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Alfred Russel Wallace On the Law Which Has Regulated the Introduction of New Species (S20: 1855); On the Tendency of Var
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Product Description Tom Baker, regarded by many as being the definitive Doctor Who, narrates this novelization based on
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Meet Laura.She's the tall girl holding two stray cats. Laura loves caring for animals. But lately, the animals in t
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From the author of the critically acclaimed and globally successful The Phantom Atlas, The Golden Atlas and The Sky Atla
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fiRESTURE CURIOSITIES hy Jlnnette
Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive in
eRESTURE CURIOSITIES Written by Annette
Edited by Sheila Whalen illustrated by Stanley Tang
THINK INK PUBLICATIONS 3421 North 44th Street Phoenix, Arizona 85018 All
the Encyclopedia Britannica, the word superstition
ance of beliefs or practices groundless of enlightenment reached by the
defined as "the accept-
themselves and inconsistent with the degree
Superstition has been around since the
which one belongs."
to explain occurrences in his world, and frightened by often disastrous aftermaths, attributed such happenings to gods or godlike creatures residing earth.
on, or above the
an effort to avoid an encore of such terrible doings by the gods,
veloped an interesting assortment of
were attributed to creatures of the animal
kingdom. Not only did man believe some animals could change form and wreak havoc upon people,
enchantment, and even
also thought they could predict weather, cast spells of
foretell the future.
Almost every species of animal has been invested with godly powers by some civilization at
man's history. From cockroaches to
have been worshipped, sacrificed, praised, and blamed control the willfulness of nature.
an attempt to appease and
THE HORSE The horse has been around
we know him now. He used short, ears very small,
fifty million years,
to be about a foot
though not exactly
and feet adorned with several toes. The version we're familiar
with has been with us since at least 4000 B.C.
the Assyrians recorded his
Perhaps because the horse agriculture,
thrilling in sport
so versatile, useful as transportation, helpful
and war, he became
The Greeks held the horse sacred to Poseidon, Athena, and Cronus. Horses pulled the chariot of the sun god Apollo across the sky. figures in
Pegasus, the winged horse,
Greek mythology and the Athenian hero Theseus was supposedly sum-
to his death by the horses of his father, Poseidon.
Greek and Egyptian gods and heroes play an indirect part tion, being
the sources for beliefs that
medieval Europe. At that
time, the color of a horse had special significance depending on the country in which
In Ireland, a
white horse meant good luck for
him special healing powers
wish before the animal was out of
black horse that signified luck If
owner and could lend
England, on the other hand, a white horse meant tragedy for whoever saw
unless he or she could
he rode the animal while consulting with the "patient."
England, and a horse with white markings on
were white, the marks must reach an equal height;
with two white legs also bore
white star on
the star was too large, which would cancel the luck earned by the white forelegs. (Jot this
you're planning a day at the races.)
Braiding a horse's ing the horse
bareback and held the mount's mane or
of preventing witches from
instead of a bridle or reins.
magic knots that made the witch unable to hold on.
really a series of
ragged on a midnight spree. Witches,
use in Britain well before the
there and the legendary luck of the horseshoe apparently derives from the Norse god,
Thor, to shoes
of iron were sacred.
points up, so the luck could not run
and barns to keep witches at bay.
to be found on a road or
behind on the
In certain areas,
the muscle spasm this
For best it
barrel of water, horsehairs
cross the nose
victims of rheumatism are even
as a cure.
has been the bearer of strange and wonderful powers.
and spread on bread with butter,
would make children well-behaved. (Surely the threat of another
sandwich would keep
likely to cause.)
Horsehairs were no exception. horsehairs
above the doorways of houses
order for the shoe to bring luck, though,
might be wise to wish that no one would approach him from
aged to carry a horseshoe around
Medieval families nailed horse-
doorway, the householder would throw
ing the shoe to the
in a field,
but the most obstreperous child
were said to change into worms.
allow a horse to breathe into a child's throat would cure a severe cold, and
toothaches would vanish
the sufferer drank from the same bucket a horse had
In addition to
the horse played a central role in
Innocent horses were lured to their
records of witchcraft testify that horses were changed by spells into
the familiars of witches. visible intruders
haunted by the
a result, horses
believed to stop and
sacred horses walked in proces-
by the way they walked, the rhythm of
movements, and the path they followed. Similarly, Germanic
serve a divine horse as
emerged from the temple
was an omen, the
he fidgets, shuddering and snuffling Finally,
right being the favorable sign.
the horse shakes his harness, duck; he
wet weather to come.
after a religious rite.
meteorology seems an inexact science, use If
have inspired the even more ancient Celtic
sion behind a chariot, foretelling the future
haunted crossroads. (Crossroads are supposed to be
This particular stubbornness
spirits of suicides.)
system of divination known
were presumed able to see and to
from the netherworld. The animals they come to
called the colt-pixie.
a horse as
in his stall,
drawing lightning from the sky.
he gallops around the
to and fro, look
kicking up his heels,
high winds are on the way.
Weather superstitions are not the only ones for instance,
will bring a
thought to be bad luck to change
change of fortune. Those
clinging to the horse.
a leg," as the horse enters the
for the horse but for the evil spirit
be the origin of the old
long-lived superstitions are.
It is still,
name, since the change of
The admonition, of
be about to jinx
business expression and
PROJECTS FOR THE HORSE horse was quite small and his body shaped differently than
In the beginning, the
today. Design a time line showing illustrations of the stages of evolutionary change.
give reasons for this remarkable change.
In ancient times,
believed in the
power of magical knots.
modern times? Are they important
superstitious meanings connected with knots? label
are special knots
Are there any
Illustrate five different
up on the
the magical powers of
of the bed and starting out on the
thought to be bad omens? Give other examples of logic
they got their names.
The ancient Egyptians believed or chart illustrating
in a circus?
custom and explain the
reason for this?
the greatest natural
of the horse? Can you explain the
trace the reason to
THE CAT In
Egypt, cats were objects of wor-
Egypt, where cats were sacred to the goddess Bast, cat cemeteries were
as early as
600 B.C. containing the mummified remains of
cats as well as
bronze cat statues.
