Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/154

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children. usually such ghosts as are reported to have been seen are those of persons who have committed some crime, or suicide, but also occasionally those of victims who have been murdered and have not received Christian burial.

As peoples became more civilised and thought more deeply of the mystery of death, they conceived of a place where the souls lived on, and being puzzled to account for the rainbow, came to the conclusion that it was a bridge by means of which spirits mounted to their abode above the clouds. The Milky Way was called variously the Road of the Gods, or the Road of Souls. Among the Norsemen, after Odin had constructed his heavenly palace, aided by the dwarfs, he reared the bridge Bifröst, which men call the Rainbow, by which it could be reached. It is of three colours: that in the middle is red, and is of fire, to consume any unworthy souls that would venture up the bridge. In connection with this idea of a bridge uniting heaven and earth, up which souls ascended, arose the custom of persons constructing bridges for the good of the souls of their kinsfolk. On runic grave-stones in Denmark and Sweden we find such inscriptions as these: "Nageilfr had this bridge