Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/388

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end of the bill of a newly hatched chick. It would be of more practical value did they know that the real cause was a little thread-like worm far back in the throat. This worm may easily be removed by a loop of horse-hair, or destroyed by the application of proper remedies. In the same localities I remember that when I was a child "luck-eggs," as we called the very small eggs, now and then dropped at the end of the laying-season, were highly valued by children, as they believed that so long as one of these small treasures was kept unbroken good fortune would attend the possessor. Children in some parts of New England have a very singular notion that it is the yelk of the egg which, during the process of incubation, develops into the body of the chick, while the white gives rise to the feathers. With this instance I may close the present brief account of such specimens of the animal and plant lore of children as a moderate amount of inquiry has enabled me to procure. I have mentioned approximately the regions where I knew the various superstitions were entertained, but doubtless many of them have wider range than has here been indicated. More extended research, particularly in out-of-the-way localities in the South and West, may greatly add to the list of such beliefs.

Note.—The writer will gratefully acknowledge the receipt of additional myths of similar character to those here given, with a view to subsequent fuller treatment of the subject. Beliefs of adults will be acceptable, as well as those held only by children, and it will be of service if considerable detail be given in regard to the geographical or social boundaries of the superstition, and if the latter be stated as explicitly as possible. Address Mrs. Fanny D. Bergen, P. O. box 253, Peabody, Massachusetts.



TILL the second half of this century the nature of the innumerable stars with which space is peopled was wholly a subject of imaginative speculation. Recent science has been able to substitute more exact ideas for premature hypotheses. Notwithstanding the immense distances that separate them from us, spectrum analysis has enabled us to make chemical investigations of the sun, the comets, stars, and nebulæ. It is, further, possible to reach results more precise and more complete in other respects for many extra-terrestrial bodies; that is, for those bodies, fragments of which are dropped from time to time upon our globe. Although we have no means of going to them, they come to us, real messengers from above, to satisfy our legitimate curiosity. The study of these fragments, the only cosmic bodies which it is possible for us to handle immediately, concerns one of the fundamental questions of the physical history of the universe.

The list of meteors, both in ancient and modern times, is very full.