Earth Laid upon a Corpse
Old Scottish superstition described by eighteenth-century
writer Thomas Pennant. It was the custom in the Highlands to
lay on the breast of the deceased a wooden platter containing
a little earth and a little salt—the former to symbolize the corruptibility
of the body, the latter the incorruptibility of the soul.
Pennant, Thomas. A Tour in Scotland and Voyage to the Hebrides,
MDCCLXXII. 1774. Reprint, Chester, U.K. J. Monk, 1969