Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/154

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THE CIMARUTA: ITS STRUCTURE AND DEVELOPMENT.

R. T. GiJNTKER, M.A., F.L.S. Magdalen College, Oxford.

{Read at Meeting, i$tk March, 1905.)

Superstitious observances, which have either been long extinct or are half smothered beneath a cloak of shame among Northern Europeans, still flourish with a surprising vigour in Southern Italy ; nay, are so grafted upon the ordinary customs as to constitute a very real part of the everyday life of the people. Foremost among these super- stitions, and perhaps the most deeply rooted of them all, is the belief in the power of the Evil Eye, the maroccliio, or, to use a more entirely Neapolitan expression, the jettatiira.

Jettatori, or bringers of ill-luck, differ from witches in the northern sense, in that ill-luck may be brought on by them unconsciously, and without malice prepense. This evil influence may at any moment cast a spell on the unwary. A chance meeting with the jettatore when you are on business bent, will mar the issue of it ; if he kindly wishes you " good-day," your day will be a series of annoyances, if not of misfortunes ; his pre- sence anywhere will occasion accidents which will affect all present but himself. Even animals do not escape ; but the most susceptible to the malign influence are the firm believers in it, the ignorant, and the very young.

In Naples, amulets intended to secure the wearer against the power of the jettatore, are to be procured at reasonable