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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/67

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story of the Rose Tree was of a strange race, but we are informed that the yellow hair of the little girl especially roused her dislike. And if she belonged to the dark--haired people who occupied the land before the Celts arrived, this is explicable.

That same people appear in household tales as giants. Not that they were actually such, but they acquired the reputation of being of extraordinary size because of the megalithic monuments they set up--giant's quoits, giant's needles, giant's tables and the like. In the nursery tales they are credited with drinking blood and grinding men's bones to make their bread. The descendants of this race are still with us, and are not always on a level of intelligence with the fair-haired Englishmen who live hard by. That this primitive people believed in the transmigration of souls is not probable. Everything points to that doctrine having been the special property of the Aryans.

The Attacotti that Jerome saw, and who are mentioned by other writers as peculiarly ferocious men, were probably the lingering remains of the pre-Aryan inhabitants of the land; and the nursery tales about their devouring little children, and grinding men's bones to make their bread, are reminiscences of these fierce cannibal dolmen-builders.