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Balder The Beautiful, Vol. I. by Sir James George Frazer

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[70] De la Loubere, _Du royaume de Siam_ (Amsterdam, 1691), i. 203. In
Travancore it is believed that women at puberty and after childbirth are
peculiarly liable to be attacked by demons. See S. Mateer, _The Land of
Charity_ (London, 1871), p. 208.

[71] Rev. J. Roscoe, _The Baganda_, p. 80.

[72] C. Gouldsbury and H. Sheane, _The Great Plateau of Northern
Nigeria_ (London, 1911), pp. 158-160.

[73] R. Sutherland Rattray, _Some Folk-lore, Stories and Songs in
Chinyanja_ (London, 1907), pp. 102-105.

[74] Rev. H. Cole, "Notes on the Wagogo of German East Africa," _Journal
of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii. (1902) pp. 309 _sq._

[75] R. Sutherland Rattray, _op. cit._ pp. 191 _sq._

[76] _The Grihya Sutras_, translated by H. Oldenberg, Part i. p. 357,
Part ii. p. 267 (_Sacred Books of the East_, vols. xxix., xxx.).

[77] Rev. J. Roscoe, _The Baganda_ (London, 1911), pp. 393 _sq._,
compare pp. 396, 398.

[78] See _Totemism and Exogamy_, iv. 224 _sqq._

[79] Sir Harry H. Johnston, _British Central Africa_ (London, 1897), p.

[80] Oscar Baumann, _Durch Massailand zur Nilquelle_ (Berlin, 1894), p.

[81] Lionel Decle, _Three Years in Savage Africa_ (London, 1898), p. 78.
Compare E. Jacottet, _Etudes sur les Langues du Haut-Zambeze_, Troisieme
Partie (Paris, 1901), pp. 174 _sq._ (as to the A-Louyi).

[82] E. Beguin, _Les Ma-rotse_ (Lausanne and Fontaines, 1903), p. 113.

[83] Henri A. Junod, _The Life of a South African Tribe_ (Neuchatel,
1912-1913), i. 178 _sq._

[84] G. McCall Theal, _Kaffir Folk-lore_ (London, 1886), p. 218.

[85] L. Alberti, _De Kaffers aan de Zuidkust van Afrika_ (Amsterdam,
1810), pp. 79 _sq._; H. Lichtenstein, _Reisen im suedlichen Africa_
(Berlin, 1811-1812), i. 428.

[86] Gustav Fritsch, _Die Eingeborenen Sued-Afrika's_ (Breslau, 1872), p.
112. This statement applies especially to the Ama-Xosa.

[87] G. McCall Theal, _Kaffir Folk-lore_, p. 218.

[88] Rev. Canon Henry Callaway, _Nursery Tales, Traditions, and
Histories of the Zulus_ (Natal and London, 1868), p. 182, note 20. From
one of the Zulu texts which the author edits and translates (p. 189) we
may infer that during the period of her seclusion a Zulu girl may not
light a fire. Compare above, p. 28.

[89] E. Casalis, _The Basutos_ (London, 1861), p. 268.

[90] J. Merolla, "Voyage to Congo," in J. Pinkerton's _Voyages and
Travels_ (London, 1808-1814), xvi. 238; Father Campana, "Congo; Mission
Catholique de Landana," _Les Missions Catholiques_, xxvii. (1895) p.
161; R.E. Dennett, _At the Back of the Black Man's Mind_ (London, 1906),
pp. 69 _sq._. According to Merolla, it is thought that if girls did not
go through these ceremonies, they would "never be fit for procreation."
The other consequences supposed to flow from the omission of the rites
are mentioned by Father Campana. From Mr. Dennett's account (_op. cit._
pp. 53, 67-71) we gather that drought and famine are thought to result
from the intercourse of a man with a girl who has not yet passed through
the "paint-house," as the hut is called where the young women live in
seclusion. According to O. Dapper, the women of Loango paint themselves
red on every recurrence of their monthly sickness; also they tie a cord
tightly round their heads and take care neither to touch their husband's
food nor to appear before him (_Description de l'Afrique_, Amsterdam,
1686, p. 326).

[91] The Rev. G. Brown, quoted by the Rev. B. Danks, "Marriage Customs
of the New Britain Group," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_,
xviii. (1889) pp. 284. _sq.; id., Melanesians and Polynesians_ (London,
1910), pp. 105-107. Compare _id._, "Notes on the Duke of York Group, New
Britain, and New Ireland," _Journal of the Royal Geographical Society_,
xlvii. (1877) pp. 142 _sq._; A. Hahl, "Das mittlere Neumecklenburg,"
_Globus_, xci. (1907) p. 313. Wilfred Powell's description of the New
Ireland custom is similar (_Wanderings in a Wild Country_, London, 1883,
p. 249). According to him, the girls wear wreaths of scented herbs round
the waist and neck; an old woman or a little child occupies the lower
floor of the cage; and the confinement lasts only a month. Probably the
long period mentioned by Dr. Brown is that prescribed for chiefs'
daughters. Poor people could not afford to keep their children so long
idle. This distinction is sometimes expressly stated. See above, p. 30.
Among the Goajiras of Colombia rich people keep their daughters shut up
in separate huts at puberty for periods varying from one to four years,
but poor people cannot afford to do so for more than a fortnight or a
month. See F.A. Simons, "An Exploration of the Goajira Peninsula,"
_Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society_, N.S., vii. (1885) p.
791. In Fiji, brides who were being tattooed were kept from the sun
(Thomas Williams, _Fiji and the Fijians_, Second Edition, London, 1860,
i. 170). This was perhaps a modification of the Melanesian custom of
secluding girls at puberty. The reason mentioned by Mr. Williams, "to
improve her complexion," can hardly have been the original one.

[92] Rev. R.H. Rickard, quoted by Dr. George Brown, _Melanesians and
Polynesians_, pp. 107 _sq._. His observations were made in 1892.

[93] R. Parkinson, _Dreissig Jahre in der Suedsee_ (Stuttgart, 1907), p.
272. The natives told Mr. Parkinson that the confinement of the girls
lasts from twelve to twenty months. The length of it may have been
reduced since Dr. George Brown described the custom in 1876.

[94] J. Chalmers and W. Wyatt Gill, _Work and Adventure in New Guinea_
(London, 1885), p. 159.

[95] H. Zahn and S. Lehner, in R. Neuhauss's _Deutsch New-Guinea_
(Berlin, 1911), iii. 298, 418-420. The customs of the two tribes seem to
be in substantial agreement, and the accounts of them supplement each
other. The description of the Bukaua practice is the fuller.

[96] C.A.L.M. Schwaner, _Borneo, Beschrijving van het stroomgebied van
den Barito_ (Amsterdam, 1853-1854), ii. 77 _sq._; W.F.A. Zimmermann,
_Die Inseln des Indischen und Stillen Meeres_ (Berlin, 1864-1865), ii.
632 _sq._; Otto Finsch, _Neu Guinea und seine Bewohner_ (Bremen, 1865),
pp. 116 _sq._.

[97] J.G.F. Riedel, _De sluik--en kroesharige rassen tusschen Selebes
en Papua_ (The Hague, 1886), p. 138.

[98] A. Senfft, "Ethnographische Beitraege ueber die Karolineninsel Yap,"
_Petermanns Mitteilungen_, xlix. (1903) p. 53; _id._, "Die Rechtssitten
der Jap-Eingeborenen," _Globus_, xci. (1907) pp. 142 _sq._.

[99] Dr. C.G. Seligmann, in _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_,
xxix. (1899) pp. 212 _sq.; id._, in _Reports of the Cambridge
Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits_, v. (Cambridge, 1904) pp.
203 _sq._

[100] Dr. C.G. Seligmann, in _Reports of the Cambridge Expedition to
Torres Straits_, v. (Cambridge, 1904) p. 205.

[101] L. Crauford, in _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxiv.
(1895) p. 181.

[102] Dr. C.G. Seligmann, _op. cit._ v. 206.

[103] Walter E. Roth, _North Queensland Ethnography, Bulletin No. 5,
Superstition, Magic, and Medicine_ (Brisbane, 1903), pp. 24 _sq._

[104] Walter E. Roth, _op. cit._ p. 25.

[105] Dr. C.G. Seligmann, in _Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological
Expedition to Torres Straits_, v. (Cambridge, 1904), p. 205.

[106] From notes kindly sent me by Dr. C.G. Seligmann. The practice of
burying a girl at puberty was observed also by some Indian tribes of
California, but apparently rather for the purpose of producing a sweat
than for the sake of concealment. The treatment lasted only twenty-four
hours, during which the patient was removed from the ground and washed
three or four times, to be afterwards reimbedded. Dancing was kept up
the whole time by the women. See H. R. Schoolcraft, _Indian Tribes of
the United States_ (Philadelphia, 1853-1856), v. 215.

[107] Dr. C.G. Seligmann, in _Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological
Expedition to Torres Straits_, v. 201 _sq._

[108] A.L. Kroeber, "The Religion of the Indians of California,"
_University of California Publications in American Archaeology and
Ethnology_, vol. iv. No. 6 (September, 1907), p. 324.

[109] Roland B. Dixon, "The Northern Maidu," _Bulletin of the American
Museum of Natural History_, vol. xvii. Part iii. (May 1905) pp. 232
_sq._, compare pp. 233-238.

[110] Stephen Powers, _Tribes of California_ (Washington, 1877), p. 85
(_Contributions to North American Ethnology_, vol. iii.).

[111] Stephen Powers, _op. cit._ p. 235.

[112] Charles Wilkes, _Narrative of the United States Exploring
Expedition_, New Edition (New York, 1851), iv. 456.

[113] Franz Boas, _Chinook Texts_ (Washington, 1894), pp. 246 _sq._ The
account, taken down from the lips of a Chinook Indian, is not perfectly
clear; some of the restrictions were prolonged after the girl's second
monthly period.

[114] G.M. Sproat, _Scenes and Studies of Savage Life_ (London, 1868),
pp. 93 _sq._

[115] Franz Boas, in _Sixth Report on the North-Western Tribes of
Canada_, pp. 40-42 (separate reprint from the _Report of the British
Association for the Advancement of Science_, Leeds meeting, 1890). The
rule not to lie down is observed also during their seclusion at puberty
by Tsimshian girls, who always sit propped up between boxes and mats;
their heads are covered with small mats, and they may not look at men
nor at fresh salmon and olachen. See Franz Boas, in _Fifth Report on the
North-Western Tribes of Canada_, p. 41 (separate reprint from the
_Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science_,
Newcastle-upon-Tyne meeting, 1889); G.M. Dawson, _Report on the Queen
Charlotte Islands, 1878_ (Montreal, 1880), pp. 130 B _sq._ Some divine
kings are not allowed to lie down. See _Taboo and the Perils of the
Soul_, p. 5.

[116] George M. Dawson, _Report on the Queen Charlotte Islands, 1878_
(Montreal, 1880), p. 130 B; J.R. Swanton, _Contributions to the
Ethnology of the Haida_ (Leyden and New York, 1905), pp. 48-50 (_The
Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of the American Museum of Natural
History_, New York). Speaking of the customs observed at Kloo, where the
girls had to abstain from salmon for five years, Mr. Swanton says (p.
49): "When five years had passed, the girl came out, and could do as she
pleased." This seems to imply that the girl was secluded in the house
for five years. We have seen (above, p. 32) that in New Ireland the
girls used sometimes to be secluded for the same period.

[117] G.H. von Langsdorff, _Reise um die Welt_ (Frankfort, 1812), ii.
114 _sq._; H.J. Holmberg, "Ethnographische Skizzen ueber die Voelker des
Russischen Amerika," _Acta Societatis Scientiarum Fennicae_, iv.
(Helsingfors, 1856) pp. 319 _sq._; T. de Pauly, _Description
Ethnographique des Peuples de la Russie_ (St. Petersburg, 1862),
_Peuples de l'Amerique Russe_, p. 13; A. Erman, "Ethnographische
Wahrnehmungen und Erfahrungen an den Kuesten des Berings-Meeres,"
_Zeitschrift fuer Ethnologie_, ii. (1870) pp. 318 _sq._; H.H. Bancroft,
_Native Races of the Pacific States_ (London, 1875-1876), i. 110 _sq._;
Rev. Sheldon Jackson, "Alaska and its Inhabitants," _The American
Antiquarian_, ii. (Chicago, 1879-1880) pp. 111 _sq._; A. Woldt, _Captain
Jacobsen's Reise an der Nordwestkiiste Americas, 1881-1883_ (Leipsic,
1884), p. 393; Aurel Krause, _Die Tlinkit-Indianer_ (Jena, 1885), pp.
217 _sq._; W.M. Grant, in _Journal of American Folk-lore_, i. (1888) p.
169; John R. Swanton, "Social Conditions, Beliefs, and Linguistic
Relationship of the Tlingit Indians," _Twenty-sixth Annual Report of the
Bureau of American Ethnology_ (Washington, 1908), p. 428.

[118] Franz Boas, in _Tenth Report of the Committee on the North-Western
Tribes of Canada_, p. 45 (separate reprint from the _Report of the
British Association for the Advancement of Science_, Ipswich meeting,

[119] Franz Boas, in _Fifth Report of the Committee on the North-Western
Tribes of Canada_, p. 42 (separate reprint from the _Report of the
British Association for the Advancement of Science_, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
meeting, 1889); _id._, in _Seventh Report_, etc., p. 12 (separate
reprint from the _Report of the British Association for the Advancement
of Science_, Cardiff meeting, 1891).

