Mythology Encyclopedia 262

Zamalmal: Babyl. Myth. An ancient sun-god worshipped in the city of Kish. Zemaka: Persian Myth. The spirit of winter personified. Zemi : Among the North American Indians he is an inferior deity, a kind of tutelary god.
“They believed in a supreme being . . . . They never addressed their worship directly tohim, but to inferior deities, called Zemes, kind of messengers or mediators . . . . Eachfamily had a particular zemi as a tutelary or protecting genius, whose’ image, generallyof a hideous form was placed about their houses. They believed their zemes to betransferable.
Some had sway over the elements . . . some governed the seas and forests, thesprings and fountains.
They gave success in hunting and fishing . . . and if incensed caused them (streams)
to burst forth into floods and torrents, inundating and laying waste the valleys.” W. IRVING,
Life of Columbus (1828.) Zemzem: According to Arab superstition, the souls of believers remain in the well ofZemzem, and those of infidels in a certain well in the province of Hadram t, calledBarahoot. (LANE, A.S.M.A., p. 264.) Zephyr: Gr. Myth. The West Wind personified. It has been introduced into modern language
to mean a “light breeze.” Zerana-Akerana: In the Zoroastrian religion it is a symbol of the Absolute. the Eternalunmanifest Being, the Emanator of the Universe. (GASKELL, D.S.L.S.M., p. 839.) Zethus: Gr. Myth. A son of Zeus and Antiope, twin brother of Ampion. Zeus: Gr. Myth. Son of Saturn and Rhea, brother of Pluto and Neptune. He conqueredthe Titans, deposed his father, gave the sea to his brother Neptune, and the underworld
to Pluto, and kept for himself the heavenly kingdom. Zeus was regarded by theGreeks as a god of the Hellenic race, the original seat of whose worship was Thessaly.
He is known as the “father of the gods.” He was identified by the Romans with Jupiter.
Zitna matka: Slavic Folklore. A midday spirit who walks among the corn-fields, and killsanyone who cannot satisfactorily answer her riddles. She has been identified with thePoludnitsa of the Poles.

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106 or two; we must give him time

106 or two; we must give him time to get over the dreadful event. So we will play whilst he is sorrowing. This logic would hardly do credit to a Comanche Indian, but there it is all the same. A Monto Carlo player commits suicide, and there follows a rush for the tables. Why? Because the players believe in luck, and for some reason they fancy a sufferer s death must inevitably turn the tide in favour of themselves. The crooked pin referred to in No. 5 is an idea borrowed from other sources. Brand has a note to the effect that: About a mile to the west of Jarrow (near Newcastle-upon-Tyne) there is a well, still called Bede s Well, to which as late as the year 1740 it was a prevailing custom to bring children troubled with any disease or infirmity; a crooked pin was put in, and the well laved dry between each dipping. My informant has seen twenty children brought together on a Sunday to be dipped in this well, at which also, on Midsummer Eve, there was a great resort of neighbouring people, with bonfires, musick, etc. No. 6 is a bad omen, because it suggests careless handling of the cards on account of lack of interest, and not watching the progress of the game; and No. 7 is even stronger in this respect. No. 9 belongs to the same category, only in this case the player is giving an excited attention to the game, and loses his head. No. 8 is apparently a joke pure and simple. Every card player has his own or her own private superstitions: a certain hand always presages good luck or ill-luck; the winning of the first game means winning the third; to play before 6 p.m. on Fridays is never fortunate, and so on. But the whole batch of card superstitions has its source in an attempt to formulate laws for the one thing that seems to have no law chance.

