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BIRDS.   137

"Take rauens bryddes all quyke oute of here neste and loke yot ye touche not the erth nor yot yei commen in none hous and brenne him in a neu potte all to powdir and gif it ye seke man to drynnke."

Or in modern fashion :

"Take raven's birds (young) alive out of her nest, and look that you touch not the earth nor yet come into any house, and burn him in a new pot, and give it to the sick man to drink."

" Any old thing " did for sick people in those days, and the custom dies hard.

Among the birds on my list the kingfisher is most pleasantly interwoven in myth and song and story. The old Greeks had it that Halcyone was a daughter of lEolus. Her husband was drowned in the lEgean Sea and as she wandered on the shore she saw afar the dead body of her husband. The gods iii pity changed her into a kingfisher, and her husband shared the same happy fate. Halcyon means brooding on the sea, and it was pretended that kingfishers made floating nests on the sea, and during fourteen days while the eggs were hatching the winds went down ; and these were " Halcyon clays." The older English poets often allude to this myth. Drayton has it thus :

" The halcyon whom the sea obeys When she her nest upon the water lays."


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