Maggie Lyman - the 10-year-old daughter of Deseret News staffer Susan Lyman-Whitney - has been passing around chain letters - chain letters about romance.

The one I saw read like this:This is a letter about romance. It has been going on since 1904. Make four copies of this and give it to four of your friends. This is NOT a joke. After you give it to them, drink a cup of water and think of the guy you like A LOT. In four days he'll say something important to you! If for some reason you don't finish it in four days, you will have bad luck with guys for four years.

Now this is what our Single-minded column in the Deseret News has been crying for: solid, old-fashioned advice on how to land somebody. Do and you'll get No philosophizing, no groaning and moaning about relationships, no personal horror stories; just a hands-on approach for people who want to link up with other people.

Maggie's chain letter, in fact, got me thinking of a piece I once saw in the Old Farmer's Almanac, a piece written by Tom Clark. Clark went back through history, science and folklore and found "Twenty-six Sure-fire Techniques" for finding a mate.

Here are 10 effective, tried-and-true ways to land a partner:

1. Swallow the heart of a wild duck.

2. On the last night in April, wash a handkerchief and hang it over a rosebush. When it dries in the morning, the initials of your true love will appear in the wrinkles.

3. Kiss as many people as possible. Dr. Bubba Nicholson of Tampa, Fla., says that kissing is a way for us to taste semio-chemicals on another's skin. Semio-chemicals transmit biological signals of compatibility and attraction, according to Nicholson, whose finding appeared in the British Journal of Dermatology.

4. Hard-boil an egg, cut it in half, discard the yolk, and fill the egg halves with salt. Sit on something you have never sat on before, eat the egg, and walk to bed backward. You will dream of your future mate.

5. Peel an apple without breaking the peel, swing the peel around your head three times, and throw it over your shoulder. When it lands, it will form your lover's first initial.

6. Offer your prospective lover lemonade or cider containing a teaspoon of your own powdered fingernails.

7. Offer your lover a double-fudge sundae. Chocolate is rich in phenylethy-lamine, which scientists say accounts for people in love acting so erratically and impulsively.

8. Count 50 white horses and one white mule. The next man you shake hands with will be the one you marry.

9. Measure your lover's forearms. Maria Pennock Watkins and Arlen Price studied 170 married couples and found their forearms (from elbow to the tip of the middle finger) to be very similar in length. Long-armed men and short-armed women, on the other hand, were a disaster together.

10. Finally, just stop looking. Many experts agree that the search for a perfect mate is doomed to disappointment and marital discord. As one psychologist put it, "Be flexible. You have to give up the notion of finding and molding the perfect mate. It's a kind of strange commitment to the unknown."

Still, just to be safe, carry the heart of young owl with you everywhere at all times.