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Mythology Encyclopedia 261

carries words of strife up and down. The tree binds Heaven, Earth and Hell together. Its
branches; extend over the whole earth, its top reaches heavens and its roots descend
to hell. The three Norns (q.v.) it under the tree, spinning the events of man’s life.
Ying Chow: Chin. Folklore. One of the three isles of the genii. In the island there is a
spring whose water resembles wine; “whoso quaffs a few measures of this beverage
becomes suddenly inebriated, and eternal life is given by the draught.” (MAYERS,
Chin. Read. Man., p. 289.)
Ymir: Norse Myth. The primeval giant from whose body the gods created the world.
Yogini: In the Panjab it is a kind of fairy who haunts waterfalls.
Yomi: Shinto Relig. It is supposed to be a land of darkness where deities, ugly females,
armies and road-wardens are also to be found. (ASTON, Shinto, p. 54.)
Yoni: The Hindu symbol of the fertility of nature under which the consort of a male deity
is worshipped; it is represented by an oval figure (the female organ). cf. Phallus.
Yugas: Hind. Cosmogony. One of the four ages of the world.
Yule Log: This log was supposed to be a protection against evil spirits and to assure
safety against lightning and thunder. (RAGNER.)
Yun Hwa Fu-jen: Chin. Myth. A daughter of Si Wang Mu.
She is reputed to haunt the peaks of Wu Shan. (MAYERS, Chin. Read. Man., p. 291.)
Z
Zagreus: Gr. Relig. Dionysus as a bull-god. “He is essen tially a ritual figure. the centre
of a cult so primitive, so savage, that a civilized literature instinctively passed him by, or
at most figured him as a shadowy Hades.” (WEBSTER quoting J. E. HARRISON.)
Zalak: A Persian monarch who had two boils on his shoulders. To ease the pain of
these boils he killed two men every day and applied their brains to the wounds. (BECK,
Key to Neuers. Kon. Gr., p. 14.)
Zahuiti: Egypt. Myth. Another name of Thoth (q.v.).
Zainmyangwa: (Tortoise). It “is an evil creature that destroys from midnight to dawn
thousands of creatures of the good spirit.” (VENIDAD, XIII.)
Zalambur: Moham. Myth. A son of Iblis, a jinn, who presides over places of traffic. (Jew.
Enc., Vol. IV, p. 521.)

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105 cal and without reason; others indicative of

105 cal and without reason; others indicative of observation, and having a basis in commonsense. I propose first to enumerate a few of them, and afterwards to make an attempt at the discovery of their origin. OMENS RELATING TO CARD GAMES. 1. To play cards on the table without a table-cloth is unlucky. 2. He who lends money at play will lose; he who borrows money at play will win. 3. In playing cards, walk straight from the table and make a round turn, if playing for money. 4. There is a superstition at Monto Carlo that immediately after a suicide all those playing against the bank will win. There is therefore a perfect rush for the tables when the lugubrious news is known. 5. If you wish a person to win at cards, stick a pin in his coat. 6. To drop a card on the floor when playing is a bad omen. 7. To sing while playing cards is a sign that your side will lose. 8. Don t play at a table with a cross-eyed man whether he is your partner or opponent; you will lose. 9. If you get into a passion when playing cards you will have more bad luck; for the demon of bad luck always follows a passionate player, It is truly difficult to imagine how the first item could have originated; there is absolutely no sense in a connection between skill in a game and the covering of the table on which it is played; if the objection had arisen out of the difference between a mahogany table and a steel table, one might have fancied electric forces, or mesmeric forces, had something to do with the origin of this vain notion. It has been suggested that the table-cloth gives an opportunity of manipulating cards which a bare table does not. Perhaps. And yet all superstitions cannot have arisen in the minds of cheats and dubious people. No. 2 is contrary to experience, at anyrate the second half is. The plunger who will lose all his own money and borrows to continue playing, generally loses. No. 3 has a touch of humour in it grim humour, no doubt. It seems to come from the heart of a wily but skilful player, who knows the fascination of the game to the novice with keenly awakened desires; and when age and experience speak they counsel a walk away from the table, a round turn and well, that is just it; it is a chance afforded the player to think. Shall I play or shall I not for it is for money? This is about as sensible a bit of superstition as could be invented. NO. 4 is a specimen of the modern mind at work. And how like the old mind! It is as if the players said, The God of Chance has had a big success; he has won thousands and thousands; and he has driven his victim to suicide and death. He can t be the same god for a day

