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man. In West Africa, a case in point is the practice of transferring a sick man's ailment to a live fowl, which is set free with it, and if any one catches the fowl, the disease goes to him. Captain Burton's account from Central Africa is as follows. Disease being possession by a spirit or ghost, the ‘mganga' or sorcerer has to expel it, the principal remedies being drumming, dancing, and drinking, till at last the spirit is enticed from the body of the patient into some inanimate article, technically called a 'keti' or stool for it. This may be an ornament, such as a peculiar bead or a leopard's claw, or it may be a nail or rag, which by being driven into or hung to a 'devil's tree' has the effect of laying the disease-spirit. Or disease-spirits may be extracted by chants, one departing at the end of each stave, when a little painted stick made for it is flung on the ground, and some patients may have as many as a dozen ghosts extracted, for here also the fee is so much apiece.3 In Siam, the Laos sorcerer can send his 'phi phob' or demon into a victim's body, where it turns into a fleshy or leathery lump, and causes disease ending in death. Thus, on the one hand, the spirit-theory of disease is seen to be connected with that sorcerer's practice prevalent among the lower races, of pretending to extract objects from the patient's body, such as stones, bones, balls of hair, &c., which are declared to be causes of disease conveyed by magical means into him; of this proceeding I have given a detailed account elsewhere, under the name of the 'sucking-cure.'5 On the other hand, there appears among the lower races that well-known conception of a disease or evil influence as an individual being, which may be not merely conveyed by an infected object (though this of course may have much to do with the idea), but
be 1 Callaway, 'Religion of Amazulu,' p. 314.
2 Steinhauser, 1.c. p. 141. See also Steere, 'East Afr. Tribes,' in 'Journ. Anthrop. Soc.' vol. i. p. cxlviii.
3 Burton, 'Central Africa,' vol. ii. p. 352. See 'Sindh,' p. 177. 4 Bastian, 'Oestl. Asien,' vol. iii. p. 275. 5 'Early Hist. of Mankind,'ch. x. See Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 116, &c. 1 Plin. xxx. 14, 20. Cardan, 'De Var. Rerum,' cap. xliii. 2 Ward, “Hindoos,' vol. i. p. 134, vo ii. p. 247. 3 Doolittle, 'Chinese,' vol. i. p. 122. * Grimm, ‘D. M.' pp. 1118–23; Wuttke, ‘Volksaberglaube,' pp. 155-70; Brand, ‘Pop. Ant.' vol. ii. p. 375, vol. iii. p. 286; Halliwell, 'Pop. Rhymes,' p. 208; R. Hunt, 'Pop. Romances,' 2nd Series, p. 211; Hylten-Cavallius, Wärend och Wirdarne,' vol. i. p. 173. It is said, however, that rags fastened on trees by Gypsies, which passers-by avoid with horror as having diseases thus banned into them, are only signs left for the information of fellow vagrants ; Liebich, ‘Die Zigeuner,' p. 96.
removed by actual transfer from the patient into some other animal or object. Thus Pliny informs us how pains in the stomach may be cured by transmitting the ailment from the patient's body into a puppy or duck, which will probably die of it; it is considered baneful to a Hindu woman to be a man's third wife, wherefore the precaution is taken of first betrothing him to a tree, which dies in her stead; 2 after the birth of a Chinese baby, its father's trousers are hung in the room wrong side up, that all evil influences may enter into them instead of into the child. Modern folklore still cherishes such ideas. The ethnographer may still study in the white witchcraft' of European peasants the arts of curing a man's fever or headache by transferring it to a crawfish or a bird, or of getting rid of ague or gout or warts by giving them to a willow, elder, fir, or ash-tree, with suitable charms, 'Goe morgen, olde, ick geef oe de Kolde,' 'Goden Abend, Herr Fleder, hier bring ick mien Feber, ick bind em di an und gah davan,' 'Ash-tree, ashen tree, pray buy this wart of me,' and so forth; or of nailing or plugging an ailment into a tree-trunk, or conveying it away by some of the patient's hair or nail-parings or some such thing, and so burying it. Looking at these proceedings from a moral point of view, the practice of transferring the ailment to a knot or a lock of hair and burying it is the most harmless, but another device is a very pattern of wicked selfishness. In England, warts may be touched each with a pebble, and the pebbles in a bag left on the road to church, to give up their ailments to the unlucky finder; in Germany, a plaister from a sore may be left at a cross-way to transfer the disease to a passer-by; I am told on medical authority that the bunches of flowers which children offer to travellers in Southern Europe are sometimes intended for the ungracious purpose of sending some disease away from their homes. One case of this group, mentioned to me by Mr. Spottiswoode, is particularly interesting. In Thuringia it is considered that a string of rowan-berries, a rag, or any small article, touched by a sick person and then hung on a bush beside some forest path, imparts the malady to any person who may touch this article in passing, and frees the sick person from the disease. This gives great probability to Captain Burton's suggestion that the rags, locks of hair, and what not, hung on trees near sacred places by the superstitious from Mexico to India and from Ethiopia to Ireland, are deposited there as actual receptacles of disease; the African devil's trees' and the sacred trees of Sindh, hung with rags through which votaries have transferred their complaints, being typical cases of a practice surviving in lands of higher culture.
