Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Hallowe'en!

Greetings October People - Autumn People - Hallowe'en People,

It is a dreary Hallowe'en morning in north Texas - rain is pounding on the roof, we have lightning and thunder and it is cool, gray and damp. I am not complaining. Normally we roll out on the Harley for a few miles on Hallowe'en but we snuck that ride in yesterday just in case Mother Nature did not cooperate with our plans. Today, there are cookies to bake, snacks to make and treats ready for those brave masked goblins who venture out in the muck and find their way to our door. Our haunt will be warm with the amber glow of jacks while in the shadows lurk witches and skeletons and other spookies. Tonight there will be friends and merriment. We will see the last jack wink out around the midnight hour.

Blessings to you and yours this Hallowe'en 2018.


The Eve of All Saints - Cawein

by Madison Cawein

This is the tale they tell,
Of an Hallowe’en;
This is the thing that befell
Me and the village Belle,
Beautiful Aimee Dean.

Did I love her?—God and she,
They know and I!
And love was the life of me—
Whatever else may be,
Would God that I could die!

That All-Saints’ eve was dim;
The forest lay white
Under strange stars and a slim
Moon in the graveyard grim,
An Autumn ghost of light.

They told her: “Go alone,
With never a word,
To the burial plot’s unknown
Grave with the grayest stone,
When the clock on twelve is heard;

“Three times around it pass,
With never a sound;
Each time a wisp of grass
And myrtle pluck, and pass
Out of the ghostly ground.

“And the bridegroom that’s to be
At smiling wait,
With a face like mist to see,
With graceful gallantry
Will bow you to the gate.”

She laughed at this, and so
Bespoke us how
To burial place she’d go:—
And I was gald to know,
For I’d be there to bow.

An acre from the farm
The homestead graves
Lay walled from sun and storm;
Old cedars of priestly form
Around like sentinel slaves.

I loved, but never could say
Such words to her,
And waited from day to day,
Nursing the hope that lay
Under the doubts that were.—

She passed ‘neath the iron arch
Of the legended ground,
And the moon like a twisted torch
Burned over one lonesome larch;
She passed with never a sound.

Three times had the circle traced,
Thre times had bent
To the grave that the myrtle graced;
Three times, then softly faced
Homeward, and slowly went.

Had the moonlight changed me so?
Or fear undone
Her stepping strange and slow?
Did she see and did not know?
Or loved she another one?

Who knows?—She turned to flee
With a face so white
That it haunts and will haunt me;
The wind blew gustily,
The graveyard gate clanged tight.

Did she think it me or—what,
Clutching her dress?
Her face so pinched that not
A star in a stormy spot
Shows half as much distress.

Did I speak? did she answer aught?
O God! had I said
“Aimee, ‘t is I!” but naught!—
And the mist and the moon distraught
Stared with me on her—dead….

This is the tale they tell
Of the Hallowe’en;
This is the thing that befell
Me and the village Belle,
Beautiful Aimee Dean.

From Days and Dreams, 1891

Vintage postcard - celebrating 47 years

Celebrating 47 years of spookiness with a guy who gets the Hallowe'en thing...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tombstone Tuesday - Harry Houdini

Photo © by Gregg Felsen

Houdini's grave in Machpelah Cemetery in Queens, New York.


Harry Houdini, March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926 - Budapest, Austria-Hungary (born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss). Houdini was an American stunt performer, illusionist and escape artist known early in his career (and achieved notoriety on a Vaudeville stage) as Harry "Handcuff Houdini.

Harry Houdini died of peritonitis, secondary to a ruptured appendix, at 1:26 p.m. on October 31, 1926, in Room 401 at Detroit's Grace Hospital, aged 52. In his final days, he believed that he would recover, but his last words before dying were reportedly, "I'm tired of fighting.

Houdini Museum

All Hallow-e'en - Slingsby

All Hallow-e’en
by Jonathan Freke Slingsby
pseudonym of John Francis Waller (1810-1894)

October is dying;
Chill winds are sighing
Sadly the bare, sapless branches between;
Night, from her dark wings,
Hoar, frost, and mist flings
Over the brown fields on Allhallow-E’en.

Shoot bolt and bar, now,
Leave no door a-jar, now,
Draw o’er the casement the curtain’s thick screen;
Heap logs on the fire till
The flame burns higher still,
And roars up the chimney on Allhallow-E’en.

Circle the hearth-stone
Each friend and dear one,
We’ll sit where of old our forefathers have been;
Bring chalice and flagon,
The night shall not lag on
‘Mid the time-honoured pastimes of Allhallow-E’en.

The cross lightly turns,
The flame brightly burns
Of the candles, the rosy red apples between;
Then come boys and girls,
Look sharp as it twirls,
And play at snap-apple on Allhallow-E’en.

With eye quick and steady,
And mouth gaping ready,
A youth makes a snap, like a wolf, at the prize:
The fruit he but touches,
It whirls from his clutches,
While the flaring light smutches his jaws and his eyes.

Thus oft, while intent on
Some joy that we’re bent on.
We heedlessly rush the fair treasure to clasp;
But a soil or a burn
Is our only return,
While all that we toiled for has fled our grasp.

Now a maiden, more wily,
Comes quiet and slily,
And waits till the cross is just changing its swing;
Then quickly she dips in
Her sweet little lips in,
And bears off the apple clear out of the ring.

Ah! trust me that no man
Can cope with a woman
In gaining her end, be it apple or heart;
Since first Mother Eve, sir,
Took fruit without leave, sir,
The fair sex have never forgotten the art.

Place the nuts in the fire now,
All you who desire now
To learn your fate, as they crackle and burn.
Come false loves and true loves,
We’ll soon find out who loves,
Who’s fickle and faithless, who loves you in turn.

Oh, how your hearts flutter
As the nuts crack and sputter,
Or steadily burning together they’re seen;
What trembling and starting,
As they’re faithlessly darting
From their mates on the bar, upon Allhallow-E’en.

There goes a bright shilling,
Let’s see who is willing
In the water to dive, where ‘tis shining within?
Then fair necks are stripping,
And bright faces dipping,
And silken hair dripping, on Allhallow-E’en.

There’s a crone in the corner,
You’d better not scorn her;
No riddle of fate for her skill is too hard.
See that young couple near her,
Who breathlessly hear her
Their fortunes expound, as she turns up each card.

Clear a space in the middle!
For bagpipe and fiddle
Invite men and maidens to jig and to reel;
And footing it featly,
The lasses trip neatly,
And the young men cut capers with toe and with heel.

There are charms for the bold heart,
The glass for the old heart,
To-night let no cold heart amongst us be seen;
Let strong waters and ale flow,
The song and the tale go
Around our bright hearth, upon Allhallow-E’en.

So gaily pass over
The last of October,
Perhaps, we may ne’er so enjoy it again;
‘Twill be sweet to remember
When wake, next November,
Our happy hearts’ muster on Allhallow-E’en.

