Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories | Annotated Tale

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Why is the hornet so spiteful?

The Story of the Children of Cain.

IT IS told that one of the descendants of Cain had many children, one worse than the other. When sent on an errand to bring one thing, out of spite they would bring another; they were of no good to anyone. Their mother, who was a wicked and stingy bird (eagle), did nothing else from morning to evening but curse and shout and peck at them. The youngest, who was the worst, finding his mother in a violent temper, started quarrelling with her so loudly that the noise could be heard at the other end of the country. They even went so far as to fight one another. The mother, who was a strong woman, got the best of her son at first, but the youngster, biting her in the throat, drank all her blood until she died. Before dying, however, the mother cursed him that none of his children should ever be prosperous, though they should be very numerous. They should live in the hollows of trees and feed on dead human bodies. They should become flies with poisonous stings, and their blood should change into poison. When he heard his mother's curse the youth ran into the forest, and the quicker he ran the more it appeared to him that he became smaller and lighter, until one morning he found himself changed into a hornet with a yellow body.

Hornet Charm.

THE hornet is used for the following charm:

               If people wish a dog to become savage, they take some hornets, and mixing them with the food, give it to the puppies to eat, and say the following words: "Just as the hornet is burning and unbearable, so shalt thou become hot and savage and intolerable, and thou shalt not tolerate any one else besides me and those of this household...."

               The hornet's nest in the stubble indicates the strength of the winter and the depth of the snow, according as it is built high or low.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Why is the hornet so spiteful?
Tale Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Romania
Classification: unclassified

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