Open main menu

Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/144

This page needs to be proofread.


so I sez to Joe, say I, "For God's sake, Joe, be sure and put her in up'm down."

"F.T.E.: 'Do you mean that the coffin is to be turned upside down?'

"Farmer: 'Ay, sure, and no mistake! Her 'ont be troublesome then, 'cause if her do begin to diggy, her can on'y diggy downwards."

Mr Elworthy adds: "I have known other cases of interments that have been made face downwards."

Now Frobenius, in The Childhood of Man, says that on the Shari River that flows into Lake Tchad in Central Africa, on a death they, "make a breach in the walls of the hut, through which the blindfolded body, face downwards and head foremost, is carried out, the breach being then again closed up. The people of the Shari explain that they turn the body face down and bandage the eyes to prevent the spirit from knowing which way the body was taken." Frobenius is here a little mistaken. This treatment of the body is in order to prevent the body from returning and being vexatious to its relatives.

All these superstitions pertain to very early conceptions of death, of a period when carnal interment was practised.

In the year 1779 there were living together