Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/31

This page needs to be proofread.

Neapolitan Witchcraft. 9

The were-wolf is known, but not as the creation of witches. It is a curse on men born on Christmas Eve ; they are known by the length of their nails. The malady seizes them in the night ; they run on all fours trying to bite, but they retain the human form. If they are wounded so as to lose blood, the madness is stopped at once. Girls born on Christmas Eve are not maidens.

The foregoing information was obtained quite recently from witches in Naples. When asked what books they used, they answered None, that their knowledge is entirely tradi- tional. The incantations, often composed in verse, have become in time so damaged that it has seemed better not to attempt to indicate the verses. Still, literal accuracy in repeating the spells is believed to be of the greatest import- ance. A scarred tongue was shown to me as the conse- quence of a mistake.

Some of the apparatus of witchcraft mentioned was presented to the Society that it might be placed in the Cambridge Museum.

I owe much to the kind aid of Signor Luigi Molinaro del Chiaro, of Naples, founder of the paper, Giambattista Basile, so much appreciated by amateurs of Italian tradi- tions. Unfortunately it exists no longer.

Le Pigautier, Menton, September, 1896.