Open main menu

Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/59

This page needs to be proofread.


A better-known story is that of Tiresias, the Theban prophet, who as a boy was suddenly changed into a girl. Seven years after he again changed his sex, to his great satisfaction. Whilst he was a woman he had been married, and he was married again after he became a man.

Among the Icelanders it was believed that certain men became women every seventh day. That which caused the burning of the worthy Njall, his wife, and sons, in their house was the taunt of a certain Skarpedin, who threw a pair of breeches at one Flossi and bade him wear them, as he changed sex every ninth day. In the Gullathing laws is one condemning to outlawry any man who charged another with change of sex, or with having given birth to a child. When Thorvald the Wide--Travelled went round Iceland with a German missionary bishop named Frederick, preaching the Gospel, the smooth face and long petticoats of the prelate gave rise to bitter jests. A local poet sang a strain purporting that the bishop had become the mother of nine children of whom Thorvald was the father; and the Icelander was so furious that he hewed down the scald with his battleaxe.

We have seen now how that from the idea