[120] "Customs of the New Caledonian women belonging to the Nancaushy
Tine, or Stuart's Lake Indians, Natotin Tine, or Babine's and Nantley
Tine, or Fraser Lake Tribes," from information supplied by Gavin
Hamilton, chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company's service, who has
been for many years among these Indians, both he and his wife speaking
their languages fluently (communicated by Dr. John Rae), _Journal of the
Anthropological Institute_, vii. (1878) pp. 206 _sq._

[121] Emile Petitot, _Traditions Indiennes du Canada Nord-ouest_ (Paris,
1886), pp. 257 _sq._

[122] Fr. Julius Jette, S.J., "On the Superstitions of the Ten'a
Indians," _Anthropos_, vi. (1911) pp. 700-702.

[123] Compare _The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings_, i. 70 _sqq._

[124] James Teit, _The Thompson Indians of British Columbia_, pp.
311-317 (_The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of the American
Museum of Natural History_, New York, April, 1900). As to the customs
observed among these Indians by the father of a girl at such times in
order not to lose his luck in hunting, see _Spirits of the Corn and of
the Wild_, ii. 268.

[125] James Teit, _The Lillooet Indians_ (Leyden and New York, 1906),
pp. 263-265 (_The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of the American
Museum of Natural History_, New York). Compare C. Hill Tout, "Report on
the Ethnology of the Stlatlumh of British Columbia," _Journal of the
Anthropological Institute_, xxxv. (1905) p. 136.

[126] Franz Boas, in _Sixth Report of the Committee on the North-Western
Tribes of Canada_, pp. 89 _sq_. (separate reprint from the _Report of
the British Association for the Advancement of Science_, Leeds meeting,

[127] James Teit, _The Shuswap_ (Leyden and New York, 1909), pp. 587
_sq._ (_The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of the American
Museum of Natural History_, New York).

[128] G.H. Loskiel, _History of the Mission of the United Brethren among
the Indians of North America_ (London, 1794), Part i. pp. 56 _sq_.

[129] G.B. Grinnell, "Cheyenne Woman Customs," _American
Anthropologist_, New Series, iv. (New York, 1902) pp. 13 _sq_. The
Cheyennes appear to have been at first settled on the Mississippi, from
which they were driven westward to the Missouri. See _Handbook of
American Indians north of Mexico_, edited by F.W. Hodge (Washington,
1907-1910), i. 250 _sqq_.

[130] H.J. Holmberg, "Ueber die Voelker des Russischen Amerika," _Acta
Societatis Scientiarum Fennicae_, iv. (Helsingfors, 1856) pp. 401 _sq._;
Ivan Petroff, _Report on the Population, Industries and Resources of
Alaska_, p. 143.

[131] E.W. Nelson, "The Eskimo about Bering Strait," _Eighteenth Annual
Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology_, Part i. (Washington, 1899)
p. 291.

[132] Jose Guevara, "Historia del Paraguay, Rio de la Plata, y Tucuman,"
pp. 16 _sq._, in Pedro de Angelis, _Coleccion de Obras y Documentos
relativos a la Historia antigua y moderna de las Provincias del Rio de
la Plata_, vol. ii. (Buenos-Ayres, 1836); J.F. Lafitau, _Moeurs des
Sauvages Ameriquains_ (Paris, 1724), i. 262 _sq._

[133] Father Ignace Chome, in _Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses_,
Nouvelle Edition (Paris, 1780-1783), viii. 333. As to the Chiriguanos,
see C.F. Phil. von Martius, _Zur Ethnographie Amerika's, zumal
Brasiliens_ (Leipsic, 1867), pp. 212 _sqq._; Colonel G.E. Church,
_Aborigines of South America_ (London, 1912), pp. 207-227.

[134] A. Thouar, _Explorations dans l'Amerique du Sud_ (Paris, 1891),
pp. 48 _sq._; G. Kurze, "Sitten und Gebraeuche der Lengua-Indianer,"
_Mitteilungen der Geographischen Gesellschaft zu Jena_, xxiii. (1905)
pp. 26 _sq._ The two accounts appear to be identical; but the former
attributes the custom to the Chiriguanos, the latter to the Lenguas. As
the latter account is based on the reports of the Rev. W.B. Grubb, a
missionary who has been settled among the Indians of the Chaco for many
years and is our principal authority on them, I assume that the
ascription of the custom to the Lenguas is correct. However, in the
volume on the Lengua Indians, which has been edited from Mr. Grubb's
papers (_An Unknown People in an Unknown Land_, London, 1911), these
details as to the seclusion of girls at puberty are not mentioned,
though what seems to be the final ceremony is described (_op. cit._ pp.
177 _sq._). From the description we learn that boys dressed in ostrich
feathers and wearing masks circle round the girl with shrill cries, but
are repelled by the women.

[135] Alcide d'Orbigny, _Voyage dans l'Amerique Meridionale_ vol. iii.
1to Partie (Paris and Strasburg, 1844), pp. 205 _sq_.

[136] A. Thouar, _Explorations dans l'Amerique du Sud_ (Paris, 1891) pp.
56 _sq._; Father Cardus, quoted in J. Pelleschi's _Los Indios Matacos_
(Buenos Ayres, 1897), pp. 47 _sq._

[137] A. Thouar, _op. cit._ p. 63.

[138] Francis de Castelnau, _Expedition dans les parties centrales de
l'Amerique du Sud_ (Paris, 1850-1851), v. 25.

[139] D. Luis de la Cruz, "Descripcion de la Naturaleza de los Terrenos
que se comprenden en los Andes, poseidos por los Peguenches y los demas
espacios hasta el rio de Chadileuba," p. 62, in Pedro de Angelis,
_Coleccion de Obras y Documentos relativos a la Historia antigua y
moderna de las Provincias del Rio de la Plata_, vol. i. (Buenos-Ayres,
1836). Apparently the Peguenches are an Indian tribe of Chili.

[140] J.B. von Spix und C.F. Ph. von Martius, _Reise in Brasilien_
(Munich, 1823-1831), iii. 1186, 1187, 1318.

[141] Andre Thevet, _Cosmographie Universelle_ (Paris, 1575), ii. 946 B
[980] _sq._; _id., Les Singularites de la France Antarctique, autrement
nommee Amerique_ (Antwerp, 1558), p. 76; J.F. Lafitau, _Moeurs des
Sauvages Ameriquains_ (Paris, 1724), i. 290 _sqq_.

[142] R. Schomburgk, _Reisen in Britisch Guiana_ (Leipsic, 1847-1848),
ii. 315 _sq._; C.F.Ph. von Martius, _Zur Ethnographie Amerika's, zumal
Brasiliens_ (Leipsic, 1867), p. 644.

[143] Labat, _Voyage du Chevalier des Marchais en Guinee, Isles
voisines, et a Cayenne_, iv. 365 _sq._ (Paris, 1730), pp. 17 _sq._
(Amsterdam, 1731).

[144] A. Caulin, _Historia Coro-graphica natural y evangelica dela Nueva
Andalucia_ (1779), p. 93. A similar custom, with the omission of the
stinging, is reported of the Tamanaks in the region of the Orinoco. See
F.S. Gilij, _Saggio di Storia Americana_, ii. (Rome, 1781), p. 133.

[145] A.R. Wallace, _Narrative of Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro_,
p. 496 (p. 345 of the Minerva Library edition, London, 1889).

[146] _Taboo and the Perils of the Soul_, pp. 105 _sqq._; _The
Scapegoat_> pp. 259 _sqq._

[147] J.B. von Spix and C.F.Ph. von Martius, _Reise in Brasilien_
(Munich, 1823-1831), iii. 1320.

[148] W. Lewis Herndon, _Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon_
(Washington, 1854), pp. 319 _sq._ The scene was described to Mr. Herndon
by a French engineer and architect, M. de Lincourt, who witnessed it at
Manduassu, a village on the Tapajos river. Mr. Herndon adds: "The
_Tocandeira_ ants not only bite, but are also armed with a sting like
the wasp; but the pain felt from it is more violent. I think it equal to
that occasioned by the sting of the black scorpion." He gives the name
of the Indians as Mahues, but I assume that they are the same as the
Mauhes described by Spix and Martius.

[149] Francis de Castelnau, _Expedition dans les parties centrals de
l'Amerique du Sud_ (Paris, 1850-1851), v. 46.

[150] L'Abbe Durand, "Le Rio Negro du Nord et son bassin," _Bulletin de
la Societe de Geographie_ (Paris), vi. Serie, iii. (1872) pp. 21 _sq._
The writer says that the candidate has to keep his arms plunged up to
the shoulders in vessels full of ants, "as in a bath of vitriol," for
hours. He gives the native name of the ant as _issauba_.

[151] J. Crevaux, _Voyages dans l'Amerique du Sud_ (Paris, 1883), pp.

[152] H. Coudreau, _Chez nos Indiens: quatre annees dans la Guyane
Francaise_ (Paris, 1895), p. 228. For details as to the different modes
of administering the _marake_ see _ibid._ pp. 228-235.

[153] Father Geronimo Boscana, "Chinigchinich," in _Life in California
by an American_ [A. Robinson] (New York, 1846), pp. 273 _sq._

[154] F. Stuhlmann, _Mit Emin Pascha ins Herz von Afrika_ (Berlin,
1894), p. 506.

[155] As a confirmation of this view it may be pointed out that beating
or scourging is inflicted on inanimate objects expressly for the purpose
indicated in the text. Thus the Indians of Costa Rica hold that there
are two kinds of ceremonial uncleanness, _nya_ and _bu-ku-ru_. Anything
that has been connected with a death is _nya_. But _bu-ku-ru_ is much
more virulent. It can not only make one sick but kill. "_Bu-ku-ru_
emanates in a variety of ways; arms, utensils, even houses become
affected by it after long disuse, and before they can be used again must
be purified. In the case of portable objects left undisturbed for a long
time, the custom is to beat them with a stick before touching them. I
have seen a woman take a long walking-stick and beat a basket hanging
from the roof of a house by a cord. On asking what that was for, I was
told that the basket contained her treasures, that she would probably
want to take something out the next day, and that she was driving off
the _bu-ku-ru_. A house long unused must be swept, and then the person
who is purifying it must take a stick and beat not only the movable
objects, but the beds, posts, and in short every accessible part of the
interior. The next day it is fit for occupation. A place not visited for
a long time or reached for the first time is _bu-ku-ru_. On our return
from the ascent of Pico Blanco, nearly all the party suffered from
little calenturas, the result of extraordinary exposure to wet and cold
and of want of food. The Indians said that the peak was especially
_bu-ku-ru_ since nobody had ever been on it before." One day Mr. Gabb
took down some dusty blow-guns amid cries of _bu-ku-ru_ from the
Indians. Some weeks afterwards a boy died, and the Indians firmly
believed that the _bu-ku-ru_ of the blow-guns had killed him. "From all
the foregoing, it would seem that _bu-ku-ru_ is a sort of evil spirit
that takes possession of the object, and resents being disturbed; but I
have never been able to learn from the Indians that they consider it so.
They seem to think of it as a property the object acquires. But the
worst _bu-ku-ru_ of all, is that of a young woman in her first
pregnancy. She infects the whole neighbourhood. Persons going from the
house where she lives, carry the infection with them to a distance, and
all the deaths or other serious misfortunes in the vicinity are laid to
her charge. In the old times, when the savage laws and customs were in
full force, it was not an uncommon thing for the husband of such a woman
to pay damages for casualties thus caused by his unfortunate wife." See
Wm. M. Gabb, "On the Indian Tribes and Languages of Costa Rica,"
_Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society held at
Philadelphia_, xiv. (Philadelphia, 1876) pp. 504 _sq._

[156] J. Chaffanjon, _L'Orenoque et le Caura_ (Paris, 1889), pp.

[157] Shib Chunder Bose, _The Hindoos as they are_ (London and Calcutta,
1881), p. 86. Similarly, after a Brahman boy has been invested with the
sacred thread, he is for three days strictly forbidden to see the sun.
He may not eat salt, and he is enjoined to sleep either on a carpet or a
deer's skin, without a mattress or mosquito curtain (_ibid._ p. 186). In
Bali, boys who have had their teeth filed, as a preliminary to marriage,
are kept shut up in a dark room for three days (R. Van Eck, "Schetsen
van het eiland Bali," _Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indie_, N.S., ix.
(1880) pp. 428 _sq._).

[158] (Sir) H.H. Risley, _Tribes and Castes of Bengal, Ethnographic
Glossary_ (Calcutta, 1891-1892), i. 152.

[159] Edgar Thurston, _Castes and Tribes of Southern India_ (Madras,
1909), vii. 63 _sq._

[160] Edgar Thurston, _op. cit._ iii. 218.

[161] Edgar Thurston, _op. cit._ vi. 157.

[162] S. Mateer, _Native Life in Travancore_ (London, 1883), p. 45.

[163] Arthur A. Perera, "Glimpses of Singhalese Social Life," _Indian
Antiquary_ xxxi, (1902) p. 380.

[164] J. Moura, _Le Royaume du Cambodge_ (Paris, 1883), i. 377.

[165] Etienne Aymonier, "Notes sur les coutumes et croyances
superstitieuses des Cambodgiens," _Cochinchine Francaise: Excursions et
Reconnaissances_, No. 16 (Saigon, 1883), pp. 193 _sq._ Compare _id.,
Notice sur le Cambodge_ (Paris, 1875), p. 50 _id., Notes sur le Laos_
(Saigon, 1885), p. 177.

