Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/702

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

The most generally effective of these remedies seem apparently to the authors in the book to be petroleum spraying and draining. A very little petroleum, spreading itself in a minute film over the water surface, will go a great way in destroying the larvæ. Drainage also promises to be very efficient. "It goes even farther back than the larval stage, for it precludes the incipient acts of the mosquito at propagation. It robs her of the congenial nidus for the development of her eggs." The question can, however, only be satisfactorily settled by a concerted movement over wide tracts of land. "The arrest of the plague in one portion of the country when the next section makes no effort to suppress its own contingent can only lead to discouragement and ridicule." Against the house-fly the most promising measure of offense is the encouragement of the fungus that destroys it, which is identical with the yeast-plant; but, as flies seem to do as much good as harm, it will probably be wisest to leave them alone.


IN my studies in South-Slavic folk-lore, I have frequently come in contact with the Vila superstition, but only recently under conditions in which I could make a full investigation of it. The native literature on the subject is immense, but so confused and indefinite that an adequate examination of it would constitute a very serious task. The only way to obtain a satisfactory degree of knowledge in the matter seemed to be to sojourn at places where the population was relatively pure, and become acquainted with the living beliefs of the people. This I have done, having resided at five places, and searched out their popular traditions as one would suck an orange. Especially with regard to the Vilas have I got enough to make a book; I shall here give only a short chapter from it, including a part of what I learned in the single village of Pleternica. This village lies at the foot of a mountain on the right bank of the Orliava River, about three hours from Brod on the Bosnian frontier. The present village is not more than one hundred and thirty years old. In it the estates lie scattered among the hills, each on an elevation by itself, and each a fortified post. The people are engaged in farming, herding, and robbery. The practice of robbery is an inheritance from Turkish times. A large part of the population, who had been Mohammedan, had embraced Roman Catholicism in order to keep their property. Some of the families still boast their Mohammedan extraction. Many Catholics have recently come into the