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Division X3 I— • •C) I O

Number V, „<_











^11 rights rtser-ved


CHAPTER III {continued)

KILLING THE GOD, pp. 1-2 2 2

lo. The corn-spirit as an animal


II. Eating the god ....

. 67

12. Killing the divine animal .

. 90

13. Transference of evil

. 148

14. Expulsion of evils ....


15. Scapegoats .....

. 182

16. Killing the god in Mexico .

. 218


THE GOLDEN BOUGH, pp. 2 2 3-3 7 I

1. Between heaven and earth .

2. Balder

3. The external soul in folk-tales

4. The external soul in folk-custom

5. Conclusion .





Offerings of first-fruits


CHAPTER III —{continued)

\ lo. — The corn-sph'ii as an animal

In some of the examples cited above to establish
the meaning of the term " neck " as applied to the last
sheaf, the corn -spirit appears in animal form as a
gander, a goat, a hare, a cat, and a fox. This intro-
duces us to a new aspect of the corn-spirit, which we
must now examine. By doing so we shall not only
have fresh examples of killing the god, but may hope
also to clear up some points which remain obscure in
the myths and worship of Attis, Adonis, Osiris,
Dionysus, Demeter, and Virbius.

Amongst the many animals whose forms the corn-
spirit is supposed to take are the wolf, dog, hare, cock,
goose, cat, goat, cow (ox, bull), pig, and horse. In
one or other of these forms the 'corn-spirit is believed
to be present in the corn, and to be caught or killed in
the last sheaf. As the corn is being cut the animal
flees before the reapers, and if a reaper is taken ill
on the field, he is supposed to have stumbled un-
wittingly on the corn-spirit, who has thus punished the
profane intruder. It is said " The Rye-wolf has got hold
of him," "the Harvest-goat has given him a push."
The person who cuts the last corn or binds the
last sheaf gets the name of the animal, as the Rye-



wolf, the Rye-sow, the Oats-goat, etc., and retains the
name sometimes for a year. Also the animal is fre-
quently represented by a puppet made out of the last
sheaf or of wood, flowers, etc., which is carried home
amid rejoicings on the last harvest waggon. Even
where the last sheaf is not made up in animal shape, it
is often called the Rye- wolf, the Hare, Goat, and so on.
Generally each kind of crop is supposed to have its
special animal, which is caught in the last sheaf, and
called the Rye -wolf, the Barley -wolf, the Oats -wolf,
the Pea- wolf, or the Potato -wolf, according to the
crop ; but sometimes the figure of the animal is only
made up once for all at getting in the last crop of the
whole harvest. Sometimes the animal is believed to
be killed by the last stroke of the sickle or scythe.
But oftener it is thought to live so long as there is
corn still unthreshed, and to be caught in the last sheaf
threshed. Hence the man who gives the last stroke
with the flail is told that he has got the Corn-sow,
the Threshing-dog, etc. When the threshing is
finished, a puppet is made in the form of the animal,
and this is carried by the thresher of the last sheaf to
a neighbouring farm, where the threshing is still going
on. This again shows that the corn-spirit is believed
to live wherever the corn is still being threshed.
Sometimes the thresher of the last sheaf himself repre-
sents the animal ; and if the people of the next farm,
who are still threshing, catch him, they treat him
like the animal he represents, by shutting him up in
the pig - sty, calling him with the cries commonly
addressed to pigs, and so forth. ^

These general statements will now be illustrated
by examples. We begin with the corn -spirit con-

1 W. Mannhardt, Die Komddmomn^ pp. i-6.


cefved as a wolf or a dog. This conception is
common in France, Germany, and Slavonic coun-
tries. Thus, when the wind sets the corn in wave-
like motion, the peasants often say, "The Wolf
is going over, or through, the corn," " the Rye -wolf
is rushing over the field," " the Wolf is in the corn,"
" the mad Dog is in the corn," " the bio- Doe is

