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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/37

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wife, who was ill, and both saw Madame standing before them, with a light shining about her, which gradually faded. He told me this story himself, with all the sincerity of a man who is speaking the truth. Next day he found his extinguished lantern where he had left it.

There are certain manifestations that may have helped on the popular superstition as to the soul being a fire, that may as well be mentioned. I cannot doubt myself that on occasions preceding death there is a luminosity apparent, as though the departing soul were shining through the body, as a candle does through the sides of the lantern. Sir H. Marsh, a London physician, writing in the Medical Gazette in 1842, gives an account of such an appearance that he had himself observed attentively.

But the soul has also been thought to take an animal shape. Guntram, the Frank king, was out hunting one day, as Paulus Diaconus tells us, when, feeling tired, he lay down under a tree to sleep. The squire, whilst guarding his royal master, with surprise saw a serpent emerge from the king's mouth and glide down to a rivulet hard by and seek to cross the water, but was unable to do so. Thereupon the squire, determined to see the