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up his son to the gods ; Worm mon. dan, 285. King Oen the Old
sacrificed oiine sons one after the other to OSin for his long life ;
Yngl. saga cap, 29. And the Swedes in a grievous famine, when
other great sacrifices proved unavailing, offered up their oion king
Domaldi; ibid. cap. 18.

Animal sacrifices were mainly thank-offerings, but sometimes
also expiatory, and as such they not seldom, by way of mitigation,
took the place of a previous human sacrifice. I will now quote the
evidences (see Suppl.). Herculem et Martem conccssis animalihcs
placant, Tac, Germ. 9 ; i.e., with animals suitable for the purpose
(Hist. 5, 4), ' concessum ' meaning sacrum as against profanum ;
and only those animals were suitable, whose flesh could be eaten
by men. It would have been unbecoming to offer food to the god,
which the sacrificer liimself would have disdained. At the same
time these sacrifices appear to be also banquets ; an appointed
portion of the slaughtered beast is placed before the god, the rest is
cut up, distributed and consumed in the assembly. The people
thus became partakers in the holy offering, and the god is regarded
as feasting with them at their meal (see Suppl.). At great sacri-
fices the kings were expected to taste each kind of food, and down
to late times the house-spirits and dwarfs had their portion set
aside for them by the superstitious people. — Quadraginta rustici a
Langobardis capti carnes immolatitias comedere compellebantur,
Greg. M. dial, 3, 27 ; which means no more than that the heathen
Langobards permitted or expected the captive christians to share
their sacrificial feast.^ These 'immolatitiae carnes' and 'hostiae im-

^ I do not know how comjiellere can be softened down to * permitting or
expecting '. — Trans.


molatitiae, quas stulti homines juxta ecclesias ritu pagano faciuut '
are also mentioned in Bonifacii epist. 25 and 55, ed. Wlirdtw.

In tlie earliest period, the Horse seems to have been the
favourite animal for sacrifice ; there is no doubt that before the
introduction of Christianity its flesh was universally eaten. There
was nothing in the ways of the heathen so offensive to the new
converts, as their not giving up the slaughter of horses (hrossa-sldirj
and the eating of horseflesh ; conf Nialss. cap. 106, The Christian
Northmen reviled the Swedes as hross-ceturnar ; Fornm. sog. 2,
309. Fagrsk. p. 63. King Hakon, whom his subjects suspected of
Christianity, was called upon 'at hann skyldi eta hrossasldtr ;' Saga
Hak. g6(5a cap. 18. From Tac. ami. 13, 57 we learn that the Her-
munduri sacrificed the horses of the defeated Catti. As late as the
time of Boniface (Ei^ist. ed. Wlirdtw. 25. 87 Serr. 121. 142),i
the Thuringians are strictly enjoined to abstain from horseflesh.
Agathias bears witness to the practice of the Alamanni : 'iTrirovi
re Kab l3oa^, kuI aXXa arra [xvpLa k a par o fiovPT €<; (beheading),
i7n6etd^ov(TL, ed bonn. 28, 5. — Here we must not overlook the
cutting o^ of the head, which was not consumed with the rest, but
consecrated by way of eminence to the god. When Cacina, on
approaching the scene of Varus's overthrow, saw horses heads
fastened to the stems of trees (equorum artus, simul trtincis arlorum
antefixa ora, Tac. ann. 1, 61), these were no other than the Eoman
horses, which the Germans had seized in the battle and offered up
to their gods^ (see Suppl). A similar ' immolati diis eqid ahscissum
cainit' meets us in Saxo gram. p. 75 ; in the North they fixed it on
the neidstange (niSstong, stake of envy) which gave the power to
bewitch an enemy, Egilss. p. 389. In a Hessian kindermarchen
(no. 89) we have surviving, but no longer understood, a reminiscence

^ Inter cetera afjrestem cahallum caliquantos comedere adjunxisti, plerosque
et doviesticum. hoc nequaciuam lieri deiiiceps sinas. And , inprimis de volatiU-
bus, id est graculis et cornicnlis atque ciconiis, quae omnino cavendae sunt ab
esu christianorum. etiani et fibri et lepores et cqui silvatici luulto aniplius
vitandi. Af^^ain, Hieronymus adv. Jov. lib. 2 (ed. basil. 1553. 2, 75) • Sar-
niatae, Quadi, Vandali et innumerabiles aliae gentes equai-inn et vulpium carnibus
delectantur. Otto frising. 6, 10 . audiat, quod Pecenati (the wild Peschen;ere,
Nik 1280, 2) et hi qui Falones vocantur (the Vahven, Nib. 1279, 2. Tit.
4097), Orudis et ininmndis carnibiLs, ut^jote cquinis et catinis usque hodie
vescuiitur. Rol. 98, 20 of the heathen : sie ezzent diu ros. Witches also are
charged with eating horseflesh (see Suppl.).

