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PROF. A. C. H ADDON, M.A., D.Sc, M.R.I. A. 



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A- 1*04-5-1 






The following collections reached my hands in a more or less 
fragmentary state. The bulk of the work had been written at 
one time, and little was needed to put it into a state for 
publication. But other portions, and those not the least 
important, had been written at different times and with 
different objects, and the task of weaving them all together in 
the author's absence was not a light one. Thus, though the 
author has read the proofs of all but Appendix II., it will be 
easily understood that the difficulties involved in passing a book 
of this kind through the press, while he was residing several 
thousand miles away, are such as to account for many imper- 
fections, which would have been rectified had he been able him- 
self to determine its final form and to superintend its publication. 
The sins of omission, of occasional repetition, and perhaps of 
occasional obscurity, that may be found, must therefore be laid 
at the editor's, and not at the author's door. I can only hope 
that the circumstances may be taken into account to extenuate 
these offences. 

The difficulties I have referred to would, indeed, have been 
insuperable had it not been for the incessant help of Miss 
Kingsley. The debt due to her is by no means confined to the 


XXIV. The Tight between the two Fetishes, Lifuma 


XXV. The Fetish of Chilunga ... 
XXVI. The Leopard and the Crocodile 
XXVII. Why some Men aee White and 
XXVIII. The Bird-Messengers 

XXIX. Nzambi Mpungu's Ambassador 
XXX. Why the Crocodile does not eat 
XXXI. The Three Brothers 
XXXII. Death and Burial of the Fjort 
Appendix I. ... 
Appendix II. ... 
Index ... 




others Black 101 









the Hen 


I. Fjort Mother and Child ... 
II. A Bakutu who came to Loango to see 

III. Funeral Shimbec 

IV. Prince Xikaia by the Funeral Car of 

his Brother, Linguister Francisco 
V. Climbing a Palm-tree for Palm-wine 


To face page 18 




Ever since the Folk-Lore Society did me the honour to 
ask me to write an introduction to these stories, I have 
had a gradually intensifying sense of my incapacity to do it 
properly. It is true that I am personally acquainted with the 
tribe of Africans to whom these stories belong — that I have 
heard many of them told in the way Mr. Dennett so accurately 
describes — that I know Mr. Dennett personally, and am therefore 
acquainted with the many claims that anything he may have to 
say has upon students of primitive culture, because he speaks 
on the subject of the Fjorts from a knowledge gained during 
seventeen years of close association and sympathy with them, 
and possesses also a thorough knowledge of their language. 
Yet, these things notwithstanding, I still feel that someone 
else should write this Introduction, because I am myself only 
a collector of West African ideas, and these stories clearly 
require a preface from the pen of a comparative ethnologist who 
could tell you how the Undine-like story of the vanishing wife 


got into Fjort folklore. I can only say 1 have not only heard 
this story, but I have known in the flesh several ladies whose 
husbands were always most anxious that they should not hear 
or see some one particular thing that would cause them to dis- 
appear, for ladies who have this weakness are always very 

And again, I cannot tell you how the Fjorts came by the 
set of stories they and their neighbouring tribes possess regard- 
ing the descent into hell of living men, of which Mr. Dennett 
gives the finest example I know of in the story of " The 
Twin Brothers": nor yet again how they came by the Pro- 
metheus-like story of " How the Spider won and lost Nzambi's 
Daughter." All these explanations I must leave to the com- 
parative ethnologist; but in so doing it may be as well to mention 
a few things regarding the difficulties that present themselves, 
even to the mere collector, in forming opinions regarding West 
African folklore. 

First, there is the difficulty of getting reliable information 
regarding the opinion of the natives on things, as that opinion 
at present stands. Secondly, there is the difficulty of forming 
an opinion as to why it stands in that form ; whether it arises 
from the native's uninterrupted observations of Nature, modified 
by his peculiar form of intellect ; or whether it is a white idea 
primarily, but in a state modified by having passed through a 
generation or so of African minds. 

Eegarding the difficulty of getting reliable information upon 
native customs it is not necessary for me to speak at great 
length, because it is now fully recognised by scientific students 
of the subject. The best way of surmounting the difficulty is 
for the ethnologist to go and study the mind of the native 


personally; but this method is not one easily followed in 
West Africa on account of the deadliness of the climate and 
other drawbacks. But even if this method is followed, as it was 
by Bastian, Buchholz, and Hubbe Schlieden, it is still greatly to 
the student's advantage to compare his own collected information 
with that of men who have been for years resident in West Africa, 
who are well acquainted with the native language, and who have 
had opportunities of observing the native conduct under all sorts 
of difficulties, dangers, joys, and sorrows — who have, as the old 
saying puts it, summered and wintered them. Unfortunately 
such white men are rare in West Africa ; but so great is the 
value of their opinions in my eyes that I have always en- 
deavoured to get the few there are of them to publish their 
information for the benefit of students of ethnology at home, 
instead of leaving these worthy people to the mercy of travellers' 
tales. Do not however imagine that I regard the traveller as, 
next to the mining expert, the most unreliable source of informa- 
tion extant. Even the African traveller has given reliable 
information on many things, but the conditions under which 
African travel is carried on are not favourable to the quiet, 
patient sympathetic study of the native mind ; for that we must 
look to the white resident in Africa, the missionary, and the 

