The Golden Bough

From ch. 9 – The Worship of Trees,
Sacred groves were common among the ancient Germans, and tree-worship
is hardly extinct amongst their descendants at the present day. How
serious that worship was in former times may be gathered from the
ferocious penalty appointed by the old German laws for such as dared
to peel the bark of a standing tree. The culprit’s navel was to be cut
out and nailed to the part of the tree which he had peeled, and he was
to be driven round and round the tree till all his guts were wound
about its trunk. The intention of the punishment clearly was to
replace the dead bark by a living substitute taken from the culprit;
it was a life for a life, the life of a man for the life of a tree.Golden_bough

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