Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/181

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Its Structure and Development. 153

properties than those inherited from a medicinal herb, and may betoken the local acceptance of a world-wide myth, which some might perceive in the fable repeated by Pliny of the amicable relation between the fig (one form of the world-tree) and the rue.

Furthermore, the established practice of associating objects of various kinds with trees may suggestively account for the presence of the additional emblems on the cimaruta. But it should not be assumed that the individual emblems of the cimarute have necessarily been associated with the world tree. Among these are the winged genii of the Assyrian Cosmic Tree, the eagle and hawk of the Scandinavian Ash, Yggdrasil, the eagle on the Iranian World-Tree, and the serpent.

From its erstwhile broader significance the rue as we have seen shrank to be the special protection of women in child-birth, and the emblems naturally added to it were those of the lunar goddess, the tutelary deity of maternity ; and the charm was made of her metal. The silver crescent and the moon-flower were no doubt soon followed by the key and by the cock, which, as Herr E. Baethgen has shown, was closely associated with Diana, an association which is still indicated by the two hair-pins purchased recently in Fiume, and referred to supra, p. 148.

There is no reason for believing the serpent to have been an original element in the compound charm, for although when worn by itself it might have been supposed to have intimidated the evil eye by its poisonous glance, or to have been a beneficial symbol, like the asp from the Isiac crown or the Aesculapian snake, yet the construction of cimarute seems to indicate that the traditional enmity put between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent had not been forgotten. And there are few more widely-spread beliefs than that in the toxic influence of the moon.

What cannot fail to impress the student in the investi-