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ANOTHER ELSIE.

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must yield a dish full of her blood. 'That shall she not do,' said Galahad, 'while I live'; and fierce was the struggle that followed; and the sword of Galahad, which was the sword of King David, smote them down. on every side, until those who remained alive craved peace, and bade Galahad and his fellows come into the castle for the night; 'and on the morn,' they said, 'we dare say ye will be of one accord with us, when ye know the reason for our custom?' So awhile they rested, and the knights told them that in the castle there lay a lady sick to death, who might never gain back her life, until she should be anointed with the blood of a pure maiden who was a king's daughter. Then said Percivale's sister, 'I will yield it, and so shall I get health to my soul, and there shall be no battle on the morn.' And even so was it done; but the blood which she gave was so much that she might not live; and as her strength passed away, she said to Percivale, 'I die, brother, for the healing of this lady.' . . . Thus was the lady of the castle healed; and the gentle maiden, [Percivale's sister,] . . died."1

In the old Scandinavian legends, there are indications of the traditional belief in the power of transferred life through a bath of blood. Siegfried, or Sigurd, a descendant of Odin, slew Fafner, a dragon-shaped guardian of ill-gotten treasure. In the hot blood of 1 Cox and Jones's Popular Romances of the Middle Ages, pp. 85-87.

that dragon, he bathed himself, and so took on, as it were, an outer covering of new life, rendering himself sword-proof, save at a single point where a leaf of the linden-tree fell between his shoulders, and shielded the flesh from the life-imparting blood. On this incident it is, that the main tragedy in the Nibelungen Lied pivots; where Siegfried's wife, Kriemhild, tells the treacherous Hagan of her husband's one vulnerable point:

"Said she, My husband 's daring, and thereto stout of limb;

Of old, when on the mountain he slew the dragon grim,
In its blood he bathed him, and thence no more can feel,
In his charmed person, the deadly dint of steel.

"As from the dragon's death-wounds gushed out the crimson gore, With the smoking torrent, the warrior washed him o'er.

A leaf then 'twixt his shoulders fell from the linden bough;
There, only, steel can harm him; for that I tremble now." 2

Even among the blood-reverencing Brahmans of India, there are traces of this idea, that life is to be guarded by the outpoured blood of others. In the famous old work, "Kalila wa-Dimna," there is the story of a king, named Beladh, who had a vision in the night, which so troubled him that he sought counsel of the Brahmans. Their advice was, that he should sacrifice his favorite wife, his best loved son, 1 Cox and Jones's Romances of the Middle Ages, p. 292. 2 Lettsom's Nibel. Lied, p. 158.

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his nephew, and his dearest friend, in conjunction with other valued offerings to the gods. "It will be necessary for you, O King," they said, "when you have put to death the persons we have named to you, to fill a cauldron with their blood, and sit upon it; and when you get up from the cauldron, we, the Brahmans, assembled from the four quarters of the kingdom, will walk around you, and pronounce our incantations over you, and we will spit upon you, and wipe off from you the blood, and will wash you in water and sweet-oil, and then you may return to the palace, trusting in the protection of heaven against the danger which threatens you."1

Here, the king's offering to the gods, was to be of that which was dearest to him; and the bath of blood was to prove to him a cover of life. King Beladh wisely said, that if that were the price of his safety he was ready to die. He would not prolong his life at such a cost. But the story shows the primitive estimate of the life-giving power of blood, among the Hindoos.

In China, also, blood has its place as a life-giving agency. A Chinese woman, on the Kit-ie River, tells! a missionary, of her occasional seasons of frenzy, under the control of spirits, and of her ministry of blood, at such seasons, for the cure of disease. "Every 1 Kalila wa-Dimna, p. 315–319.

year when there is to be a pestilence, or when cholera is to prevail, she goes into this frenzy, and cuts her tongue with a knife, letting some drops of her blood fall into a hogshead of water. This [homœopathicallytreated] water, the people drink as a specific against contagion." Its sacred blood is counted a shield of life. "With the rest of the blood, she writes charms, which the people paste [as words of life] upon their doorposts, or wear upon their persons, as preventives of evil."1

Receiving new blood as a means of receiving new life, seems to have been sought interchangeably, in olden time, in various diseases, by blood lavations, by blood drinking, and by blood transfusion. It is recorded that, in 1483, King Louis XI., of France, struggled for life by drinking the blood of young children, as a means of his revivifying. "Every day he grew worse," it is said; "and the medicines profited him nothing, though of a strange character; for he vehemently hoped to recover by the human blood which he took and swallowed from certain children."2 Again there is a disputed claim, that, in 1492, a Jewish physician endeavored to save the life of Pope Innocent VIII., by giving him in transfusion the blood of three

1 Fielde's Pagoda Shadows, p. 88.

Croniques de France, 1516, feuillet cc ij, cited from Soane, in Notes and Queries, supra.

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young men successively. The Pope was not recovered, but the three young men lost their lives in the experiment.' Yet blood transfusion as a means of new life to the dying was not always a failure, even in former centuries; for the record stands, that "at Frankfort, on the Oder, the surgeons Balthazar, Kaufman, and Purmann, healed a leper, in 1683, by passing the blood of a lamb into his veins.""

Even to-day, in South Africa," when the Zulu King is sick, his immediate personal attendants, or valets, are obliged to allow themselves to be wounded; that a portion of their blood may be introduced into the king's circulation, and a portion of his into theirs."3 In this plan, the idea seems to be, that health may have power over disease, and that death may be swallowed up in life, by equalizing the blood of the one who is in danger, and of the many who are in strength and safety. Moreover among the Kafirs those who are still in health are sometimes "washed in blood to protect them against wounds"; as if an outer covering of life could be put on, for the protec

1 Roussel's Trans. of Blood, p. 6. A different version of this story is given in Bruy's Histoire des Papes, IV., 278; but the other version is supported by two independent sources, in Infessuræ Diarium, and Burchardi Diarium. See Notes and Queries, 5th Series, III., 496, and IV., 38; also Hare's Walks in Rome, p. 590.

Dict. Med. et Chirurg. Prat., Art. "Transfusion." Shooter's Kafirs of Natal, p. 117.

4 Ibid., p. 216.

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