Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/239

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Some Algerian Sttperstitions. 229

bearer from evil influences, but against the "evil eye" there is a great variety of other charms in common use.

Some of these are apparently simply intended to attract the admiring glance to themselves, and thus ward it off from the wearer or the object they are intended to defend.

For example, the single cowrie shells which the Ouled Ziane attach to the head-dresses of children, in order, as an old sorceress of that tribe informed me, to protect them from the " evil eye," like those mentioned by Lane, " are evidently meant to attract the eye to themselves, and so to prevent observation and envy of the object they are designed to protect." * The Shawia are in the habit of placing a cooking pot in as conspicuous a position as possible upon a corner of the roof of a new house, where it cannot fail to immediately attract the attention of the passer-by, to protect the building against the " evil eye." I have seen in the Rassira valley a large white stone with a hole in it, an oblong gourd and a mule's skull hung together upon a cord stretched across the roof of a Shawia house against the " evil eye " ; and in those Shawia villages which possess common defensible granaries I have seen similar gourds hanging conspicuously from the balconies of these buildings for the same purpose. In a Shawia house at the southern end of the Aures massif I photographed a loom from the top bar of which was hung an empty spindle-whorl, in order, I was told, to protect the fabric in course of manu- facture from the " evil eye " ; and in another house in the same district I noted, hanging from a loom, a small piece of wool which had been dipped in the stewpot, an empty spindle-whorl, and a red-pepper pod, all three of which, combined, were suspended as a charm against the " evil eye."

I was not able to learn any reason for the use of the piece of wool for this purpose, but it seems possible that the spindle-whorls were originally intended merely to attract

  • Lane, Modern Egyptians (" Everyman's Library" ed. ), p. 257.