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Books > Hindu > Superstitions About Animals
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Superstitions About Animals
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Superstitions About Animals
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Description
About The Books

My sole object' in writing this little book has been to do something towards arousing a more general interest in a subject which has at no time obtained the attention it deserves. Yet there is no subject which so fully repays the thoughtful student as that of Natural History. In bringing together some of the most common superstitions about animals, and dealing with them in a light and popular way, I trust my object will in some measure be attained. If by the publication of this unpretentious work only a little of the prevalent superstition is swept away, and further interest is created in the wonders of the animal kingdom, I shall be more than amply rewarded.

Introductory

It would be interesting to know at what period of the world's history, and under what circumstances, mankind first attributed to certain members of the animal kingdom powers and functions above and beyond those which they possess through the wisdom of their Creator. Was there, indeed, ever a period when the proper and natural position of each creature was intelligently understood by all mankind, and superstition and credulity were non-existent? If ever there was such a blissful time—and it is reasonable to suppose that in a Divine creation there must have been—how came natural facts of the animal world to be distorted into unreasonable fiction? How came leg-ends and omens and monstrosities into existence? Did they arise from men's sinfulness and fear, or were they the outcome of fertile imaginations desirous of adding to the wonders of Creation? These are questions that come involuntarily to my mind as I gaze over the great field which my subject embraces, and see the appalling superstition which is rampant in regard to the animal kingdom.

For very much of it there is an explanation— men's lamentable ignorance concerning the nature and habits of the various creatures which have been provided for our use and the adornment of the world. But this explanation does not cover the whole range of superstition. It does not provide a solution to the widespread acceptance of omens and signs, or the popular belief in marvellous creatures which have had existence only in unhealthy imagination. The belief in omens and signs is not governed by education or a want of it. A man may have all the education which his age can supply, and his knowledge of natural history may be in keeping with his other mental acquirements, yet he may be as superstitious as the most uncultured and unlearned. In the same way, a man who understands all the good points of a dog, and can explain to you why this part of a certain specimen is too prominent, or why that part ought to be fuller or more angular, may, nevertheless, implicitly believe that the baying of a dog is an infallible sign of an approaching demise. Nor is superstition in respect of the animal kingdom limited to any age or any people. In all ages, so far as we are able to discover, except that which the Creator blessed with His approval, and among "all tribes and tongues," superstition has existed in some of its varied forms, and I think I may safely include the present age among the rest. For the amount of ignorance which is still rife in regard to animals; the antiquated ideas which still prevail; the threadbare, ofttimes ludicrous, fables which are still believed in,—do not mark the dawn of the twentieth century as being much more advanced than the first so far as superstitions about animals are concerned. As in the days of Greek and Roman predominance, the raven and the owl, and in a less degree the crow, are still regarded as birds of augury; and while cats in ancient Egypt were exalted to the high estate of deity, the black members of the tribe in our own country are placed above their fellows on account of the good fortune which is said to at-tend them; and cats of every colour serve as infallible barometers.

**Contents and Sample Pages**












Superstitions About Animals

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2015
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9788129203441
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188
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About The Books

My sole object' in writing this little book has been to do something towards arousing a more general interest in a subject which has at no time obtained the attention it deserves. Yet there is no subject which so fully repays the thoughtful student as that of Natural History. In bringing together some of the most common superstitions about animals, and dealing with them in a light and popular way, I trust my object will in some measure be attained. If by the publication of this unpretentious work only a little of the prevalent superstition is swept away, and further interest is created in the wonders of the animal kingdom, I shall be more than amply rewarded.

Introductory

It would be interesting to know at what period of the world's history, and under what circumstances, mankind first attributed to certain members of the animal kingdom powers and functions above and beyond those which they possess through the wisdom of their Creator. Was there, indeed, ever a period when the proper and natural position of each creature was intelligently understood by all mankind, and superstition and credulity were non-existent? If ever there was such a blissful time—and it is reasonable to suppose that in a Divine creation there must have been—how came natural facts of the animal world to be distorted into unreasonable fiction? How came leg-ends and omens and monstrosities into existence? Did they arise from men's sinfulness and fear, or were they the outcome of fertile imaginations desirous of adding to the wonders of Creation? These are questions that come involuntarily to my mind as I gaze over the great field which my subject embraces, and see the appalling superstition which is rampant in regard to the animal kingdom.

For very much of it there is an explanation— men's lamentable ignorance concerning the nature and habits of the various creatures which have been provided for our use and the adornment of the world. But this explanation does not cover the whole range of superstition. It does not provide a solution to the widespread acceptance of omens and signs, or the popular belief in marvellous creatures which have had existence only in unhealthy imagination. The belief in omens and signs is not governed by education or a want of it. A man may have all the education which his age can supply, and his knowledge of natural history may be in keeping with his other mental acquirements, yet he may be as superstitious as the most uncultured and unlearned. In the same way, a man who understands all the good points of a dog, and can explain to you why this part of a certain specimen is too prominent, or why that part ought to be fuller or more angular, may, nevertheless, implicitly believe that the baying of a dog is an infallible sign of an approaching demise. Nor is superstition in respect of the animal kingdom limited to any age or any people. In all ages, so far as we are able to discover, except that which the Creator blessed with His approval, and among "all tribes and tongues," superstition has existed in some of its varied forms, and I think I may safely include the present age among the rest. For the amount of ignorance which is still rife in regard to animals; the antiquated ideas which still prevail; the threadbare, ofttimes ludicrous, fables which are still believed in,—do not mark the dawn of the twentieth century as being much more advanced than the first so far as superstitions about animals are concerned. As in the days of Greek and Roman predominance, the raven and the owl, and in a less degree the crow, are still regarded as birds of augury; and while cats in ancient Egypt were exalted to the high estate of deity, the black members of the tribe in our own country are placed above their fellows on account of the good fortune which is said to at-tend them; and cats of every colour serve as infallible barometers.

**Contents and Sample Pages**












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