Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Forty appears to have been regarded by mankind as a sacred number, particularly by the Jews and the Mahometans. To cite some instances: the Flood lasted 40 days; Moses fasted 40 days on three occasions (Exod. xxiv. 18, xxxiv. 28; Deut. ix. 9-25), as did Joseph after the death of his father; Christ was tempted for a similar period. The Israelites were in the wilderness 40 years. Mahometans mourn 40 elays for their dead; and in Eastern romance the number is of frequent occurrence. In the Arabian Niyhts we have the Forty Thieves, and Aladdin is given the same number of days to find the lamp. In Nasir, a Persian tade, the hero is to pray 40 days for the restoration of the fairies' fountain; and he shoots an arrow through a finger-ring 40 successive times. For 40 days Shah Mansur was in the power of a sorceress; and in Ahmed the Cobbler the treasury is robbed by 40 men. In Wales it was customary to pay 40 loaves and 40 dishes of butter as rent to the Bishop of Llandaff; and a bard's fee was 40 pence if a disciple, and twice that sum if a master. The Heir of Linne, in the ballad, tries to borrow 40 pence from John o' the Scales.