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Superstition

house, lore and farmer

SUPERSTITION, Popular. That which others believe and we do not, is classed as superstition. The religion of our friend, if differing radically from our own, seems to us a superstition. In the heart of nearly every human being, savage or civilized, exists a set tled conviction that he dwells in the midst of an unseen world, peopled with beings of strange powers: who thwart the plans of his own life or assist him in his endeavors. Folk lore, legends, ghost stories and witch tales were early in the 19th century regarded as mere fables, but in the light of modern science they are now as worthy of study as the surely not less indelicate recitals of Roman and Greek mythology. Every profession, trade and occu pation has its peculiar superstitious lore. Even the farmer who sudies the actions of animals will tell you *hat they portend concerning the weather and in many cases sensibly, too, for they build their homes and lay in their food through instinct given by Divine Providence with reference to the coming winter; they house themselves before the coming storm; their coats are heavy or light, as the winter shall be severe or otherwise, and they often give the farmer who watches them valuable indications concerning his crops. So to a

greater or less extent man has followed the habit of the bird and the beast; he has been guided in all his acts by omens; he has often planted his crops, gathered his harvests, made his journeys, waged war, built his house and gone fishing and hunting according to imaginary signs and superstitious beliefs. Though many of the old omens and superstitions have passed into oblivion, there still remain among every race of people htmdreds and thousands of popu lar beliefs and many of them seem destined to be extant as long as man exists. As indicative of the variety, peculiarity and unusual extent of present-day superstition, the following examples selected from the folklore of the different na tions and peoples of the world and now first collected will prove of undoubted interest alike to scientist, student and casual reader.