[166] Svend Grundtvig, _Daenische Volks-maerchen_, uebersetzt von A.
Strodtmann, Zweite Sammlung (Leipsic, 1879), pp. 199 _sqq._

[167] Christian Schneller, _Maerchen und Sagen aus Waelschtirol_
(Innsbruck, 1867), No. 22, pp. 51 _sqq._

[168] Bernbard Schmidt, _Griechische Maerchen, Sagen und Volkslieder_
(Leipsic, 1877), p. 98.

[169] J.G. von Hahn, _Griechische und albanesische Maerchen_ (Leipsic,
1864), No. 41, vol. i. pp. 245 _sqq._

[170] Laura Gonzenbach, _Sicilianische Maerchen_ (Leipsic, 1870), No. 28,
vol. i. pp. 177 _sqq._ The incident of the bone occurs in other
folk-tales. A prince or princess is shut up for safety in a tower and
makes his or her escape by scraping a hole in the wall with a bone which
has been accidentally conveyed into the tower; sometimes it is expressly
said that care was taken to let the princess have no bones with her meat
(J.G. von Hahn, _op. cit._ No. 15; L. Gonzenbach, _op. cit._ Nos. 26,
27; _Der Pentamerone, aus dem Neapolitanischen uebertragen_ von Felix
Liebrecht (Breslau, 1846), No. 23, vol. i. pp. 294 _sqq._). From this we
should infer that it is a rule with savages not to let women handle the
bones of animals during their monthly seclusions. We have already seen
the great respect with which the savage treats the bones of game
(_Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild_ ii. 238 _sqq._, 256 _sqq._); and
women in their courses are specially forbidden to meddle with the hunter
or fisher, as their contact or neighbourhood would spoil his sport (see
below, pp. 77, 78 _sq._, 87, 89 _sqq._). In folk-tales the hero who uses
the bone is sometimes a boy; but the incident might easily be
transferred from a girl to a boy after its real meaning had been
forgotten. Amongst the Tinneh Indians a girl at puberty is forbidden to
break the bones of hares (above, p. 48). On the other hand, she drinks
out of a tube made of a swan's bone (above, pp. 48, 49), and the same
instrument is used for the same purpose by girls of the Carrier tribe of
Indians (see below, p. 92). We have seen that a Tlingit (Thlinkeet) girl
in the same circumstances used to drink out of the wing-bone of a
white-headed eagle (above, p. 45), and that among the Nootka and Shuswap
tribes girls at puberty are provided with bones or combs with which to
scratch themselves, because they may not use their fingers for this
purpose (above, pp. 44, 53).

[171] Sophocles, _Antigone_, 944 _sqq._; Apollodorus, _Bibliotheca_, ii.
4. I; Horace, _Odes_, iii. 16. I _sqq._; Pausanias, ii. 23. 7.

[172] W. Radloff, _Proben der Volks-litteratur der tuerkischen Staemme
Sued-Siberiens,_ iii. (St. Petersburg, 1870) pp. 82 _sq._

[173] H. Ternaux-Compans, _Essai sur l'ancien Cundinamarca_ (Paris,
N.D.), p. 18.

[174] George Turner, LL.D., _Samoa, a Hundred Years ago and long before_
(London, 1884), p. 200. For other examples of such tales, see Adolph
Bastian, _Die Voelker des Oestlichen Asien_, i. 416, vi. 25; _Panjab
Notes and Queries_, ii. p. 148, Sec. 797 (June, 1885); A. Pfizmaier,
"Nachrichten von den alten Bewohnern des heutigen Corea,"
_Sitzungsberichte der philosoph. histor. Classe der kaiser. Akademie der
Wissenschaften_ (Vienna), lvii. (1868) pp. 495 _sq._

[175] Thomas J. Hutchinson, "On the Chaco and other Indians of South
America," _Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London_, N.S.
iii. (1865) p. 327. Amongst the Lengua Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco
the marriage feast is now apparently extinct. See W. Barbrooke Grubb,
_An Unknown People in an Unknown Land_ (London, 1911), p. 179.

[176] Monier Williams, _Religious Thought and Life in India_ (London,
1883), p. 354.

[177] H. Vambery, _Das Tuerkenvolk_ (Leipsic, 1885), p. 112.

[178] Hans Egede, _A Description of Greenland_ (London, 1818), p. 209.

[179] _Revue des Traditions Populaires_, xv. (1900) p. 471.

[180] _Taboo and the Perils of the Soul_, pp. 145 _sqq._

[181] H.E.A. Meyer, "Manners and Customs of the Aborigines of the
Encounter Bay Tribe, South Australia," _The Native Tribes of South
Australia_ (Adelaide, 1879), p. 186.

[182] E.J. Eyre, _Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central
Australia_ (London, 1845), ii. 304.

[183] E.J. Eyre, _op. cit._ ii. 295.

[184] R. Brough Smyth, _The Aborigines of Victoria_ (Melbourne and
London, 1878), i. 236.

[185] Samuel Gason, in _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxiv.
(1895) p. 171.

[186] Baldwin Spencer and F.J. Gillen, _Native Tribes of Central
Australia_ (London, 1899), p. 473; _idem, Northern Tribes of Central
Australia_ (London, 1904), p. 615.

[187] James Dawson, _Australian Aborigines_ (Melbourne, Sydney, and
Adelaide, 1881), pp. ci. _sq._

[188] Rev. William Ridley, "Report on Australian Languages and
Traditions," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, ii. (1873) p.
268. Compare _id., Kamilaroi and other Australian Languages_ (Sydney,
1875), p. 157.

[189] A.W. Howitt, _The Native Tribes of South-East Australia_ (London,
1904.), pp. 776 _sq._, on the authority of Mr. J.C. Muirhead. The
Wakelbura are in Central Queensland. Compare Captain W.E. Armit, quoted
in _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, ix. (1880) pp. 459 _sq._

[190] _Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres
Straits_, v. (Cambridge, 1904) pp. 196, 207.

[191] Ch. Keysser, "Aus dem Leben der Kaileute," in R. Neuhauss's
_Deutsch Neu-Guinea_ (Berlin, 1911), iii. 91.

[192] M.J. van Baarda, "Fabelen, Verhalen en Overleveringen der
Galelareezen," _Bijdragen tot de Taal-Landen Volkenkinde van
Nederlandsch-Indie_, xlv. (1895) p. 489.

[193] J.L. van der Toorn, "Het animisme bij den Minangkabauer der
Padangsche Bovenlanden," _Bijdragen tot de Taal-Land- en Volkenkunde van
Nederlandsch-Indie_, xxxix. (1890) p. 66.

[194] W.H.I. Bleek, _A Brief Account of Bushman Folk-lore_ (London,
1875), p. 14; compare _ibid._, p. 10.

[195] Rev. James Macdonald, "Manners, Customs, Superstitions and
Religions of South African Tribes," _Journal of the Anthropological
Institute_, xx. (1891) p. 138; _id., Light in Africa_, Second Edition
(London, 1890), p. 221.

[196] Dudley Kidd, _The Essential Kafir_ (London, 1904), p. 238; Mr.
Warren's Notes, in Col. Maclean's _Compendium of Kafir Laws and Customs_
(Cape Town, 1866), p. 93; Rev. J. Macdonald, _Light in Africa_, p. 221;
_id., Religion and Myth_ (London, 1893), p. 198. Compare Henri A. Junod,
"Les conceptions physiologiques des Bantou Sud-Africains et leurs
tabous," _Revue d'Ethnographie et de Sociologie_, i. (1910) p. 139. The
danger of death to the cattle from the blood of women is mentioned only
by Mr. Kidd. The part of the village which is frequented by the cattle,
and which accordingly must be shunned by women, has a special name,
_inkundhla_ (Mr. Warner's Notes, _l.c._).

[197] Rev. J. Roscoe, "The Bahima, a Cow Tribe of Enkole," _Journal of
the Royal Anthropological Institute_, xxxvii. (1907) p. 106.

[198] Rev. J. Roscoe, _The Baganda_ (London, 1911), p. 419.

[199] Rev. J. Roscoe, _The Baganda_, p. 96.

[200] Rev. J. Roscoe, "Notes on the Manners and Customs of the Baganda,"
_Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxi. (1901) p. 121; _id._,
"Further Notes on the Manners and Customs of the Baganda," _Journal of
the Anthropological Institute_, xxxii. (1902) p. 39; _id., The Baganda_,
p. 352.

[201] Rev. J. Roscoe, _The Baganda_, p. 459.

[202] C.W. Hobley, "Further Researches into Kikuyu and Kamba Religious
Beliefs and Customs," _Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute_,
xli. (1911) p. 409.

[203] Mervyn W.H. Beech, _The Suk, their Language and Folklore_ (Oxford,
1911), p. 11.

[204] H.S. Stannus, "Notes on some Tribes of British Central Africa,"
_Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute_, xl. (1910) p. 305; R.
Sutherland Rattray, _Some Folk-lore Stories and Songs in Chinyanja_
(London, 1907), p. 191. See above, p. 27.

[205] Jakob Spieth, _Die Ewe-Staemme_ (Berlin, 1906), p. 192.

[206] Anton Witte, "Menstruation und Pubertaetsfeier der Maedchen in
Kpandugebiet Togo," _Baessler-Archiv_, i. (1911) p. 279.

[207] Th. Noeldeke, _Geschichte der Perser und Araber zur Zeit der
Sassaniden, aus der arabischen Chronik des Tabari uebersetzt_ (Leyden,
1879), pp. 33-38. I have to thank my friend Professor A.A. Bevan for
pointing out to me this passage. Many ancient cities had talismans on
the preservation of which their safety was believed to depend. The
Palladium of Troy is the most familiar instance. See Chr. A. Lobeck,
_Aglaophamus_ (Koenigsberg, 1829), pp. 278 _sqq._, and my note on
Pausanias, viii. 47. 5 (vol. iv. pp. 433 _sq._).

[208] J. Mergel, _Die Medezin der Talmudisten_ (Leipsic and Berlin,
1885), pp. 15 _sq._

[209] Maimonides, quoted by D. Chwolsohn, _Die Ssabier und der
Ssabismus_ (St. Petersburg, 1856), ii. 483. According to the editor (p.
735) by the East Maimonides means India and eastern countries generally.

[210] L'abbe Bechara Chemali, "Naissance et premier age au Liban,"
_Anthropos_, v. (1910) p. 735.

[211] Eijub Abela, "Beitraege zur Kenntniss aberglaeubischer Gebraeuche in
Syrien," _Zeitschrift des deutschen Palaestina-Vereins_, vii. (1884) p.

[212] J. Chalmers, "Toaripi," _Journal of the Anthropological
Institute_, xxvii. (1898) p. 328.

[213] W. Crooke, _Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and
Qudh_ (Calcutta, 1896), ii. 87.

[214] W. Crooke, in _North Indian Notes and Queries_, i. p. 67, Sec. 467
(July, 1891).

[215] L.K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, _The Cochin Tribes and Castes_, i.
(Madras, 1909) pp. 201-203. As to the seclusion of menstruous women
among the Hindoos, see also Sonnerat, _Voyage aux Indes Orientates et a
la Chine_ (Paris, 1782), i. 31; J.A. Dubois, _Moeurs, Institutions et
Ceremonies des Peuples de l'Inde_ (Paris, 1825), i. 245 _sq._ Nair women
in Malabar seclude themselves for three days at menstruation and prepare
their food in separate pots and pans. See Duarte Barbosa, _Description
of the Coasts of East Africa and Malabar in the beginning of the
Sixteenth Century_ (Hakluyt Society, London, 1866), pp. 132 _sq._

[216] G. Hoffman, _Auszuege aus Syrischen Akten persisischer Martyrer
uebersetzt_ (Leipsic, 1880), p. 99. This passage was pointed out to me by
my friend Professor A.A. Bevan.

[217] J.B. Tavernier, _Voyages en Turquie, en Perse, et aux Indes_ (The
Hague, 1718), i. 488.

[218] Paul Giran, _Magie et Religion Annamites_ (Paris, 1912), pp. 107
_sq._, 112.

[219] Joseph Gumilla, _Histoire Naturelle, Civile, et Geographique de
l'Orenoque_ (Avignon, 1758), i. 249.

[220] Dr. Louis Plassard, "Les Guaraunos et le delta de l'Orenoque,"
_Bulletin de la Societe de Geographie_ (Paris), v. Serie, xv. (1868) p.

[221] J. Crevaux, _Voyages dans l'Amerique du Sud_ (Paris, 1883), p.
526. As to the customs observed at menstruation by Indian women in South
America, see further A. d'Orbigny, _L'Homme Americain_ (Paris, 1839), i.

[222] Chas. N. Bell, "The Mosquito Territory," _Journal of the Royal
Geographical Society_, xxxii. (1862) p. 254.