To give you an instance of the ease with which native cus- 
toms might be badly observed by a traveller, I will cite an 
experience of my own when I (in spite of not being a true 
traveller but a wandering student of early law), nearly fell into 
error. Passing down a branch of the Karkola Biver in the 
Oroungou country, in a canoe with a choice band of natives for 
crew, we suddenly came upon a gentleman on the bank who 



equally suddenly gave several dismal howls and fired at us with 
the scatter gun prevalent in West Africa. Having a rooted 
antipathy to being fired at, and knowing that the best way to 
prevent a recurrence of the unpleasantness when dealing with a 
solitary native is to tackle him before he reloads, I jumped on 
to the bank. The man turned and fled, and I after him down a 
narrow bush-path followed at a discreet distance by a devoted 
member of the crew yelling for me to come back. I succeeded 
in getting hold of my flying friend by his powder-bag and 
asked him why he had behaved so extremely badly. Then, when 
the rest of the crew saw that the incident promised entertain- 
ment without danger, they joined us, and we found the poor 
man was merely suffering under domestic affliction. One of his 
wives had ran away with a gentleman from a neighbouring 
village, and so he had been driven to fire at and attempt to kill 
a member of any canoe-crew from yet another village that 
might pass his way ; because, according to the custom of the 
country, the men of this village would thereby have to join him 
in attacking the village of the man who had stolen his wife. So 
you see, if I had not minded being fired at, but just put down in 
my note -book that the people of this region were hostile savages 
and passed on, I should not have come across this interesting 
piece of native law, nor any of the other interesting pieces of 
native law I gained knowledge of during the subsequent 
palavers. This is only one instance of many which I have come 
across, wherein it would be almost impossible for a person 
rapidly passing through a country to form a true opinion 
regarding a native custom, and these instances have all 
confirmed me in my respect for the resident white man's 


The missionary opinion has of late years been regarded by 
the ethnologist somewhat suspiciously, as being a biassed one, 
but, however this may be, we are very heavily indebted to the 
missionaries for the work they have done in native languages. 
This department is one to which the missionary has naturally 
devoted himself, because his aim in dealing with natives is to 
make them comprehend his teaching. He is, for many reasons, 
not so much interested in other parts of native culture. Their 
manners, customs, laws, and religions are, from his point of 
view, bad and foolish ; but experience has taught him that the 
natives will listen to his teaching as soon as they can understand 
him, and therefore he is mostly content to leave alone the study 
of other things than the language, as little better than waste of 
time. There have been, however, several notable exceptions to 
this general rule. The works published by the Eev. J. L. 
Wilson,* the Eev. H Goldie,f and the Eev. H. M. Waddell are of 
immense value, both from the great opportunities of observation 
these gentlemen had, and from their speaking of native customs 
and ideas with a knowledge of the native language. Unfortu- 
nately, the missionary who could surpass all these, valuable as 
they are, the Rev. Dr. Nassau, shows no sign of breaking the 
silence which afflicts all men who really know West Africa. 

I cannot help thinking that the time has now come when it is 
the duty of some ethnologist to turn philologist for himself, with 
the assistance already provided for him by the missionaries, and 
work at African languages, not from the point of view of their 
structure, classification, and diffusion, but from that of their inner 
meaning, and I can safely promise him the discovery of an 

* Western Africa. J. Leighton Wilson. London, 1856. 

t Calabar and its Mission. Hugh Goldie. Edinburgh, 1890. 


extremely interesting mass of matter. I feel sure that we cannot 
thoroughly understand the inner working of the African mind 
until this department of the study of it has been efficiently worked 
up; for the languages contain, and are founded on, a very peculiar 
basis of figurative thought, and until that is thoroughly under- 
stood we really cannot judge the true meaning of native state- 
ments on what is called totemism, and sundry other subjects. 

The other resident white who lives in close contact with the 
native is the trader. I regret to say I can cite to you no book 
of reference on native customs by a trader in modern times, save 
Mr. J. Whitford's ; * but in former days we had several, chief 
among which are those of Bosman,t Sieur Brue,} and Barbot; 
and the great exactness of these makes one all the more regret the 
absence of the West Coast trader from modern literature. I 
have done my utmost to induce many of the gentlemen whom 
I have had the honour to know personally to break through 
their silence and give us works again like Bosman's Guinea, 
they being by experience and knowledge so pre-eminently fitted 
to speak regarding native customs ; and I think with regret of 
the perfectly irreplaceable library of knowledge that has been 
lost by the death of Captain Boler of Bonny, and Major 
Parminter, and of the other great collections of facts that 
Mr. Wallace, Mr. Bruce Walker, Mr. Hart, Mr. Pinnock, 
Mr. Forshaw, and several others could give us. Mr. Dennett 
is so far, however, the only one inclined to do anything else 
but shake his head in horror over the mis-statements circulated 
about Africans. 

* Trading Life in Western and Central Africa. J. Whitford. 
f Bosnian's Description of Guinea. London, 1705. 
t Labat's Afrique Occideutale, 1728. 


