Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/332

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302 Collectanea,

threw the noose of the rope over her head from behind, but nevertheless she caught sight of one of them for a moment, and the glance of her dying eye made him insane for the rest of his life. Even to-day it is possible to buy "wind" and "luck" in these regions, but now there is less faith on both sides, and the seller and buyer are both more ashamed of the transaction. The " wind " is tied up in a knotted handkerchief or a woollen thread, and when you untie one knot you get a gentle breeze, another brings a stiff breeze, and a third a full gale. The only danger lies in impatiently untying too many knots. Mr. Robert Stevens, fisherman, of Sandside (the port of Reay), told me the experience of a friend of his in buying wind. He and his crew were becalmed in Orkney for a week, so they went to a woman in Stromness, and gave her half-a-crown for a woollen thread with three knots. " Don't open the third for the life of you," was her parting injunction. The unfastening of the first knot caused a little wind to spring up, the second sent them merrily across the Pentland Firth ; and when near the Caithness shore they grew bold, and resolved to try the effect of opening the third, where- upon they were literally blown ashore "just as if the boat was a balloon." " Never again will I buy wind," declared the hero of the story, when relating his adventures.

Another method is to leave the " wind " at home with the women, but even then there is the danger of getting becalmed owing to their tender fears for their loved ones. A thrifty wife can raise the wind very cheaply by drawing the cat through the fire ; this is, however, likely to " make " dirty, stormy weather. In Lewis it is considered unlucky for a woman to blow the meal off her oat-cake bannocks, or to allow them to burn, while her husband is at sea. Neither must she burn fish-bones.^ In Caith- ness you may burn fish-bones, but not sheep-bones. There is an old Caithness saying : " A sheep once spoke, and said, ' Boil me and roast me, but don't burn my bones.' " ~

Various articles are carried in the boats for good luck, but a horseshoe nailed to the mast, the leg of a hare, a piece of mountain-

' Dr. J. G. Frazer says the Ottawa Indians of Canada have this same superstition, as they believe the souls of dead fish pass into the bodies of other fish, and if people offend the dead fish by burning their bones they are sure to warn the living not to come to the nets. (C7. B., ii., 119.)

- [Cf vols. X., 262, and xiii., 35. Ed.]