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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/464

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456
Pin-Wells and Rag-Bushes.

floor) of the church, to "nail" or fasten the marriage. In various parts of the country there are stone or iron crosses which have doubtless replaced wooden ones. In the new crosses it is of course impossible to hammer nails, or stick pins. Devotees, therefore, content themselves with depositing pins upon the arms or pedestal, or in the joints.[1] The well of Monies in the department of Tarn had, at the beginning of the present century, a great renown for the cure of various diseases. The rags which had been used in bathing with the sacred water the diseased members were left stretched out on the neighbouring bushes.[2] An instance where the honour and glory, not to say the substantial gains attendant on the superstition, were early annexed by the Church is that of St. Michel-la-Rivière in the diocese of Bordeaux. Both the honour and the gains were considerable in the seventeenth century, as appears from orders made, and quarrels between the curé and the fabriqueur of the church decided, by the Archbishop of Bordeaux. The sick man was required to pass through a hole called a veyrine at the end of the apse; and the patients left offerings not merely of linen, but also of money, wax, and other things.[3] Nor was this case at all singular; for similar practices obtained wherever in the diocese was a church dedicated to St. Michael. In a North-German example the object of veneration was an oak-tree; and the pilgrim, after creeping through the hole in the prescribed manner, completed the performance by burying a piece of money under the roots. As many as a hundred patients a day are said to have visited it.[4] Here the Church had neglected her opportunities.

Passing the Pyrenees, let us note that in the seventeenth

  1. Gaidoz, in Rev. de l'hist. des Rel, vi, lo, 12. See also Notes and Queries, 8th Ser., iv, 186.
  2. Gaidoz, Un vieux rite medical, 29, quoting Clos, Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de France.
  3. Ibid., 41, quoting Mémoires de la Societe Archæologique de Bordeaux.
  4. Bartsch, i, 418.