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Count Rosen suggested the story of Konigsmark to me, as one of great interest, and which might, by blending historical facts with some imaginary scenes, make an interesting novel. He recommended to me the Life as given in the English “Causes Célèbres,'' and I immediately took that book as my pilot. I am here proud to acknowledge the information I received from that work, and own how very far inferior my pages appear in comparison with the racy writing of the author of that excellent compilation.
The account of the Lapland witches has been gleaned from several authors of great
repute, and the description of their ceremonies put together with great care.
The strange story of the ring does not belong to the Konigsmark family, but to the Barnekows. The ring was acquired in the manner here described ; and when, in the riots occasioned by Ankerstrom's murder of his sovereign, the owner of this ring was killed by the populace—the ring which he had never been able to take from his hand, could not be found after his death.
I am quite aware that, in this age, the story of a ghost may be charged with puerility. But there is not a Swede who is not conversant with the anecdote of Barnekow's ring; and I leave the sceptical to laugh at the credulous, merely adding, with Dr. Johnson, that concerning ghosts, appearances are much in their favour.
“And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense ;
MACBETH, Act v. Scene 7.
“ It is of little use our discussing the question. I tell you, from the age of ten I have read book upon book; I have studied the subject; I have consulted the opinions of learned and of pious men, and I believe in witchcraft. You sneer-but you do not convince me of my error. And, although ridicule is the test of truth, still my arguments remain unshaken."