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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/128

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"May Allah bless the day and the hour of your arrival!" said he. "This morning a messenger of the Emir has arrived from Kapibad, and is now awaiting your coming under a tree where all the roads from the east meet near the village gate."

[To be continued.]

 

 

—— Dornian, in his "Origin of Primitive Superstitions," gives the following on the authority of Schoolcraft: "Sleep is thought by the Algic race to be produced by fairies, the prince of whom is Weeng. The power of this Indian Morpheus is exerted in a peculiar manner and by a novel agency. Weeng seldom acts directly in inducing sleep, but he exercises dominion over hosts of gnome-like beings, who are everywhere present. These beings are invisible. Each one is armed with a tiny club, and when he observes a person sitting or reclining under circumstances favorable to sleep, he nimbly climbs upon his forehead and inflicts a blow. The first blow only creates drowsiness; the second makes the person lethargic, so that he occasionally closes his eyelids; the third produces sound sleep. It is the constant duty of these little emissaries to put every one to sleep whom they encounter—men, women, and children. They hide themselves everywhere, and are ready to fly out and exert their sleep-compelling power, although their peculiar season of action is in the night. They are also alert during the day. "While the forms of these gnomes are believed to be those of little or fairy men, the figure of Weeng himself is unknown, and it is not certain that he has ever been seen. Iagoo is said to have seen him sitting upon a branch of a tree. He was in the shape of a giant insect, with many wings upon his back, which made a low, deep, murmuring sound, like distant falling water. Weeng is not only the dispenser of sleep, but it seems he is also the author of dullness. If an orator fails, he is said to be struck by Weeng. If a warrior lingers, he has ventured too near the sleepy god. If children begin to nod or yawn, the Indian mother looks up smilingly and says they have been struck by Weeng, and puts them to bed."

—— In his "Diseases of Memory," Ribot says: "When a child learns to write, according to Lewes, it is impossible for him to use his hand alone; he must also move his tongue, the facial muscles, and perhaps his feet. In time he is able to suppress these useless discharges of nerve-force. And so, when we attempt for the first time any muscular act, we expend a great quantity of superfluous energy which we learn gradually to subdue. By exercise certain movements are fixed, to the exclusion of others."

—— What is a Cause?—Kingdon Clifford says that the word represented by "cause" has sixty-four meanings in Plato and forty-eight in Aristotle. He further observes that "these were men who liked to know as near as might be what they meant; but how many meanings the word has had in the writings of the myriads of people who have not tried to know what they meant by it will, I hope, never be counted."

—— Oxygen and Consciousness.—Brown-Séquard, according to Dr. Luys, once injected the head of a dog, when separated from the trunk, with defibrilated and oxygenated blood, and at the moment when the injection of this blood had recalled the manifestations of life he called the dog by his name. The eyes of the head thus separated from the trunk turned toward him, as if the voice of the master had still been heard and recognized.