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4/ den Icumt ez und trit in.' on him it comes, and treads him.'

Here also children and servants are warned by the master of the
house to eat up clean all that is brought on the table, and are
threatened with a trampling from Stcmj)e. This cognomen of
Berchte must have come from stamping (step, tap, thump, &c.), and
perhaps it ought to be spelt Stempfe (German stampfen, to stamp) ;
but in Bavaria there is a proper name Stcmpo (jMB. 2, 280, anno
1130), not Stempho, and both stampen and stampfen seem to be
correct for trampling and squeezing, Ital. stampare : she is the
night hag, similar to alp and schrat [old scratch ?]. Add to this,
that in the Nordgau of Franconia, dame Holda is called the Trempc
(Doderlein, Antiq. nordg. 41), i.e., the trampling racketing one ;
Stalder defines triimpeln as walking with short, measured steps
(tripping), and the Drut (night-goblin) approaches with soft foot-
fall ; at the same time, trampel, trampelthier, is a heavy clumsy
woman. Now, as S is occasionally added before an initial T, it is
surely not going too far, to connect Stempe with the more ancient
Tamfana, Tanfana, p. 257 (see Suppl.).

Martin of Amberg ^ calls her FercJit mit der eisncn nasen (with

1 His Ge-\vissensspiegel (mid. of 14th cent.) is in two MSS. at Vienna
(Hoffni. pp. 335-6) ; conf. Schni. 4, 188. 21U, and tlie Jalirb. der Berliner
gesellsch. lur deutsclie spr. 2, fi3 — 65.


iron nose), and says that people leave meat and drink standing for
her; which means a downright sacrifice.

In the mountains of Salzburg there is kept up to this day, in
honour of the terrible Percktel, a so called Perchta-running, Perchta-
leaping at the time of the rauchniichte [incense-nights ?]^ In the
Pinzgau, from 100 to 300 young fellows (styled the Berchtcn) will
roam about in broad daylight in the oddest disguises, carrying cows'
bells, and cracking whips.^ In the Gastein valley the procession,
headed by from 50 or 100 to 300 stout fellows, goes hopping and
skipping from village to village, from house to house, all tlirougii
the valley (Muchar, Gastein pp. 145-7). In the north of Switzer-
land, where in addition to Berchtli the softened form Bechtli or
Bechteli is in use, Bechtclis day is the 2nd (or, if New-year's day
falls on a Saturday, the 3rd) of January, and is honoured by the
young people in general with social merrymakings ; they call the
practice hcrclUeln, hechteln. In the 16th century it was still the
custom at Zurich, for men to intercept and press one another to
take wine ; this was called ' conducting to Berclitold ' (Staid. 1, 150-
6). There was thus a masculine Bercht or Berchtolt, related to
"Wuotan, as Berhta was to Freke ; and from this again there arose
in Swabia a new feminine, BrechtoUerin, Prcchtdlterin (Schniid,
Schwab, wtb. 93). In Alsace the bechten was performed by pren-
tices and journeymen running from one house or room to another,
and keeping up a racket (see passages in Oberlin, sub. v. Bechten).
Cunrat of Dankrozheim says in his Namenbuch, composed 1435 :^
darnauch so komet die milde Behte,
die noch hat ein gar gross geslehte (great kindred).
He describes her as the mild, "racious to men, not as the terrible.
Berchtolt however is in Swabian legend the wliite mannikin, who
brings spools to be filled with spinning (Mone's anz. 8, 179),
exactly like Berchta, p. 274 (see Suppl.).

And as a kind benevolent being she appears in many other
descriptions, which undoubtedly reach far back into the Mid, Ages.
The wliitc lady, by her very name, has altogether the same meaning,

1 This rerchtcnspringen is like the hexentusch in the Bohnierwald, which,
Jos. Hank p. 76-7 says, is performed at Whitsnntide, when young men and
boys provide themselves with loud cracking whips, and chase all the witches
out of houses, stables and barns.

2 Journev through Uiiper (iermany, p. 243. Schm. 1, 195.

3 Ad. Walt. Strobel's beitr., Strasb. 1827, p. 123.


for peraht, berlit or brecht, signifies bright, light, white. This
white lady usually attaches herself to particular families, but even
then she keeps the name of Berta, e.g., Eerta of Eosenberg. In
snow-white garments she shows herself by night in princely houses,
she rocks or dandles the babies, while their nurses sleep : she acts
the old grandmother or ayicestrcss of the family {see SuppL).