■■' Also in that passage of Jornandes about Mars : huic truncis suspende-
bantur exuviae.


of tlie mysterious meaning of a suspended Iwrscs head} — But on
horse-sacrifices among the heatlien Norse we have further informa-
tion of peculiar vahie. The St. Olaf s saga, cap. 113 (ed. holm. 2,
181), says: ]?at fylgSi ok }?eirri stign, at j^ar vseri drepit naut ok
liross til arbotar (followed the saying that there were slain neat and
liorse for harvest-boot). A tail-piece at the very end of the
Hervararsaga mentions a similar sacrifice offered by the apostate
Swedes at the election of king Svein (second half of 11th century):
var ]?a framleidt hross eitt a J?ingit, ok hoggvit i sundr, ok sJcipt til
ids, en rio]?U(5u bloSinu hluttre ; kostuSu ]?a allir Sviar kristni ok
liofust blot ; then was led forward ahorse into the Thing, and hewed
in sunder, and divided for eating, and they reddened with the blood
the blot-tree, &c. Tornald. sog. 1, 512. Dietmar of Merseburg's
description of the great Norse (strictly Danish) sacrificial rite,
which however was extinct a hundred years before his time,
evidently contains circumstances exaggerated legendwise and dis-
torted ; he says 1, 9 : Sed quia ego de hostiis (ISTorthmannorum)
mira audivi, haec indiscussa praeterire nolo, est unus in his
partibus locus, caput istius regni, Lederun nomine, in pago qui
Selon^ dicitur, ubi post novcm annos mense Januario, post hoc
tempus quo nos theophaniam domini celebramus, omnes con-
venerunt, et ibi diis suismet Ixxxx, et ix. homines, et totidem cqms,
cum canibus et gallis pro accipitribus oblatis, immolant, pro certo,
ut praedixi, putantes hos eisdem erga inferos servituros, et commissa
crimina apud eosdem placaturos. quam bene rex noster (Heinrich 1.
an. 931) fecit, qui eos a tam execrando ritu prohibuit ! — A grand
festive sacrifice, coming once in nine years, and costing a consider-
able number of animals — in this there is nothing incredible. Just
as the name hecatomb lived on, when there was nothing like that
number sacrificed, so here the legend was likely to keep to a high-
sounding number; the horror of the human victims perhaps it
threw in bodily. But the reason alleged for the animal sacrifice
is evidently wide of the mark ; it mixes up what was done

1 Gregory tlie Great ('ej-iist. 7, 5) admonishes Branichild to take pre-
cautions with her Franks, ' ut de animalium cajntibus sacrilicia sacrilega non

" Selon for Selond, ON. Siclundr, afterwards Sioland, Seeland, t.e., Zea-
land. Lederun, the Sax. dat. of Ledera, ON. HleiSra, afterwards Lethra,
Leire ; conf. Goth, hleijjra tahernacuhim.


at funerals ^ witli what was done for expiation. It was only
the bodies of nobles and rich men that were followed in death
by bondsmen and by domestic and hunting animals, so that
they might have their services in the other world. Suppose 99
men, we will say prisoners of war, to have been sacrificed
to the gods, the animals specified cannot have been intended to
escort those enemies, nor yet for the use of the gods, to whom
no one ever set apart and slaughtered horses or any beasts of the
chase with a view to their making use of them. So whether the
ambiguous eisdem refers to homines or diis (as eosdem just after
stands for the latter), either way there is something inadmissible
asserted. At the new year's festival I believe that of all the victims
named the horses alone were sacrificed ; men, hounds and cocks
the legend has added on.^ How Dietmar's story looks by the side
of Adam of Bremen's on the Upsal sacrifice, shall be considered on
p. 53.

