Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 1 1883.djvu/225

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Lastly, as in Mexico, we find living human sacrifices, in South Africa dead human bodies, and in Polynesia and New Caledonia human bones,—all used in conjunction with professional rainmakers, and to produce rain,—these facts seem to point to the conclusion that there is some widespread myth, or story, as to the connection of human remains with rainfall, and that in this the true explanation of the story of S. Swithin should be sought.


By Mrs. M. A. Walker.

DURING the many years in which I have been living in contact with the unlettered classes of this country, I have found frequent amusement in gleaning such items of their folk-lore as came in my path. Some of these are very quaint, as the following examples, collected chiefly from Greek sources, will show.

Tuesday is considered a most unfortunate day on which to begin any kind of work: from the cutting out of a dress, to the sailing of a ship, all must go wrong: the dress will not fit; the sweetmeats will ferment; the house will be weak in its foundations; the ship will most certainly be wrecked! One hour out of the twenty-four is so especially baneful that a child beginning life at that time is sure to grow up vicious and unmanageable; no one, however, knows exactly which is the fatal period, and all Tuesday-born children may enjoy the benefit of the doubt, until their perversity betrays the malignant influence that overshadowed their birth.

If you wish to dismiss a visitor without incurring the painful necessity of hinting that the visit is unwelcome, let some one quietly slip a pinch of salt into his galoshes, left outside the door, and immediately the unconscious guest resolves to depart: you may then with safety entreat him to prolong the pleasure of his society; nothing can withstand the subtle power that compels him to leave.

In many countries the howling of a dog is taken as the sign of death in the neighbourhood; here, nothing is easier than to avert the omen; again, it is only a little salt that is required: put it in

Part 7.