From the story Snap-Apple Night - Dublin University Magazine, 1850

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Jack-O'-Lantern - Cawein

The Jack-O'-Lantern

circa 1909
By Madison J Cawein (1865-1914)

Last night it was Hallowe'en.
Darkest night I've ever seen.
And the boy next door, I thought,
Would be glad to know of this
Jack-o'-lantern father brought
Home from Indianapolis.
And he was glad. Borrowed it.
Put a candle in and lit;
Hid among the weeds out there
In the side lot near the street.
I could see it, eyes aglare,
Mouth and nose red slits of heat.
My! but it looked scary! He
Perched an old hat on it, see?
Like some hat a scarecrow has,
Battered, tattered all around;
And he fanned long arms of grass
Up and down above the ground.
First an Irish woman, shawled,
With a basket, saw it; bawled
For her Saints and wept and cried,
"Is it you, Pat? Och! I knew
He would git you whin you died!
'Faith! there's little change in you!"
Then the candle sputtered, flared,
And went out; and on she fared,
Muttering to herself. When lit,
No one came for longest while.
Then a man passed; looked at it;
On his face a knowing smile.
Then it scared a colored girl
Into fits. She gave a whirl
And a scream and ran and ran —
Thought Old Nick had hold her skin;
And she ran into a man,
P'liceman, and he run her in.
But what pleased me most was that
It made one boy lose his hat;
A big fool who thinks he's smart,
Brags about the boys he beat:
Knew he'd run right from the start:
Biggest coward on the street.
Then a crowd of girls and boys
Gathered with a lot of noise.
When they saw the lantern, well!
They just took a hand: they thought
That they had him when he fell;
But he turned on them and fought.
He just took that lantern's stick,
Laid about him hard and quick,
And they yelled and ran away.
Then he brought me all he had
Of my lantern. And, I say,
Could have cried I was so mad.

Vintage Postcard of the week...

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Dark Rides - Hearses - Mid Century

1922 Ford hearse - rat rod
1940 Packard hearse
1941 Cadillac hearse
1947 Buick hearse
1947 Buick hearse

1952 Citroen Corbillard hearse
1957 Chevrolet hearse
1959 Cadillac hearse
custom hearse
custom hearse
1970 hearse ad

mini bus hearse
Rolls Royce hearse

October - Cawein/Wysocki


circa 1902
Madison J Cawein (1865-1914)

I OFT have met her slowly wandering
Beside a leafy stream, her locks blown wild,
Her cheeks a hectic flush, more fair than Spring,
As if on her the sumach copse had smiled.
Or I have seen her sitting, tall and brown,--
Her gentle eyes with foolish weeping dim,--
Beneath a twisted oak from whose red leaves
She wound great drowsy wreaths and cast them down;
The west-wind in her hair, that made it swim
Far out behind, deep as the rustling sheaves.
Or in the hill-lands I have often seen
The marvel of her passage; glimpses faint
Of glimmering woods that glanced the hills between,
Like Indian faces, fierce with forest paint.
Or I have met her 'twixt two beechen hills,
Within a dingled valley near a fall,
Held in her nut-brown hand one cardinal flower;
Or wading dimly where the leaf-dammed rills
Went babbling through the wildwood's arrased hall,
Where burned the beech and maples glared their power.
Or I have met her by some ruined mill,
Where trailed the crimson creeper, serpentine,
On fallen leaves that stirred and rustled chill,
And watched her swinging in the wild-grape vine.
While Beauty, sad among the vales and mountains,
More sad than death, or all that death can teach,
Dreamed of decay and stretched appealing arms,
Where splashed the murmur of the forest's fountains;
With all her loveliness did she beseech,
And all the sorrow of her wildwood charms.
Once only in a hollow, girt with trees,
A-dream amid wild asters filled with rain,
I glimpsed her cheeks red-berried by the breeze,
In her dark eyes the night's sidereal stain.
And once upon an orchard's tangled path,
Where all the golden-rod had turned to brown,
Where russets rolled and leaves were sweet of breath,
I have beheld her 'mid her aftermath
Of blossoms standing, in her gypsy gown,
Within her gaze the deeps of life and death.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Grandpa Loved Hallowe'en

Sharing these memories of Grandpa... and adding Alice's poem at the end...
Grandpa Davis
W.C. 'Red' Davis (1903-1978)

The first pumpkin I buy in the Fall is designated as Grandpa's Pumpkin in remembrance of my Grandpa on the maternal side who loved Hallowe'en and the Fall. I place it by the hearth and pin his photo to it. At the end of the season when the pumpkin is past its prime - it goes out under the bird feeder where the squirrels and other critters make a feast of it.

Grandpa was quiet spoken and good-natured. Every memory I have of him brings a smile.

Grandpa Davis told great "yarns" and spooky stories. Late one Fall, as we walked from his friend's house in the twilight of the evening, he showed me the official haunted ghost house of the small Texas town where he lived. The old abandoned house, complete with creaky porch and dilapidated shutters was a couple of blocks from Grandpa's house. We peered through cloudy windows at what I know now was a couple of saw horses and a carpenter's tool box, but at the time looked every bit like the coffin of the old, mean guy Grandpa told me it was. Being the oldest and a bit of a yarn-spinner myself, I couldn't wait to share the story with younger cousins and my little brother. I couldn't wait to lead them past the big old bare pecan tree with its limbs scratching the sky like claws, and up the creaky steps to show them the coffin of the meanest man who had ever lived. I imagine Grandpa got a big kick out of all of us (I believe the number was five or six)... who came screeching around the corner a short while later, full of wild ideas and big stories. Of course, the coffin lid had moved and of course a spooky face was seen in the window as we high-tailed it out of there... We were certain the mean man's ghost was chasing us... why would he chase good kids we wondered. (wink! wink!) I bet Grandpa is grinning still.

Another time near Hallowe'en Grandpa told us (myself, the brother and the cousins again, five or six of us) about the mean old boogey-man who had a bad leg. I don't quite remember how the man's leg went bad in the story, but it seems like he got it caught in the cellar door where his mean old step-mother locked him when he was bad. (That part of the story might have originated with Grandpa or I might have added that part in the re-telling.) According to Grandpa, this old man came to town on Hallowe'en night to carry off all the bad children. Grandpa himself swore he had seen the old cripple crabbing his way up the road beside the house at sundown.

My Grandma bedded us down all on one big bed beside the window one Fall evening. I remember curtains swaying to and fro in the slight breeze. Outside was the road the boogey-man traveled every year according to Grandpa. I and another cousin saw that old man out the window that night. First he was there, limping and dragging his bad leg through the dirt, scrabbling noisily through the gravel near the bar ditch, then, next glance… he was not there! After a few minutes, a face appeared at the window and booed us. Loudly. Kids and covers scattered everywhere. Our screams and cries gave Grandma quite a fright. Later, I overheard from the kitchen, Grandma giving Grandpa "what for" about riling us up at bedtime... mumbling it was gonna take forever to bed us down again. Soon, we were settled in again and whispering amongst ourselves under the covers about the boogey man. It was many years before the man in the road and the face at the window became one in the same with my Grandpa’s visage.

Mom tells a story about Grandpa seeing a ghost when she was a girl. They lived on a farm at the time. Grandma wore a long white nightgown. One night she visited the "out house". Grandpa happened to look out the window about the time the gown and her black hair billowed out in the wind... which gave him quite a start. He said that's about as scared as he'd ever been.

My second grade year, my parents were working so Grandpa and Grandma took us to the school Fall carnival. I can still remember Grandpa playing all the games and winning lots of prizes for my brother and me.

I guess it is no big surprise that I love the season well... the sights, the sounds, the spooky stories, and it is no big surprise that Hallowe'en is my favorite holiday. I learned to appreciate Hallowe'en and the things associated with it early in life. These days the stories would not resonate with children of the same age as we were when Grandpa told spooky stories and played make-believe at the window. Kids of this day and time are smarter, more grounded in reality and more worldly-wise. I cannot find fault with that I guess, but it also escapes me how much they might be missing of the wonder and the thrill of innocence lost, of times shared with old people and Grandparents, of Fall afternoons screeching through the dusty streets of little town Texas and of spooky stories fabricated and embellished under the covers.

