Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/103

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


"Listener to the Dead."

The death of an old Breton woman, Corentine le Clech, in the cemetery of a village near Lorient, Brittany, recalls the existence of a widely respected trade in the region — that of "listener to the dead."

The Breton folk (says the Journal) believe that the dead watch all the acts of their descendants. The peasants never take an important decision without asking the approval of their forbears. Thus there has grown up an occupation of interpreting to the living the wishes of the dead.

Corentine le Clech has acted as "listener to the dead" in her village for over thirty years. — The Daily Mail, 25th March, 1913.

I have consulted Mr. E. S. Hartland about this curious belief. He observes that it is remarkable that M. P. Sebillot, himself a Breton, does not mention it in his Folklore de France ; that it does not appear in other books on Brittany, and does not seem to pre- vail in Cornwall or Wales. It is obviously a case of divination connected with the cult of the dead. Perhaps some member of the Society may be able to throw some light on the matter.

W. Crooke.

Scottish Folklore.

Fairies changing a supposed Chaftgelifig. — A poor woman came in haste to beg linen rags for her child, who had been dreadfully burnt. They were immediately given, with everything that could be wanted, and the inquiry made, "How did it come about?" "Oh ! leddy, the bairn never grew ony, and we thought she was a changeling ; and folks told us that if we put her in a creel (basket), and the creel on the lowe (fire), the fairies would come down the lum (chimney) and tak' her awa' and gie me back my ain bairn ; but they never cam', and the poor wean was a'maist burnt." — The Reniinisce7ices of Charlotte, Lady Wake. 1909. Ed. Lucy Wake,

P- 31-

Removing Birth Marks. — " Having been born with marks of fruit on my face, the medical men considered that they were caused by