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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/242

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But he has not shown--what I think is the most important point of all--why the nursing of the baby and the going to bed was transferred to the father from the mother. I will quote just a few examples, and then explain my theory.

About eighteen hundred years ago Strabo informed his readers that among the Iberians, in Northern Spain, the women, "after the birth of a child, tend their husbands, putting them to bed instead of going themselves," and this practice still continues among the modern Basques. "In Biscay," says Michel, "in valleys whose population recalls the usages of society in its infancy, the women rise immediately after childbirth and attend to the duties of the household, while the husband goes to bed, taking the baby with him, and thus receives the neighbours' compliments." The same usage has been found also in Navarre, as well as on the French side of the Pyrenees. The Tiboreni of Pontus, to the south of the Black Sea, once practised the couvade. Among them, when the child was born, the father took to his bed with his head tied up and lay groaning, whilst the mother tended him with soup and bread, and prepared his taths. In the old French Lai of Aucassin and Nicolette, in its present