1 ) o o

there.' ^ When children wish to go into the corn-
fields to pluck ears or gather the blue corn-flowers,
they are warned not to do so, for "the big Dog sits
in the corn," or " the Wolf sits in the corn, and will
tear you in pieces," "the Wolf will eat you." The
wolf against whom the children are warned is not
a common wolf, for he is often spoken of as the
Corn-wolf, Rye-wolf, etc. ; thus they say, "The Rye-
wolf will come and eat you up, children," "the Rye-
wolf will carry you off," and so forth.^ Still he has all
the outward appearance of a wolf. For in the neigh-
bourhood of Feilenhof (East Prussia), when a wolf
was seen running through a field, the peasants used to
watch whether he carried his tail in the air or
dragged it on the ground. If he dragged it on the
ground, they went after him, and thanked him for
bringing them a blessing, and even set tit-bits before
him. But if he carried his tail high, they cursed him
and tried to kill him. Here the wolf is the corn-
spirit, whose fertilising power is in his tail.^

Both dog and wolf appear as embodiments of the
corn-spirit in harvest-customs. Thus in some parts

1 W. Mannhardt, Rcggenwolf tmd "■■ W. Mannhardt, Roggenwolfii. Rog-

Roggenhund (Danzig, 1865), p. 5 ; id., gaikimd, p. 7 sqq. ; id., A. W. F. p.

A7itike Wald-imd Feldkulte, p. 318 j-^.; 319.

id., Mythol. Forsch. p. 103 ; Witz- 3 w. IMannhardt, Roggenwolf, etc. p.

schel, Sagen, Sit ten tmd Gebrduche mis 10.
Thiiringejt, p. 213.


of Silesia the person who binds the last sheaf is
called the Wheat-dog or the Peas-pug/ But it
is in the harvest-customs of the north-east of France
that the idea of the Corn -dog comes out most
clearly. Thus when a harvester, through sickness,
w^eariness, or laziness, cannot or will not keep up with
the reaper in front of him, they say, " The White
Dog passed near him," "he has the White Bitch," or
"the White Bitch has bitten him." ^ In the Vosges
the Harvest- May is called the "Dog of the har-
vest."^ About Lons-le-Saulnier, in the Jura, the
last sheaf is called the Bitch. In the neighbourhood
of Verdun the regular expression for finishing the
reaping is, "They are going to kill the Dog;" and
at Epinal they say, according to the crop, " We will
kill the Wheat-dog, or the Rye-dog, or the Potato-
dog."* In Lorraine it is said of the man who cuts the
last corn, " He is killing the Dog of the harvest."^
At Dux, in the Tyrol, the man who gives the last
stroke at threshing is said to " strike down the Dog;"''
and at Ahnebergen, near Stade, he is called, according
to the crop, Corn-pug, Rye-pug, Wheat-pug.^

So with the wolf. In Germany it is said that " The
Wolf sits in the last sheaf." ^ In some places they call
out to the reaper, " Beware of the Wolf;" or they say,
" He is chasing the Wolf out of the corn."^ The last
bunch of standing corn is called the Wolf, and the
man who cuts it " has the Wolf" The last sheaf is
also called the Wolf ; and of the woman who binds
it they say, " The Wolf is biting her," " she has the

1 W. Mannhardl, M. F. p. 104. ■* lb. p. 105. ^ //'. p. 30-

2 Jb, " Il>. pp. 30, 105. " y/;. p. 105 sq,

3 lb. p. 104 sq. On the Harvest- * A. IV. F. p. 320 ; Roi^gcnwolf, p.
May, see above, vol. i. p. 68. 24. '-^ Roggenwolf, p. 24.


Wolf," "she must fetch the Wolf" (out of the corn).^
Moreover, she is herself called Wolf and has to bear
the name for a whole year ; sometimes, according to
the crop, she is called the Rye -wolf or the Potato-
wolf." In the island of Riigen they call out to the
woman who binds the last sheaf, " You're Wolf ; " and
when she comes home she bites the lady of the house
and the stewardess, for which she receives a large
piece of meat. The same woman may be Rye-wolf,
Wheat-wolf, and Oats-wolf, if she happens to bind the
last sheaf of rye, wheat, and oats.^ At Buir, in the
district of Cologne, it was formerly the custom to
give to the last sheaf the shape of a wolf. It was
kept in the barn till all the corn was threshed. Then
it was brought to the farmer, and he had to sprinkle
it with beer or brandy.^ In many places the sheaf
called the Wolf is made up in human form and dressed
in clothes. This indicates a confusion between the
conceptions of the corn - spirit as theriomorphic (in
animal form) and as anthropomorphic (in human
form).^ Generally the Wolf is brought home
on the last waggon, with joyful cries. *^

