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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/18

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Now that we have sugar supplied so freely, we can hardly realise to what an extent honey was formerly required, not only for sweetening cakes, but also for the brewing of metheglin, or mead. It was the drink of the gods; and if a child was to be cast out to die, if a compassionate neighbour touched its lips with honey the heathen father dare not allow it to perish. This occurs in the life of St Liudger, whose mother Liafburg was saved by this means when the father had ordered her to be drowned.

There be certain superstitions not easy to be explained. Actors and actresses have a strong prejudice against performing in green dresses. I have heard a cultured man in Yorkshire explain, quite seriously, that the disturbed condition in England of late, the strikes, the labour unrest, and suffragist outrages, were due to the introduction of the green halfpenny stamp; and green throughout England and Scotland is regarded as an unlucky colour. Mr Henderson, in his Northern Folklore, says: "Green, ever an ominous colour in the Lowlands of Scotland, must on no account be worn at a wedding. The fairies, whose chosen colour it is, would resent the insult and destroy the wearer. Whether on this account or on any other I know not,