Harry Main: The Treasure And The Cats

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Ipswich had a very Old Harry in the person of Harry Main, a dark-souled

being, who, after a career of piracy, smuggling, blasphemy, and

dissipation, became a wrecker, and lured vessels to destruction with

false lights. For his crimes he was sent, after death, to do penance on

Ipswich bar, where he had sent many a ship ashore, his doom being to

twine ropes of sand, though some believe it was to shovel back the sea.

ver his rope broke he would roar with rage and anguish, so that he

was heard for miles, whereon the children would run to their trembling

mothers and men would look troubled and shake their heads. After a good

bit of cable had been coiled, Harry had a short respite that he enjoyed

on Plum Island, to the terror of the populace. When the tide and a gale

are rising together people say, as they catch the sound of moaning from

the bar, Old Harry's grumbling again.

Now, Harry Main--to say nothing of Captain Kidd--was believed to have

buried his ill-gotten wealth in Ipswich, and one man dreamed for three

successive nights that it had been interred in a mill. Believing that a

revelation had been made to him he set off with spade, lantern, and

Bible, on the first murky night--for he wanted no partner in the

discovery--and found a spot which he recognized as the one that had been

pictured to his sleeping senses. He set to work with alacrity and a

shovel, and soon he unearthed a flat stone and an iron bar. He was about

to pry up the stone when an army of black cats encircled the pit and

glared into it with eyes of fire.

The poor man, in an access both of alarm and courage, whirled the bar

about his head and shouted Scat! The uncanny guards of the treasure

disappeared instanter, and at the same moment the digger found himself up

to his middle in icy water that had poured into the hole as he spoke.

The moral is that you should never talk when you are hunting for

treasure. Wet, scared, and disheartened, the man crawled out and made

homeward, carrying with him, as proof of his adventure, a case of

influenza and the iron bar. The latter trophy he fashioned into a latch,

in which shape it still does service on one of the doors of Ipswich.