jueves, 30 de junio de 2011

Le miracle de Théophile





THEOPHILES.

Ahi ! ahi ! Diex, rois de gloire, Tant vous ai éu en memoire, Tout ai doné et despendu, Et tout ai aus povres tendu, Ne m'est remez vaillant un sac. Bien m'a dit li evesque: «Eschac,» Et m'a rendu maté en l'angle; Sanz avoir m'a lessié tout sangle. Or m'estuet-il morir de fain, Se je n'envoi ma robe au pain. Et ma mesnie, que fera? Ne sai se Diex les pestera. Diex? oïl? qu'en a-il à fere? En autre lieu les covient trere, Ou il me fet l'oreille sorde, Qu'il n'a cure de ma falorde; Et je li referai la moe. Honiz soit qui de lui se loe! N'est riens con por avoir ne face; Ne pris riens Dieu ne sa manace. Irai me je noier ou pendre? Je ne m'en puis pas à Dieu prendre, C'on ne puet à lui avenir. Ha! qui or le porroit tenir Et bien batre à la retornée Moult auroit fet bone journée; Mès il s'est en si haut leu mis, Por eschiver ses anemis, C'on n'i puet trere ne lancier. Se or pooie à lui tancier Et combattre et escremir, La char li feroie fremir. Or est là sus en son solaz; Laz! chetis! et je sui ès laz De Povreté et de Soufrete. Or est bien ma viele frete, Or dira l'en que je rasote: De ce sera mès la riote. Je n'oserai nului veoir, Entre gent ne devrai seoir; Que l'en m'i mousterroit au doi. Or ne sai-je que fere doi. Or m'a bien Diex servi de guile.

(Ici vient Theophiles à Salatin, qui parloit au deable quant il voloit.)

[SALATINS.]

Qu'est-ce? Qu'avez-vous, Theophile? Por le grant Dé! quel mautalent Vous a fet estre si dolent? Vous soliiez si joiant estre.

THEOPHILE parole.

C'on m'apeloit seignor et mestre De cest païs, ce sez-tu bien; Or ne me lesse-on nule rien. S'en sui plus dolenz, Salatin, Quar en françois ne en latin Ne finai onques de proier Celui c'or me veut asproier, Et qui me fet lessier si monde Qu'il ne m'est remez riens el monde. Or n'est nule chose si fiere Ne de si diverse maniere Que volenters ne la féisse Par tel qu'à m'onor revenisse. Li perdres m'est honte et domage.

Ici parole SALATINS.

Biau sire, vous dites que sages; Quar qui a apris la richece Molt i a dolor et destrece Quant l'en chiet en autrui dangier Por son boivre et por son mengier: Trop i covient gros mos oïr.

THEOPHILES.

C'est ce qui me fet esbahir. Salatin, biaus très douz amis, Quant en autrui dangier sui mis, Por pou que li cuers ne m'en crieve.

SALATINS.

Je sai or bien que moult vous grieve, Et moult en estes entrepris Comme hom qui est de si grant pris; Moult en estes mas et penssis.

THEOPHILES.

Salatin frere, or est ensis. Se tu riens pooies savoir Par qoi je péusse ravoir M'onor, ma baillie et ma grace, Il n'est chose que je n'en face.

SALATINS

Voudriiez-vous Dieu renoier, Celui que tant solez proier, Toz ses sainz et toutes ses saintes? Et si devenissiez, mains jointes, Hom à celui qui ce feroit Qui vostre honor vous renderoit: Et plus honorez seriiez, S'à lui servir demoriiez, C'onques jor ne péustes estre? Creez-moi, lessiez vostre mestre: Qu'en avez-vous entalenté?

THEOPHILES.

J'en ai trop bone volonté: Tout ton plesir ferai briefment.

SALATINS.

Alez-vous-en séurement. Maugrez qu'il en puissent avoir, Vous ferai vostre honor ravoir. Revenez demain au matin.

THEOPHILES.

Volentiers, frere Salatin. Cil Diex que tu croiz et aeures Te gart, s'en ce propos demeure!

(Or se depart Theophiles de Salatin, et si pensse que trop a grant chose en Dieu renoier, et dist:)

THEOPHILES.

Ha, laz! que porrai devenir? Bien me doit li cors dessenir Quant il m'estuet à ce venir.
Que ferai, las!
Se je reni saint Nicholas Et saint Jehan et saint Thomas
Et Nostre-Dame,
Que fera ma chetive d'ame? Ele sera arse en la flame
D'enfer le noir.
Là la covendra remanoir: Ci aura trop hideus manoir,
Ce n'est pas fable.
En cele flambe pardurable N'i a nule gent amiable; Ainçois son mal, qu'il sont deable:
C'est lor nature;
Et lor mesons r'est si obscure C'on n'i verra jà soleil luire, Ains est uns puis toz plains d'ordure.
Là irai-gié.
Bien me seront li dé changié, Quant por ce que j'aurai mengié, M'aura Diex issi estrangié
De sa meson,
Et ci aura bone reson. Si esbahiz ne fu mès hom
Com je sui, voir.
Or dit qu'il me fera ravoir Et ma richece et mon avoir, Jà nus n'en porra riens savoir:
Je le ferai.
Diex m'a grevé, je l' greverai; Jamès jor ne le servirai,
Je li ennui;
Riches serai, se povres sui; Se il me het, je harrai lui:
Preingne ses erres,
Ou il face movoir ses guerres. Tout a en main et ciel et terres:
Je li claim cuite,
Se Saladins tout ce m'acuite
Qu'il m'a pramis.
(Ici parole Salatins au Deable et dist:)

Uns crestiens s'est sor moi mis, Et je m'en sui moult entremis; Quar tu n'es pas mes anemis,
Os-tu, Sathanz?
Demain vendra, se tu l'atans; Je li ai promis .iiij. tans:
Aten-le don;
Qu'il a esté moult grant preudon: Por ce si a plus riche don. Met-li ta richece à bandon.
Ne m'os-tu pas?
Je te ferai plus que le pas
Venir, je cuit;
Et si vendras encore anuit, Quar ta demorée me nuit;
G'i ai beé.
(Ci conjure Salatins le deable.)

Bagahi laca bachahé, Lamac cahi achabahé,
Karrelyos.
Lamac lamec bachalyos, Cabahagi sabalyos,
Baryolas.
Lagozatha cabyolas, Samahac et famyolas,
Harrahya.

(Or vient li deables qui est conjuré, et dist:)

Tu as bien dit ce qu'il i a. Cil qui t'aprist riens n'oublia. Moult me travailles!

SALATINS.

Qu'il n'est pas droiz que tu me failles Ne que tu encontre moi ailles,
Quant je t'apel.
Je te faz bien suer ta pel. Veus-tu oïr .i. geu novel?
.J. clerc avons.
De tel gaing com nous savons Souventes foiz nous en grevons
Por nostre afere.
Que loez-vous du clerc à fere Qui se voudra jà vers çà trere?

LI DEABLES.
Comment a non?

SALATINS.
Theophiles, par son droit non. Moult a esté de grant renon
En ceste terre.

LI DEABLES.
J'ai toz jors éu à lui guerre, C'onques jor ne le poi conquerre. Puis qu'il se veut à nous offerre,
Viengne en cel val,
Sanz compaignie et sanz cheval; N'i aura gueres de travail:
C'est près de ci.
Moult aurai bien de lui merci, Sathan et li autre nerci;
Mès n'apiaut mie
Jhesu, le fil sainte Marie: Ne li ferions point d'aïe.
De ci m'en vois.
Or soiez vers moi plus cortois, Ne ne traveillier mès des mois
(Va, Salatin)
Ne en hebrieu ne en latin.
( Or revient Theophiles à Salatin:)
Or sui-je venuz trop matin?
As tu riens fet?

SALATINS.

Je t'ai basti si bien ton plet, Quanques tes sires t'a mesfet
T'amendera,
Et plus forment t'onorera Et plus grant seignor te fera
C'onques ne fus.
Tu n'es or pas si du refus Com tu seras encor du plus.
Ne t'esmaier;
Va là aval sanz delaier. Ne t'i covient pas Dieu proier
Ne reclamer,
Se tu veus ta besoingne amer: Tu l'as trop trové à amer,
Qu'il t'a failli.
Mauvesement as or sailli; Bien t'éust ore mal bailli,
Se ne t'aidaisse.
Va-t'en, que il t'atendent; passe
Grant aléure.
De Dieu reclamer n'aies cure.

THEOPHILES.

Je m'en vois. Diex ne m'i puet nuire
Ne riens aidier,
Ne je ne puis à lui plaidier.

(Ici va Theophiles au deable, si a trop grant paor; et li deables li dist:)

Venez avant, passez grant pas; Gardez que ne resamblez pas Vilain qui va à offerande. Que vous veut ne que vous demande Vostre sires? Il est moult fiers!

THEOPHILES.

Voire, sire. Il fu chanceliers, Si me cuide chacier pain querre: Or vous vieng proier et requerre Que vous m'aidiez à cest besoing.

LI DEABLES.

Requiers m'en-tu?

THEOPHILES.
Oïl.

LI DEABLES.
Or joing
Tes mains, et si devien mes hom: Je t'aiderai outre reson.

THEOPHILES.
Vez ci que je vous faz hommage; Mès que je r'aie mon domage, Biaus sire, dès or en avant.

LI DEABLES.
Et je te refaz .i. couvant, Que te ferai si grant seignor C'on ne te vit onques greignor; Et puis que ainsinques avient, Saches de voir qu'il te covient De toi aie lettres pendanz, Bien dites et bien entendanz; Quar maintes genz m'en ont sorpris Por ce que lor lettres n'en pris: Por ce les vueil avoir bien dites.

THEOPHILES.
Vez-les ci, je les ai escrites.

(Or baille Theophiles les lettres au deable, et li deables li commande à ouvrer ainsi:)

Theophile, biaus douz amis, Puis que tu t'es en mes mains mis, Je te dirai que tu feras: Jamès povre homme n'ameras; Se povres hom sorpris te proie, Torne l'oreille, va ta voie. S'aucuns envers toi s'umelie, Respon orgueil et felonie. Se povres demande à ta porte, Si garde qu'aumosne n'en porte. Douçor, humilitez, pitiez, Et charitez et amistiez, Jeune fere, penitance Me metent grant duel en la pance. Aumosne fere et Dieu proier, Ce me repuet trop anoier. Dieu amer et chastement vivre, Lors me samble serpent et guivre Me menjue le cuer el ventre Quant l'en en la meson-Dieu entre Por regarder aucun malade, Lors ai le cuer si mort et fade Qu'il m'est avis que point n'en sente: Cil qui fet bien si me tormente. Va-t'en, tu seras seneschaus. Lai les biens et si fai les maus. Ne juger jà bien en ta vie, Que tu feroies grant folie Et si feroies contre moi.

THEOPHILES.

Je ferai ce que fere doi. Bien est droiz vostre plesir face, Puis que j'en doi r'avoir ma grace.

Rutebeuf
Le Miracle de Théophile

miércoles, 29 de junio de 2011

The Eel Question


History recites an incident in which eels played the part of an executioner. The sentence a rich Roman, Vedius Pollio, passed upon his offending slaves was, ' Away to the Muramge. ' Slave-fattened eels were a Roman delicacjr, and there was probably more gastronomy than justice in this edict. Ever since, and long before, for that matter, eels have occupied a unique and conspicuous place in popular interest.
For the antiquity of their history, for the diversity of roles they have played, for the many-sidedness of their career and in their importance, eels rival any group of animals below the sons of Adam.

If one were to follow eels — meaning here the common eel and not the lamprey, the Murcena, or the conger, which have histories of their own — backward in literature, the journey would probably reach the dawn of history. It would be difficult to say where they first entered written records, but that they have ever been the subject of curious attention is apparent. While they doubtless first engaged man's interest
by way of his stomach, they were early found worthy of his intellect. Aristotle, wise man of the first European civilization, who explained all things, discoursed wisely and ponderously of eels, and the eel question may be said to have begun with him and his contemporaries. Three thousand years have passed, Aristotle is gone, but the eels and the eel question are still with us and the wise men of our century still concern themselves with both.