Oh well! I have my stories and I still like to spin them. When a youngster in my neighborhood asked what the creatures on the shelf were (see photo – it’s a dam doll Hallowe’en collection) - I told him "oh those are last year's trick-or-treaters". I had him for a minute... He took a step back and gave first the dam doll collection a hard look and then gave me a hard look before he realized I was pulling his leg

I reckon Grandpa could have put quite a spin on that little bit of mischief... I know, if he were telling the tale, I would have bought it hook, line and sinker. And then, I would have borrowed it, embellished it and passed it on. That’s what story-tellers do. Ha!

A poem by and for Grandpa's youngest daughter Alice (written in collaboration with Octoberwych)...

My Daddy, he loved Hallowe’en…
This I and my sisters remember well.
How he delighted in the squeals of wide-eyed children
as they shivered through his spooky tales,
told rightly, just before bedtime,
much to our Mother’s dismay…
he said, such stories are better told in the dark of night
than by the cheerful, bright light of day.
In a voice as dry as the whisper
of dead leaves skittering down the road,
with somber eye and leering grin
he would thrill us with the folk tales of old.
With covers pulled up to our eyeballs we heard
of raven-haired, broom-riding witches,
of bats fluttering hungrily at dusk
and Trolls lurking under bridges.
From the far shadows of the bedroom he warned
of Pumpkin-head monsters prowling
through cornfields haunted by shimmering ghosts
and unlucky black cats howling.
He said he knew of haunted houses to visit
and where skeletons crawled out of the grave…
He promised we could go trick-or treating,
but we would have to be very, very brave.

My Daddy, he loved Hallowe’en…
This I and my sisters remember well.
If we could have but one Jack-O-Lantern wish
It would be to hear Daddy tell one more wild tale…
© All Rights Reserved

Sexy Saturday Pinup Witch

Friday, October 26, 2018

Druids - Norris


circa 1953
By David O Norris

Druids would not know this night
And witches would in wonder gaze
To see the festive costumed souls
That dash about the night in play
Where ancient magick ruled the land
Children's laughter fills the soul
Yet in this way the night is honored
Much like the ancients long ago

© David O Norris

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Is it haunted?

Witch Heritage

Witch Heritage

author unknown

There was an old woman tossed up in a basket

Seventeen times as high as the moon

but where she was going, I could not but ask it

for under her arm she carried a broom.

Old woman, old woman, old woman, said I!

Where are you going away to, so high?

To sweep the cobwebs out of the sky

May I come with you? Aye, by and by.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


from a Hallowe'en Memory - Morley

from A Hallowe'en Memory

circa 1921
by Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

Do you remember, Heart's Desire,
The night when Hallowe'en first came?
The newly dedicated fire,
The hearth unsanctified by flame?
How anxiously we swept the bricks
(How tragic were the draught not right!)
And then the blaze enwrapped the sticks
And filled the room with dancing light.
We could not speak, but only gaze,
Nor half believe what we had seen...
Our home, our hearth, our golden blaze,
Our cider mugs, our Hallowe'en!
And then a thought occurred to me...
We ran outside with sudden shout
And looked up to the roof, to see
Our own dear smoke come drifting out.
And of all man's felicities
The very subtlest one, say I,
Is when, for the first time, he sees
His hearthfire smoke against the sky.

Chimney Smoke - Christopher Morley

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tombstone Tuesday - Bram Stoker

photo ©Eddie Daley
Burial - Golders Green Crematorium, London Borough of Barnet, Greater London, England

Bram Stoker, November 8, 1847 - April 20, 1912 Clontarf, County Dublin, Ireland. Stoker is best known as the author of the horror novel Dracula, published in 1897 (never out of print). During his lifetime, he was better known as the personal assistant of actor Sir Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

The Halloween Tree - Bradbury

The Halloween Tree

circa 1972
By Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

The Real Halloween Tree as depicted by Bradbury on a Halloween card signed 1968 entitled The Pumpkin Tree - A Painting by Ray Bradbury

It's big, it's broad...
It's broad, it's bright...
It fills the sky of All Hallows' Night...
The strangest sight you've ever seen.
The Monster Tree on Halloween.

The leaves have burned to gold and red
the grass is brown, the old year dead,
But hang the harvest high, Oh see!
The candle constellations on the Halloween Tree!

The stars they turn, the candles burn
And the mouse-leaves scurry on the cold wind borne,
And a mob of smiles shine down on thee
From the gourds hung high on the Halloween Tree.

The smile of the Witch, and the smile of the Cat,
The smile of the Beast, the smile of the Bat,
The smile of the Reaper taking his fee
All cut and glimmer on the Halloween Tree...

© 1972 Ray Bradbury

The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. and full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. and the town was full of... Boys. And it was the afternoon of Halloween. from The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, © 1972 Ray Bradbury

If you haven't read The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury there is no better day than today... If you read it as a child or read it to your children in the last few decades there is no better day to read it again...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Hallowe'en - Letts


circa 1914

By Winifred Mary Letts (1882-1972)

"Why do you wait at your door, woman,
Alone in the night?"
"I am waiting for one who will come, stranger
To show him a light.
he will see me afar on the road
And be glad at the sight."

"Have you no fear in your heart, woman,
To stand there alone?
There is comfort for you and kindly content
Beside the hearthstone."
But she answered, "No rest can I have
Till I welcome my own."

"Is it far he must travel to-night,
This man of your heart?"
"Strange lands that I know not and pitiless seas
Have kept us apart,
And he travels this night to his home
Without guide, without chart."

"And has he companions to cheer him?"
"Aye, many," she said.
"The candles are lighted, the hearthstones are swept,
The fire glows red.
We shall welcome them out of the night --
Our home-coming dead."

Vintage Postcard of the week...

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Halloween - Burns


By Robert Burns, 1785

The following poem will, by many readers, be well enough understood; but for the sake of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions of the country where the scene is cast, notes are added to give some account of the principal charms and spells of that night, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makes a striking part of the history of human nature in its rude state, in all ages and nations; and it may be some entertainment to a philosophic mind, if any such honour the author with a perusal, to see the remains of it among the more unenlightened in our own.-R.B., 1785

Halloween [1]

Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
The simple pleasure of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art.
-- Goldsmith --

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans [2] dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze, [fields]
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the route is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the cove [3], to stray and rove,
Among the rocks and streams
To sport that night.

Among the bonny winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin' clear, [meandering]
Where Bruce [4] ance ruled the martial ranks,
And shook his Carrick spear,
Some merry, friendly, country-folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, and pou their stocks, [nuts; pull their stalks]
And haud their Halloween [hold]
Fu' blythe that night. [merrily]

The lasses feat, and cleanly neat, [trim]
Mair braw than when they're fine; [gaily appareled]
Their faces blithe, fu' sweetly kythe, [appearing]
Hearts leal, and warm, and kin';[loyal; kind]
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs, [spruced up; love knots]
Weel knotted on their garten,
Some unco blate, and some wi' gabs, [bashful; gossipy]
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin' [Compel]
Whyles fast at night.

Then, first and foremost, through the kail, [cabbage plot]
Their stocks [5] maun a' be sought ance; [must; once]
They steek their een, and graip and wale, [shut their eyes; grope and [choose]
For muckle anes and straught anes. [large; straight]
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift, [half-witted]
And wander'd through the bow-kail,
And pou't, for want o' better shift, [pulled]
A runt was like a sow-tail,
Sae bow't that night. [So bent]

Then, staught or crooked, yird or nane, [full of earth; none]
They roar and cry a' throu'ther; [pell mell]
The very wee things, todlin', rin, [very; run]
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther; [over their shoulder]
And gif the custoc's sweet or sour. [center of the cabbage stalk]
Wi' joctelegs they taste them; [a folding knife]
Syne cozily, aboon the door, [And then comfortably; above]
Wi cannie care, they've placed them [gentle]
To lie that night.

