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524 MEMOIR ON THE STUDY OF
are continued, not only while the steps are ascended, but during the circumambulation of the church, beneath the altar of which is the tomb of the saint. On reaching the hallowed shrine the devotees manifest their enthusiasm in various ways, kneeling before the altar, which is surrounded by votive offerings, with sobs and gesticulations. When the whole of the immense multitude has passed the shrine, the clergy ascend the altar, the ' Salve Regina' is sung, the Benediction is given, and the imposing ceremony is ended."
Grimm also records the fact that about the year 1133 in a forest near Inda (Ripuaria) a ship was built, set upon wheels, and drawn about the country by men who were yoked to it, first to Aachen (Aix), and up the river to Tongres, Looz, and so on, everywhere with crowds of people assembling and escorting it. Wherever it halted there were joyful shouts, songs of triumph, and dancing round the ship, kept up till far into the night. This Grimm describes as a recollection of an ancient heathen festival. It was utterly repugnant to and opposed strongly by the clergy as a sinful and heathenish piece of work. On the other hand, the secular power authorised and protected it (Teutonic Mythology, i. 258).
The story of the pied piper of Hamelin probably commemorates a procession similar to the Echternach (see Folk-lore Journal, vol. ii. 209).
With this may also be noted a dance recorded by Mr. Newell (Games of American Children, p. 89), who states that the name "Threading the Needle" is given to a dance in which hundreds take part; in which from time to time the. pair who form the head of the row raise their arms to allow the line to pass through, coiling and winding like a great serpent. When a French savant asked the peasants of La Chatre why they performed this dance, the answer was, u To make the hemp grow."
I remember when quite a small child planting hemp seeds in a patch of garden ground, and being told by a maid-servant, an illiterate country girl, that the seeds would not grow well unless we danced, we joined hands and danced round and round in a circle, then stooped down and jumped about, saying, " Please, God, send it all up," then again danced round.