What is here called the eel question is one upon which the last word will not be said for some time to come. But it has changed its form and we have it upon a rather firmer foundation than that of the ancients. It began in the mystery attaching to the generation of eels. They were as the leaves of the trees for numbers; but the course of nature in reproducing other creatures each after its own kind did not
seem to be exemplified in eels. Hence the mystery. ' Eel-spawn ' was of the same material as a mare's nest and pigeon's milk.

The teachings on the subject were various. They were the offspring of Jove. This belief, however, originated in the humorous reflection of a Greek poet to the effect that as children of uncertain paternity were ascribed to Jupiter, he must be the progenitor of eels. They were said to be bred of the mud; of decaying bodies in the water; from dew, of a particular sort and falling in certain places ; from the transformation of horse-hairs, and from electrical disturbances. A reverend bishop
once communicated to the Eoyal Society a contribution on the subject of the origin of eels which in substance averred that he had seen young eels on the thatching of a cottage and that the eggs were adhering to the reeds of the thatching before they were cut, and were finally hatched on the roof by the heat of the sun. Helmont, an ancient writer, is specific and gives a recipe for producing eels. Two pieces of turf with May dew upon them were to be taken and the grassy sides apposed and placed
in the sun. After a few hours an 'infinite quantity of eels' were generated. Helmont doubtless felt so sure of this that he regarded trying it a superfluous inconvenience, having no use for young eels. In the ' Piscatory Eclogues ' is a reference in the same strain :

Say, canst thou tell how worms of moisture breed,
Or pike are gendered of the pickrel weed?
How carp without the parent seed renew
Or slimy eels are formed of genial dew?

Aristotle wrote : ' The eel is neither male nor female and is procreated from nothing.' He explained that they were produced from the slime of their bodies, which they scraped off against the pebbles or stones or by contact with each other in their sinuous migrations. This sounds fishy to the twentieth century, but it is easy to see that to Aristotle there should be something in it. There was the slime — that was evident enough. It was purposive in amount, it gave the slipperiness to a creature which is notoriously slippery. The remarkable abundance of eels required a theory of reproduction on a grand scale. And as for their rubbing together, a mass of wriggling and intertwining eels, the well-known 'eel-ball,' suggested nothing more strongly. What more simple and, for those times, natural !

Now there is a curious mixture of stumbling truth and preposterous error in the development of the eel question from this time forward. There was another teaching concerning the source of eels. Some who examined them discovered many small worm-like creatures in their internal machinery and insisted that these were the young and were produced alive from the parent eel — that is, that the eel was viviparous. This was certainly a much more natural and credible explanation, but
it was scorned by Aristotle and Aristotle was correct. He said they were not eels, but were worms, and modern observations sufficiently uphold him. Yet the contrary opinion was held by the scientists of the middle ages, and names which are written high and imperishably on the scroll of fame subscribed to it. Leeuwenhoek, the discoverer of bacteria, and the renowned Linnaeus believed that eels were not
spawned and hatched but were born.

This idea, entirely erroneous, was corroborated later by a correct observation. This time it was in another direction that the investigator came to grief — so slippery was the eel question. He was not examining an eel, but an eel-pout, a fish very far removed from the eel, but so resembling it externally that the ichthyologists have, for a specific name, called it anguillaris, eel-like. And it has been popularly known as 'mother-of-eels. ' This eel-like fish is really viviparous, it produces its
young alive, and they resemble small eels. The learned doctor thought he had solved the eel question. But he hadn't. To add to the confusion, another authority reviewed this work on the eel-pout and decided, being influenced by the previous real mistakes of the same nature, that tbe supposed young eels were only worms. This was plausible, yet he was wrong, for they were undoubtedly legitimate little eel-pouts, mistaken for little eels. Every one, it appears, who took up the question, managed from a basis of truth to reach a wrong conclusion.

Aristotle held that eels were also produced from the ' bowels of the earth,' by which he meant nothing more than common earthworms, which he curiously conceived to be thus related to Mother Earth. Other opinion maintained that eels were the offspring not of eels, but of other kinds of fishes, or of animals that were not even fishes. This heterodoxy was too much for Aristotle, but to this day is prevalent in some form among eel fishermen in various parts of the world. As for
instance, that the ' aal-mutter' referred to, the eel-pout, really produces eels; that eels pair with water snakes; and in Sardinia that the well-known Dytiscus beetle is responsible for eels.

If these conflicting theories seem to us a ludicrous and amusing hodge-podge, it must not be forgotten that they were the wisdom of bygone days. Out of them the eel question resolved itself into a serious problem which interested the whole biological world, and to which the first talent in science addressed itself and on which voluminous and pretentious treatises appeared. Buffon, the naturalist, remarked that he considered the question of the generation of eels one of the most puzzling in natural history. Very appropriately it remained for the century of Isaac Walton to first assert that eels were not the subjects of a special dispensation for their replenishment, and that the mystery of their generation was the same mystery that envelops the rest of the kingdom of life. This not very brilliant announcement seems to have been put forth as a purely academic deduction. There were no observations in the modern sense, and the author of the ' Compleat Angler ' was not particularly enthusiastic over it. He merely mentions it without subscribing, and says : ' But most men differ about their breeding,' and then after citing at some length what ' some say ' and ' others say, ' remarks : ' But that eels may be bred as some worms, and some kinds of bees and wasps are, either of dew or out of the corruption of the earth, seems to be made probable by the barnacles and young goslings bred by the sun's heat and the rotten planks of an old ship, and hatched of trees.'

The passing of Aristotelianism and the revival of the sciences, in the sixteenth century, was the occasion of this renewed interest in eels. It was not, however, until the eighteenth century that sex in eels was definitely recognized. Sancassini, a surgeon of Comacchio, in Italy, visited the eel fisheries at that famous place of eels, and chancing to be struck with the appearance of a large one, his professional instinct led him to use his knife. The result caused him to send it to Vallisneri at the University of Padua, who recognized with enthusiasm the true ova and forthwith communicated this fact to the Academy at Bologna. Vallisneri has since been appropriately honored by the bestowal of his name upon a water plant well known to all —eel-grass. But the immediate effect of his announcement was an eel controversy. Eels became the burning topic of the hour among the professors, the best-known names of the time are associated with the discussion, and Bologna became the storm-center of the eel question.

Another specimen similar to the first increased the agitation. But Valsalva, of anatomical fame, showed that there were certain appearances in almost any fat and well-favored eel that strongly simulated what Vallisneri had described, and in brief, hinted that the alleged eggs were globules of uninteresting adipose. . An enthusiast offered a reward for an eel that should contain undoubted eggs. Of course he got it. His joy was short-lived, for a critical inspection showed that mercenary
considerations had led the fisherman to fill the specimen with foreign eggs. This irreverence, and at this juncture, disturbed the seriousness of the situation and the eel question slumbered for over half a century. Then, again from Comacchio — whence emanated many of the errors and the final truth — another eel falling into initiated hands marked the crisis in the eel question. Among these privileged ones was the famous Galvani, and in grave council assembled, he agreed with the others that it was the counterpart of Vallisneri 's historic eel of seventy years before, and was a precious specimen and must be sent to the naturalist Mondini. And Mondini, in a publication which is classical, first described in accurate terms the female eel, and lifted the eel question out of the uncertain field of speculation to a basis of solid fact.

Not immediately, however. Spallanzani a few years after visited the Comacchio region for the sole purpose of studying eels and reported a negative to Mondini 's observations, which accordingly suffered a nearly total eclipse lasting many years. In 1850 Bathke was able to describe an eel in full roe, the first that ever came into the hands of an investigator, the eggs of Mondini's eel being immature. This important event was the final blow that settled the sex question as far as eels are concerned. Over twenty years afterward, however, the German Fishery Association in Berlin was led by renewed interest in eels, due to the stimulus of Syrski's work on the male eel," to offer a reward of fifty marks for an eel in full roe. The eel was to be submitted to Professor Virchow, and the royal superintendent of fisheries
undertook to forward the responses. It seems that about every German newspaper ' from the Ehine to the Vistula and from the Alps to the sea,' gave publicity, with a result creditable to them, but overwhelming to the royal superintendent.

His delight at the popular interest in eels was succeeded by astonishment and that by horror. His postal expenses compelled him to announce that all eels and communications should be forwarded direct to Virchow. The public complied and the
great German savant was obliged to cry enough and beg for mercy. People wrote and sent their specimens, parts of eels, contents of eels, thread worms from eels and above all, stories of eels and of eggs in eels, but seldom an eel intact and none in the desired condition. They usually ate the eel and sent various and often irrelevant portions of its anatomy, with a request that the fifty marks be remitted by return mail. If this prize contest had no scientific results, it contributed to
the merriment of the German nation. The comic papers cartooned the incidents and announced that in the future the scientists desired only smoked eels.

(...)

The Greeks and Romans seem to be first in their regard for the eel, and many tales come down to us of the esteem in which he was held in their ancient times. The Romans cultivated eels, tamed them, made pets of them; and the orator, Hortensius, rival of Cicero, wept bitterly at the death of his favorite mursena. They even sacrificed their slaves to the eel ponds, a practice quite possible to men who plundered nature to serve peacocks' brains and parrots' tongues at their tables.
The Egyptians are said by one account to have abhorred eels utterly, but it is certain that at one time eel-worship shows them to have also judged the eel to rank with the gods. The Scotch taboo the eel entirely, while the Hebrew race placed it under the ban which applies to scaleless creatures of the fish tribe. The conger eel is scaleless, but the common eel does not deserve this calumny, for its minute oblong scales, curiously arranged in groups instead of imbricated regularly as in the common fishes, are easily seen on careful inspection. The ancient Anglo-Saxon, on the other hand, was passionately fond of eels, which passed current as a medium of exchange. The race has always been partial to them and Londoners of to-day consume them in great quantities. Some ancient peoples used them in sacred offerings. Terracina, a seaport of Italy, being besieged by the Turks, the inhabitants vowed twenty thousand eels per annum to St. Benedict. The account relates that a 'fond memory of stewed eels' touched the saint and the siege was raised. He got his eels, and the Benedictine monks have been accustomed to render the yearly tribute to their saintly patron.

(...)
The eel seems to have taken its name, and in more languages than one, from its suggestion of the snake. The Anglo-Saxon aal is derived from the Finnish for slimy, while the scientific name is the Latin for snake, Anguilla. Many English names of places are compounded of eel — witness Elmore, Ellesmere, and Ely. Of the latter
Fuller, in ' Worthies of Cambridgeshire, ' has this illuminating explanation: ''When the priests of this part of the country would still retain their wives in spite of whatever the pope and monks could do to the contrary, their wives and children were miraculously turned into eels, whence it had the name Ely. I consider this a lie." Like other objects of popular interest which include elements of mystery, eels are
the subject of the most extravagant tales. Some of these are quite analogous to the threadbare story of the live frog found in the interior of a solid rock. A New England paper some years ago heralded that 'a live and active eel, a few days since, was dug out from a depth of five feet in the soil of Exeter, New Hampshire.' Doubtless this eel is exhumed annually. The tenacity of life of frogs and eels affords the starting point for these legends. Likewise to the voracity of eels may
we credit an ancient chronicle that in England a few of them were one dark night observed to consume entirely a stack of hay. It may be in a spirit of emulation that some German carp — importation of the Government — artificially transplanted to the pond of a western farmer, came out one night and ate up the crop of buckwheat on a neighboring field. Elvers are reported to climb trees and the tale might not be
incredible, provided any imaginable reason for such conduct could be assigned, for by their persistence they sometimes ascend the perpendicular barrier of a dam a short distance. This they accomplish by the partial drying of those that first essay the ascent, which therefore stick to the boards and afford a slight foothold for the next comers, which wriggle a little higher and then in turn stick fast and perish.

