“That’s a fine wee book, Uncle Jamie,” Ian said, with approval. “Does it say more about the snakes?” He looked hungrily over the expanse of table, in search of more food. Without comment, I reached into the hutch and brought out a plate of spoonbread, which I set before him. He sighed happily and waded in, as Jamie turned the page.
“Well, here’s a bit about how the rattlesnakes charm squirrels and rabbits.” Jamie touched his plate, but encountered nothing save bare surface. I pushed the muffins toward him.
” ‘It is surprizing to observe how these Snakes will allure and charm Squirrel, Hedge-Conneys, Partridges and many other small Beasts and Birds to them, which they quickly devour. The Sympathy is so strong between these, that you shall see the Squirrel or Partridge (as they have espied this Snake) leap or fly from Bough to Bough, until at last they run or leap directly into its Mouth, not having power to avoid their enemy, who never stirs out of the Posture or Quoil until he obtains his Prey.’ “
His hand, blindly groping after sustenance, encountered the muffins. He picked one up and glanced up at me. “Damned if I’ve ever seen that, myself. D’ye think it likely?”
“No,” I said, pushing the curls back off my forehead. “Does that book have any helpful suggestions for dealing with vicious pigs?”
He waved absently at me with the remnants of his muffin.
“Dinna fash,” he murmured. “I’ll manage the pig.” He took his eyes off the book long enough to glance over the table at the empty dishes. “Are there no more eggs?”
Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (Chapter 25)