Later, during the
Europe, testimony of witchcraft included the
accusation that the offender assumed the form of a cat tims.
order to prey on her
the still-common adage about a cat having nine lives originated with
the belief that a witch could change herself into a cat as
as eight times.
ninth try was considered pushing her luck and the witch was likely to be caught in the act and killed.
Because of their association with witchcraft, cats were terribly abused in medieval times
and were often put to death
Europeans had taken to
represented a change the animals.
would cure and dry
incredibly cruel ways.
attitude, did not signify
a patient to cure
a belief in the healing
By the 17th
much improvement a cat skin
to the face of
frequently dressed with an ointment
in olive oil.
the family cat sneezed three times,
the rest of the family would pass on the illness it
Other more benevolent customs arose also and some parts of Europe, a pagan
persist to this day.
custom associates the cat with the
are ceremonially dressed in ribbons, flowers,
Then, when someone
to the pet cat and then drive the poor animal from the house, praying that
take the illness with
meant that the family would soon come down with the household did
the corn. Cats
and ears of corn to preside over the har-
Undignified, perhaps, but better than being boiled in
Fortunately, too, for the beleaguered cat, seamen have always treated her well,
considering her a portent of good luck, particularly
board and allowed to a
mouser to men whose food was stored aboard ship for long periods. under
this practical assistance, the cat could also be placed sailors
with the ship. Naturally, the cat would have great value as
raise a fair
pot on deck should the
toss this furry friend
overboard, then, was asking for a violent and destructive storm
not to mention the
wrath of the crew.
Cats are also
do not run across the
theatres, so long as they
during a performance, since this brings bad luck (and bad reviews). people believe that having a cat
kick the cat
a black cat,
the other hand, to
it is still
anyone mistreat the
a mistake, since
whiskers can be used is
supposed to cure
devil's certain prey.
the ancient world, cats
a cat stares unblinkingly into the
picking up the presence of unseen entities.
makes you the
curately the character of a person and, unlike the
coaxed into friendship with one
from the days of cat worship
kick a cat
have been credited with psychic powers.
can protect your
the southern United States,
a black cat crossing
to conjure spells and enchantments.
lucky, so should
symbols of superstition. To stroke one
lucky and to chase
bad omens behind. Though
he or she would be inviting catastrophe. (Ouch!)
cats are, of course, the very
gently along the spine
Further, she can read ac-
forgiving dog, will never be
has mistreated her.
Perhaps because they are such finicky, unpredictable creatures, cats are reputed to be most sensitive to weather changes.
a cat scampers
madly around the house,
she washes her ears, she foretells rain. (Maybe. Fathead, a
feline resident of Phoenix,
constantly without adding no-
Indonesians pour a bucket of water over a cat's head
ticeably to the local rainfall.)
to bring rain.
superstitions surrounding cats are legion:
a cat washes her face
from the direction
A black Gray that
which the cat
and paws her ear three times, company
your home brings good luck.
good luck, too
— maybe new
romance or marriage.
your home brings money to you.
you home without being coaxed
White cats may bring good luck or bad. Opinions vary.
Don't climb a ladder If
a black cat crosses
after a black cat walks
your path, turn and go the other way.
this isn't pos-
turn and take 12 steps; by then the cat should be gone and you
any reason, you wish to become a black
grasshoppers and crickets.
thought to being used
eat a mixture of
not enough to discourage you, give some
toothache remedy or a salve for wounds.)
PROJECTS FOR THE CAT There
an old belief that a cured and dried cat skin will cure a toothache.
to a patient
for this purpose.
magical cure for a
Winston Churchill used to stroke stray black cats for luck whenever he saw them. Are there any other famous people
believed in unusual good luck charms?
good luck charm mobile.
Many poems and
stories have featured cats.
Find some examples of cat superstitions
connected with the interpretation of the work
Write a short, original
about cats and superstitions.
Are there any superstitions surrounding other members of the cat family? The in
Cats are often compared to
basis for these beliefs.
cat characteristics that might
also be attributed to females.
Why do you
suppose that cats are always chasing birds? Create an original legend
explaining this tendency of the cat.
THE DOG Dogs have been around for eons. Indeed, they have been domesticated for
more than 6,000
seems probable that dogs originated
Asia and eastern
Europe, since drawings of them appear on the walls of prehistoric caves. In China, ancient godlike figures guarded the gates to temples. classic
The dog became prominent
companion of the hunter-goddess of the moon, Artemis,
and of the great Heracles.
In less polite
mythical society, the three-headed dog
Cerberus was assigned by Hecate to guard the entrance to the underworld.
from black dogs, believing them bearers of
ancient Indians sacrificed dogs to appease their gods. The Indians believed, too, that
dogs could be transformed into humans and vice versa. Minor deities ern religions had
bodies with the heads of dogs, or the reverse.
and early Christians considered dogs unclean and, therefore, unholy, but
tude was not widely shared. Dogs were generally believed to be very close to
and, unlike other animals, could return after death as ghosts, usually to warn their
former masters of some impending danger.
superstitions linger about the dog.
at the birth of a child foretells that the child will
be a bad
A strange neath your
A dog if
lying in a
the dog faces out,
a sign of
same dog whining
about to join the family;
will be leaving the family.
howling at night means that something important
about to happen
that the fleas are biting).
dog bays the
to run free. This If
may be connected
possessed by the moon's spirit and wants
with the Artemis myth.
the dog eats grass, rolls around and scratches, rain
(or those fleas
are getting worse).
he cowers in a corner or hides under the furniture, a thunderstorm
hair of a
dog can draw
you good luck
are very well-acquainted with
very bad luck).
Sleeping with a dog cures rheumatism because the disease will be passed to the (Before you try
to those fleas.)
tooth extracted from a child, a dog's tooth
mouth. This should not be very
difficult to prevent.
