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that he would put her into a way that she should never want anything. On this she let him in, and asked him what he had to say to her. He told her he must first see her hand; and taking out something like a penknife, he gave it a little scratch, so that a little blood followed; a scar being still visible when she told the story. Then he took some of the blood in a pen, and pulling a book out of his pocket, bid her write her name; and when she said she could not, he said he would guide her hand. When this was done, he bid her now ask what she would have."1 In signing with her own blood, she had pledged her very life to the "tall black man."
Cotton Mather, in his "Wonders of the Invisible World," cites a Swedish trial for witchcraft, where the possessed children, who were witnesses, said that the witches, at the trysting-place where they were observed, were compelled "to give themselves unto the devil, and vow that they would serve him. Hereupon they cut their fingers, and with blood writ their names in his book." In some cases" the mark of the cut finger was [still] to be found." Moreover, the devil gave meat and drink both to the witches and to the children they brought with them. Again, Mather cites the testimony of a witness who had been invited to covenant with the Devil, by signing the Devil's book.
'Cited in Benson's Remarkable Trials and Notorious Characters, p. 11.
THE COMPACT OF FAUST.
"Once, with the book, there was a pen offered him, and an inkhorn with liquor in it that looked like blood." Another New England writer on witchcraft says that "the witch as a slave binds herself by vow, to believe in the Devil, and to give him either body or soul, or both, under his handwriting, or some part of his blood."?
It is, evidently, on this popular tradition, that Goethe's Faust covenants in blood with Mephistopheles.
"But one thing!-accidents may happen; hence
"Spirit of evil! what dost thou require ?
Thy choice is free; to me 'tis all the same."
"A scrap is for our compact good.
Thou under-signest merely with a drop of blood.”
"Blood is a juice of very special kind."
Even "within modern memory in Europe," there have been traces of the primitive rite of covenanting
'Cited in Drake's The Witchcraft Delusion in New England, I., 187; II., 214. 2 Ibid., I., xviii. See, also Appendix, infra.
Faust, Swanwick's translation, Part I., lines 1360-1386.
with God by the proffer of one's blood. In the Russian province of Esthonia, he who would observe this rite, “had to draw drops of blood from his fore finger," and at the same time to pledge himself in solemn covenant with God. "I name thee [I invoke thee] with my blood, and [I] betroth thee [I entrust myself to thee] with my blood,"—was the form of his covenanting. Then he who had given of his blood in self-surrendering devotedness, made his confident supplications to God with whom he had thus covenanted; and his prayer in behalf of all his possessions was: "Let them be blessed through my blood and thy might."1
Thus, in ancient Egypt, in ancient Canaan, in ancient Mexico, in modern Turkey, in modern Russia, in modern India, and in modern Otaheite; in Africa, in Asia, in America, in Europe, and in Oceanica: Blood-giving was life-giving. Life-giving was loveshowing. Love-showing was a heart-yearning after union in love and in life and in blood and in very being. That was the primitive thought in the primitive religions of all the world.
1 See Tylor's Primitive Culture, II., 402; citing Boecler's Ehsten Abergläubische Gebräuche, 4.