THE CAT-OWL. 87
within cities, or otherwise abroad in any place, it is not good, but foretellent some fearful misfortune." Shakespeare often introduces the owl to intensify some feature of horror or dread, and that was the prevalent feeling about them in England. Thus, in a famous play, Lady Macbeth listens to the receding steps of her husband as he goes into another room to murder hing Duncan, and she exclaims, "Hark! Peace ! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman which givest the stern'st good-night !
In England it is a belief in the rural districts that owl's broth is a great remedy for the cramp. Sometimes I have taken off their skins when they were too fat for comfort. The broth might be palatable. One need not be very hungry before making trial of its food qualities.
If this particular owl I mentioned does not feast on rabbit to-night, then his calculations will be upset, for he laid his course a little beyond a bit of swamp, where rabbits have their feeding-grounds. Already they are out, jumping here and there, cutting the tender twigs for food. Hark, now, to the pitiful child-like cry that rings out on the frosty air ! There is a forest tragedy being enacted over there. A few more fainter screams and sobs and all is still. It was the " Passing " of poor Bunny. Life was