[Jerome Cardan, the famous physician, tells the following anecdote inhis De Rerum Varietate, lib. x., 93. Jerome only once heard a rappinghimself, at the time of the death of a friend at a distance. He wasin a terrible fright, and dared not leave his room all day.]A story which my father used often to tell: "I was brought up," hesaid, "in the house of Joannes Resta, and therein taught Latin to histhree sons; when I left them I supported myself on my own means. Itchanced that one of these lads, while I was studying medicine, felldeadly sick, he being now a young man grown, and I was called in to bewith the youth, partly for my knowledge of medicine, partly for oldfriendship's sake. The master of the house happened to be absent; thepatient slept in an upper chamber, one of his brothers and I in alower room, the third brother, Isidore, was not at home. Each of therooms was next to a turret; turrets being common in that city. Whenwe went to bed on the first night of my visit, I heard a constantknocking on the wall of the room."'What is that?' I said."'Don't be afraid, it is only a familiar spirit,' said my companion.'They call them follets; it is harmless enough, and seldom sotroublesome as it is now: I don't know what can be the matter withit.'"The young fellow went to sleep, but I was kept awake for a while,wondering and observing. After half an hour of stillness I felt athumb press on my head, and a sense of cold. I kept watching; theforefinger, the middle finger, and the rest of the hand were next laidon, the little finger nearly reaching my forehead. The hand was likethat of a boy of ten, to guess by the size, and so cold that it wasextremely unpleasant. Meantime I was chuckling over my luck in suchan opportunity of witnessing a wonder, and I listened eagerly."The hand stole with the ring finger foremost over my face and down mynose, it was slipping into my mouth, and two finger-tips had entered,when I threw it off with my right hand, thinking it was uncanny, andnot relishing it inside my body. Silence followed and I lay awake,distrusting the spectre more or less. In about half an hour itreturned and repeated its former conduct, touching me very lightly,yet very chilly. When it reached my mouth I again drove it away.Though my lips were tightly closed, I felt an extreme icy cold in myteeth. I now got out of bed, thinking this might be a friendly visitfrom the ghost of the sick lad upstairs, who must have died."As I went to the door, the thing passed before me, rapping on thewalls. When I was got to the door it knocked outside; when I openedthe door, it began to knock on the turret. The moon was shining; Iwent on to see what would happen, but it beat on the other sides ofthe tower, and, as it always evaded me, I went up to see how mypatient was. He was alive, but very weak."As I was speaking to those who stood about his bed, we heard a noiseas if the house was falling. In rushed my bedfellow, the brother ofthe sick lad, half dead with terror."'When you got up,' he said, 'I felt a cold hand on my back. Ithought it was you who wanted to waken me and take me to see mybrother, so I pretended to be asleep and lay quiet, supposing that youwould go alone when you found me so sound asleep. But when I did notfeel you get up, and the cold hand grew to be more than I could bear,I hit out to push your hand away, and felt your place empty--but warm.Then I remembered the follet, and ran upstairs as hard as I could putmy feet to the ground: never was I in such a fright!'"The sick lad died on the following night."Here Carden the elder stopped, and Jerome, his son, philosophised onthe subject.Miss Dendy, on the authority of Mr. Elijah Cope, an itinerantpreacher, gives this anecdote of similar familiarity with a follet inStaffordshire.* * * * *"Fairies! I went into a farmhouse to stay a night, and in the eveningthere came a knocking in the room as if some one had struck the table.I jumped up. My hostess got up and 'Good-night,' says she, 'I'm off'.'But what was it?' says I. 'Just a poor old fairy,' says she; 'OldNancy. She's a poor old thing; been here ever so long; lost herhusband and her children; it's bad to be left like that, all alone. Ileave a bit o' cake on the table for her, and sometimes she fetchesit, and sometimes she don't."