The position of the trader towards the native is such as to make 
his information and observations particularly valuable to the 
ethnologist. The trader is not intent on altering the native 
culture to a European one; but he is intent on understanding the 
thing as it stands, so that he may keep at peace with the natives 
himself and induce them to keep peace with each other, for on 
peace depends the prosperity of West African regions in the 
main. We have not any tribe on the West Coast that subsists 
by war; we have no slave-raiding tribes that are directly in 
touch with the coast-trader ; * but we have a series of middlemen- 
tribes through whose hands the trade from the interior passes to 
the latter. The middlemen system is in its highest state of 
development from the Niger to the Benito. Above this part — 
namely, in the regions of the Bight of Benin — the power of the 
middleman has been broken considerably by Mohammedan in- 
fluence ; while below, from the Benito to the Congo, it is now 
being considerably upset by the invasion of the Bafan from the 
interior, and the enterprise of the French explorers. To the 
south of the Congo it has long ago been broken by the Portu- 
guese. Therefore the trader's greatest danger is now in the 
Niger districts, when a chief, on account of some quarrel, stopping 
trade passing through his district, may become a serious nuisance 
to the white man. The management of the chief, however, has 
in those regions now passed into the hands of the English govern- 
ment in the Niger Coast Protectorate, and into the hands of the 
Royal Niger Company in the regions of the middle Niger; so it 
is not so interesting to study the relationships of the native and the 
trader in those regions as it is to study those existing between the 

* This statement does not include the Royal Niger Company, who have 
pushed up through the middle-man zone. 


individual white traders, such as Mr. Dennett, and the native, as 
you can still find them in Congo Francais, and in KaCongo and 
Angola. Here the trader is practically dealing single-handed with 
the native authorities, and is regarded by them in much the same 
light as they regard one of their great spirits, as an undoubtedly 
superior, different sort of creation from themselves, yet as one 
who is likewise interested in mundane affairs, and whom they try 
to manage and propitiate and bully for their own advantage ; 
while the trader, on his part, gets to know them so well during 
this process that he usually gets fond of them, as all white men 
who really know Africans always do, and looks after them when 
they are sick or in trouble, and tries to keep them at peace with 
each other and with the white government, for on peace depends 
the prosperity that means trade. Therefore, on the whole, the 
trader knows his African better than all the other sorts of 
white men put together, and he demonstrates this in two ways. 
Firstly, he calls upon the gods to be informed why he is con- 
demned to live and deal with such a set of human beings, as 
those blacks ; and then, if the gods remove him from them and 
send him home to live among white men, he spends the rest of 
his days contrasting the white and black human beings to the 
disadvantage of the former, and hankering to get back to the 
(bast, which demonstrates that the trader feels more than other 
men the fascination of West Africa, in other words that he under- 
stands West Africa, and therefore that he is the person most 
fitted to speak regarding it, and the most valuable collector of 
facts that the student of the primitive culture in the region can 
get to act for him. 

I will now turn from presenting you with the credentials 
of Mr. Dennett to the consideration of the value of these 


stories which he has sent up to the Folk-Lore Society, and 
which are laid before you quite untouched by other white 
hands. Mr. Dennett's own knowledge of the Fjort language has 
enabled him to give them in a fuller and more connected form 
than is usually given to the African story. 

The position in the native culture of stories, such as those 
of which you' have specimens here, is exceedingly interesting. 
African native literature (if one may so call it, while it has no 
native written language) consists of four branches — proverbs, 
stories, riddles, and songs. Burton, in his Wit and Wisdom of 
West Africa, collected many of the proverbs ; and Ellis, in his im- 
portant works on the Tshi, Ewe, and Yoruba- speaking peoples, 
has also collected specimens of all of the three first-named 
classes. So far, I think, no one has dealt with the songs, and 
indeed it would be exceedingly difficult to do so, as in the 
songs, more than in any other native thing, as far as I can 
judge, do you find yourself facing the strange under-meaning 
in the very words themselves. But, interesting as the songs and 
riddles are, the proverbs and stories are infinitely the more 
important portions of the native literature, for in them we get 
the native speaking to his fellow-native, not to the white man, 
about his beliefs. 

The stories can be roughly divided into three classes 
(only roughly, because one story will sometimes have material 
in it belonging to two classes) — legal, historical, and play. 
You have in this small collection examples of all these. The 
Nzambi stories are historico-legal ; the " Crocodile and the 
Hen" is legal; "the "Wonderful Child " is play-story, and so on. 

As a general rule, historical stories are rare among West 
African tribes; you find more of them among the Fjort than 


among the Ewe or Tshi * people even, and infinitely more than 
amongst true forest-belt tribes, like the Ajumba, Fan, and 
Shekiani. I have repeatedly questioned natives regarding their 
lack of interest in the past history of their tribes, and have 
always had the same sort of answer: " Why should we trouble 
ourselves about that? They (the dead) lived as we live now. 
A chief long ago bought, and sold, and fought ; we now buy, 
and sell, and fight. We are here in this world ; he has gone 
away." This spirit obtains, of course, only regarding the 
human experiences of the men who have lived " in the old 

I well remember being struck with a phrase Dr. Nassau used: 
" the future which is all around them." Once I asked him 
why he used it, and he only smiled that grave, half-pitying 
smile of his; but as my knowledge of the native grew by 
experience, I came to understand that phrase, and to put along- 
side it the phrase: "the past which is all around them." I 
am afraid a vague make of mind like my own is necessary in 
order to grasp the African's position ; for every mortal printer 
who comes across my quotation of the Doctor's phrase puts 
a long note of interrogation, instantly, in the margin of the 

Legal stories, however, do not plunge us into such mental 
swamps when studying them ; and they are the stories which 
have the greatest practical value, for in them is contained 
evidence of the moral code of the African, and a close study of 
a large number of them gives you a clearer perception of the 
native ideal of right conduct than any other manifestation of his 

