National Geographic : 1932 Jul
THE FEUDAL ISLE OF SARK pening, such as nearly choking to death or suddenly going lame, or developing a swol len hock, for no apparent reason. I may say that no one had access to her who could in any way wish to harm her. At last one day, on going to the stable, I found a piece of white knitting wool tied around her leg, which my cowman told me I must on no account remove, as the cow had certainly been bewitched, and he had got some one with power to unbewitch to come in and take off the evil spell. The cow must wear the piece of wool to keep off the evil eye. She has had nothing wrong with her since and is still in my herd. I have no comment to make upon all this except the important fact that I still have the cow. A still more personal charm was ex ercised on behalf of my daughter, who, when a child, developed a crowd of small warts on her face. I was greatly worried, and two different doctors prescribed vari ous treatments, which were of no use at all. Finally, in desperation, I sent her to an old man who was reputed to be success ful in charming away warts. This he actu ally did and refused any payment for doing so. Again I have no explanation, but the warts disappeared, which to me is the im portant part of the story. GHOSTS AND LEGENDS With regard to this subject of witch craft, it is interesting to note that all the ancient houses have wide stone ledges pro jecting from the base of the chimneys just above the roof. These are for the witches to rest on, so that they will not come down the chimneys into the house. I am glad to say that the Seigneurie has no less than four of these stones, and so effective are they that not a single witch has come down the chimneys within living memory ! Of ghosts there are many stories. There is said to be one of a lady wearing high heeled shoes, who can be heard tap-tapping down the staircase in the old part of this house whenever one of the family is about to die. My grandmother's maid vowed she had seen her not long before my grand father died. There is also said to be a ghost on horse back, headless, who dashes across the couple, and a legend that any person dar ing to draw water from a well at midnight on Christmas Eve will hear a voice calling him by name, and he will die before the year is out. It is related that when this superstition was put to the test many years ago, the bold man who wished to prove its truth or falsity became so elated at the thought of his bravery that he drank far too much brandy before the exact moment arrived, so that when he got to the well he fell into it and was drowned-which certainly proved the story as far as he was con cerned, though he was unable to leave any record of whether he heard the "voice" or not! In the Eve of St. John it was said that at midnight all the cattle would be found on their knees, and that they were gifted at that moment with the power of human speech. On the same day there used to be a very charming custom, always observed, of driving about the island in decorated carriages and carts. This practice having fallen somewhat into desuetude, we have recently tried to revive it by holding a horse parade on that day and at the same time offering prizes for the best decorated conveyance. I would like to conclude this account of my island and its interests by assuring my readers that my husband and I are deter mined to do all we can to maintain its an cient traditions and the laws and customs which have made Sark what it is in this hustling twentieth century-a little feudal paradise of peace and quiet, where "the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest." Notice of change of address of your NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE should be received in the office of the National GeographicSociety by the first of the month to affect the following month's issue. For instance, if you desire the address changed for your September number, The Society should be notified of your new address not later than August first.