[223] H. Pittier de Fabrega, "Die Sprache der Bribri-Indianer in Costa
Rica," _Sitztungsberichte der philosophischen-historischen Classe der
Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften_ (Vienna), cxxxviii. (1898) pp.
19 _sq._

[224] Gabriel Sagard, _Le Grand Voyage du Pays des Hurons_, Nouvelle
Edition (Paris, 1865), p. 54 (original edition, Paris, 1632); J.F.
Lafitau, _Moeurs des Sauvages Ameriquains_ (Paris, 1724), i. 262;
Charlevoix, _Histoire de la Nouvelle France_ (Paris, 1744), v. 423
_sq._; Captain Jonathan Carver, _Travels through the Interior Parts of
North America_, Third Edition (London, 1781), pp. 236 _sq._; Captains
Lewis and Clark, _Expedition to the Sources of the Missouri_, etc.
(London, 1905), iii. 90 (original edition, 1814); Rev. Jedidiah Morse,
_Report to the Secretary of War of the United States on Indian Affairs_
(New Haven, 1822), pp. 136 _sq._; _Annales de l'Association de la
Propagation de la Foi_, iv, (Paris and Lyons, 1830) pp. 483, 494 _sq._;
George Catlin, _Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition
of the North American Indians_, Fourth Edition (London, 1844), ii. 233;
H.R. Schoolcraft, _Indian Tribes of the United States_ (Philadelphia,
1853-1856), v. 70; A.L. Kroeber, "The Religion of the Indians of
California," _University of California Publication in American
Archaeology and Ethnology_, vol. iv. No. 6 (Berkeley, September, 1907),
pp. 323 _sq._; Frank G. Speck, _Ethnology of the Yuchi Indians_
(Philadelphia, 1909), p. 96. Among the Hurons of Canada women at their
periods did not retire from the house or village, but they ate from
small dishes apart from the rest of the family at these times (Gabriel
Sagard, _l.c._).

[225] James Adair, _History of the American Indians_ (London, 1775), pp.
123 _sq._

[226] Bossu, _Nouveaux Voyages aux Indes occidentales_ (Paris, 1768),
ii. 105.

[227] Edwin James, _Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the
Rocky Mountains_ (London, 1823), i. 214.

[228] William H. Keating, _Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of
St. Peter's River_ (London, 1825), i. 132.

[229] G.B. Grinnell, "Cheyenne Woman Customs," _American
Anthropologist_, New Series, iv. (New York, 1902) p. 14.

[230] C. Hill Tout, "Ethnological Report on the Stseelis and Skaulits
Tribes of the Halokmelem Division of the Salish of British Columbia,"
_Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xxxiv. (1904) p. 320.

[231] James Teit, _The Thompson Indians of British Columbia_, pp. 326
_sq._ (_The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of the American
Museum of Natural History_, New York, April, 1900).

[232] Samuel Hearne, _Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's
Bay to the Northern Ocean_ (London, 1795), pp. 314 _sq._; Alex.
Mackenzie, _Voyages through the Continent of North America_ (London,
1801), p. cxxiii.; E. Petitot, _Monographic des Dene-Dindjie_ (Paris,
1876), pp. 75 _sq._

[233] C. Leemius, _De Lapponibus Finmarchiae eorumque lingua vita et
religione pristina_ (Copenhagen, 1767), p. 494.

[234] E.W. Nelson, "The Eskimo about Bering Strait," _Eighteenth Annual
Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology_, Part i. (Washington, 1899)
p. 440.

[235] The Carriers are a tribe of Dene or Tinneh Indians who get their
name from a custom observed among them by widows, who carry, or rather
used to carry, the charred bones of their dead husbands about with them
in bundles.

[236] Hence we may conjecture that the similar ornaments worn by Mabuiag
girls in similar circumstances are also amulets. See above, p. 36. Among
the aborigines of the Upper Yarra river in Victoria, a girl at puberty
used to have cords tied very tightly round several parts of her body.
The cords were worn for several days, causing the whole body to swell
very much and inflicting great pain. The girl might not remove them till
she was clean. See R. Brough Smyth, _Aborigines of Victoria_ (Melbourne
and London, 1878), i. 65. Perhaps the cords were intended to arrest the
flow of blood.

[237] Rev. Father A.G. Morice, "The Western Denes, their Manners and
Customs," _Proceedings of the Canadian Institute, Toronto_, Third
Series, vii. (1888-89) pp. 162-164. The writer has repeated the
substance of this account in a later work, _Au pays de l'Ours Noir: chez
les sauvages de la Colombia Britannique_ (Paris and Lyons, 1897), pp. 72

[238] A.G. Morice, "Notes, Archaeological, Industrial, and Sociological,
on the Western Denes," _Transactions of the Canadian Institute_, iv.
(1892-93) pp. 106 _sq._ Compare Rev. Father Julius Jette, "On the
Superstitions of the Ten'a Indians," _Anthropos_, vi. (1911) pp. 703
_sq._, who tells us that Tinneh women at these times may not lift their
own nets, may not step over other people's nets, and may not pass in a
boat or canoe near a place where nets are being set.

[239] A.G. Morice, in _Transactions of the Canadian Institute_, iv.
(1892-93) pp. 107, 110.

[240] James Teit, _The Thompson Indians of British Columbia_, p. 327
(_The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of the American Museum of
Natural History_, New York, April 1900).

[241] See above, p. 53.

[242] _Laws of Manu_, translated by G. Buhler (Oxford, 1886), ch. iv. 41
_sq._, p. 135 (_Sacred Books of the East_, vol. xxv.).

[243] _The Zend-Avesta_, translated by J. Darmesteter, i. (Oxford, 1880)
p. xcii. (_Sacred Books of the East_, vol. iv.). See _id._, pp. 9,
181-185, _Fargard_, i. 18 and 19, xvi. 1-18.

[244] Pliny, _Nat. Hist._ vii. 64 _sq._, xxviii. 77 _sqq._ Compare
_Geoponica_, xii. 20. 5 and 25. 2; Columella, _De re rustica_, xi. 357

[245] August Schleicher, _Volkstuemliches aus Sonnenberg_ (Weimar, 1858),
p. 134; B. Souche, _Croyances, Presages et Traditions diverses_ (Niort,
1880), p. 11; A. Meyrac, _Traditions, Coutumes Legendes et Contes des
Ardennes_ (Charleville, 1890), p. 171; V. Fossel, _Volksmedicin und
medicinischer Aberglaube in Steiermark[2]_ (Graz, 1886), p. 124. A
correspondent, who withholds her name, writes to me that in a Suffolk
village, where she used to live some twenty or thirty years ago, "every
one pickled their own beef, and it was held that if the pickling were
performed by a woman during her menstrual period the meat would not
keep. If the cook were incapacitated at the time when the pickling was
due, another woman was sent for out of the village rather than risk what
was considered a certainty." Another correspondent informs me that in
some of the dales in the north of Yorkshire a similar belief prevailed
down to recent years with regard to the salting of pork. Another
correspondent writes to me: "The prohibition that a menstruating woman
must not touch meat that is intended for keeping appears to be common
all over the country; at least I have met with it as a confirmed and
active custom in widely separated parts of England.... It is in regard
to the salting of meat for bacon that the prohibition is most usual,
because that is the commonest process; but it exists in regard to any
meat food that is required to be kept."

[246] R. Andree, _Braunschweiger Volkskunde_ (Brunswick, 1896), p. 291.

[247] W.R. Paton, in _Folk-lore_, i. (1890) p. 524.

[248] The Greeks and Romans thought that a field was completely
protected against insects if a menstruous woman walked round it with
bare feet and streaming hair (Pliny, _Nat. Hist._ xvii. 266, xxviii. 78;
Columella, _De re rustica_, x. 358 _sq._, xi. 3. 64; Palladius, _De re
rustica_, i. 35. 3; _Geoponica_, xii. 8. 5 _sq._; Aelian, _Nat. Anim._
vi. 36). A similar preventive is employed for the same purpose by North
American Indians and European peasants. See H.R. Schoolcraft, _Indian
Tribes of the United States_ (Philadelphia, 1853-1856), v. 70; F.J.
Wiedemann, _Aus dem inneren und auessern Leben der Ehsten_ (St.
Petersburg, 1876), p. 484. Compare J. Haltrich, _Zur Volkskunde der
Siebenbuerger Sachsen_ (Vienna, 1885), p. 280; Adolph Heinrich,
_Agrarische Sitten und Gebraeuche unter den Sachsen Siebenbuergens_
(Hermannstadt, 1880), p. 14; J. Grimm, _Deutsche Mythologie_,*[4] iii.
468; G. Lammert, _Volksmedizin und medizinischer Aberglaube aus Bayern_
(Wuerzburg, 1869), p. 147. Among the Western Denes it is believed that
one or two transverse lines tattooed on the arms or legs of a young man
by a pubescent girl are a specific against premature weakness of these
limbs. See A.G. Morice, "Notes, Archaeological, Industrial, and
Sociological, on the Western Denes," _Transactions of the Canadian
Institute_, iv. (1892-93) p. 182. The Thompson Indians of British
Columbia thought that the Dawn of Day could and would cure hernia if
only an adolescent girl prayed to it to do so. Just before daybreak the
girl would put some charcoal in her mouth, chew it fine, and spit it out
four times on the diseased place. Then she prayed: "O Day-dawn! thy
child relies on me to obtain healing from thee, who art mystery. Remove
thou the swelling of thy child. Pity thou him, Day-Dawn!" See James
Teit, _The Thompson Indians of British Columbia_, pp. 345 _sq._ (_The
Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of the American Museum of Natural
History_, New York, April, 1900). To cure the painful and dangerous
wound inflicted by a ray-fish, the Indians of the Gran Chaco smoke the
wounded limb and then cause a woman in her courses to sit astride of it.
See G. Pelleschi, _Eight Months on the Gran Chaco of the Argentine
Republic_ (London, 1886), p. 106. An ancient Hindoo method of securing
prosperity was to swallow a portion of the menstruous fluid. See W.
Caland, _Altindisches Zauberritual_ (Amsterdam, 1900), pp. 57 _sq._ To
preserve a new cow from the evil eye Scottish Highlanders used to
sprinkle menstruous blood on the animal; and at certain seasons of the
year, especially at Beltane (the first of May) and Lammas (the first of
August) it was their custom to sprinkle the same potent liquid on the
doorposts and houses all round to guard them from harm. The fluid was
applied by means of a wisp of straw, and the person who discharged this
salutary office went round the house in the direction of the sun. See
J.G. Campbell, _Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland_
(Glasgow, 1900), p. 248. These are examples of the beneficent
application of the menstruous energy.

[249] _Taboo and the Perils of the Soul_, pp. 1 _sqq._

[250] For a similar reason, perhaps, ancient Hindoo ritual prescribed
that when the hair of a child's head was shorn in the third year, the
clippings should be buried in a cow-stable, or near an _udumbara_ tree,
or in a clump of _darbha_ grass, with the words, "Where Pushan,
Brihaspati, Savitri, Soma, Agni dwell, they have in many ways searched
where they should deposit it, between heaven and earth, the waters and
heaven." See _The Grihya-Sutras_, translated by H. Oldenberg, Part ii.
(Oxford, 1892) p. 218 (_Sacred Books of the East_, vol. xxx.).

[251] Petronius, _Sat._ 48; Pausanias, x. 12: 8; Justin Martyr, _Cohort
ad Graecos_, 37, p. 34 c (ed. 1742). According to another account, the
remains of the Sibyl were enclosed in an iron cage which hung from a
pillar in an ancient temple of Hercules at Argyrus (Ampelius, _Liber
Memorialis_, viii. 16).

[252] A. Kuhn und W. Schwartz, _Nord-deutsche Sagen, Maerchen und
Gebraeuche_ (Leipsic, 1848), p. 70, No. 72. i. This and the following
German parallels to the story of the Sibyl's wish were first indicated
by Dr. M.R. James (_Classical Review_, vi. (1892) p. 74). I have already
given the stories at length in a note on Pausanias, x. 12. 8 (vol. v.
pp. 292 _sq._).

[253] A. Kuhn und W. Schwartz, _op. cit._ pp. 70 _sq._, No. 72. 2.

[254] A. Kuhn und W. Schwartz, _op. cit._ p. 71, No. 72. 3.

[255] Karl Muellenhoff, _Sagen, Maerchen und Lieder der Herzogthuemer
Holstein und Lauenburg_ (Kiel, 1845), pp. 158 _sg._, No. 217.



[How Balder, the good and beautiful god, was done to death by a stroke
of the mistletoe.]

A deity whose life might in a sense be said to be neither in heaven nor
on earth but between the two, was the Norse Balder, the good and
beautiful god, the son of the great god Odin, and himself the wisest,
mildest, best beloved of all the immortals. The story of his death, as
it is told in the younger or prose _Edda_, runs thus. Once on a time
Balder dreamed heavy dreams which seemed to forebode his death.
Thereupon the gods held a council and resolved to make him secure
against every danger. So the goddess Frigg took an oath from fire and
water, iron and all metals, stones and earth, from trees, sicknesses and
poisons, and from all four-footed beasts, birds, and creeping things,
that they would not hurt Balder. When this was done Balder was deemed
invulnerable; so the gods amused themselves by setting him in their
midst, while some shot at him, others hewed at him, and others threw
stones at him. But whatever they did, nothing could hurt him; and at
this they were all glad. Only Loki, the mischief-maker, was displeased,
and he went in the guise of an old woman to Frigg, who told him that the
weapons of the gods could not wound Balder, since she had made them all
swear not to hurt him. Then Loki asked, "Have all things sworn to spare
Balder?" She answered, "East of Walhalla grows a plant called mistletoe;
it seemed to me too young to swear." So Loki went and pulled the
mistletoe and took it to the assembly of the gods. There he found the
blind god Hother standing at the outside of the circle. Loki asked him,
"Why do you not shoot at Balder?" Hother answered, "Because I do not see
where he stands; besides I have no weapon." Then said Loki, "Do like the
rest and shew Balder honour, as they all do. I will shew you where he
stands, and do you shoot at him with this twig." Hother took the
mistletoe and threw it at Balder, as Loki directed him. The mistletoe
struck Balder and pierced him through and through, and he fell down
dead. And that was the greatest misfortune that ever befell gods and
men. For a while the gods stood speechless, then they lifted up their
voices and wept bitterly. They took Balder's body and brought it to the
sea-shore. There stood Balder's ship; it was called Ringhorn, and was
the hugest of all ships. The gods wished to launch the ship and to burn
Balder's body on it, but the ship would not stir. So they sent for a
giantess called Hyrrockin. She came riding on a wolf and gave the ship
such a push that fire flashed from the rollers and all the earth shook.
Then Balder's body was taken and placed on the funeral pile upon his
ship. When his wife Nanna saw that, her heart burst for sorrow and she
died. So she was laid on the funeral pile with her husband, and fire was
put to it. Balder's horse, too, with all its trappings, was burned on
the pile.[256]

[Tale of Balder in the older _Edda_.]

