Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 9, 1898.djvu/402

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368
Correspondence.

discovered were the remains of victims who had been thrust alive into a hollow in the masonry. It is more probable that a corpse was substituted for the living sacrifice of paganism, with the idea that the deceased might benefit from resting in the structure of a sacred edifice, while the building itself would have received the offering prescribed by immemorial custom.

P. K.


Pins and Metal in Wells.

In Lafcadio Hearn's delightful book on Japan, Gleanings in Buddha Fields, there are many passages of interest to the folklorist.

On p. 168 I lately met with a suggestive account, which I quote here : —

"At Sakai there is the Buddhist temple of Myōkokuji, in the garden of which are some very old palm-trees ; one of them, removed by Nobunaga in the sixteenth century, is said to have cried out and lamented until it was taken back to the temple. You see the ground under these palms covered with what looks like a thick, shiny, disordered mass of fur — half reddish and half silvery grey. It is not fur. It is a heaping of millions of needles thrown there by the pilgrims ' to feed the palms,' because these trees are said to love iron, and to be strengthened by absorbing its rust."

Metal, more especially iron, has been put in water of course for ages, with a view to giving it a tonic property. Was the custom of throwing pins, needles, and other metal things into Holy or Wishing Wells originally started with the idea of strengthening the drinker?

Lucy E. Broadwood.


Ropes of Sand ; asses ; and the Danaides.

The occurrence of a single incident in ancient Egyptian custom, on Greek and Roman monuments, in an Arabian story, and in English folklore, provokes suspicion that some one idea, worth finding out, may lie behind the scattered facts. Such an incident