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

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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.



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