A wise woman is usually the oldest woman in the village who was taken as a young girl to be the apprentice of the last wise woman. She will in turn take an apprentice when her time draws near. Wise women are knowledgeable in the old ways. While rural villages still depend on them, larger cities no longer do. In some places, they are hunted down and killed as witches.
Always the oldest woman knows what stands written in the booke, said Dhun gloomily. And what she knows, she teaches some young one, when 'tis time for her to turn to earth. Heed ye, yerselves, how 'tis time for our old woman. So our old woman has taken Lille in and be teaching her. But for now, 'tis the old woman knows best.
pg.179, The Last Wish (UK edition)
The strange women and girls, called prophetesses or Wise Ones, who could be found in villages, didn't enjoy the favour of those noblemen who collected levies and profited from farming. Farmers always consulted the prophetesses on everything and believed them, blindly and boundlessly.
pg.184, The Last Wish (UK edition)