Web and Book design,
Copyright, Kellscraft Studio
(Return to Web Text-ures)
LET a young woman pin a four-leaf clover over the door, and the first unmarried man who comes in the door will be the one she is to marry.
If, instead, the maiden prefers to eat the clover, or to put it in her shoe, she may recognize her fate in the first unmarried man she meets afterwards.
If you have lost your cow, catch a grandpa-long-legs, put a finger on one leg, and he will point with another leg in the direction in which you will find the stray cow.
Boy: "That's so. They will tell you. Lots of times when I couldn't find a cow, I've just taken a grandpa-long-legs and he'd point just where it was. Then I'd go that way and find it, when I couldn't find it no other way nohow."
Man: "I've got a cow out here that'd trouble 'em some. The grandpa-longlegs'd have to point in all directions to keep track of her."
If a grandpa-long-legs is not handy, spit in the palm of the left hand, strike the spittle with a finger of the right, and the direction the spittle jumps in will show what course to take in looking for the cow.
A good way to get rid of freckles is to go to a brook, catch a frog, and rub him alive on your face.
If you have too many rats in the house, take an old tin pan down cellar and give it a good drumming. The rats will hasten off the premises.
Possess yourself with a four-leaf clover and a stick with a knot-hole in it when you are to witness a sleight-of-hand performance. If aught puzzles you, there is need only to witness it through the knot-hole to have the trick made clear as day to you.
If your ear burns, it is a sign that somebody is talking about you. By wetting your thumb and forefinger and rubbing your ear, you can put a stop to the talk about you. If it is the right ear which burns, some one is saying something good of you. If the Ieft ear burns, some one is saying something bad of you. In the latter case you will do well to pinch your ear, for that will make the person who is talking about you bite his tongue.
Repeat the Lord's Prayer backwards, and you will see the Devil.
If you wish to get rid of the rats which make the walls of your house their home, write them a note couched in the politest terms you are master of, requesting them to go to a neighbor, and they will do as you desire. Be careful, of course, to tell the rats which neighbor you wish them to go to.
Another method, equally good, is to catch a rat, carry it to a neighbor's, and let it loose there. All the other rats at your house will follow it.
Again, if you will catch a rat and let it loose with a bell tied to its neck, all the rats will leave.
If you get a fishbone in your throat, pull your big toe, and the fishbone will immediately come out.
In the old days when feruling was common in the schools, the boys had a belief that if they spit in their hand before the teacher struck it, the ferule would break in two at the first blow.
Once in a while there is a rare person who is endowed by nature with the power to discover where it is best to dig a spring or a well. This person, if you employ him, walks about your premises with a branch of witch-hazel in his hand. At such spots as water can be struck without deep digging, the hazel branch droops downward, even if the medium attempts to prevent its doing so. By the way the twig twists and turns can be determined the exact spot where it will be best for you to dig.
A witch-hazel crotch is the favorite instrument of the water-finders. But there is a variation in preference. Some claim it doesn't matter what sort of a tree the crotch comes from. One old man I heard of used an apple-tree crotch. He demonstrated that he could locate water-pipes at the farm where he worked with no previous knowledge of where they were. Every time he came over a pipe the crotch bent downward. He really was able to tell just where the pipes were in spite of their crooked curves. He was a simple, mild old laborer, and was not to be suspected of sleight of hand. He said he couldn't prevent the downward inclination of the crotch if he tried to, but had no explanation to offer of the queer performance of the twig in his hand.
One man gifted with this water-finding power is a minister. It is his idea that this is not a special gift, but that all of us have it. He once followed back an underground watercourse to where another watercourse branched away from it. Here a well was dug that gave a most plenteous and never-failing supply of water. He said that by careful calculation a person could determine how deep the water lay. For instance, notice the inclination of the crotch and the spot where the pull of the water first asserts itself. Then discover the spot that brings you right over it. A calculation can be made from the angle and the distance from the place where the pull was first felt that will show just how much digging is necessary.
A water-finder who uses an elm crotch says any one can find water in this way who has warm hands. This man was something of a professional, and his charge was three dollars for each time he was employed.
He says he has never failed but once in his water searching, and that was when the man didn't dig where he told him to.
After he made this statement, he was employed one dry season to locate a spring on a hillside in a village several miles from his home.
The crotch he used was long and limber; and he wound the ends about his palms, and grasped them very tight. His palms were turned upward, and the stick stood up vertically in the air above them. When he came over water the top tipped outward and downward. The spot where it went down farthest was the place where the best spring was. Where there was water the crotch would go down, even if he tried to prevent it. Sometimes the downward pull was so forcible that when he held the twigs tight the bark would be twisted off in his hands. He said that water in a brook or in a pail did not affect the mystic crotch; the water must have dirt over it to make the stick turn.
In the case I speak of the water-finder went over the premises, and the crotch indicated a spot in the corner of a cornfield as the best one for a spring. The man said there was a spring there and a good one, only they would have to dig twelve feet to strike it.
The corn was cut, and three men spent two days digging a great circular hole sixteen feet deep. They failed to find water. The elm-crotch man was informed, and he came and looked down the hole. He said he couldn't understand it. Then he saw yellow stains in some of the dirt, and said there was iron ore there, and it was that that had attracted his wand.
"There's more'n one way to find a spring," said man number one. "They say you'll always find water where there's ants."
"Guess you'd find it in our buttery, then," said man number two.