There is a good deal in the fact, that several women of that
name, who are famed in our national traditions, stand connected
with the ghostly Bcrhta ; they have been adopted out of the divine
legend into the heroic legend. In Italy and France, a far distant
past is expressed by the phrase : ' nel tempo ove BerHa Jilava,' when
B. span (Pentamerone. Liebrecht 2, 259), ' au tems que la reine
Bertlie filait : ' the same idea still, of the spinning matron.^ Berta,
the daughter of king Flower and of Whiteflower, afterwards the
wife of king Pippin and mother of the great hero Charles,
she who in the MLG. poem of Flos is called both Vredelitig and
Brehte (1555. 7825), does not belie her mythic origin.^ She is
called Berlite viit demfuoze (foot), Flore 309; in French, Berthe au
grand pied ; and ace. to the Eeali di Frauza 6, 1 : ' Berta del gran
pie, perche ella aveva un pie un poco maggior dell altro, e quello
era il pie destro,' had the right foot larger. The French poet Adenez
tries apparently to extenuate the deformity by making both her
feet large, he calls her 'Berte as grans pies' (Paris ed. LII. 78. 104) ;
so the Mid. Dutch, ' Baerte met ten breden voetc7i,' Floris 39G6.
But the one big foot is more genuine, as may be seen by the far

^ I can proihice another spinnrng Bertha. The Vita S. Berthae Avenna-
censis in dioecesi Remeusi (conf. Flodoardus 4, 47) says (Acta Sanctor., Maii p.
114'^) : Quae dum histraret situs loci illiiLS, pervenit ad quendani hortum, in
quo erat fons inirae pulcritudinis. Quern ut vidit Deo devota femina, minime
concupivit, sed possessoribus ipsius praedii sic locuta est : fratres, hunc
fonteni praedii vestri vendite mihi, et accepta digna jjecunia cedite usibus
nostris. Cui sic aiunt : En praesto sunius, si tanien detur pretium a nobis
taxatum. Sancta autem, videntibus qui aderant, librani unam denariorum
posuit super lapidem qui erat super os ejusdem fontis, doniini vero ac vendi-
tores receperuut aes. Tunc sancta mater, Deo plena, colo quani manu tenebat
coeY>it tnram fodere, et in moduni sulci rigam facere, ora.ns ac dicens : Ostende
nobis, Domine, misericord iam tuam, et salutare tuum da nobis ! Eevertens
namque monasterium, colum eadem post se trahebat, tantaque abundantia
aquae eam sequebatur, ut ad usus omnes hominibus pertinentes sufficeret, sicut
usque hodie apparet. Nomen quoque sancta mater liuviolo ipsi composuit,
dicens : Libra vocaberis, quia una libra pro emptione tua data est.

2 How firmly she is rooted, may be seen by her being the link that joins
the Carolingian legend to the Laiigobardic : she is mother of Carl, wife of
Pippin the son of Kother (4789), and daughter of Flore and BlancheHor, whose
name again contains the notion of whiteness.


more ancient tradition of a ' reine Pedauque, regina peclc micae,'
whose figure stands carved in stone on old churches.^ It is appar-
ently a siuan-maidcns foot, which as a mark of her higher nature
she cannot lay aside (any more than Huldra her tail, or the devil
his horse hoof) ; and at the same time the spinning-woman's splay-
foot that worked the treadle, and that of the t.Mmpling dame
•Stem]3e or Trempe. If we had older and minuter descriptions of
' frau Berhta ' in Germany, perhaps this foot would also be
mentioned in them (see Suppl.).

