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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/201

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Correspondence. ijj

With the remembrance that ancient Egyptian love-songs use " brother " and " sister " for the lovers, turn to the goddess Nut, whose attribute is a round jar on her head. She is the " celestial ocean," the great abyss of waters, the matrix or circle of space whence all forms are born, mother of all gods. As the encircling sky, the primary mother, she unites in one reasonable concept the hymn and the custom. The Palestine account remarks (not in this connection) that the Moslem fellah regards the wife as simply a vessel made to bear him children.

Among the Manchus, the bride is required "to hold the precious vase " in her arms all day long. It contains gold, silver, precious stones, and grain. {Folk-Lore, vol. i. p. 488.) But water would be the summary expression of fruitfulness for an agricultural people. And the whole of space conceived as filled with primeval water may well be the original mystic precious vase, which is pictured on the head of Nut.

Concord, Mass. Louise Kennedy.

Supernatural Change of Site.

Mr. G. W. Speth has lately presented to the Society a very interesting and suggestive pamphlet he has written on Builders'" Rites and Ceremonies. On p. 30, in illustrating the custom of offering a sacrifice on the completion of a building, he cites from Mr. Gomme's Folklore Relics of Early Village Life the legend of Barn Hall, in the parish of ToUeshunt-Knights, Essex. An enclosed uncultivated space is shown in the midst of a field, where it is said the Hall was to have been built, but for super- natural interference. The Devil, who was the culprit, on being attacked by night in the act of removing the work done in the day, snatched up a beam from the building and, hurling it to the present site, exclaimed :

" Wheresoe'er this beam shall fall, There shall stand Barn Hall."

The original beam, we are told, was believed to remain in a cellar of the present house, and no one could cut it without wounding himself. The rest of the story, pointing perhaps to a