Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/78

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64 Collectanea.

to be able to make his wherry sail against the wind ; " Kitty- witch " gives particulars of a love-spell to compel a sailor to come back and marry his sweetheart ; and "The Silver Cloud" intro- duces a fisherman seeking for his dead brother, who had foretold that he should become a gannet after death, and would be recog- nisable by his " black arm-sleeves." (The detail of colour is curious : compare M. Paul Lenormant on the persistence of colour after transformation, Revue des Traditions Populaires, June, 1902.) On this Mr. Emerson remarks as follows (2nd ed. 1889, Note 14) :

" I found that on certain parts of the east coast many of the old fishermen believe that they turn into gulls when they die. It was with great difficulty I first found out that this strange belief in a post-mortem transformation existed at all, but once having learned it, I found to my astonishment that the belief was common, but was spoken of with much reserve. I have never seen any mention of such a superstition existing in our day, and should feel obliged to any critic who could throw light upon it. I asked one fisherman if he did not dislike their being shot on this account. He replied philosophically, ' No ! they hev been dead oncet, they hev been on earth oncet, and we hev got quite enough old men now\'

" ' And the children,' I asked, ' what becomes of them ? '

" ' I believe all the young 'uns what die are kitties (kittiwakes), they don't come to gulls. They fare not to be so artful,' he added sententiously.

" ' And the women ? '

" ' The wives, 'he replied, ' don't come back no more, they hev seen trouble enough ; but the old women torturise the young 'uns.'

" These extraordinary statements are recorded here verbatim, as they were written down in my notebook.

"I found that all these opinions were held by many of the


P. J. Heather.