Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/488

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466 Collectanea.

that the strength of this amulet increased with the depth of its colour ; that this belief is prevalent, even in that city, must be doubted, for, were it so, only the darker pieces of the shell, which is cheap, could be sold, and such is not the case.

The cowry-shells noted below are paralleled in Italy, where the cowry, an ancient and widely used amulet, is employed, because of the ideas suggested by the form of its aperture, par- ticularly for infants, as a protection against the evil eye.^

(43a and 43<5, VII.) Two pieces of trochus shell, ready for mounting, showing the outer and inner sides.

(44, VII.) A piece of trochus shell mounted in a silver ring ; Madrid. Similar rings were obtained at Granada, both in the main city and in the gipsy settlement.

(45, VII.) A cowry shell, having a bluish back, set in a silver finger-ring so that only its back is visible; Granada. Said to be a protection against all diseases, and a bringer of good fortune.

(46, VII.) A large yellow cowry, in an apparently recent silver mounting ; Madrid. Said by the shop-people to be merely ornamental ; possibly originally intended as an amulet.

(47, VII.) A small, and not particularly decorative, clam-like shell set in a silver finger-ring ; Madrid. Its amuletic purpose, if any, could not be ascertained.

(48, VII.) A shell, mounted in silver; Toledo. Amuletic pur- pose, if any, not ascertained.

Bones from Fish's Head. A very interesting amulet, whose survival I have come across in Spain alone, consists of one of the bones (or perhaps the pair) taken from the head of a fish, and called, in English, the " ear-bones." Amongst the Romans these bones, taken from the umbrina {Sciaena Aqiiila) were greatly esteemed as amulets ; ^ and the French naturalist Belon states that in his time, about the middle of the sixteenth century, they were called " colic-stones " because, though employed as a cure for various ailments, they were used especially against

' Bellucci, op. cit., XI. 8.

2 W. Jones, Credtditzes Past and Present, Lond., 1880, p. 155.