These stories might be multiplied ad nauseam, but more interesting are a few facts about the symbolic significance of the eel. His slipperiness long ago passed into a proverb. Among the pictorial writings of the Egyptians the representation of an eel held by the tail denoted 'a man vainly pursuing a fugitive object. ' A Greek expression of similar import reads, 'You've an eel by the tail.' It is not so well known that an eel figures also in an emblem of quite opposite meaning — certainty
instead of uncertainty. It is quite impossible to hold one in any ordinary clutch of the hand. The intervention of a fig leaf, however, makes the grasp secure, and the Egyptians depicted an eel rolled up in a fig leaf when they wished to express certainty regarding things that were a -priori uncertain.


EELS AND THE EEL QUESTION.
By M. C. MARSH,
U. S. COMMISSION OF FISH AND FISHERIES.
1902

viernes, 24 de junio de 2011

Solsticios Sangrientos



“En las costumbres populares de Europa relacionadas con los festivales ígnicos hay ciertos rasgos que parecen señalar la práctica anterior de sacrificios humanos. Hemos hallado razones para creer que en Europa, frecuentemente, han actuado personas vivas como representantes del espíritu arbóreo y del espíritu del grano y han sufrido muerte violenta en cuanto tales. Ño hay razón, por lo tanto, para que no fueran quemadas si su muerte suponía ciertas ventajas obtenidas matándolas de esa suerte. La consideración del sufrimiento humano no -entra en los cálculos del hombre primitivo. Ahora bien, en los festivales ígnicos que nos ocupan la simulación de quemar personas se lleva tan lejos en ocasiones, que parece razonable considerarla como una supervivencia mitigada de la vieja costumbre de quemarla realmente. Así, recordaremos que en Aquisgran el hombre revestido de forraje de guisante actúa tan diestramente que la
chiquillería cree que ha sido quemado de verdad. En Jumiéges, Nor el título de Lobo Verde, era perseguido por sus compañeros, y cuando al fin le aprisionaban, fingían echarle a la hoguera del solsticio estival.

De igual modo, en los fuegos de Beltane, en Escocia, la supuesta víctima era capturada y simulaban arrojarla entre las llamas; por algún tiempo después afectaban hablar de ella como si hubiese muerto. También en las hogueras de la víspera de Todos los Santos, en el nordeste de Escocia, podemos descubrir quizá una intención parecida en la costumbre de que un muchacho se tumbe todo lo más cerca que permitan las llamas, dejando que salten sobre él los demás muchachos. El rey titular de Aix, que remaba por un año y bailaba la primera danza alrededor de la hoguera solsticial de verano, quizá en antiguos tiempos pudo haber desempeñado el deber menos agradable de servir de combustible
al fuego que en tiempos posteriores sólo encendía. Mannhardt está probablemente en lo cierto al reconocer en las siguientes costumbres rastros de la antigua de quemar a un representante del espíritu de la vegetación, revestido de hojarasca. En Wolfeck, Austria, el día del solsticio de verano, un muchacho completamente cubierto de ramaje verde de abeto va de casa en casa acompañado de ruidosa cuadrilla, recogiendo leña para la hoguera. Cuando la consigue, canta:

Árboles del bosque quiero;
no quiero leche agria,
sino cerveza y vino,
para que el hombre del bosque
esté alegre y divertido.

En algunas partes de Baviera también van los jóvenes por las casas recogiendo combustible para la hoguera del solsticio estival, envuelto uno de ellos de cabeza a pies con ramas verdes de abeto y conducido
por toda la aldea sujeto por una cuerda. En Moosheim, Wurtemberg, el festival de la hoguera de San Juan solía durar catorce días y terminaba el segundo domingo después del solsticio de verano. En este último
día, la hoguera quedaba a cargo de los niños, mientras los adultos se marchaban al bosque, donde revestían de ramas y hojarasca a un mozo que, así disfrazado, llegaba a la hoguera, la desparramaba y pisoteaba,
apagándola. Toda la gente huía al ver aquello.

Todavía creemos que es posible ir más allá. Las huellas más inequívocas de sacrificios humanos ofrendados en estas ocasiones, como hemos visto, son aquellas que hace unos cien años todavía se advertían en los fuegos de Beltane en las serranías escocesas, o sea entre gentes célticas, que, situadas en un remoto rincón de Europa y en su mayor parte aisladas completamente de influencias extranjeras, conservaban todavía su antiguo paganismo mucho mejor quizá que cualquier otro pueblo del occidente de Europa. Es importante, por consiguiente, que se conozca por pruebas irrecusables que los celtas efectuaron sistemáticamente los sacrificios humanos por el fuego. La descripción más antigua de estos sacrificios nos la trasmite Julio César. Como conquistador de los hasta entonces independientes celtas de la Galia, César tuvo amplia oportunidad de observar la religión nacional celta y sus ritos, cuando todavía era terso y brillante el cuño nativo y no se había fundido en el crisol de la civilización romana. En sus notas personales, César parece haber incorporado las observaciones de un explorador griego, de nombre Posidomos, que viajó por la Galia unos cincuenta años antes de que César condujera las armas romanas al Canal de la Mancha. Creemos que también el geógrafo griego Estrabón y el historiador Diodoro entresacaron de la obra de Posidonios sus descripciones de los sacrificios célticos, pero independientemente el uno del otro y de César, pues cada uno de los tres relatos derivados contiene algunos detalles que no se encuentran en ninguno de los otros dos. Reviniéndolos, podemos restaurar el relato original de Posidonios con alguna probabilidad, obteniendo así un cuadro de los sacrificios ofrecidos por los celtas de Galia a finales del siglo II a. c. En lo que sigue, creemos encontrar las líneas principales de la costumbre. Los celtas reservaban los criminales condenados con objeto de sacrificarlos a los dioses en el gran festival que tenía lugar cada cinco años. Cuantas más victimas de éstas hubiera, tanto mayor sería la fertilidad del país. Si no había bastantes criminales que inmolar, suplían la deficiencia con cautivos de guerra. Llegado el momento, las víctimas eran sacrificadas por los druidas o sacerdotes; unos eran derribados a flechazos, otros empalados y otros más quemados vivos del siguiente modo. Construían imágenes colosales de cestería o de madera y yerbas, que rellenaban de hombres vivos, ganado y animales de otras clases; después prendían fuego a las imágenes, que ardían con todo su contenido viviente.

Así eran los grandes festivales de cada cinco años. Junto a estas fiestas quinquenales, celebradas en tan gran escala y al parecer con tan gran derroche de vidas humanas, creemos razonable suponer que tenían festivales anuales de igual clase, sólo que en menor escala, y que de estos festivales anuales descienden directamente por lo menos algunos de los festivales ígnicos que, con sus vestigios de sacrificios humanos, se celebran todavía año tras año en muchas partes de Europa. Las gigantescas imágenes construidas con mimbres o cubiertas de yerbas en las que los druidas encerraban a sus víctimas nos recuerdan el armazón de follaje en el que todavía suele introducirse el representante humano del espíritu del árbol. Por esto, viendo que se suponía que la fertilidad del país dependía de la debida ejecución de estos sacrificios, Mannhardt ve en las víctimas célticas metidas entre mimbres y hojas, los representantes del espíritu arbóreo o de la vegetación.

(…)
También la costumbre druídica de quemar animales vivos encerrados en el armazón tiene su "réplica" o duplicado en los festivales del solsticio de verano. En Luchon, Pirineos, la víspera del solsticio "erigen
una columna hueca en el centro del suburbio principal, de unos veinte metros de alta, hecha con una armadura fuerte y con follaje verde entrelazado por completo hasta arriba y, para formar a modo de un bello fondo a la escena, colocan abajo, artísticamente dispuestos, arbustos y las más bellas flores. Rellenan la columna con materia de fácil combustión. A la hora señalada, las ocho de la noche, sale del centro de la ciudad una gran procesión compuesta por la clerecía y seguida por jóvenes de ambos sexos vestidos de fiesta; van cantando himnos religiosos y se colocan alrededor de la columna. Mientras, en las colinas de los alrededores encienden hogueras de bellísimo efecto. Todas las serpientes que han podido reunir las arrojan al interior de la columna, a la que inmediatamente prenden fuego en su base por medio de antorchas con las
que unos cincuenta muchachos y hombres danzan con frenesí alrededor de la columna. Las serpientes, para huir de las llamas, ascienden enroscándose hasta el extremo superior de la columna, donde se las ve moviéndose desordenadamente hasta que, finalmente, obligadas por las llamas, caen, sirviendo su lucha por la vida para originar el entusiástico goce de los espectadores en derredor. Ésta es una ceremonia anual favorita y la tradición local la señala un origen pagano". En las hogueras del solsticio de estío, que antiguamente se encendían en la plaza de la Gréve, en París, era costumbre quemar una cesta, barril o saco lleno de gatos vivos, que se colgaba de un mástil alto en medio del fuego; a veces quemaban una zorra. El pueblo recogía después tizones y cenizas para llevar a casa, creyendo que esto les traería buena suerte. Los reyes franceses presenciaban con frecuencia estos espectáculos y aun encendían la hoguera con sus mayestátícas manos. En el año 1648, Luis XIV, coronado con una guirnalda de rosas y llevando en la mano un gran ramo de rosas, encendió la hoguera, bailó y después participó del banquete de ayuntamiento. Pero ésta fue la última vez en que un monarca presidiera la hoguera del solsticio estival en París. Los fuegos solsticiales se encendían en Metz, con gran aparato en la explanada y en ellos arrojaban en cestos una docena de gatos vivos para diversión de las gentes. De modo análogo, en Gap, en el departamento de Hautes-Alpcs, acostumbraban asar gatos en la hoguera del solsticio de verano. En Rusia quemaban algunas veces, en las mismas circunstancias, un gallo blanco; en Meisscn o Turingia arrojaban al fuego ceremonial la cabeza de un caballo. Otras veces quemaba" animales en las hogueras de primavera. En los Vosgos quemaban gatos el Martes de Carnaval; en Alsacia los arrojaban a la hoguera de Pascua de Resurrección. En el departamento de las Ardenas echaban gatos en las hogueras encendidas el primer domingo de Cuaresma; algunas veces, por un refinamiento de crueldad, los colgaban del extremo de una pértiga sobre el fuego, asándolos vivos. "El gato, que representa al demonio, nunca sufrirá bastante". Mientras
los animales perecían en las llamas, los pastores obligaban a sus rebaños a saltar sobre el fuego, estimando esto como un medio infalible para preservarlos de enfermedades y brujerías'.

Así, pues, parece posible rastrear los ritos sacrificiales de los celtas de la antigua Galia en las fiestas populares de la Europa moderna. Es natural que en Francia o mejor aún, en la extensa área comprendida en
los límites de la antigua Galia, sea donde esos ritos han dejado las huellas más claras en las costumbres de quemar gigantes hechos de armadura de mimbres y con animales metidos dentro de los armazones o cestos.
Obsérvese que estas costumbres se celebran en el día del solsticio de verano o en días próximos. De esto podemos concluir que los ritos originales de los que éstos son los sucesores degenerados se solemnizaban
en el día del solsticio estival. Esta deducción armoniza con la conclusión que sugiere una revisión general del folklore europeo y según la cual el festival del solsticio de estío, en conjunto, es el más extensamente
difundido y el más solemne de todos los festivales anuales que celebraban los primitivos arios en Europa. Al mismo tiempo debemos tener presente que entre los celtas británicos los principales festivales
ígnicos del año parecen haber sido los de Beltane (día 1° de mayo) y Halloween (víspera de Todos los Santos, día último de octubre), y esto promueve la duda de si los Celtas de la Galia no habrán celebrado su
principal rito del fuego, incluyendo sus quemas sacrificiales, a principios de mayo y comienzos de noviembre, más bien que en el solsticio de estío.