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Mythology Encyclopedia 260

Yatus: “Sorcerers.” These are the male partners of the Pairikas (q.v.).
Yawn: In Turkestan yawning is a most sinful and dangerous habit; it rises from an evil
place in the heart (SCHUYLER, Vol. II, p. 29), or in India, a Bhut may go down your
throat, or part of your soul may escape. (CROOKE, P.R., Vol. I, p. 240.)
Yawning is caused by Death calling you. Snap your middle finger and the thumb as an
antidote. (India.-JACKSON, F.L.N., Vol. II, p. 54.)
Ydalir: Norse Myth. Uli’s dwelling in Asgard.
Yeast: If you dream of yeast, it tells you what you next undertake will prosper and your
wife will be in the family-way.
Yebisu: A modern Japanese deity. He is represented with a shining countenance and
wearing an old Japanese costume; he is pictured as an angler with a fish dangling at
the end of his line. Merchants pray to him for success in trade.
Yedogonya: Serbian Folklore. They are demons who influence the state of the weather,
and are said to fight with each other among the mountains, their missiles being huge
boulders and uprooted trees.
Yedza: The Polish equivalent of the Baba-Yaga (q.v.).
Yellow: Evil spirits are afraid of yellow. (India.-CROOKE, Vol. II, p. 28.)
A yellow leaf in peas or beans foretells a death. (STRACKERJAN, Vol. II, p. 69.)
Jaundice can be cured by drinking water in which something yellow has been cooked.
(Jew. Enc., Vol. V, p. 426; SCHIFFER, Urquell, Vol. V. p. 290.)
In China charms are written on yellow paper. (DOOLITTLE, Vol. II, p. 308.)
Yen Wang: The Chinese equivalent of Pluto or Yama.
Yew: To dream of a yew tree denotes the death of an aged person, through which you
will receive some benefit.
Yezad, Yezdam: Persian Myth. The principle of good as opposed to Ahriman, the principle
of evil. Yezad created twenty-four good spirits and, to keep them from the power of
the evil one, enclosed them in an egg; but Ahriman pierced the shell; hence there is no
good without some mixture of evil. The Greeks called him Or(o)mazes.
Yezibaba: The Slovakian equivalent of the Baba-Yaga (q.v.).
Yezidi: One of a sect of reputed devil-worshippers of Armenia and the Caucasus.
Yggdrasil: Norse Myth. The great tree which supports the universe. A wise eagle sits at
the top; the roots are gnawed by Nithhogg and other serpents. The squirrel Ratatosk

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104 come from the actual horse ridden by

