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the snake sneeze, and twice did the valorous
glazier respond without any particular result,
but when the third sneeze and the third
benediction came, the snake assumed a fiery form,
and looked so terrible, that the investigator
took to his heels. In vain did the snake crawl
after him, and inform him that it meant to do
him no manner of mischief; in vain did it
request him to take a bunch of keys from its
neck, promising a discovery of vast treasures as
his reward. The man still scampered on,
regardless of everything but his own safety. As
forthe poor snake, it was doomed to float in the
air till a certain small oak-tree near the spot
should grow to its full size, be cut down, and
be made into a cradle. The first child laid in
that cradle would be the snake's deliverer.

This sort of destiny, it may be observed, is
by no means uncommon in Suabia. A
supernatural old woman called Ursula, who lives
in a mountain named after her in the
neighbourhood of Pfullingen, and who decks
herself in a white gown and red stockings, always
having a large bunch of keys at her girdle, is
in the habit of stopping young peasants and
urging them to disenchant her by some
process, which is sure to be beyond the
measure of their courage. Her delivery,
however, seems to be farther off than that of the
sneezing snake, for that at any rate referred
to an existing tree; while Dame Ursula can
only be rescued when the acorn, which begins
the pedigree of the cradle, is trodden into the
ground by the foot of a stag.

The snake, so far, appears in rather an
amiable capacity than otherwise, but his
kinsman the Dragon, or Lind-worm, takes
a malicious, poisonous aspect, which is
menacing to the general welfare of mankind.
The Sclavonians, who gave to the good
principle the name of "Biel Bog" or the "White
God," and to the evil principle that of
"Czerny Bog," or the "Black God," use the
word "Drak'' or dragon as synonymous with
the latter. In a popular tradition we hear
of a dragon so voracious, that a hunter, who
rode on his back to the infernal regions, was
obliged to feed him with a stock of raw meat
during the whole of his journey, and when
this was exhausted, to apply a portion of his
own foot towards the stoppage of the
insatiable appetite. Killing a dragon has always
been deemed a most meritorious act, and our
owa St. George and the Northern Sigurd are
only two among a legion of honoured dragon-
slayers. The sons of the founder of Cracow
exterminated a dragon in the vicinity of their
father's city by giving him the carcase of an
animal stuffed with combustibles, which he
had no sooner eaten than he was shattered by
the explosion; and it was from the cawing of
the ravens over the carcase that the word
"Cracow"—according to some learned
authoritieswas derived.

But of all the horrible monsters of the
serpentine class, none equal in horror those
serpents which sprung out of the shoulders
of the oriental tyrant Zohak, and tortured
him while they remained part of his own
flesh. The powerful description of Zohak,,
in Southey's "Thalaba the Destroyer," which
perfectly sets forth the reason of the especial
misery, may serve as a coda to this snake

"There, where the narrowing chasm
Rose loftier in the hill,
Stood Zohak, wretched man, condemn'd to keep
His lair of punishment.
His was the frequent scream
Which when, far off, the prowling jackal heard,
He howl'd in terror back;
For, from his shoulders grew
Two snakes of monstrous size,
Which ever at his head
Aimed their rapacious teeth
To satiate ravening hunger with his brain.
He in th' eternal conflict oft would seize
Their swelling necks, and in his giant grasp
Bruise them, and rend their flesh with bloody nails,
And howl for agony;
Feeling the pangs he gave, for of himself
Co-sentient and inseparable parts
The snaky torturers grew."


LAST winter we ventured in this Journal*
to show some reason for an opinion that
capital punishment need not be inflicted by
the directors upon travellers by railway. We
described an invention which we had seen in
use, and which has since that time upon some
point of some railway line been subjected to,
and has borne the test of, incessant trials.
The adoption of that contrivance, if it were
found to work with real efficiency, would
render nearly impossible all but the very
rarest class of railway accidents. We have
not yet heard that any objection has been
made to it more serious than that it is not
so cheap as Railway Boards could wish,
and that the inventor (Mr. Whitworth) is a
nobody: that is to say, not an engineer. To
ourselves his name was perfectly unknown
before we witnessed for the first time a trial
of his plan. In the interests of the public
we bore testimony to what we then saw, and
we have since made it our business to watch
from time to time for indications of the good
or ill success of the inventor.

* Vol. IV,   p.217.

It will not take us long to state that he is
labouringas fifteen months ago he had been
labouring for five yearsagainst the stream,
accumulating proofs of the efficiency of his
apparatus for tte prevention of collisions, while
the crash of trains and smash of travellers go
on as usual. The cost of only two collisions that
occurred last year on the Brighton line, has
added to the "petty" expenses of that
Company, in the year's account, an item of twelve
thousand pounds for payments made on
account of injury to life and limb.