« ZurückWeiter »
hold built boolies, and food was brought by his preserver till the danger was overpast. It was faintly “remembered " by old people on my visit as told by their elders, but the details are forgotten. Between the vanishing and what is worse) the corruption
( of Irish folk-tales in recent years I am anxious to record even such a fragmentary collection as I have been able to make. I am careful to give my doubts and any facts telling against the genuine character of the tales, and can only hope that for the known imperfection and for many possible errors of judg. ment readers may forgive one whose earnest endeavour has been to give unvarnished versions of these waifs of the past and to avoid that bane of Irish folk-tales, the desire "to make a good story of them all.”
T. J. WESTROPP.
The CURSING OF VENEZELOS.
(Vol. xxviii. 133 et seqq.) I VENTURE to add to Sir James Frazer's account of cursing by stone-flinging two examples, one from Arabia, the other from India.
In his Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca (ed. 1893, ii. 202 et seqq.) Sir R. Burton describes the rite practised at the Jamrat al-Akabah (Jamrah meaning a place of stoning," as well as the stones used) where pilgrims fling stones at the pillars known as Shaytān al-Kabir, “ The Great Satan"; Wusta, or “The Central Place (of stoning)”; and Al-Aula, or “The First Place.” The pilgrim, holding in succession seven stones between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand, casts them at one of the pillars, exclaiming : “ In the name of Allah, and Allah is Almighty ! (I do this) in Hatred of the Fiend and to his Shame.” After this he repeats the Tahlil: "There is no Deity but Allah!” and the Sana, or Praise of Allah. Hence Satan or Shaytān is known to Musal. māns as “The Stoned or Lapidated." (Sir R. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, ed. 1893, iv. 157.)
Sudderan, son of Rāja Rām, a noble youth, was falsely
accused by one of his father's wives of making an attempt on her virtue. Hearing of this, his father attacked him with a drawn sword, and he, in order to save his father from the sin of murder, prayed for immediate death. He disappeared in the ground, and a pillar of clay rose from the spot, and out of it a supernatural voice proclaimed his innocency. Down to the present day pilgrims, after shaving their heads, do the triple circumambulation (pradakshina) of Sudderan's column, always keeping it on their right. After this they cast seven clods or brick-bats at the adjoining tomb of his father, muttering curses on its occupant. Burton thinks that this is copied from the Arab rite mentioned above ; but this seems to be doubtful. (R. F. Burton, Sind Revisited, London, 1877, ii. 85 ff.)
EASTER EGGS IN SCOTLAND.
(Vol. xxvii., p. 94.) The Easter Egg custom is more widespread than is shown in the
Catalogue of Brand Material.” I used to roll dyed eggs on “Egg Monday ” when I was a boy in Ross and Cromarty, and we had an "Egg Sunday.” We afterwards burned whin and searched for shellfish. In Edinburgh here I find the dyed eggs are rolled in Bruntsfield Links. The custom was quite common all over Scotland until recently. It has been stamped out by unimaginative school teachers and parsons.
DONALD A. MACKENZIE.
BEGGING ON St. Thomas's Day.
(Ante, pp. 300, 301). MUMPING or Begging Day has been observed in North Devon within my recollection. The agricultural labourers' wives in the remote districts would call at the different farmhouses in the neighbourhood for a penny. For Bradninch, Dorset, read Devon (p. 303).
GOAT AND Cows. The following has been sent by a correspondent from Dorset : “I had often read and heard of the old superstition that a goat turned in with the cows that are in calf would prevent them from slipping calf, and I actually saw this in a field-a goat running with a lot of calves, and was told this was the usual practice to ward off the evil eye!”
J. J. FOSTER.
Notes On English FOLK-LORE. Derbyshire.—The Bedfordshire Nursery Rhymes, published in Vol. xxvi., p. 413 et seq., bring to my mind one that is obviously a variant of it, which I heard as a child in the small village of Turnditch in Derbyshire. We used to sing it to a simple tune :
1. This old man, he went one,
And this old man came toddling along.
He went nick-nack on my shoe. 3. This old man he went three,
He went nick-nack on my knee. 4. This old man, he went four,
He went nick-nack on my door. 5. This old man, he went five,
He went nick.nack on my beehive. 6. This old man, he went six,
He went nick-nack on my sticks. 7. This old man, he went seven,
He went nick-nack up to Heaven. Presumably that was the end of him, for I don't remember that the rhyme went any further.
There must have been an Essex variant, for only a few weeks ago the children in the playground of one of the Leyton Council Schools were singing :
Nick-nack, paddy wack, give a dog a bone,
Celia A. BARKER.
NOTES ON STAFFORDSHIRE FOLKLORE. Foxgloves an Omen of War.—The summer of 1914 was a record one for foxgloves, regarding which an old man remarked, "I don't like them, missus; they mean war. Them foxgloves is soldiers."
Cuckoos.— The number of times a cuckoo calls when heard the first time denotes the number of years before the hearer will be married.
Omen from Umbrellas.— To pick up an umbrella dropped by yourself means a disappointment.
Omens from Knives.—To drop a knife is a sign that a gentleman is coming to the house. To hand anything on a knife means bad luck.
Wearing Green.--If you wear green you will go into mourning.
Marriage Omen.—Take one hair from your head, thread a finger-ring on it, and hold it over a tumbler half full of water. The number of times it touches the side shows how many years will pass before the holder's wedding.
Ruth HODSON. The Laurels, Walsall Road, Lichfield.
WITCHCRAFT IN GREAT BRITAIN.
(Ante, pp. 228-258.)
It is a matter of much regret to me that I was unable to hear Miss Murray's striking paper on the Organization of Witches in Great Britain, on the 18th April last. Miss Murray's evidence of the existence of secret societies for the practice of pagan cults entirely accords with Grimm's ascription of the origin of mediaeval witchcraft to the secret practice of heathen rites by persons who remained true to the ancient faith. (Deutsche Mythologie. 1007.) The suffix craft itself implies an organized society for the performance of “mysteries," whether merely technical or quasi-religious.
With regard to Miss Murray's last paragraph on page 248, may I draw her attention to Sir John Rhys's discussion of the ancient Celtic seasonal year, in his Hibbert Lectures (1886). Sir James Frazer's deduction that this division of the year dates from a period " when the Celts were mainly a pastoral people dependent for their subsistence on their herds," is natural and probable. The same division still affects rustic life in many ways. Especially does it regulate the life of the cattle, who migrate from stall to pasture and from pasture to stall at the beginning of May and the beginning of November respectively, even in England at the present day.
CHARLOTTE S. BURNE.