Among all animal sacrifices, that of the liorse was preeminent
and most solemn. Our ancestors have this in common with several
Slavic and Finnish nations, with Persians and Indians : with all of
them the horse passed for a specially sacred animal.^

Sacrifice of Oxen (see SuppL). The passage from Agathias
(iTTTrof? re koX ^oaq) proves the Alamannic custom, and that from
the Olafssaga (nmct ok hross) the Norse. A letter to Saint Boniface
(Epist. 82, Wiirdtw.) speaks of ungodly priests ' qui tauros et liircos
diis paganorum immolabant.' And one from Gregory the Great
ad Mellitum (Epist. 10, 76 and in Beda's hist. eccl. 1, 30) affirms
of the Angles : hovcs solent in sacrificio daemonum multos occidere.

^ With Sigiirt5r servants and hawks are burnt, Ssem. 225^ ; elsewhere horses
and dogs as well, conf. RA. 344. Asvitiis, morbo consumptus, cum caneetequo
terreno mandatur antro ; Saxo gram. p. 91, who misinterprets, as though the
dead man fed upon them : nee contentus equi vel canis esu, p. 92.

^ ' Pro accipitribus ' means, that in default of hawks, cocks were used.
Some have taken it, as though dogs and cocks were sacrificed to deified birds of
prey. But the ' pro ' is immistakable.

^ Conf. Bopp's Nalas and Damajanti, p. 42, 268. The Hyperboreans sacri-
ficed asses to Apollo ; Pindar Pyth. 10. Callimach. fr. 187. Anton. Liberal,
metam. 20. The same was done at Delphi ; Buckh corp. inscr. I, 807. 809.
In a Mod. Greek poem Tadupov, Xvkov koI aXcoTroCy 8u]yT]ais w. 429-434, a
.'similar oft'ering seems to be spoken of ; and Hagek's bohm. chrou. p. 62 gives
an instance among the Slavs. That, I suppose, is why the Silesians are
called ass-eaters (Zeitvertreiber 1668, p. 153) ; and if the Gottingors receive the
same nickname, these popular jokes must be very old in Germany itself (see



The Hack ox and hlack cow, which are not to be killed for the house-
hold (Superst. 887), — were they sacred sacrificial beasts? Val.
Suplit, a free peasant on the Samland coast (Samogitia or Semi-
galia), sacrificed a Hack hull with strange ceremonies.^ I will add
a few examples from the Norse. During a famine in Sweden under
king Domaldi : ]?a eflSo (instituted) Sviar blot stor at Uppsolum, it
fyrsta haust (autumn) blotuSu j^eir yxmim ; and the oxen proving
insufficient, they gradually went up to higher and higher kinds ;
Yngl. saga, c. 18. ]7a gekk hann til hofs (temple) Freyss, ok
leiddi jjagat uxan gamlan (an old ox), ok maelti sva : ' Freyr, nu
gef ek ]?er uxa ]?enna ' ; en uxanum bra sva viS, at hann qvaS vi3,
ok fell niSr dauSr (dealt the ox such a blow, that he gave a groan
and fell down dead) ; Islend. sog. 2, 348. conf. Vigaglumssaga, cap.
9. At a formal duel the victor slew a hull with the same weapons
that had vanquished his foe: J?a var leiddr fram grdc^ungr mikill ok
gamall, var ];at kallat hlotnaut, ]?at skyldi sa hoggva er sigr hefSi
(then was led forth a bull mickle and old, it was called blot-neat,
that should he hew who victory had), Egilss. p. 506. conf, Kormaks-
saga p. 214-8. — Sacrifice of Cotvs, Sa^m. 141. Fornm. sog. 2, 138.