Again, the Wolf is supposed to hide himself
amongst the cut corn in the granary, until he is
driven out of the last bundle by the strokes of the
flail. Hence at Wanzleben, near Magdeburg, after
the threshing the peasants go in procession, leading
by a chain a man, who is enveloped in the threshed out
straw and is called the Wolf He represents the
corn -spirit who has been caught escaping from the
threshed corn. In Trier it is believed that the Corn-

1 Roggen-wolf, p. 24, •* Roggemuolf, p. 25. ^ //'. p. 26.

2 lb. p. 25. <5 //;. p. 26 ; A. W. F. p. 320.

3 lb. p. 28; A. IV. F. p. 320. ' A. W. F. p. 321.


wolf is killed at threshing. The men thresh the last
sheaf till it is reduced to chopped straw. In this way
they think that the Corn-wolf who was lurking in the
last sheaf, has been certainly killed.^

In France also the Corn -wolf appears at harvest.
Thus they call out to the reaper of the last corn,
" You will catch the Wolf." Near Chambery they form
a ring round the last standing corn, and cry, " The
Wolf is in there." In Finisterre, when the reaping
draws near an end, the harvesters cry, " There is
the Wolf ; we will catch him." Each takes a swath
to reap, and he who finishes first calls out, " I've
caught the Wolf." ^ In Guyenne, when the last corn
has been reaped, they lead a wether all round the
field. It is called " the Wolf of the field." Its horns
are decked with a wreath of flowers and corn -ears,
and its neck and body are also encircled with gar-
lands and ribbons. All the reapers march, singing,
behind it. Then it is killed on the field. In this
part of France the last sheaf is called the cotijoulage,
which, in the patois, means a wether. Hence the
killing of the wether represents the death of the corn-
spirit, considered as present in the last sheaf; but
two different conceptions of the corn-spirit — as a wolf
and as a wether — are mixed up together.^

Sometimes it appears to be thought that the Wolf,
caught in the last corn, lives during the winter in the
farmhouse, ready to renew his activity as corn-spirit in
the spring. Hence at midwinter, when the lengthening
days begin to herald the approach of spring, the Wolf
makes his appearance once more. In Poland a man,
with a wolf's skin thrown over his head, is led about
at Christmas ; or a stuffed wolf is carried about by

1 A. IV. F. p. 321 sq. 2 ^. ^, /r. p. 320. 3 A. IV. F. p. 320 sq.


persons who collect money.^ There are facts which
point to an old custom of leading about a man
enveloped in leaves and called the Wolf, while his
conductors collected money.^

Another form which the corn -spirit often assumes
is that of a cock. In Austria children are warned
against straying in the corn-fields, because the Corn-
cock sits there, and will peck their eyes out.^ In
North Germany they say that " the Cock sits in
the last sheaf ; " and at cutting the last corn the
reapers cry, " Now we will chase out the Cock."
When it is cut they say, " We have caught the Cock."
Then a cock is made of flowers, fastened on a pole,
and carried home by the reapers, singing as they go.*
At Braller, in Transylvania, when the reapers come to
the last patch of corn, they cry, " Here we shall catch
the Cock."^ At Fiirstenwalde, when the last sheaf is
about to be bound, the master lets loose a cock, which
he has brought in a basket, and lets it run over the
field. All the harvesters chase it till they catch it.
Elsewhere the harvesters all try to seize the last
corn cut ; he who succeeds in grasping it must crow,
and is called Cock.^ The last sheaf is called Cock,
Cock-sheaf, Harvest-cock, Harvest-hen, Autumn-hen.
A distinction is made between a Wheat-cock, Bean-
cock, etc., according to the crop.^ At Wiinschensuhl,
in Thiiringen, the last sheaf is made into the shape of
acock, and called Harvest-cock.^ A figure of a cock.