The lasses staw frae 'mang them a' [stole away from; all]
To pou their stalks of corn [6]: [in Burns' time, means any grain]
But Rab slips out, and jinks about,
Behint the muckle thorn:
He grippet Nelly hard and fast;
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses; [shrieked]
But her tap-pickle maist was lost, [top of the ehat stalk; almost]
When kiutlin' in the fause-house [7] [cuddling; opeing in a grain stack]
Wi' him that night.

The auld guidwife's well-hoordit nits [8], [well-hoarded]
Are round and round divided,
And monie lads' and lasses' fates
Are there that night decided:
Some kindle coothie, side by side, [lovingly]
And burn thegither trimly; [together]
Some start awa, wi' saucy pride,
And jump out-owre the chimlie [fireplace]
Fu' high that night.

Jean slips in twa wi' tentie e'e; [two; careful eye]
Wha 'twas she wadna tell;
But this is Jock, and this is me,
She says in to hersel:
He bleez'd owre her, and she owre him, [blazed]
As they wad never mair part; [more]
Till, fuff! he started up the lum, [chimney]
And Jean had e'en a sair heart [sore]
To see't that night.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie; [burned; prudish]
And Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt, [sulked]
To be compared to Willie;
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fling,
And her ain fit it brunt it; [own foot]
While Willie lap, and swore by jing, [leapt]
'Twas just the way he wanted
To be that night.

Nell had the fause-house in her min',
She pits hersel and Rob in; [puts]
In loving bleeze they sweetly join, [blaze]
Till white in ase they're sobbin'; [ash; hissing]
Nell's heart was dancin' at the view,
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't: [look]
Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonny mou', [stealthily; kissed; mouth]
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't, [snuggly; nook]
Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
She lea'es them gashin' at their cracks, [talking and joking]
And slips out by hersel:
She through the yard the nearest taks,
And to the kiln goes then,
And darklins graipit for the bauks, [gropes in the dark for the cross beams]
And in the blue-clue [9] throws then,
Right fear't that night.

And aye she win't, and aye she swat, [wound; did sweat]
I wat she made nae jaukin', [didn't dally]
Till something held within the pat, [kiln]
Guid Lord! but she was quakin'! [quaking]
But whether 'was the Deil himsel, [Devil]
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en', [beam-end]
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She didna wait on talkin'
To spier that night. [inquire]

Wee Jennie to her graunie says, [grannie]
"Will ye go wi' me, grannie?
I'll eat the apple at the glass [10]
I gat frae Uncle Johnnie:" [got from]
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt, [such a puff of smoke]
In wrath she was sae vap'rin', [so agitated]
She notice't na, an aizle brunt [hot cinder]
Her braw new worset apron [brand; worsted]
Out through that night.

"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face! [slang term for a girl]
I daur you try sic sportin', [dare]
As seek the foul thief ony place, [seek the Devil, any}
For him to spae your fortune. [prophecy]
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
Great cause ye hae to fear it;
For mony a ane has gotten a fright, [many a one]
And lived and died deleeret [insane]

On sic a night.
"Ae hairst afore the Sherra-moor, [One harvest; battle of Sherriffmuir, 1715]
I mind't as weel's yestreen -- [well been yesterday]
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure [young girl]
I wasna past fifteen;
The simmer had been cauld and wat, [summer; cold and wet]
And stuff was unco green; [corn or grain; too wet]
And aye a rantin' kirn we gat, [harvest home]
And just on Halloween
It fell that night.

'Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen, [reaper who takes the lead]
A clever sturdy fallow:
His son gat Eppie Sim wi' wean, [with child]
That lived in Achmacalla:
He gat hemp-seed [11], I mind it weel, [well]
And he made unco light o't;
But mony a day was by himsel,
He was sae sairly frighted [sorely]
That very night.'

Then up gat fechtin Jamie Fleck, [fighting]
And he swore by his conscience,
That he could saw hemp-seed a peck; [sow]
For it was a' but nonsense.
The auld guidman raught down the pock, [goodman; reached; bag]
And out a hanfu' gied him; [gave]
Syne bade him slip frae 'mang the folk, [Then told him slip from]
Some time when nae ane see'd him, [no one]
And try't that night.

He marches through amang the stacks,
Though he was something sturtin; [timorous]
The graip he for a harrow taks. [dung fork]
And haurls it at his curpin; [drags his horse crupper behind him]
And every now and then he says,
'Hemp-seed, I saw thee,
And her that is to be my lass,
Come after me, and draw thee
As fast this night.'

He whistled up Lord Lennox' March
To keep his courage cheery;
Although his hair began to arch,
He was say fley'd and eerie: [frightened]
Till presently he hears a squeak,
And then a grane and gruntle; [grain and grunt]
He by his shouther gae a keek, [shoulder; peep]
And tumbled wi' a wintle [somersaulted]
Out-owre that night.

He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadfu' desperation!
And young and auld came runnin' out
To hear the sad narration;
He swore 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw, [hobbling]
Or crouchie Merran Humphie, [hunchbacked]
Till, stop! she trotted through them
And wha was it but Grumphie [the sow]
Asteer that night! [Astir]

Meg fain wad to the barn hae gaen, [would have; gone]
To winn three wechts o' naething; [12] [winnow; a hoop used for winnowing]
But for to meet the Deil her lane, [alone]
She pat but little faith in:
She gies the herd a pickle nits, [few]
And two red-cheekit apples,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,
In hopes to see Tam Kipples
That vera night.

She turns the key wi cannie thraw, [gentle twist]
And owre the threshold ventures;
But first on Sawnie gies a ca' [calls out the name of Satan]
Syne bauldly in she enters: [The boldly]
A ratton rattl'd up the wa', [rat]
And she cried, L__d, preserve her!
And ran through midden-hole and a', [a gutter at the bottom of a dung hill]
And pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' fast that night;

They hoy't out Will wi' sair advice; [urged; strong]
They hecht him some fine braw ane; [promised; handsome one]
It chanced the stack he faddom'd thrice [13] [fathomed]
Was timmer-propt for thrawin'; [propped with timber against the wind]
He taks a swirlie, auld moss-oak, [timber full of knots]
For some black grousome carlin; [old woman]
And loot a winze, and drew a stroke, [let fly an oath]
Till skin in blypes cam haurlin' [shreds came peeling]
Aff's nieves that night. [Off his fists]

A wanton widow Leezie was,
As canty as a kittling; [lively]
But, och! that night amang the shaws, [small woods]
She got a fearfu' settlin'!
She through the whins, and by the cairn, [prickly evergreen bushes; gorse]
And owre the hill gaed scrievin, [swiftly]
Whare three lairds' lands met at a burn [14] [lords'; stream]
To dip her left sark-sleeve in, [shirt]
Was bent that night.

Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays, [waterfall; rivulet]
As through the glen it wimpl't;
Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays; [bank]
Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't; [eddy]
Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle;
Whyles cookit underneath the braes, [disappeared; hillsides]
Below the spreading hazel,
Unseen that night.

Among the brachens, on the brae, [ferns]
Between her and the moon,
The Deil, or else an outler quey, [stray young cow]
Gat up and gae a croon:
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool! [almost leapt out of her chest]
Near lav'rock-height she jumpit; [lark's]
but mist a fit, and in the pool [lost her footing]
Out-owre the lugs she plumpit, [Over her ears she fell]
Wi' a plunge that night.

In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
The luggies [15] three are ranged,
And every time great care is ta'en',
To see them duly changed:
Auld Uncle John, wha wedlock joys
Sin' Mar's-year did desire, [Since Earl of Mar's rebellion, 1715)
Because he gat the toom dish thrice, [empty]
He heaved them on the fire
In wrath that night.

