“Well, Mrs. Jasper, she said there was only one way to bring ’em. You must do it on a moonlight night just when the pollen was ripe on the catkins. I was always teasing and praying her to show me and at last one night she took me with her into the woods. I never shall forget it. She made me sit on the stump of an old tree in a little clearing where the moonlight came through, and she stood a few steps away with two small branches in her hands. I saw the gold dust flying from the catkins as she waved them gently, and sang a little song over and over in a funny low drawlin’ husky voice – just as though she was coaxin’ ’em :
Come in the stillness,
Come in the night,
And bring delight.
Left hand and right,
Ah, come to-night!
It almost drew me off my stump to hear her, and the dog came creeping to her feet. No, I didn’t see anything – nothing but the gold dust fallin’ from the catkins, and her fluttering hands. But she said she’d seen ’em, often, but they only came when she was alone, they didn’t care about company. They’d come slidin’ down a branch to her and laugh and disappear again. The dog, he couldn’t abear them. He’d bristle up and growl and slink into the bushes. He knew they weren’t canny.”
Illustration: Frank Cadogan Cowper