Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/25

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Neapolitayi Witchcraft. 3

Especially malicious is the Diavolo Zoppo (the lame devil), proud, violent, and treacherous ; he occupies himself much with lovers. Others are Lucihello, Lurdino, Lurdimno, Quisisizio, Turbionofie, Scartellato, Baldassare. Their aid is invoked, they are present at the councils. The witches go to meet them flying through the air, often on horse- back. In order to be able to fly, after having completely undressed and undone their hair, they go a little before midnight to an isolated spot out of sight, away from every sacred object. It is forbidden to see them, but not to speak to them. Then they anoint their bodies w'ith the follow- ing composition, the quantity varying according to their weight : ten pounds of spirits of wine, half a pound of salt of Saturn, half a pound of Dragerio, to be left for four hours in a covered vessel. Then, saying " Sotto I'acqua e sotto it ventOj sotto it noce di Benevento, Lucibetto portatni dove debbo andare," they fly away.

The meetings take place at midnight in the country, when the witches dance and take council together. Any- one seeing them may claim a gift ; thus a hunchback once got rid of his hump. Hearing them singing ^^ Sabato e Domenica " in endless repetition, he added " E Giovedi morzitto" (and Shrove-Thursday), a favourable day for witchcraft, as is also Saturday. This story is one of those most widely spread in Europe. It is indispensable that the w'itches should return before dawn : once the hour has passed, they fall in their flight and are killed. As a proof, it is said that some have been found very early in the morning in the streets of Naples lying dead and naked. On their w^ay they can neither traverse a running stream nor cross roads; they are obliged "to go round them." They can turn themselves into animals, especially into black cats, but not into inanimate objects. How'ever, they may become "wind," so as to enter a house in order to carry off someone, or to transform him, or for other bad purposes. If when in the house the witch is seized by the

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