In southern Russia amulets enjoy high power both among Jews and Christians. Especially are they valued for the protection of children and for the cure of their diseases. An imitation wolf’s-tooth, made of bone, set in a ring, is one of these amulets; however, while such imitation teeth are used, the natural teeth are greatly preferred. As an amulet against the Evil Eye the wing-bones of a cock will be used. This malign influence is held in such awe by the common people that they do not even dare to use the word “evil” of it and call it “the good eye.”
Carnelian beads purporting to have been brought from Palestine command what is regarded as a good price, three roubles being paid for a single one; these are great favorites with the Jews more especially, one of their supposed virtues being to prevent abortion.
The religious fervor of the Russians is illustrated by the character of the amulet said to be constantly worn by the Czar as a protection against the dangers which hourly threaten him. This is a ring in which is set a piece of the True Cross, the sacred material which was believed to lend a mighty potency to the famous “Talisman of Charlemagne.” A less venerable belief is said to render the Czar superstitiously careful to see that an ancestral watch in his possession is always kept wound up, for a family legend tells that should this watch ever stop the glory of the reigning house would pass away.