The Fatal Love-Charm

A potent love-charm used by women is a piece of skin taken from the arm of a corpse and tied on the person while sleeping whose love is sought. The skin is then removed after some time, and carefully put away before the sleeper awakes or has any consciousness of the transaction. And as long as it remains in the woman's possession the love of her lover will be unchanged. Or the strip of skin is placed under the head to dream on, in the name of the Evil One, when the future husband will appear in the dream. A young girl who was servant in the large and handsome house of a rich family tried this charm for fun, thinking she would dream of one of her fellow-servants, and nest morning her mistress asked the result.

"Throth, ma'am," she answered, "there never was such a foolish trick, for it was of the master himself I was dreaming all night, and of no one else."

Soon after the lady died, and the girl, rememhering her dream, watched her opportunity to tie a piece of skin taken from a corpse recently buried round the arm of her master while he slept. After this he became violently in love with the girl, though she was exceedingly ugly, and within the year he married her, his love all the while remaining fervent and unchanged.

But exactly one year and a day after her marriage her bedroom took fire by accident, and the strip of skin, which she had kept carefully hidden in her wardrobe, was burnt, along with all her grand wedding-clothes. Immediately the magic charm was broken, and the hatred of the gentleman for his low-born wife became as strong as the love he had once felt for her.

In her rage and grief at finding nothing but coldness and insult, she confessed the whole story; and, in consequence, the horror she inspired amongst the people was so great that no one would serve her with food or drink, or sit near her, or hold any intercourse with her; and she died miserably and half mad before the second year was out—a warning and a terror to all who work spells in the name of the Evil One.