A Dialogue Concerning Witches and Witchcraftes
Hanover Historical Texts Project
Sam. You are well mette olde acquaintance, I am glad to see you looke so well, howe doe all our good friendes in your Countrey.
Dan. I trust they be all in good hearlth, they were when I came from home, I am sorry to see you looke so pale, what have you beene sicke lately?
Sam. Truely no, I thanke God I have had my health pretily well, but yet me thinke my meate doth me no good of late.
Dan. What is the matter man, doe you take thought and care for the world? take heed of that, for the Scripture saith, worldly sorrow worketh death. 2.Cor.7.10. It is a great sinne rising from unbeleefe, and distrust in Gods providence, when men be over pensive for the world.
Sam. In deede my minde is troubled, but not for that which you say, for I hope in God I shall not want so long as I live.
Dan. Is it any trouble of conscience for sinne? If it be, that may turne to good.
Sam. O, no, no. I know no cause why.
Dan. Why, what is it then, if I may be so bold, I pray [A4v] you tell me. I thinke you sake me for your friend.
Sam. In deede I have alwaies found you my very good friend, and I am sure you will give me the best counsell you can, truely we dwell here in a bad countrey, I think even one of the worst in England.
Dan. Is it so? I thinke you dwell in a fine countrey, in a sweete wholesome aire and fruitfull grounds.
Sam. Aire man? I finde no fault with the aire, there be naughty people.
Dan. Naughty people? where shall a man dwell, and not finde them? swearers, liars, raylers, slaunderers, drunkards, adulterers, riotous, unthriftes, dicers, and proude high minded persons, are every where to be founde in great plenty.
Sam. Nay, I doe not meane them. I care not for them. These witches, these evill favoured old witches doe trouble me.
Dan. What doe you take your selfe to be bewitched?
Sam. No, no, I trust no evill spirite can hurt me, but I heare of much harme done by them: they lame men and kill their cattle, yea they destroy both men and children. They say there is scarce any towne or village in all this shire, but there is one or two witches at the least in it. In good sooth, I may tell it to you as to my friend, whn I goe but into my closes, I am afraide, for I see nowe and then a hare; which my conscience giveth me is a witch, or some witches spirite, shee stareth so uppone men. And sometime I see an ugly weasell runne through my yard, and there is a foule great catte sometimes in my Barne, which I have no liking unto.
Dan. You never had no hurt done yet, had you by any witch?
Sam. Trust me I cannot tell, but I feare me I have, [B1v] for there be two or three in our towne which I like not, but especially an old woman, I have beene as careful to please her as ever I was to please mine own mother, and to give her ever anon one thing or other, and yet me thinkes shee frownes at me now and then. And I had a hogge which eate his meate with his fellowes and was very well to our thinking over night, and in the morning he was starke dead. My wife thath had five or sixe hennes even of lated dead. Some of my neighbours wishe me to burne some thing alive, as a henne or a hogge. Others will me in time to seeke helpe at the handes of some cunning man, before I have any further harme. I wold be glad to do for the best.
Dan. Have you any cunning man hereabout, that doth helpe?
Sam. There is one, they say, here a twenty miles of at T.B. which hath holpe many. And thus much I know, there was one of mine acquaintance but two miles hence, which had great losses, he lost two or three kine, six hogs, he would not have tooke fifteene shillings a hog for them, and a mare. He went to that same man, and tolde him shee had three or foure imps, some call them puckrels, one like a gray catte, an other like a weasell, an other like a mouse, a vengeance take them, it is a great pitty the countrey is not ridde of them, and told him also what he shoulde doe, it is halfe a yeare agoe, and he never had any hurt since. There is also a woman at R.H. five and twenty miles hence, that hath a great name, and great resort there is dayly unto her. A neighbour of mine had his childe taken lame, a girle of ten yeares olde, and such a paine in her backe, that shee could not sit upright. He went to that woman, she tolde him he had some badde neighbour, the childe was forespoken, as he suspected; marry if he would goe home, and bring her som of the clothes which the child [B1v] lay in all night, she would tell him certainely.