Wi' merry sangs, and friendly cracks,
I wat they didna weary; [know]
And unco tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery;
Till butter'd sow'ns [16], wi' fragrant lunt, [cooked oats; steam]
Set a' their gabs a-steerin'; [mouths watering]
Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt, [whiskey]
They parted aff careerin'
Fu' blythe that night.

1: Is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are abroad on their baneful midnight errands; particularly those aerial people, the fairies, are said on that night to hold a grand anniversary,.-R.B.

2: Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cassilis.-R.B.

3: A noted cavern near Colean house, called the Cove of Colean; which, as well as Cassilis Downans, is famed, in country story, for being a favorite haunt of fairies.-R.B.

4: The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert, the great deliverer of his country, were Earls of Carrick.-R.B.

5: The first ceremony of Halloween is pulling each a "stock," or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with: its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells-the husband or wife. If any "yird," or earth, stick to the root, that is "tocher," or fortune; and the taste of the "custock," that is, the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the "runts," are placed somewhere above the head of the door; and the Christian names of the people whom chance brings into the house are, according to the priority of placing the "runts," the names in question.-R.B.

6: They go to the barnyard, and pull each, at three different times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wants the "top-pickle," that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage-bed anything but a maid.-R.B.

7: When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green or wet, the stack-builder, by means of old timber, etc., makes a large apartment in his stack, with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind: this he calls a "fause-house."-R.B.

8: Burning the nuts is a favorite charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire; and according as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be.-R.B.

9: Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these directions: Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and darkling, throw into the "pot" a clue of blue yarn; wind it in a new clue off the old one; and, toward the latter end, something will hold the thread: demand, "Wha hauds?" i.e., who holds? and answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by naming the Christian and surname of your future spouse.-R.B.

10: Take a candle and go alone to a looking-glass; eat an apple before it, and some traditions say you should comb your hair all the time; the face of your conjungal companion, to be, will be seen in the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder.-R.B.

11: Steal out, unperceived, and sow a handful of hemp-seed, harrowing it with anything you can conveniently draw after you. Repeat now and then: "Hemp-seed, I saw thee, hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her) that is to be my true love, come after me and pou thee." Look over your left shoulder, and you will see the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of pulling hemp. Some traditions say, "Come after me and shaw thee," that is, show thyself; in which case, it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and say: "Come after me and harrow thee."-R.B.

12: This charm must likewise be performed unperceived and alone. You go to the barn, and open both doors, taking them off the hinges, if possible; for there is danger that the being about to appear may shut the doors, and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in winnowing the corn, which in our country dialect we call a "wecht," and go through all the attitudes of letting down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times, and the third time an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the windy door and out at the other, having both the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue, marking the employment or station in life.-R.B.

13: Take an opportunity of going unnoticed to a "bear-stack," and fathom it three times round. The last fathom of the last time you will catch in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yoke-fellow.-R.B.

14: You go out, one or more (for this is a social spell), to a south running spring, or rivulet, where "three lairds' lands meet," and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it to dry. Lie awake, and, some time near midnight, an apparition, having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it.-R.B.

15: Take three dishes, put clean water in one, foul water in another, and leave the third empty; blindfold a person and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ranged; he (or she) dips the left hand; if by chance in the clean water, the future (husband or) wife will come to the bar of matrimony a maid; if in the foul, a widow; if in the empty dish, it foretells, with equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three times, and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered.-R.B.

16: Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is always the Halloween Supper.-R.B.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sexy Saturday Pinup Witch

from Macbeth - The Witches Spell - Shakespeare

The Witches Spell

circa 1611
By William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
From: Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I

Witch 1: Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Witch 2: Thrice; and once the hedge-pig whin'd.
Witch 3: Harpier cries: 'tis time, 'tis time.

Witch 1: Round about the caldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under the cold stone,
Days and nights hast thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!

All: Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Witch 2: Fillet of fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adders' fork, and blind-worms sting,
Lizards's leg, and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
All: Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire, burn; and, caldron bubble.

Witch 3: Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock, digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangl'd babe,
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab;
Add thereto a tiger's chauldron,
For the ingredients of our caldron.

All: Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire, burn; and, caldron bubble.

Witch 2: Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
Enter Hecate to the other three Witches:
O, weel done! I commend your pains,
And everyone shall share i' th' gains,
And now about the caudron sing
Like elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

Witch 2: By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Raven - James Earl Jones

The Witch and Her Servants - Lang

The Witch and Her Servants

from The Yellow Fairy Book, circa 1894
edited by Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Long time ago there lived a King who had three sons; the eldest was called Szabo, the second Warza, and the youngest Iwanich.

One beautiful spring morning the King was walking through his gardens with these three sons, gazing with admiration at the various fruit-trees, some of which were a mass of blossom, whilst others were bowed to the ground laden with rich fruit. During their wanderings they came unperceived on a piece of waste land where three splendid trees grew. The King looked on them for a moment, and then, shaking his head sadly, he passed on in silence.

The sons, who could not understand why he did this, asked him the reason of his dejection, and the King told them as follows:

'These three trees, which I cannot see without sorrow, were planted by me on this spot when I was a youth of twenty. A celebrated magician, who had given the seed to my father, promised him that they would grow into the three finest trees the world had ever seen. My father did not live to see his words come true; but on his death-bed he bade me transplant them here, and to look after them with the greatest care, which I accordingly did. At last, after the lapse of five long years, I noticed some blossoms on the branches, and a few days later the most exquisite fruit my eyes had ever seen.

'I gave my head-gardener the strictest orders to watch the trees carefully, for the magician had warned my father that if one unripe fruit were plucked from the tree, all the rest would become rotten at once. When it was quite ripe the fruit would become a golden yellow.

'Every day I gazed on the lovely fruit, which became gradually more and more tempting-looking, and it was all I could do not to break the magician's commands.

'One night I dreamt that the fruit was perfectly ripe; I ate some of it, and it was more delicious than anything I had ever tasted in real life. As soon as I awoke I sent for the gardener and asked him if the fruit on the three trees had not ripened in the night to perfection.

'But instead of replying, the gardener threw himself at my feet and swore that he was innocent. He said that he had watched by the trees all night, but in spite of it, and as if by magic, the beautiful trees had been robbed of all their fruit.

'Grieved as I was over the theft, I did not punish the gardener, of whose fidelity I was well assured, but I determined to pluck off all the fruit in the following year before it was ripe, as I had not much belief in the magician's warning.

'I carried out my intention, and had all the fruit picked off the tree, but when I tasted one of the apples it was bitter and unpleasant, and the next morning the rest of the fruit had all rotted away.

'After this I had the beautiful fruit of these trees carefully guarded by my most faithful servants; but every year, on this very night, the fruit was plucked and stolen by an invisible hand, and next morning not a single apple remained on the trees. For some time past I have given up even having the trees watched.'

When the King had finished his story, Szabo, his eldest son, said to him: 'Forgive me, father, if I say I think you are mistaken. I am sure there are many men in your kingdom who could protect these trees from the cunning arts of a thieving magician; I myself, who as your eldest son claim the first right to do so, will mount guard over the fruit this very night.'

The King consented, and as soon as evening drew on Szabo climbed up on to one of the trees, determined to protect the fruit even if it cost him his life. So he kept watch half the night; but a little after midnight he was overcome by an irresistible drowsiness, and fell fast asleep. He did not awake till it was bright daylight, and all the fruit on the trees had vanished.

The following year Warza, the second brother, tried his luck, but with the same result. Then it came to the turn of the third and youngest son.

Iwanich was not the least discouraged by the failure of his elder brothers, though they were both much older and stronger than he was, and when night came climbed up the tree as they had done, The moon had risen, and with her soft light lit up the whole neighbourhood, so that the observant Prince could distinguish the smallest object distinctly.