Nos queda todavía inquirir cuál es el significado de estos sacrificios y por qué quemaban hombres y animales en estos festivales. Si estamos en lo cierto al interpretar los modernos festivales del fuego europeos como tentativas para romper el poder de la brujería, quemando y ahuyentando brujas y hechiceros, podremos explicar los sacrificios humanos de los celtas de modo igual, o sea que debemos suponer que las víctimas a quienes los druidas quemaban dentro de imágenes de cestería eran
condenadas a morir por ser brujas o hechiceros, y el procedimiento de ejecución por el fuego se escogía porque quemarlos vivos se estimaba el medio más seguro de eliminar a estos seres nocivos y peligrosos. La
misma explicación puede aplicarse al ganado y a los animales salvajes de muchas clases que los celtas quemaban junto con las personas. Podemos conjeturar además que los celtas creían que estos animales estaban
bajo el maleficio de la hechicería o eran realmente brujos y hechiceros que se habían transformado en animales con el maligno propósito de proseguir sus confabulaciones infernales contra el bienestar de sus convecinos.
Esta hipótesis se confirma por la observación de ser gatos las víctimas quemadas más corrientemente en las hogueras modernas, y los gatos son precisamente los animales en que más usualmente se transforman
las brujas, según se cree, acaso con la excepción de las liebres.

También hemos visto que en ocasiones quemaban en las hogueras solsticiales de verano serpientes y zorras; se sabe que las brujas galesas y alemanas se transformaban en zorras y serpientes. En suma, cuando recordamos la gran variedad de animales cuyas formas pueden adoptar las brujas a su capricho, creemos fácil explicar con esta hipótesis la variedad de animales vivos que se han quemado en estos festivales, lo mismo en h antigua Galia que en la Europa moderna; podemos barruntar que todas esas víctimas fueron condenadas a las llamas no por ser
animales, sino porque se les creía brujas que habían tomado forma animal para sus propósitos nefandos. Una ventaja de explicar los antiguos sacrificios célticos de este modo está en que da verdadera congruencia
y consistencia al trato que Europa ha dispensado a las brujas, desde los tiempos más antiguos hasta hace dos siglos, en que la creciente influencia del racionalismo desacreditó la creencia en la brujería y suprimió la
costumbre de quemar brujas. Sea como fuese, podemos entender ahora por qué los druidas creían que cuantas más personas sentenciasen a muerte mayor sería la fertilidad del país. Para un lector moderno, a primera
vista, podría no ser demasiado evidente la conexión entre la actividad del verdugo y la productividad de la tierra, mas le satisfará la pequeña reflexión de que siendo criminales las personas que perecían en la pira o el cadalso y cuyo deleite era atizonar las mieses del labrador o tenderlas contra el suelo tumbadas por las tormentas de pedrisco, la ejecución de aquellos desventurados estaba efectivamente calculada para asegurar una cosecha abundante mediante la remoción de una de las principales causas que paralizan los esfuerzos y marchitan las esperanzas del labrador.

Los sacrificios druídicos que estamos examinando fueron explicados de modo distinto por W. Mannhardt. Supuso éste que los hombres a quienes los druidas quemaban en imágenes de cestería representaban los
espíritus de la vegetación y, según esto, la costumbre de quemarlos era una ceremonia mágica hecha con la intención de asegurar luz solar suficiente para las cosechas. De modo análogo creemos que se inclinó a la
noción de suponer a los animales que quemaban en las hogueras como representantes del espíritu del grano, del que, como vimos al comienzo de esta obra, se suponía que con frecuencia adoptaba forma animal. No
hay duda de que esta teoría es defendible y la gran autoridad de W. Mannhardt la hace acreedora a un examen detenido. Nosotros la adoptamos en las anteriores ediciones de este libro pero, después de repasarla, la creemos en conjunto menos probable que la teoría de que los hombres y animales abrasados en estas hogueras pereciesen en su carácter de hechiceros. Este último punto de vista está vigorosamente apoyado por el testimonio de las gentes que celebraban estos festivales ígnicos, puesto que un nombre popular para la costumbre de encender estas hogueras es "quemar las brujas"; algunas veces se queman efigies de brujas, y de estos fuegos, los tizones, ascuas y cenizas se suponía que ofrecían eficaz protección contra la hechicería. Por otro lado, poco puede decirse para demostrar que las efigies o animales quemados en los fuegos fueran considerados por los pueblos como representantes del espíritu de la vegetación y que las hogueras fuesen encantamientos solares. Con respecto a las serpientes en particular, que se solían quemar en el fuego solsticial de verano en Luchon, no conocemos prueba alguna de que en Europa se haya considerado a las serpientes como corporeizaciones del espíritu del árbol o del cereal, aunque en otras partes del mundo este concepto parece no ser desconocido. En cambio, como es tan general y está tan profundamente arraigada la creencia popular en la transformación de las brujas en animales y como, además, es tan intenso el miedo que inspiran estos misteriosos seres, parece estarse más en lo firme al suponer que los gatos y demás animales que se quemaban en las hogueras sufrían la muerte como corporeizaciones de brujas y no en cuanto representantes de los espíritus de la vegetación.

Sir James Frazer
La Rama Dorada
64.2

Solstice, Bloody Solstice



IN THE POPULAR customs connected with the fire-festivals of Europe there are certain features which appear to point to a former practice of human sacrifice. We have seen reasons for believing that in Europe living persons have often acted as representatives of the tree-spirit and corn-spirit and have suffered death as such. There is no reason, therefore, why they should not have been burned, if any special advantages were likely to be attained by putting them to death in that way. The consideration of human suffering is not one which enters into the calculations of primitive man. Now, in the fire-festivals which we are discussing, the pretence of burning people is sometimes carried so far that it seems reasonable to regard it as a mitigated survival of an older custom of actually burning them. Thus in Aachen, as we saw, the man clad in peas-straw acts so cleverly that the children really believe he is being burned. At Jumièges in Normandy the man clad all in green, who bore the title of the Green Wolf, was pursued by his comrades, and when they caught him they feigned to fling him upon the midsummer bonfire. Similarly at the Beltane fires in Scotland the pretended victim was seized, and a show made of throwing him into the flames, and for some time afterwards people affected to speak of him as dead. Again, in the Hallowe’en bonfires of Northeastern Scotland we may perhaps detect a similar pretence in the custom observed by a lad of lying down as close to the fire as possible and allowing the other lads to leap over him. The titular king at Aix, who reigned for a year and danced the first dance round the midsummer bonfire, may perhaps in days of old have discharged the less agreeable duty of serving as fuel for that fire which in later times he only kindled. In the following customs Mannhardt is probably right in recognising traces of an old custom of burning a leaf-clad representative of the spirit of vegetation. At Wolfeck, in Austria, on Midsummer Day, a boy completely clad in green fir branches goes from house to house, accompanied by a noisy crew, collecting wood for the bonfire. As he gets the wood he sings:

“Forest trees I want,
No sour milk for me,
But beer and wine,
So can the wood-man be jolly and gay.”

1
In some parts of Bavaria, also, the boys who go from house to house collecting fuel for the midsummer bonfire envelop one of their number from head to foot in green branches of firs, and lead him by a rope through the whole village. At Moosheim, in Wurtemberg, the festival of St. John’s Fire usually lasted for fourteen days, ending on the second Sunday after Midsummer Day. On this last day the bonfire was left in charge of the children, while the older people retired to a wood. Here they encased a young fellow in leaves and twigs, who, thus disguised, went to the fire, scattered it, and trod it out. All the people present fled at the sight of him.

But it seems possible to go farther than this. Of human sacrifices offered on these occasions the most unequivocal traces, as we have seen, are those which, about a hundred years ago, still lingered at the Beltane fires in the Highlands of Scotland, that is, among a Celtic people who, situated in a remote corner of Europe and almost completely isolated from foreign influence, had till then conserved their old heathenism better perhaps than any other people in the West of Europe. It is significant, therefore, that human sacrifices by fire are known, on unquestionable evidence, to have been systematically practised by the Celts. The earliest description of these sacrifices has been bequeathed to us by Julius Caesar. As conqueror of the hitherto independent Celts of Gaul, Caesar had ample opportunity of observing the national Celtic religion and manners, while these were still fresh and crisp from the native mint and had not yet been fused in the melting-pot of Roman civilisation. With his own notes Caesar appears to have incorporated the observations of a Greek explorer, by name Posidonius, who travelled in Gaul about fifty years before Caesar carried the Roman arms to the English Channel. The Greek geographer Strabo and the historian Diodorus seem also to have derived their descriptions of the Celtic sacrifices from the work of Posidonius, but independently of each other, and of Caesar, for each of the three derivative accounts contain some details which are not to be found in either of the others. By combining them, therefore, we can restore the original account of Posidonius with some probability, and thus obtain a picture of the sacrifices offered by the Celts of Gaul at the close of the second century before our era. The following seem to have been the main outlines of the custom. Condemned criminals were reserved by the Celts in order to be sacrificed to the gods at a great festival which took place once in every five years. The more there were of such victims, the greater was believed to be the fertility of the land. If there were not enough criminals to furnish victims, captives taken in war were immolated to supply the deficiency. When the time came the victims were sacrificed by the Druids or priests. Some they shot down with arrows, some they impaled, and some they burned alive in the following manner. Colossal images of wicker-work or of wood and grass were constructed; these were filled with live men, cattle, and animals of other kinds; fire was then applied to the images, and they were burned with their living contents. 3

Such were the great festivals held once every five years. But besides these quinquennial festivals, celebrated on so grand a scale, and with, apparently, so large an expenditure of human life, it seems reasonable to suppose that festivals of the same sort, only on a lesser scale, were held annually, and that from these annual festivals are lineally descended some at least of the fire-festivals which, with their traces of human sacrifices, are still celebrated year by year in many parts of Europe. The gigantic images constructed of osiers or covered with grass in which the Druids enclosed their victims remind us of the leafy framework in which the human representative of the tree-spirit is still so often encased. Hence, seeing that the fertility of the land was apparently supposed to depend upon the due performance of these sacrifices, Mannhardt interpreted the Celtic victims, cased in osiers and grass, as representatives of the tree-spirit or spirit of vegetation.

(...)
Again, the Druidical custom of burning live animals, enclosed in wicker-work, has its counterpart at the spring and midsummer festivals. At Luchon in the Pyrenees on Midsummer Eve “a hollow column, composed of strong wicker-work, is raised to the height of about sixty feet in the centre of the principal suburb, and interlaced with green foliage up to the very top; while the most beautiful flowers and shrubs procurable are artistically arranged in groups below, so as to form a sort of background to the scene. The column is then filled with combustible materials, ready for ignition. At an appointed hour—about 8 P.M.—a grand procession, composed of the clergy, followed by young men and maidens in holiday attire, pour forth from the town chanting hymns, and take up their position around the column. Meanwhile, bonfires are lit, with beautiful effect, in the surrounding hills. As many living serpents as could be collected are now thrown into the column, which is set on fire at the base by means of torches, armed with which about fifty boys and men dance around with frantic gestures. The serpents, to avoid the flames, wriggle their way to the top, whence they are seen lashing out laterally until finally obliged to drop, their struggles for life giving rise to enthusiastic delight among the surrounding spectators. This is a favourite annual ceremony for the inhabitants of Luchon and its neighbourhood, and local tradition assigns it to a heathen origin.” In the midsummer fires formerly kindled on the Place de Grève at Paris it was the custom to burn a basket, barrel, or sack full of live cats, which was hung from a tall mast in the midst of the bonfire; sometimes a fox was burned. The people collected the embers and ashes of the fire and took them home, believing that they brought good luck. The French kings often witnessed these spectacles and even lit the bonfire with their own hands. In 1648 Louis the Fourteenth, crowned with a wreath of roses and carrying a bunch of roses in his hand, kindled the fire, danced at it and partook of the banquet afterwards in the town hall. But this was the last occasion when a monarch presided at the midsummer bonfire in Paris. At Metz midsummer fires were lighted with great pomp on the esplanade, and a dozen cats, enclosed in wicker cages, were burned alive in them, to the amusement of the people. Similarly at Gap, in the department of the High Alps, cats used to be roasted over the midsummer bonfire. In Russia a white cock was sometimes burned in the midsummer bonfire; in Meissen or Thuringia a horse’s head used to be thrown into it. Sometimes animals are burned in the spring bonfires. In the Vosges cats were burned on Shrove Tuesday; in Alsace they were thrown into the Easter bonfire. In the department of the Ardennes cats were flung into the bonfires kindled on the first Sunday in Lent; sometimes, by a refinement of cruelty, they were hung over the fire from the end of a pole and roasted alive. “The cat, which represented the devil, could never suffer enough.” While the creatures were perishing in the flames, the shepherds guarded their flocks and forced them to leap over the fire, esteeming this an infallible means of preserving them from disease and witchcraft. We have seen that squirrels were sometimes burned in the Easter fire.

