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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/93

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and who continued speaking all the time the fire was being raised. This man was living as a beggar at Ballocheog. When asked to repeat the spell, he declined, as he said that it was the act of this enchantment which had brought him to beggary, and that he dared not say the words again. The whole country believed him to be accursed.

Hunt, in his Romances and Drolls of the West of England says, "There can be no doubt that a belief prevailed until a very recent period, amongst the small farmers in the districts remote from towns in Cornwall, that a living sacrifice appeased the wrath of God. This sacrifice must be by fire, and I have heard it argued that the Bible gave them warranty for this belief." He cites a well authenticated instance of such a sacrifice in 1800, and adds:

"While correcting these sheets I am informed of two recent instances of this superstition. One of them was the sacrifice of a calf by a farmer near Portreath, for the purpose of removing a disease which had long followed his horse and his cows. The other was the burning of a living lamb, to save, as the farmer said, 'his flocks from spells which had been cast on 'em."

Less than two centuries ago it was the