Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/152

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136 Folklore of the Azores.

Legends of the Virgin Mary. The Quail and the Wagtail. During the Flight into Egypt, while Our Lady and St. Joseph with the Holy Child were crossing the desert, a quail saw them and cried out, ^^ Aquivai,aquivai'^ "Here they go, here they go." Our Lady thereupon cursed the quail, saying that it should never be able to rise high into the air, but must ever fly near the ground. But the wagtail followed the fugitives, and kept sweeping the sand over their foot- prints with its long tail, that they might be effaced, and that their enemies might lose their track. Our Lady then blessed the wagtail, and said that it should always be held sacred, and that no one should ever kill it. To this day no one wantonly kills a wagtail, and it is considered a good omen to see one in one's path.^

The Lupines.

On the same occasion the Holy Family passed through a

field of lupines, and the dry pods rattled as if to betray them.

Our Lady cursed the lupine, and said that it should become

bitter, and that when a man ate of it, his hunger should

never be satisfied, and that to be eaten it should be soaked

thrice three times in salt water, and so it has been ever


The Mule.

' The mule was also cursed, because at the time of the

Nativity it pulled away from the manger the straw which

covered the Holy Child, and from that time forth it has

been barren.

The Dates.

On the flight into Egypt our Lady passed some fine palm trees laden with dates. As they were very tempting she looked up and said, " O! que tamaras!" (O ! what dates ! )

' For other versions of the legends regarding the quail and wagtail, see Braga, ii., 218, 219.

■■^ Braga's version (ii., 225) only alludes to the unsatisfying property of the lupine, and not to the bitterness.