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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/129

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the horse was killed and buried with the warrior, and our usage is the faint trace of the old barbarous custom that has undergone modification.

It is now quite a common practice in England to decorate the graves with flower-wreaths. These take the place of the earlier gifts of food, and show that still in men's minds lingers the pre-Aryan cult of the dead body. The Roman Church has accepted it altogether, and the worship of relics is neither more nor less than the survival of prehistoric beliefs and usage. At Eben, above the Inn Valley, in the church, immediately over the high altar, is a grinning skeleton, tricked out with sham flowers and spangles, behind glass. It is the body of St Nothburga; and when the priest is saying mass at the altar, it looks precisely as though he were sacrificing to this skeleton. I have seen many more quite as revolting exhibitions.

There is a curious book entitled De Miraculis Mortuorum ("On the Miracles of the Dead"), by a physician, Christian Friderick Garmann, published at Leipzig, 1670. The object of the writer is to refute widely extended beliefs that the dead are still alive in their graves, because the hair and the nails continue to grow after death; because strange sounds