PROJECTS FOR THE DOG Look up Fo Dogs (Dogs of Fo) from Chinese mythology. Where do you think these mythological creatures
may have come from? Does
their legend tie in with our dogs
of today? Prepare a tape to share with others explaining these animals.
the color black usually associated with evil and witchcraft? Give several ex-
of using the
word black? Are most of them negative or
phrases can you think
How do you
instinct in dogs
way home hundreds and even thousands to
some ancient and magical power? Find examples of
Why do you
suppose dogs enjoy chewing bones? Could
cious tendency of old?
which enables them to find
of miles away? Could this be a throwback this instinct in stories.
be traced to some fero-
cartoon strip explaining your original legend.
ancient times, the cat was worshipped and the dog was often cursed. Create a
the dog and cat seem to be natural enemies today.
THE BAT Bats enjoy one of the least savory reputations
because of their general appearance which because of their nocturnal habits. After
with the setting sun, there was bound to be could navigate so well without in
the animal world.
suspicion of a creature that
be that, having
sorcerer's recipe, the bat acquired
when man's day ended
reputation by association.
be because of the unpleasant habits of one branch of the bat family
not beauty pageant material.
case, bats are creatures, in the public imagination, of
houses and castles, lonely cemeteries, and deserted caves.
apart from the vampire bat, the
animals are practically harmless.
not to suggest that a bat would make a charming pet; bats are wild creatures
the wild. There are a
a bat," for instance,
not very blind
of misconceptions, however.
Bats have quite good eyesight but, be-
dark caves and are nocturnal by habit, their eyes are very sensitive
darkness, too, because they have highly
developed radar systems and very acute hearing.
the really dangerous things about the bat
transmit rabies. the other hand,
Should you be bitten by one, by it is
not true that
wither and drop
will suffer a lifetime of
thing good for your nerves).
you on a
will a bat landing
see a doctor at once.
hand or foot the extremity
bat hits you on the head
dreadful headaches (though
his ability to carry
not likely to do any-
on your head make you bald
(nervous, yes, but not bald).
(with a keen eye for the obvious) passed the
bad luck. What's more,
a bat flying near
That bats can predict weather around seeking entrance to
hand, are a sign of
that a bat
a bat flaps
just curious; he
Bats flying around at twilight, on the other
and sunny weather.
you walk along means that
you to death).
fashion, would-be witches
blood to their brew to enable them to travel around does. So,
probably based on
for shelter before a rainstorm begins.
that cricket and grasshopper recipe seems to need a
as skillfully as a bat little
PROJECTS FOR THE BAT Throughout history vampire legends have one of the legends and
your explanation of
Did they ever exist? Summarize
Has man learned anything of value from the bat that could be applied to
rabies? In the
old legend states
of the legend.
does an animal act when infected
Dark Ages, people were hunted down and
and foamed at the mouth.
a bat lands
would make an
they went wild
possible causes for their behavior and condition.
on your head you
go bald. Make up the
Does the vampire bat actually attack human beings? Trace can find some vampire legends about
Check back into prehistoric times and explain the probable evolution of the choosing a creature
interesting filmstrip to share with others!
come from. Make drawings
of each stage of
Create a spooky story about a bat based on legends and
THE DONKEY The donkey stiffer
related to the horse but
a tuft of hair
smaller, with longer ears, a shorter,
jackass (a donkey's uncle) has been around since ancient Egypt and
used by Jews, Greeks, Assyrians, and Babylonians
early legend says that the jackass, the mule, and the
of the horse for his size and good looks. The
vampire and pursued the horse through haunted
whether he caught the horse
have prepared the horse for his career
Another legend explains the donkey's
when Adam was
the naming was progressing.
to the donkey.
Legend does not record
long, floppy ears.
He asked each animal
visited the garden to see
creature, slow of wit, had forgotten
name. After God repeated the question again and again, and angry and grabbed the donkey by
this early gallop
each time pronouncing the animal's name,
therefore, changed himself into a
what he did with him, but
pulled those ears time and again,
the ears stretched and lengthened into
the floppy items they are today. The story, of course, also contributes to the belief that donkeys are stupid.
the superstitious, at any rate, donkeys are most useful.
cure scarlet fever.
gray donkeys or mules.
then step on
will find love
(And the donkey
For instance, to
white mule, you must kiss your right hand and
Warts? Yes, indeed, the donkey can help you there. Take one white turkey feather, dip in grease
this for three
of a donkey-drawn cart and rub on your
days until 3:30 p.m. (or try
a little pig lard).
noisy and insistently braying donkey has sensed wet weather
ahead (or has spotted a good-looking jackass).
Donkeys, by the way, are walking lightning rods. kicked a very important Egyptian the temple of at
and requested revenge, so
the seat of his pants.
seems a jackass once
injured party visited
celestial lightning bolts
have been aiming
PROJECTS FOR THE DONKEY Create your
own myth about how
the difference between a
the origin of the mule?
How would you fever? Could
his long ears.
as a script
explain the claim that by kissing a
have originated during an epidemic of the disease? Are donkeys
to the disease?
What reason can you and,
give for the
did the in this?
donkey's stubbornness? Speak for the donkey
game "Pin the
on the Donkey" begin? Did superstition have any
Design a similar game for a large group.
THE BEAR There are bears and there are bears. The
and Europe. His eight-foot, thousand-pound cousin the black bear
America and, though
anything that happens along
Another cousin, the
tasty morsels as a pig or a sheep.
partly the bear's habit of hibernation that
death and resurrection.
symbol of courage and strength and
makes him so prominent
a parallel to the In addition,
believe that the bear has the magical
any form since he
The story was common
was probably not around to
of fur half-hidden beneath
for a closer look at the
so an ob-
give his report.
Bear grease was a popular item said to cure baldness
but they consider
the Middle Ages that bear cubs were born as shape-
server might well suppose that the real
lumps and were licked by their mother into the shape of a bear. Bear cubs
not attack humans unless provoked by them.
very small, of course, and very dependent during their
Sapporo, fine wooden
power to change form
Japan, the bear
carvings are prevalent of the sacred bear, guardian of the forests.
then on such
an appetite for
Because he sleeps through the winter months and reappears
and strong and for that reason
unwary camper or two.
conforms to the cycle o* Earth herself and also offers figures
the 16th century. Amazingly versatile,
a shiny head.