It still remains for us to explain her precise connexion with a
particular day of the year. It is either on Dec. 25 (dies natalis), or
twelve days after Christmas, on Jan, 6, when the star appeared to
the Three Kings (magi), that the christian church celebrates the
feast of the manifestation of Christ under the name of epiphania
(v. Ducange, sub v.), hdhphania or iheopkania (0. Fr. tiephaine,
tiphagne). In an OHG. gloss (Emm. 394), theophania is rendered
giperahta naht, the bright night of the heavenly vision that
appeared to the shepherds in the field.^ Documents of the Mid.
Ages give dates in the dative case : ' perchtentag, perhtennaht '
(for OHG. zi demo perahtin taga, zi deru Perahtim naht) ; again,
* an der berechtnaht,' M. Beham (Mone, anz, 4, 451) ; ' ze perh-
nahten,' MB. 8, 540 (an. 1302) ; ' imze an den ahtodin tac nah der
Perhtage,' till the eighth day after the Perht's (fern.) day, Fundgr.
110, 22 ; ' von dem nehsten Berhtag,' MB. 9, 138 (an. 1317) ; ' an
dem Prehentag,' MB. 7, 256 (an. 1349); — these and other contracted
forms are cited with references in Scheffer's Ilaltaus p. 75, and
Schm. 1, 194.^ Now from this there might very easily grow up a
personification, FcrchtentdiC, Perchtomalit, the bright day becoming
Bright's, i.e., dame Bright's, day. (Conrad of Dankrotsheim, p. 123,
puts his milde Belite down a week earlier, on Dec. 30.) *

Two hypotheses present themselves. Either the entire fabulous
existence of a Perhta first arose accidentally and by misunderstand-
ing, out of such personification ; or the analogy of the ' bright ' day
was tacked on to a previously existing Perhta. Now it is true we

1 AllJ. w. 3, 47-8 ; Paris too connects this Pedauque with Berte, ill. iv.
198 ; rci)ie re'hiuque, Michelet hist, de France 1, 49G-8. 2, 152.

- Luke 2, 0. 0. i. 12, 3. 4. Hel. 12, 8. Maria 182.

3 The OIIG. 'ji/if7-m<rtc = parasceve (Graff 5, 360) is Good Friday, and
distinct i'roin Prehentafj, Percht(;ntag.

•* Dec. 28 is Innocents', 29 St. Thomas's, 31 St. Silvester's.


cannot point out a dame Perhta before the 15tli or 14th century,
or at earliest the 13th ; but tlie first supposition need not break
down, even if we did manage to liunt up her personal name in
older authorities : even in the 9th century the expression 'peraht^n
nalit ' might have developed into ' Perahtdn naht '. Still the char-
acteristics we have specified of a mythical Berta, and above all, her
identity with Holda, seem to me to decide the matter the other
way. If, independently of the christian calendar, there was a
Holda, then neither can Perahta be purely a product of it ; on the
contrary, both of these adjective names lead up to a heathen deity,
who made her peregrination at that very season of yule, and whom
therefore the christians readily connected with the sacredness of
Christmas and New-year.

I will here group together the features which unmistakably
make Holda and Bertha appear in this light. They drive about in
^uaggons, like mother Earth, and promote agriculture and navigation
among men ; a plough, from which there fall chips of gold, is their
sacred implement. This too is like the gods, that they appear
suddenly, and Berhta especially hands her gifts in at the vjindow.
Both have spinning and weaving at heart, they insist on diligence
and the keeping of festivals holy, on the transgressor grim penalties
are executed. The souls of infaiit children are found in their host,
as they likewise rule over elves and dAvarfs, but night-hags and
enchantresses also follow in their train : — all this savours of

It is very remarkable, that the Italians too have a mis-shapen
fairy Befana, a terror to children, who has sprung out of epiphania
(befania) : on that day the women and children set a doll made of
old rags in the window ; she is black and ugly, and brings presents.
Some say, she is, Herod's daughter; Eanke's hist, zeitschr. 1,717.
' La Befania ' {Pulei's Morg. 5, 42). Berni says : ' il di di Befania
vo porla per Befana alia fenestra, perche qualcun le dia d' una
ballestra '} It would be astonishing, if twice over, in two different
nations, a name in the calendar had caused the invention of a
supernatural being; it is more likely that, both in Italy, and among
us, older traditions of the people have sought to blend themselves
with the christian name of the day.