At midnight a gentle west wind shook the tree, and at the same moment a snow-white swan-like bird sank down gently on his breast. The Prince hastily seized the bird's wings in his hands, when, lo! to his astonishment he found he was holding in his arms not a bird but the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.

'You need not fear Militza,' said the beautiful girl, looking at the Prince with friendly eyes. 'An evil magician has not robbed you of your fruit, but he stole the seed from my mother, and thereby caused her death. When she was dying she bade me take the fruit, which you have no right to possess, from the trees every year as soon as it was ripe. This I would have done to-night too, if you had not seized me with such force, and so broken the spell I was under.'

Iwanich, who had been prepared to meet a terrible magician and not a lovely girl, fell desperately in love with her. They spent the rest of the night in pleasant conversation, and when Militza wished to go away he begged her not to leave him.

'I would gladly stay with you longer,' said Militza, 'but a wicked witch once cut off a lock of my hair when I was asleep, which has put me in her power, and if morning were still to find me here she would do me some harm, and you, too, perhaps.'

Having said these words, she drew a sparkling diamond ring from her finger, which she handed to the Prince, saying: 'Keep this ring in memory of Militza, and think of her sometimes if you never see her again. But if your love is really true, come and find me in my own kingdom. I may not show you the way there, but this ring will guide you.

'If you have love and courage enough to undertake this journey, whenever you come to a cross-road always look at this diamond before you settle which way you are going to take. If it sparkles as brightly as ever go straight on, but if its lustre is dimmed choose another path.'

Then Militza bent over the Prince and kissed him on his forehead, and before he had time to say a word she vanished through the branches of the tree in a little white cloud.

Morning broke, and the Prince, still full of the wonderful apparition, left his perch and returned to the palace like one in a dream, without even knowing if the fruit had been taken or not; for his whole mind was absorbed by thoughts of Militza and how he was to find her.

As soon as the head-gardener saw the Prince going towards the palace he ran to the trees, and when he saw them laden with ripe fruit he hastened to tell the King the joyful news. The King was beside himself for joy, and hurried at once to the garden and made the gardener pick him some of the fruit. He tasted it, and found the apple quite as luscious as it had been in his dream. He went at once to his son Iwanich, and after embracing him tenderly and heaping praises on him, he asked him how he had succeeded in protecting the costly fruit from the power of the magician.

This question placed Iwanich in a dilemma. But as he did not want the real story to be known, he said that about midnight a huge wasp had flown through the branches, and buzzed incessantly round him. He had warded it off with his sword, and at dawn, when he was becoming quite worn out, the wasp had vanished as suddenly as it had appeared.

The King, who never doubted the truth of this tale, bade his son go to rest at once and recover from the fatigues of the night; but he himself went and ordered many feasts to be held in honour of the preservation of the wonderful fruit.

The whole capital was in a stir, and everyone shared in the King's joy; the Prince alone took no part in the festivities.

While the King was at a banquet, Iwanich took some purses of gold, and mounting the quickest horse in the royal stable, he sped off like the wind without a single soul being any the wiser.

It was only on the next day that they missed him; the King was very distressed at his disappearance, and sent search-parties all over the kingdom to look for him, but in vain; and after six months they gave him up as dead, and in another six months they had forgotten all about him. But in the meantime the Prince, with the help of his ring, had had a most successful journey, and no evil had befallen him.

At the end of three months he came to the entrance of a huge forest, which looked as if it had never been trodden by human foot before, and which seemed to stretch out indefinitely. The Prince was about to enter the wood by a little path he had discovered, when he heard a voice shouting to him: 'Hold, youth! Whither are you going?'

Iwanich turned round, and saw a tall, gaunt-looking man, clad in miserable rags, leaning on a crooked staff and seated at the foot of an oak tree, which was so much the same colour as himself that it was little wonder the Prince had ridden past the tree without noticing him.

'Where else should I be going,' he said, 'than through the wood?'

'Through the wood?' said the old man in amazement. 'It's easily seen that you have heard nothing of this forest, that you rush so blindly to meet your doom. Well, listen to me before you ride any further; let me tell you that this wood hides in its depths a countless number of the fiercest tigers, hyenas, wolves, bears, and snakes, and all sorts of other monsters. If I were to cut you and your horse up into tiny morsels and throw them to the beasts, there wouldn't be one bit for each hundred of them. Take my advice, therefore, and if you wish to save your life follow some other path.'

The Prince was rather taken aback by the old man's words, and considered for a minute what he should do; then looking at his ring, and perceiving that it sparkled as brightly as ever, he called out: 'If this wood held even more terrible things than it does, I cannot help myself, for I must go through it.'

Here he spurred his horse and rode on; but the old beggar screamed so loudly after him that the Prince turned round and rode back to the oak tree.

'I am really sorry for you,' said the beggar, 'but if you are quite determined to brave the dangers of the forest, let me at least give you a piece of advice which will help you against these monsters.

'Take this bagful of bread-crumbs and this live hare. I will make you a present of them both, as I am anxious to save your life; but you must leave your horse behind you, for it would stumble over the fallen trees or get entangled in the briers and thorns. When you have gone about a hundred yards into the wood the wild beasts will surround you. Then you must instantly seize your bag, and scatter the bread-crumbs among them. They will rush to eat them up greedily, and when you have scattered the last crumb you must lose no time in throwing the hare to them; as soon as the hare feels itself on the ground it will run away as quickly as possible, and the wild beasts will turn to pursue it. In this way you will be able to get through the wood unhurt.'

Iwanich thanked the old man for his counsel, dismounted from his horse, and, taking the bag and the hare in his arms, he entered the forest. He had hardly lost sight of his gaunt grey friend when he heard growls and snarls in the thicket close to him, and before he had time to think he found himself surrounded by the most dreadful-looking creatures. On one side he saw the glittering eye of a cruel tiger, on the other the gleaming teeth of a great she-wolf; here a huge bear growled fiercely, and there a horrible snake coiled itself in the grass at his feet.

But Iwanich did not forget the old man's advice, and quickly put his hand into the bag and took out as many bread-crumbs as he could hold in his hand at a time. He threw them to the beasts, but soon the bag grew lighter and lighter, and the Prince began to feel a little frightened. And now the last crumb was gone, and the hungry beasts thronged round him, greedy for fresh prey. Then he seized the hare and threw it to them.

No sooner did the little creature feel itself on the ground than it lay back its ears and flew through the wood like an arrow from a bow, closely pursued by the wild beasts, and the Prince was left alone. He looked at his ring, and when he saw that it sparkled as brightly as ever he went straight on through the forest.

He hadn't gone very far when he saw a most extraordinary looking man coming towards him. He was not more than three feet high, his legs were quite crooked, and all his body was covered with prickles like a hedgehog. Two lions walked with him, fastened to his side by the two ends of his long beard.

He stopped the Prince and asked him in a harsh voice: 'Are you the man who has just fed my body-guard?'

Iwanich was so startled that he could hardly reply, but the little man continued: 'I am most grateful to you for your kindness; what can I give you as a reward?'

'All I ask,' replied Iwanich, 'is, that I should be allowed to go through this wood in safety.'

'Most certainly,' answered the little man; 'and for greater security I will give you one of my lions as a protector. But when you leave this wood and come near a palace which does not belong to my domain, let the lion go, in order that he may not fall into the hands of an enemy and be killed.'

With these words he loosened the lion from his beard and bade the beast guard the youth carefully.

With this new protector Iwanich wandered on through the forest, and though he came upon a great many more wolves, hyenas, leopards, and other wild beasts, they always kept at a respectful distance when they saw what sort of an escort the Prince had with him.

