Two Witch Stories

1899 Journal of American Folklore  
Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the mid--seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non--commercial purposes. Read more about Early Journal
more » ... ntent at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. 68 yournal of American Folk-Lore. NOTES AND QUERIES. Two WITCH STORIES. -Of the stories given below, the first seems evidently of old English origin. The second may be of negro derivation; both agree in the feature that in each case the witch is unknown to the husband. I. The Brothers who married Witches--Once there was a man who kept a store, and his wife was a witch, but he did n't know it. They kept having things stolen from the store, and could n't find out who took them. It was really the clerk that stole them, and the storekeeper's wife always helped him to get away, for after he 'd stolen anything she 'd say, " Over the woods and over the water, follow me." And then he'd fly off with her to some safe place, where he could hide the things, and then fly back to the edge of the town, and from there he 'd walk to the store, so he could n't never be caught. At last the storekeeper watched one night, and caught the clerk stealing, and they was going to hang him for it. But when he was on the gallows, the witch came along and said, "Off the gallows, and over the water, follow me." And so he got off clear. The storekeeper had a brother that had a wife that was a witch, too. This brother was a miller, and he had a heap of trouble about getting any one to tend the mill nights, because the men he 'd get would either get scared away, or else if they stayed they surely got killed. Anyhow, the miller got one man that said he was n't afraid to stay and watch, if they'd give him a sword and a butcher-knife. So they gave them to him, and he lighted a row of lights, and took his sword and his knife and laid down to watch. Pretty soon in came a lot of black cats,miaou, miaou, -and one of them began to go around and spat out the lights with her paw. The man, he got up and cut at her with the sword, and cut off her paw, and then they all ran out and left him. He found a hand lying there and picked it up, and it had a gold ring on it, like one the miller's wife wore. In the morning the miller's wife was sick, and they sent the man that watched for the doctor. When the doctor came, he found her in bed in a great deal of misery, and he asked her to let him feel her pulse. She put out her left hand to him, and kept her right hand all the time under the bed-clothes. The doctor, he asked her to put out her right hand, and when he got hold of it he found it was cut off. And that week she died. 2. The Snake-Wife.--Once there was a man that had a snake for a wife. But he did n't know she was a snake, till one day one of his friends said to him: "Do you know you got a snake for a wife ? She don't look like a snake, -looks like a woman; but she is a snake, and I '11 tell ye how I know. When she bakes bread she allers bakes two batches, some for you that's got salt in it, an' some for herself that ain't got any in. Now if ye want to ketch her, I '11 tell ye how to do. You jest put a pinch of salt into the bread she makes fer herself." So he watched his chance and put in the salt, and sure 'nuff, when she ate a piece o' that bread she turned into a snake, and run up the chimney fast as she could go. And
doi:10.2307/533775 fatcat:uav5sz5iqbg5dgx7z6kpn4gefy