Page:A Book of Dartmoor.djvu/89

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addicted to their old paganism. Mr. Jackson, in his Great Frozen Land (London, 1895), says:—

"The rings of stones which I frequently met with in Waigatz are the sites of their midnight services, and are made, of course, by the Samoyeds. They are called yon-pa-ha-pai. It is possible that within these circles the human sacrifices with which Samoyeds used to propitiate Chaddi were offered up; and, although these are things of the past now, it is only a few years ago that a Samoyed, living in Novaia Zemlia, sacrificed a young girl" (p. 89).

A tradition or fancy relative to more than one of these circles is that the stones represent maidens who insisted on dancing on a Sunday, and were, for their profanity, turned into stone when the church bells rang for divine service. It is further said that on May Day or Midsummer Day they dance in a ring.

There are several of these circles on the moor. The finest are those of Scaur Hill, near Chagford, of the Grey Wethers—two side by side, but most of the stones of one are fallen—the circle on Langstone Moor above Peter Tavy, Trowlesworthy, Sherberton, and Fernworthy. The diameters vary from thirty-six feet to three hundred and sixty. One that must have been very fine was near Huccaby, but most of the stones constituting it have been removed for the construction of a wall hard by.

The number of stones employed varies according to the area inclosed.