Applied to garden tools,
pests that attack plants.
hair of the bear
a live bear's
alcohol and applied to the soles of the feet as a positive cure for
other annoyances of the brain.
the rural United States, mothers gave babies a
bear tooth to teethe on and older folk used the tooth to cure toothache (having
found dried cat skin
bearskin rug v^as considered a good place to
sleep to cure backaches.
ness in the dreamer, but to folklore claims, too, that
said that to
fighting a bear indicates unhappi-
running bear indicates happiness. Southern
a bear hibernates early a long, hard winter
Finally, the polar bear!
the Arctic and
want to bring back
polar bear as a souvenir, cut a hole in the ice four feet in diameter, place garden peas
edge, and wait.
Eventually a polar bear will happen along and
he does, knock him into the
and voila! you have caught
remove him from the hole and what you do with him subse-
quently the legend does not say. thing!
You cannot expect
superstition to cover every-
PROJECTS FOR THE BEAR What happens
to a bear's
Create an Eskimo legend and use illustrations explaining where the polar bear came
from and why create the
Explain what magical powers he would use to
claw around your neck, what do you think
would protect you
from and why? Write an advertisement offering magic bear claws
you were magically changed
into a grizzly bear, this in the bear's
what would be your reaction
THE SNAKE The story of Adam and Eve and the serpent
attests to the long, legendary
history of the snake. Snakes have been worshipped, hated, feared,
revered as possessing great
The ancient Cretans worshipped
good and for
a snake goddess
they pictured with
snakes coiled about her arms and waist. The Egyptians believed the snake to be the spirit of
the universe, while Buddhists saw
pents sacred to several of their gods and
inance and authority. the
symbol of anger. Greeks held
Romans esteemed them
symbols of dom-
believed that Satan took the form of a ser-
of man. The snake remains a sacred object of great power
to present-day African tribes; to fillment of
the Bible, Moses' rod was transformed into a serpent for
amazement of Pharaoh and the Jews
pent to engineer the
beauty and the
Britons, long ago,
hung the dried skin of
snake over the hearth to protect the
house; Teutonic people in Europe kept "house snakes" as guardians of the family and, like the ever-popular cat, as good ratcatchers as well.
Folklore insists that a in swift pursuit of its prey.
hoop snake can take It
its tail in its
declares that snakes can spit
and that snakes have hypnotic power over humans and other animals. None of is
Cobras are not
by music nor do mother
snakes swallow their young to protect them.
Suggestions for superstitious use of snakes include wrapping the skin around
your body for protection from lizard at an (are
concoction made of powdered
to turn him into a snake, eating snake eggs to cure stuttering, and
for this?) swallowing a live snake to cure
For weather clues, ask the Hopi Indians about the use of snakes dances.
bring bad weather.
too, that to If
across a road or appearing in
snake and leave
snakes are late to disappear
thunder of spring
way. And, of course,
awaken the snakes
some unusual spot
a snake slithers to high
and keep him out (did we have to
dry season means rain
in their rain
on the ground
tries to slink into
that?) because a big storm
on snake lore concerns snake handling. This unusual custom
nated with George
the early 1900's.
Hensley decided that Scripture
enjoined the faithful to handle serpents and he introduced the practice into churches
throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. The idea spread across the country but, because of the danger involved, snake-handling was quickly outlawed. Nevertheless, the underground cult of snake-handlers
practices here and there.
PROJECTS FOR THE SNAKE Using Egyptian history as a source, illustrate several ways
which the snake was
used as a symbol.
chart of the ones
which the snake
used as a symbol
Pretend that you are a sorcerer and you have managed to crossbreed a snake with
another animal. What would you get and what would you
pick up from each creature and
have? Would you want to keep
what magical powers
as a pet?
Snakeskins often have colorful or intricate designs. Reproduce a snakeskin pattern
on paper. Find examples of uses for snakeskins.
How do you
about the use of
snakeskin for manufactured items?
Snakes appear often
of this to share with others.
American Indian folklore and
THE TOAD For a really effective hex or a potent love potion, you simply cannot beat our
friend, the toad.
be the toad's gastronomic preference for spiders, a
staple ingredient in nearly every witch's caldron, that gave the toad his
tion as an aid to witchcraft (a matter of being
Toads were der to
also believed to
make any dog
by being rubbed on the
poisonous fluid from certain glands
enough to attack
stone (any stone resembling a toad
shape) could cure an insect's poisonous sting
of the injury.
witchcraft flourished, folks thought a witch might blend a
magic lotion out of toad
and sap from a plant called sow-thistle. She would
use this unsavory mixture to paint a cross on her body, thereby becoming invisible.
Should the magic wear off while she was three times on her
about her business, she'd merely
turn into a black cat.
(You could not
The poor toad who,
bat and the hog, suffered the consequences of a
rather unattractive appearance, has for centuries been slain, chopped, boiled, and
roasted in man's efforts to ward off
above doorways at the hour of death able journey to the hereafter.
comfy.) In medieval times, a
(The toad's live
to rid the house of germs in the
departure was probably not so
toad was suspended over a chimney for three days
toad around with him to escape detection (the aroma must have held off
most assiduous pursuers) and seizures.
order to assure the departed soul a comfort-
could be cured of any
were recommended to do illness
of a toad (while wrapping his face
in a cat skin
the sufferer spit
and drinking from
dead but the
likewise to prevent
by wearing the heart of
cord around his neck, and a toothache would vanish
a horse's bucket?).
was to bring on
your back door
was the sign of a dust storm, and to hear a tree toad calling in the forest meant that rain
(or that a tree toad of opposite
gender and toadly beauty was
superstition that handling a toad causes warts
handsome get warts
Everyone knows that
utter nonsense. Witches
toad three times he
will turn into a
Unless, of course, he belongs to a witch, in which case face.
PROJECTS FOR THE TOAD If
toads do not create warts, what does?
as logical as possible.
