Which Witch?

Hob and Nob live in Gotham, a village stricken with “witch mania.” Rita visits both of them. Hob tells her, “The witch has blighted Bob’s mare,” and Nob tells her, “Maybe the witch killed Cob’s sow.” Hob and Nob themselves don’t suspect any particular person of being a witch, and there’s no definite description (such as “the Gotham witch”) that they both think applies uniquely to some alleged witch. Hob isn’t aware of Cob’s sow, and Nob isn’t aware of Bob’s mare. Rita herself doesn’t believe in witches. She reports the following:

“Hob thinks a witch has blighted Bob’s mare, and Nob wonders whether she killed Cob’s sow.”

How do we make sense of this? The two assertions seem to refer to the same person, but how is this possible if no such person exists? What can it mean to say that one nonexistent object is the same as another?

(P.T. Geach, “Intentional Identity,” Journal of Philosophy 64:20 [1967], 627–32.)