Old- World Survivals in Ross-shire. 379
Among omens which you may absolutely depend on as coming true (some time) may be mentioned the following. If the soles of your feet feel itchy you are to walk on strange ground, or take a journey; the same feeling in your right hand means that you are to shake hands with a stranger ; while if in your left, you are to receive a gift of money. Ringing in the ears indicates a coming death, which is doubly sure if at the same time you rub your eyes ; it is a certain sign that you will weep for the dead very soon. If you rub your upper lip, you are to get a dram soon, while equally certain is it that if you stroke your chin you are to be kissed.
The belief in the Evil Eye, so universal in nearly all countries, is still very prevalent in the North ; indeed, among the uneducated, incidental allusions to it are every-day occurrences. If the cows cease to give milk, it is put down to the Evil Eye, and Uisge Or, previously described, is administered to the animal. If your horse falls over a cliff, if you break your leg, lose your purse, your head, or your sweetheart, it can be owing to nothing else than the Evil Eye. Indeed, whatever piece of ill-luck may befall you, you may safely attribute it to the Evil Eye, and if you are wise you will accordingly take due precautions to prevent all chance of being a victim to its baneful influence. Such is the force of custom and hereditary instinct, that I have known a man who wrote D. Sc. after his name, who always carried a bit of rock-crystal among his loose change as a charm against the Evil Eye. This same friend also in- variably carried three acorns in his pocket as a preventive against rheumatism. To be sure, I never could ascertain from him whether he took these things seriously or not.
It is considered correct to drive the cows with a rowan switch to prevent them getting bewitched, or influenced by the Evil Eye, and for the same reason, I have often seen the dairy maid tie a bit of scarlet string invisibly among the strands of the cow's tail. This latter is also an infal-