^ A. W. F. p. 322. 2 //'. p. 323. ^ G. A. Heinrich, Agrarische Sitten

3 Die Korndiimonen, p. 13. tind Gebrduche unter den Sachsen

* lb.; Sch.ra\X.z, Sitten und Sagen des Siebenbiirgens, p. 21.

EiJlerVolkes,i.',;'K.\x\\i\,lVestfdlische ^ Die Kornddi/ioneti, p. 13. Cp.

Sagen, Mdrchen und Gebrduche, ii. p. Kuhn and Schwartz, I.e.

181 ; Kuhn und Schwartz, Norddeutsche '' Die Korndd/nonen, p. 13.

Sagen, Aldrchen und Gebrduche, p. * Witzschel, Sagen, Sitten und Ge-

398. brdiiche aus Thiiringen, p. 220.


made of wood, pasteboard, or ears of corn, is borne in
front of the harvest-waggon, especially in Westphalia,
where the cock carries in his beak fruits of the earth
of all kinds. Sometimes the image of the cock is
fastened to the top of a May-tree on the last harvest-
waggon. Elsewhere a live cock, or a figure of one, is
attached to a harvest-crown and carried on a pole. In
Galicia and elsewhere this live cock is fastened to the
garland of corn-ears or flowers, which the leader of the
women-reapers carries on her head as she marches in
front of the harvest procession.^ In Silesia a live
cock is presented to the master on a plate. The
harvest supper is called Harvest-cock, Stubble-cock,
etc., and a chief dish at it, at least in some places, is a
cock.^ If a waggoner upsets a harvest -waggon, it is
said that " he has spilt the Harvest-cock," and he loses
the cock — that is, the harvest supper.^ The harvest-
waggon, with the figure of the cock on it, is driven
round the farmhouse before it is taken to the barn.
Then the cock is nailed over, or at the side of the
house door, or on the gable, and remains there till
next harvest.* In East Friesland the person who
gives the last stroke at threshing is called the
Clucking-hen, and grain is strewed before him as if
he were a hen.^

Again, the corn -spirit is killed in the form of

^ Die Komddmonen, p. 13 sq.', overthrowing a load at harvest is "to

Kwhn, Westfdlische Sage7t, Miirchemtiid lose the goose," and the penalty used

Gebraiiche, ii. p. 180 sq.; Pfannen- to be the loss of the goose at the harvest

%chm\(l, Germa7iische Erntefeste, p. no. supper (Burne and Jackson, Shropshire

2 DieKomdiimonm, p. 14; Pfannen- ^f'^'^'^^ P; 375) ; and in some parts
schmid, op. cit. pp. 1 1 ., 419 sq. "^, ^ngland the harvest supper was

•' called the Harvest Uosling, or the

3 Die Komddmonen, p. 15. So in Inning Goose (Brand, Popular Anti-
Shropshire, where the corn -spirit is (/?<;V/fc'5, ii. 23, 26, Bohn's ed.)
conceived in the form of a gander (see * Die R'oriiddmonen, p. 14.
above, vol. i. p. 407), the expression for ^ lb. p. 15.


a cock. In parts of Germany, Hungary, Poland,
and Picardy, the reapers place a live cock in the
corn which is to be cut last, and chase it over the
field, or bury it up to the neck in the ground ; after-
wards they strike off its head with a sickle or
scythe.^ In many parts of Westphalia, when the
harvesters bring the wooden cock to the farmer, he
gives them a live cock, which they kill with whips
or sticks, or behead with an old sword, or throw it
into the barn to the girls, or give it to the mistress
to cook. If the Harvest -cock has not been spilt —
that is, if no waggon has been upset — the harvesters
have the right of killing the farmyard cock by
throwing stones at it or beheading it. Where this
custom has fallen into disuse, it is still common
for the farmer's wife to make cockie - leekie for
the harvesters, and to show them the head of
the cock which has been killed for the soup.^ In
the neighbourhood of Klausenburg, Transylvania, a
cock is buried on the harvest- field in the earth, so
that only its head appears. A young man then takes
a scythe and cuts off the cock's head at a single
stroke. If he fails to do this, he is called the Red
Cock for a whole year, and people fear that next
year's crop will be bad.'^ In the neighbourhood of
Udvarhely, Transylvania, a live cock is bound up
in the last sheaf and killed with a spit. It is
then skinned. The flesh is thrown away, but the
skin and feathers are kept till next year ; and in
spring the grain from the last sheaf is mixed with
the feathers of the cock and scattered on the field
which is to be tilled.^ Nothing could set in a clearer

