Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Elm Fork


It Cuts Queer Capers When Over a Stream of Water.

"I am almost ashamed to tell it, and people would laugh at me if my name were given," remarked one of the best known architects in the city of Louisville.

"It is a fact, though," he continued, "and is something I will not undertake to explain. At one time I was engaged to make out the plans for a large brickyard. All went well until I reached the subject of water supply. It was supposed that water could be found in abundance, as it had to be for brickyard purposes. Every scientific method known was exhausted in locating a water vein. Too much money had been expended on the enterprise to change the site of the plant.

"In absolute despair I was walking over the grounds one day when the old story of the water twig occurred to me. At first I laughed at the idea, but it took hold on me, and I could not get rid of it. I looked all around to be sure that no one was watching and then hunted for a twig. A peach tree fork is the kind mentioned, but an elm tree fork was all I could find. I cut it so that each fork was about 10 inches long, and the butt piece, which was no larger than my finger, about 3 inches long. I caught hold of the ends of the forked stick, one fork in either hand, as one would in picking up a hayfork by the tines, and held them so that the butt end assumed nearly, but not quite, a vertical position. After looking once more to be certain that no one could see me and tell what might have affected my reputation as an architect, besides being a good joke, I began to walk and circle about where the water was supposed to be.

"The twig did not vibrate any more than would naturally follow the jarring motion from walking, and I began to walk about aimlessly, not watching the twig, for I was thinking deeply and seriously of some reasonable plan, when suddenly my hands jerked as if they had come in contact with an electric battery, and the butt of the elm fork had curved over and downward about as far as it could without breaking the prongs. I never was so surprised in my life. I would not believe it at first. As long as I remained at that spot the twig bent and could not be made to stand erect, but when I moved away a short distance it would straighten up as before. Time and again I walked away and back again before putting faith in the experiment. It convinced me, however, and I marked the place. Sure enough, we found a fine supply of water, but I never told how the water vein was discovered.

"It developed that this water vein followed a ledge of rock, and afterward I followed up the vein with a forked stick and firmly believe that I can follow up that lodge of rock and water vein from Louisville to West Point." — Louisville Courier-Journal.

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