In the older or poetic _Edda_ the tragic tale of Balder is hinted at
rather than told at length. Among the visions which the Norse Sibyl sees
and describes in the weird prophecy known as the _Voluspa_ is one of the
fatal mistletoe. "I behold," says she, "Fate looming for Balder, Woden's
son, the bloody victim. There stands the Mistletoe slender and delicate,
blooming high above the ground. Out of this shoot, so slender to look
on, there shall grow a harmful fateful shaft. Hod shall shoot it, but
Frigga in Fen-hall shall weep over the woe of Wal-hall."[257] Yet
looking far into the future the Sibyl sees a brighter vision of a new
heaven and a new earth, where the fields unsown shall yield their
increase and all sorrows shall be healed; then Balder will come back to
dwell in Odin's mansions of bliss, in a hall brighter than the sun,
shingled with gold, where the righteous shall live in joy for ever

[The story of Balder as related by Saxo Grammaticus.]

Writing about the end of the twelfth century, the old Danish historian
Saxo Grammaticus tells the story of Balder in a form which professes to
be historical. According to him, Balder and Hother were rival suitors
for the hand of Nanna, daughter of Gewar, King of Norway. Now Balder was
a demigod and common steel could not wound his sacred body. The two
rivals encountered each other in a terrific battle, and though Odin and
Thor and the rest of the gods fought for Balder, yet was he defeated and
fled away, and Hother married the princess. Nevertheless Balder took
heart of grace and again met Hother in a stricken field. But he fared
even worse than before; for Hother dealt him a deadly wound with a magic
sword, which he had received from Miming, the Satyr of the woods; and
after lingering three days in pain Balder died of his hurt and was
buried with royal honours in a barrow.[259]

[Balder worshipped in Norway.]

Whether he was a real or merely a mythical personage, Balder was
worshipped in Norway. On one of the bays of the beautiful Sogne Fiord,
which penetrates far into the depths of the solemn Norwegian mountains,
with their sombre pine-forests and their lofty cascades dissolving into
spray before they reach the dark water of the fiord far below, Balder
had a great sanctuary. It was called Balder's Grove. A palisade enclosed
the hallowed ground, and within it stood a spacious temple with the
images of many gods, but none of them was worshipped with such devotion
as Balder. So great was the awe with which the heathen regarded the
place that no man might harm another there, nor steal his cattle, nor
defile himself with women. But women cared for the images of the gods in
the temple; they warmed them at the fire, anointed them with oil, and
dried them with cloths.[260]

[The legendary death of Balder resembles the legendary death of the
Persian hero Isfendiyar in the epic of Firdusi.]

It might be rash to affirm that the romantic figure of Balder was
nothing but a creation of the mythical fancy, a radiant phantom conjured
up as by a wizard's wand to glitter for a time against the gloomy
background of the stern Norwegian landscape. It may be so; yet it is
also possible that the myth was founded on the tradition of a hero,
popular and beloved in his lifetime, who long survived in the memory of
the people, gathering more and more of the marvellous about him as he
passed from generation to generation of story-tellers. At all events it
is worth while to observe that a somewhat similar story is told of
another national hero, who may well have been a real man. In his great
poem, _The Epic of Kings_, which is founded on Persian traditions, the
poet Firdusi tells us that in the combat between Rustem and Isfendiyar
the arrows of the former did no harm to his adversary, "because Zerdusht
had charmed his body against all dangers, so that it was like unto
brass." But Simurgh, the bird of God, shewed Rustem the way he should
follow in order to vanquish his redoubtable foe. He rode after her, and
they halted not till they came to the sea-shore. There she led him into
a garden, where grew a tamarisk, tall and strong, and the roots thereof
were in the ground, but the branches pierced even unto the sky. Then the
bird of God bade Rustem break from the tree a branch that was long and
slender, and fashion it into an arrow, and she said, "Only through his
eyes can Isfendiyar be wounded. If, therefore, thou wouldst slay him,
direct this arrow unto his forehead, and verily it shall not miss its
aim." Rustem did as he was bid; and when next he fought with Isfendiyar,
he shot the arrow at him, and it pierced his eye, and he died. Great was
the mourning for Isfendiyar. For the space of one year men ceased not to
lament for him, and for many years they shed bitter tears for that
arrow, and they said, "The glory of Iran hath been laid low."[261]

[The myth of Balder was perhaps acted as a magical ceremony. The two
chief incidents of the myth, namely the pulling of the mistletoe and the
death and burning of the god, have perhaps their counterparts in popular

Whatever may be thought of an historical kernel underlying a mythical
husk in the legend of Balder, the details of the story suggest that it
belongs to that class of myths which have been dramatized in ritual, or,
to put it otherwise, which have been performed as magical ceremonies for
the sake of producing those natural effects which they describe in
figurative language. A myth is never so graphic and precise in its
details as when it is, so to speak, the book of the words which are
spoken and acted by the performers of the sacred rite. That the Norse
story of Balder was a myth of this sort will become probable if we can
prove that ceremonies resembling the incidents in the tale have been
performed by Norsemen and other European peoples. Now the main incidents
in the tale are two--first, the pulling of the mistletoe, and second,
the death and burning of the god; and both of them may perhaps be found
to have had their counterparts in yearly rites observed, whether
separately or conjointly, by people in various parts of Europe. These
rites will be described and discussed in the following chapters. We
shall begin with the annual festivals of fire and shall reserve the
pulling of the mistletoe for consideration later on.


[256] _Die Edda_, uebersetzt von K. Simrock*[8] (Stuttgart, 1882), pp.
286-288. Compare pp. 8, 34, 264. Balder's story is told in a professedly
historical form by the old Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus in his
third book. See below, p. 103. In English the story is told at length by
Professor (Sir) John Rhys, _Celtic Heathendom_ (London and Edinburgh,
1888), pp. 529 _sqq._ It is elaborately discussed by Professor F.
Knuffmann in a learned monograph, _Balder, Mythus und Sage_ (Strasburg,

[257] Gudbrand Vigfusson and F. York Powell, _Corpus Poeticum Boreale_,
i. (Oxford, 1883) p. 197. Compare _Edda Rhythmica seu Antiquior, vulgo
Saemundina dicta_, Pars iii. (Copenhagen, 1828) pp. 39 _sq._; _Die
Edda_, uebersetzt von K. Simrock*[8] (Stuttgart, 1882), p. 8; K.
Muellenhoff, _Deutsche Altertumskunde_, v. Zweite Abteilung (Berlin,
1891), pp. 78 _sq._; Fr. Kauffmann, _Balder, Mythus und Sage_, pp. 20
_sq._ In this passage the words translated "bloody victim" (_blaupom
tivor_) and "fate looming" (_orlog folgen_) are somewhat uncertain and
have been variously interpreted. The word _tivor_, usually understood to
mean "god," seems to be found nowhere else. Professor H.M. Chadwick has
kindly furnished me with the following literal translation of the
passage: "I saw (or 'have seen') held in safe keeping the life of
Balder, the bloody god, Othin's son. High above the fields (i.e. the
surface of the earth) grew a mistletoe, slender and very beautiful. From
a shaft (or 'stem') which appeared slender, came a dangerous
sorrow-bringing missile (i.e. the shaft became a ... missile); Hodr
proceeded to shoot. Soon was a brother of Balder born. He, Othin's son,
proceeded to do battle when one day old. He did not wash his hands or
comb his head before he brought Balder's antagonist on to the pyre. But
Frigg in Fen-salir (i.e. the Fen-abode) lamented the trouble of
Val-holl." In translating the words _orlog folgen_ "held in safe keeping
the life" Professor Chadwick follows Professor F. Kauffmann's rendering
("_das Leben verwahrt_"); but he writes to me that he is not quite
confident about it, as the word _orlog_ usually means "fate" rather than
"life." Several sentences translated by Professor Chadwick ("Soon was a
brother of Balder born ... he brought Balder's antagonist on the pyre")
are omitted by some editors and translators of the _Edda_.

[258] G. Vigfusson and F. York Powell, _Corpus Poeticum Boreale_, i. 200
_sq._; _Edda Rhythmica seu Antiquior, vulgo Saemundina dicta_, Pars iii.
pp. 51-54; _Die Edda_, uebersetzt von K. Simrock,*[8] p. 10 _sq._; K.
Muellenhoff, _Deutsche Altertumskunde_, v. Zweite Abteilung, pp. 84 _sq._

[259] Saxo Grammaticus, _Historia Danica_, ed. P.E. Mueller (Copenhagen,
1839-1858), _lib._ iii. vol. i. pp. 110 _sqq._; _The First Nine Books of
the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus_, translated by Oliver Elton
(London, 1894), pp. 83-93.

[260] _Fridthjofs Saga, aus dem Alt-islaendischen_, von J.C. Poestion,
(Vienna, 1879), pp. 3 _sq._, 14-17, 45-52.

[261] _The Epic of Kings, Stories retold from Firdusi_, by Helen Zimmern
(London, 1883), pp. 325-331. The parallel between Balder and Isfendiyar
was pointed out in the "Lexicon Mythologicum" appended to the _Edda
Rhythmifa seu Antiquior, vulgo Saemundina dicta_, Pars iii. (Copenhagen,
1828) p. 513 note, with a reference to _Schah Namech, verdeutscht von
Goerres_, ii. 324, 327 _sq._ It is briefly mentioned by Dr. P. Wagler,
_Die Eiche in alter und neuer Zeit_, ii. Teil (Berlin, 1891), p. 40.



Sec. 1. _The Lenten Fires_

[European custom of kindling bonfires on certain days of the year,
dancing round them and leaping over them. Effigies are sometimes burnt
in the fires.]

All over Europe the peasants have been accustomed from time immemorial
to kindle bonfires on certain days of the year, and to dance round or
leap over them. Customs of this kind can be traced back on historical
evidence to the Middle Ages,[262] and their analogy to similar customs
observed in antiquity goes with strong internal evidence to prove that
their origin must be sought in a period long prior to the spread of
Christianity. Indeed the earliest proof of their observance in Northern
Europe is furnished by the attempts made by Christian synods in the
eighth century to put them down as heathenish rites.[263] Not uncommonly
effigies are burned in these fires, or a pretence is made of burning a
living person in them; and there are grounds for believing that
anciently human beings were actually burned on these occasions. A
general survey of the customs in question will bring out the traces of
human sacrifice, and will serve at the same time to throw light on their

[Seasons of the year at which the bonfires are lit.]

The seasons of the year when these bonfires are most commonly lit are
spring and midsummer; but in some places they are kindled also at the
end of autumn or during the course of the winter, particularly on Hallow
E'en (the thirty-first of October), Christmas Day, and the Eve of
Twelfth Day. We shall consider them in the order in which they occur in
the calendar year. The earliest of them is the winter festival of the
Eve of Twelfth Day (the fifth of January); but as it has been already
described in an earlier part of this work[265] we shall pass it over
here and begin with the fire-festivals of spring, which usually fall on
the first Sunday of Lent (_Quadragesima_ or _Invocavit_),[266] Easter
Eve, and May Day.

