How can one account for some things ? Would any man in his senses have ever expected to find, and under the sign of the cross, the following Christian charm for an ague (of which I have been in possession these twenty years) in Mr. Marsden’s excellent ” History of Sumatra,” p. 342, used, I suppose, by the natives of that island ? “When Christ saw the cross, He trembled and shaked ; and they said unto Him, ‘ Hast Thou an ague?’ And He said unto them, ‘I have neither ague nor fever;’ and whosoever bears these words, either in writing or in mind, shall never be troubled with ague or fever. So help Thy servants, O Lord, who put their trust in Thee ;” i.e., who believe that this charm will cure them.
I can only account for it on this principle, that as it is a piece of easy superstition, and requires nothing more for its efficacy than to gabble the words in any language, the Portuguese, who abound on that coast, must have communicated it to the natives, and, as every-one is glad to get rid of an ague, of course they could have no objection to the cure.