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NINETEENTH TALK 375
non-essential for the essential". That is a good defini-
tion, but it does not perhaps quite cover all the
ground. She gives, I remember, a celebrated Indian
instance of it: ho"w there was once a devotee who
had a pet cat, who was always coming to him and
fondling him, while he performed his ceremonies.
He therefore, at the time of his devotions, tied it to
the leg of a bed to keep it quiet. In process of time
this was handed down to his sons and to others, but
always with the proviso that there must be a cat
present, which must be tied to the cot; and presently
all the rest of the ceremonies were forgotten and the
only thing that was done was to tie the cat to the leg
of the cot. That was clearly a case of the non-
essential bein^ taken for the essential. The story is
told in India to show how sometimes the least
important point is the one which persists, and which
is regarded as the most important. It is by no means
so impossible as you might think, because there are
other stories which run nearly on the same lines.
I suppose you get much less of it out here than we
do at home, because people are more likely to take a
broad and common-sense view of things in the newer
countries; but I know that the Sunday superstition is
a very serious trouble in some parts of our own
country at home, especially in Scotland. In that
country nothing at all can be done on a Sunday.
A man must not even go out for a walk ; he must not
whistle or sing a song, except, I suppose, in church.