Elias: Childhood Memories (2)
(p. 348) Years ago, when Craig Wen Farm, Llawr-y-glyn, near Llanidloes, … was haunted – the rumour of which event I well remember …
(p. 351) Spider. The long-legged spider, or, as it is generally called in Wales, the Taylor, is an object of cruel sport to children. They catch it, and then handle it roughly, saying the while:–"Old Harry long-leg / Cannot say his prayers, / Catch him by the right leg, / Catch him by the left leg. / And throw him down the stairs;"
and then one leg after the other is plucked off, and the poor creature is left to die miserably. This was done in Llanidloes.
(p. 352) The Squirrel. Hunting this sprightly little animal became at Christmas the sport of our rustic population. A number of lads gathered together, and proceeded to the woods to hunt the squirrel. They followed it with stones and sticks from tree to tree, shouting and screaming, to frighten it on and on, until it was quite unable to make further progress, and then they caught it. The writer, when a lad, has often joined in this cruel hunt, but whether the squirrel was killed when caught he is unable to recall to mind. Generally it escaped.
In 1895 [Montgomeryshire Collections, xxviii] Elias recalled the old Church School at Llanidloes:
The write remembers it
well. When he was a wee lad it was flourishing. It was held in a large room – an upper room – approached by stairs, and it
was opposite the churchyard wall, on the east of the church.
In 1871 [Montgomeryshire Collections, iv] he wrote:
Some twenty years ago, Mr. Adams, the Master of the National School,
Llanidloes, possessed an extensive collection of preserved birds, birds’ eggs, and insects … He had many imitators … It was
a common occurrence in these days, in the spring and summer months, to meet in the fields or on the hill sides some young
student of nature, net in hand, with his cap covered with the dead insects, safely secured to it by means of pins;
or with his collecting box (generally of the rudest description) containing a number of caterpillars or birds′ eggs