At the council of Constance, held 1414, Sigismund used the word schisma as a noun of the feminine gender (illa nefanda schisma). A prig of a cardinal corrected him, saying, “ ‘Schisma,’ your highness, is neuter gender;” when the kaiser turned on him with ineffable scorn, and said, “I am king of the Romans, and what is grammar to me?” [Ego sum rex Romanus [? Romanorum], et super grammaticam.]—Carlyle: Frederick the Great (1858).

Superb (The). Genoa is called La Superba, from its general appearance from the sea.


(1) About animals.

(2) About precious stones.

(3) (See Warning-Givers.)

(1) Superstitions about Animals.

(1) Ant. When ants are unusually busy, foul weather is at hand.

Ants never sleep.—Emerson: Nature, iv.

Ants lay up food for winter use.—Prov. vi. 6–8; xxx. 25.

Ants’ eggs are an antidote to love.

(2) Ass. The mark running down the back of an ass, and cut at right angles over the shoulders, is the cross of Christ, impressed on the animal because Christ rode on an ass in His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Three hairs taken from the “cross” of an ass will cure the hooping-cough, but the ass from which the hairs are plucked will die.

The ass is deaf to music, and hence Apollo gave Midas the ears of an ass, because he preferred the piping of Pan to the music of Apollo’s lute. (3) Barnacle. A barnacle broken off a ship turns into a Solan goose.

Like your Scotch barnacle, now a block,
Instantly a worm, and presently a great goose.
   —Marston: The Malecontent (1604).

(4) Basilisk. The basilisk can kill at a distance by the “poison” of its glance.

There’s not a glance of thine
But, like a basilisk, comes winged with death.
   —Lee: Alexander the Great, v. 1 (1678).

(5) Bear. The cub of a bear is licked into shape and life by its dam.

So watchful Bruin forms with plastic care
Each growing lump, and brings it to a bear.
   —Pope: The Dunciad, i. 101 (1728).

(6) Beaver. When a beaver is hunted, it bites off the part which the hunters seek, and then, standing upright, shows the hunters it is useless to continue the pursuit.—Eugenius Philalethes: Brief Natural History, 89.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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