Page:Primitive Culture Vol 1.djvu/94

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found surviving in Switzerland as a toy among the children, who made fire with it in sport, much as Equimaux would have done in earnest.[1] In Gothland it is on record that the ancient sacrifice of the wild boar has actually been carried on into modern time in sportive imitation, by lads in masquerading clothes with their faces blackened and painted, while the victim was personated by a boy rolled up in furs and placed upon a seat, with a tuft of pointed straws in his mouth to imitate the bristles of the boar.[2] One innocent little child's sport of our own time is strangely mixed up with an ugly story of about a thousand years ago. The game in question is thus played in France: — The children stand in a ring, one lights a spill of paper and passes it on to the next, saying, 'petit bonhomme vit encore,' and so on round the ring, each saying the words and passing on the flame as quickly as may be, for the one in whose hands the spill goes out has to pay a forfeit, and it is then proclaimed that 'petit bonhomme est mort.' Grimm mentions a similar game in Germany, played with a burning stick, and Halliwell gives the nursery rhyme which is said with it when it is played in England: —

'Jack's alive and in very good health, If he dies in your hand you must look to yourself.'

Now, as all readers of Church history know, it used to be a favourite engine of controversy for the adherents of an established faith to accuse heretical sects of celebrating hideous orgies as the mysteries of their religion. The Pagans told these stories of the Jews, the Jews told them of the Christians, and Christians themselves reached a bad eminence in the art of slandering religious opponents whose moral life often seems in fact to have been exceptionally pure. The Manichæans were an especial mark for such aspersions, which were passed on to a sect considered as their successors — the Paulicians, whose name reappears in

1 'Early History of Mankind,' p. 244, &c.; Grimm, 'Deutsche Myth.,' p. 573.

2 Grimm, ibid., p. 1200.

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