Why do broom
witches always fly around on brooms? Which superstitions surround the
that could explain this?
legends, the heart of an animal or creature
Can you explain why and
"Once upon forest.
a time, a
handsome young prince went
his horse tripped,
old witch. She got so
Plan a toad-hopping contest. will
was thought to have very potent
Finish the following fairy tale using three toads in
own myth about
Create a potion to cure the warts.
be held? What prize
riding into the
off and landed right on top
entries will there be?
are the rules?
Find "recipes" for wart removal. Share an unusual one with others. Have a wart
you'd care to experiment with?
THE PEACOCK Famous
ways been the
magnificent feathers and for
stuff of legends.
Eden to the serpent who brought about the
by God with the harsh, unlovely shriek that
meant to warn Adam's and
weather. Because of this legend, bring bad luck
harsh cry, the peacock has
that the peacock opened the gates of
According to the Arab
Eve's descendants of danger and of severe
others, peacock feathers are believed to
they are brought inside a house. Inside a theater, a peacock feather
assures a flop!
fable states that the gods once
escape the fury of the demon, Ravana.
changed themselves into animals to
god of thunder, war and
by the thousand eyes that adorn
sense the onset of rain and the power to
was due when "the peacock mounts on high" and
a step further
away venom, so some snakebite victims would
not reported, but people
traveled extensively in India were urged to carry a peacock along.
of superstition was such that some
an antidote to snake poison. Further, smoke from the
said to chase
so the peacock's mythical ability to
the bird very popular there. Indeed, Indians took
the ability to
belief that the
predict rain spread as far west as Ireland where, in the 15th century, rain
the god blessed the bird with a special inner
Indians thought that the very cry of the peacock
The peacock appears to have been
body were used to cure and
a sort of walking
tuberculosis, forms of paralysis, asthma, headache, flat feet,
Hindus and Moslems carried peacock feathers with which to ward
off the evil eye. Peacock
plume umbrellas were
and even now, on ceremonial occasions,
carried in the entourages of royalty
this elaborate parasol
held over the head
of the pope.
China and Japan, the peacock
Persian poet once wrote that the peacock has such ugly feet that
never be welcome tale that the
The poet may have been influenced by the Egyptian
peacock, catching sight of his ugly feet and realizing contrast with his gorgeous plumage,
a piercing shriek of horror
that has remained his cry to this day.
other animals popular
for Christian lore, and appears often as a
symbol of resurrection because
ancient myth, was adapted
background figure it
regularly molts and then
PROJECTS FOR THE PEACOCK Look up the legend behind the fabled phoenix tion
inspired the birth of this mythical bird?
you had asthma or
bird and see
surrounding the peacock. Could the peacock have If
what could have?
which parts of the peacock would you use to cure
the peacock was created and for what reason. Are
Invent a story explaining
there any other birds that resemble the peacock?
where do you think they
an old legend from India that
did nothing silver
day long but admire
mirror and marvel at her beauty. Even
her beauty that she
day she would look
into the palace
So angry did the princess become, that she pushed
In his rage,
her father cast a magic spell on her and
he then changed the princess into a glass pea-
this story over carefully
and find a moral to
your opinion, why the sorcerer changed the princess into
the great and mighty sorcerer's daughter
out of a tower. As she
changed her into a dove.
she passed a pool, she would gaze
would not allow anyone or anything
to visit the princess's brother.
As time went by, she became so obsessed with
to savor her lovely reflection.
that was lovely to look
of a beautiful but very vain princess
a glass peacock.
THE OWL The owl,
like the bat,
has paid for his simple nocturnal habits, acquiring a repu-
tation as a witch's friend and as the guardian of frests
place by night.
owl's superstitious aura. Medieval sages believed the owl could assume
prey, and wise and weird old
"image," would keep an owl
to crops in the field.
a pleasant, fuzzy bird
field mice, rats,
harmles (unless you happen to
for example, flee
an owl nests
pletely to keep the ghosts away.
He does human-
who do damage
to say of him that
of death and disaster.
any building upon which an owl makes
should he decide to nest inside, the place there any
and other small animals
Nevertheless, folklore has
mentary. He has been, historically, an
cherished their witching
as a pet.
be a young rabbit or squirrel) and tends to mind his kind a service by preying on
and mournful cry no doubt contributed, too, to the
must be torn down com-
centuries back, an owl decided to nest in a
dedicated to the great god Jupiter. The
feathered tenant had
to be promptly evicted and very complicated rites of purification performed before
the building could again be used as a place of worship.
the ancient Greeks, however, the owl was sacred, the pet and messenger of
Athena, goddess of wisdom. small winged friend as an
of Athena's statues or temples remain, but her
symbolizes learning and we
use the expression "wise
seen in daylight
are especially urged to hurry
day to avert
see one, and stay indoors for the rest of the
home, should they
Europeans, hearing an owl hoot, turn their pockets inside out to avoid some unpleasantness.
An owl hooting
come down with
three nights outside your
Finding owl feathers
The wise a strong north If
a misfortune, and
warning that you are
and the bird
you must hurry to
wind to blow. To hear her hooting
in a tree,
means cold weather
a great deal, especially
ahead; on the
on summer nights,
occur when you are planning a picnic, simply burn some
and/or take off one shoe and turn while.
find an entire owl
custom had anything to do with the owl
she hoots on the west side of a mountain, though, fine weather
east side, bad weather.
malaria, though the disease
upside down. This will keep the rain off for
(So will cancelling your picnic.)
PROJECTS FOR THE OWL What
about an owl's neck that enables
The expression "He has eyes this peculiar trait since Illustrate the physical
have originated from
supposed to know everything that
construction of an owl's neck and contrast that with a draw-
ing of another animal.
your home, what do you think
would protect you
What does an owl symbolize at night scare
to you? if
fearful or friendly?
you were alone
in a strange forest?
an owl was magically changed into a person, what do you think
your conception and explain
forest, the snake,
animals as you wish. Use their magical powers as
peacock, owl, and as in devising
your game and work
legends as you can.
from smallest to
the varieties of owls. Order
Label with names and wingspan.
THE EAGLE The
became America's national emblem despite the
lobbied energetically for the humble but nourishing turkey.
out, probably because of his ancient mystique.
