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In the time of a great plague in Lacedaemon, they were told by the oracle, that the pestilence would cease upon the sacrificing of a noble virgin every year. It fell one time by lot to Helena, who was brought out and dressed up ready for the sacrifice. An eagle at that time flying by took away the sword, and carrying it into a herd of cattle laid it down upon a heifer; whereupon they spared the virgin.—Aristodemus, in his Third Collection of Fables.

There was a dreadful plague in Falerii, which the oracle said would be removed upon the sacrificing of a virgin to Juno every year. While this superstition was in course, it fell to Valeria Luperca's lot to be the sacrifice. An [p. 473] eagle flew away with the drawn sword, but laid a stick upon the fuel prepared for the fire, with a little mallet fixed to it. The sword he threw upon a heifer feeding near the temple. The virgin perceiving this sacrificed the heifer; and taking up the mallet, went about from house to house, and with a gentle knock called to those that were sick, bidding them be of good health. And this was the rise of the ceremony which continues to this day. —Aristides, in his Nineteenth Book of Italian Histories.

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