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The Golden Bough, Vol. 2 of 2: A Study in Comparative Religion (Classic Reprint).

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Pages: 416

Language: English

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Forgotten Books (16 Nov. 2016)

By: James George Frazer (Author)

Excerpt from The Golden Bough, Vol. 2 of 2: A Study in Comparative Religion

In some of the examples cited above to establish the meaning of the term 'neck' as applied to the last sheaf, the corn-spirit appears in animal form as a gander, a goat, a hare, a cat, and a fox. This introduces us to a new aspect of the corn-spirit, which we must now examine. By doing so we shall not only have fresh examples of killing the god, but may hope also to clear up some points which remain obscure in the myths and worship of Attis, Adonis, Osiris, Dionysus, Demeter, and Virbius.

Amongst the many animals whose forms the corn-spirit is supposed to take are the wolf, dog, hare, cock, goose, cat, goat, cow (ox, bull), pig, and horse. In one or other of these forms the corn-spirit is believed to be present in the corn, and to be caught or killed in the last sheaf. As the corn is being cut the animal flees before the reapers, and if a reaper is taken ill on the field, he is supposed to have stumbled unwittingly on the corn-spirit, who has thus punished the profane intruder. It is said 'The Rye-wolf has got hold of him,' 'the Harvest-goat has given him a push.'

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