Thus it appears that the sacrificial rites of the Celts of ancient Gaul can be traced in the popular festivals of modern Europe. Naturally it is in France, or rather in the wider area comprised within the limits of ancient Gaul, that these rites have left the clearest traces in the customs of burning giants of wicker-work and animals enclosed in wicker-work or baskets. These customs, it will have been remarked, are generally observed at or about midsummer. From this we may infer that the original rites of which these are the degenerate successors were solemnised at midsummer. This inference harmonises with the conclusion suggested by a general survey of European folk-custom, that the midsummer festival must on the whole have been the most widely diffused and the most solemn of all the yearly festivals celebrated by the primitive Aryans in Europe. At the same time we must bear in mind that among the British Celts the chief fire-festivals of the year appear certainly to have been those of Beltane (May Day) and Hallowe’en (the last day of October); and this suggests a doubt whether the Celts of Gaul also may not have celebrated their principal rites of fire, including their burnt sacrifices of men and animals, at the beginning of May or the beginning of November rather than at Midsummer.

We have still to ask, What is the meaning of such sacrifices? Why were men and animals burnt to death at these festivals? If we are right in interpreting the modern European fire-festivals as attempts to break the power of witchcraft by burning or banning the witches and warlocks, it seems to follow that we must explain the human sacrifices of the Celts in the same manner; that is, we must suppose that the men whom the Druids burnt in wicker-work images were condemned to death on the ground that they were witches or wizards, and that the mode of execution by fire was chosen because burning alive is deemed the surest mode of getting rid of these noxious and dangerous beings. The same explanation would apply to the cattle and wild animals of many kinds which the Celts burned along with the men. They, too, we may conjecture, were supposed to be either under the spell of witchcraft or actually to be the witches and wizards, who had transformed themselves into animals for the purpose of prosecuting their infernal plots against the welfare of their fellow-creatures. This conjecture is confirmed by the observation that the victims most commonly burned in modern bonfires have been cats, and that cats are precisely the animals into which, with the possible exception of hares, witches were most usually supposed to transform themselves. Again, we have seen that serpents and foxes used sometimes to be burnt in the midsummer fires; and Welsh and German witches are reported to have assumed the form both of foxes and serpents. In short, when we remember the great variety of animals whose forms witches can assume at pleasure, it seems easy on this hypothesis to account for the variety of living creatures that have been burnt at festivals both in ancient Gaul and modern Europe; all these victims, we may surmise, were doomed to the flames, not because they were animals, but because they were believed to be witches who had taken the shape of animals for their nefarious purposes. One advantage of explaining the ancient Celtic sacrifices in this way is that it introduces, as it were, a harmony and consistency into the treatment which Europe has meted out to witches from the earliest times down to about two centuries ago, when the growing influence of rationalism discredited the belief in witchcraft and put a stop to the custom of burning witches. Be that as it may, we can now perhaps understand why the Druids believed that the more persons they sentenced to death, the greater would be the fertility of the land. To a modern reader the connexion at first sight may not be obvious between the activity of the hangman and the productivity of the earth. But a little reflection may satisfy him that when the criminals who perish at the stake or on the gallows are witches, whose delight it is to blight the crops of the farmer or to lay them low under storms of hail, the execution of these wretches is really calculated to ensure an abundant harvest by removing one of the principal causes which paralyse the efforts and blast the hopes of the husbandman.

The Druidical sacrifices which we are considering were explained in a different way by W. Mannhardt. He supposed that the men whom the Druids burned in wicker-work images represented the spirits of vegetation, and accordingly that the custom of burning them was a magical ceremony intended to secure the necessary sunshine for the crops. Similarly, he seems to have inclined to the view that the animals which used to be burnt in the bonfires represented the cornspirit, which, as we saw in an earlier part of this work, is often supposed to assume the shape of an animal. This theory is no doubt tenable, and the great authority of W. Mannhardt entitles it to careful consideration. I adopted it in former editions of this book; but on reconsideration it seems to me on the whole to be less probable than the theory that the men and animals burnt in the fires perished in the character of witches. This latter view is strongly supported by the testimony of the people who celebrate the fire-festivals, since a popular name for the custom of kindling the fires is “burning the witches,” effigies of witches are sometimes consumed in the flames, and the fires, their embers, or their ashes are supposed to furnish protection against witchcraft. On the other hand there is little to show that the effigies or the animals burnt in the fires are regarded by the people as representatives of the vegetation-spirit, and that the bonfires are sun-charms. With regard to serpents in particular, which used to be burnt in the midsummer fire at Luchon, I am not aware of any certain evidence that in Europe snakes have been regarded as embodiments of the tree-spirit or corn-spirit, though in other parts of the world the conception appears to be not unknown. Whereas the popular faith in the transformation of witches into animals is so general and deeply rooted, and the fear of these uncanny beings is so strong, that it seems safer to suppose that the cats and other animals which were burnt in the fire suffered death as embodiments of witches than that they perished as representatives of vegetation-spirits.


Sir James Frazer
The Golden Bough
64.2

jueves, 23 de junio de 2011

The Lottery




The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o'clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 2th. but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.
The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play. and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands. Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix-- the villagers pronounced this name "Dellacroy"--eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys. The girls stood aside, talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys. and the very small children rolled in the dust or clung to the hands of their older brothers or sisters.

Soon the men began to gather. surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed. The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their menfolk. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands. Soon the women, standing by their husbands, began to call to their children, and the children came reluctantly, having to be called four or five times. Bobby Martin ducked under his mother's grasping hand and ran, laughing, back to the pile of stones. His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother.

The lottery was conducted--as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program--by Mr. Summers. who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. He was a round-faced, jovial man and he ran the coal business, and people were sorry for him. because he had no children and his wife was a scold. When he arrived in the square, carrying the black wooden box, there was a murmur of conversation among the villagers, and he waved and called. "Little late today, folks." The postmaster, Mr. Graves, followed him, carrying a three- legged stool, and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it. The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool. and when Mr. Summers said, "Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?" there was a hesitation before two men. Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter. came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.

The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything's being done. The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained.

Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred the papers thoroughly with his hand. Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued. had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box. The night before the lottery, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box, and it was then taken to the safe of Mr. Summers' coal company and locked up until Mr. Summers was ready to take it to the square next morning. The rest of the year, the box was put way, sometimes one place, sometimes another; it had spent one year in Mr. Graves's barn and another year underfoot in the post office. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.

There was a great deal of fussing to be done before Mr. Summers declared the lottery open. There were the lists to make up--of heads of families. heads of households in each family. members of each household in each family. There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery; at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort, performed by the official of the lottery, a perfunctory. tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year; some people believed that the official of the lottery used to stand just so when he said or sang it, others believed that he was supposed to walk among the people, but years and years ago this p3rt of the ritual had been allowed to lapse. There had been, also, a ritual salute, which the official of the lottery had had to use in addressing each person who came up to draw from the box, but this also had changed with time, until now it was felt necessary only for the official to speak to each person approaching. Mr. Summers was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans. with one hand resting carelessly on the black box. he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins.

Just as Mr. Summers finally left off talking and turned to the assembled villagers, Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square, her sweater thrown over her shoulders, and slid into place in the back of the crowd. "Clean forgot what day it was," she said to Mrs. Delacroix, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly. "Thought my old man was out back stacking wood," Mrs. Hutchinson went on. "and then I looked out the window and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running." She dried her hands on her apron, and Mrs. Delacroix said, "You're in time, though. They're still talking away up there."

Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd. The people separated good-humoredly to let her through: two or three people said. in voices just loud enough to be heard across the crowd, "Here comes your, Missus, Hutchinson," and "Bill, she made it after all." Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully. "Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie." Mrs. Hutchinson said. grinning, "Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now, would you. Joe?," and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs. Hutchinson's arrival.

"Well, now." Mr. Summers said soberly, "guess we better get started, get this over with, so's we can go back to work. Anybody ain't here?"

"Dunbar." several people said. "Dunbar. Dunbar."

Mr. Summers consulted his list. "Clyde Dunbar." he said. "That's right. He's broke his leg, hasn't he? Who's drawing for him?"

"Me. I guess," a woman said. and Mr. Summers turned to look at her. "Wife draws for her husband." Mr. Summers said. "Don't you have a grown boy to do it for you, Janey?" Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it was the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally. Mr. Summers waited with an expression of polite interest while Mrs. Dunbar answered.

"Horace's not but sixteen vet." Mrs. Dunbar said regretfully. "Guess I gotta fill in for the old man this year."

"Right." Sr. Summers said. He made a note on the list he was holding. Then he asked, "Watson boy drawing this year?"

A tall boy in the crowd raised his hand. "Here," he said. "I m drawing for my mother and me." He blinked his eyes nervously and ducked his head as several voices in the crowd said thin#s like "Good fellow, lack." and "Glad to see your mother's got a man to do it."

"Well," Mr. Summers said, "guess that's everyone. Old Man Warner make it?"

"Here," a voice said. and Mr. Summers nodded.

A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Mr. Summers cleared his throat and looked at the list. "All ready?" he called. "Now, I'll read the names--heads of families first--and the men come up and take a paper out of the box. Keep the paper folded in your hand without looking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear?"

The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions: most of them were quiet. wetting their lips. not looking around. Then Mr. Summers raised one hand high and said, "Adams." A man disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward. "Hi. Steve." Mr. Summers said. and Mr. Adams said. "Hi. Joe." They grinned at one another humorlessly and nervously. Then Mr. Adams reached into the black box and took out a folded paper. He held it firmly by one corner as he turned and went hastily back to his place in the crowd. where he stood a little apart from his family. not looking down at his hand.

"Allen." Mr. Summers said. "Anderson.... Bentham."

"Seems like there's no time at all between lotteries any more." Mrs. Delacroix said to Mrs. Graves in the back row.

"Seems like we got through with the last one only last week."

"Time sure goes fast.-- Mrs. Graves said.

"Clark.... Delacroix"

"There goes my old man." Mrs. Delacroix said. She held her breath while her husband went forward.

"Dunbar," Mr. Summers said, and Mrs. Dunbar went steadily to the box while one of the women said. "Go on. Janey," and another said, "There she goes."

"We're next." Mrs. Graves said. She watched while Mr. Graves came around from the side of the box, greeted Mr. Summers gravely and selected a slip of paper from the box. By now, all through the crowd there were men holding the small folded papers in their large hand. turning them over and over nervously Mrs. Dunbar and her two sons stood together, Mrs. Dunbar holding the slip of paper.

"Harburt.... Hutchinson."

"Get up there, Bill," Mrs. Hutchinson said. and the people near her laughed.

"Jones."

"They do say," Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, "that over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery."

Old Man Warner snorted. "Pack of crazy fools," he said. "Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live hat way for a while. Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' First thing you know, we'd all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There's always been a lottery," he added petulantly. "Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody."

"Some places have already quit lotteries." Mrs. Adams said.

"Nothing but trouble in that," Old Man Warner said stoutly. "Pack of young fools."

"Martin." And Bobby Martin watched his father go forward. "Overdyke.... Percy."

"I wish they'd hurry," Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son. "I wish they'd hurry."

