Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/262

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girls of asking a "daddy-long-legs" to point out the direction m which pasturing cattle maybe found. When I was a little girl in northern (>hio, many a time, before starting to drive home the cows from a woods-pasture—in which they might easily have wandered out of sight—have I looked about in the angle of a gate-post, or under the cap of a board fence, in whose shady corners the daddy-long-legs often lurk, and, having found one of the torpid beings, seized him by one leg and held him as I repeated our prescribed incantation:

"Gran'-daddy, gran'-daddy-long-legs,
Tell me where my cows are, or I'll kill you!"

Naturally, the spider, discomfited by his bondage, would lift one of his legs, and the cows, it was said, would be found in the direction indicated by this uplifted leg. I don't think that we children really believed that this indication would always hold good, or that we even paid very much attention to the path so designated; but, as I remember it, we felt it to be the proper thing to do to consult our oracle, and I doubt not the ceremony sent us off on our evening quest with better courage. The same custom is reported from different parts of New York State, Indiana, Illinois, and Tennessee. The incantation varies somewhat with the locality. In Tennessee it is simply—

"Daddy-long-legs, which way are my cows?"

An old physician writes me that "in western New York, sixty years ago, the verses ran—

'Grandfather gray-beard,
Tell me where my cows are, or I'll kill yon!'

After this had been repeated several times in a drawling monotone, lengthening out the syllables 'gray' and 'kill' if the captive lifted a leg and held it suspended for a moment, he was faithfully released; otherwise, he was ruthlessly killed." Certainly there must be some occult connection between these malodorous arachnids and the cows, for in Tennessee the farmer-boys tell you that killing a grand-daddy-long-legs will make the cows go dry.

In the pine woodlands of southern Louisiana, so a New Orleans lady writes, there are found little mounds of mud, with quite a large opening in the center of each—probably crayfishholes. Negro nurses caution the children under their charge never to touch these tiny mounds, believing that they are snakeholes, and that any meddling will lead the snake which lives there to leave his burrow at night and come and bite the offender.

In western New York, forty or fifty years ago, the panacea for dirt or other foreign substances in the eye was what the children called "crabs' eye-stones," the two calcareous, lenticular concretions found between the stomach-walls of the crayfish. In these