DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’m looking for a Cat’s Meow Village Collectible of the Bates Mill. These are wooden and many of them were made for different buildings in Lewiston and Auburn. They were once sold at the former Gooseberry Barn. If anyone has one of these and doesn’t mind parting with it, I would be happy to pay a small fee. I have someone who is collecting only certain ones and the Bates Mill has lots of meaning to her, as both grandfathers and her dad worked there. Please, call me at 207-402-0755 or 207-784-3491. Thank you.

— No name, no town

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’m looking for a copy of the story about Rikki-Tikki-Tavi to read to my grandson. I can’t remember the author or what country the story was set in. I just remember the mongoose and that I loved it when I was a youngster.

— Dave, no town

ANSWER: The short story is about a brave little mongoose that is kept as a pet and a deterrent against cobras by a British family residing in India. It’s a classic by Rudyard Kipling and was published in 1894 as part of his “The Jungle Book” anthology. The story was subsequently published on its own, most recently in 1997.

If you want to borrow either this book illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, or the entire anthology, check with your local library. If they don’t have one of these on the shelves, they can get it for you from another library.

If any of our readers has a copy of the book they would like to give to Dave, let Sun Spots know. It can also be ordered on Amazon or through your local bookstore.

Reading to your grandchildren is just the best!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: My whole life I’ve been mystified by the process of dowsing. What power does a dowser have that the rest of us don’t? What is passing through the dowser’s hand to the dowsing stick?

I can remember my father telling me as a child that if it will not work for you, you can ask a true dowser to grab your wrist while you are dowsing and it will work for you. As an adult, I once tried that and it did work.

— No name, Bethel

ANSWER: Despite many anecdotal reports of success, dowsing has never been shown to work in controlled scientific tests. It is true that the dowsing rods or sticks do move because they are responding to the very small muscular vibrations caused by the subconscious mental activity of the person holding them, not an underground water supply. This scientific explanation is referred to as “ideomotor movements.” It looks and feels as if the movements are involuntary. The same phenomenon is involved with the movement associated with a Ouija board.

Again, I can’t say it enough, use your local library. A reference librarian can help you find out more about dowsing — so much more than what there’s room for in Sun Spots. There are many articles about the topic on the internet and librarians will help you get them printed for a small fee.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]

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