STONES, names popularly given in the British islands to the arrow-heads of flint which were in use at an early period among the barbarous tribes of this country and of Europe generally, as they are still in use among the American Indians, the Esquimaux of the Arctic regions, and the inhabitants of some of the islands in the Pacific ocean. It was believed that elves or fairies, hovering in the air, shot these barbs of flint at cattle, and occasionally even at men. Thus, Robert Gordon, of Straloch, an accomplished country gentleman of the n. of Scotland, writing in 1654, tells how one of his friends, traveling on horseback, found an elf-arrow-head in the top of his boot, and how a gentlewoman of his acquaintance, when out riding, discovered one in the breast of her habit. He remarks that, although they are got by chance in the fields and on the highways, one who goes to look for them on purpose will search in vain. He adds that they are most commonly met with after showers—a circumstance which probably helped them in Ger many to their names of "thunder-bolts" and "thunder-stones," and is easily enough explained. The rain, by washing away the earth in which they have been imbedded, makes them more readily perceptible to the eye, especially if the sunshine happens to fall upon them. Cattle dying suddenly in the fields were believed to have been struck by elf-arrows—a belief which yet lingers in Ireland, and perhaps in some secluded parts of Scotland. "Thus, when cattle are sick," writes Mr. W. R. Wilde, in his Catalogue of the Antiquities in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy (Dub. 1857), "and the cat tle doctor, or fairy doctor, is sent for, lie says the beast has been 'elf-shot,' or stricken by fairy or elfin darts; and he forthwith proceeds to feel the animal all over; and, by some legerdemain, contrives to find in its skin one or more poisonous weapons, which, with some coins, are then placed in the water which is given it to drink; and so a cure is said to be effected." The elf-arrow-head was occasionally set in silver, so as to be
worn on the person as a talisman, or had a hole drilled through it, so that it might be dipped in water, which, being thus endowed with healing virtue, was used sometimes as a wash, more commonly as a draught. As a talisman, the elf-arrow-head was believed to be most efficacious as a preservative from poison and witcheraft. The ascription of the flint arrow-head to the elves or fairies, is but one of several instan ces of the 'disposition of a people to elevate or degrade the earlier races whom they vanquished or dispossessed into mythical beings, better or worse than mankind. Thus, in Greece and Italy, the remains of the rude strongholds built by the Pelasgi came to be regarded as works of the fabled Cyclops, or one-eyed giants. So also, in Scotland, the sepulchral mounds of the aboriginal inhabitants were called "elf-hillocks;" and the vestiges of ancient plowshares which may be traced on heaths and bill-tops were called "elfin-furrows." Examples of "elf-arrow-heads" may be seen in most museums of antiquities. They fall to be more particularly described in a following page, under the head of FLINT IMPLEMENTS AND WEAPONS.