“Ventorum rabie cum turbidus æstuat aër,
Cum tonat horrendum, cum fulgurat igneus æther,
Nubibus illisus, coelo cadit iste lapillus,
Cujus apud Græcos extat de fulmine nomen.
Illis quippe locis quos constat fulmine tactos,
Iste lapis tantum repiriri posse putatur;
Unde Ceraunius est Græco sermone vocatus:
Nam quod nos fulmen, Græci dixere kepaôvov.
Qui caste gerit hunc, a fulmine non ferietur;
Nec domus, aut villæ, quibus assuerit lapis ille.
Sed neque navigio per flumen vel mare vectus,
Turbine mergetur, vel fulmine percutietur.
Ad causas etiam vincendaque prælia prodest,
Et dulces sonmos, et dulcia somnia præstat.”
In Sweden stone axes were believed to be a protection against light-ning,
and “in some districts they were formerly placed in the bed beside women
near their confinement, in order to lighten the pains of labour. They are
still occasionally used by the peasantry against a cutaneous disease in
children called the ‘white fire.’ With the aid of a piece of steel, sparks
are emitted from them which are made to fall upon the head of the child.”
In Germany during a thunderstorm a black wedge is believed to dart out of
the clouds and to bury “itself in the earth as deep as the highest
church-tower is high. But every time it thunders again, it begins to rise
nearer to the surface, and after seven years you may find it above ground.
Any house in which it is preserved is proof against damage by lightning;
when a thunderstorm is coming on, it begins to sweat.” Sir John Evans
mentions an instance which came under his own observation in Ireland,
“where a stone celt was lent among neighbours to place in the troughs from
which cattle drank, on account of its healing powers.” In Cornwall water
in which stone axes were boiled for some hours was given to people
suffering from rheumatism.