Iwanich hurried through the wood as quickly as his legs would carry him, but, nevertheless, hour after hour went by and not a trace of a green field or a human habitation met his eyes. At length, towards evening, the mass of trees grew more transparent, and through the interlaced branches a wide plain was visible.

At the exit of the wood the lion stood still, and the Prince took leave of him, having first thanked him warmly for his kind protection. It had become quite dark, and Iwanich was forced to wait for daylight before continuing his journey.

He made himself a bed of grass and leaves, lit a fire of dry branches, and slept soundly till the next morning.

Then he got up and walked towards a beautiful white palace which he saw gleaming in the distance. In about an hour he reached the building, and opening the door he walked in. After wandering through many marble halls, he came to a huge staircase made of porphyry, leading down to a lovely garden.

The Prince burst into a shout of joy when he suddenly perceived Militza in the centre of a group of girls who were weaving wreaths of flowers with which to deck their mistress. As soon as Militza saw the Prince she ran up to him and embraced him tenderly; and after he had told her all his adventures, they went into the palace, where a sumptuous meal awaited them. Then the Princess called her court together, and introduced Iwanich to them as her future husband.

Preparations were at once made for the wedding, which was held soon after with great pomp and magnificence.

Three months of great happiness followed, when Militza received one day an invitation to visit her mother's sister.

Although the Princess was very unhappy at leaving her husband, she did not like to refuse the invitation, and, promising to return in seven days at the latest, she took a tender farewell of the Prince, and said: 'Before I go I will hand you over all the keys of the castle. Go everywhere and do anything you like; only one thing I beg and beseech you, do not open the little iron door in the north tower, which is closed with seven locks and seven bolts; for if you do, we shall both suffer for it.'

Iwanich promised what she asked, and Militza departed, repeating her promise to return in seven days.

When the Prince found himself alone he began to be tormented by pangs of curiosity as to what the room in the tower contained. For two days he resisted the temptation to go and look, but on the third he could stand it no longer, and taking a torch in his hand he hurried to the tower, and unfastened one lock after the other of the little iron door until it burst open.

What an unexpected sight met his gaze! The Prince perceived a small room black with smoke, lit up feebly by a fire from which issued long blue flames. Over the fire hung a huge cauldron full of boiling pitch, and fastened into the cauldron by iron chains stood a wretched man screaming with agony.

Iwanich was much horrified at the sight before him, and asked the man what terrible crime he had committed to be punished in this dreadful fashion.

'I will tell you everything,' said the man in the cauldron; 'but first relieve my torments a little, I implore you.'

'And how can I do that?' asked the Prince.

'With a little water,' replied the man; 'only sprinkle a few drops over me and I shall feel better.'

The Prince, moved by pity, without thinking what he was doing, ran to the courtyard of the castle, and filled a jug with water, which he poured over the man in the cauldron.

In a moment a most fearful crash was heard, as if all the pillars of the palace were giving way, and the palace itself, with towers and doors, windows and the cauldron, whirled round the bewildered Prince's head. This continued for a few minutes, and then everything vanished into thin air, and Iwanich found himself suddenly alone upon a desolate heath covered with rocks and stones.

The Prince, who now realised what his heedlessness had done, cursed too late his spirit of curiosity. In his despair he wandered on over the heath, never looking where he put his feet, and full of sorrowful thoughts. At last he saw a light in the distance, which came from a miserable-looking little hut.

The owner of it was none other than the kind-hearted gaunt grey beggar who had given the Prince the bag of bread-crumbs and the hare. Without recognising Iwanich, he opened the door when he knocked and gave him shelter for the night.

On the following morning the Prince asked his host if he could get him any work to do, as he was quite unknown in the neighbourhood, and had not enough money to take him home.

'My son,' replied the old man, 'all this country round here is uninhabited; I myself have to wander to distant villages for my living, and even then I do not very often find enough to satisfy my hunger. But if you would like to take service with the old witch Corva, go straight up the little stream which flows below my hut for about three hours, and you will come to a sand-hill on the left-hand side; that is where she lives.'

Iwanich thanked the gaunt grey beggar for his information, and went on his way.

After walking for about three hours the Prince came upon a dreary-looking grey stone wall; this was the back of the building and did not attract him; but when he came upon the front of the house he found it even less inviting, for the old witch had surrounded her dwelling with a fence of spikes, on every one of which a man's skull was stuck. In this horrible enclosure stood a small black house, which had only two grated windows, all covered with cobwebs, and a battered iron door.

The Prince knocked, and a rasping woman's voice told him to enter.

Iwanich opened the door, and found himself in a smoke-begrimed kitchen, in the presence of a hideous old woman who was warming her skinny hands at a fire. The Prince offered to become her servant, and the old hag told him she was badly in want of one, and he seemed to be just the person to suit her.

When Iwanich asked what his work, and how much his wages would be, the witch bade him follow her, and led the way through a narrow damp passage into a vault, which served as a stable. Here he perceived two pitch-black horses in a stall.

'You see before you,' said the old woman, 'a mare and her foal; you have nothing to do but to lead them out to the fields every day, and to see that neither of them runs away from you. If you look after them both for a whole year I will give you anything you like to ask; but if, on the other hand, you let either of the animals escape you, your last hour is come, and your head shall be stuck on the last spike of my fence. The other spikes, as you see, are already adorned, and the skulls are all those of different servants I have had who have failed to do what I demanded.'

Iwanich, who thought he could not be much worse off than he was already, agreed to the witch's proposal.

At daybreak nest morning he drove his horses to the field, and brought them back in the evening without their ever having attempted to break away from him. The witch stood at her door and received him kindly, and set a good meal before him.

So it continued for some time, and all went well with the Prince.

Early every morning he led the horses out to the fields, and brought them home safe and sound in the evening.

One day, while he was watching the horses, he came to the banks of a river, and saw a big fish, which through some mischance had been cast on the land, struggling hard to get back into the water.

Iwanich, who felt sorry for the poor creature, seized it in his arms and flung it into the stream. But no sooner did the fish find itself in the water again, than, to the Prince's amazement, it swam up to the bank and said:

'My kind benefactor, how can I reward you for your goodness?'

'I desire nothing,' answered the Prince. 'I am quite content to have been able to be of some service to you.'

'You must do me the favour,' replied the fish, 'to take a scale from my body, and keep it carefully. If you should ever need my help, throw it into the river, and I will come to your aid at once.'

Iwanich bowed, loosened a scale from the body of the grateful beast, put it carefully away, and returned home.

A short time after this, when he was going early one morning to the usual grazing place with his horses, he noticed a flock of birds assembled together making a great noise and flying wildly backwards and forwards.

Full of curiosity, Iwanich hurried up to the spot, and saw that a large number of ravens had attacked an eagle, and although the eagle was big and powerful and was making a brave fight, it was overpowered at last by numbers, and had to give in.

But the Prince, who was sorry for the poor bird, seized the branch of a tree and hit out at the ravens with it; terrified at this unexpected onslaught they flew away, leaving many of their number dead or wounded on the battlefield.

As soon as the eagle saw itself free from its tormentors it plucked a feather from its wing, and, handing it to the Prince, said: 'Here, my kind benefactor, take this feather as a proof of my gratitude; should you ever be in need of my help blow this feather into the air, and I will help you as much as is in my power.'

Iwanich thanked the bird, and placing the feather beside the scale he drove the horses home.

Another day he had wandered farther than usual, and came close to a farmyard; the place pleased the Prince, and as there was plenty of good grass for the horses he determined to spend the day there. Just as he was sitting down under a tree he heard a cry close to him, and saw a fox which had been caught in a trap placed there by the farmer.