[Custom of kindling bonfires on the first Sunday in Lent in the Belgian

The custom of kindling bonfires on the first Sunday in Lent has
prevailed in Belgium, the north of France, and many parts of Germany.
Thus in the Belgian Ardennes for a week or a fortnight before the "day
of the great fire," as it is called, children go about from farm to farm
collecting fuel. At Grand Halleux any one who refuses their request is
pursued next day by the children, who try to blacken his face with the
ashes of the extinct fire. When the day has come, they cut down bushes,
especially juniper and broom, and in the evening great bonfires blaze on
all the heights. It is a common saying that seven bonfires should be
seen if the village is to be safe from conflagrations. If the Meuse
happens to be frozen hard at the time, bonfires are lit also on the ice.
At Grand Halleux they set up a pole called _makral_ or "the witch," in
the midst of the pile, and the fire is kindled by the man who was last
married in the village. In the neighbourhood of Morlanwelz a straw man
is burnt in the fire. Young people and children dance and sing round the
bonfires, and leap over the embers to secure good crops or a happy
marriage within the year, or as a means of guarding themselves against
colic. In Brabant on the same Sunday, down to the beginning of the
nineteenth century, women and men disguised in female attire used to go
with burning torches to the fields, where they danced and sang comic
songs for the purpose, as they alleged, of driving away "the wicked
sower," who is mentioned in the Gospel for the day. At Maeseyck and in
many villages of Limburg, on the evening of the day children run through
the streets carrying lighted torches; then they kindle little fires of
straw in the fields and dance round them. At Ensival old folks tell
young folks that they will have as many Easter eggs as they see bonfires
on this day.[267] At Paturages, in the province of Hainaut, down to
about 1840 the custom was observed under the name of _Escouvion_ or
_Scouvion_. Every year on the first Sunday of Lent, which was called the
Day of the Little Scouvion, young folks and children used to run with
lighted torches through the gardens and orchards. As they ran they cried
at the pitch of their voices,

"_Bear apples, bear pears
And cherries all black
To Scouvion!_"

At these words the torch-bearer whirled his blazing brand and hurled it
among the branches of the apple-trees, the pear-trees, and the
cherry-trees. The next Sunday was called the Day of the Great Scouvion,
and the same race with lighted torches among the trees of the orchards
was repeated in the afternoon till darkness fell. The same custom was
observed on the same two days at Wasmes.[268] In the neighbourhood of
Liege, where the Lenten fires were put down by the police about the
middle of the nineteenth century, girls thought that by leaping over the
fires without being smirched they made sure of a happy marriage.
Elsewhere in order to get a good husband it was necessary to see seven
of the bonfires from one spot. In Famenne, a district of Namur, men and
cattle who traversed the Lenten fires were thought to be safe from
sickness and witchcraft. Anybody who saw seven such fires at once had
nothing to fear from sorcerers. An old saying ran, that if you do not
light "the great fire," God will light it for you; which seems to imply
that the kindling of the bonfires was deemed a protection against
conflagrations throughout the year.[269]

[Bonfires on the first Sunday of Lent in the French department of the

In the French department of the Ardennes the whole village used to dance
and sing round the bonfires which were lighted on the first Sunday in
Lent. Here, too, it was the person last married, sometimes a man and
sometimes a woman, who put the match to the fire. The custom is still
kept up very commonly in the district. Cats used to be burnt in the fire
or roasted to death by being held over it; and while they were burning
the shepherds drove their flocks through the smoke and flames as a sure
means of guarding them against sickness and witchcraft. In some communes
it was believed that the livelier the dance round the fire, the better
would be the crops that year.[270] In the Vosges Mountains it is still
customary to light great fires on the heights and around the villages on
the first Sunday in Lent; and at Rupt and elsewhere the right of
kindling them belongs to the person who was last married. Round the
fires the people dance and sing merrily till the flames have died out.
Then the master of the fire, as they call the man who kindled it,
invites all who contributed to the erection of the pile to follow him to
the nearest tavern, where they partake of good cheer. At Dommartin they
say that, if you would have the hemp tall, it is absolutely necessary
that the women should be tipsy on the evening of this day.[271] At
Epinal in the Vosges, on the first Sunday in Lent, bonfires used to be
kindled at various places both in the town and on the banks of the
Moselle. They consisted of pyramids of sticks and faggots, which had
been collected some days earlier by young folks going from door to door.
When the flames blazed up, the names of various couples, whether young
or old, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, were called out, and the persons
thus linked in mock marriage were forced, whether they liked it or not,
to march arm in arm round the fire amid the laughter and jests of the
crowd. The festivity lasted till the fire died out, and then the
spectators dispersed through the streets, stopping under the windows of
the houses and proclaiming the names of the _fechenots_ and
_fechenottes_ or Valentines whom the popular voice had assigned to each
other. These couples had to exchange presents; the mock bridegroom gave
his mock bride something for her toilet, while she in turn presented him
with a cockade of coloured ribbon. Next Sunday, if the weather allowed
it, all the couples, arrayed in their best attire and attended by their
relations, repaired to the wood of Saint Antony, where they mounted a
famous stone called the _danserosse_ or _danseresse_. Here they found
cakes and refreshments of all sorts, and danced to the music of a couple
of fiddlers. The evening bell, ringing the Angelus, gave the signal to
depart. As soon as its solemn chime was heard, every one quitted the
forest and returned home. The exchange of presents between the
Valentines went by the name of ransom or redemption (_rachat_), because
it was supposed to redeem the couple from the flames of the bonfire. Any
pair who failed thus to ransom themselves were not suffered to share the
merrymaking at the great stone in the forest; and a pretence was made of
burning them in small fires kindled before their own doors.[272]

[Bonfires on the First Sunday of Lent in Franche-Comte.]

In the French province of Franche-Comte, to the west of the Jura
Mountains, the first Sunday of Lent is known as the Sunday of the
Firebrands (_Brandons_), on account of the fires which it is customary
to kindle on that day. On the Saturday or the Sunday the village lads
harness themselves to a cart and drag it about the streets, stopping at
the doors of the houses where there are girls and begging for a faggot.
When they have got enough, they cart the fuel to a spot at some little
distance from the village, pile it up, and set it on fire. All the
people of the parish come out to see the bonfire. In some villages, when
the bells have rung the Angelus, the signal for the observance is given
by cries of, "To the fire! to the fire!" Lads, lasses, and children
dance round the blaze, and when the flames have died down they vie with
each other in leaping over the red embers. He or she who does so without
singeing his or her garments will be married within the year. Young folk
also carry lighted torches about the streets or the fields, and when
they pass an orchard they cry out, "More fruit than leaves!" Down to
recent years at Laviron, in the department of Doubs, it was the young
married couples of the year who had charge of the bonfires. In the midst
of the bonfire a pole was planted with a wooden figure of a cock
fastened to the top. Then there were races, and the winner received the
cock as a prize.[273]

[Bonfires on the first Sunday of Lent in Auvergne; the Granno invoked at
these bonfires may be the old Celtic god Grannus, who was identified
with Apollo.]

In Auvergne fires are everywhere kindled on the evening of the first
Sunday in Lent. Every village, every hamlet, even every ward, every
isolated farm has its bonfire or _figo_, as it is called, which blazes
up as the shades of night are falling. The fires may be seen flaring on
the heights and in the plains; the people dance and sing round about
them and leap through the flames. Then they proceed to the ceremony of
the _Grannas-mias_. A _granno-mio_[274] is a torch of straw fastened to
the top of a pole. When the pyre is half consumed, the bystanders kindle
the torches at the expiring flames and carry them into the neighbouring
orchards, fields, and gardens, wherever there are fruit-trees. As they
march they sing at the top of their voices,

"_Granno, mo mio,
Granno, mon pouere,
Granno, mo mouere!_"

that is, "Grannus my friend, Grannus my father, Grannus my mother." Then
they pass the burning torches under the branches of every tree, singing,

"_Brando, brandounci
Tsaque brantso, in plan panei!_"

that is, "Firebrand burn; every branch a basketful!" In some villages
the people also run across the sown fields and shake the ashes of the
torches on the ground; also they put some of the ashes in the fowls'
nests, in order that the hens may lay plenty of eggs throughout the
year. When all these ceremonies have been performed, everybody goes home
and feasts; the special dishes of the evening are fritters and
pancakes.[275] Here the application of the fire to the fruit-trees, to
the sown fields, and to the nests of the poultry is clearly a charm
intended to ensure fertility; and the Granno to whom the invocations are
addressed, and who gives his name to the torches, may possibly be, as
Dr. Pommerol suggests,[276] no other than the ancient Celtic god
Grannus, whom the Romans identified with Apollo, and whose worship is
attested by inscriptions found not only in France but in Scotland and on
the Danube.[277] If the name Grannus is derived, as the learned tell us,
from a root meaning "to glow, burn, shine,"[278] the deity who bore the
name and was identified with Apollo may well have been a sun-god; and in
that case the prayers addressed to him by the peasants of the Auvergne,
while they wave the blazing, crackling torches about the fruit-trees,
would be eminently appropriate. For who could ripen the fruit so well as
the sun-god? and what better process could be devised to draw the
blossoms from the bare boughs than the application to them of that
genial warmth which is ultimately derived from the solar beams? Thus the
fire-festival of the first Sunday in Lent, as it is observed in
Auvergne, may be interpreted very naturally and simply as a religious or
rather perhaps magical ceremony designed to procure a due supply of the
sun's heat for plants and animals. At the same time we should remember
that the employment of fire in this and kindred ceremonies may have been
designed originally, not so much to stimulate growth and reproduction,
as to burn and destroy all agencies, whether in the shape of vermin,
witches, or what not, which threatened or were supposed to threaten the
growth of the crops and the multiplication of animals. It is often
difficult to decide between these two different interpretations of the
use of fire in agricultural rites. In any case the fire-festival of
Auvergne on the first Sunday in Lent may date from Druidical times.

[French custom of carrying lighted torches (_brandons_) about the
orchards and fields to fertilize them on the first Sunday of Lent.]

The custom of carrying lighted torches of straw (_brandons_) about the
orchards and fields to fertilize them on the first Sunday of Lent seems
to have been common in France, whether it was accompanied with the
practice of kindling bonfires or not. Thus in the province of Picardy
"on the first Sunday of Lent people carried torches through the fields,
exorcising the field-mice, the darnel, and the smut. They imagined that
they did much good to the gardens and caused the onions to grow large.
Children ran about the fields, torch in hand, to make the land more
fertile. All that was done habitually in Picardy, and the ceremony of
the torches is not entirely forgotten, especially in the villages on
both sides the Somme as far as Saint-Valery."[279] "A very agreeable
spectacle, said the curate of l'Etoile, is to survey from the portal of
the church, situated almost on the top of the mountain, the vast plains
of Vimeux all illuminated by these wandering fires. The same pastime is
observed at Poix, at Conty, and in all the villages round about."[280]
Again, in the district of Beauce a festival of torches (_brandons_ or
_brandelons_) used to be held both on the first and on the second Sunday
in Lent; the first was called "the Great Torches" and the second "the
Little Torches." The torches were, as usual, bundles of straw wrapt
round poles. In the evening the village lads carried the burning brands
through the country, running about in disorder and singing,

"_Torches burn
At these vines, at this wheat_;
_Torches burn
For the maidens that shall wed_!"

From time to time the bearers would stand still and smite the earth all
together with the blazing straw of the torches, while they cried, "A
sheaf of a peck and a half!" (_Gearbe a boissiaux_). If two torchbearers
happened to meet each other on their rounds, they performed the same
ceremony and uttered the same words. When the straw was burnt out, the
poles were collected and a great bonfire made of them. Lads and lasses
danced round the flames, and the lads leaped over them. Afterwards it
was customary to eat a special sort of hasty-pudding made of wheaten
flour. These usages were still in vogue at the beginning of the
nineteenth century, but they have now almost disappeared. The peasants
believed that by carrying lighted torches through the fields they
protected the crops from field-mice, darnel, and smut.[281] "At Dijon,
in Burgundy, it is the custom upon the first Sunday in Lent to make
large fires in the streets, whence it is called Firebrand Sunday. This
practice originated in the processions formerly made on that day by the
peasants with lighted torches of straw, to drive away, as they called
it, the bad air from the earth."[282] In some parts of France, while the
people scoured the country with burning brands on the first Sunday in
Lent, they warned the fruit-trees that if they did not take heed and
bear fruit they would surely be cut down and cast into the fire.[283] On
the same day peasants in the department of Loiret used to run about the
sowed fields with burning torches in their hands, while they adjured the
field-mice to quit the wheat on pain of having their whiskers
burned.[284] In the department of Ain the great fires of straw and
faggots which are kindled in the fields at this time are or were
supposed to destroy the nests of the caterpillars.[285] At Verges, a
lonely village surrounded by forests between the Jura and the Combe
d'Ain, the torches used at this season were kindled in a peculiar
manner. The young people climbed to the top of a mountain, where they
placed three nests of straw in three trees. These nests being then set
on fire, torches made of dry lime-wood were lighted at them, and the
merry troop descended the mountain to their flickering light, and went
to every house in the village, demanding roasted peas and obliging all
couples who had been married within the year to dance.[286] In Berry, a
district of central France, it appears that bonfires are not lighted on
this day, but when the sun has set the whole population of the villages,
armed with blazing torches of straw, disperse over the country and scour
the fields, the vineyards, and the orchards. Seen from afar, the
multitude of moving lights, twinkling in the darkness, appear like
will-o'-the-wisps chasing each other across the plains, along the
hillsides, and down the valleys. While the men wave their flambeaus
about the branches of the fruit-trees, the women and children tie bands
of wheaten-straw round the tree-trunks. The effect of the ceremony is
supposed to be to avert the various plagues from which the fruits of the
earth are apt to suffer; and the bands of straw fastened round the stems
of the trees are believed to render them fruitful.[287] In the peninsula
of La Manche the Norman peasants used to spend almost the whole night of
the first Sunday in Lent rushing about the country with lighted torches
for the purpose, as they supposed, of driving away the moles and
field-mice; fires were also kindled on some of the dolmens.[288]

[Bonfires on the first Sunday in Lent in Germany and Austria; burning
the witch; burning discs thrown into the air; burning wheels rolled down
hill; bonfires on the first Sunday in Lent in Switzerland.]

