Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/105

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shame overtook him at once, he leapt off his horse, spoke kindly to the sick man, gave him what money he had, and kissed both his hands. Such is the account given by the historical chronicles, but the legend goes on to say that the leper immediately afterwards vanished: it was Christ Himself who wished, in this wise, to bestow His benediction on the noble and beautiful life's work of the saint.

The kiss of affection also plays an important part in folk-poetry; that alone has power to cast off spells, that alone breaks all the bonds of witchcraft and sorcery, and is able to restore man to his original shape.

In the Scotch ballad of Kempion we are told how the Earl of Estmereland's daughter is persecuted by her wicked stepmother, who at last by magic arts changes her into a snake:

Cum heir, cum heir, ye freely feed
And lay your head low on my knee;
The heaviest weird I will you read,
That ever was read to gay ladye.

O meikle dolour sall ye dree,
And aye the salt seas o'er ye'se swim;
And far mair dolour sall ye dree,
On Estmere crags, when ye them climb.