Ossian, in his poem the 'War of Inis-thona,' tells us that the king of that island gave a feast to Oscar, which lasted three days, and that they "rejoiced in the shell," - meaning that they feasted sumptuously and drank freely. Again, we meet with the "chief of shells," and the "halls of shells". Macpherson calls the cockle the "heroes' cup of festivity," being known by the name of Sliga-crechin,‡ or the drinking-shell; and it is also stated that this shell is used in the Hebrides for skimming milk.§ This seems, however, hardly possible, for the "heroes" would probably not be content with so small a cup as the little common cockle. It must have been some larger shell, and formerly the word "cockle" was applied to any shell: besides which, the common cockle could not, from its shape, be used for skimming milk, and from its size, it would be of little use for that purpose. Moreover, we know that the so-called cockle used in the Hebrides for that purpose is a Mya, there called the cockle.

* 'London: its Celebrated Characters and Remarkable Places,' vol. i. p. 138. .

†Sibmacher's 'Wapenbuch,' Heraldry of Fish, p. 226. ‡ In Manx, Shligh, is the name for the cockle. § 'A Book for the Seaside'.

The Irish, the South Welsh, and probably others, call the whelk (Buccinum undatum) the Goggle, and know it by no other name. It is evidently the same word, and is more correctly applied, as we shall presently see.

"Cockle" was the common name in olden times for the escallop of pilgrims, - " he wore the cockle in his hat," etc.; and it is still often used in heraldic language. Lydgate, when he says - "And as the cockille, with heavenly dewe So clene Of kynde, engendreth white perlis rounde" means evidently the oyster, alluding to the old fable of pearls being formed by the oyster's rising to the surface of the water at the full moon, and opening its shell to receive the falling dew-drops, which thus hardened into pearls, - an idea which is quaintly detailed by Robinson, in his 'Essay towards a Natural History of Westmoreland and Cumberland' (1709), who, in speaking of the pearls procured from the rivers Irt and End, says "Those large shellfish which we call horse-mussels, which, gaping eagerly and sucking in their dewy streams, conceive and bring forth great plenty of them," (the pearls), "which the neighbourhood gather up at low-water, and sell at all prices". The natives of India have a similar belief with regard to the origin of pearls, viz. that they are congealed dewdrops, which Buddha in certain months showers upon the earth, when they are caught up by the oysters whilst floating on the waters to breathe.*

The Asiatics have also an idea that the pearls found in certain shellfish are produced from drops of rainwater, which they imbibe : -

"Who spread out the earth on the face of the water, And form'd precious pearls from the tears of the clouds !"†.

The natives of Java have a still stranger belief that the pearls themselves breed and increase if placed in cotton, and they sell what they term "breeding pearls" for this purpose, affecting to distinguish the male from the female. Those pearls which are clustered together in the form of a blackberry, are said by them to be thus produced. Nor is this belief peculiar to Java, as a Spanish lady informed a friend of mine, that, if seed-pearls were shut up in cotton-wool, they would increase either in size or in number ? The experience of our jewellers is, that the effect of cottonwool on pearls is to injure their colour, and make them yellow. But it is said to preserve them, if they are kept in a box with a piece of the root of ash, or in dry magnesia. The tears of Chinese mermaids are said to be pearls.‡

Shakespeare says, -

"Love's feeling is more soft and sensitive Than are the horns of cockled snails".

* 'Household Words,' vol. iii. p. 80, "My Pearl-fishing Expedition". † Forbes, 'Oriental Memoirs,' vol. iii. p. 180. ‡ ' Strang Notes from a Chinese Studio'.

Here cockled means either shelled or whorled.

The Greek Koxλias, kόXλos, means a snail, or a shell with a spiral whorl (hence the name of "goggle" for the Buccinum); but it is also used sometimes for a bivalve shell or "cockle". Koxλiápiov is a spoon.

Camden, in his 'Britannia' (p. 962), in speaking of Ireland, and of the commodities of the British Ocean, says, "There are cockles, also in great numbers, with which they dye a scarlet colour so strong and fair, that neither the heat of the sun nor the violence of the rain will change it, and the older it is, the better it looks". Of course, the purple-fish (Purpura lapillus) is here meant.

Locke also speaks of the "oyster or cockle".

The Latin cochlea is properly a snail; but cochlear (cochleare, or cochlearium), "a spoon," or "spoonful," seems to be derived from the form of a bivalve shell, rather than of a snail; it was also a measure for liquids, and in medicine it still signifies a spoonful, hence the Italian cucchiajo, French cuiller. Cochlearium was also used by the Romans for any small shell, as in mediaeval times. Some authors, indeed, say the spoon was called cochlear, not from its shape, but from the pointed end or handle being used for taking the snails (cochleoe) out of their shells and eating them, and the broader part for eating eggs, etc. This may be doubted, but a spoon could scarcely resemble a snail-shell, and Martial says (xiv. 121), "Sum cochleis habilis, nec sum minus utilis ovis".