104 come from the actual horse ridden by a baron; but for a long time it has been usual to commute the toll by paying for a fancy shoe, and as a result the tributes in Oakham Hall vary greatly in shape and size, and are even made of different metals. They are mostly dated, the most important exception being a large shoe given by Queen Elizabeth, who probably sent it about 1556, after her visit to Lord Burghley. Among them are several from the Royal Family- Queen Victoria (when Princess Victoria) in 1835; Queen Alexandra (when Princess of Wales) in 1881; and his Majesty the King (when Prince of Wales) in 1895. In all, there are nearly 200 shoes which are of all sizes, from seven feet in length down to one only big enough for the small-hoofed race horse. This tribute has been demanded for seven centuries, and tradition ascribes its origin to the truculent Walchelin de Ferreris, to whom Henry II. gave the Barony of Oakham. (12) THE DUTY OF NOT SAVING A DROWNING MAN. If ever there existed an inhuman superstition, surely this is the one; for to see a fellow mortal fighting for life, and to refuse to render him assistance, is the height of cruelty. But, the reader will ask, does such a superstition really exist? Tylor speaks of a recent account (1864) where fishermen in Bohemia did not venture to snatch a drowning man from the waters, the notion being that some ill luck would follow. Sir Walter Scott in the Pirate speaks of Bryce, the pedlar, refusing to save the shipwrecked sailor from drowning, and even remonstrating with him on the rashness of such a deed. Are you mad? said the pedlar, you that have lived sae lang in Zetland to risk the saving of a drowning man? Wot ye not, if you bring him to life again he will be sure to do you some capital injury? The same superstition can be found among the St. Kilda islanders, the boatmen of the Danube, French and English sailors, and even out of Europe, and among less civilised races. If these statements be correct, and Professor Tylor s name is behind them, what is at the back of this determination to let a drowning man drown? The idea seems to be this: that when a man is drowning it is the intention of the gods that he should be drowned; and that the rescuer, if successful in rescuing him, must be the substitute and be drowned himself later on. You cannot cheat Fate out of a life; that appears to be the argument. Even an accidental falling into the water is explained by the savage as the action of the spirit throwing the man into the stream with the object of taking his life. The indisposition of many people to try to rescue such may in part be explained by Tylor s theory of Survival, a theory suggesting that the thoughts and actions of the past are repeated by us unconsciously. It cannot be that the paragraph in the Press about the callous conduct of observers is always due to cowardice the fear to plunge in and effect a rescue. Nor can it be the conscious inability to do anything, or the paralysis of mind due to the sight of a fellowman on the point of sinking for the last time. It must be some small remainder of a once prevalent and all prevailing notion that to attempt to save a drowning man was unlucky. (13) PLAYING CARD SUPERSTITIONS. It is somewhat singular that Brand should have confined his notes to the growth of the various card games in England, omitting entirely all reference to the superstitions which cloud the atmosphere of the gambler, and even the card player who does not play for money, or, if he does, for very small stakes. In games of chance and skill combined, we find just that sort of uncertain feeling which provokes all kinds of theories as to what is right and wrong; the right and wrong in this association meaning no more than success or failure. A search for such superstitious theories is speedily rewarded; the joint authors of The Encyclaepadia of Superstitions have collected quite a little crowd of them; some old, some new; some whimsi-

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103 The usher seating the first patron of

103 The usher seating the first patron of the evening fondly imagines that he will be lucky until the end of the performance, but if the first coupon he handles calls for one of the many thirteen seats, he is quite sure that it will bring him bad luck for the rest of the night. To the usher, a tip from a woman for a programme also spells misfortune, and few of the old- timers will accept it. A woman fainting in the theatre is sure to bring bad luck to the usher in whose section she is seated. Not to hear the first lines of the play is to invite misfortune, so he believes. An usher feels sure that if he makes a mistake in seating the first person in his section, it is sure to be quickly followed by two more. The first tip of the season is always briskly rubbed on the trousers-leg, and kept in the pocket for the rest of the season as a coaxer. To receive a smile over the footlights from one of the company also brings luck. It would be a futile task to try to discover the origin of all these separate superstitions. Fortunately it is not necessary, for there is an easier and more natural solution. The omens and mascots of stage life have their source in the artistic temperament. We do not find these superstitions in the life of the music hall artist, at least not in the same degree; and whilst the actor-manager of a theatre might have some scruples for the superstitions of the profession, the manager of a music hall would have none at all, because he faces business on a purely business basis. Now, that is the difference between the actor-man and the commercial-man; the former has to deal with a crowd of uncortainties the fickleness of the public, the machinery of the stage, the health of the troupe, lapses of memory, and a score of other items equally trying. Add to this the constant endeavour to act a picture in his own mind, or to interpret a part in a classic drama, and you have a psychology full of weird possibilities in its conclusions. Viewed from this standpoint, the actor s superstitions are to some extent natural; were he not of the artistic temperament he would be lacking in the sympathy his art requires. But still, he would not be the worse for shedding a few of these intellectual oddities; for, after all, most of them are based in fear and a lack of self-confidence. (10) CHRISTENING SHIPS. When the wife of some Admiralty official touches a button to release a new cruiser from the stays, and breaks a bottle of wine over her bows, the spectators accept these actions as the right thing, because they have been performed for centuries. But the spectators do not usually enquire into the origin of the custom, to discover which we have to go back to the ancient libations practised on the launching of a new vessel. A priest with a lighted torch, and possessed also of an egg and some brimstone, was in attendance; and amid shouts of acclamation it was devoted to the god whose image it carried. Greek and Roman vessels generally carried in the prow a carved image of some deity, to whose name the launching service was dedicated. The image remained as a feature of ship-building until quite recent years, and we retain a semblance of the old ceremony. (11) HORSESHOE TRIBUTES IN OAKHAM CASTLE. Evelyn, on August 14, 1654, tells us that he took a journey in the Northern parts, and in passing through Oakham he saw some of the celebrated shoes on the Castle gates. Mr Michael M Donagh says: Perhaps the most singular mediaeval tribute now exacted is the horseshoe required from every peer who passes through Oakham. Originally the shoe had to

