Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review Volumes 32 and 33.djvu/139

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127
Canadian Folklore.

their faces blackened (not masked), pretending to be beggars and asking for "charity, please." What they wanted and got was of course apples and nuts. Formerly Hallowe'en was the occasion of rather noisy and rowdy processions of students and other young people, who sometimes did damage to property,—shopkeepers' signs, etc. This was discountenanced by the University authorities, and has now, I think, stopped completely. Another observance common about 1890- 1900, but now rare, was for the boys to go about with peashooters bombarding windows. Various other amusements, some of them traditional, are kept up more or less—bobbing for apples, making jack-o'-lanthorns out of pumpkins with a candle inside, and the like—mostly at "Hallowe'en parties," a fairly common form of social entertainment. The disguised children are often called, or call themselves, goblins or witches.

These, I think, are definitely customs of the country rather than of the city. Few of our people comparatively have been city-dwellers for more than about a generation. They are also British-Canadian, not French-Canadian.

French beliefs.—The informant is the same habitant girl from whom the former series of Quebec folklore notes was derived.

Rats and mice.—To get rid of them, catch one, set its fur on fire, and let it go. If this is not effectual, send for a rat-charmer, of whom there are still a good many in the province.

Weather sign.—A cold Advent, especially Advent Sunday, foretells a mild winter, and vice versa.

Pregnancy.—The health of the expectant mother and that of the child vary inversely. The informant cited from her own experience an extremely healthy woman of whose thirteen children only three survived, and another who was quite pleased at the death of her two children in infancy, because it meant that her own health would improve, and "it couldn't hurt the babies just to be born and die."

If the lid is accidentally left off a kettle on the fire, company is coming.

Ontario.—The following notes were communicated to me in March, 1914, by the same informant from whom I had the earlier notes (see Folk-Lore, xxiv. pp. 219 ff.):