IN the house of an honest farmer in Yorkshire, named George Gilbertson, a Boggart had taken up his abode. He here caused a good deal of annoyance, especially by tormenting the children in various ways. Sometimes their bread and butter would be snatched away, or their porringers of bread and milk be capsized by an invisible hand; for the Boggart never let himself be seen; at other times, the curtains of their beds would be shaken backwards and forwards, or a heavy weight would press on and nearly suffocate them. The parents had often, on hearing their cries, to fly to their aid. There was a kind, of closet, formed by a wooden partition on the kitchen-stairs, and a large knot having been driven out of one of the deal-boards of which it was made, there remained a hole. [a] Into this one day the farmer's youngest boy stuck the shoe-horn with which he was amusing himself when immediately it was thrown out again, and struck the boy on the head. The agent was of course the Boggart, and it soon became their sport (which they called larking [b] with Boggart) to put the shoe-horn into the hole and have it shot back at them.
The Boggart at length proved such a torment that the farmer and his wife resolved to quit the house and let him have it all to himself. This was put into execution, and the farmer and his family were following the last loads of furniture, when a neighbour named John Marshall came up--"Well, Georgey," said he, "and soa you 're leaving t'ould hoose at last? "--" Heigh, Johnny, my lad, I 'm forced tull it; for that damned Boggart torments us soa, we can neither rest neet nor day for't. It seems loike to have such a malice again t'poor bairns, it ommost kills my poor dame here at thoughts on't, and soa, ye see, we're forced to flitt loike." He scarce had uttered the words when a voice from a deep upright churn cried out, "Aye, aye, Georgey, we're flitting ye see."--" Od damn thee," cried the poor farmer, "if I d known thou'd been there, I wadn't ha' stirred a peg. Nay, nay, it 's no use, Mally," turning to his wife, "we may as weel turn back again to t'ould hoose as be tormented in another that's not so convenient." [c]
[a] The Elfbore of Scotland, where it is likewise ascribed to the fairies, Jamieson, s v. The same opinion prevails in Denmark, where it is said that any one who looks through it will see things he would not otherwise have known: see Thiele, ii. 18.
[b] from the Anglo-Saxon word to play.
[c] We have abridged this legend from a well-written letter in the Literary Gazette, No. 430 (1825), the writer of which says, he knew the house in which it was said to have occurred. He also says he remembered an old tailor, who said the horn was often pitched at the head of himself and his apprentice, when in the North-country fashion they went to work at the farm-house. its identity with other legends will be at once perceived.