1 M. F. p. 30. 3 //,. p, 15 j.^,

2 j)ig Korndiwtonen, p. 15. ■* lb. p. 15 ; M. F. p. 30,


light the identification of the cock with the spirit of
the corn. By being tied up in the last sheaf and
killed, the cock is identified with the corn, and its
death with the cutting of the corn. By keeping its
feathers till spring, then mixing them with the seed-
corn taken from the very sheaf in which the bird had
been bound, and scattering the feathers together with
the seed over the field, the identity of the bird with
the corn is again emphasised, and its quickening and
fertilising power, as the corn-spirit, is intimated in the
plainest manner. Thus the corn -spirit, in the form of
a cock, is killed at harvest, but rises to fresh life and
activity in spring. Again, the equivalence of the cock
to the corn is expressed, hardly less plainly, in the
custom of burying the bird in the ground, and cutting
off its head (like the ears of corn) with the scythe.

Another common embodiment of the corn-spirit is
the hare.^ In some parts of Ayrshire the cutting of
the last corn is called " cutting the Hare ; " ^ and in
Germany a name for the last sheaf is the Hare.^ In
East Prussia they say that the Hare sits in the last
patch of standing corn, and must be chased out by the
last reaper. The reapers hurry with their work, each
being anxious not to have "to chase out the Hare ;"
for the man who does so, that is, who cuts the last
corn, is much laughed at.^ At Birk in Transylvania,
when the reapers come to the last patch, they cry out,
" We have the Hare." ^ At Aurich, as we have seen,^
an expression for cutting the last corn is "to cut
off the Hare's tail." " He is killing the Hare " is

^ Die Kornddmonm, p. i. ^ G. A. Heinrich, Agrarische Sitten

2 Folk-lore Journal, vii. 47. tnid Gebrdnche nnter den Sachsen

^ Die Kornddinonen, p. 3. Sicbcnbiirgens, p. 21.

■• Lemke, Volksthiimliches in Ost- ** Above, vol. i. p. 40S.

preussen, i. 24.


commonly said of the man who cuts the last corn
in Germany, Sweden, Holland, France, and Italy. ^
In Norway the man who is thus said to " kill the
Hare" must give " hare's blood," in the form of brandy,
to his fellows to drink." ^

Again, the corn-spirit sometimes takes the form of
a cat.^ Near Kiel children are warned not to go into
the corn-fields because " the Cat sits there." In the
Eisenach Oberland they are told " the Corn-cat will
come and fetch you," " the Corn-cat goes in the corn."
In some parts of Silesia at mowing the last corn they
say, " the Cat is caught ; " and at threshing, the man
who gives the last stroke is called the Cat. In the
neighbourhood of Lyons the last sheaf and the harvest
supper are both called the Cat. About Vesoul when
they cut the last corn they say, " We have the Cat
by the tail." At Brian9on, in Dauphine, at the
beginning of reaping, a cat is decked out with ribbons,
flowers, and ears of corn. It is called the Cat of
the ball-skin [le chat de peau de balle). If a reaper
is wounded at his work, they make the cat lick the
wound. At the close of the reaping the cat is again
decked out with ribbons and ears of corn ; then there
is dancing and merriment. When the dance is over,
the cat is solemnly stripped of its ornaments by the
girls. At Griineberg in Silesia the reaper who cuts
the last corn is called the Tom-cat. He is enveloped
in rye -stalks and green withes, and is furnished with
a long plaited tail. Sometimes as a companion he has
a man similarly dressed, who is called the (female) Cat.
Their duty is to run after people whom they see
and beat them with a long stick. Near Amiens the

1 M. F. p. 29. 2 M. F. p. 29 sq. ; Die Korndamonen, p. 5.

3 A. IV. F. pp. 172-174; M. F. p. 30.


expression for finishing the harvest is, " They are
going to kill the Cat ; " and when the last corn is
cut a cat is killed in the farmyard. At threshing,
in some parts of France, a live cat is placed under the
last bundle of corn to be threshed, and is struck dead
with the flails. Then on Sunday it is roasted and
eaten as a holiday dish.

