Thursday, February 11, 2010

A little bit of wooly history

My sister wrote me the following amusing note today ..

"I was re-reading an excellent book with particularly lively writing, The Discovery of France by Graham Robb, and came across this story. The context was Robb's discussion of how the Catholic church adopted local fairies, magical stones, wells, etc., -- anything that was important to the local people -- in order to convert them to a less-than-strict form of Christian belief (the same phenomenon around the world for all religions that seek to conquer local values).

He recounts the practice of throwing 'balls of wool at a saint behind an iron cage, trying to hit the part of the saint that corresponded to (their own suffering) libm, and the priest ... gatehring up the wool and knitting himself some warm clothese for the winter.'

All of this was quite recent, i.e., 17th or 18th century."

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