Eagles have been associated with longevity and immortality for thousands of
Psalm 103 refers to "thy youth
like the eagle's."
plunge deep into the water to snatch up their prey, which gave that the bird thus renews
Feeling old age advancing, the bird
Sea eagles do to the legend flies
the sky, increasing his internal heat, then plunges into the cold sea, raising the temperature
melt away. Shedding the old feathers and sprouting
ones supposedly keeps the bird young. The
that eagle feathers could not be destroyed and would actually
mixed among them.
the Hebrides' Shiant
consume any other
the folktale suggests that
the form of a pair of eagles.
case, the eagle has represented
spread of this fable led to the belief
humanity's highest ambitions and strong-
was the bird of Jove, hurler of thunderbolts.
Gtrmany, Austria, and France each symbolized their dreams of empire by the eagle, the sign of
power and authority.
vast wingspan, does soar higher than other birds
to be able to stare straight into the sun.
stray children, preying instead
not immortal, of course, but
does not, however, snatch
on small game.
The power of the its
association with the gods naturally
herbs would chase
away night demons. Pounded
cataracts, a belief probably born of the bird's keen eyesight.
worn around the neck, was an
your chosen one, you would then
around your neck to keep your spouse
into a snake.
mixed with honey cured
The heart of an
stone from an eagle's next and wear
a ritual eagle
dance which at
said to bring rain
as a cure
eaten at any other time, would turn the itchy-footed
Snakes, of course, are regularly eaten by eagles (maybe because the
birds recognize an egg thief
charm. Having secured the love of
and peace. Indian lore further recommends eagle eggs eaten for itching feet.
Eagle feathers cooked with special
belongings valuable for medicinal purposes.
PROJECTS FOR THE EAGLE In
your opinion, what bird besides the eagle would make
America and why?
Could the myth about eagles snatching up young children have anything to do with old witches' tales?
how do you
drawing of the following three birds and explain the differences both
appearance and their
tious beliefs about the falcon and the
hawk. Can you find any
hawk? Are they
which the symbol of the eagle
similar to those of the eagle?
used other than for this
have anything to do
with superstitious beliefs of the past?
Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, provides an opportunity for making
some very unusual and Teach someone
to repeat your design.
a bird using this technique.
THE COCK Because the cock crows loudly at sunrise, he has long been believed to forth the sun,
light dispels the evil
course, the bird himself to carry cocks with
demons of the
was credited with scaring off the
hatched by a snake from a cock's egg
even heard a cock crow.
might have kept cocks for their
that's right, a cock's egg; don't ask
a single glance.
this lethal basilisk
understandable that the Libyans
Before long, of
they happened upon an Indian
with his peacock?) to frighten away lions and basilisks.
capable of killing an
but for lions? One thinks of the cat
and the canary.
Cocks were sacrificed to the Aztec sun god, particularly pletion of a heart, In
right foot of a
Ceylon, the cock survived
sacrifice of thanksgiving.
In parts of
honor of the com-
to cure a family
the sick person recovered, then was offered as a
Occasionally a cock was sacrificed in an appeal to save an
this didn't represent
popular for hundreds of years, particularly blers
Germany, people hid the head,
for the bird, cockfighting has been
England and the United States. Gam-
would bet on which of two cocks, each armed with sharp
a one-to-one battle.
The Japanese have an elaborate legend explaining why the cock tured in their religious
of Japan's two major religions
of both nature and ancestor worship
like the religion of
The chief deity
of Japan and
worshipped at Shinto shrines,
Amaterasu, the sun goddess. She all
so often pic-
Shintoism, a form
the ancestress of the emperors
of which have double-yoked gate-
Legend says that centuries ago Amaterasu became angry with one of her brothers and shut herself up
in a cave.
Since she was the source of
was plunged into darkness and the other gods could not coax her out. At placed a crowing cock at the entrance to her cave.
habit, she responded to
the cock's voice and emerged, filling the world with light again.
gateways at Amaterasu's shrines represent the cock's perch and the bird himself
often pictured there.
The cock became an important symbol Gospel story of Peter's denial of Christ and ed him of what he had done. The bird to temptation.
announced the towers
Christian tradition because of the
remorse when the cockcrow remind^
a reminder, then, to Christians to
For this reason, and perhaps because an old fable birth of Christ, weathercocks
were customarily placed on church
cannot leave the cock without giving a
attention to chickens
These domestic fowl were introduced into Europe from Persia and
haps because they came from a
into the laps of Slavic brides as
part of the world that was list
handful of chicken gizzards. Want to get
in vinegar that has stood overnight in eggshells.
legendary to most
of superstitious uses. Hens were tossed fertility.
feathers have figured in a variety of folk remedies.
the Middle Ages.
westerners, chickens quickly acquired a
eggs, shells, blood,
wish to be beautiful?
to dream of your future spouse? Eat an eggshell
the other hand, never use water in which eggs have been washed.
Do not keep empty
warts. (Absurd! Witches cause warts.)
a Friday. ficiently
to cure the
that a hen that
eat a crowing hen except on
eggs dipped in sardine
to your jaw.
few chickens and you don't need the weatherman. Feathers thickening
a rooster's legs
cold weather. Chickens dusting themselves in the sand
mean bad weather. Drooping on
cooked, regardless of the day of the week.) Last, and certainly most
cannot swim, use them
(Actually, try to
but singing hens
PROJECTS FOR THE COCK What
do you think could have been behind the
belief that eggs
Dig back into East Indian mythology and create a legend of your
Let's pretend that basilisk.
you found yourself
he was created.
magic forest and suddenly ran into a
a favorite ingredient in witches' potions.
you knew someone
and strong and you wanted to make them small and weak, just
would you make your potion? Explain whether externally and
Create an exciting adventure story of this whole event.
Chicken hearts were
wonderful cure have?
cock and where he came from and
would cure mumps? What would mumps have to do with sardine
why you would
would be consumed or applied
use a particular method.
