Page:Journal of American Folklore vol. 12.djvu/548

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200 jfoumal of American Folk-Lore.

not or cared not to abolish it. Saluting the idol with his staff, he made the sevenfold circuit of the temple court, and returned and kissed it. Having thus sanctioned its worship, the Mohammedans have regarded it with the utmost reverence ever since. It is built into the corner of the Kaaba or temple, and toward it each devout Moslem is bidden to look five times a day as he prays. Its name is The Right Hand of God on Earth. By one tradition it is said to have dropped from Heaven with Adam, by another to have been given by Gabriel to Abraham to attest his divinity, and by another it is said that when Abraham was reconstructing the Kaaba that had been destroyed by the deluge, he sent his son Ishmael for a stone to put in its corner, and Gabriel met Ishmael, and gave him this stone. By the tradition the stone was originally transparent hya- cinth, but became black through being kissed by a sinner. In the day of judgment, it is said, it will witness in favor of all those who have touched it with sincere hearts, and will be endowed with sight and speech. That this wonderful stone is a meteorite has not been positively proved by observation, since of course no one has ever been able to obtain a fragment of it for study. There can, however, be little doubt that it is a meteorite. Not only did it according to tradition fall from heaven, but it is described by travellers as having a black color and basaltic character, qualities which correspond ex- actly to those of meteoric stones. Coming next to the instances of meteorites worshipped by Greeks and Romans, it will be found dif- ficult to separate the imaginary from the real. Yet a few cases may be cited with comparative assurance.

Venus of Paphos, Island of Cyprus} — This was one of many "heaven descended images," and is described as a rude triangular stone.

The Statue of Ceres? — This is referred to by Cicero in his oration against Verres as being "not made by hands" and "fallen from the skies."

The Earliest Image of Pallas at Athens? — Tradition gives this a like origin with that just quoted.

The Stone of Delphi} — This is described by Pausanius as being a stone of moderate size " which they anointed every day, and cov- ered during every festival with new shorn wool." They are of the opinion respecting this stone, he says, " that it was the one given by Cybele to Saturn to swallow as a substitute for the infant Jupiter, which Saturn after swallowing vomited out on the earth."

The Needle of Cybele? — This meteoric stone attained great celeb-

1 Fletcher, /. c. p. 18; Newton, /. c. p. 5.

2 Newton, /. c. p. 6. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 Fletcher, /. c. p. 18 ; Newton, /. c. p. 8.

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