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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/168

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In the infancy of man there were two phenomena that sorely perplexed him: his reflection in standing water, and his shadow. The universal ignorance of the most elementary laws of Nature goes far to explain the origin of many myths that were adopted as solutions of problems not understood. Why did a man, on looking into still water, see himself reproduced? He knew nothing of the principle of reflection, and he supposed that he saw a real double of himself. What was the cause of the shadow dogging his steps? It was not caused by his body intercepting the rays of the sun. That was a conception far beyond his reach. He supposed that his shadow was his attendant spirit. Consequently he had two companions--one luminous and the other dark; one good and the other evil.

I had plate-glass windows in my dining-room. Frequently peacocks, seeing themselves reflected in the panes, flew at them and shattered the glass, supposing that they saw rivals in the affections of the pea-hens. Tigers have been caught by placing mirrors