* This is the spelling of the word used by Ellis, but it is pronounced by 
the natives " T'chewhe." 


mind that I know of. You will find them all pointing out the 
same set of lessons : that it is the duty of a man to honour his 
elders ; to shield and sustain those dependent on him, either by 
force of hand or by craft; that violence, or oppression, or wrong 
done can be combated with similar weapons ; that nothing can 
free a man from those liabilities which are natural to him ; and, 
finally, that the ideal of law is justice — a cold, hard justice 
which does not understand the existence of mercy as a thing 
apart from justice. For example, a man, woman, or child, not 
knowing what it does, damages the property of another human 
being. Native justice requires, and contains in itself, that if it 
can be proved the act was committed in ignorance that was not 
a culpable ignorance, the doer cannot be punished according to 
the law. I by no means wish you to think that the administra- 
tion of the • law is perfect, but merely that the underlying 
principles of the law itself are fairly good. 

f The part these stories play in the administration of justice is 
remarkable. They clearly are the equivalents to leading cases 
with us, and just as the English would cite A v. B, so would the 
African cite some such story as "The Crocodile and the Hen," 
or any other stories you find ending with " and the people said 
it was right." Naturally, the art in pleading lies in citing the 
proper story for the case — one that either puts your client in the 
light of a misunderstood, suffering innocent, or your adversary 
in that of a masquerading villain. 

It may at first strike the European as strange, when, listen- 
ing to the trial of a person for some offence before either a set 
of elders, or a chief, he observes that the discussion of the affair 
soon leaves the details of the case itself, and busies itself with 
the consideration of the conduct of a hyeena and a bush-cat, or 


the reason why monkeys live in trees, or some such matter ; but 
if the European once gets used to the method, and does not 
merely request to be informed why he should be expected to 
play at .ZEsop's Fables at his time of life, the fascination of the 
game will seize on him, and he will soon be able to play at 
iEsop's Fables with the best, and to point out that the case, say, 
of the Crocodile and the Hen, does not exonerate some friend of 
a debtor of his from having committed iniquity in not having 
given up property, lodged with him by the debtor, to its rightful 

Regarding the play-stories, it is not necessary for me to speak, 
they are merely interesting from the scraps of information you 
find embedded in them regarding native customs and the native 
way of looking on life. 

The form of religion which Mr. Dennett calls Nkissism re- 
quires a great deal of attention and study, and seems to me ex- 
ceedingly interesting, most particularly so in its form in KaCongo 
and Loango, where, in my opinion, it is an imported religion. 
I say my opinion, merely because I do not wish to involve Mr. 
Dennett in a statement of which he may disapprove ; but you 
will find Mr. Dennett referring to the manner in which Fumu 
Kongo, the King of Congo, sent his two sons to take possession 
of the provinces of KaCongo and Loango, which to this day bear 
their names, and that he sent with them wise men, learned in 
the cult of Nzambi, and that at each place whereat the princes 
stayed they left a Nkiss. I am driven to conjecture that in 
introducing these Nkissi and their attendant Ngangas, the two 
princes were introducing a foreign religion into KaCongo and 
Loango — the religion of their father, the King of Congo. During 
my own sojourns on the South- West- African Coast, I got to know 


whereabouts you may expect to meet with the Nkiss and its 
Nganga, when you are coming down the Coast from the north ; 
and I can only say that I have never been able myself to find, or 
to find among those people more conversant with the Coast than 
I am, any trace of the existence of Nkissism until you reach the 
confines of the kingdom of Loango. It is true, the essential 
forms of fetish-worship and ideas of Loango, KaCongo and 
Congo, are common to the districts north of them, namely, the 
Ogow^, the Cameroons, the Oil Rivers, and the Bight of Benin ; 
yet, if I may so call it, that particular school of fetish called 
Nkissism you do not meet with until you strike the northern 
limits of the old kingdom of Kongo. 

Where exactly this school of fetish arose I am unable to say, 
but I think its home, from divers observations made by Sir H. 
H. Johnston, who has given much attention to the ethnology 01 
the Bantu, must have been the region to the south-east or east- 
south-east of the region where it was first discovered by Euro- 
peans, namely, in the kingdom of Congo. There are many points 
in it which sharply differentiate it from the form of fetish of the 
true Negro, and it seems to be the highest form that the fetish of 
the Bantu has attained to. 

We have an enormous amount of information of an exceed- 
ingly interesting character left us by the early Portuguese navi- 
gators and by the Italian, Portuguese, and Flemish Roman 
Catholic missionaries who worked so devotedly for nearly 200 
years from 1490 in the kingdom of Congo. Yet, so far as I 
have been able to discover, they give one little, if any, informa- 
tion regarding the traditional history of Congo prior to its dis- 
covery by the Portuguese. They found there what they regarded 
as a prosperous and wealthy state in a condition of considerable 


culture, an immense territory ruled over by vassal lords subject 
to one king, who was a temporal king, clearly distinct from the 
fetish king of the true Negroes. From the accounts they give of 
the native religion, which, unfortunately for the ethnologist, they 
scorned and detested too much to studjr in detail, there is little 
doubt that that form of religion was Nkissism and that " the 
wizards," whom they term Gangas, the chasing whereof gave 
the worthy fathers such excellent sport, were no other than the 
Nganga Nkissi Mr. Dennett describes. 

