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FOLK-LORE

OF

NORTHERN INDIA.

CHAPTER I.

THE EVIL EYE AND THE SCARING OF GHOSTS.

Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos.

Virgil, Eclogues, iii. 103.

ASMA 'BINT 'UMAIS relates that she said, “O Prophet! the family of Ja'afar are affected by the baneful influence of the Evil Eye. May I use spells for them or not?” The Prophet said, “ Yes; for if there were anything in the world which would overcome fate, it would be the Evil Eye."Miskât, xxi.-i. Part II.

The belief in the baneful influence of the Evil Eye prevails widely. According to Pliny, it was one of the special superstitions of the people of India, and at the present day it forms an important part of the popular belief. But the investigation of its principles is far from easy. It is very closely connected with a number of kindred ideas on the subject of diabolical influence, and few natives care to speak about it except in a furtive way. In fact, it is far too serious

1 For some of the literature of the Evil Eye see Tylor, “ Early History," 134; Henderson, “Folk-lore of the Northern Counties," 187 sq.; Westropp,“ Primitive Symbolism, 58 sqq.; Gregor, “ Folk-lore of NorthEast Scotland," 8.

? “Natural History," vii. 2. VOL. 11.

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