Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/66

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boy who was bullied and beaten by the warriors in the king's hail, gave him to drink the blood of a brave warrior he had killed, and thenceforth this timorous youth became a mighty champion. In the story of Kulhweh in the old Welsh Mabinogion there is an account of how Gwyn "killed Nwython, took out his heart, and forced Kyledr to eat his father's heart; thereupon Kyledr became wild and left the abodes of men."

Even among the medieval moss-troopers of the Scottish and Northumbrian border, there are instances both in history and tradition of their having eaten the flesh and drunk the blood of their enemies, and a certain Lord Soulis was boiled alive, and the murderers afterwards drank the broth made out of him.

It is therefore not by any means improbable that the stories of forcing human flesh on those reluctant to eat it may carry us back to an early period when cannibalism was not done away with, but when the conscience had begun to revolt against the practice.

And who were these people who were cannibals? In the story of Bjorn and Bera the wicked stepmother was a Finn, and consequently not an Aryan. We are not told that the corresponding ill-disposed woman in the