Regarding, however, the territorial relationship between 
Congo and KaCongo and Loango these early historians are yet 
more unsatisfactory. The missionaries, however, have occasion 
now and then to speak of the natives of the north banks of the 
Congo, because they were occasionally cast among them when, 
by a turn in the wheel of fortune, the wizards got the upper 
hand, or a subsidiary chief to the King of Congo rebelled ; and 
they always speak of these north-bank people as being fearsome 
and savage tribes, given to the eating of men and so on. And 
this bad opinion of them was evidently held by the Kongoes 
themselves ; for it was with direct intent to get two Capuchin 
Fathers killed, for example, that the Count of Sogno, during his 
rebellion about 1636, drove the Fathers outof his domains. "After 
having been much misused and unprovided of all necessaries, 
they were left on the confines of the Count's dominions on a 
little uninhabited island of the River Zaire* Here they made 
a shift to support themselves two or three clays, Father Thomas, 
who was the least hurt of the two, going out to hunt for their 

« Regarding the islanders of the Lower Congo in 1700, Barbot says : 
"They are strong, well-set, live after a beastly manner, and converse 
with the Devil." A Description of the Coasts of North and South Guinea, 
by John Barbot, Agent-General of the Royal Company of Africa and the 
Islands of America, at Paris. 1732. 


subsistence. But at length they were unexpectedly delivered 
from thence by some pagan fishermen, who took them on board 
and carried them to a city of theirs called Bombangoij, in the 
kingdom of Angoy.* Here, arriving at night, they were very 
courteously entertained by an infidel of the place, who gave them 
supper and, moreover, assigned to them a house and three 
women to wait on them after the manner of the country. But 
our Fathers, not caring to trust themselves among these people, 
soon after they had supped, sending away their women, medi- 
tated an escape. For this purpose Father Thomas, who was the 
best able to walk, took his lame companion on his back and 
marched out of the house ; but before he had gone far, he was 
forced through weakness to set down his burden under a great 
shady tree, which, as soon as day appeared, for fear of discovery 
they got up into. Their patron, coming that morning to visit his 
guests and finding them gone, much wondered, and well know- 
ing they could not go far by reason of the condition he left them 
in, immediately went about to search after them. Coming at 
last near the place where they were, and not having yet found 
them, a pagan thought came into his head that they might have 
been carried away by some spirit, which he expressed after 
this manner : ' If the devil has carried them away, I suppose 
he did it that they might make me no recompense for my kind- 
ness.' Our Fathers, hearing this, could not forbear laughing, 
even amidst their miseries and misfortunes, and putting out their 

* Merolla says : "Angoij is a kingdom rather in name than in dominion, 
having but a small territory. Here, formerly, a certain Mani, happening 
to marry a mulatto, daughter to a very rich Portuguese, his father-in-law 
would needs make him King of Angoij, and for this purpose caused him 
to rebel against the King of Kacongo, his lawful lord." Angoij was a 
small territory on the seaward end of the north bank of the Congo. 


heads from the tree, cried out : ' We are here, friend, never 
doubt our gratitude ; for we only went out of the house to refresh 
ourselves with the rays of the morning sun.' Hereat the old 
man, being exceedingly rejoiced, immediately took them down, 
and putting them into two nets (hammocks) sent them away to 
Capinda (Kabinda), a port in the kingdom of Angoij, about two 
days from Bombangoij."* 

This account, I think, shows clearly that in 1636 Loango 
and KaCongo were not provinces of the king of Congo, for 
had they been so, the Capuchins would have had no dread of 
the inhabitants, but have known they were safe; for, although 
they were driven out of Sogno, this had been done entirely 
because they were Capuchins. The Count of Sogno immediately 
attempted to supply their place with Franciscans, his objection 
to Capuchins arising from his regarding them as allies of the 
Portuguese and King of Kongo, against whom he was at war; 
and, although it may be urged that the early missionaries to 
Congo were in the habit of going up trees, some of them, indeed 
cautiously bringing out with them from home rope-ladders for 
that purpose, yet this is the only instance, I think, of their 
climbing up them out of the way of natives. The usual cause 
was an " exceeding plentie of lions and tygers and other mon- 
sters, for not half of which," they cheerily observed, "would 
they have made a mouthful." 

Proyart gives us a slightly more definite statement. He 
says : — " The King of Congo claims the Kingdom of KaCongo 
as a province of his States, and the King of KaCongo, doubtless 

* A Voyage to Congo, by Father Jerome Merolla da Sorrento, 1682. 
Churchill Collection, vol. i. p. 521. 


