Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/110

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He then told her that he had been bewitched by a wicked fairy, and could not be delivered unless a maid fell in love with him and kissed him, despite his ugliness.

In this case the kiss redeems from death, and likewise death itself is nothing more than a great kiss of affection. When a human being quits this earthly life it is God who takes His child in His arms, kisses it, and carries it away from earth to brighter and more blissful spheres.

This highly poetical and beautiful conception of death has found expression in Italian, where, instead of the word "die," one can say, "fall asleep in the Lord's kiss" (addormentarsi nel bacio del Signore). And this has got flesh and blood in an old legend of the saints, where it is told of St Monica that, as she lay dying on her couch, a little child whom nobody knew came and kissed her on her breast, and straightway, as if the child had called her, she bowed her head and breathed forth her last sigh.

The kiss of affection follows man even after death; with a kiss one takes leave of the lifeless body.

In Genesis we read that when Jacob was