172 Folk- Lore of the Wye Valley.
lose as much flesh, blood, and bones as he've refused me cider ! ' And they did, Miss, and they are little tiny things, the Wrens, they calls 'em ; many's the time I've seen 'em, grown men, never no bigger nor a child.
" Old Mrs. Rollins, she was a masterpiece, she was. She did bewitch her son's wife, who took to wandering in the woods, and it took nine men to find her. So they took her to the old witch's house, and they got her in and locked the door up, the husband and the old witch's husband. And the husband had to get the Bible and the key of the door and hand it to the old witch, and he said, ' You give my wife here peace, and unwitch her.' The old witch did do something with the key and the Bible, and she did never go away again."
This is an interesting example of the use of white magic to expel black, rather than a good story. The following is, however, more dramatic. I got it from the late vicar of Hewelsfield, a village adjoining ours, and in the Chase. He was conversing with a clever old cottager, and from the Bible they got on to spirits and kindred subjects, and the old lady grew confidential. " Witches, eh ? They say 'the old witch can't do nothing,' but you and I, we knows ! Why, there was my mother's brother ; ^ his daughter was hired out the first time, a fine beardly- wench she was. One day her mistress says to her, ' There's old Mrs. Wurgan coming along.' (Now slie was a witch, as everyone knew.) An' her mistress says, ' If she asks you for anything, don't you give it her.' An' the old witch, she comes to the door, an' she says, ' Will you lend me one of your clean aprons ? ' So the girl says, T haven't got none.' An' the old witch, she did go on awful ! ' You wicked wench,' she says, 'you've got three clean ones, an'
' The elder and less sophisticated people always describe collateral relation- ships genealogically in this way. Names, too, are very seldom used, and even young people will say " old Mr. A.'s daughter," rather than " Polly A."
^Beardly or burdly = stately, handsome. Cf. Eng. Dial. Did.