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Mythology Encyclopedia 259

(q.v.) who was probably the hero of the deluge in the second Babylonian version of themyth Xisusthrus: In the Babylonian creation myth, after man was created, they became eviland it was decided to destroy them. One man, Xisusthrus, alone, with his family andservants was saved. “He took riches, seeds of all kinds, his family and his servants inthe ark and closed the door. For six days and nights the storm continued and began tosubside on the seventh. He then sent forth a dove which returned. After that a swallow
which did the same, and lastly a raven which did not return. Xisusthrus, after that,
came forth with his family and servants and offered sacrifices” (S. BURROWS, TheOpen Door, Lond., 1926, p. 158). He was later made a demigod and his family becamea race of giants. He corresponds to Noah of the Biblical deluge myth. (For other parallels
of the deluge myth see FRAZER, Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. I.) Xmas: Vide Christmas, Beans, Coal, Birth, Carrying, Bread, Crumb, Cross-roads,
Water, Pie, Tree, Dog, Light, Shirt, Grass, Theft, Stone, Hoop, Vermin, Elder, Egg, Salt,
Lightning, Fire, Walking, Yule Log, Fruit, Call. Xuthus: Gr. Myth. Husband of Io. Y Yaai: In Vancouver Island these are fairy-like beings who dwell on the summit of mountains.
They are illusive and disolve at will like foam. Yak: (pron. jak). In Bengal it is a ghostly custodian of a treasure with which it wasburied alive. Formerly misers and others buried little boys alive with ceremonial ritesalong with their treasures, under the impression that they themselves would re-acquiretheir wealth in one of their future births. (TAGORE, Mashi and other Stories, p. 104;
KANKAVATI; Ethnologie du Bengale, pp. 97, 98.) Yakshas: Hind. Myth. A class of supernatural beings. They have no very special attributes,
but they were generally inoffensive and classed as good people, but they occasionally
appear as imps of evil. (Dowson, H.C.D., p. 373.) Yama: Hind. Myth. The deification of the first mortal to die, who became king and judgeof the dead and chastiser of the souls. In the Vedic period his abode was supposed tobe in the sky; later, like Pluto, he was the lord of the infernal regions. He is green incolour, with red garments, has inflamed eyes, rides a buffalo, and carries a club and
noose. Yarrow: To dream of this weed denotes, to the married, deaths in the family; to theunmarried that they will be deprived of the object of their affection.

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102 leader would not allow a musician to

