I still remember vividly a frightful childhood experience with my mother and her sister, Mariska.  They carefully watched for the first white egg laid by an all black hen, which was then taken for a midnight ritual with the Devil.  The night of the day the egg was laid, my mother, Mariska, and two neighbor girls planned to go to the crossroads in the tuvoy, a field near the woods.  My mother woke me from a deep sleep and took me along.  For weeks prior to the ritual, my mother had me memorize the magic words that were to be uttered at the right time that would protect me from the Devil. To this day I remember them. 


             We walked silently in the dark to the crossroads.  Mariska took the egg from her skirt pocket and carefully placed it in the center of the crossroads and stepped off to the side of the road.  The quarter moon shone against the star-studded sky as we gathered in a silent group.  I clutched my mother’s hand and waited, afraid to make a sound.  A rustle sounded to the side and when I saw a horned head approaching I felt the warm wet trickle of urine spread down my legs.  It was a curious cow that looked at us then turned and walked away.  They were awaiting the gush of wind and a swirling mass signifying the coming of the Devil down one of the roads, and coming to the crossroads with the egg in the center, he would find his progress arrested.  Frustrated he would not be permitted to pass until he granted each of the participants a wish.  Only then, after the wishes were granted, and before the egg was removed so that the Devil could continue on his way, we were to chant the secret magic words to prevent any reprisal by the Devil.  “Harum lepes el es takorus, ugy neh .....etc.”


            We waited until midnight was long past and they conceded that that night the Devil must have taken another route.  Mariska stepped on and crushed the egg, and each of us stepped on the remnants.  The egg could only be used once and they would wait until another  black hen would lay its first white egg.  We then returned to our homes with a mutual promise that none would talk about the aborted ritual.





Edited 11/2102