The Credulous Peasants
No longer ago than the year 1788, when the husbandmen of Paris suffered
so severely by the devastation on the 13th of July in that year, many of
the farmers were positively so superstitious at their own created fears,
that, notwithstanding considerable sums were offered to indemnify them
for their losses, and to encourage them to carry on with spirit the
cultivation of their lands, with new seeds, new implements, &c. they
peremptorily refused, on account of a foolish report that was then
prevalent in some parts of the country where the storm happened. They
said, that two giants were seen peeping out of the clouds, and
threatening, with terrible countenances, gigantic frowns, and
high-sounding words, that they would return next year on the same
thirteenth day of July, with a greater scourge than they then felt.
Terrified either at the imagined report, or at the fancied sight of the
giants (which terror and a weak brain will often produce), many of the
unhappy sufferers abandoned their houses, and commenced beggars, rather
than return to the labours of the field: so great was their affright,
in consequence of that tremendous storm.
This story, though hardly credible, may be depended on as a fact, and
may be seen in many of the public prints of that time.
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