1 Franc. Berni, rime 105. Crxisca sub v. befana.


G. (Herodias. Diana. Abundia).

Hcrodias, of whom we have just been reminded by Befana, will
illustrate this even better. The story of Herod's daugliter, whose
(lancing brought about the beheading of John the Baptist, must
have produced a peculiarly deep impression in the early part of the
Mid. Ages, and in more than one way got mixed up with fables,
lleligious poets treat the subject in full, and with relish (Hel. 83-5) ;
Otfried seems to leave it out designedly. It was imagined, that on
account of her thoughtless rather than malicious act (for the
proposal came from her revengeful mother), Hcrodias (the daughter)
was condemned to roam about in company with evil and devilish
spirits. She is placed at the head of the ' furious host ' or of
witches' nightly expeditions, together with Diana, with Holda and
Perahta, or in their stead. In Burcard of Worms 10, 1 we read :
Illud etiam non omittendum, quod quaedam sceleratae mulieres
retro post Satanam conversae, daemonum illusionibus et phantas-
matibus seductae, credunt se et profitentur nocturnis horis cum
Diana paganorum dea vel cum Herodiade et innumera multitudine
mulierum equitare super quasdam bestias, et multa terrarum spatia
intempestae noctis silentio pertransire, ejusque jussionibus vdut
dominae obedire, et certis noctibus ad ejus servitium evocari. —
Job. Salisberiensis (f 1182) in Polycr. 2, 17 : Quale est, quod noc-
tilucam quandam, vel Herodiadem vel praesidem noctis dominam,
concilia et conventus de nocte asserunt convocare, varia celebrari
convivia, &c. — Angerius, episcopus Conseranus (an. 1280) : Nulla
mulier de nocturnis equitare cum Diana dea paganorum vel cum
Herodiade sen Bensozia ^ et innumera mulierum multitudine pro-
fitcatur. — Similar statements have passed into later writings, such
as those of ]\Iartin von Amberg, and Vintler. It is worth noticing,
that to the worship of this Herodias, one third of the whole ivorld is
ceded, and so a most respectable diffusion allowed. Eatherius
(bishop of Verona, but a Frank, b. at Lobi near Cambray, d. 974) in
his Praeloquia (Martene and Durand 9, 798. opp. edit. Ballerini
pp. 20. 21) : Quis enim eorum, qui hodie in talibus usque ad per-
ditionem animae in tantum decipiuntur, ut etiam eis, quas (Ball.

^ Ducanp;e srib v. Diana spells Benzoria, but has the true meaning under
r.ensozia itself ; it seems to mean bona socia, friendly propitious being. Bona
dea, Dio Cass. 37, 35. 45. Conf. ch. XXVIII, dobra sretia, bona Fortuna ; ch.
XVI, good wife, under Wood-women.


de quibus) ait Gen.^, Ilcrocliam illam baptistae Christi interfectri-
cera, quasi reginam imo deam proponant ; asserentes, tertiam tot ins
mundi partem illi traditam : quasi haec merces fuerit propLetae
occisi, cum potius sint daemones, talibus praestigiis infelices mulier-
culas, bisque niultum vituperabiliores viros, quia perditissimos,
decipientes. — A full and remarkable account of the medieval
tradition, that was tacked on to Herodias, is contained in the Ptei-
nardus 1, 11:39—1164:

Traecipue sidus celebrant, ope cujus, ubi omnes

defuerant testes, est data Eoma Petro,
traditaque injusto Fharaildis virgo labor! ;

sed sanctifaciunt qualiacunque volunt.
Ilac famosus erat felixque fuisset Herodes

prole, sed infelix banc quoque laesit amor:
liaec virgo, thalamos Baptistae solius ardens,

voverat hoc demto nuUius esse viri.
Offensus genitor, comperto prolis amore,

insontem sanctum decapitavit atrox,
Postulat afferri virgo sibi tristis, et affert ''■

regius in disco tempera trunca cliens.
Mollibus allatum stringens caput ilia lacertis

perfundit lacrimis, osculaque addere avet ;
oscula captanteni caput anfugit atque resnjfflat,

ilia per impluvium turbine flantis abit.
Ex illo nimium memor ira Johannis eandem

per vacuum coeli flabilis urget iter :
mortuus infestat miseram, nee vivus amarat,

non tamen banc penitus fata perisse sinunt.
Lenit honor luctura, minuit reverentia poenam,

inirs hominum moestae tertia servit herac.
Quercuhus et corylis a noctis parte secunda

usque nigri ad galli carmina prima sedet.
Nunc ea nomen liabet Fharaildis, Herodias ante

saltria, nee subiens nee subeunda pari.
Conf. Aelfrici homiliae 1, 486. Here we have Herodias described
as mocsta hcra cui pars tertia hominum servit, the reverential
homage she receives assuages her bitter lot ; only from midnight

