Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/550

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5 1 4 Reviews.

cerning its population and language, and the present and earlier geographical prevalence of the latter ; and the volume is closed with five sketches founded on the folk-tales of the country. Of these the last, La Noel d ' Ys, is particularly attractive.

The author notes many curious customs. The only present made by the bridegroom to his bride, apart from the wedding ring, is a mourning cloak of black with a hood, such as is worn by married women only ! By way of example of the well-known pardons, that of St. Lawrence, the centre of which is a little pilgrimage chapel at Pouldour, is described ; and the ablutions of the pilgrims at the sacred fountain are delineated both by pen and pencil. The soHdity of Breton craniums, we are told, is legendary. " It is even stated that formerly before the baptism the god-father on entering the church took the babe by one foot and struck its head against the granite stoup for holy water. If the child were killed the loss was not great — it would never have been anything but a bad Breton ; but almost always it was the stoup that was broken, and the godfather was then bound to replace it by a new one." Legendary indeed is such solidity ! The fishing boats are christened with a Christian and also with pagan ceremonies, in the course of which a cock is sacrificed and the boat spritikled with its blood. Apparently at St. Jean du Doigt the clergy still go in procession to light the Midsummer feu de la Saint Jean. Formerly an angel used to descend by the help of a cord from the tower of the church for this purpose. I regret to learn that the ancient statue of St. Guirec, which was of wood and much the worse for wear, is no longer in existence on the sea-shore at Ploumanach. The little shrine of the saint stands on the beach, where the saint perhaps, as M. Ernest Renan suggested to me, replaced some ancient divinity of the sea. It was the resort of unmarried girls, who went to pray for husbands. M. Sebillot says they used to stick a pin in the saint's nose. This is not to be taken literally, for the old statue was pierced with pin-holes from head to foot. It is no wonder that the local clergy got up a subscription and replaced it by one of stone, however regrettable it may be. Now that it is no longer possible to stick a pin into the figure of the saint, the pins are thrust between the statue and the pedestal. So hard do these old customs die.