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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/74

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old man who was being beaten to death by his sons, in Prussia, and a Countess Mansfield in the 14t century saved another in similar circumstances.

Now, this holy mawle, I take it, is no other than the celt or hammer that is figured on the dolmens and tombs of the prehistoric underlying population of Gaul and Britain. The Aryans would never have thought of putting their parents to death, though the parents might think it time to precipitate themselves down the aeternis stapi when provisions ran short. But that was a different matter. Suicide among the Norsemen was a self-sacrifice to Odin, and parent murder was never compulsory on the children.

Passing from the cult of the goddess of death, we come to that of the deity of life. I have at a rifle-shot from my own house a menhir, with a hollow cup in its top. The farmers were wont to drive their cows under it, and let the water from this cup dribble over their backs, under the impression that it would increase their yield of milk. My grandfather was so annoyed at this that he threw it down and buried it. I have dug it up and re-erected it, but the old superstition connected with it is dead.