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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/167

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In Normandy the Phantom Boat puts in at All Souls. The watchman of the wharf sees a vessel come within hail at midnight, and hastens to cast it a line; but at this same moment the boat disappears and frightful eerie cries are heard that make the hearer shudder, for they are recognised as the voices of sailors shipwrecked that year. Hood has described this in The Phantom Boat of All Souls' Night.

The theme has been adopted by novelists, poets and dramatists. It is a tale told in various forms in nearly every maritime Country, and till of late years sailors firmly believed in the existence of the Flying Dutchman, and dreaded seeing the phantom vessel.

These are all the abraded remains of the ancestral belief of our Aryan forefathers relative to the souls of the deceased being conveyed over the river of Vaiterafli, "hard to cross" of the Vedas, the Styx of the Greeks, the Gjöll of the Scandinavians, the earth surrounding river, into the land of spirits beyond.[1]

  1. The idea that souls "go out with the tide', noticed in David Copperfield is connected with the same myth.