Wishing-Cap to Wolf

Wishing-Cap (The), a cap given to Fortunatus. He had only to put the cap on and wish, and whatever he wished he instantly obtained.—Straparola: Fortunatus.

Wishing-Rod (The), a rod of pure gold, belonging to the Nibelungs. Whoever possessed it could have anything he desired to have, and hold the whole world in subjection.—The Nibelungen Lied, 1160 (1210).

Wishing-Sack (The), a sack given by our Lord to a man named “Fourteen,” because he was as strong as fourteen men. Whatever he wished to have he had only to say, “Artchila murtchila!” (“Come into my sack”), and it came in; or “Artchila murtchila!” (“Go into my sack”), and it went it.

(This is a Basque legend. In Gascoigne it is called “Ramée’s Sack” (Le Sac de la Ramée). “Fourteen” is sometimes called “Twenty-four,” sometimes a Tartaro or Polypheme, and is very similar to Christopheros.)

Wisp of Straw, given to a scold as a rebuke.

A wisp of straw were worth a thousand crowns,
To make this shameless callet know herself.
   —Shakespeare: Henry VI. act ii. sc. 2 (1595).

Wit—Simplicity. It was said of John Gay that he was

In wit a man, simplicity a child.

(The line is often applied to Oliver Goldsmith, who “wrote like an angel, and talked like poor poll.”)

Witch. The last person prosecuted before the lords of justiciary (in Scotland) for witchcraft was Elspeth Rule. She was tried May 3, 1709, before lord Anstruther, and condemned to be burned on the cheek, and banished from Scotland for life.—Arnot: History of Edinburgh, 366, 367.

Witch-Finder, Matthew Hopkins (seventeenth century). In 1645 he hanged sixty witches in his own county (Essex) alone, and received 20s. a head for every witch he could discover.

Has not the present parliament
Mat Hopkins to the devil sent,
Fully empowered to treat about,
Finding revolted witches out?
And has not he within a year
Hanged three score of them in one shire?
   —S. Butler: Hudibras, ii. 3 (1664).

Witch of Atlas, the title and heroine of one of Shelley’s poems.

Witch of Balwery, Margaret Aiken, a Scotchwoman (sixteenth century).

Witch of Edmonton (The), called “Mother Sawyer.” This is the true traditional witch; no mystic hag, no weird sister, but only a poor, deformed old woman, the terror of villagers, and amenable to justice.

Why should the envious world
Throw all their scandalous malice upon me?
Because I’m poor, deformed, and ignorant,
And, like a bow, buckled and bent together
By some more strong in mischiefs than myself.
   —The Witch of Edmonton (by Rowley, Dekker, and Ford, 1658).

Witch’s Blood. Whoever was successful in drawing blood from a witch, was free from her malignant power. Hence Talbot, when he sees La Pucelle, exclaims, “Blood will I draw from thee; thou art a witch!”—Shakespeare: 1 Henry VI. act i. sc. 5 (1592).

Witherington (General), alias Richard Tresham, who first appears as Mr. Matthew Middlemas.

Mrs. Witherington, wife of the general, alias Mrs. Middlemas (born Zelia de Monçada). She appears first as Mrs. Middlemas.—Sir W. Scott: The Surgeon’s Daughter (time, George II.).

  By PanEris using Melati.

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