Definitions starting with T

ID #4982

ten, ten, the Bible ten!

[cf. DJE cut ten in the sence of Roman numeral X: to make the sign of the cross (as a religious symbol to ward off evil, etc.); cf. Gul. 'When dey done bury de dead, dey tek de walkin' stick, lay it 'cross de grave (like ten)"  (Parsons 1923: 150); from the use of the symbol X and the Bible as talismans] phr. an exclamation to ward off evil; "The number ten is used as a talisman in obeah, especially in the form of Roman numeral X, which resembles the cross that wards off vampires in European folklore. Devils and witches are supposed to be unable to count beyond nine, therefore they can be prevented from crossing a threshould by spreading sesame seed, which they are compelled to pick up and count" (P. Glinton p.c.): 1976 Ten, Ten, the Bible Ten! (title of a book on obeah by T. McCartney). <Cat, Nassau>

Tags: Obeah, phrase

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Last update: 2011-06-08 20:47
Author: Holm and Shilling, DBE, 1982
Revision: 1.0

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