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

fishermen."

P. J. Heather.