Page:Journal of American Folklore vol. 12.djvu/72

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64 Journal of American Folk-Lore.


Ghosts as Guardians of Hidden Treasure. — From the "Southern Workman and Hampton School Record," for March, 1898, we copy two -host stories. The editor remarks that "the ghost in negro folk- 's a being often misunderstood. If met with courage, he rewards those who speak to him, as he is in many cases the guardian of concealed treasure. The two stories here given, one from the western part of Vir- ginia and one from southern Alabama, are alike in showing this character- istic : " —

The Rich Ghost. — Once upon a time, in a lonely little house upon a hill, there lived a man and his wife. The husband worked down in the town all day, and the wife worked at home alone. Every day, at noon, when the (lock was striking twelve, she was startled by the pale, ghost-like figure of a man that stood in the doorway and watched her. She was very much frightened, and told her husband that she could not stay in that house any longer. But they were very poor, and the rent was cheaper than they could find elsewhere. While the husband was looking for another house, the preacher came to see the wife. She told him about the pale-faced ghost that continually watched her. The preacher told her to sit down before her looking-glass with her back to the door and read a certain passage from the Bible backward. Then she must turn her chair around, look the ghost in the face and ask him, " What do you want here ? " The very next day she did as she was told. At first her voice trembled and she did not think that she could finish, but strength came to her and she read it. Then she turned upon the ghost and asked him the question. His face was frightful to look upon, but he told her to take her hoe and follow him. He led her to a lonely spot and rolled away a large stone and commanded her to dig. She dug until she was exhausted and the hoe fell from her hand. He jerked it up and dug until she had regained her strength. Then she com- menced to dig again and at last struck something hard. He commanded her to stop, then stooped down and with wonderful strength drew up a large earthen pot. Upon taking off the cover, she saw, by the dim light of the setting sun, gold and silver coins in great abundance. The ghost told her to go home and tear the plastering from off the western corner of her little one-room house, and she would find a package of letters. From these she must get his brother's address and send him half of the hidden trea- sure. The other half was for herself. She did as she was told. The pale- faced ghost was never seen again, and she was made a rich woman and they lived happily ever afterward.

Rosa Hunter.

y and the Ghost. — Once there was a very rich family of people and ley all died. Everybody was afraid to go there. Finally some one set up .-hoard which said, " Any one who will go to this house and stay over can have the house and all that is in it."

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