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their offering of unboiled rice and water in a hollow made for the purpose in a stone of the tomb, it seems to them no matter that the poor or the birds really carry off the
Such rites as these are especially exposed to dwindle in survival. The offerings of meals and feasts to the dead may be traced at their last stage into mere traditional ceremonies, at most tokens of affectionate remembrance of the dead, or works. of charity to the living. The Roman Feralia in Ovid's time were a striking example of such transition, for while the idea was recognized that the ghosts fed upon the offerings, “nunc posito pascitur umbra cibo," yet there were but “parva munera,” fruits and grains of salt, and corn soaked in wine, set out for their meal in the middle of the road. “Little the manes ask, the pious thought stands instead of the rich gift, for Styx holds no greedy gods :"
“ Parva petunt manes. Pietas pro divite grata est
Munere. Non avidos Styx habet ima deos.
Et sparsæ fruges, parcaque mica salis,
Hæc habeat media testa relicta via.
Still farther back, in old Chinese history, Confucius had been called on to give an opinion as to the sacrifices to the dead. Maintainer of all ancient rites as he was, he stringently kept up this,” he sacrificed to the dead as if they were present,” but when he was asked if the dead had knowledge of what was done or no, he declined to answer the question; for if he replied yes, then dutiful descendants would injure their substance by sacrifices, and if no, then undutiful children would leave their parents unburied. The evasion was characteristic of the teacher who expressed his theory
· Caron, “Japan,' vol. vii. p. 629 ; see Turpin, 'Siam,' ibid. vol. ix. p.
· Ovid. Fast. ii. 533.
cf worship in this maxim, " to give oneself earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom.” It is said that in our own time the Taepings have made a step beyond Confucius; they have forbidden the sacrifices to the spirits of the dead, yet keep up the rite of visiting their tombs on the customary day, for prayer and the renewal of vows. How funeral offerings may pass into commemorative banquets and feasts to the poor, has been shown already. If we seek in England for vestiges of the old rite of funeral sacrifice, we may find a lingering survival into modern centuries, doles of bread and drink given to the poor at funerals, and “soul-mass cakes” which peasant girls perhaps to this day beg for at farmhouses with the traditional formula,
“ Soul, soul, for a soul cake,
Pray you, mistress, a soul cake." ; Were it not for our knowledge of the intermediate stages through which these fragments of old custom have come down, it would seem far-fetched indeed to trace their origin back to the savage and barbaric times of the institution of feasts of departed souls.
? Legge, ‘Confucius" pp. 101-2, 130 ; Bunsen, 'God in History,' p. 271. 9 Brand, 'Pop. Ant.' vol. i. p. 392, vol. ii. p. 289.
Regions of Departed Souls-Connexion of such legends with myths of
The departure of the dead man's soul from the world of living men, its journey to the distant land of spirits, the life it will lead in its new home, are topics on which the lower races for the most part hold explicit doctrines. When these fall under the inspection of a modern ethnographer, he treats them as myths; often to a high degree intelligible and rational in their origin, consistent and regular in their structure, but not the less myths. Few subjects have aroused the savage poet's mind to such bold and vivid imagery as the thought of the hereafter. Yet also a survey of its details among mankind displays in the midst of variety a regular recurrence of episode that brings the everrecurring question, how far is this correspondence due to transmission of the same thought from tribe to tribe, and how far to similar but independent development in distant lands?
From the savage state up into the midst of civilization, the comparison may be carried through. Low races and high, in region after region, can point out the very spot whence the flitting souls start to travel toward their new home. At the extreme western cape of Vanua Levu, a calm and solemn place of cliff and forest, the souls of the Fijian dead embark for the judgment-seat of Ndengei, and thither the living come in pilgrimage, thinking to see there ghosts and gods. The Baperi of South Africa will venture to creep a little way into their cavern of Marimatlé, whence men and animals came forth into the world, and whither souls return at death.? In Mexico the cavern of Chalchatongo led to the plains of paradise, and the Aztec name of Mictlan, “ Land of the Dead," now Mitla, keeps up the remembrance of another subterranean temple which opened the way to the sojourn of the blessed. In the kingdom of Prester John, Maundevile tells of an entrance to the infernal regions :“Sum men clepen it the vale enchanted, some clepen it the vale of develes, and some clepen it the vale perilous. In that vale heren men often tyme grete tempestes and thonders, and grete murmures and noyses, alle dayes and nyghtes, and gret noyse, as it were soun of taboures and of nakeres and trompes, as though it were of a gret feste. This valle is alle fulle of develes, and hathe ben alleways; and men seyn there that it is on of the entrees of . helle." 4 North German peasants still remember on the banks of the swampy Drömling the place of access to the land of departed souls. To us Englishmen the shores of lake Avernus, trodden daily by our tourists, are more familiar than the Irish analogue of the place, Lough Derg, with its cavern entrance of St. Patrick's Purgatory leading down to the awful world below. The mass of mystic details
1 Williams, ‘Fiji,' vol. i. p. 239 ; Seemann, “Viti,' p. 398.
5 Wattke, · Volksaberglaube,' p. 215. Other cases in Bastian, 'Mensch,' Yol. ii. pp. 58, 369, etc.
need not be repeated here of the soul's dread journey by caverns and rocky paths and weary plains, over steep and slippery mountains, by frail bark or giddy bridge across gulfs or rushing rivers, abiding the fierce onset of the souldestroyer or the doom of the stern guardian of the other world. But before describing the spirit-world which is the end of the soul's journey, let us see what the proof is which sustains the belief in both. The lower races claim to hold their doctrines of the future life on strong tradition, direct revelation, and even personal experience. To them the land of souls is a discovered country, from whose bourne many a traveller returns.
Among the legendary visits to the world beyond the grave, there are some that seem pure myth, without a touch of real personal history. Ojibwa, the eponymic hero of his North American tribe, as one of his many exploits descended to the subterranean world of departed spirits, and came up again to earth. When the Kamchadals were asked how they knew so well what happens to men after death, they could answer with their legend of Haetsh the first man. He died and went down into the world below, and a long while after came up again to his former dwelling, and there, standing above by the smoke-hole, he talked down to his kindred in the house and told them about the life to come ; it was then that his two daughters whom he had left below followed him in anger and smote him so that he died a second time, and now he is chief in the lower world, and receives the Italmen when they die and rise anew.? Thus, again, in the great Finnish epic, the Kalewala, one great episode is Wainamoinen's visit to the land of the dead. Seeking the last charm-words to build his boat, the hero travelled with quick steps week after week through bush and wood till he came to the Tuonela river, and saw before him the island of Tuoni the god of death. Loudly he called to Tuoni's daughter to bring the ferry-boat across :