"They're almost through," her son said.

"You get ready to run tell Dad," Mrs. Dunbar said.

Mr. Summers called his own name and then stepped forward precisely and selected a slip from the box. Then he called, "Warner."

"Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery," Old Man Warner said as he went through the crowd. "Seventy-seventh time."

"Watson" The tall boy came awkwardly through the crowd. Someone said, "Don't be nervous, Jack," and Mr. Summers said, "Take your time, son."

"Zanini."

After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Mr. Summers. holding his slip of paper in the air, said, "All right, fellows." For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened. Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saving. "Who is it?," "Who's got it?," "Is it the Dunbars?," "Is it the Watsons?" Then the voices began to say, "It's Hutchinson. It's Bill," "Bill Hutchinson's got it."

"Go tell your father," Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son.

People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly. Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. "You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!"

"Be a good sport, Tessie." Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, "All of us took the same chance."

"Shut up, Tessie," Bill Hutchinson said.

"Well, everyone," Mr. Summers said, "that was done pretty fast, and now we've got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time." He consulted his next list. "Bill," he said, "you draw for the Hutchinson family. You got any other households in the Hutchinsons?"

"There's Don and Eva," Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. "Make them take their chance!"

"Daughters draw with their husbands' families, Tessie," Mr. Summers said gently. "You know that as well as anyone else."

"It wasn't fair," Tessie said.

"I guess not, Joe." Bill Hutchinson said regretfully. "My daughter draws with her husband's family; that's only fair. And I've got no other family except the kids."

"Then, as far as drawing for families is concerned, it's you," Mr. Summers said in explanation, "and as far as drawing for households is concerned, that's you, too. Right?"

"Right," Bill Hutchinson said.

"How many kids, Bill?" Mr. Summers asked formally.

"Three," Bill Hutchinson said.

"There's Bill, Jr., and Nancy, and little Dave. And Tessie and me."

"All right, then," Mr. Summers said. "Harry, you got their tickets back?"

Mr. Graves nodded and held up the slips of paper. "Put them in the box, then," Mr. Summers directed. "Take Bill's and put it in."

"I think we ought to start over," Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. "I tell you it wasn't fair. You didn't give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that."

Mr. Graves had selected the five slips and put them in the box. and he dropped all the papers but those onto the ground. where the breeze caught them and lifted them off.

"Listen, everybody," Mrs. Hutchinson was saying to the people around her.

"Ready, Bill?" Mr. Summers asked. and Bill Hutchinson, with one quick glance around at his wife and children. nodded.

"Remember," Mr. Summers said. "take the slips and keep them folded until each person has taken one. Harry, you help little Dave." Mr. Graves took the hand of the little boy, who came willingly with him up to the box. "Take a paper out of the box, Davy." Mr. Summers said. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. "Take just one paper." Mr. Summers said. "Harry, you hold it for him." Mr. Graves took the child's hand and removed the folded paper from the tight fist and held it while little Dave stood next to him and looked up at him wonderingly.

"Nancy next," Mr. Summers said. Nancy was twelve, and her school friends breathed heavily as she went forward switching her skirt, and took a slip daintily from the box "Bill, Jr.," Mr. Summers said, and Billy, his face red and his feet overlarge, near knocked the box over as he got a paper out. "Tessie," Mr. Summers said. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly. and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her.

"Bill," Mr. Summers said, and Bill Hutchinson reached into the box and felt around, bringing his hand out at last with the slip of paper in it.

The crowd was quiet. A girl whispered, "I hope it's not Nancy," and the sound of the whisper reached the edges of the crowd.

"It's not the way it used to be." Old Man Warner said clearly. "People ain't the way they used to be."

"All right," Mr. Summers said. "Open the papers. Harry, you open little Dave's."

Mr. Graves opened the slip of paper and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank. Nancy and Bill. Jr.. opened theirs at the same time. and both beamed and laughed. turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads.

"Tessie," Mr. Summers said. There was a pause, and then Mr. Summers looked at Bill Hutchinson, and Bill unfolded his paper and showed it. It was blank.

"It's Tessie," Mr. Summers said, and his voice was hushed. "Show us her paper. Bill."

Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.

"All right, folks." Mr. Summers said. "Let's finish quickly."

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. "Come on," she said. "Hurry up."

Mr. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said. gasping for breath. "I can't run at all. You'll have to go ahead and I'll catch up with you."

The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles.

Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.

Shirley Jackson

miércoles, 22 de junio de 2011

Titus Andronicus' Complaint





To the Tune of Fortune



1
You noble minds and famous martial wights,
That in defence of native country fights,
Give ear to me that ten years fought for Rome,
Yet reaped disgrace when I returnèd home.

2
In Rome I lived in fame full threescore years,
By name belovèd dear of all his peers,
Full five-and-twenty valiant sons I had,
Whose forward virtues made their father glad.

3
For when Rome's foes their warlike forces felt,
Against them still my sons and I were sent;
Against the Goths full ten years' weary war
We spent, receiving many a bloody scar.

4
Just two-and-twenty of my sons were slain,
Before we did return to Rome again;
Of five-and-twenty sons I brought but three
Alive the stately towers of Rome to see.

5
When wars were done I conquest home did bring,
And did present my prisoners to the King;
The Queen of Goth, her sons, and eke a Moor,
Which did much murder, like was ne'er before.

6
The Emperor did make this Queen his wife,
Which bred in Rome debate and deadly strife;
The Moor with her two sons did grow so proud
That none like them in Rome was then allowed.

7
The Moor so pleased the new-made Empress' eye
That she consented with him secretly
For to abuse her husband's marriage bed,
And so in time a blackamoor she bred.

8
Then she, whose thoughts to murder were inclined,
Consented with the Moor with bloody mind
Against myself, my kin, and all my friends
In cruel sort to bring them to their ends.

9
So when in age I thought to live in peace,
Both woe and grief began then to increase;
Amongst my sons I had one daughter bright,
Which joyed and pleasèd best my age's sight.

10
My dear Lavinia was betrothed as then
To Caesar's son, a young and noble man,
Who in a hunting by the Emperor's wife
And her two sons bereavèd were of life.

11
He, being slain, was cast in cruel wise
Into a dismal den from light of skies;
The cruel Moor did come that way as then
With my two sons, who fell into that den.

12
The Moor then fetched the Emperor with speed,
For to accuse them of that murderous deed;
And then my sons within the den were found;
In wrongful prison they were cast and bound.

13
But now behold what wounded most my mind,
The Emperor's two sons of tiger's kind
My daughter ravishèd without remorse,
And took away her honour quite perforce.

14
When they had tasted of so sweet a flower
Fearing their sweet should shortly turn to sour,
They cut her tongue, whereby she could not tell
How that dishonour unto her befell.

15
Then both her hands they falsely cut off quite,
Whereby their wickedness she could not write,
Nor with her needle on her sampler sew
The bloody workers of her direful woe.

16
My brother Marcus found her in a wood,
Staining the grassy ground with purple blood
That trickled from her stumps and handless arms.
No tongue at all she had to tell her harms.

17
But when I saw her in that woeful case,
With tears of blood I wet my agèd face;
For my Lavinia I lamented more
Than for my two-and-twenty sons before.

18
Whenas I saw she could not write nor speak,
With grief my agèd heart began to break;
We spread a heap of sand upon the ground,
Whereby those bloody tyrants out we found.

19
For with a staff, without the help of hand,
She writ these words upon that plot of sand:
"The lustful sons of the proud Empress
Are doers of this hateful wickedness."

20
I tare the milk-white hairs from off my head,
I cursed the hour wherein I first was bred;
I wished the hand that fought for country's fame
In cradle's rock had first been stroken lame.

21
The Moor, delighting still in villainy,
Did say, to set my sons from prison free,
I should unto the King my right hand give,
And then my two imprisoned sons should live.

22
The Moor I caused to strike it off with speed,
Whereat I grievèd not to see it bleed,
But for my sons would willingly impart
And for their ransom send my bleeding heart.

23
But as my life did linger thus in pain,
They sent to me my bloodless hand again,
And therewithal the heads of my two sons,
Which filled my dying heart with fresher moans.

24
Then past relief, I up and down did go,
And with my tears writ in the dust my woe;
I shot my arrows towards heaven high,
And for revenge to hell did sometimes cry.

25
The Empress then, thinking I was mad,
Like furies she and both her sons were clad,
She named Revenge, and Rape and Murder they,
To undermine and know what I would say.

26
I fed their foolish veins a certain space,
Until my friends and I did find a place,
Where both her sons unto a post were bound,
Where just revenge in cruel sort was found.

27
I cut their throats, my daughter held the pan
Betwixt the stumps, wherein their blood then ran;
And then I ground their bones to powder small,
And made a paste for pies straight therewithal.

28
Then with their flesh I made two mighty pies,
And at a banquet served in stately wise
Before the Empress set this loathsome meat,
So of her sons' own flesh she well did eat.

29
Myself bereaved my daughter then of life;
The Empress then I slew with bloody knife,
And stabbed the Emperor immediately,
And then myself, even so did Titus die.

30
Then this revenge against their Moor was found:
Alive they set him half into the ground,
Whereas he stood until such time he starved;
And so God send all murderers may be served.


From Richard Johnson's The Golden Garland of Princely Pleasures, printed in 1620

jueves, 16 de junio de 2011

The virgin is a lovely number


No matter what life you lead
the virgin is a lovely number:
cheeks as fragile as cigarette paper,
arms and legs made of Limoges,
lips like Vin Du Rhône,
rolling her china-blue doll eyes
open and shut.
Open to say,
Good Day Mama,
and shut for the thrust
of the unicorn.
She is unsoiled.
She is as white as a bonefish.
Once there was a lovely virgin
called Snow White.
Say she was thirteen.
Her stepmother,
a beauty in her own right,
though eaten, of course, by age,
would hear of no beauty surpassing her own.
Beauty is a simple passion,
but, oh my friends, in the end
you will dance the fire dance in iron shoes.
The stepmother had a mirror to which she referred
something like the weather forecast—
a mirror that proclaimed
the one beauty of the land.
She would ask,
Looking glass upon the wall,
who is fairest of us all?
And the mirror would reply,
You are fairest of us all.
Pride pumped in her like poison.
Suddenly one day the mirror replied,
Queen, you are full fair, 'tis true,
but Snow White is fairer than you.
Until that moment Snow White
had been no more important
than a dust mouse under the bed.
But now the queen saw brown spots on her hand
and four whiskers over her lip
so she condemned Snow White
to be hacked to death.
Bring me her heart, she said to the hunter,
and I will salt it and eat it.
The hunter, however, let his prisoner go
and brought a boar's heart back to the castle.
The queen chewed it up like a cube steak.
Now I am fairest, she said,
lapping her slim white fingers.
Snow White walked in the wildwood
for weeks and weeks.
At each turn there were twenty doorways
and at each stood a hungry wolf,
his tongue lolling out like a worm.
The birds called out lewdly,
talking like pink parrots,
and the snakes hung down in loops,
each a noose for her sweet white neck.
On the seventh week
she came to the seventh mountain
and there she found the dwarf house.
It was as droll as a honeymoon cottage
and completely equipped with
seven beds, seven chairs, seven forks
and seven chamber pots.
Snow White ate seven chicken livers
and lay down, at last, to sleep.
The dwarfs, those little hot dogs,
walked three times around Snow White,
the sleeping virgin. They were wise
and wattled like small czars.
Yes. It's a good omen,
they said, and will bring us luck.
They stood on tiptoes to watch
Snow White wake up. She told them
about the mirror and the killer-queen
and they asked her to stay and keep house.
Beware of your stepmother,
they said.
Soon she will know you are here.
While we are away in the mines
during the day, you must not
open the door.
Looking glass upon the wall . . .
The mirror told
and so the queen dressed herself in rags
and went out like a peddler to trap Snow White.
She went across seven mountains.
She came to the dwarf house
and Snow White opened the door
and bought a bit of lacing.
The queen fastened it tighdy
around her bodice,
as tight as an Ace bandage,
so tight that Snow White swooned.
She lay on the floor, a plucked daisy.
When the dwarfs came home they undid the lace
and she revived miraculously.
She was as full of life as soda pop.
Beware of your stepmother,
they said.
She will try once more.
Looking glass upon the wall . . .
Once more the mirror told
and once more the queen dressed in rags
and once more Snow White opened the door.
This time she bought a poison comb,
a curved eight-inch scorpion,
and put it in her hair and swooned again.
The dwarfs returned and took out the comb
and she revived miraculously.
She opened her eyes as wide as Orphan Annie.
Beware, beware, they said,
but the mirror told,
the queen came,
Snow White, the dumb bunny,
opened the door
and she bit into a poison apple
and fell down for the final time.
When the dwarfs returned
they undid her bodice,
they looked for a comb,
but it did no good.
Though they washed her with wine
and rubbed her with butter
it was to no avail.
She lay as still as a gold piece.
The seven dwarfs could not bring themselves
to bury her in the black ground
so they made a glass coffin
and set it upon the seventh mountain
so that all who passed by
could peek in upon her beauty.
A prince came one June day
and would not budge.
He stayed so long his hair turned green
and still he would not leave.
The dwarfs took pity upon him
and gave him the glass Snow W h i t e -
its doll's eyes shut forever—
to keep in his far-off castle.
As the prince's men carried the coffin
they stumbled and dropped it
and the chunk of apple flew out
of her throat and she woke up miraculously.
And thus Snow White became the prince's bride.
The wicked queen was invited to the wedding feast
and when she arrived there were
red-hot iron shoes,
in the manner of red-hot roller skates,
clamped upon her feet.
First your toes will smoke
and then your heels will turn black
and you will fry upward like a frog,
she was told.
And so she danced until she was dead,
a subterranean figure,
her tongue flicking in and out
like a gas jet.
Meanwhile Snow White held court,
rolling her china-blue doll eyes open and shut
and sometimes referring to her mirror
as women do.