THE CRANE The
sight of a
huge flock of cranes flying overhead excited the imagination of
wonder, since these huge
sky, were yet another manifestation of nature that significance.
numbers across the
vivid not to have
The gawky-graceful mating dance of the crane was
too, and civilizations as diverse as those of Crete and China adapted the dance to their rituals.
cranes meet to perform this
each making an odd concentric circle
number, they begin by standing
outer one shuffling about
random manner while the
moves slowly counterclockwise, leaping now and then
performed their crane dance the Labyrinth,
an arena built in a swastika pattern. This arena was
of the fabled Minotaur. The circle and swastika both being
sun symbols, the dance must have been a solar
the Far East, crane dancing was connected with thunder, rain,
into the air and grad-
ually attaining a sort of frenzy that leads to the birds pairing off.
musical sound, part song and part cry. The birds form
The Chinese believed that black cranes brought demons into the open
and danced with them during
They would make
paper crane to fasten
to the sedan chair which contained the image of a family
member who had
Again, at Taoist funerals in China, the founder, Lao-Tze,
depicted wearing a red
robe decorated with white cranes and riding a white, one-horned animal similar to a
countries as disparate as China, Crete, and Gaul there existed
connection between a supernatural being, a horned creature, and the crane. The
lost to us.
All over Asia, cranes
children will fly
decorate gay and colorful
colorful paper cranes to send to sick people, believing that the crane
away with the
Apart from their very prompt migration at the onset of winter and spring, cranes have no value as weather forecasters.
But they appear
about a war between cranes and pygmies, and
an old Homeric tale
PROJECTS FOR THE CRANE Can you explain simply from
unconnected with each other
China, Crete, and
a belief that tied in
crane, a supernatural being, and a horned creature? Could sailors or traveling mer-
chants have spread
or helped to?
superstitions invaded other
Look up three other animals and explain what ing.
animals look alike? Give three examples
would think that
and see is
habits or their disposition that
this story, try to find
Look up the
they go through before mat-
the male and female
which the two sexes
figure out Is
differ in appearance.
the Japanese people
there something about their living
war between the cranes and the pygmies.
who won, and why. Was
another one that features the cranes as aggressive creatures.
tale of the fabled
Where do you think
good luck omen.
Look up the old Homeric legend about Explain what happened,
Minotaur and draw your version of
came from or
combination of several other animals?
which parts came from which animal.
there any similarity between the three animals?
Was the dreadful
name them and
THE BEE Bees are busy in
legend and superstition.
Believed to be messengers of the gods
ancient times, bees were held so sacred that to
no wonder bees were held
one might be
a capital offense.
such regard. Their production of honey and
complex, structured society absorb our attention to
They were con-
sidered so sensitive by the ancients that they were supposed unable to live near a
hatred or anger prevailed, and to be
disturbed by swearing or
of a beekeeper
and even with love, and who, after
elaborate and the settlement of the estate took time and, in
were quite forgotten. When
at last a family
with great care
the to-do, the bees
visited the hives,
empty. Anxious to regain the bees, the family tied black crepe to the main hive and gathered to inform the empty hives of the master's death. Within three days the bees returned. This story gave
believe that a bee flying it
without doing you harm, you must make be the soul of
a sleeping child
wish before he
a sign of great
around you and follows you flies
away, because he
you good fortune.
bees are credited with knowing right from
people from bad ones. They
swarm (do not
happiness, and a similar belief has
test this theory),
wrong and good
allow a young virgin to pass unharmed through a
not sting a good person unless they have
been frightened by something.
The busy bees
supposed to be informed of
and any other family news. This
annoyed that they
births, marriages, departures,
an extension of the death custom, of course.
no one does inform the
will sting the
bees, they are reputed to
does approach them.
creatures are, what's more, not to be given away.
wants to part with a swarm to insult the bees.
wise to place a piece of wedding or christening cake next to the
by way of giving the news.
and for a proper
ignored, misfortune will
price, in order
Finally, bees that
coming, while bees
buzz before the
day of spring mean more cold weather of their hive
mean wet weather
PROJECTS FOR THE BEE Make
drawing of a bee community showing the queen bee and the other
their society differ or relate to
approve of man's
differ with the bee's society is
a natural antagonist of
beeswax and does
and man's? Make up
a legend explaining
an insect called the bee beetle.
cures attributed to
Would the bees
Explain your answer from a bee's viewpoint.
create a mythological story explaining
drawing of an ant society and show the various classes
up and make
have any use for man? Are there any folklore uses or explain
think they work.
or thinking been affected by studying the bee's
THE SPIDER "If
you wish to
Even the tarantula
thrive, let the spider run alive,"
to be spared.
an Athenian maiden, Arachne, ever, very vain of her talent
herself, to a contest.
piece of cloth and,
warns an old adage.
from an old Greek myth about
and boldly challenged the goddess Athena, an expert
Each of them worked to produce the
clear that Arachne's
work was superior
to the goddess's. So enraged was Athena that the frightened Arachne tried to hang herself. girl,
Athena was not to be done out of her revenge, however, and stopped the
changing her into a spider. Though turned into an
weaver and handed her
Arachne remained a
to her descendants.
trying to hang themselves, Athena
prevent any of
them to hang
hours by the threads of their webs.
anyone who would
spiders to live in peace,
remorse for her anger and was said to cast a
harm one of these
Athena brought good fortune
The custom of
sparing the lives of spiders was helped along by practical considerations during the
Middle Ages. Sanitation being what sects
would have made
was (almost nonexistent)
not for the spider quietly spinning her
those days, that to lay a spider's
by congealing the blood.
possible that in
web upon some
acted as a sort of primitive antibiotic to clear up infection.
Out of these myths and customs came an abundance of superstitious spider spins her If
across your door, expect a visitor (probably a fly or two).
see a spider climbing
up her thread,
your day by seeing her begin
the spider deserts her web, a storm
a little red spider
(or there has
been a shortage of
remove him gently because he
you money. If
a loose thread
up carefully and
swing the spider three times around your head (avoid this with the tarantula and the black widow) to insure the good luck.