In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland at the same season similar customs
have prevailed. Thus in the Eifel Mountains, Rhenish Prussia, on the
first Sunday in Lent young people used to collect straw and brushwood
from house to house. These they carried to an eminence and piled up
round a tall, slim beech-tree, to which a piece of wood was fastened at
right angles to form a cross. The structure was known as the "hut" or
"castle." Fire was set to it and the young people marched round the
blazing "castle" bareheaded, each carrying a lighted torch and praying
aloud. Sometimes a straw-man was burned in the "hut." People observed
the direction in which the smoke blew from the fire. If it blew towards
the corn-fields, it was a sign that the harvest would be abundant. On
the same day, in some parts of the Eifel, a great wheel was made of
straw and dragged by three horses to the top of a hill. Thither the
village boys marched at nightfall, set fire to the wheel, and sent it
rolling down the slope. Two lads followed it with levers to set it in
motion again, in case it should anywhere meet with a check. At
Oberstattfeld the wheel had to be provided by the young man who was last
married.[289] About Echternach in Luxemburg the same ceremony is called
"burning the witch"; while it is going on, the older men ascend the
heights and observe what wind is blowing, for that is the wind which
will prevail the whole year.[290] At Voralberg in the Tyrol, on the
first Sunday in Lent, a slender young fir-tree is surrounded with a pile
of straw and firewood. To the top of the tree is fastened a human figure
called the "witch," made of old clothes and stuffed with gunpowder. At
night the whole is set on fire and boys and girls dance round it,
swinging torches and singing rhymes in which the words "corn in the
winnowing-basket, the plough in the earth" may be distinguished.[291] In
Swabia on the first Sunday in Lent a figure called the "witch" or the
"old wife" or "winter's grandmother" is made up of clothes and fastened
to a pole. This is stuck in the middle of a pile of wood, to which fire
is applied. While the "witch" is burning, the young people throw blazing
discs into the air. The discs are thin round pieces of wood, a few
inches in diameter, with notched edges to imitate the rays of the sun or
stars. They have a hole in the middle, by which they are attached to the
end of a wand. Before the disc is thrown it is set on fire, the wand is
swung to and fro, and the impetus thus communicated to the disc is
augmented by dashing the rod sharply against a sloping board. The
burning disc is thus thrown off, and mounting high into the air,
describes a long fiery curve before it reaches the ground. A single lad
may fling up forty or fifty of these discs, one after the other. The
object is to throw them as high as possible. The wand by which they are
hurled must, at least in some parts of Swabia, be of hazel. Sometimes
the lads also leap over the fire brandishing lighted torches of
pine-wood. The charred embers of the burned "witch" and discs are taken
home and planted in the flaxfields the same night, in the belief that
they will keep vermin from the fields.[292] At Wangen, near Molsheim in
Baden, a like custom is observed on the first Sunday in Lent. The young
people kindle a bonfire on the crest of the mountain above the village;
and the burning discs which they hurl into the air are said to present
in the darkness the aspect of a continual shower of falling stars. When
the supply of discs is exhausted and the bonfire begins to burn low, the
boys light torches and run with them at full speed down one or other of
the three steep and winding paths that descend the mountain-side to the
village. Bumps, bruises, and scratches are often the result of their
efforts to outstrip each other in the headlong race.[293] In the Rhoen
Mountains, situated on the borders of Hesse and Bavaria, the people used
to march to the top of a hill or eminence on the first Sunday in Lent.
Children and lads carried torches, brooms daubed with tar, and poles
swathed in straw. A wheel, wrapt in combustibles, was kindled and rolled
down the hill; and the young people rushed about the fields with their
burning torches and brooms, till at last they flung them in a heap, and
standing round them, struck up a hymn or a popular song. The object of
running about the fields with the blazing torches was to "drive away the
wicked sower." Or it was done in honour of the Virgin, that she might
preserve the fruits of the earth throughout the year and bless
them.[294] In neighbouring villages of Hesse, between the Rhoen and the
Vogel Mountains, it is thought that wherever the burning wheels roll,
the fields will be safe from hail and storm.[295] At Konz on the
Moselle, on the Thursday before the first Sunday in Lent, the two guilds
of the butchers and the weavers used to repair to the Marxberg and there
set up an oak-tree with a wheel fastened to it. On the following Sunday
the people ascended the hill, cut down the oak, set fire to the wheel,
and sent both oak and wheel rolling down the hillside, while a guard of
butchers, mounted on horses, fired at the flaming wheel in its descent.
If the wheel rolled down into the Moselle, the butchers were rewarded
with a waggon-load of wine by the archbishop of Treves.[296]

[Burning discs thrown into the air.]

In Switzerland, also, it is or used to be customary to kindle bonfires
on high places on the evening of the first Sunday in Lent, and the day
is therefore popularly known as Spark Sunday. The custom prevailed, for
example, throughout the canton of Lucerne. Boys went about from house to
house begging for wood and straw, then piled the fuel on a conspicuous
mountain or hill round about a pole, which bore a straw effigy called
"the witch." At nightfall the pile was set on fire, and the young folks
danced wildly round it, some of them cracking whips or ringing bells;
and when the fire burned low enough, they leaped over it. This was
called "burning the witch." In some parts of the canton also they used
to wrap old wheels in straw and thorns, put a light to them, and send
them rolling and blazing down hill. The same custom of rolling lighted
wheels down hill is attested by old authorities for the cantons of
Aargau and Bale. The more bonfires could be seen sparkling and flaring
in the darkness, the more fruitful was the year expected to be; and the
higher the dancers leaped beside or over the fire, the higher, it was
thought, would grow the flax. In the district of Freiburg and at Birseck
in the district of Bale it was the last married man or woman who must
kindle the bonfire. While the bonfires blazed up, it was customary in
some parts of Switzerland to propel burning discs of wood through the
air by means of the same simple machinery which is used for the purpose
in Swabia. Each lad tried to send his disc fizzing and flaring through
the darkness as far as possible, and in discharging it he mentioned the
name of the person to whose honour it was dedicated. But in Praettigau
the words uttered in launching the fiery discs referred to the abundance
which was apparently expected to follow the performance of the ceremony.
Among them were, "Grease in the pan, corn in the fan, and the plough in
the earth!"[297]

[Connexion of these bonfires with the custom of "carrying out Death;"
effigies burnt on Shrove Tuesday.]

It seems hardly possible to separate from these bonfires, kindled on the
first Sunday in Lent, the fires in which, about the same season, the
effigy called Death is burned as part of the ceremony of "carrying out
Death." We have seen that at Spachendorf, in Austrian Silesia, on the
morning of Rupert's Day (Shrove Tuesday?), a straw-man, dressed in a fur
coat and a fur cap, is laid in a hole outside the village and there
burned, and that while it is blazing every one seeks to snatch a
fragment of it, which he fastens to a branch of the highest tree in his
garden or buries in his field, believing that this will make the crops
to grow better. The ceremony is known as the "burying of Death."[298]
Even when the straw-man is not designated as Death, the meaning of the
observance is probably the same; for the name Death, as I have tried to
shew, does not express the original intention of the ceremony. At Cobern
in the Eifel Mountains the lads make up a straw-man on Shrove Tuesday.
The effigy is formally tried and accused of having perpetrated all the
thefts that have been committed in the neighbourhood throughout the
year. Being condemned to death, the straw-man is led through the
village, shot, and burned upon a pyre. They dance round the blazing
pile, and the last bride must leap over it.[299] In Oldenburg on the
evening of Shrove Tuesday people used to make long bundles of straw,
which they set on fire, and then ran about the fields waving them,
shrieking, and singing wild songs. Finally they burned a straw-man on
the field.[300] In the district of Duesseldorf the straw-man burned on
Shrove Tuesday was made of an unthreshed sheaf of corn.[301] On the
first Monday after the spring equinox the urchins of Zurich drag a
straw-man on a little cart through the streets, while at the same time
the girls carry about a May-tree. When vespers ring, the straw-man is
burned.[302] In the district of Aachen on Ash Wednesday a man used to be
encased in peas-straw and taken to an appointed place. Here he slipped
quietly out of his straw casing, which was then burned, the children
thinking that it was the man who was being burned.[303] In the Val di
Ledro (Tyrol) on the last day of the Carnival a figure is made up of
straw and brushwood and then burned. The figure is called the Old Woman,
and the ceremony "burning the Old Woman."[304]

Sec. 2. _The Easter Fires_

[Fire-festivals on Easter Eve. Custom in Catholic countries of kindling
a holy new fire at the church on Easter Saturday; marvellous properties
ascribed to the embers of the fire; the burning of Judas.]

Another occasion on which these fire-festivals are held is Easter Eve,
the Saturday before Easter Sunday. On that day it has been customary in
Catholic countries to extinguish all the lights in the churches, and
then to make a new fire, sometimes with flint and steel, sometimes with
a burning-glass. At this fire is lit the great Paschal or Easter candle,
which is then used to rekindle all the extinguished lights in the
church. In many parts of Germany a bonfire is also kindled, by means of
the new fire, on some open space near the church. It is consecrated, and
the people bring sticks of oak, walnut, and beech, which they char in
the fire, and then take home with them. Some of these charred sticks are
thereupon burned at home in a newly-kindled fire, with a prayer that God
will preserve the homestead from fire, lightning, and hail. Thus every
house receives "new fire." Some of the sticks are kept throughout the
year and laid on the hearth-fire during heavy thunder-storms to prevent
the house from being struck by lightning, or they are inserted in the
roof with the like intention. Others are placed in the fields, gardens,
and meadows, with a prayer that God will keep them from blight and hail.
Such fields and gardens are thought to thrive more than others; the corn
and the plants that grow in them are not beaten down by hail, nor
devoured by mice, vermin, and beetles; no witch harms them, and the ears
of corn stand close and full. The charred sticks are also applied to the
plough. The ashes of the Easter bonfire, together with the ashes of the
consecrated palm-branches, are mixed with the seed at sowing. A wooden
figure called Judas is sometimes burned in the consecrated bonfire, and
even where this custom has been abolished the bonfire itself in some
places goes by the name of "the burning of Judas."[305]

[Easter fires in Bavaria and the Abruzzi.]

In the Hollertau, Bavaria, the young men used to light their lanterns at
the newly-kindled Easter candle in the church and then race to the
bonfire; he who reached it first set fire to the pile, and next day,
Easter Sunday, was rewarded at the church-door by the housewives, who
presented him with red eggs. Great was the jubilation while the effigy
of the traitor was being consumed in the flames. The ashes were
carefully collected and thrown away at sunrise in running water.[306] In
many parts of the Abruzzi, also, pious people kindle their fires on
Easter Saturday with a brand brought from the sacred new fire in the
church. When the brand has thus served to bless the fire on the domestic
hearth, it is extinguished, and the remainder is preserved, partly in a
cranny of the outer wall of the house, partly on a tree to which it is
tied. This is done for the purpose of guarding the homestead against
injury by storms. At Campo di Giove the people say that if you can get a
piece of one of the three holy candles which the priest lights from the
new fire, you should allow a few drops of the wax to fall into the crown
of your hat; for after that, if it should thunder and lighten, you have
nothing to do but to clap the hat on your head, and no flash of
lightning can possibly strike you.[307]

[Water as well as fire consecrated in the Abruzzi on Easter Saturday;
water consecrated in Calabria on Easter Saturday; water and fire
consecrated on Easter Saturday among the Germans of Bohemia; Easter
rites of fire and water at Hildesheim.]

Further, it deserves to be noted that in the Abruzzi water as well as
fire is, as it were, renewed and consecrated on Easter Saturday. Most
people fetch holy water on that day from the churches, and every member
of the family drinks a little of it, believing that it has power to
protect him or her against witchcraft, fever, and stomach-aches of all
sorts. And when the church bells ring again after their enforced
silence, the water is sprinkled about the house, and especially under
the beds, with the help of a palm-branch. Some of this blessed water is
also kept in the house for use in great emergencies, when there is no
time to fetch a priest; thus it may be employed to baptize a newborn
infant gasping for life or to sprinkle a sick man in the last agony;
such a sprinkling is reckoned equal to priestly absolution.[308] In
Calabria the customs with regard to the new water, as it is called, on
Easter Saturday are similar; it is poured into a new vessel, adorned
with ribbons and flowers, is blessed by the priest, and is tasted by
every one of the household, beginning with the parents. And when the air
vibrates with the glad music of the church bells announcing the
resurrection, the people sprinkle the holy water about the houses,
bidding in a loud voice all evil things to go forth and all good things
to come in. At the same time, to emphasize the exorcism, they knock on
doors, window-shutters, chests, and other domestic articles of
furniture. At Cetraro people who suffer from diseases of the skin bathe
in the sea at this propitious moment; at Pietro in Guarano they plunge
into the river on the night of Easter Saturday before Easter Sunday
dawns, and while they bathe they utter never a word. Moreover, the
Calabrians keep the "new water" as a sacred thing. They believe that it
serves as a protection against witchcraft if it is sprinkled on a fire
or a lamp, when the wood crackles or the wick sputters; for they regard
it as a bad omen when the fire talks, as they say.[309] Among the
Germans of Western Bohemia, also, water as well as fire is consecrated
by the priest in front of the church on Easter Saturday. People bring
jugs full of water to the church and set them beside the holy fire;
afterwards they use the water to sprinkle on the palm-branches which are
stuck in the fields. Charred sticks of the Judas fire, as it is
popularly called, are supposed to possess a magical and healing virtue;
hence the people take them home with them, and even scuffle with each
other for the still glowing embers in order to carry them, still
glimmering, to their houses and so obtain "the light" or "the holy
light."[310] At Hildesheim, also, and the neighbouring villages of
central Germany rites both of fire and water are or were till lately
observed at Easter. Thus on Easter night many people fetch water from
the Innerste river and keep it carefully, believing it to be a remedy
for many sorts of ailments both of man and beast. In the villages on the
Leine river servant men and maids used to go silently on Easter night
between the hours of eleven and twelve and silently draw water in
buckets from the river; they mixed the water with the fodder and the
drink of the cattle to make the animals thrive, and they imagined that
to wash in it was good for human beings. Many were also of opinion that
at the same mystic hour the water turned to wine as far as the crowing
of a cock could be heard, and in this belief they laid themselves flat
on their stomachs and kept their tongues in the water till the
miraculous change occurred, when they took a great gulp of the
transformed water. At Hildesheim, too, and the neighbouring villages
fires used to blaze on all the heights on Easter Eve; and embers taken
from the bonfires were dipped in the cattle troughs to benefit the
beasts and were kept in the houses to avert lightning.[311]

[New fire at Easter in Carinthia; consecration of fire and water by the
Catholic Church at Easter.]