In vain did the poor beast try to free itself; then the good-natured Prince came once more to the rescue, and let the fox out of the trap.

The fox thanked him heartily, tore two hairs out of his bushy tail, and said: 'Should you ever stand in need of my help throw these two hairs into the fire, and in a moment I shall be at your side ready to obey you.'

Iwanich put the fox's hairs with the scale and the feather, and as it was getting dark he hastened home with his horses.

In the meantime his service was drawing near to an end, and in three more days the year was up, and he would be able to get his reward and leave the witch.

On the first evening of these last three days, when he came home and was eating his supper, he noticed the old woman stealing into the stables.

The Prince followed her secretly to see what she was going to do. He crouched down in the doorway and heard the wicked witch telling the horses to wait next morning till Iwanich was asleep, and then to go and hide themselves in the river, and to stay there till she told them to return; and if they didn't do as she told them the old woman threatened to beat them till they bled.

When Iwanich heard all this he went back to his room, determined that nothing should induce him to fall asleep next day. On the following morning he led the mare and foal to the fields as usual, but bound a cord round them both which he kept in his hand.

But after a few hours, by the magic arts of the old witch, he was overpowered by sleep, and the mare and foal escaped and did as they had been told to do. The Prince did not awake till late in the evening; and when he did, he found, to his horror, that the horses had disappeared. Filled with despair, he cursed the moment when he had entered the service of the cruel witch, and already he saw his head sticking up on the sharp spike beside the others.

Then he suddenly remembered the fish's scale, which, with the eagle's feather and the fox's hairs, he always carried about with him. He drew the scale from his pocket, and hurrying to the river he threw it in. In a minute the grateful fish swam towards the bank on which Iwanich was standing, and said: 'What do you command, my friend and benefactor?' The Prince replied: 'I had to look after a mare and foal, and they have run away from me and have hidden themselves in the river; if you wish to save my life drive them back to the land.'

'Wait a moment,' answered the fish, 'and I and my friends will soon drive them out of the water.' With these words the creature disappeared into the depths of the stream.

Almost immediately a rushing hissing sound was heard in the waters, the waves dashed against the banks, the foam was tossed into the air, and the two horses leapt suddenly on to the dry land, trembling and shaking with fear.

Iwanich sprang at once on to the mare's back, seized the foal by its bridle, and hastened home in the highest spirits.

When the witch saw the Prince bringing the horses home she could hardly conceal her wrath, and as soon as she had placed Iwanich's supper before him she stole away again to the stables. The Prince followed her, and heard her scolding the beasts harshly for not having hidden themselves better. She bade them wait next morning till Iwanich was asleep and then to hide themselves in the clouds, and to remain there till she called. If they did not do as she told them she would beat them till they bled.

The next morning, after Iwanich had led his horses to the fields, he fell once more into a magic sleep. The horses at once ran away and hid themselves in the clouds, which hung down from the mountains in soft billowy masses.

When the Prince awoke and found that both the mare and the foal had disappeared, he bethought him at once of the eagle, and taking the feather out of his pocket he blew it into the air.

In a moment the bird swooped down beside him and asked: 'What do you wish me to do?' 'My mare and foal,' replied the Prince, 'have run away from me, and have hidden themselves in the clouds; if you wish to save my life, restore both animals to me.'

'Wait a minute,' answered the eagle; 'with the help of my friends I will soon drive them back to you.'

With these words the bird flew up into the air and disappeared among the clouds. Almost directly Iwanich saw his two horses being driven towards him by a host of eagles of all sizes. He caught the mare and foal, and having thanked the eagle he drove them cheerfully home again.

The old witch was more disgusted than ever when she saw him appearing, and having set his supper before him she stole into the stables, and Iwanich heard her abusing the horses for not having hidden themselves better in the clouds. Then she bade them hide themselves next morning, as soon as Iwanich was asleep, in the King's hen-house, which stood on a lonely part of the heath, and to remain there till she called. If they failed to do as she told them she would certainly beat them this time till they bled.

On the following morning the Prince drove his horses as usual to the fields. After he had sbeen overpowered by sleep, as on the former days, the mare and foal ran away and hid themselves in the royal hen house.

When the Prince awoke and found the horses gone he determined to appeal to the fox; so, lighting a fire, he threw the two hairs into it, and in a few moments the fox stood beside him and asked: 'In what way can I serve you?'

'I wish to know,' replied Iwanich, 'where the King's hen-house is.'

'Hardly an hour's walk from here,' answered the fox, and offered to show the Prince the way to it.

While they were walking along the fox asked him what he wanted to do at the royal hen-house. The Prince told him of the misfortune that had befallen him, and of the necessity of recovering the mare and foal.

'That is no easy matter,' replied the fox. 'But wait a moment. I have an idea. Stand at the door of the hen-house, and wait there for your horses. In the meantime I will slip in among the hens through a hole in the wall and give them a good chase, so that the noise they make will arouse the royal henwives, and they will come to see what is the matter. When they see the horses they will at once imagine them to be the cause of the disturbance, and will drive them out. Then you must lay hands on the mare and foal and catch them.

All turned out exactly as the sly fox had foreseen. The Prince swung himself on the mare, seized the foal by its bridle, and hurried home.

While he was riding over the heath in the highest of spirits the mare suddenly said to her rider: 'You are the first person who has ever succeeded in outwitting the old witch Corva, and now you may ask what reward you like for your service. If you promise never to betray me I will give you a piece of advice which you will do well to follow.'

The Prince promised never to betray her confidence, and the mare continued: 'Ask nothing else as a reward than my foal, for it has not its like in the world, and is not to be bought for love or money; for it can go from one end of the earth to another in a few minutes. Of course the cunning Corva will do her best to dissuade you from taking the foal, and will tell you that it is both idle and sickly; but do not believe her, and stick to your point.'

Iwanich longed to possess such an animal, and promised the mare to follow her advice. This time Corva received him in the most friendly manner, and set a sumptuous repast before him. As soon as he had finished she asked him what reward he demanded for his year's service.

'Nothing more nor less,' replied the Prince, 'than the foal of your mare.'

The witch pretended to be much astonished at his request, and said that he deserved something much better than the foal, for the beast was lazy and nervous, blind in one eye, and, in short, was quite worthless.

But the Prince knew what he wanted, and when the old witch saw that he had made up his mind to have the foal, she said, 'I am obliged to keep my promise and to hand you over the foal; and as I know who you are and what you want, I will tell you in what way the animal will be useful to you. The man in the cauldron of boiling pitch, whom you set free, is a mighty magician; through your curiosity and thoughtlessness Militza came into his power, and he has transported her and her castle and belongings into a distant country.

'You are the only person who can kill him; and in consequence he fears you to such an extent that he has set spies to watch you, and they report your movements to him daily.

'When you have reached him, beware of speaking a single word to him, or you will fall into the power of his friends. Seize him at once by the beard and dash him to the ground.' Iwanich thanked the old witch, mounted his foal, put spurs to its sides, and they flew like lightning through the air.

Already it was growing dark, when Iwanich perceived some figures in the distance; they soon came up to them, and then the Prince saw that it was the magician and his friends who were driving through the air in a carriage drawn by owls.

When the magician found himself face to face with Iwanich, without hope of escape, he turned to him with false friendliness and said: 'Thrice my kind benefactor!'

But the Prince, without saying a word, seized him at once by his beard and dashed him to the ground. At the same moment the foal sprang on the top of the magician and kicked and stamped on him with his hoofs till he died.

Then Iwanich found himself once more in the palace of his bride, and Militza herself flew into his arms.

From this time forward they lived in undisturbed peace and happiness till the end of their lives.
© Andrew Lang