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30. Stilling the Sea with Oil.

48

Dr. Franklin’s idea of pouring oil upon the sea to still the waves, has often been put in practice. There is scarcely a commoner miracle in British hagiology. It is mentioned also by Erasmus, among other superstitions practised during a tempest. An easy method of effecting the same purpose is mentioned by Martin in his account of the Western Islands.

“The steward of Kilda, who lives in Pabbay, is accustomed in time of a storm to tie a bundle of puddings, made of the fat of sea-fowl, to the end of his cable, 49and lets it fall into the sea behind the rudder; this, he says, hinders the waves from breaking, and calms the sea; but the scent of the grease attracts the whales, which put the vessel in danger.”