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AN elf once asserted a claim to a field hitherto possessed by a farmer, and after much disputing they came to an arrangement by agreeing to divide its produce between Lhem. At seed-time the farmer asks the Bogie what part of the crop he will have, "tops or bottoms." "Bottoms," said the spirit: upon hearing which his crafty antagonist saws the field with wheat, so that when harvest arrived the corn falls to his share, while the poor Bogie is obliged to content himself with the stubble. Next year the Bogie, finding he had made such an unfortunate selection in the bottoms, chose the "tops"; whereupon the crafty farmer sets the field with turnips, thus again outwitting the simple claimant. Tired of this unprofitable farming, the Bogie agrees to hazard his claims on a mowing match, the land in question to be the stake for which they played. Before the day of meeting, the canny earth-tiller procures a number of iron bars, which he strews among the grass to be mown by his opponent; and when the trial commences, the unsuspecting goblin finds his progress retarded by his scythe continually coming into contact with these obstacles, which he takes to be some hard species of dock. "Mortal bard docks these!" said he; "Nation hard docks!" His blunted blade soon brings him to a standstill; and as, in such cases, it is not allowable for one to sharpen without the other, he turns to his antagonist, now far ahead, and, in a tone of despair, inquires: "When d'ye wiffle-waffle (whet), mate?" "Waffle!" said the farmer, with a well feigned stare of amazement, "oh, about noon, mebby." "Then," said the despairing Bogie, "I've lost my land!" So saying be disappeared, and the farmer reaped the reward of his artifice by ever afterwards continuing the undisputed possessor of the soil.


1 T. Sternberg, The Dialect and Folk-Lore of Northamptonshire, p. 140.

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