Page:Notes on the folk-lore of the northern counties of England and the borders.djvu/84
THREE FUNERALS IN SUCCESSION.
may find a parallel in Durham, where it is a matter of common remark that if the cathedral bell tolls once it tolls thrice with little intermission, and in Sussex, where they say that if death enters a house he will not take leave of it till he has carried off three of its inmates. On this point a kind contributor writes: “It is believed in Rome that three cardinals always die in quick succession. On the death of one ‘Eminentissimo’ it is usual to hear discussions as to which of the Sacred College will be the second and the third. Reference to the Annuaria Pontifico will show that the deaths of the cardinals have so occurred in threes up to the latest time. Three thus died in the winter of 1866-7.” A Buckinghamshire variation is to this effect: If the clock strikes while the bell is tolling there will be another death within the week. A friend from that county informs me also, that, whereas it was a rule in her parish that the bell should only be tolled in the daytime, it was once heard by the clergyman at five o’clock on a winter’s morning, and he accordingly sent to the church to have it stopped for two hours. The deceased person was a wealthy farmer, and his widow complained bitterly over the delay in the tolling. “It was so cruel in Mr. Y.” she
Laudnama, iii. and p. 181). The date of this event was about A.D. 990. So a magical storm was laid (Vatsn. c. 47; and also Thorfin’s S. Karlsefnis, c. 9, p. 11; Droplaxgar Sonar, s. p. 10): “The hag did not lie down to sleep that night, she was so restless. The weather was cold without, a keen frost, and the sky clear. She went several times against the sun and round the house, set her face in all directions, and turned her nose up. And as she thus went about the weather began to change. There rose a dense fog, and after that an icy blast, and an avalanche broke off on the mountain-side, and the snow shot down, on the farm of Berg, and twelve men died of it. The signs of the fall are visible now.”—(Gisla S. Surssonar, p. 33.) Again: “The hag took her knife, and cut on the log runes, and smeared them with her blood, and chanted charms over them. Then she went many times against the sun round the log, and muttered many troll-like sayings. After that she had the log rolled down to the sea, and she said that it would be washed to Drangey, where it would work mischief to Grettir.”—(Gretla, c. 81.) To go against the sun is “andsælis” in Icelandic. I have heard in Yorkshire that if you walk three times round the room against the sun at midnight, and in perfect darkness, and then look into the glass, you will see the devil’s face leering out of it at you. Again, on All Souls Day (I believe), if two people walk round the room at midnight, and in darkness, going contrary ways, they will never meet; one of the two will have been spirited away—S. B. G.