For bouts of jaundice and ague, swallowing
swallow her web and
take the patient's mind off the other symptoms.)
a sure cure.
not bring about a cure, but
PROJECTS FOR THE SPIDER What has man
learned from studying the spider as he weaves his
spider able to weave such a symmetrical pattem?
due to an ancient
one spider who weaves
messy, sticky, and strong web.
that you should learn to recognize since this spider
web showing how
this particular spider
could save your
from other spiders' weaving.
often associated with hanuted castles, witches'
potions, and evil spells.
the scorpion a spider? Where does
ated and for what reason.
from during prehistoric times? Make chose
myth about how
there any creature the scorpion could have evolved a
drawing of that creature showing
the spider an animal or an insect?
has been given this classification.
If it is
have anything to do with an ancient
THE CRICKET Crickets rode into legend on the coattails of the sects
supposedly warned the
Ancient Greeks and Chinese believed that crickets could a in
"Mother Nature's nectar." Plato
said that the
and Japanese kept the
cricket, heard in a
bad luck to have
The locust and the grasshopper,
image of one and set
and the Chinese
elaborate cages as pets.
for the first time,
Arabs, attempting to keep
on wind and dew,
related a story told
a cricket leave
your house, but
relatives of the cricket,
away the hordes
the heart of their city.
predicting a death.
have long been con-
sidered tools of the devil because of the destruction they wreak field.
lived again in the bodies of crickets
of approaching danger.
of locusts, built a great golden In
Naples, scads of bronze and
copper images were made for the same reason, especially because the magical properties of leave.
copper would rob the grasshoppers of their energy and force them to
The Japanese made straw images of the
insects in their larva stage, then
marched around the infested crops, carrying torches, beating drums, and bells.
In Argentina, farmers beat
Evidently locusts and grasshoppers do not have sensitive ears because none of
this frantic activity
destroy the spirits of the insects, they then threw the straw images
reported to have worked.
Albanians would take baskets of locusts to the
the hope of frightening off their colleagues.
method: they caught one locust and marked
hope was that
and streams and drown
tried a subtler
with a red spot, then released
would report to the others that these were kindly
and the hungry hordes would go elsewhere to feed. terrible plague of locusts.
1590, Ethiopia suffered a
After exhausting every possible idea, pragmatic and mysti-
the clergy and had the locusts excommunicated. Almost at once a
violent storm broke out which destroyed nearly
PROJECTS FOR THE CRICKET Primitive man, in an effort to rid himself of locusts and grasshoppers, often tried to
destroy the soul of the insect using abstract methods.
played a great part
with a cricket
got into your
insects have souls?
Phoenix, Arizona and during the hot summers,
Most people simply catch them and
crickets get into the homes.
don't they just
from ancient superstitions? What would you do
Invent a legend about
are they able to
Entomologists of today have devised pests.
methods and explain why you
ways to one
get rid of agricultural
better, over the long
run, than the others.
presumed magical properties of copper? Do people of today actually
believe in these properties?
any examples of
saved their crops. explaining
first settled in
Utah, they experienced a terrible plague of
miracle happened, though, and something
came down from the sky and
and why do you think
can you use an ancient superstition that would logically
THE BUTTERFLY When
comes to animals, mankind
their appearance, butterflies have
alternately intrigued with the ugly and is
as spiritual creatures
for example, bear the souls of the dead to heaven. it is
bad luck to catch or
reward. What's more,
none to carry your
a butterfly lest if
the soul as a tiny winged
parts of Europe, then,
you interrupt the journey of some
killed a butterfly
you might, when you
Pima Indians believed that God came to earth suitable place for
lovelier than the butterfly.
been thought of
as a butterfly, searching
early Greeks, on their beautiful vases, represented
In time, that
image evolved to that of a
This association of the butterfly with the soul extended into northern Asia
was believed that the soul could
curred, however, the ill,
body would sicken and eventually
When someone became
then, any butterfly seen in the vicinity was suspected of stealing that person's
was cajoled with magic
rituals to return the soul to the ailing
white butterfly at the beginning of spring means happiness and
health; a yellow butterfly signifies misfortune; sign of
change and upheaval, but
The butterfly the caterpillar
creature to eat fat caterpillar
a multicolored butterfly
for the best.
ravenous as well as homely, folklore has
up the food and cause
on the very greenest and
little caterpillar. it
that the devil sent the
Witches would supposedly place a
The Swiss used to think that
were the pets of wicked
could induce the caterpillars to crawl into a man's brain and drive him crazy.
Rumanians declared that of South Africa see
were born of the
souls of the dead,
get to heaven until
they change into butterflies.
English tale has
we know who
bon, and bury
brand new white cloth,
Preferably during a
you cannot manage
Or you may
bite of a
your chances with
poisonous snake, incidentally,
squashed cabbage-caterpillar. Or,
you have Alive.
with red full
absorb the poison and
In that event, the
you may it
will yield to a
unavailable or you aren't sure whether
cabbage caterpillar on hand, you can simply swallow
a green caterpillar.
be good company for the spider
your jaundice. One possible side effect of green.
wearing a horseshoe around your neck (don't forget that you have to find field).
you accidently squash the (surely
Or an oak.
we? You bet we do!) The
him from the pocket
a hole three feet
Next to an evergreen
anyway), wrap him
causes warts, don't
and other unpleasantness.
you must remove every
been accused of causing
treatment was that you might turn
to find a witch
PROJECTS FOR THE BUTTERFLY In
old legends, fairies have often been associated with butterflies. Since fairies
and butterflies are
how do you
explain this custom?
ancient civilizations, they associated the soul of a person with the butterfly.
Since these differing cultures seldom had any contact with each other, explain the similarity of their belief?
What do you imagine when you
how do you see a beautiful
One day while he was crying
his heart out, a
cried since he
very bright light sud-
the skies and, as he looked up
wonder, he saw
Which animal or
of the butterfly?
possible medicinal qualities could there be in
caterpillar to cure the bite of a
concoct instead, and why?
forest, there lived a very ugly red caterpillar.
caterpillar looked in the
mixed with squashed cabbage-
poisonous snake? What kind of mixture would you
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