that Elphaba would be at the Philosophy Club, and became a doorman there to possibly protect her. However, only Elphaba's college friends made an appearance at the club, since Elphaba and Glinda left Shiz that night for the Emerald City.
This time she is described as "a crone, with random teeth and a shiny white-pink wig slipping westwards off her pearly scalp".
For well over twenty years, through Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men, Yackle took up the job as a maunt at the Chapel of Saint Glinda in the Emerald City and then at the Cloister of Saint Glinda in the Shale Shallows. She took the name "Mother Yackle" and is described by the other maunts as a being a senseless old biddy.
Mother Yackle takes a heartbroken Elphaba under her wing at the Chapel of Saint Glinda after the murder of Fiyero Tigelaar. At some point, the two of them move from the mother chapel in the Emerald City to the Cloister of Saint Glinda in the Shale Shallows. When Elphaba, accompanied by Liir, leaves with Oatsie Manglehand to travel to Kiamo Ko, Yackle gave her the broom.
In Son of a Witch, Mother Yackle watched over Liir and Candle and locked them in a room together so they would have sex. She then helped the two of them escape from the Mauntery to Apple Press Farm, a disused orchard owned by the maunts. She remains at the Mauntery, and when Cherrystone came to question the maunts about the whereabouts of Liir, he blinds Yackle in an attempt to get information out of her.
About eight years later, Mother Yackle is ready to die but finds herself unable. She demands the other maunts lock her away in a crypt and leave her there. However, she survives, and a year later she reemerges upon the arrival of Brrr. He is there to question her about her interactions with Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, and she questions Brrr about his life. When the Company of the Clock of the Time Dragon arrives at the mauntery, it brings the Grimmerie with it. At the end of A Lion Among Men, Yackle is able to be reabsorbed by the book.