The Greek cKarofji^r} (as the name shows, 100 oxen) consisted at

first of a large number of neat, but very soon of other beasts also.
The Indians too had sacrifices of a hundred ; Holzmann 3, 193.^

Boars, Pigs (see SuppL). In the Salic Law, tit. 2, a higher
composition is set on the nmjcdis sacrivus or votivus than on any
other. This seems a relic of the ancient sacrifices of the heathen
Franks ; else why the term sacrivus ? True, there is no vast differ-
ence between 700 and 600 den. (17 and 15 sol.) ; but of animals
so set apart for holy use there must have been a great number in
heathen times, so that the price per head did not need to be high.
Probably they were selected immediately after birth, and marked,
and then reared with the rest till the time of sacrificing. — In
Frankish and Alamannic documents there often occurs the word
friscin^, usually for porcellus, but sometimes for agnus, occasionally
in the more limited sense of porcinus and agninus; the word may by

1 Berlin, monatsclir. 1802. 8, 225. conf. Lucas David 1, 118-122.

2 In many districts of Germany and France, the butchers at a set time of
the year lead through the streets a fatted ox decked with flowers and ribbons,
accompanied by drum and fife, and collect drink-money. In Holland they call
the ox hdder, and hang gilded apples on his horns, while a butcher %valks in
front with the axe (beil). All this seems a relic of some old sacriiicial rite.


its origin express recens natus, new-l)orn,^ but it now lives only in
the sense of porcellus (frischling). How are we to explain then,
that this OHG. friscing in several writers translates precisely the
Lat. liostia, victima, holocaustum (ISTotker cap. 8, ps. 15, 4, 26, 6.
33, 1. 39, 8. 41, 10. 43, 12. 22. 50, 21. 115, 17. osterfriscing, ps. 20,
3. lamp unkawemmit kakepan erdu friscing, i.e. lamb unblemished
given to earth a sacrifice, Hymn 7, 10), except as a reminiscence of
heathenism ? The Jewish paschal lamb would not suggest it, for in
friscing the idea of porcellus was predominant. — In the North, the
expiatory boar, sdnargoltr, offered to Freyr, was a periodical sacri-
fice; and Sweden has continued down to modern times the practice
of baking loaves and cakes on Yule-eve in the shape of a boar.
This golden-bristled boar has left his track in inland Germany too.
According to popular belief in Thuringia,^ whoever on Christmas
eve abstains from all food till suppertime, will get sight of a young
golden pig, i.e. in olden times it was brought up last at the even-
ing banquet. A Lauterbach ordinance (weisthum) of 1589 decreed
(3, 369), that unto a court holden the day of the Three-kings,
therefore in Yule time, the holders of farm-steads (hiibner)
should furnish a clean goldferch (gold-hog) gelded while yet under
milk ; it was led round the benches, and no doubt slaughtered
afterwards.^ So among the Welsh, the swine offered to the gods

1 Ducange sub v. Eccard Fr. or. 2, 677. Dorows denkm. I. 2, 55. Lacom-
blet 1, 327. Grati" 3, 833. Sclimeller wtb. 1, 619.

2 Gutgesells beitr. zur gesch. des deutschen alterthums, Meiningen 1834,
p. 138.

^ This passage from the Lauterb. ordin. I can now match by another from
those of Vinkbuch in the Alamann country. It says 1, 436 ; the provost shall
pick out in the convent a swine worth 7 schilling pfennig, and as soon as harvest
begins, let it into the convent crewyard, -where it must be allowed generous
fare and free access to the corn ; there it is left till the Thursday after St. Adolf's
day, when it is slaughtered and divided, half to the farm-bailiff, half to the
parish ; on the same day there is also a distribution of bread and cheese to
the parish. — The price of seven shillings tallies with the seven and a half
fi.xed by the Lauterb. ordin., and is a high one, far exceeding the ordinary
value (conf GiJtt. anz. 1827, pp. 336-7) ; it was an arrangement long continued
and often employed in these ordinances, and one well suited to a beast selected
for sacrifice. The Lauterbach goldferch, like that of Vinkbuch, is doled out
and consumed at a festive meal ; the assize itself is named alter it (3, 370) ;
at Vinkbuch the heathenish name only has been forgotten or suppressed.
Assuredly such assize-feasts were held in other parts of Germany too. St.
Adolf was a bishop of Straszburg, his day falls on August 29 or 30 (Conr. v.
Dankr. namenb. p. 117), and the assize therefore in the beginning of September.
Swine are slaughtered for the household when winter sets in, in Nov. or Dec. ;
and as both of these by turns are called schlachtmoivat, there might linger iu


became one destined for the King's table. It is the 'sivin ealgylden,
eofor irenheard ' of the Anglo-Saxons, and of its exact relation to
the worship of Froho (Freyr) we have to treat more in detail by
and by. The Greeks sacrificed swine to Demeter (Ceres), who as
Nerthus stands very near to NiorSr, Freyr and Freyja,