1 Eallerini cannot understand this Gen. ; is it Gennadius (Massiliensis), a
writer at the end of the hfth century ?


till first cockcrow she sits on oaks and hazel-trees, tlie rest of her
time she floats through the empty air. She was inflamed by love
for John, which he did not return ; when his head is brought in on
a charger, she would fain have covered it with tears and kisses, but
it draws back, and begins to blow hard at her ; the hapless maid is
whirled into empty space, and there she hangs for ever,^ Why she
was afterwards (in the twelfth century) called Fharaildis, is not
explained by the life of a saint of that name in Flanders (Acta
sanct. 4 Jan.) ; nor does anything that the church tells of John the
Baptist and llerodias (Acta sanct. 2-i Jun.) at all resemble the
contents of the above story : Herodias is Herod's wife, and the
daughter is named Salome. Pharaildis on the contrary, M. Dutch
Vercldr,' leads us to ver Elde :=frau Hilde or f rem Iliddc, as in a
doc. of 1213 (Bodmanns Eheing. alterth. p. 94) there occurs a
' miles dictus Verhildeburrj,' and in a Fiisian doc. of the 14th
century a FerhUdcma, evidently referring to the mythic Hildburg.
Still more remarkable seems a M. Dutch name for the milky way,
Vroneklcnstract = frauen Hilde or Ilulde strasse (street, highway).
So that the poet of the Reinardus is entirely in the right, when
Herodias sets him thinking of Fharaildis, and she again of the
milky way, the sidns in his first line.

There is no doubt whatever, that quite early in the Mid. Ages
the christian mythus of Herodias got mixed up with our native
heathen fables : those notions about dame Holda and the * furious
host ' and the nightly jaunts of sorceresses were grafted on it, the
Jewish king's daughter had the part of a heathen goddess assigned
her (Eatherius says expressly : imo dea), and her worship found
numerous adherents. In the same circle moves Diana, the lunar
deity of night, the wild huntress ; Diana, Herodias and Holda

^ This reference to the iurho (the whirlwind of his blast), looks mythical
and of high antic^uity. Not only did Ziu or Zio, once a deity, beci^nie with the
christians a name for the wliirlwind. p. 203 (and Pulloineken too may have to
do with I'hol, J). 2:29) ; l)ut to tliis day such a wind is accounted for in Lower
Saxony (about Celle) by the dancing Hcroduis whirling about in the air. Else-
where the raising of it is ascribed to the de.vil, and offensive epithets are
hurled at him, as in the Saalfeld country : ' Schweinezahl fahret,' there goes
swine-tail (Praetorius, Riibezahl 3, 120), and on the Khcin mts. : ' Siiuzagel,'
sow- tail (Schni. 4, 110), to shew contempt for tlie demon, and abate his fury
(see Suppl.). I shall bring in scjme other stories, when treating of the ■wind-

* Canneart, strafrecht 153-5. B^lg. raus. 6, 319. Conf. Vergodc for fi-au


stand for one another, or side by side. Diana is denounced by
Eligius (Superst. A) ; the passage in the decrees of councils
(Superst. C) has found its way into many later writings (Superst.
D, G) : like Herodias, she appears as domina and hcra. The life of
St. Caesarius Arelatensis mentions a ' daemonium, quod rustici
Dianavi vocant,' so that the name was familiar to the common
people ; that statue of Diana in Greg. Tur. 8, 15 I have spoken of
on p. 110. But the strongest testimony to the wide diffusion of
Diana's cultus seems to be a passage in the life of St. Kilian, the
apostle of the East Franks (t 689) : Gozbertusdux Franciae . . .
volens crebra apud se tractare inquisitione, utrum Ejus quem
(Kilianus) praedicabat, vel Dianae potius cultus praeferendus esset.
Diana namque apud ilium in summa veneratione .habebatur
(Surius 4, 133 ; Acta sanct. Bolland. 8 Jul. (p. 616). As it is
principally in Thuringia, Franconia and Hesse that frau Holda
survives, it is not incredible that by Diana in the neighbourhood
of Wiirzburg, so far back as the 7th century, was meant no other
than she.

