Open main menu

Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/201

This page needs to be proofread.
198
A BOOK OF FOLK-LORE

The few "screaming skulls" in the country may be regarded as the last lingering remains of a custom once general, at a still earlier date universal. But it is a custom that goes back into the darkest ages of mankind--at all events, to that of the Dolmen Builders, who used stone weapons, and had not as yet acquired the knowledge of bronze.

CHAPTER IX

PIXIES AND BROWNIES

In the year 1838, when I was a small boy of four years old, we were driving to Montpellier, on a hot summer day, over the long straight road that traverses a pebble and rubble strewn plain on which grows nothing save a few aromatic herbs.

I was sitting on the box with my father, when to my great surprise I saw legions of dwarfs of about two eet high running along beside the horses--some sat laughing on the pole, some were scrambling up the harness to get on the backs of the horses. I remarked to my father what I saw, when he abruptly stopped the carriage and put me inside beside my mother, where, the conveyance being