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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/407

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399
Folk-lore Miscellanea

were to be bought, and driven for some hours round and about the streets and the lanes of the city, and then turned out loose to wander at will, in order to remove the pestilence.

It was accordingly done, and the effect this would seem to have had on the minds of the people was something marvellous ; the seizures diminished, and the death-rate suddenly declined in a most marked manner. It would appear that the Kashmiris believed either that these animals bore away the disease, or the sins and shortcomings which had brought this scourge upon them.

At Jamu itself, some years ago, the writer saw numerous ownerless cattle wandering about the native city and its environs, and was then told that these were animals which, by a particular ceremony, had had the sins of certain persons laid upon them; they looked sleek and well-fed, living most probably upon the charity of the general public.

The notion regarding the sin-eater in Southern Italy becomes even more directly personal, as the following anecdote serves to show. The writer had it from a Roman lady who had then resided some years in Naples, she knew one of the parties concerned, and spoke of it as a singular piece of superstition. A family of her acquaintance had settled themselves down in an apartment in that city ; not long afterwards another flat in the same house was taken by a lady whom the first-comers believed possessed the Mal' Occhio = the Evil Eye. They were in despair, and, in order to avert any bad consequences v/hich might result to themselves, they caused a bull to be brought to the house, and had it driven through the entrance archway, and led round and round the courtyard for some hours. There seems a remarkable connection between the sin-eater of Central Asia and of the Welsh border, the bull of Kashmir, and the Neapolitan custom.

H. G. M. Murray-Aynsley.

Srinagar, Kashmir, July 28, 1892.

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John Aller. — The following story was told me in the summer of 1885 by a farmer at Aller in Somersetshire (Mr. Dudridge), to account for the origin of the name of the village.

He also informed me that there was a monument to Aller in the church, but this was incorrect.

The village of Aller is distant about two miles from Curry Rivell, both villages are on the sides of hills, and the intervening country is flat and marshy.

The spot pointed out to me as the site of the encounter is a bare patch of sand, very noticeable on the green hill-side as you approach by the Langport road.

The rector of Aller had neer heard the story.