such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
The results concerning the supernatural characters of sacred trees appear in Table 1; supernatural powers of sacred trees are in Table 2; punishable deeds in connection with sacred trees are shown in Table 3 and the punishments for those who violated sacred trees are presented in Table 4).
The questions that were asked, and the various answers given, are listed here.
A. What is the reason for the specific punishment inflicted on anyone who harmed/cut down/used the sacred tree? (Figures in bold type indicate the number of the informants who gave a particular answer).
1. The house fell down because the person took wood for constructing a house. (5).
2. The house/food/property (of the wrong-doer) was burned because wood was taken for heating or burning. (7)
3. A leg was cut off, just as the tree was cut down. (4)
4. The same axe that cut down the tree cut the leg off/killed the offender. (5, all of whom are Druze).
B. Who is liable for punishment for harming a sacred tree, and how may the punishment be averted or revoked?
1. The person has to sacrifice a goat and to give its meat to the needy (12).
2. The material (such as leaves, branches) that was taken from the tree has to be returned (7).
3. Pilgrimage to a sacred place, sacrifice and/or the paying of a ransom (5).
4. The person to be punished can go to the Sheikh who reads a chapter from the Koran and the offender has to ask for forgiveness; the punishment will disappear instantly (6).
5. The offender expresses remorse and swears not to repeat his deeds (4).
6. Only believers are punished by the tree (5).
7. If you coming to the sacred tree with a good intent, the Welli will bless you; if you are coming with an evil intent, you will be punished (6).
8. Even animals that ate from or touched the sacred trees or the seeds that fell nearby are mortally punished (6).
C. Why are sacred trees not burned?
1. The tree is protected by the Welli (23, all the ethnic groups))
2. The tree is protected by God (11, only one Druze)
3. "God gives power to the sacred tree so it does not burn". (Subhi Daoud, Muslim, Majdal Kurum, 10.10.01).
4."The tree enjoys divine protection because the prophet sat beneath it; after the death of the prophet Nobody can cut it down or burn it". (Sheikh Kassem Bader, Druze, Nabi Sabaln, 9.6.00).
D. Who or what is the punishing agent in response to not respecting the sacred tree?
1. God (24, only 4 Druze)
2. The Welli/prophet himself to whom the tree is dedicated (32, 17 of whom are Druze).
3. The axe that was used to cut down the tree (7, all Druze)
4. Snakes are the protectors of sacred trees (8 Druze, 2 Muslims).
1. The dead body of an impure girl that/who was buried under the/a sacred tree was cast out of its grave by the miracles of Welli to whom the tree is dedicated. (The sacred oak of Sheikh Abu Arus in the Druze village of Jat; a common story in the village. (6)).
2. Sacred trees swallowed innocent people/prophets to protect them from their enemies. (6, all Druze)
3. "One day a blind man sat under the sacred tree. There was a strong wind and a twig snapped off and struck the person and wounded him. The man wiped away the blood and then he got back his sight". (Haj Khalfalla Khalil, Muslim, Sheikh Danun, 24.8.04).
4. "The locusts did not touch the sacred tree although they devoured all other plants. The tree has a scent like jasmine, and that deterred the locusts". (Tawafiq Amashe, Druze, Mas'ade, 12 Dec. 2001)
5. Every Friday, stones roll under the sacred tree of U'm Ayash, in the village of Ibtin (Western Galilee). (A well known story in the village; (6), although today there are no stones underneath the tree).
6. A man lost all his chickens which escaped from their cage He prayed under the tree and lit a candle; all the fowls then returned by themselves to the cage (Hady Samiyah, Muslim, Mazra'a, 24.8.04).
7. The corpse of an important man was temporarily buried under a sacred tree. It did not decay when it was removed to a permanent grave. A woman who saw the dead body went blind on the spot. (Sheikh Nur Rifaee, 16 June 2000; Majdal Kurum, Lower Galilee, the tale concerns his grandfather and it happened in 1936).
8. People who dared to steal property under the sacred tree walked or rode the whole night long, but the following morning they found themselves under the very same tree. (12).
When a road was being constructed near the sacred tree of Sheikh Saris (5 km west of Majdal Kurum) the bulldozers got stuck. The villagers called in a religious leader who "contacted" the Welli. This spirit instructed him "to divert the road 70 paces from him and than everything will be settled peacefully". This was done, and there were no more problems (9).
The traditions on breakdown of mechanical tools which were used to remove sacred trees are so robust that even when large trees were intentionally preserved in the construction of new roads people still tell stories about such stoppages/breakdowns On the way to Tiv'on, a town near Haifa, there is a huge Pistacia atlantica in the middle of a highway. No less than 21 informants told us that the saint who was buried under the tree made the road builder divert the original route because of accidents or damage to the bulldozers working near the tree. The plain truth is that Salman Abu Rucan, then (in 1985) an inspector of Nature Reserve Authorities (NRA), asked the Public Works Department to preserve the tree (Salman Abu Rucan (12 March 1999, personal communication). A similar story is told about the sacred Oak (Quercus calliprinos) near the grave of Sheikh Ajami on the highway to Jerusalem (Bab el Wad). When the tractors approached the place they got mired down. The vehicles were repaired, but they got stuck again. Work on the road continued only after displacement of the original route several metres around the grave and the tree (7). In this case an NRA inspector prevents/prevented the uprooting of the tree and the place from being ruined. (The late Yigal Ronen, personal. Communication, 10 March 1970).
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