Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 9, 1898.djvu/306

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
280
Miscellanea.

mother will not allow any part of the bedding or clothes of her infant to be taken by any woman not belonging to the immediate circle of her relatives or acquaintances. The idea is, that any stranger taking such things may by means of them work mischief to the mother or child.

The Murshidâbâd rite thus seems to represent : first, in the formation of a temple-well, the worship of the well as an abode of the rain-god ; secondly, in the drenching of the idol, a piece of the familiar mimetic magic.[1]

__________

Sacred Fire.

I enclose a photograph which I think is of interest. It is a piece of the wood last used to raise the Teine Eigin in Scotland. It is at present in the possession of the Rev. Mr. George Sutherland, of the Free Church of Scotland, Torosay, Island of Mull, in whose family it has been ever since 1809 or 1810, when it was used for the purpose stated. The following is Mr. Sutherland's account of the transactions of which this is a relic : —

"In Houstry, Dunbeath, Caithness, about the year 1809 or 1810, David Gunn, a crofter, in the course of making a kail-yaird, interfered with one of those prehistoric ruins known as Brochs which are so numerous in that northern region. Now, it was well known that this Broch was a fairy habitation, and, in any case, it was well known that to tamper with a Broch or to carry away any of its materials was extremely uncanny. But however much the wise heads might shake, David persisted until he finished his enterprise. Shortly after, the expected happened in an unexpected way. David and his family were not to be the sole sufferers on account of his rashness, as might have been expected, but vengeance was poured out on the whole community. A plague broke out which was rapidly decimating the cattle of the district. The wise heads met, and a Teine-Eigin was

  1. The Society is indebted to Mr. William Crooke for his kindness in making an abstract of this interesting paper, which our space did not permit of being given in its entirety, and for the addition of some illustrative notes. — Ed.