Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/424

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4 1 o Collectanea.

Fig. 29. Two objects on a silver chain, seemingly forming a bracelet for a child; Madrid. One object is a bone from a fish's head (cf. supra, vol. xxiv., p. 70, for some notes on such bones) ^ in a silver frame ; the other is a piece of an organic material, perhaps a part of the callosity, the "chestnut," from the leg of some equine animal, also mounted in silver. I obtained no in- formation concerning the latter object; we may observe, however, that as the Spanish word for the callosity referred to, "castana," exactly corresponds to our word " chestnut," and that as amuletic virtues are attributed to " chestnuts " of various kinds in Spain, it seems not at all unlikely that this kind of " chestnut " was employed as a substitute, more resistant to the effects of time and usage, for the ordinary varieties of vegetable origins.

I have seen, at Madrid and Toledo, a considerable number of horse-chestnuts mounted as amulets, sometimes in silver or silver filagree, with bells (as in the one shown in Fig. 39, Plate VII., vol. xvii., supra) or without, sometimes with merely a piece of iron wire for suspension and with some hanging beads attached. I have recorded (Joe. cit.) the employment of these chestnuts (and of Efitada and Mucuna seeds called, by some of my informants, "chestnuts") against the evil eye. Horse-chestnuts, which may be either unmounted and carried in the pocket, or worn mounted as pendants, are commonly employed at Toledo (and seemingly in

reason for the connection of sea-horses with lactation, but as I have reason to believe that there is an ancient and widespread folk-conception associating fish with lactation,! suggest that possibly the hippocampus has been selected for carrying because it is cleaner and firmer than most dried fishes, is of a suitable size, and is nearly odourless. We should note, however, that at Naples the hippocampus serves as an amulet against the evil eye, and sometimes against fevers (as well as in one or more direct associatfons with lactation), and that either of these applications would tend to fit it for use by nursing women, even without any direct association of the animal with milk.

1 In J. Rodriguez Lopez's Super sticiones de Galicia (2nd edn. ), Madrid, 1910, p. 147, a writer is quoted who speaks several times of the ^^piedra corbina^' as useful against various illnesses, and says of it : "I believe that this stone is not a stone, but is one of the bones that the fish corbino has in its head " ; he says also that he has such a stone or bone that he obtained at Pontevedra [Spain], where, due to experience, it is supposed to possess special efficacy in kidney diseases.