Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/461

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Correspondence. 419

is a secret ; its possessor may not eat sugar-cane. ^ In the absence of information as to what is meant by " family," we can hardly regard this as decisive evidence in favour of totemism. So far as it goes (animals not being mentioned), it rather weighs against the supposition that the " animal-father " is a clan-totem, and until we know how the animal is acquired, the question seems insoluble, but it is probably safer to see in it the analogue of the tamaniu.

N. W. Thomas.

The Vessel-Cup. (Vol. xiii., p. 94.)

" In the young days of the writer's father, some seventy years ago, what was known as a wassail-singer went from house to house among the villages of Derbyshire. It was a woman bearing a box about 2 feet 6 inches long, by i foot wide and 6 inches deep, without a lid. In this box lay a doll surrounded with holly, apples, oranges, &c., and decorated with cut paper and ribbons. The whole was covered with a clean white cloth. If you wished to see it, it was uncovered, and the woman sang the following carol, which is that known as the 'Holy Well'" — W. Henry Jewitt, The Nativity in Art and Song (1898), p. 185.

Christmas is the festival thus celebrated. The above adds another note of locality to those recorded in Folk-Lore, as above.

Charlotte S. Burne.

Jus Prim^ Noctis.

It has long been disputed whether the so-called Jus primcc noctis was ever exercised in Western Europe. The following extract states that it is known in the eastern half of the Continent at the present day.

' Ibid., 1S79, p. 30 ; iSSo, p. 273. 2 E 2