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Leap Year legends
.i ' ' n .. Maga- of a a If be of divis- fune-.tionai Is or of the on to to to areat ftp- ftp- his to face, the the four the the the of all LEAP YEAR LEGENDS. VARIETY OF PEASANT SUPERSTITIONS SUPERSTITIONS AND FOLK LORE, 1 Tle Tear's TJnpropitloa Infleeneo ea Farming; Operatlone-A Operatlone-A Operatlone-A Bit of SapentitlAO Traditions la the Early " Days of the Church A Iemoiw The break in the regular order of . days Is naturally a matter of awe and apprehension apprehension for the peasant mind. We accordingly accordingly find, In nearly all the old countries, countries, a variety of superstitions clustering around leap year. The rural folk lore of England tells us how all the peas and beans grow the wrong way In their pods that la, the seeds are set in quite the contrary contrary way to what they are in other years. The reason commonly assigned for this supposed eccentric freak of nature Is "because "because it is the ladles' year, they (the peas and beans) always lie the wrong way in leap year." --i'- --i'- --i'- --i'- r-vrr r-vrr r-vrr In Belgium the peasantry maintain that this year is not only too frequently unpro-pltious unpro-pltious unpro-pltious for farming operations, but that throughout it the young of no domestic animal will thrive as at other times. A similar fatility, they argue, extends to every kind ef young grass and shoots, which It ia affirmed Invariably become either stunted In their growth or blighted. The same peculiar Idea prevails in certain certain districts of Russia, and, In accordance accordance with the time-honored time-honored time-honored and much-quoted much-quoted much-quoted proverb, the peasant is reminded how, "If St. Casslan (Feb. 29) look on a cow it will wither." Oh the other hand, there would seem to be exceptions to this rule, as In Sicily, where the former Is advised to "set and graft vines in leap year." The ancient Romans considered the bissextile, bissextile, or "leap day," a critical season, reckoning It among their unlucky days. That this belief has not by any means lost ground Is evidenced by the deep rooted dislike parents have to a child being born on "leap day," it being a popular notion that to come Into the world at such an odd time is ominous as signifying the person's person's speedy exit. , But those, however, who chance to be born on this particular day have little occasion to dread such unnecessary unnecessary alarms, for "it must be remembered remembered how leap years comes around again and again, only too truly to testify to the utter falsity of the many articles, of belief attached to its anniversary." A' variety of this superstition prevails on the continent, and, according to a piece of Tuscan folk lore, when a child Is born in leap year, either it or its mother will die before the year has expired. But, apart from considerations of this kind, It must be acknowledged that It is somewhat awkward to be born on "leap day," as a person can only celebrate the anniversary of his birth once in tour years.. It like-Wise like-Wise like-Wise Also has its advantages, as in the case of those of the fair sex who like, as far as possible, to minimize their age, and hence look with envious eyes on those whose birthday comes only once to their four. Referring to this month, Mr. Chambers remarks, in the "Popular Rhymes of Scotland," that "it appears to be consid ered by Borne people as the most important. important. We have aa many rhymes about this docked month as about all the rest put together, many of them expressing either an . open detestation of it or a pro found sense of its influence in deciding the weather that is to follow.' But again, leap year la not without its traditions and legendary lore. St. Augus tine, for example, writing' of it, says: The: almighty made it from the begin ning of the world for a great mystery, and If It be passed by untold, the first course of the year will be perversely altered, because because there Is one day and one night not reckoned. If you will not account it also to the moon, as to the sun, then you frus trate the rule for Easter, and the reckon ing of every new moon all the year." Ilampson, in his "Medil CEvi Kalendar- Kalendar- lum," quotes the following quaint tradition tradition from a Saxon treatise: "Some assert that the bissextus comes through this, that Joshua prayed to God that the sun might stand still for one day's length, when he swept the heathen from the land as God granted to him. It is true that the sun did stand still for one day's length over the city of Gebaon; but the day went forward in the same manner as other days. And the bissextus is not through that, as some think." In France there is a popular tradition among the peasantry In the environs of La Chatreof a different kind altogether. It is said that every leap year a particular sort ot evil demon makes its dread appearance, appearance, . whose "only pleasure is to be displeased." His shape is not distinguishable distinguishable In member, joint or limb. Nearly thirty years ago, M. Maurice Sand exhibited exhibited in the salon a powerful and graphic picture of this mysterious being. "It Is evening; the sun has just set over a waste country covered with marshy bogs and fens full of stagnating water. The clouds are . bloodstained by the last rays ot the departing day star, and the dark red color Is reflected on the epleeptrjg pools. Out of the depth of one of them in the distance a marvelous monster has arisen, and Is leaning against an old water worn pile. Before him the frightened fishermen fly and fall. His form Is not to definite as could be desired, but still he is the ghost of leap year." T. F. Thlsteiton Dyer In Home Journal. . A , of I of is T