by way of reprisals, never calls himself any other title but Ma 
Congo, King of Congo, instead of King of KaCongo, a title given 
him by foreigners, and one that suits him. These pretensions 
are not always unfounded ; many small kingdoms of savage 
states, which at the present day share Africa among them, were 
originally provinces dependent on other kingdoms, the particular 
governors of which usurped the sovereignty. It is not long 
since Sogno ceased to be a province of the kingdom of Congo."* 
Unfortunately there is no means of fixing any date to the 
severance of the two north-bank provinces from the main king- 
dom. Apparently they had asserted their independence long 
enough for the question not to have been a burning political one 
in Congo at the time of Diego Cao's discovery of the Congo in 
1484. It is, however, idle to conjecture how long prior to that 
date KaCongo and Loango ceased to be fiefs of the King of 
Congo. It may have been centuries, or it may have been but a 
few decades ; for, for some time prior to Diego Cao's arrival, 
Congo itself had been so terribly worried by those interesting, 
but, as yet, undetermined people, the Gagas or Gindes (a 
fearful, warlike, cannibal tribe, who, according to Battel,f who 
was amongst them about 1595, came from Sierra Leone, 
harassed the inland borders of Congo and penetrated as far 
south as Dondo in Angola) that, at the time of the coming of 
Diego Cao, undoubtedly the public mind was entirely concen- 
trated on these Gagas — a condition of affairs which enabled the 
Portuguese and their missionaries to obtain the ascendancy in 

* History of Loango and Kacongo, by the Abbe Proyart. Paris, 1776. 

t The Strange Adventures of Andrew Battel of Leigh in Essex. (Purohas 
His Pilgrims.) See also A Curioihs and Exact Account of a Voyage to 
Congo in the years 1666 and 1667, by Michael Angelo of Gattina and Denis 
de Carli of Piacenza. 1723. Churchill Collection. 


the kingdom, as they did, and which would, in all human pro- 
bability but for their timely arrival, have wiped the kingdom 
of Congo out. 

This distraction was sufficiently great to have caused a people 
so deficient in interest in historical matters to have almost 
forgotten the severance from the main kingdom (which was 
situated on the southern bank of the Great River) of two 
provinces on the northern bank, even had the severance been 
comparatively recent — provinces, moreover, that could never 
have been much in touch with the throne-town at San Salvador 
on account of their difficulty of access, the terrific current 
of the river making canoe-journeys across its stream alike 
difficult and dangerous. 

But a far stronger proof than there is in the scattered 
observations relating to the affair in white literature, of the 
tradition of the two sons of Fumu Kongo, as given by Mr. 
Dennett, being a historical tradition, I think is found in the 
existence in KaCongo and Loango of this peculiar form of 
fetish, Nkissism. It is surrounded in these provinces on all 
sides, save the sea and the Congo, by a dissimilar form of fetish, 
which I believe to be the form of fetish Nkissism supplanted. 

During my first visit to Africa I came in contact with the 
Fjort tribes and learnt much from Mr. Dennett personally 
regarding their beliefs and customs ; and all that I myself saw 
fully bore out the accuracy of his statements about them. 
During my second visit my time was mainly spent among tribes 
inhabiting country to the north and north-east of the Fjorts, and 
among those tribes I did not find the Nkiss and Ngano-a as 
aforesaid. Nevertheless, I found something extremely like some 
of the Nkiss of the Fjorts : deities which, as far as I can see 


from observations on their powers and spheres of influence, are 
simply indistinguishable from some of the Nkiss which Mr. 
Dennett describes as acknowledged among the Fjort, such ones 
as that of the Mountain Mungo. This sort of deity is called by 
the Mpongwe-speaking tribes Ombuiri. They have, however, no 
priesthood whatsoever attached to their service. Every human 
being who passes one of their places of habitation has to do 
obeisance to the Ombuiri who inhabits it, just to give some 
trifling object in homage as a token of respect. As a general 
rule the Imbuiri (pi.) are, as West African deities go, fairly in- 
offensive ; but now and then one will rise up and kill someone 
by throwing down a tree on a passer by its forest glade, or, by 
swelling up the river it resides in, will cause devastating inunda- 
tion. But it is really quite a different species of deity from the 
regular Nkiss, such as was introduced by the emissaries of Fumu 
Kongo into the regions of KaCongo and Loango. You would 
never, for example, if you were a member of a Mpongwe stem 
tribe, think of calling in ah Ombuiri to settle the question of 
who killed a man or who had stolen something. You would 
call in a totally different class of spirit . Yet when you are 
in KaCongo or Loango, or among the Ivili tribe,* you will 
see these great, honourable, ancient Nature-spirits, these Imbuiri 
themselves, in charge of a mere human priest employed in the 
most trivial affairs concerning thefts of garden hoes or cooking- 
pots and such like; and I am quite sure, if you have a Mpongwe 
soul in you, you will be deeply shocked at this degradation. If 

* A small and dying-out set of Fjorts, living in a few villages near the 
confluence of the Ogowe-Okanda and the Ngunie Rivers, having a tradition 
that they came from Loango and were driven by bad weather into the 
Ogowe and by bad men to their present situation. 



you were only an ethnologist, ignorant of the little bit of history 
regarding the King of Congo and the Nganga he sent with his 
Nkissi from his throne-town of San Salvador into the conquered 
provinces of KaCongo, Loango and Ngoio, you might be tempted 
to regard an Ombuiri having a priest and a ritual of a definite 
kind attached to it, as an instance of a development in religious 
thought and a demonstration of how gods at large are made. 
But with a knowledge of the history of the affair, dateless as 
that history is, I think you will be induced to believe that the 
Imbuiri have merely suffered that change which nature-spirits 
have suffered in other lands taken possession of by a conqueror 
with a religion of his own : namely, that some of the spirits 
worshipped by the conquered people were held in such respect 
that the conquerors held it more politic to adopt them into their 
own religion, after making suitable alterations in their characters, 
than to attempt to destroy them ; and so it is that to-day you 
will find Imbuiri made into Nkissi and existing in esteem and 
worship side by side with a very different kind of deity, the 
true Nkissi of Fumu Kongo. 

