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Never cross the sweet-flowing water of ever-rolling rivers afoot until you have prayed, gazing into the soft flood, and washed your hands in the clear, lovely water. [740] Whoever crosses a river with hands unwashed of wickedness, the gods are angry with him and bring trouble upon him afterwards. At a cheerful festival of the gods do not cut the withered from the quick upon that which has five branches1 with bright steel. Never put the ladle upon the mixing-bowl [745] at a wine party, for malignant ill-luck is attached to that. When you are building a house, do not leave it rough hewn, or a cawing crow may settle on it and croak. Take nothing to eat or to wash with from uncharmed pots, for in them there is mischief. [750] Do not let a boy of twelve years sit on things which may not be moved,2 for that is bad, and makes a man unmanly; nor yet a child of twelve months, for that has the same effect. A man should not clean his body with water in which a woman has washed, for there is bitter mischief in that also for a time. [755] When you come upon a burning sacrifice, do not make a mock of mysteries, for Heaven is angry at this also. Never make water in the mouths of rivers which flow to the sea, nor yet in springs; but be careful to avoid this. And do not ease yourself in them: it is not well to do this. [760] So do: and avoid the talk of men. For Talk is mischievous, light, and easily raised, but hard to bear and difficult to be rid of. Talk never wholly dies away when many people voice her: even Talk is in some ways divine.

1 I.e.“do not cut your finger-nails.”

2 I.e.things which it would be sacrilege to disturb, such as tombs.

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