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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/819

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CHINESE SUPERSTITIONS.

During the month succeeding the birth of a child the mother must not cross the threshold of another person's room. Should she do this, she will endanger the welfare of the occupants, and in her next life she will perpetually scrub the floor of the room entered.

A girl who is partaking of the last meal she is to eat in her father's house previous to her marriage, sits at the table with her parents and brothers; but she must eat no more than half the bowl of rice set before her, else her departure will be followed by continual scarcity in the domicile she is leaving.

If a bride breaks the heel of her shoe in going from her father's to her husband's house, it is ominous of unhappiness in her new relations.

A piece of bacon and a parcel of sugar are hung on the back of a bride's sedan-chair as a sop to the demons who might molest her while on her journey. The "Three Baneful Ones" are fond of salt and spices, and the "White Tiger" likes sweets.

A bride may be brought home while a coffin is in her husband's house, but not within one hundred days after a coffin is carried out. Domestic troubles are sure to come upon one who is married within a hundred days after a funeral.

A bride, while putting on her wedding garments, stands in a round, shallow basket. This conduces to her leading a placid, well-rounded life in her future home. After her departure from her father's door, her mother puts the basket over the mouth of the oven, to stop the mouths of all who would make adverse comment on her daughter, and then sits down before the kitchen range, that her peace and leisure may be duplicated in her daughter's life.

A bride must not, for four months after her marriage, enter any house in which there has recently been a death or a birth, for if she does so there will surely be a quarrel between her and the groom. If a young mother goes to see a bride, the visitor is looked upon as the cause of any calamity that may follow.

One who has ordered a coffin must guide its bearers by the shortest road to the house in which the corpse lies. The bearers of an empty coffin may not inquire their way at any house nor of any person. To mistake the road when carrying a coffin, or to take it to any house other than that where it is wanted, brings terrible misfortunes on persons thereby disturbed. Any insult may with impunity be offered to coffin-sellers who mistake the destination of their goods.

One should not catch butterflies, since departed spirits frequently incorporate themselves in these insects, and flit back to see what is being done in their old dwelling. A man is known to have died the day after killing a butterfly.

When a cow's tooth is found in a field, it is put on a shelf with the gods, and keeps demons from entering the house.

If, when one is under the open sky, a bird drops excrement upon one, the omen is bad, and must be immediately offset by going to per-