Lastly, the retrospective connexion of this Herodias or Diana
with personages in the native paganism, whether of Celtic or
Teutonic nations, receives a welcome confirmation from the legend
of a domina Ahundia or dame Hahonde, supplied by French
authorities of the IMid. Ages. A bishop of Paris, Guilielmus
Alvernus (Guillaume d' Auvergne), who died 1248, speaks thus of
n}Tnphs and lamiae (opera. Par. 1 674, fol. 1. 1036) : ' Sic et daemon,
qui praetextu mulieris, cum aliis de nocte domos et cellaria dicitur
frequentare, et vocant eam Satiam a satietate, et dominam
Abundiam pro abundantia,^ quam eam praestare dicunt domibus,
quas frequentaverit : hujusmodi etiam daemones, quas dominas
vocant vetulae, penes quas error iste remansit, et a quibus solis
creditur et somniatur. Dicunt has dominas edere et bibere de escis
et potibus, quos in domibus inveniunt, nee tamen consumptionem
aut imminutionem eas facere escarum et potuum, maxime si vasa
escarum sint discooperta et vasa poculorum non obstructa
eis in nocte relinquantur. Si vero operta vel clausa inveniunt
seu obstructa, inde nee comedunt nee bibunt, propter quod
infaustas et infortunatas relinquunt, nee satietatem nee abun-

^ The Romans also personified Ahundantia as a superior being, but she
only appears on coins, she had neither temples nor altars.


dantiam eis praestantes.' The like is repeated on p. 1068, but
on p. 1066 we read : ' Sunt et aliae luditicationes malignoruni
spirituum, quas faciunt interdum in nemoribus et locis anioenis
et frondosis arboribus, ubi ajiparcnt in similitudinc pucllarum aut
matronaruni ornatu muliebri et candido, interdum etiani in stabulis,
cum luminaribus cereis, ex quibus apparent distillationes in comis
et collis equorum, et comae ipsorum diligenter tricatae, et audies
eos, qui talia se vidisse fatentur, dicentes veram ceram esse, quae
de luminaribus hujusmodi stillaverat.^ De illis vero substantiis,
quae apparent in domibus, quas dominas nocturnas, et principe7)i
earum vocant dominam Ahimdiam, pro eo quod domibus, quas
frequentant, abundantiam bonorum temporalium praestare putan-
tur, non aliter tibi sentiendum est, neque aliter quam quemadmo-
dum de illis audivisti. Quapropter eo usque invaluit stultitia ho-
minum et insania vetularum, ut vasa vini et receptacula ciborum
discoc perta relinquant, et omnino nee obstruant neque claudant eis
noctibus, quibus ad domos suas eas credunt adventuras, ea de
causa videlicet, ut cibos et potus quasi paratos inveniant et eos
absque difficultate apparitionis pro beneplacito sumant.
The Eoman de la rose (Meon 18622 seq.) informs us:

qui les cine sens ainsinc deceit
par les fantosmes, quil regoit,
dont maintes gens par lor folie
cuident estre par nuit estries
errans auecques dame Hahonde,
et dient, que par tout le monde
li tiers enfant de nacion
sunt de ceste condicion.
qu'il vont trois fois en la semaine,
si cum destinee les maine,
et par tons ces ostex se boutent,
ne cles ne barres ne redoutent,
ains sen entrent par les fendaces,
par chatieres et par crevaces,
et so partent des cors les ames
et vont avec les bonnes dames
par leus forains et par maisons,
et le pruevent par tiex raisons :

^ Conf. Deutsche sagen, no. 122.


que les diversitcs veiies
ne sunt pas en lor liz venues,
ains sunt lor ames qui laborent
et par le monde ainsinc sen corent, &c.
18686. Dautre part, que li tiers du monde
aille ainsinc avcc dame Hahonde,
si cum voles vielles le pruevent
par les visions que truevent,
dont convient il sans nule faille
que trestous li mondes i aille.

As Eatlierius and the Reinardus represent a third part of the •World
as given up to the service of Herodias, the same statement is here
applied to dame Habonde ; Herodias and Ahundia are therefore
one. A connexion between Abundia and our native Folia, Ftdla
(fulness) will presently be made apparent. The term enfans may
refer either to the unchristencd babes above, or to the great
multitude pf heathen, who remained shut out of the christian
community. It had long been the custom to divide the known

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