The best authority for the present condition of the Fjort 
religion is Monteiro, who says : "In times past the King of 
Congo was very powerful. All the country, as far as and 
including Loanda, the Eiver Congo and Cabinda, was subject 
to him and paid him tribute. The missionaries under his pro- 
tection worked far and wide, attained great riches, and were of 
immense benefit to the country, where they and the Portuguese 
established and fostered sugar-cane plantations, indigo manu- 
factories, iron-smelting and other kindred trades. With the 
discovery and colonisation of the Brazils, however, and the ex- 
pulsion of the Jesuits from Angola, the power of the Portucuese 


and of the King of Congo has dwindled away to its present 
miserable condition. The King of Congo is now only Chief 
of San Salvador and a few other small towns, and does not 
receive the least tribute from any other, nor does he possess any 
power in the land. Among the natives of Angola, however, he 
still retains a certain amount of prestige as King of Congo, and 
all would do homage to him in his presence, as he is considered 
to possess the greatest fetish of all the kings and tribes, though 
powerless to exact tribute from them." * 

Things are to-day exactly as Monteiro describes them regard- 
ing the natives. KaCongo is under Portuguese rule, Loango 
under French ; the regions that were part of the old main king- 
dom are divided between Portugal and Congo Beige. But the 
natives of these countries alike acknowledge the importance of 
the King of Congo's fetish, while just north of Loango you 
meet with the regions of the tribes that regard him not ; they 
may have heard of him, but his fetish is not their fetish, for they 
never fell under the rule of Nkissi. 

I need now only detain you with a few remarks about the 
infusion of Christian doctrine into the original Fjort fetish. 
The admixture of doctrines both from Christian missionary 
teaching, and from [Mohammedan, makes the study of the real 
form of the native's own religion difficult in several West 
African districts, notably so at Sierra Leone, the Gold, Slave, 
and Ivory coasts, and among the Fjort of the Congo and 
Angola. But, provided you are acquainted with the forms of 
fetish in districts which have not been under white influence, 
such as those of the great forest-belt from the Niger to the 

* Angola awl the River Congo, by J. J. Monteiro. Maomillan, 1875. 


Niari, a little care will enable you to detect what is, and what 
is not, purely native. 

It is true that the whole of the Fjorts were under the sway 
of Roman Catholicism more thoroughly and for a greater 
duration of time than any other West African people have been 
under any European influence. The energy with which the 
kings of Congo took it up from the first was remarkable, but it 
is open to doubt whether those dusky monarchs were not in so 
doing as much actuated by temporal considerations as spiritual. 
As I have mentioned before, when the Portuguese first came into 
the country, the country was in imminent peril from the Gagas, 
a peril from which the Portugese rescued it. The whole aim of 
the Congoese thereupon became to be as much like the Portu- 
guese as possible. Many natives went up to Lisbon and were 
received with great courtesy by the king, Joao II,; and while 
there they saw, in the keen but empirical African native way, 
how great a veneration the Portuguese held their priests in, how 
the very king himself did them homage, and how even ships 
durst hardly leave haven on a voyage without a chaplain on 
board. And there is little doubt that from these observations the 
Congoese regarded the Roman Catholic priests with great 
veneration, and thought that in them and their teaching lay the 
secret of earthly power, at any rate ; and the king of Congo 
and his subsidiary princes did their utmost to get as many of 
these priests to come and live among them and instruct them as 
possible, and when there the priests themselves, by their own 
nobility, devotion, and courage, confirmed the Congoese in their 
opinion of their, to them, superhuman powers. Ceaselessly 
active, regardless of clanger, they led armies into battle, and 
notably into that great battle in which Alfonso I. of Congo, the 


Christianised king, fought with his brother, Pasanquitama, for 
the crown, and had his army saved from immolation and given 
victory by the appearance of St. James and an angelic host 
fighting on his side in the crisis of the battle. 

It is impossible in the space at my command to enter into the 
history of the Roman Catholic mission to Congo, owing to its 
great complexity of detail. Capuchins, Jesuits, Franciscans alike 
laboured there ; but the doctrine they taught being uniformly 
that of Rome, it affords no such difficulty in recognition among 
the native traditions as do the results of the other forms of 
Christian mission. Moreover, the hold of the missionaries was 
not by any means so great in KaCongo and Loango as it was in 
the kingdom of Congo itself. Merolla says : " The kingdom of 
Loango lies in 5° and a half, south latitude. The Christian 
religion was first planted there in the year 1663,* by the labour 
and diligence of one Father Ungaro, a friar of our Order. 
Father Bernardino Ungaro, on entering into his work of 
evangelising Loango, commenced by baptising the king and 
queen, after having instructed them for some days, and then 
marrying them according to the manner of our church. Kis 
next business was to baptise the king's eldest son, and after him, 
successively, the whole court, which consisted of about 300 per- 
sons. In a word, within the space of a year that he livedthere 
he had baptised upwards of 12,000 people. At last this zealous 
missioner, finding himself oppressed by a grievous indisposition 
and believing that he should not live long, sent for our lay 
Brother Leonard, who coming not long after to him, the pious 

* One hundred and sixty-seven years later than in Congo, and there- 
fore at the time of the breaking up of the Portuguese power by the 
Dutch, who are referred to by the missionaries as "the Heretics." 


father died the same morning that he arrived, well provided, as 
we may imagine, of merits for another world. 