Rams, Goats (see Suppl.). — As friscing came to mean victima, so
conversely a name for animal sacrifice, Goth. sauSs, seems to have
given rise to the OjST. name for the animal itself, sau&r=^Qi\\Qv.
This species of sacrifice was therefore not rare, though it is seldom
expressly mentioned, probably as being of small value. Only the
saga Hakonar goGa cap. 16 informs us : ];ar var oc drepinn (killed)
allskonar small, ok sva hross. Small {firj\a) denotes principally
sheep, also more generally the small beasts of the flock as opposed
to oxen and horses, and as ' alls . konar (omnis generis) ' is here
added, it seems to include goats. The sacrifice of he-goats (hircos)
is spoken of in the above-quoted Epist. Bonif. 82. In the Swedish
superstition, the water-sprite, before it wiU teach any one to play
the harp, requires the sacrifice of a llach lamb ; Svenska folkv. 2,
128. Gregory the Great speaks once of she-goats being sacrificed ;
he says the Langobards offer to the devil, i.e.,io one of their gods,
caput caprae, hoc ei, per circuitum currentes, carmine nefando
dedicantes ; Dial. 3, 28. This head of a she-goat (or he-goat ?) was
reared aloft, and the people bowed before it. The halloiclng of a
he-goat among the ancient Prussians is well known (Luc. David 1,
87, 98). The Slavonian god Triglav is represented with three
goats' heads (Hanka's zbjrka 23). If that Langobardic ' carmen
nefandum ' had been preserved, we could judge more exactly of the
rite than from the report of the holy father, who viewed it with
hostile eyes.

About other sacrificial beasts we cannot be certain, for of Diet-
mar's dogs and hawks and cocks, hardly any but the last are to be
depended on (see Sup^^l.). But even then, what of domestic poultry,
fowls, geese, pigeons ? The dove was a Jewish and christian

this also a reference to heathen sacrifices ; an AS. name for Xov. is expressly
tWtmoneS. The common man at his yearly slaughtering gets up a feast, and
sends meat and sausages to his neighbours (conf. maiichli, Stalder 2, 525),
which may be a survival of the common sacrifice and distribution of flesh.
It is remarkable that in Sei-via too, at the solemn burning of the badnyak,
which is exactly like the yule-log (ch. XX, Fires), a ivhole swine is roasted, and
often a sucking fig along with it ; Vuk's Montenegro, pji. 103-4.


sacrifice, the Greeks offered cocks to Asklepios, and in Touraine a
white cock used to be sacrificed to St. Christopher for the cure of a
bad finger (Henri Estienne cap. 38, 6). Of game, doubtless only
those fit to eat were fit to sacrifice, stags, roes, wild boars, but never
bears, wolves or foxes, who themselves possess a ghostly being, and
receive a kind of worship. Yet one might suppose that for expiation
uneatable beasts, equally with men, might be offered, just as slaves
and also hounds and falcons followed the burnt body of their
master. Here we must first of all place Adam of Bremen's descrip-
tion (4, 27) of the great sacrifice at Upsala by the side of Dietmar's
account of that at Hlethra (see p. 48) : — Solet quoque post novevi
annos communis omnium Sveoniae provinciarum solennitas
celebrari, ad quam nulli praestatur immunitas ; reges et populi,
omnes et singuli sua dona ad Ubsolam transmittunt, et, quod omni
poena crudelius est, illi qui jam induerunt christianitatem ab illis
ceremoniis se redimunt. Sacrificium itaque tale est : ex omni
animante quod masculinum est, novem capita offeruntur ; quorum
sanguine deos tales placari mos est. Corpora autem suspenduntur
in lucum qui proximus est templo. Is enim lucus tam sacer est
gentilibus, ut singulae arbores ejus ex morte vel tabo immolatorum
divinae credantur. Ibi etiam canes, qui pendent cum hominibus,
quorum corpora mixtim suspensa narravit mihi quidam christian-
orum se scptuaginta duo vidisse. Ceterum naeniae, quae in
ejusmodi ritibus libatoriis fieri solent, multiplices sunt et inhonestae,
ideoque melius reticendae. — The number nine is prominent in this
Swedish sacrificial feast, exactly as in the Danish ; but here also all
is conceived in the spirit of legend. First, the heads of victims
seem the essential thing again, as among the Franks and Langobards;
then the dogs come in support of those Hlethra * hounds and hawks,'
but at the same time remind us of the old judicial custom of hanging
up wolves or dogs by the side of criminals (RA. 685-6). That only
the viale sex of every living creature is here to be sacrificed, is in
sti"ilcing accord with an episode in the Eeinardus, which was
composed less than a century after Adam, and in its groundwork
might well be contemporary with him. At the wedding of a king,
the males of all quadrupeds and birds were to have been slaughtered,
but the cock and gander had made their escape. It looks to me
like a legend of the olden time, which still circulated in the ll-12lh
centuries, and which even a nursery-tale (No. 27, the Town-


