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The Golden Road

XI. The Witch's Wishbone
When a fortnight had elapsed we gave up all hope.
"Pat is dead," said the Story Girl hopelessly, as we returned one evening from a
bootless quest to Andrew Cowan's where a strange gray cat had been reported--
a cat which turned out to be a yellowish brown nondescript, with no tail to speak
of.
"I'm afraid so," I acknowledged at last.
"If only Peg Bowen had been at home she could have found him for us," asserted
Peter. "Her skull would have told her where he was."
"I wonder if the wishbone she gave me would have done any good," cried Cecily
suddenly. "I'd forgotten all about it. Oh, do you suppose it's too late yet?"
"There's nothing in a wishbone," said Dan impatiently.
"You can't be sure. She TOLD me I'd get the wish I made on it. I'm going to try
whenever I get home."
"It can't do any harm, anyhow," said Peter, "but I'm afraid you've left it too late. If
Pat is dead even a witch's wishbone can't bring him back to life."
"I'll never forgive myself for not thinking about it before," mourned Cecily.
As soon as we got home she flew to the little box upstairs where she kept her
treasures, and brought therefrom the dry and brittle wishbone.
"Peg told me how it must be done. I'm to hold the wishbone with both hands, like
this, and walk backward, repeating the wish nine times. And when I've finished
the ninth time I'm to turn around nine times, from right to left, and then the wish
will come true right away."
"Do you expect to see Pat when you finish turning?" said Dan skeptically.
None of us had any faith in the incantation except Peter, and, by infection, Cecily.
You never could tell what might happen. Cecily took the wishbone in her
trembling little hands and began her backward pacing, repeating solemnly, "I
wish that we may find Paddy alive, or else his body, so that we can bury him
decently." By the time Cecily had repeated this nine times we were all slightly
infected with the desperate hope that something might come of it; and when she
had made her nine gyrations we looked eagerly down the sunset lane, half
expecting to see our lost pet. But we saw only the Awkward Man turning in at the
 
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