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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/463

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455
Pin-Wells and Rag-Bushes.

used to run away as hard as he could go. The spot was called A l'crwè Saint Zè, St. Etto's Cross, or Aux deux Sapins, The two pine-trees. Saint Etto, it seems, was an Irish missionary to these parts in the seventh century.[1]

At Croisic, in Upper Brittany, there is a well, called the well of Saint Goustan, into which pins are thrown by those who wish to be married during the year. If the wish be granted, the pin will fall straight to the bottom. Similar practices are said to be performed in Lower Brittany, and in Poitou and Elsass.[2] Girls used to resort to the little shrine of Saint Guirec, which stands on an isolated rock below high-water-mark on the beach at Perros Guirec in Lower Brittany, to pray for husbands. The worshipper, her prayer concluded, stuck a pin into the wooden statue of the saint; and when I saw the shrine, in the year 1 889, the figure was riddled from top to toe with pinholes. It was said that the prayer for a husband would infallibly be granted within a year. On the other side of Brittany, in the Morbihan, there is a chapel dedicated to Saint Uférier, credited with a similar reputation. The saint's foot, if I may be guilty of a bull, is almost entirely composed of holes. It is, however, necessary here that the pin should be a new one and quite straight; not that the prayer will not be granted otherwise, but the husband will be crooked, hump-backed, and lame. In Upper Brittany, at Saint Lawrence's Chapel near Quintin, and elsewhere, the condition is that the pin be planted at the first blow; the marriage will then take place within the year.[3]

All over France the like practices exist, or have died out only within comparatively recent years. In the Protestant villages of Montbeliard, between the Vosges and the Jura, at the moment of celebration of a wedding a nail was planted in the gallery (or, in some places, in the

  1. Wallonia, No. 3, 1893.
  2. Sébillot, Coutumes de la Haute Bretagne, 96.
  3. Ibid., 97, quoting Fouquet, Légendes du Morbihan. As to St. Guirec's shrine, see also Arch. Camb., 5th Ser, vii, 175.