Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/137

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Reviews. in

of German Philologists and Pedagogues, Folklore Section, held at Graz, Sept. 27 to 30, 1909. According to one lecturer, Prof. Dr. Otto Laufer, it is still customary in certain parts of Germany to put a chaplet upon the head of youths or maidens who died unmarried. Prof. Laufer explains the wreath, not as a sort of compensation for the marriage wreath, but as a symbol of virginity. In the Middle Ages crowns made of flowers were used instead ; as these, however, were made so very elaborately, police regulations were issued at the beginning of the seventeenth century to put a stop to this extravagance. At a later period these crowns were made of metal, and certain of the larger towns had some made for public use; they had to be returned after the burial. The earliest record of such a crown is found in a municipal regulation of the town of Frankfurt in the year 1774. Many crowns, says Prof. Laufer, which are shown in the museums as crowns of the Virgin, may be Totenkrone?i, — death- crowns.

The Hessische Blatter fur Volkskunde (Band viii. Heft 3) con- tain a very interesting article on the popular belief about Free- masons by Lehrer K. Wehrhati. The Devil is naturally regarded as being in league with the Freemasons, whose souls become his property at their death. Sometimes, however, the Devil is cheated of his prey, either by forgetting the hour when he should have called for his victim, or the Mason asks as a third question, — (for every Freemason, it is believed, may ask three things from the Devil in return for his soul) — something which even the Devil cannot fulfil, and the contract becomes void ; (see, for example, the story of the blacksmith and the Devil). Dr. Otto Weinreich supplies to this number an article on Helios as a healer of eye diseases. Herr F. Stahelin, who has lived in Surinam, relates some Tiermdrchen, charming animal stories which he collected there. The spider plays an important r61e in these stories.

Vol. ix, Hefte i and 2, of the same publication contains a most interesting article by Dr. Weinberg entitled " Wunderseltzame Recept," (which we might render "Wonderfully Strange Pre- scriptions "). The article contains a large number of humorous amulets written for the superstitious and ignorant, collected from various old sources, beginning with Poggio {De Brevi, 1470),