Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/330

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30O Collectanea,

Uist Bodkin sent for Exhibition (see p 210).

The bone stiletto sent was used in Uist by a staymaker to make the holes for lacing, about 1820. The holes, of course, were finished by hand-stitching.

Ross-shire " Chucks " sent for Exhibition (see as before). For playing this game in the neighbourhood of Applecross they use either five balls made of clay hardened by exposure to the sun, in size like ordinary marbles, or oblate spheroids of about the same bulk.

R. C. Maclagan.

Highland Fisher-Folk and their Superstitions.

Those who dwell in cities may shrug their shoulders at the superstitions of our fisher-people, but we who often stand under the shadow of our northern cliffs and watch the storm and the darkness gather, and listen to the sad moan of the sea as it accompanies the shrill weird cry of the sea birds overhead, are more in sympathy with them. We can understand how brave and daring seamen can still be the veritable children of nature, for there nature is so immense and we are so small.

Some of the most God-fearing and intelligent fisher-people have a strong strain of superstition, inherited from their pagan fore- fathers and strengthened by their own uncertain hold on life and the consequent sense of the nearness of the unseen. It is when such men are tossed among the billows, like puppets in the hands of an unknown power, that the tales told them by their forefathers take hold of their imagination, and if they have neglected prescribed observances they vow it shall be for the last time.

Even as in the days when the sea refused to be satisfied till Jonah was heaved overboard, our fishermen do not care for the presence of the clergy in their boats, nor do they even like to meet a clergyman on their way to the shore when going to fish. The Devil is said to be the Prince of the Air, and as the clergy are his enemies, there is some method and compliment in the theory that he likes to give them a good shaking when he has the chance ! Meeting a red-haired woman, or a cat, is also unlucky ; the cat