ANNE SEXTON
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

martes, 14 de junio de 2011

Folie à Deux





Folie A Deux

Folie Communiquée. Une question qui se rattache intimement à l'étude du délire de persécution est celle de la folie à deux, de la folie communiquée. Scientifiquement, elle est d'un très-grand intérêt; pratiquement, elle soulève des problèmes, et en particulier au point de vue du traitement et de la médecine légale, que tout médecin peut être appelé à résoudre.

Historique. La constatation clinique de la folie à deux est de date récente. Les premières observations qui en ont été publiées, à notre connaissance, sont dues à M. Baillarger. Dans un court travail inséré en 1860 dans la Gazette des hôpitaux sous ce titre : Quelques exemples de folie communiquée (voy. cet article reproduit dans les Annales médico-psych., n° de septembre 1880, p. 212), ce savant aliéniste cite quatre faits curieux, dont deux surtout concernent le délire de persécution. Dans Je premier, il s'agit d'une femme amenée à la Salpêtrière en même temps que sa fille : toutes deux étaient convaincues que leurs fournisseurs ne leur délivraient que des aliments empoisonnés; qu'on les suivait dans les rues; qu'on leur jetait de l'eau-forte qui s'exhalait en vapeur autour d'elles, etc. Le second cas est celui de deux sœurs qui ont été amenées à la Salpêtrière le même jour, avec le même délire. L'aînée était veuve, la seconde mariée. La première s'imagina que son beau-frère voulait l'empoisonner, et elle fit peu à peu accepter cette idée à sa sœur qui demeurait avec elle. Afin de prévenir les effets du poison, les deux malades se mirent à boire de l'eau-dcvie, et ce fut alors que le délire se prononça de plus en plus.

M. Baillarger fait précéder la relation des observations de quelques remarques que l'analyse clinique ultérieure a pleinement confirmées. « En interrogeant l'un de ces malades, dit-il, on sait par avance quelles sont les conceptions délirantes de l'autre. Si, dans les cas dont nous parlons, on obtient des renseignements, on apprend que la folie n'a pas éclaté simultanément chez les deux malades, mais qu'elle a été antérieure de plusieurs mois chez l'un des deux, et qu'elle s'est ensuite peu à peu communiquée à l'autre ». L'éminent aliéniste a donc établi deux points importants dans l'étude de la folie communiquée: 1° l'identité des idées délirantes chez les deux malades; 2° la communication du délire de l'un des sujets, primitivement atteint, à l'autre.

L'année suivante, Dagron publiait dans les Archives cliniques des maladies mentales (1861, t. Ier, p. 29) une curieuse observation concernant deux sœurs atteintes du même délire et séquestrées en même temps.

Quelques mois après, en 1868, M. le docteur Maret, dans sa thèse inaugurale (Du délire de persécutions), signale ce « délire en partie double, délire de persécution qu'on rencontre chez des époux ayant longtemps vécu ensemble dans les mêmes tourments de l'esprit ».

En 1871, dans sa Monographie sur le délire de persécution, Legrand du Saulle consacre tout un chapitre, le sixième, à cette intéressante question de la folie à deux. Dans les séances de la Société médico-psychologique des 30 juiu et 28 juillet 1873, MM. Lasègue et J. Falret donnèrent communication d'un mémoire sur la folie à deux, qui ne fut publié qu'en 1877 (voy. Archives générales de médecine, n° de septembre 1877, et Annales médico>physiologiques, n° de novembre 1877). La lecture de ce mémoire souleva une longue discussion à laquelle prirent part un grand nombre de membres de la Société.

Depuis lors, de nombreuses observations de folie à deux ont été publiées (Maret, Legrand du Saulle, Geoffroy, etc.); des thèses ont été soutenues sur la question à la Faculté de Paris; nous citerons celles de M. Macey (De la folie communiquée ou du délire à deux ou plusieurs personnes, 1874), et de M. Régis (La folie à deux ou folie simultanée, 1880). Ce dernier auteur a établi une distinction entre les différents cas de folie à deux, sur laquelle nous aurons à revenir; il admet que le délire peut être communiqué ou simultané.

Desciuption. Les mots de folie à deux, délire à deux, folie communiquée, s'entendent d'eux-mêmes sans qu'il y ait besoin de définition. Il y a folie à deux, ou folie communiquée, toutes les fois qu'un aliéné fait partager ses idées délirantes à un autre individu. « Le problème comprend alors deux termes entre lesquels il s'agit d'établir une équation : d'une part, le malade actif; de l'autre, l'individu réceptif qui subit, sous des formes et à des degrés divers, son influence » (Lasègue et J. Falret). Il nous faut donc étudier ces deux « termes » de 1' « équation ».

Le malade actif est-il un malade quelconque? Toute folie, sous quelque forme qu'elle se présente, peut-elle se communiquer? Il n'en est rien. Les délires mobiles, changeants, contradictoires, n'ont aucune chance de trouver des adhé


sions, tandis que les délires systématisés de persécution ou de grandeur, par exemple, trouvent parties prenantes.

Mais il ne suffit pas que les conceptions délirantes soient systématisées; il est nécessaire qu'elles « côtoient la vérité » ; elles ont alors « d'autant plus de chance d'acquiescement, qu'elles s'accommodent mieux à un sentiment, ou, comme auraient dit les théologiens, maîtres en casuistique morale, qu'elles flattent davantage une concupiscence humaine ».

Pour qu'un aliéné arrive à faire partager ses idées, il ne devra pas affirmer des faits notoirement faux; encore moins devra-t-il les chercher dans le domaine de l'impossible ou de l'invraisemblable. 11 ne faut pas que l'individu à convaincre, effarouché par l'extravagance des idées, puisse avoir l'idée de chercher la preuve : le charme serait aussitôt rompu, si l'on peut s'exprimer ainsi.

« Si, au contraire, le malade se maintient dans le monde des conjectures et des interprétations, si les faits qu'il invoque appartiennent au passé et ne sont que des appréhensions pour l'avenir, le contrôle direct devient impossible. Comment prouver à un autre et à soi-même que l'événement dont l'aliéné raconte les détails avec une prolixité persuasive, n'a pas eu lieu? La leçon qu'il s'est apprise à lui-même n'admet ni variantes, ni lacunes; sa mémoire est topique parce qu'elle fait exception de tout, à l'exclusion des idées maladives. Ou ne le prend jamais en défaut, à quelque date que remonte l'aventure, et sa persuasion, à force d'être monotome et circonscrite, devient communicative.

« L'assistant néanmoins ne consent à se laisser convaincre que si l'histoire l'intéresse personnellement : or les deux sentiments qui se prêtent le mieux à cette façon d'entraînement sont, à coup sûr, la crainte et l'espérance. L'un et l'autre n'empruntent aux réalités présentes qu'un point de départ ; leur domaine vrai est dans l'avenir, et partant dans l'inconnu. Autant il est facile à un homme d'acquérir la certitude que vous n'êtes pas riche, autant il lui est malaioé de garantir que vous ne le deviendrez pas. Le législateur, en définissant l'escroquerie, impose une pénalité à « quiconque, soit en faisant usage de faux noms ou de fausses qualités, soit en employant des manœuvres frauduleuses pour persuader l'existence de fausses entreprises, d'un pouvoir ou d'un crédit imaginaire, pour faire naître l'espérance ou la crainte d'un succès, d'un accident ou de tout autre événement chimérique , aura invoqué ou tenté d'invoquer la totalité ou partie de la fortune d'autrui ». Qu'on supprime toutes les épithètes qui impliquent la responsabilité de la part du délinquant, et on aura la formule des délires qui trouvent des adhérents » (Lasègue et J. Falret, La folie à deux. In Annales médico-physiologiques, novembre 1877, p. 524).

Ce sont donc surtout les délires partiels qui sont communicants et, parmi ceux-là, surtout le délire de persécution, même lorsqu'il est arrivé à la phase des idées ambitieuses; puis vient le délire religieux, avec ses aspirations mystiques, ses craintes terrifiantes de l'enfer, etc.

Mais, pour arriver à faire admettre son délire à une autre personne, il faut que l'aliéné soit en contact permanent avec cette personne : de là la fréquence de la communication des idées délirantes de la mère à la fille ou au fils, de la sœur à la sœur, du frère à la sœur, du mari à la femme ou de la femme au mari, de la maîtresse à la domestique, etc. il faut aussi que le malade actif ait, en quelque sorte, une supériorité sur le malade passif; il faut, en un mot, que ce dernier présente certaines conditions de réceptivité que nous devons indiquer.

Elles ont été très-bien résumées par Lasègue et J. Falret de la manière suiDICT. ESC. v ». XXIII. 37

vante: « La première condition est qu'il soit d'une intelligence faible, mieux disposée à la docilité passive qu'à l'émancipation ; la seconde qu'il vive en relation constante avec le malade; la troisième qu'il soit engagé par l'appât d'un intérêt personnel. On ne succombe à l'escroquerie que par la séduction d'un lucre quel qu'il soit; on ne cède à la pression de la folie que si elle vous fait entrevoir la réalisation d'un rêve caressé » (loc. cit., p. 326). Les sujets passifs peuvent être classés ainsi qu'il suit: 1° Les enfants surtout présentent à un liant degré les qualités requises pour faire un excellent agent passif du délire à deux : d'une grande docilité, d'une crédulité sans bornes, appréhensifs par nature, ils sont disposés au premier chef à devenir les échos d'un délire auquel on les associe. Us ont même une tendance à aller au delà de ce qu'on leur enseigne; « leur foi, dans quelques cas, va si loin, que l'aliéné lui-même hésite à les suivre et qu'à première vue on croirait que les enfants ont créé les délires dont ils sont le reflet » (Lasègue et J. Palrct).

L'influence de l'entourage joue souvent un très-grand rôle dans l'arrangement et l'amplification du délire de l'enfant. Les observations et les commentaires qui lui sont laits sur le récit des conceptions qui lui ont été en quelque sorte inoculées finissent par les rectifier, les atténuer sur certains points et les compléter sur d'autres. De cette collaboration sort un roman pathologique, sinon plus logique, du moins plus vraisemblable.

