Open main menu

Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/44

This page needs to be proofread.
41
THE SPIRIT OF MAN

in the light or the dark, according as his thoughts were with the star or with his wife. Alter this experience, he said that he always avoided anything that could produce a repetition, the consequences of it being very distressing.

A citizen of Bremen had observed for some time that about the hour of midnight his wife ceased to breathe, and lay motionless like a corpse, with her mouth open. He had heard it said that souls could leave the body and go on their wanderings, and returned through the mouth. He could hardly believe it, but he resolved on trying the experiment on his wife; so he turned her body over when she was in this condition, with her face buried in the pillow. Then he went quietly to sleep, but on awakening next morning he found his wife in the position in which he had placed her, stone dead.

The conception of the soul passing into an animal form is distinctly Aryan. It is the basis of the Brahmin philosophy. The Celts, and after that the Teutons, brought with them from the East the belief in metempsychosis; but of this more in the next chapter.