button to main menu  Martineau's Complete Guide to the English Lakes, 1855

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Page 142:-
improved education are above every thing wanted. Under the old seclusion, the material comfort of the inhabitants had long been dwindling; and their best chance of recovery is clearly in the widest possible intercourse with classes which, parallel in social rank, are more intelligent and better informed than themselves.
  need fire

In the pastoral valleys, the trouble occurs now and then that the milk will not churn. Elsewhere, the causes of this are understood, and cow and milk are treated accordingly. Not so here. The cow is at once concluded to be bewitched; and it is apprehended that she will spread the witchery to the whole dairy. So, instead of any sensible method, the remedy tried is depositing in the cowhouse some soil from the nearest churchyard. As it is probable that this fails, time is lost in other proceedings. Stirring with a stick from the rowan tree is one of the least troublesome. If the cows are distempered, it is actually a practice in many of the dales to light the "need fire." Notice being given throughout the neighbouring valleys, that the charm may be sent for if wanted, the need fire is produced by rubbing two sticks together. A great pile of combustible stuff is prepared; and the more smoke it can be made to give the better. When lighted, the neighbours snatch some of the fire to hurry home with, and light their respective piles. The cattle, diseased and sound, are then driven through the fire, as some of the Irish, by a remnant of paganism, charm their property, and even their children, by passing or snatching them through the fire, making
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