musicians) knows something of.^ Anyhow, in heathen times male
animals seem to be in special demand for sacrifice.^ As for killincr
one of every species (and even Agathias's koL aWa arra /xvpia does
not come up to that), it would be such a stupendous affair, that its
actual execution could never have been conceivable ; it can only
have existed in popular tradition. It is something like the old
Mirror of Saxony and that of Swabia assuring us that every living
creature present at a deed of rapine, whether oxen, horses, cats,
dogs, fowls, geese, swine or men, had to be beheaded, as well as the
actual delinquent (in real fact, only when they were his property) f
or like the Edda relating how oaths were exacted of all animals
and plants, and all beings were required to weep. The creatures
belonging to a man, his domestic animals, have to suffer with him
in case of cremation, sacrifice or punishment.

Next to the kind, stress was undoubtedly laid on the colour of
the animal, tvJiite being considered the most favourable. White
horses are often spoken of (Tac. Germ. 10. Weisth. 3, 301. 311.
831), even so far back as the Persians (Herod. 1, 189). The friscing
of sacrifice was probably of a spotless white ; and in later law-
records snoiv-whitc pigs are pronounced inviolable.* The Votiaks
sacrificed a red stallion, the Tcheremisses a tohite. When under
the old German law dun or pied cattle were often required in pay-
ment of fines and tithes, this might have some connexion with
sacrifices^; for witchcraft also, animals of a particular hue were
requisite. The water-sprite demanded a hlack lamb, and the huldres
have a Hack lamb and hlack cat offered up to them (Asb. 1. 159).
Saxo Gram. p. 16 says; rem divinam facere fnrvis hostiis ; does
that mean hlack beasts ? — We may suppose that cattle were

1 Or will any one trace this incident in the Reynard to the words of the
Vnlgate in Matt. 22, 4 : tauri mei et altilia occisa sunt, venite ad nuptias ;
which merely describe the preparations for the wedding-feast ? Any liint
about males is just what the passage lacks.

^ The Greeks ofiered male animals to god?., female to goddesses, II. 3, 103 :
a white male lamb to Helios (sun), a hlack eive lamb to Ge (earth). Tiie
Lithuanians sacrificed to their earthgod Zemiennik utriusque sexus domestica
animalia ; Haupt's zeitschr. 1, 141.

^ Reyscher and Wilda zeitschr. fiir deutsches recht 5, 17, 18.

* RA. 261. 594. Weisth. 3, 41. 46. 69. conf. Virg. Aen. 8, 82 : Candida
cum foetu concolor albo sus ; and the Umbrian : trif apruf rufru ute fciu (tres
apros rubros aut piceos), Aufrecht und Kirchh. umbr. si^rachd. 2, 278-9.

s RA. 587. 667. Weisth. 1, 498. 3, 430. White animals hateful to the
gods ; Tettau and Temme preuss. sag. 42.


garlanded and adorned for sacrifice. A passage in the Edda
requires gold-horned cows, Saem. 141* ; and in the village of Fienstadt
in Mansfeld a coal-black ox with a white star and white feet, and
a he-goat with gilded horns were imposed as dues.^ There are indi-
cations that the animals, before being slaughtered, were led round
within the circle of the assembly — that is how I explain the
leading round the benches, and ^^e?' circuituni currere, pp. 51, 52 —
perhaps, as among the Greeks and Romans, to give them the
appearance of going voluntarily to death^ (see Suppl.). Probably
care had to be taken also that the victim should not have been used
in the service of man, e.g., that the ox had never drawn plough or

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