Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/167

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159
THE PHILOSOPHY OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN.

in like manner a Hindoo wife speaks of her husband as "He," "Swamy," or "the Master," avoiding mention of his name. Dorman says that the New Mexican tribes never made known their own names or those of friends to a stranger, lest these should be used in sorcery. Among the Ojibways husbands and wives never told each others' names, and the children were warned that if they repeated their own names they would stop growing. Dobrizhoffer records that the Abipones of Paraguay would knock at his door at night, and when asked who was there^ would not answer, lest enemy or sorcerer overheard their name. There must be like origin for the reluctance of which Gregor speaks in his Folklore of the North-East of Scotland,[1] when folk "calling at a house of the better class on business with the master or mistress had a very strong dislike to tell their names to the servant who admitted them." The same author says that "in Buckie there are certain family names that fishermen will not pronounce;" the folk in the village of Coull speaking of "spitting out the bad name." If such a name is mentioned in their hearing, they spit or, in the vernacular, "chiff." One bearing the dreaded name is called a "chifferoot." If there is occasion to speak of anyone with such a name a circumlocution is used, as "The man it diz so in so," or "The laad it lives at such and such a place." If possible the men bearing these names of reprobation are not taken as hired men in the boats during the herring-fishing season; or, when hired before their names were known, have been refused their wages if the season has been a failure. "Ye hinna hid sic a fishin' this year is ye hid the last," said a woman to the daughter of a famous fisher. "Na, na, faht wye cud we? We wiz in a chififeroot's 'oose, we cudnae hae a fushin'." In some of the villages on the east coast of Aberdeenshire it was accounted unlucky to meet any one of the name of Whyte when going to sea. Lives would be lost, or the catch of fish would be poor.[2] In fine, for these illustrations may be cited to weariness, wherever the name is regarded as a part of the person or thing which it represents, there is no limit to the application. Such confusion could not be more perfectly illustrated than in an anecdote which Dr.

  1. P. 30.
  2. Pp. 200, 201