102 leader would not allow a musician to play a yellow clarionet everything would go wrong if he did. Faults of memory are also attributed by actors to the costume he may be wearing. Certain wigs bring luck, and some actors will wear one even though the part does not need one. If an actor s shoes squeak while he is making his first entrance, it is a sure sign that he will be well received by the audience. To kick off his shoes and have them alight on their soles and remain standing upright, means good luck to him, but if they fall over, bad luck is to be expected. They will also bring him all kinds of misfortune if placed on a chair in the dressing-room. If, when an acrobat throws his cuffs on the stage, preparatory to doing his turn, they remain fastened together, all will go well; but if, on the other hand, they separate, he must look out for squalls. Cats have always been considered the very best fortune-producing acquisitions a theatre can possess, and are welcomed and protected by actor and stagehand alike. But if a cat runs across the stage during the action of the play, misfortune is sure to follow. Bad luck will also come to those who kick a cat. The actor goes the layman one better in mirror superstitions. He believes it will bring him bad luck to have another person look into the mirror over his shoulder while he is making up before it. As much care must be taken by the actor on making his entrances as in the repeating of the lines. Not for their importance as an effect on the audience, but to avoid the hoodoo attached to certain entries. For example: To stumble over anything on making an entrance, the actor firmly believes, will cause him to miss a cue or forget his lines. If his costume catches on a piece of scenery as he goes on, he must immediately retrace his steps and make a new entrance, or else suffer misfortunes of all sorts during the rest of the performance. Even the drop-curtain contributes its share of stage superstitions, as nearly every actor and manager believes it is bad luck to look out at the audience from the wrong side of it when it is down. Some say it is the prompt side that casts the evil spell, while others contend it is the opposite side. The management not being sure from which side the bad luck is likely to accrue, places a peep-hole directly in the centre. The players are not the only ones in the theatre having superstitions. The front of the house have their pet ones as well. In the box-office, if the first purchaser of seats for a new production is an old man or woman, it means to the ticket-seller that the play will have a long run. A young person means the reverse. A torn bank-note means a change of position for the man in the box-office, while a gold certificate, strange to say, is a sign of bad luck.

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101 This sounds like a purely private opinion,

101 This sounds like a purely private opinion, and may be dismissed without further argument. There is a good deal to be said for the growing of yews to make bows. Sir Henry Ellis remarks that Shakespeare in Richard II. speaks of the double fatal yew because the leaves of the yew are poison, and the wood is employed for instruments of death. On this Stevens observes, that from some of the ancient statutes it appears that every Englishman, while archery was practised, was obliged to keep in his house either a bow of yew or some other wood. It should seem, therefore, that yews were not only planted in churchyards to defend the churches from the wind, but on account of their use in making bows; while by the benefit of being secured in inclosed places, their poisonous quality was kept from doing mischief to cattle. The difficulty of this otherwise reasonable conjecture is seen in the question: Are not all plantation grounds fenced from cattle? And why are there no more than two yew trees in each churchyard if bow wood was so necessary? Sir Thomas Browne, in his Hydriotaphia Urne-buriall, tell us, that among the ancients, the funerall pyre consisted of sweet fuell, cypresse, firre, larix, YEWE, and trees perpetually verdant. And he asks, or rather observes, Whether the planting of yewe in churchyards holds its original from ancient funerall rites, or as an embleme of resurrection from its perpetual verdure, may also admit conjecture. Yes, it admits of conjecture, and in all likelihood man s choice of the yew for funeral associations was determined by its appearance, its longevity, its utility in supplying material for weapons, and its need of segregation on account of its poisonous qualities; in fact, nearly all the suggested facts seem to have played some part in establishing the yew tree where we mostly find it. (9) THEATRE SUPERSTITIONS. It is curious that Brand should not have noticed the superstitions of actors and actresses, for they are as essentially a modern growth as those he has dealt with so fully were of ancient origin; moreover, to compare the two together is to see striking points of difference and analogy. The difference is that the superstitions of the theatre are all of them based on a firm belief in the principle of Luck; they are secular from beginning to end, and without a spark of religious association. The analogy lies in the fact that, like many of the old suptrstitions, they are groundless for the most part, being no more than ipse dixits of leading artists, supposed to be borne out by the experience of the rank and file. To whistle in a theatre is a sign of the worst luck in the world, and there is no offence for which the manager will scold an employee more quickly. Vaudeville performers believe it is bad luck to change the costumes in which they first achieved success. Old actors believe the witches song in Macbeth to possess the uncanny power of casting evil spells, and the majority of them strongly dislike to play in the piece. Hum the tune in the hearing of an old actor and the chances are you will lose his friendship. Actors will not repeat the last lines of a play at rehearsals, nor will they go on the stage where there is a picture of an ostrich if they can avoid it. Let them try the handle of a wrong door when seeking the manager of a theatre, or the office of an agent, and they regard it as an omen of failure. The looping of a drop curtain, the upsetting of a make-up box, are the certain forerunners of evil, just as certain shades of yellow in a tie, or vest, or hat, are thought to exert an injurious influence. Even the orchestra

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