At the meeting of the Ethnological Society, March 4th, 1862, Mr. G. W. Earl gave an interesting description of the singular Malayan shell-mounds, which were formed entirely of cockle-shells. He described them as existing in the province of Wellesley, near the Mudah river; that they were about five to six miles from the sea, situated on sandy ridges that appeared formerly to bound the narrow estuaries communicating with the ocean. He adds that these mounds of cockle-shells are about eighteen to twenty feet high, and that the Chinese immigrants have largely employed them as a source of lime. These mounds are supposed to be of great antiquity, from the fact of the shells being partly cemented together by crystallized carbonate of lime, the result of the very slow action of atmospheric and aqueous influences. At the bottom of one mound which contained 20,000 tons of shells, a human pelvis was found; and other remains and stone-implements have been obtained from the Chinese lime-burners. Mr. Earl attributes the formation of these mounds to the Semangs, a diminutive negro race, now sparingly scattered over the surrounding country, but who were evidently very numerous and widely spread in former times.*

In Grey's 'Australia,' vol. i., mention is made of a hill of broken shells, which it must have taken centuries to form, situated between Port George the Fourth, and Hanover Bay. " It covered nearly half an acre of ground, and in some places was ten feet high; it was situated over a bed of cockles, and was evidently formed from the remains of native feasts, as their fireplaces and the last small heaps of shells were visible on the summit of the hill". A similar mound noticed near Port Essington, of shells rudely heaped together, is supposed to be a burying-place of the Indians.

At Wigwam Cove, Tierra del Fuego, piles of old shells, often amounting to some tons in weight, were noticed by Dr. Darwin, which had at different periods formed the chief food of the inhabitants.*

* ' Intellectual Observer,' vol. i. p. 239.

These remind us of the so-called kjökkenmöddings (kitchen heaps) of Denmark, or shell-mounds, to which the attention of archaeologists has been recently attracted in Northern Europe, and which consist of thousands of shells of the oyster, cockle, and other edible mollusks, with implements of stone, such as flint knives, hatchets, etc, and implements of bone, wood, and horn, with fragments of coarse pottery mixed with charcoal and cinders.†

Quite recently, one of these kjökkenmöddings has been discovered at Newhaven, in Sussex, and among the objects found were limpet and other shells, with bones of animals.‡

In 1863, Sir John Lubbock published, in the 'Natural History Review,' an account he had received from the Rev. G. Gordon, of Scotch kjökkenmöddings on the Elginshire coast, resembling those in Denmark. Mr. Gordon says, "By far the most striking, if not the most ancient, of the kjökkenmöddings we have in our vicinity, is that one which lies within a small wood on the old margin of the Loch of Spynie, and on a sort of promontory formed of those raised shingle beaches so well developed in that quarter. This mound, or rather two mounds (for there is an intervening portion of the ground which has no shells), must have been of considerable extent. A rough measurement gives eighty by thirty yards for the larger, and twenty-six by thirty for the smaller portion. The most abundant shell is the periwinkle; next in order as to frequency is the oyster, which, as well as those who had it as a large item in their bill of fare, has passed away from our coasts. Save in some of the nooks of our Firth, as at Cromarty, Altirtie, and Avoch, we know not where a small dish of them could be procured. As third in order, in this mound, is the mussel, and then the cockle".

* Darwin, 'Voyage of Adventure and Beagle,' vol. iii. p. 234. † Sir Charles Lyell's 'Antiquity of Man.' ‡ 'Intellectual Observer,' vol. vii. p. 233.

Mr. Gordon further adds that similar refuse-heaps are found all round the shores of the Moray Firth, and that the farmers gradually cart them away to serve as manure or top dressings.

These shell-mounds, Sir John Lubbock states, are actually called "shelly-meddings" by the fishermen of that district.

Sir Gardner Wilkinson found large masses of cockleshells embedded in the ditches of an old British camp or earthwork, called "Nottle Tor," in the seigniory of Gower, in Glamorganshire. This camp stands on a high rock above the sea, and at some distance from any dwelling-house; the shells are therefore from fish eaten by the ancient Britons. V

Cockle, mussel, and oyster shells, are often discovered in great quantities on the sites of Roman stations.

In the reign of King John we read of vessels called "cogs". They were supposed to be short and of great breadth, like a cockle-shell, whence they are said to have derived their name. The name "cog" was variously written, viz., kogge, gogga, kogh, cocka, coqua, etc. " Cogs" were used for the conveyance of passengers from England to France, and as coasting vessels.*