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Essays in the Study of Folk-Songs (1886)
written by "Martinengo-Cesaresco, Evelyn Lilian Hazeldine Carrington, contessa, 1852-1931"
... but without any consciousness of wrong-doing. A little girl picked up a small bone in a graveyard and took it away to amuse herself with it. In the evening, when she returned home, she heard a voice saying: Give me back my bone! Give me back my bone! 239 "What's that?" asked the mother. "Perhaps it is because of a bone I picked up in the cemetery." "Well, it must be given back." The little girl opened the door and threw the bone into the court, but the voice went on saying: Give me back my bone! Give me back my bone! "Maybe it is the bone of a dead man; take the candle, go into the court and give it back to him." It is most unfortunate to possess a human bone, even by accident. It establishes unholy relations between the possessor and the spirit world which render him defenceless against spells and enchantments. A late chaplain to the forces in Mauritius told me that the witches, or rather wizards, who have it all their own way in that island, contrived, after a course of preparatory persecution, to surreptitiously introduce into his house the little finger of a child. He could not think what to do with it: at last he consulted a friend, a Catholic priest, who advised him to burn it, which was done. We all know "the finger of birth-strangled babe" in the witches' cauldron in Macbeth; but it is somewhat surprising to find a similar "charm for powerful trouble" in current use in a British colony. A Corsican legend, reported by M. Frdric Ortoli, should have a place here. On the Day of the Dead a certain man had to go to Sartena to sell chestnuts. Overnight he filled his panniers, so as to be ready to start with the first gleam of daylight. The only thing left for him to do was to go and get his horse, which 240 was out at pasture not far from the village. So he went to bed, but hardly had he lain down when a fearful storm broke over the house. Cries and curses echoed all round: "Cursed ...

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