Further, the corn-spirit often appears in the form of
a goat. In the province of Prussia, when the corn
bends before the wind, they say, " The Goats are
chasing each other," " the wind is driving the Goats
through the corn," " the Goats are browsing there," and
they expect a very good harvest. Again they say,
"the Oats-goat is sitting in the oats-field," "the Corn-
goat is sitting in the rye-field." ^ Children are warned
not to go into the corn-fields to pluck the blue corn-
flowers, or amongst the beans to pluck pods, because
the Rye-goat, the Corn-goat, the Oats-goat, or the
Bean-goat is sitting or lying there, and will carry them
away or kill them.^ When a harvester is taken sick or
lags behind his fellows at their work, they call out, "The
Harvest-goat has pushed him," " he has been pushed
by the Corn-goat. "^ In the neighbourhood of Brauns-
berg (East Prussia) at binding the oats every harvester
makes haste "lest the Corn-goat push him." At
Oefoten in Norway each harvester has his allotted
patch to reap. When a harvester in the middle has
not finished reaping his piece after his neighbours have
finished theirs, they say of him, " He remains on the
island." And if the laggard is a man, they imitate the
cry with which they call a he - goat ; if a woman, the
cry with which they call a she-goat.* Near Straubing

1 W. Mannhardt, A. W. F. p. 3 //,. p. j^g.

155 sq. 2 lb. p. 157 sq. * lb. p. 161 sq.

Ill AS A GOAT 13

in Lower Bavaria, it is said of the man who cuts
the last corn that " he has the Corn -goat or the
Wheat-goat, or the Oats-goat," according to the crop.
Moreover, two horns are set up on the last heap of
corn, and it is called " the horned Goat." At Kreutz-
burg, East Prussia, they call out to the woman who is
binding: the last sheaf, " The Goat is sitting: in the
sheaf." ^ At Gablingen in Swabia, when the last field
of oats upon a farm is being reaped, the reapers carve
a goat out of wood. Ears of oats are inserted in its
nostrils and mouth, and it is adorned with garlands
of flowers. It is set upon the field and called the
Oats -goat. When the reaping approaches an end,
each reaper hastens to finish his piece first ; he who
is the last to finish gets the Oats-goat.^ Again, the
last sheaf is itself called the Goat. Thus, in the valley
of the Wiesent, Bavaria, the last sheaf bound on the
field is called the Goat, and they have a proverb, " The
field must bear a goat.^ At Spachbriicken in Hesse,
the last handful of corn which is cut is called the Goat,
and the man who cuts it is much ridiculed.^ Some-
times the last sheaf is made up in the form of a goat,^
and they say, "The Goat is sitting in it." Again,
the person who cuts or binds the last sheaf is called
the Goat. Thus, in parts of Mecklenburg they call
out to the woman who binds the last sheaf, " You
are the Harvest-goat." In the neighbourhood of Uel-
zen in Hanover, the harvest festival begins with " the
bringing of the Harvest-goat ; " that is, the woman
who bound the last sheaf is wrapt in straw, crowned
with a harvest-wreath, and brought in a wheelbarrow

1 W. Mannhardt, A. IV. F. p. 162. 3 Panzer, op. at. ii. p. 22S sq. No.

2 Panzer, Beitrag zur deiitschen 422 ; A. W. F. p. 163.
Mythologie, ii. p. 232 sq. No. 426; * A. IV. F. p. 163.
A. IV. F. p. 162. ^ //^ p. 164.


to the village, where a round dance takes place.

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