Wishing-bone to Wokey

Wishing-bone (See Merry-Thought. )

Wishing-cap Fortunatus had an inexhaustible purse and a wishing-cap, but these gifts proved the ruin of himself and his sons. The object of the tale is to show the vanity of human prosperity.

Wishing-coat Willie Wynkin's wishing-coat. An Irish locution.

“I wish I had here Willie Wynkin's wishing-coat.”- Howard Pyle: Robin Hood, p. 200.
Wishing-rod (The) of the Nibelungs was of pure gold. Whoever had it could keep the whole world in subjection. It belonged to Siegfried, but when the “Nibelung hoard” was removed to Worms this rod went also.

“And there among was lying the wishing-rod of
Which whoso could discover might in subjection
All this wide world as master, with all that
dwell therein.”
Lettsom's Nibelungen-Lied, st. 1160.
Wisp Will o' the Wisp. (See Ignis Fatuus. )

Wisp of Straw (A). Sign of danger. Often hung under the arch of a bridge undergoing repairs, to warn watermen; sometimes in streets to warn passengers that the roof of a house is under repair. The Romans used to twist straw round the horns of a tossing ox or bull, to warn passers-by to beware, hence the phrase foenum habet in cornu, the man is crochety or dangerous. The reason why straw (or hay) is used is because it is readily come-at-able, cheap, and easily wisped into a bundle visible some long way off.

Wit To wit, viz. that is to say. A translation of the French savoir. Wit is the Anglo-Saxon witan (to know). I divide my property into four parts, to wit, or savoir, or namely, or that is to say

Wits Five wits. (See under Five. )

Witch By drawing the blood of a witch you deprive her of her power of sorcery. Glanvil says that when Jane Brooks, the demon of Tedworth, bewitched a boy, his father scratched her face and drew blood, whereupon the boy instantly exclaimed that he was well.

“Blood will I draw on thee; thou art a witch.”
Shakespeare: $$$ Henry VI., i. 5.
   Hammer for Witches (Mallcus Maleficarum). A treatise drawn up by Heinrich Institor and Jacob Sprenger, systematising the whole doctrine of witchcraft, laying down a regular form of trial, and a course of examination. Innocent VIII. issued the celebrated bull Summis Desiderantes in 1484, directing inquisitors and others to put to death all practisers of witchcraft and other diabolical arts.
    Dr. Sprenger computes that as many as nine millions of persons have suffered death for witchcraft since the bull of Innocent. (Life of Mohammed.) As late as 1705 two women were executed at Northampton for witchcraft.

Witch-finder Matthew Hopkins, who, in the middle of the seventeenth century, travelled through the castern counties to find out witches. At last Hopkins himself was tested by his own rule. Being cast into a river, he floated, was declared to be a wizard, and was put to death. (See above, Hammer for Witches.)

Witch Hazel A shrub supposed to be efficacious in discovering witches. A forked twig of the hazel was made into a divining-rod for the purpose.

Witch of Endor A divining woman consulted by Saul when Samuel was dead. She called up the ghost of the prophet, and Saul was told that his death was at hand. (1 Sam. xxviii.)

Witch's Bridle An instrument of torture to make obstinate witches confess. (Pitcairn, vol. i. part ii. p. 50.) (See Waking a Witch. )

Witches' Sabbath The muster at night time of witches and demons to concoct mischief. The witch first anointed her feet and shoulders with the fat of a murdered babe, then mounting a broom-stick, distaff, or

  By PanEris using Melati.

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