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The Crow And Cat Of Hopkinshill






Category: TALES OF PURITAN LAND

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

In a wood near Hopkins Hill, Rhode Island, is a bowlder, four feet in
diameter, scored with a peculiar furrow. Witch Rock, as it is called,
gained its name two centuries ago, when an old woman abode in a deserted
cabin close by and made the forest dreaded. Figures were seen flitting
through its shadows; articles left out o' nights in neighboring
settlements were missing in the morning, though tramps were unknown;
cattle were afflicted with diseases; stones were flung in at windows by
unseen hands; crops were blighted by hail and frost; and in stormy
weather the old woman was seen to rise out of the woods and stir and push
the clouds before her with a broom. For a hundred yards around Witch Rock
the ground is still accursed, and any attempt to break it up is
unavailing. Nearly a century ago a scoffer named Reynolds declared that
he would run his plough through the enchanted boundary, and the neighbors
watched the attempt from a distance.

He started well, but on arriving at the magic circle the plough shied and
the wooden landside--or chip, as it was called--came off. It was replaced
and the team started again. In a moment the oxen stood unyoked, while the
chip jumped off and whirled away out of sight. On this, most of the
people edged away in the direction of home, and directly there came from
the north a crow that perched on a dead tree and cawed. John Hopkins,
owner of the land, cried to the bird, Squawk, you damned old Pat
Jenkins! and the crow took flight, dropping the chip at Reynolds's feet,
at the same moment turning into a beldam with a cocked hat, who descended
upon the rock. Before the men could reach her she changed into a black
cat and disappeared in the ground. Hunting and digging came to naught,
though the pursuers were so earnest and excited that one of them made the
furrow in the rock with a welt from his shovel. After that few people
cared to go near the place, and it became overgrown with weeds and trees
and bushes.





Next: The Old Stone Mill

Previous: The Headless Skeleton Of Swamptown



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