Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/405

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Horse's Hair turned into a Water Snake. — The following letter appeared in The Spectator of June 8th last :

  • ' The following instance of a curious belief held by countryfolk

may interest some of your readers. An old man in this parish (in East Kent), who is in full possession of his faculties, and, moreover, has a considerable stock of knowledge of things connected with the farm and garden, informed me the other day of the following re- markable fact (!) in natural history. He told me, quite seriously, that if a hair be taken during summer from the tail of a horse, and placed in a running stream, it would before long become a * water-snake or an eel,' the result depending, it appeared, upon * the breed of the horse.' The root of the hair becomes the head of the new creature ! This experiment he had tried, and though, somehow, he had not seen these hairs grow to full maturity, he had undoubtedly seen life de- veloped in them. I feel sure my old friend thoroughly believed all this, — he is too old to have studied biology at a Board school, or he might be wiser. Perhaps this belief is held elsewhere, but I do not remember ever meeting with it before.

« I am, Sir, &c. A. D."

The Devil's Grandmother. — There is a malicious bit of folklore in the south of Italy bearing on the marriage question. " At Lecce," says Mrs. Janet Koss, in her book on The Land of Manfred " there is a proverb, ' La donna non la sopportb neppure il Diavolo ' Q Even the devil could not stand a woman'), which has its origin in an old belief that the devil once married, but was so bothered by his wife that he divorced her within a week. Now he only has his old grand- mother. Donna Silvia, a good old woman, who is fond of coming up on to the earth. She cooks and keeps house for her grandson, who is very fond of her, and when he is tired he lays his head on her lap and she sings him to sleep." Some crusty old misogynist must have been the inventor of this story. Donna Silvia must have long since died, for there is no evidence of her grandson having gone to sleep within historic times. — Christian World, July 25, 1889.