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to represent a scaling ladder. That he is not fairly entitled to this coat-armour, ecclesiastical historians prove by appealing to the crose itself on which he suffered, which St. Stephen of Burgundy gave to the convent of St. Victor, near Marseilles, and which, like the common cross, is rectangular. The cause of the error is thus explained; when the apostle suffered, the cross, instead of being fixed upright, rested on its foot and arm, and in this posture he was fastened to it; his hands to one arm and the head, his feet to the other arm and the foot, and his head in the air. After all, St. John Chrysostom, in his sermon on the
festival of St. Andrew, says that the saint was crucified on Olive oil an olive tree,t in consequence of which olive oil has long sacred.
possessed a sacred repute among the vulgar. Amatory
From the Regnum Papisticum of Naogeorgus, translated divinations by Barnabe Googe, in 1570, it appears that the peasant
girls in ancient times, attempted to divine the name of their future husbands, by forcing the growth of onions in the chimney corner, and they ascertained the temper of the future spouse from the straightness or crookedness of a stick, drawn from a wood stack. Amatory divinations, it
will be seen, were by no means peculiar in England to the German
season of Advent. In Germany, it is commonly believed legend of that on St. Andrew's night and the nights of St. Thomas, Andrew's Christmas, and New Year, a girl has the power of inviting night.
and seeing her future lover. A table is to be laid for two persons, taking care, however, that there are no forks on it. Whatever the lover leaves behind him at his departure must be carefully preserved; he then returns to her who has it, and loves her passionately. It must, however, be carefully kept from his sight, because he would otherwise remember the torture of superhuman power, which he that night endured, and this would lead to fatal consequences. A fair maiden, in Austria, once sought at midnight, after
• Dr. Aikin's Athenæum, Vol. I., p. 140.
performing the necessary ceremonies, to obtain a sight of her future lover; whereupon a shoemaker appeared, having a dagger in his hand, which he threw at her, and then disappeared. She picked up the dagger and concealed it in a trunk. It was not long afterwards before the shoemaker visited, courted, and married her. Some years after their marriage, she chanced to go one Sunday, about the hour of vespers, to the trunk, in search of something which she required for her work on the following day. As she opened her trunk, her husband came to her, and would insist on looking into it; she kept him off, until at last he pushed her away with great violence, looked into her trunk, and there saw his dagger. He immediately seized it, and demanded of her how she had obtained it, because he had lost it at a very particular time. In her fear and alarm, she had not the power to invent any excuse, so declared the truth, that it was the same dagger which he had left behind him on the night when she had obliged him to appear to her. Her husband hereupon grew enraged, and said with a terrible oath, - 'Twas you then that caused me that night of dreadful misery!' and with that he thrust the dagger into her heart.
This popular tradition of Germany is translated by Mr. Thoms,* from Grimm's “ Deutsche Sagen." In England, superstitious rites of this nature, were practised on other festival nights, and among the rest, on the vigil of St. Mark, but it was believed that during the whole term of Advent, fairies, witches, goblins, and malevolent spirits possessed their most formidable powers of annoying good christians, until, we shall find, they were temporarily quelled by the “ hallowed and gracious time” of the eve of Christmas. In Lithuania, even to this day, an opinion prevails among persons of the middling classes, that dreams on the night before St. Andrew's day, which is properly called the eve of St. Andrew, are particularly prophetic.
• Lays and Legends of Germany, p. 39.
BOOK In Normandy these superstitions are confined to the eight II.
days before Christmas, which are named, Les Avents de St.
Noel. The people in some of the cantons place bundles of Andrew. Charms hay under the fruit trees, and children, not twelve years
of and incan- age, are sent with torches to set fire to the hay, which they
perform, flourishing their torches among the branches, and continually crying out :
“ Taupes, cherilles et mulots,
Sortez, sortez de mon clos,
Donnez-moi des pommes à miriot." Of this exorcism, or charm, a translation has been made: -“ Mice, caterpillars, and moles, get out, get out of my field: I will burn your beard and your bones: trees and shrubs, give me three bushels of apples.” M. Cochin remarks that the fire is effective against the caterpillars, but as to mice and moles, he has discovered no convincing proof of the power of the young exorcists.* Their incantation is not much unlike a magical charm of the ancients, against the cantharides, or insects of the beetle kind, by which they thought their corn was destroyed :
Φεύγετε κανθαρίδες, λύκος άγριος ύμμι διώκει.
Fly, beetles, the ravenous wolf pursues you.
Our old authors mention a custom, that held on the "Thursday three weeks before the Nativity, when boys and girls went about in troops, crying, “ Advent! Advent !" and wishing a happy new year to the neighbours, who requited their benediction with money and fruit. The new year, at this period, began with the festival of the Nativity, which was the termination of Advent.
The festival of St. Nicholast is observed on the 6th of Nicholas. December, and is marked by several peculiarities which
* Time's Telescope for 1828.
connect the saint with the marine deities of Scandinavia,
Patron of of 1540, fo. xxvii,t the bishop is always depicted along sailors. with the children rising from the tub. The common people, however, in Catholic countries, generally misunderstood these figures, and regard the boys in the tub as sailors in a boat, a mistake which derives apparent corroboration from the belief that St. Nicholas is the patron of mariners; thus, in the Norman-French life of the saint, he is distinctly
* Hone, Anc. Myst., p. 193.
said to afford his aid to travellers by sea as well as by land, who require his assistance :
" Seynz vos ke alez par mer,
And, in a storm described in this legend or romance, the sailors,“ miserable and weary, often cry out, often they invoke St. Nicholas, saying, Help us, o lord St. Nicholas, if thou beest such as men say." At length the saint appeared, and stood close to them in the vessel:
“ Souent se claiment cheitiff e las.
Souent dient sein Nicholas.
Si tel es cum oum dire.
Ke en la nef iuste eus se estutt."*
Nick, a form of Odin.
According to the Scandinavian mythology, the supreme god Odin assumes the name of Nick, Neck, Nikkar, Nikar, or Hnikar, when he acts as the evil or destructive principle. In the character of Nikur, or Hnikudur, a Protean water sprite;t he inhabits the lakes and rivers of Scandinavia, where he raises sudden storms and tempests, and leads mankind into destruction. Nick, or Nickar, being an object of dread to the Scandinavians, propitiatory worship was offered to him, and hence it has been imagined that the Scandinavian spirit of the waters, became in the middle ages St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors, who invoke his aid in storms and tempests. This supposition, which will be advanced to a degree of probability almost amounting to certainty, receives countenance from the great devotion still felt by Gothic nations towards St. Nicholas, to
Apud Hickes, Thesaur., Tom. I., p. 146 and 149. + " Hnikari edur Nikar: Nikur edur Hnikudur."-Edda Islandorum, Demesaga 3. “Hnikudur,” says Snorro, “som er selsom varius, inconstans."
Quarterly Rev., Vol. XXII., p. 260, 261.