2° Les adultes et, dans ce cas, le sujet passif, peut être ou plus jeune, ou du même âge, ou même plus âgé que le sujet actif. 11 est évident que, quelle que soit celle de ces trois situations qui se présente, le succube est toujours moins intelligent que l'incube; et pour que le délire se transmette du second au premier, il est indispensable que les relations entre eux soient étroites et prolongées.

Au point de vue psychologique, on remarque que o l'adulte reflète plus passivement; il est aussi convaincu en apparence, aussi affirmatif, mais il n'exagère ni ne développe les conceptions délirantes, faute d'un effort d'imagination qui lui coûterait. On pourrait dire qu'il s'agit moins d'une persuasion réelle que d'un assentiment qui s'énonce par des phrases interjectives. Ah! c'est bien vrai; il n'y a pas à en douter, elle ne ment pas, etc. Lorsque l'association délirante s'établit entre des adultes, l'état mental du réceptif est plus complexe. L'enfant obéissait aux instincts de son âge, tandis que l'adulte a remplacé les impulsions instinctives par des habitudes, des calculs, des combinaisons dont il entrevoit le fort et le faible. 11 s'installe avocat de sa propre cause et ne se livre que dans la mesure qui lui semble s'accorder avec ses intérêts. L'enfant ment quand même et l'obstination de son mensonge finit par conduire à la vérité. L'adulte trompe à son heure et sait taire les raisons intimes qui le font agir » (Lasègue et Falret, loc. cit., p. 351).

Les observations de délire à deux chez les adultes sont aujourd'hui nombreuses dans la science; elles se rapportent toutes soit au mari et à la femme,, soit à la mère et à la fille, soit au père et au fils, soit aux deux sœurs ou au deux frères, soit encore à la maîtresse et à la domestique, etc.

La transmission du délire d'une personne moins âgée à une personne plus âgée n'est pas rare, et elle s'observe alors surtout du fils au père et de la fille à la mère. Tel le cas cité par Legrand du Saulle (loc. cit., p. 221) de cette ouvrer.se do loges qui se plaignait qu' « au milieu de la nuit on perce le plufoiul de sa chambre pour lui parler et pour la tourmenter. On veut lui faire adopter un enfant. Ou l'électrise sur son lit. À l'hôpital de la Charité, on l'a soumise à la magie, à la chimie et à la police secrète. » Cette malade placée à l'hospice de la Salpètricre fut réclamée par sa mère qui partageait complètement, absolument, toutes les idées délirantes de sa iille. Elle ne veut écouter ni les observations du médecin, ni celles d'une fille aînée qui depuis longtemps s'applique à contrebalancer l'influence prise sur son esprit par la malade; elle l'accuse même de faire cause commune avec les persécuteurs de sa nlle.

En étudiant les observations publiées de folie à deux, concernant mari et femme, on constate que la communication des idées délirantes se fait le plus souvent de la femme au mari; la femme joue le rôle actif et impose son délire au mari.

Le délire de persécution peut se communiquer, enfin, en dehors de tout lien de parenté, de maîtresse à domestique, par exemple.

Nous avons dit que ce sont non-seulement les idées de persécution, mais aussi les idées ambitieuses, qui se communiquent. Parmi ces idées ambitieuses, celles qui ont le plus de chance d'être acceptées, de trouver des crédules, ce sont les idées de richesses, de grande succession à recueillir, de trésor soustrait à réclamer. Lasègue et J. Falret en citent deux cas intéressants dans leur mémoire.

Nous ne saurions mieux résumer cette description de la folie à deux que ne l'ont fait ces deux savants aliénistes dans les conclusions suivantes que nous reproduisons:

o 1° Dans les conditions ordinaires, la contagion de la folie n'a pas lieu d'un aliéné à un individu sain d'esprit, de même que la contagion des idées délirantes est très-rare d'un aliéné à un autre aliéné;

« 2° La contagion de la folie n'est possible que dans des conditions exceptionnelles que nous venons d'étudier sous le nom de folie à deux;

« 3° Ces conditions spéciales peuvent être résumées ainsi:

a. Dans la folie à deux, l'un des deux individus est l'élément actif; plus intelligent que l'autre, il crée le délire et l'impose progressivement au second, qui constitue l'élément passif. Celui-ci résiste d'abord, puis subit peu à peu la pression de son congénère, tout en réagissant à son tour sur lui, dans une certaine mesure, pour rectifier, amender et coordonner le délire, qui leur devient alors commun et qu'ils répètent à tout venant, dans les mêmes termes et d'une façon presque identique.

b. Pour que ce travail intellectuel puisse s'accomplir parallèlement dans deux esprits différents, il faut que ces deux individus vivent, pendant longtemps, absolument d'une vie commune, dans le même milieu, partageant le même mode d'existence, les mêmes sentiments, les mêmes intérêts, les mêmes craintes et les mêmes espérances, et en dehors de toute autre influence extérieure.

c. La troisième condition, pour que la contagion du délire soit possible, c'est que ce délire ait un caractère de vraisemblance, qu'il se maintienne dans les limites du possible, qu'il repose sur des faits survenus dans le passé, ou sur des craintes et des espérances conçues pour l'avenir. Cette condition de vraisemblance seule le rend communicable d'un individu à un autre et permet à la conviction de l'un de s'implanter dans l'esprit de l'autre.

« 4° La folie à deux se produit toujours dans les conditions ci-dessus indiquées. Toutes les observations présentent des caractères très-analogues, siuon presque identiques, chez l'homme et chez la femme, comme chez l'enfant, l'adulte et le vieillard.

« 5° Cette variété de la folie est plus fréquente chez la femme, mais on l'observe aussi chez l'homme » (Lasègue et Falret, loc. cit., p. 354).

Faisons remarquer enfin que dans quelques cas, rares, il est vrai, le délire d'un aliéné, Communiqué à un autre individu plus faible que lui, peut se transmettre à une troisième personne, ou même, dans une mesure plus faible, à quelques personnes de l'entourage.

Folie simultanée. 11 faut distinguer de la folie communiquée que nous venons de décrire la folie simultanée, qui se présente dans des conditions spéciales. M. Régis a consacré la plus grande partie de sa thèse [La folie à deux ou folie simultanée. Paris, 1880) à cette curieuse forme de folie, qui selon lui est essentiellement caractérisée par un délire partiel, ordinairement de persécution, survenant simultanément chez deux individus franchement héréditaires ou simplement prédisposés, et cela en vertu : 1° de cette prédisposition morbide; 2° du contact intime et perpétuel dans lequel ils vivent; 5° d'influences occasionnelles qui agissent à la fois sur eux et jouent, à l'égard de la production de leur délire, le rôle de causes déterminantes (loc. cit., p. 39).

Ainsi, par exemple, un homme et une femme, tous deux atteints de prédisposition héréditaire, se marient soit par hasard, soit par cette attraction naturelle entre candidats à la folie. Sous l'influence de causes occasionnelles, ces deux prédisposés ainsi unis arrivent à délirer. « Le même travail morbide s'opère à la fois en eux, ils passent par les mêmes phases, ils subissent les mêmes fluctuations... Une idée délirante germe-t-elle chez l'un, l'autre aussitôt la fait sienne, et réciproquement, chacun apportant ainsi sa pierre à l'édifice qui est leur œuvre commune, le fruit commun de leurs efforts. Et de même qu'il n'y a point là deux êtres séparés, il n'y a pas non plus deux délires, il n'y en a qu'un seul, produit de la fusion de deux délires individuels. Qu'à l'élaboration de cette œuvre pathologique l'un ait contribué plus puissamment que l'autre, qu'il soit plus ardent, plus imaginatif, qu'importe au fond, puisque l'action de l'un sur l'autre est réciproque, et que c'est de cette action combinée que résulte ce tout commun, qu'on appelle la folie à deux » (Régis, loc. cit., p. 51).

Les distinctions établies par M. Régis sont peut-être un peu subtiles, et elles ne me semblent pas suffisamment fondées pour refuser, avec lui, aux cas décrits par Lasègue et Falret le nom de folie à deux. Dans la folie communiquée de ces deux auteurs, il faut le contact constant de deux êtres, dont l'un est un aliéné avéré et l'autre peut n'être qu'un faible esprit ou un débile; dans la folie simultanée de M. Régis, il y a en présence deux prédisposés, ces prédisposés doivent être en contact permanent, ils créent en même temps leur délire, mais dans cet échange d'idées délirantes l'un est plus imaginatif que l'autre, l'un est donc l'esprit créateur qui fournit à son associé les éléments du travail morbide. La différence ne réside donc que dans ce fait que, dans la folie simultanée, on a affaire à deux véritables aliénés qui, le plus souvent, sont arrivés à la chronicité, lorsqu'on songe à les séparer, et qui ne guérissent plus alors ni l'un ni l'autre.

Et cependant, malgré ces objections, nous reconnaissons qu'il existe une folie simultanée, et la preuve en est dans la folie gémellaire. H n'est aucun aliéniste qui ne connaisse l'observation si souvent citée de Moreau (de Tours), de ces deux frères jumeaux, d'une ressemblance physique complète et dont les idées dominantes sont absolument les mêmes. « Tous les deux se croient en butte a des persécutions imaginaires; les mêmes ennemis ont juré leur perte et emploient les mêmes moyens pour arriver à leurs fins. Tous les deux ont des hallucinations de l'ouïe. Tristes et moroses, ils n'adressent jamais la parole à qui que ce soit et ne répondent qu'avec peine aux questions qu'on leur adresse. Us se tiennent toujours à l'écart et ne communiquent jamais entre eux.

• Un fait extrêmement curieux et qui a été nombre de fois constaté par les surveillants de la section et par nous-même, ajoute Moreau (de Tours), est celui-ci : de temps à autre, à des intervalles tràs-irréguliers de deux, trois et plusieurs mois, sans cause appréciable et par un effet tout spontané de la maladie, il survient un changement très-marqué dans la situation des deux frères : tous les deux, à la même époque, et souvent le même jour, sortent de leur étal de stupeur et de prostration habituel; ils font entendre les mêmes plaintes et viennent d'eux-mêmes prier instamment le médecin de leur rendre la liberté. J'ai vu se reproduire ce fait, quelque peu étrange, alors même qu'ils étaient séparés l'un de l'autre par plusieurs kilomètres de distance; l'un d'eux était à Bicêtre, l'autre demeurait à la ferme Sainte-Anne » (La psychologie morbide. Paris, 1859, p. 172).

Voilà la véritable folie simultanée; les deux frères délirant en même temps et de la même manière, sans qu'il existe de communication entre eux pouvant faire supposer une transmission des idées morbides. Ne sont-ce pas là les caractères généraux de la folie gémellaire, tels que les a formulés M. le professeur Bail?

1° i Simultanéité de l'explosion des accidents;

2° « Parallélisme des conceptions délirantes et des autres troubles psychologiques;

3° « Spontanéité du délire chez chacun des deux individus qui s'en trouvent atteints » (Bail, De la folie gémellaire ou aliénation mentale chez les jumeaux. In l'Encéphale, 1884, p. 385).

Ces trois caractères se rencontrent à des degrés divers dans tous les cas de folie gémellaire (voy. les observations de Bail, Baume, Savage, Clifford, Gill, Mickle, etc.); mais ce qui frappe surtout, c'est l'absence de contagion ou de communication du délire et la simultanéité de son explosion.

Outre ces faits d'aliénation mentale chez les jumeaux, on peut encore considérer comme se rangeant dans la folie simultanée ces observations de délire de persécution chez deux sœurs ou chez deux frères, héréditairement prédisposés, tous deux d'une intelligence souvent au-dessous de la moyenne. Dans ces conditions, il ne peut y avoir contagion et le plus souvent le délire éclate chez l'un et chez l'autre simultanément.


Dictinnaire encyclopédique des sciences médicales
volume 75