Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/418

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376 Old- World Survivals in Ross-slnre.

got between his feet, nearly tripping him up. He half stumbled until he flung up his plaid over his shoulder in the manner described to him by the shepherd.

It is well known that a child born on the stroke of midnight will have the second-sight. The faculty is met with more commonly among the Islanders than on the mainland. I came across a man in the Hebrides who described to me most minutely this strange hallucination, or whatever psychological state one likes to call it. His father was gifted, or afflicted, in this way, and he told me many instances of apparitions he had seen. Sometimes^ as in the case of funerals, he only heard it ; first, the tramping as of a great multitude, getting louder as it approached ; then the murmur of many voices ; and finally the tramping and the voices getting fainter as the procession receded into the distance.

While on the subject of funerals let me mention a custom to which great importance is attached in our community. It very often happens that a house is situated off the m.ain road, with only a foot-path from the latter leading to it. When a death occurs in a house thus placed, great pains are taken to avoid having the funeral go along this foot- path if it should run in a contrary direction from the church- yard, or on a road that does not go direct there as the crow flies. In order to avoid making a detour to get at the main road, the corp may have to be carried over many obstacles ; fences and dykes may have to be got over, rivers forded, or even lochs ferried ; although by going backwards the main road could be got at quite easily. But no : a corp must never be carried backwards, because if it is, the spirit of the dead will haunt that neighbourhood for a year and a day. In the case of one family, I know, whose house was only a quarter of a mile off the road, and to get at it necessitated going a little way backward from the church- yard, all the funerals from their home were taken along the face of a cliff, where, in some places the bearers had to