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Aerolites, or stones which have fallen from heaven. J. Norman Lockyer says the number of meteors which fall daily to the earth “exceeds 21 millions.” (Nineteenth Century, Nov., 1880, p. 787.) The largest aerolith on record is one that fell in Brazil. It is estimated to weigh 14,000 lbs. In 1806 a shower of stones fell near LʹAigle, and M. Biot was deputed by the French Government to report on the phenomenon. He found between two and three thousand stones, the largest being about 17 lbs. in weight.

Health stones. Purites (2 syl.) found in Geneva and Savoy. So called from the notion that it loses its steel-blue colour if the person in possession of one is in ill-health.

Square stones. The most ancient idols were square stones. The head and limbs were subsequent additions.

Stones. After the Moslem pilgrim has made his seven processions round the Caaba, he repairs to Mount Arafat, and before sunrise enters the valley of Mena, where he throws seven stones at each of three pillars, in imitation of Abraham and Adam, who thus drove away the devil when he disturbed their devotions.

Standing stones. The most celebrated groups are those of Stonehenge, Avebury, in Wiltshire, Stennis in the Orkneys, and Carnac in Brittany.

The Standing Stones of Stennis, in the Orkneys, resemble Stonehenge, and, says Sir W. Scott, furnish an irresistible refutation of the opinion that these circles are Druidical. There is every reason to believe that the custom was prevalent in Scandinavia as well as in Gaul and Britain, and as common to the mythology of Odin as to Druidism. They were places of public assembly, and in the Eyrbiggia Saga is described the manner of setting apart the Helga Feli (Holy Rocks) by the pontiff Thorolf for solemn meetings.

Stones fallen down from Jupiter. Anaxagʹoras mentions a stone that fell from Jupiter in Thrace, a description of which is given by Pliny. The Ephesians asserted that their image of Diana came from Jupiter. The stone at Emessa, in Syria, worshipped as a symbol of the sun, was a similar meteorite. At Abyʹdos and Potidæʹa similar stones were preserved. At Corinth was one venerated as Zeus. At Cyprus was one dedicated to Venus, a description of which is given by Tacitus and Maximus Tyrʹius. Heroʹdian describes a similar stone in Syria. The famous Caaʹba stone at Mecca is a similar meteor. Livy recounts three falls of stones. On November 27th, 1492, just as Maximilian was on the point of engaging the French army near Ensisheim, a mass weighing 270 lbs. fell between the combatants; part of this mass is now in the British Museum. In June, 1866, at Knyahinya, a village of Hungary, a shower of stones fell, the largest of which weighs above 5 cwt.; it was broken in the fall into two pieces, both of which are now in the Imperial Collection at Vienna. On December 13th, 1795, in the village of Thwing, Yorkshire, an aërolite fell weighing 56 lbs., now in the British Museum. On September 10th, 1813, at Adare, in Limerick, fell a similar stone, weighing 17 lbs., now in the Oxford Museum. On May 1st, 1860, in Guernsey county, Ohio, more than thirty stones were picked up within a space of ten miles by three; the largest weighed 103 lbs. (Kesselmeyer and Dr. Otto Buchner: The Times, November 14th, 1866.)


You have stones in your mouth. Said to a person who stutters or speaks very indistinctly. The allusion is to Demosʹthenēs, who cured himself of stuttering by putting pebbles in his mouth and declaiming on the sea-shore.

“The orater who once

Did fill his mouth with pebble stones

When he harangued,”

Butler: Hudibras, i. 1.

Precious stones. Said to be dew-drops condensed and hardened by the sun.


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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Stone Age (The)
Stone Blind
Stone Cold
Stone Dead
Stone Jug
Stone Soup or St. Bernard’s Soup
Stone Still
Stone of the Broken Treaty
Stone of Stumbling
Stone of Tongues
Stonewall Jackson
Stony Arabia
Stool of Repentance
Storks Law or Lex Ciconaria
Storm in a Teapot

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Standing Stones