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in this line. Meeting with a Skrat in the
neighbourhood of Trewe (a place in the northern part
of Esthonia), upon a certain midsummer-day, she
at once detected it as it was running across the
road in the shape of a black cat, charmed it
with magical words, caught it, and bore it in
triumph to a bonfire which had been kindled in
honour of the day. Here it was singed a little
by the boys, but the peasant to whom it
belonged came up to the spot, and successfully
implored that it might be restored to him. So
clever and lucky was the old woman, that on the
very same evening she caught two more Skrats,
with precisely the same result. Her singular
talent was not overlooked. A man who had been
exceedingly annoyed by the depredations of his
neighbour's Skrat, invited her aid, whereupon
she lured the Skrat into his room, and he had
the pleasure of giving it a good thrashing.

Some do not care to catch the Skrat itself,
but endeavour to make it give up the treasure it
carries. Old Pastor Forsmann, of Roicks, in
Dago, was a perfect master at this kind of sport,
and he had a fine opportunity for showing his
proficiency when, sitting with a party of visitors,
he saw a Skrat at no great distance from his
home. "We will see what that fellow is carrying,"
quoth the worthy pastor; and, telling his
friends to keep quiet, slipped out of the house,
and compelled the dragon to drop his load, but
soon ran in again, for the Skrat, in compliance
with the imperative demand, had dropped two
large sacks, one of rye, the other of barley,
which, if they had lighted on the pastor's head,
would have stopped his conjuring for ever. The
spoil was put to pious uses, being bestowed on
a poor widow in the neighbourhood. Pastor
Forsmann's method of dealing with Skrats was
a secret, which he would never reveal even to
his most intimate friends.

The Skrat does not seem to have been a
natural product in all the places inhabited by the
Eibo folk. The large island of Oesel, which has
now lost its Eibo population, and the small
island of Kemis, were the best places for catching
them, and, once caught, they could be carried
anywhere. These same islands had, from the
earliest times, been the noted abodes of
magicians. Once three country fellows went to
Oesel for the express purpose of consulting an
old wizard as to the best method of catching a
Skrat. He asked them to come into his room
and take a nap; but only two of them complied
with the latter request, for the third kept awake,
and, making the best use of his ears, heard the
old gentleman slip out of the door, say
something, and whistle. In came the Skrat, which,
settling on the foreheads of the two sleepers,
sucked their blood, and left a little blue mark
as a memorial of the operation. All, however,
were awake on the following morning, and the
old conjuror, asking from each of his guests a
two-copeck piece, threw the three coins into the
fire. Those of the sleepers were consumed, but
the one belonging to the wakeful man remained
uninjured. When they all took their departure,
the magician told, not the wakeful man, but the
other two, that the Skrat would provide them
both witli a handsome income for life. From
this we may infer that the Skrat does not
approve of impertinent curiosity.

Strange as it may appear, the Skrat is not
only to be caught, but may actually be
manufactured. A tin pipe, stuffed with tow and
pitch, a fragment of a pair of scales, part of a
plough, a bit of a harrow, a few rags, and two
or three other articles, which the vulgar would
include in the category of rubbish, have been
found, when well mixed up together, to make a
very good Skrat. Some, however, prefer a
worn-out broom, to which they attach a pair of
wooden feet and a long tail of rag, twisting a
red thread round the stick, clapping on an old
pot for a head, adding a piece of glass for a
nose, and making the arms out of a reel, which
has been used by a demon, at least a hundred
years old. On three successive Thursdays this
figure must be set up with many ceremonies in
the middle of a cross-way, and on the third the
manufacturer cuts his finger, and letting his
blood spirt upon the figure, utters the awful
words, "Fiend, take my soul, and give me
wealth in return!" The compound of inanimate
rubbish is then endowed with lifebecomes a
veritable Skrat, which must instantly be
provided with an old lazy horse. The manufacturer
has procured for himself as swift a horse as he
can find, and gallops off as quickly as he can,
for if the Skrat once gets ahead of him, a broken
neck will be the result. If all goes right, the
Skrat trots obediently after its master, and, when
both reach the house, is welcomed with a mess
of porridge.

Having caught, purchased, or made, your
Skrat, there is some difficulty in getting rid of
it. If you hold it by purchase, you must sell it
for less than you gave, or it will certainly come
back to you: in this intrusive fidelity strangely
resembling the Bottle-Imp. Or, it may be torn
to little bits and flung into the water just when
the ice is loosened by the early spring. Or,
the manufactured Skrat may be carried to the
cross-road where it first became an animate being,
and may be driven from the face of the earth by
force of prayer. If, taking none of these
precautionary measures, you happen to die with a
Skrat in your possession——

All things considered, it is better to have
nothing to do with a Skrat.

                    TWILIGHT DOZING.

You sang the olden songs, and, sadly dreaming,
    I lay and listened, while you thought I slept;
And if the tears were from my eyelids streaming,
    You saw them not and so I freely wept.

Round us the silent shadowy night was stealing,
    You were a voice alone within the dark,
And from Life's hardened crust a tender feeling
    Broke like a blossom through the rugged bark.

You were again a young and blushing maiden,
    Who leaned upon my breast and breathed of love;
And I, no more with disappointments laden,
    Seemed as of yore beside you in the grove.