The spirits which enter or otherwise attach themselves to objects may be human souls. Indeed one of the most natural cases of the fetish-theory is when a soul inhabits or haunts what is left of its former body. It is plain enough that by a simple association of ideas the dead person is imagined to keep up a connexion with his remains. Thus we read of the Mandan women going year after year to take food to the skulls of their dead kinsfolk, and sitting by the hour to chat and jest in their most endearing strain with the relics of a husband or child ;1 thus the Guinea negroes, who keep the bones of parents in chests, will go to talk with them in the little huts which serve for their tombs.2 And thus, from the savage who keeps and carries with his household property the cleaned bones of his forefathers, to the mourner among ourselves who goes to weep at the grave of one beloved, imagination keeps together the personality and the relics of the dead. Here, then, is a course of thought open to the animistic thinker, leading him on from fancied association to a belief in the real presence of a spiritual being in a material object. Thus there is no difficulty in understanding how the Karens thought the spirits of the dead might come back from the other world to reanimate their bodies ;' nor how the Marian islanders should have kept the dried bodies of their dead ancestors in their huts as household gods, and even expected them to give oracles out of their skulls;2 nor how the soul of a dead Carib might be thought to abide in one of his bones, taken from the grave and carefully wrapped in cotton, in which state it could answer questions, and even bewitch an enemy if a morsel of his property were wrapped up with it;3 nor how the dead Santal should be sent to his fathers by the ceremony of committing to the sacred river morsels of his skull from the funeral-pile. Such ideas are of great interest in studying the burial rites of mankind, especially the habit of keeping relics of the dead as vehicles of superhuman power, and of even preserving the whole body as a mummy, as in Peru and Egypt. The conception of such human relics becoming fetishes, inhabited or at least acted through by the souls which formerly belonged to them, will give a rational explanation of much relic-worship otherwise obscure.
1 Catlin, ‘N. A. Indians,' vol. i. p. 90.
A further stretch of imagination enables the lower races to associate the souls of the dead with mere objects, a practice which may have had its origin in the merest childish make-believe, but which would lead a thorough savage animist straight on to the conception of the soul entering the object as a body. Mr. Darwin saw two Malay women in Keeling Island who held a wooden spoon dressed in clothes like a doll; this spoon had been carried to the grave of a dead man, and becoming inspired at full moon, in fact lunatic, it danced about convulsively like a table or a hat at a modern spirit-séance. Among the Salish Indians of Oregon, the conjurers bring back men's lost souls as little stones or bones or splinters, and pretend to pass them down through the tops of their heads into their hearts, but great care must be taken to remove the spirits of any dead people that may be in the lot, for the patient receiving one would die. There are indigenous Kol tribes of India who work out this idea curiously in bringing back the soul of a deceased man into the house after the funeral, apparently to be worshipped as a household spirit; while some catch the spirit re-embodied in a fowl or fish, the Binjwar of Raepore bring it home in a pot of water, and the Bunjia in a pot of flour. The Chinese hold such theories with extreme distinctness, considering one of a man's three spirits to take up its abode in the ancestral tablet, where it receives messages and worship from the survivors; while the long keeping of the dead man's gilt and lacquered coffin, and the reverence and offerings continued at the tomb, are connected with the thought of a spirit lingering about the corpse. Consistent with these quaint ideas are ceremonies in vogue in China, of bringing home in a cock (live or artificial) the spirit of a man deceased in a distant place, and of enticing into a sick man's coat the departing spirit which has already left his body, and so conveying it back.* Tatar folklore illustrates the idea of soul-embodiment in the quaint but intelligible story of the demon-giant who could not be slain, for he did not keep his soul in his body, but in a twelve
· Mason, Karens, 1.c. p. 231. 2 Meiners, vol. ii. pp. 721-3.
3 Rochefort, ‘Iles Antilles,' p. 418. See Martius, 'Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 485 (Yumanas swallow ashes of deceased with liquor, that he may live again in them).
4 Hunter, ‘Rural Bengal,' p. 210. See Bastian, Psychologie,' p. 73; J, G. Müller, ‘Amer. Urrel.' pp. 209, 262, 289, 401, 419.