Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/428

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4 1 4 Collectanea.

and primarily through commercial enterprise — that is, I think, they- have been made and introduced into Spain in order to create a need for their forms, not to meet such a need already in existence. I believe that all of them are of foreign manufacture. Whether any of them represent old Spanish beliefs or not, I do not know ; I have not come across old Spanish amulets which would represent their prototypes, although it is not improbable, I think, that the ideas underlying some or all of them have become obsolete in Spain until their possible recent reintroduction from abroad.

Fig. 39. A finger-ring, formed of a nickel-plated horseshoe-nail; San Sebastian. Similar rings, either plain, nickel-plated, or of silver, were kept for sale in a small jeweller's shop at San Sebastian; questioned as to these, the shopkeeper said that she believed that their idea had been recently introduced into Spain,, and that it had come to San Sebastian from Madrid about a year previously {i.e. in 1913).^ A woman, of the working classes, wha- was wearing one of the rings (in 19 14) told me that they were luck-bringers — but only if giveii to their wearers ; a person must not buy his or her own ring — and that the best rings were made from simple nails, the next best from the nickelled ones, and the least efficacious from the silver representations.

Fig. 40. A white metal finger-ring with a representation of a skull ; Madrid. Rings of this kind were exhibited in a shop- window, in a well-to-do quarter of Madrid, in 19 15, as rings " to bring good luck."^

^ Recently, at a French railway station, I have seen a number of rings, identical with the one illustrated, attached to a printed card stating that they were favourite English luck-bringers ; it may be that the Spanish specimens came from the same source as these. The idea of such rings may possibly, however, really have been long established in Spain ;, in any case, protective and luck-bringing virtues are there ascribed to the horseshoe (for some examples of these, see L. Giner Arivau's " Folk-Lore de Proaza," in vol. viii. of the Biblioteca de las Tradiciones Populares Espailoles, p. 271). Further- more, I saw, some nine or ten years ago, at Naples, among broken silver sent to be melted down, some rings (probably, however, of quite recent manufac- ture) of similar form, which may possibly indicate an old belief in horseshoe- nail rings among Latin peoples.

-A representation of a skull is a very common contemporary Italian amulet against the evil eye and, I believe, also to secure good luck.