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A number regarded from the earliest times and by many peoples as having a peculiar mystical significance. Deucalion's ark, made on the advice of Prometheus, was tossed about for nine days before it stranded on the top of Mount Parnassus. There were nine Muses, frequently referred to merely as the Nine. There were nine Gallicenae or virgin priestesses of the ancient Gallic oracle; and Lars Porsena swore by the nine gods.

There were nine rivers of hell; or, according to some accounts, the Styx encompassed the infernal regions in nine circles. Milton makes the gates of hell " thrice three - fold; three folds are brass, three iron, three of adamantine rock. " They have nine folds, nine plates, and nine linings.

In the early Ptolemaic system of astronomy (see Ptolemy ), there were nine spheres; hence Milton, in his Arcades, speaks of the " celestial syrens ' harmony that sit upon the nine enfolded spheres. " In Scandinavian mythology, there were nine earths, Hel being the goddess of the ninth; there were nine worlds in Niflheim, and Odin 's ring dropped eight other rings (nine rings of mystical import) every ninth night.

Nine appears many times in folklore. The abracadabra was worn nine days and then flung into a river, in order to see the fairies, one is directed to put nine grains of wheat on a four - leaved clover; nine knots are made in black wool as a charm for a sprained ankle; if a servant finds nine green peas in a peasecod, she lays it on the lintel of the kitchen door, and the first man that enters in is to be her cavalier; to see nine magpies is most unlucky; a cat has nine lives; and the nine of diamonds is known as the Curse of Scotland.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 3rd ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1987
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