Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/415

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.



whose conversation between themselves as it issued from her mouth contained the strangest and most inconclusive propositions.

Chapter 4 tells of another curious Sicilian form of superstition, namely, i morti, literally, " the dead," but, in fact, " the kind dead," spirits of rela- tions who come out of their tombs to bring presents to the children of the family of whatever toys, &c., their little hearts most desire. At Aci, a local proverb, much in use ( Vent me patri? — Appressu =ls my father coming ? — By-and-by), where an expected friend makes himself long waited for, has its origin in the story of a little orphan boy, who in his anxiety to see his dead father once again, went out in the night where the kind spirits walk, and in spite of all the terrified beating of his little heart, asked of every one of the number of them he met, Veni me patri? and each one answered, Appressu! As he had the courage to hold Out to the end he finally had the consolation of seeing his father and having from him caresses and sweetmeats.

Chapter 5 contains various traditions about the devil and his satel- lites, demons and sprites. Some are amusing, but do not differ in many instances from the ordinary type of the devils of Folklore in other countries. The chapter contains also stories of compacts with the Evil One, proverbs about him, legends of his wiles and arts.

Chapter 6 in natural sequence arrives at recounting all that relates to witchcraft, which, as in other parts of Italy, seems less virulent in its operations than in countries further north, and chiefly occupies itself with the preparation of love-potions. At page 117 we meet in Sicilian dialect, under the spelling Ciarma, with a word identical in sound and meaning with our English "charm," in the sense of " a spell."

The next five chapters deal with fairies, sirens, giants, dwarfs. Among the most localised of these fantastic beings must be specified the Mercanti, guardians of hidden treasures, and which appear, more often than in human form, in that of animals, fruit, and flowers. Also Guvitedda, guardians of minerals, exact counterparts of the Norlcs of Tirol*

Chapter 12 gives the Sicilian ideas of fate and fortune in their various personifications.

  • Busk's Household Stories from the Land of Hofer, pp. 13 — 73. Griffith

and Farran.