In the Lesachthal, Carinthia, all the fires in the houses used to be
extinguished on Easter Saturday, and rekindled with a fresh fire brought
from the churchyard, where the priest had lit it by the friction of
flint and steel and had bestowed his blessing on it.[312] Such customs
were probably widespread. In a Latin poem of the sixteenth century,
written by a certain Thomas Kirchmeyer and translated into English by
Barnabe Googe, we read:--

"_On Easter Eve the fire all is quencht in every place,
And fresh againe from out the flint is fetcht with solemne grace:
The priest doth halow this against great daungers many one,
A brande whereof doth every man with greedie mind take home,
That when the fearefull storme appeares, or tempest black arise,
By lighting this he safe may be from stroke of hurtful skies:
A taper great, the Paschall namde, with musicke then they blesse,
And franckensence herein they pricke, for greater holynesse:
This burneth night and day as signe of Christ that conquerde hell,
As if so be this foolish toye suffiseth this to tell.
Then doth the Bishop or the Priest, the water halow straight,
That for their baptisme is reservde: for now no more of waight
Is that they usde the yeare before, nor can they any more,
Yong children christen with the same, as they have done before.
With wondrous pompe and furniture, amid the Church they go,
With candles, crosses, banners, Chrisme, and oyle appoynted tho:
Nine times about the font they marche, and on the saintes doe call,
Then still at length they stande, and straight the Priest begins withall,
And thrise the water doth he touche, and crosses thereon make,
Here bigge and barbrous wordes he speakes, to make the devill quake:
And holsome waters conjureth, and foolishly doth dresse,
Supposing holyar that to make, which God before did blesse:
And after this his candle than, he thrusteth in the floode,
And thrise he breathes thereon with breath, that stinkes of former foode:
And making here an ende, his Chrisme he poureth thereupon,
The people staring hereat stande, amazed every one;
Beleeving that great powre is given to this water here,
By gaping of these learned men, and such like trifling gere.
Therefore in vessels brought they draw, and home they carie some,
Against the grieves that to themselves, or to their beastes may come.
Then Clappers ceasse, and belles are set againe at libertee,
And herewithall the hungrie times of fasting ended bee."_[313]

It is said that formerly all the fires in Rome were lighted afresh from
the holy fire kindled in St. Peter's on Easter Saturday.[314]

[The new fire on Easter Saturday at Florence.]

In Florence the ceremony of kindling the new fire on Easter Eve is
peculiar. The holy flame is elicited from certain flints which are said
to have been brought by a member of the Pazzi family from the Holy Land.
They are kept in the church of the Holy Apostles on the Piazza del
Limbo, and on the morning of Easter Saturday the prior strikes fire from
them and lights a candle from the new flame. The burning candle is then
carried in solemn procession by the clergy and members of the
municipality to the high altar in the cathedral. A vast crowd has
meanwhile assembled in the cathedral and the neighbouring square to
witness the ceremony; amongst the spectators are many peasants drawn
from the surrounding country, for it is commonly believed that on the
success or failure of the ceremony depends the fate of the crops for the
year. Outside the door of the cathedral stands a festal car drawn by two
fine white oxen with gilded horns. The body of the car is loaded with a
pyramid of squibs and crackers and is connected by a wire with a pillar
set up in front of the high altar. The wire extends down the middle of
the nave at a height of about six feet from the ground. Beneath it a
clear passage is left, the spectators being ranged on either side and
crowding the vast interior from wall to wall. When all is ready, High
Mass is celebrated, and precisely at noon, when the first words of the
_Gloria_ are being chanted, the sacred fire is applied to the pillar,
which like the car is wreathed with fireworks. A moment more and a fiery
dove comes flying down the nave, with a hissing sound and a sputter of
sparks, between the two hedges of eager spectators. If all goes well,
the bird pursues its course along the wire and out at the door, and in
another moment a prolonged series of fizzes, pops and bangs announces to
the excited crowd in the cathedral that the fireworks on the car are
going off. Great is the joy accordingly, especially among the bumpkins,
who are now sure of an abundant harvest. But if, as sometimes happens,
the dove stops short in its career and fizzles out, revealing itself as
a stuffed bird with a packet of squibs tied to its tail, great is the
consternation, and deep the curses that issue from between the set teeth
of the clodhoppers, who now give up the harvest for lost. Formerly the
unskilful mechanician who was responsible for the failure would have
been clapped into gaol; but nowadays he is thought sufficiently punished
by the storm of public indignation and the loss of his pay. The disaster
is announced by placards posted about the streets in the evening; and
next morning the newspapers are full of gloomy prognostications.[315]

[The new fire and burning of Judas on Easter Saturday in Mexico.]

Some of these customs have been transported by the Catholic Church to
the New World. Thus in Mexico the new fire is struck from a flint early
in the morning of Easter Saturday, and a candle which has been lighted
at the sacred flame is carried through the church by a deacon shouting
"_Lumen Christi_." Meantime the whole city, we are informed, has been
converted into a vast place of execution. Ropes stretch across the
streets from house to house, and from every house dangles an effigy of
Judas, made of paper pulp. Scores or hundreds of them may adorn a single
street. They are of all shapes and sizes, grotesque in form and garbed
in strange attire, stuffed with gunpowder, squibs and crackers,
sometimes, too, with meat, bread, soap, candy, and clothing, for which
the crowd will scramble and scuffle while the effigies are burning.
There they hang grim, black, and sullen in the strong sunshine, greeted
with a roar of execration by the pious mob. A peal of bells from the
cathedral tower on the stroke of noon gives the signal for the
execution. At the sound a frenzy seizes the crowd. They throw themselves
furiously on the figures of the detested traitor, cut them down, hurl
them with curses into the fire, and fight and struggle with each other
in their efforts to tear the effigies to tatters and appropriate their
contents. Smoke, stink, sputter of crackers, oaths, curses, yells are
now the order of the day. But the traitor does not perish unavenged. For
the anatomy of his frame has been cunningly contrived so as in burning
to discharge volleys of squibs into his assailants; and the wounds and
burns with which their piety is rewarded form a feature of the morning's
entertainment. The English Jockey Club in Mexico used to improve on this
popular pastime by suspending huge figures of Judas, stuffed with copper
coins, from ropes in front of their clubhouse. These were ignited at the
proper moment and lowered within reach of the expectant rabble, and it
was the privilege of members of the club, seated in the balcony, to
watch the grimaces and to hear the shrieks of the victims, as they
stamped and capered about with the hot coppers sticking to their hands,
divided in their minds between an acute sense of pain and a thirst for
filthy lucre.[316]

[The burning of Judas at Easter in South America.]

Scenes of the same sort, though on a less ambitious scale, are witnessed
among the Catholics of South America on the same day. In Brazil the
mourning for the death of Christ ceases at noon on Easter Saturday and
gives place to an extravagant burst of joy at his resurrection. Shots
are fired everywhere, and effigies of Judas are hung on trees or dragged
about the streets, to be finally burned or otherwise destroyed.[317] In
the Indian villages scattered among the wild valleys of the Peruvian
Andes figures of the traitor, made of pasteboard and stuffed with squibs
and crackers, are hanged on gibbets before the door of the church on
Easter Saturday. Fire is set to them, and while they crackle and
explode, the Indians dance and shout for joy at the destruction of their
hated enemy.[318] Similarly at Rio Hacha, in Colombia, Judas is
represented during Holy Week by life-sized effigies, and the people fire
at them as if they were discharging a sacred duty.[319]

[The new fire on Easter Saturday in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at

But usages of this sort are not confined to the Latin Church; they are
common to the Greek Church also. Every year on the Saturday before
Easter Sunday a new fire is miraculously kindled at the Holy Sepulchre
in Jerusalem. It descends from heaven and ignites the candles which the
patriarch holds in his hands, while with closed eyes he wrestles in
prayer all alone in the chapel of the Angel. The worshippers meanwhile
wait anxiously in the body of the church, and great are their transports
of joy when at one of the windows of the chapel, which had been all dark
a minute before, there suddenly appears the hand of an angel, or of the
patriarch, holding a lighted taper. This is the sacred new fire; it is
passed out to the expectant believers, and the desperate struggle which
ensues among them to get a share of its blessed influence is only
terminated by the intervention of the Turkish soldiery, who restore
peace and order by hustling the whole multitude impartially out of the
church. In days gone by many lives were often lost in these holy
scrimmages. For example, in the year 1834, the famous Ibrahim Pasha
witnessed the frantic scene from one of the galleries, and, being moved
with compassion at the sight, descended with a few guards into the arena
in the chimerical hope of restoring peace and order among the contending
Christians. He contrived to force his way into the midst of the dense
crowd, but there the heat and pressure were so great that he fainted
away; a body of soldiers, seeing his danger, charged straight into the
throng and carried him out of it in their arms, trampling under foot the
dying and dead in their passage. Nearly two hundred people were killed
that day in the church. The fortunate survivors on these occasions who
succeeded in obtaining a portion of the coveted fire applied it freely
to their faces, their beards, and their garments. The theory was that
the fire, being miraculous, could only bless and not burn them; but the
practical results of the experiment were often disappointing, for while
the blessings were more or less dubious, there could be no doubt
whatever about the burns.[320] The history of the miracle has been
carefully investigated by a Jesuit father. The conclusions at which he
arrives are that the miracle was a miracle indeed so long as the
Catholics had the management of it; but that since it fell into the
hands of the heretics it has been nothing but a barefaced trick and
imposture.[321] Many people will be disposed to agree with the latter
conclusion who might hesitate to accept the former.

[The new fire and the burning of Judas on Easter Saturday in Greece.]

At Athens the new fire is kindled in the cathedral at midnight on Holy
Saturday. A dense crowd with unlit candles in their hands fills the
square in front of the cathedral; the king, the archbishop, and the
highest dignitaries of the church, arrayed in their gorgeous robes,
occupy a platform; and at the exact moment of the resurrection the bells
ring out, and the whole square bursts as by magic into a blaze of light.
Theoretically all the candles are lit from the sacred new fire in the
cathedral, but practically it may be suspected that the matches which
bear the name of Lucifer have some share in the sudden
illumination.[322] Effigies of Judas used to be burned at Athens on
Easter Saturday, but the custom has been forbidden by the Government.
However, firing goes on more or less continuously all over the city both
on Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday, and the cartridges used on this
occasion are not always blank. The shots are aimed at Judas, but
sometimes they miss him and hit other people. Outside of Athens the
practice of burning Judas in effigy still survives in some places. For
example, in Cos a straw image of the traitor is made on Easter Day, and
after being hung up and shot at it is burned.[323] A similar custom
appears to prevail at Thebes;[324] it used to be observed by the
Macedonian peasantry, and it is still kept up at Therapia, a fashionable
summer resort of Constantinople.[325]

[The new fire at Candlemas in Armenia.]

In the Armenian Church the sacred new fire is kindled not at Easter but
at Candlemas, that is, on the second of February, or on the eve of that
festival. The materials of the bonfire are piled in an open space near a
church, and they are generally ignited by young couples who have been
married within the year. However, it is the bishop or his vicar who
lights the candles with which fire is set to the pile. All young married
pairs are expected to range themselves about the fire and to dance round
it. Young men leap over the flames, but girls and women content
themselves with going round them, while they pray to be preserved from
the itch and other skin-diseases. When the ceremony is over, the people
eagerly pick up charred sticks or ashes of the fire and preserve them or
scatter them on the four corners of the roof, in the cattle-stall, in
the garden, and on the pastures; for these holy sticks and ashes protect
men and cattle against disease, and fruit-trees against worms and
caterpillars. Omens, too, are drawn from the direction in which the wind
blows the flames and the smoke: if it carries them eastward, there is
hope of a good harvest; but if it inclines them westward, the people
fear that the crops will fail.[326]

[The new fire and the burning of Judas at Easter are probably relics of

In spite of the thin cloak of Christianity thrown over these customs by
representing the new fire as an emblem of Christ and the figure burned
in it as an effigy of Judas, we can hardly doubt that both practices are
of pagan origin. Neither of them has the authority of Christ or of his
disciples; but both of them have abundant analogies in popular custom
and superstition. Some instances of the practice of annually
extinguishing fires and relighting them from a new and sacred flame have
already come before us;[327] but a few examples may here be cited for
the sake of illustrating the wide diffusion of a custom which has found
its way into the ritual both of the Eastern and of the Western Church.

[The new fire at the summer solstice among the Incas of Peru;
the new fire among the Indians of Mexico and New Mexico; the new fire
among the Esquimaux.]

The Incas of Peru celebrated a festival called Raymi, a word which their
native historian Garcilasso de la Vega tells us was equivalent to our
Easter. It was held in honour of the sun at the solstice in June. For
three days before the festival the people fasted, men did not sleep with
their wives, and no fires were lighted in Cuzco, the capital. The sacred

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