described to us the sepulchral cave of Aurignac in the Pyrenees, in which were found human skeletons of the postglacial date, showing tokens of reverent burial, with rude stone weapons laid ready for their use, and provisions supplied for their entertainment, as also remains of funeral feasts at the cave's mouth. In the vast American continent, in which tribes are widely scattered and isolated, many in a state of lowest barbarism, the belief in a continuance of life after death is general; and the dead warrior is buried with his most useful weapons and choicest ornaments. Even the babe, whose life is usually accounted of little value among savages, was buried by the careful mother with precious strings of wampum that had occupied her busy fingers more months of patient toil than the days of the infant's short life. Among the rude stone monument builders, whose huge allées couvertes in the north-west of France, in Ireland, in Denmark and Southern Sweden are our wonder today, these immense structures, reared at the cost of enormous labour, were dwelling--houses for the dead. In life these megalithic monument builders were content to squat in small beehive huts, in which they could not stand
Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/127
This page needs to be proofread.