Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/404

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316 , NOTES AND QUERIES.

could not tell. He called for water for them to wash themselves^ when the girls washed up to their elbows and the hoys only up to their wrists ; 80 King Solomon told by that.^'

Can any one trace this story or refer to similar ones ?

Charlotte S. Burne.

Ears of Babies perforated in Spain. — As this very curious custom obtains such popular favour amongst the Spanish people, perhaps an account thereof may be inserted in " Notes and Queries " column, as an addition to folklore. Soon after the birth of babies in Spain they receive the water of regeneration, then their ears are bored. Being performed by the family medical or surgical attendant, that skilful operator always inserts the gold ear-wires and performs this act gratis, Spaniards give as a reason for early ear-piercing this strange theory — that at birth eyes are tender, lids being clogged together, which are safely loosened through blood-letting; hence the German patent ear-perforating needle is passed through the ear-lobe and benefits the optic nerve. Early in life this simple remedy excites a wholesome derivative irritation, and the perforation being so ex- ceedingly useful in after life, both sexes are thus treated for thera- peutical reasons throughout Spain. The tradition connected with such an idea is of Carthaginian origin, for that people were excessively careful of their eyes, and excelled in curative practices. Ophthalmia and scrofula are very rare in Spain, and the natives maintain that freedom therefrom is owing to ear-piercing. Hence even his present Majesty — Alfonso XIII., King of Spain — ^was early initiated into this time-honoured custom **of having his ears bored," for the Queen Kegent venerates all these traditional customs of her adopted country. Boys wear little gold ear-wires, which are removed at manhood. In Portugal ears are pierced when children are three weeks old ; in France, at three years ; in Italy, at eighteen months.

Maria de Sanchez,