Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/386

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HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.

In the Library of Zurich, Switzerland, there is a painting belonging to the 14th or 15th century, representing St Antony of Padua and St Sebastian, with a farrier between them shoeing a vicious horse, one foot of which rests in his hand, perhaps in consequence of some magical spell induced by a witch who is present, and whose nose the farrier pinches in an enormous pair of tongs, as a punishment for her witchcraft.

Travelling from the Anglo-Saxon period to other lands and recent times, we come to Abyssinia, where the trade of blacksmith is hereditary, and considered as more or less disgraceful, from the fact that blacksmiths are, with very rare exceptions, believed to be all sorcerers, and are opprobriously called 'Bouda.' They are supposed to have the power of turning themselves into hyænas, and sometimes into other animals; as being, in fact, either tormented by or allied with evil spirits, like the Middle-Age saints.

'I remember a story of some little girls, who, having been out in the forest to gather sticks, came running back breathless with fright; and being asked what was the cause, they answered that a blacksmith had met them, and entering into conversation with him, they at length began to joke him about whether, as had been asserted, he could really turn himself into a hyæna. The man, they declared, made no reply, but taking some ashes, which he had with him tied up in the corner of his cloth, sprinkled them over his shoulders, and, to their horror and alarm, they began almost immediately to perceive that the metamorphosis was actually taking place, and that the blacksmith's skin was assuming the hair and