Open main menu

Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/199

This page needs to be proofread.


a spike by the fire. The first portion cooked was evenly divided by Cairbre among his followers; but not a morsel was put within the lips of the head, which thereupon chanted an obscure verse of remonstrance. The second charge cooked was distributed in the same manner, and again the head sang a verse expressive of indignation. Cairbre then said, "Put the head outside; it has but evil words for us." No sooner had the order been obeyed than the head outside sang a third verse, and Finn and his party arrived on the spot.

In Scandinavian mythology Odin had the head of Mimir, that had been cut off, ever by him as guide and adviser.

In the Arabian Nights is the story of the Greek king and the physician whom he has condemned to decapitation. The latter gives the king a book, and bids him question his head as to what he wants to know after it has been cut off, and it will answer him. In the medieval story of Friar Bacon, it is a brazen head that the friar and Bungey fashion, and which is to instruct them how to wall England round with brass. Through the dullness of the man Miles set to watch it, the favourable moment is lost.

That at some time in the remote past the