Then he tossed the marble away pettishly, and stood cogitating. The
truth was, that a superstition of his had failed, here, which he and
all his comrades had always looked upon as infallible. If you buried
a marble with certain necessary incantations, and left it alone a
fortnight, and then opened the place with the incantation he had just
used, you would find that all the marbles you had ever lost had gathered
themselves together there, meantime, no matter how widely they had been
separated. But now, this thing had actually and unquestionably failed.
Tom's whole structure of faith was shaken to its foundations. He had
many a time heard of this thing succeeding but never of its failing
before. It did not occur to him that he had tried it several times
before, himself, but could never find the hiding-places afterward. He
puzzled over the matter some time, and finally decided that some witch
had interfered and broken the charm. He thought he would satisfy himself
on that point; so he searched around till he found a small sandy spot
with a little funnel-shaped depression in it. He laid himself down and
put his mouth close to this depression and called--
"Doodle-bug, doodle-bug, tell me what I want to know! Doodle-bug,
doodle-bug, tell me what I want to know!"
The sand began to work, and presently a small black bug appeared for a
second and then darted under again in a fright.
"He dasn't tell! So it was a witch that done it. I just knowed it."