" The good king hearing this, and being desirous to keep up 
what he had so happily begun, sent Brother Leonard to the 
aforesaid Superior (Father Joao Maria de Pavia in Angola) to 
acquaint him with Ungaro's death and to desire him to speedily 
send another missioner ; but, however, these his good intentions 
were afterwards disappointed by a rebellion raised against him 
by a kinsman, who, being ambitious of his crown, and having 
been assisted by some apostate Catholics, deprived the good king 
of his life. The tyrant and usurper that dispossessed him lived 
not long after to enjoy his ill-gotten throne, but was snatched 
away from it by a sudden death. This wicked person being 
dead, another king arose, who, though he did all he could by 
the help of one Capuchin, to promote what had been begun by 
Father Ungaro, yet was not able to bring his intentions about, 
and that for want of more missioners, wherefore the kingdom 
remains at present, as formerly, buried in idolatry. In my time 
were several attempts made to recover our interest there, though 
to no purpose. .... I never heard there was any Christian 
prince in the kingdom of Angoij (Cabinda) , that country having 
been always inhabited by a sort of people extremely given to 
sorcery and magic." * 

There is yet another passage in Merolla's very wise and 
very charming work that has an especial bearing on the subjects 
treated of in this book of Mr. Dennett's. The holy Father gives 
a long list of " the abuses " existing in his time among the 

* A Voyage to Coiigu, by Father Jerome Merolla da Sorrento, 1682. 
Churchill Collection, vol. i. 


natives of Kongo. This list has a double interest. It shows 
us how acute a mind he had, how clearly he saw the things that 
were fundamental to the form of religion he battled against ; but 
it has a great interest to an ethnologist apart from this, as it 
gives us a clearer insight into native custom than has been given 
us by any subsequent traveller in that region, and moreover 
because there is not one custom that the holy Father classes as " an 
abuse " that does not exist to-day with the same force as in the 
seventeenth century. I will only detain you now with Merolla's 
description of " The seventh abuse," that of prohibited foods, for 
you will often in this book come across references by Mr. 
Dennett to the Kazila. 

" Seventhly, it is the custom that either the parents or the 
wizards give certain rules to be inviolably observed by the 
young people, and which they call Chegilla. These were to abstain 
from eating either some sorts of poultry, the flesh of some 
kinds of wild beasts, such and such fruits ; roots either raw or 
boiled after this or another manner, with several other ridiculous 
injunctions of the like nature, too many to be enumerated here. 
You would wonder with what religious observance these in- 
junctions were obeyed. These young people would sooner chuse 
to fast several days together than to taste the least bit of what 
has been forbidden them ; and if it sometime happen that the 
Chegilla has been neglected to have been given them by their 
parents, they think they shall presently die unless they go to 
receive it from the wizards. A certain young Negro being 
upon a journey lodged in a friend's house by the way; his 
friend, before he went out the next morning, had got a wild 
hen ready for his breakfast, they being much better than tame 


ones. The Negro hereupon demanded, ' If it were a wild hen ? ' 
His host answered, ' No.' Then he fell on heartily and after- 
wards proceeded on his journey. After four years these two 
met together again, and the aforesaid Negro being not yet 
married, his old friend asked him, ' If he would eat a wild 
hen,' to which he answered, ' That he had received his 
Chegilla and could not.' Hereat the host began immediately 
to laugh, inquiring of him, ' What made him refuse it now, 
when he had eaten one at his table about four years ago ? ' At 
the hearing of this the Negro immediately fell a trembling, and 
suffered himself to be so far possessed with the effects of imagina- 
tion, that he died in less than twenty-four hours after." * 

The subject of these prohibitions regarding either some 
particular form of food, or some particular manner of eating any 
form of food, is a very interesting one. 

You will find in West Africa, under all the various schools of 
fetish thought, among both Negro and Bantu, that every indi- 
vidual, slave or free, so long as he is not under either 
European or Mahommedan influence, has a law that there is 
some one thing that he individually may not do. Among the 
Calabar people it is called Ibet, which signifies a command, a 
law, an abstinence. Among the Gaboon people it is called 
Orunda, which Dr. Nassau informs me signifies a prohibition. 
Among the Fjorts it is called Kecheela or Chegilla. But under 
whatever name you meet it, it is in itself always the same in its 
essential character, for it is always a prohibition regarding 

* A Voyage to Congo, by Father Jerome Merolla da Sorrento 1682. 
Churchill Collection, vol. i. p. 237. 


When I was in West Africa in daily contact with this custom 
and the inconveniences it presents, like any prohibition custom, 
to every-day affairs, I endeavoured to collect information re- 
garding it. At first I thought it might be connected with the 
totemism I had read of; but I abandoned this view, finding no 
evidence to support it, and much that went against it. 

Sometimes I found that one prohibition would be common to 
a whole family regarding some particular form of food ; but 
the individual members of that family had each an individual 
prohibition apart from the family one. Moreover, there was 
always a story to account for the whole family abstaining from 
eating some particular animal. That animal had always afforded 
signal help to the family, or its representative, at some crisis in 
life. I never came across, as I expected to, a story of the 
family having descended from the animal in question, nor for 
the matter of that any animal whatsoever ; and these stories 
regarding the help received from animals which caused the 
family in gratitude to avoid killing them were always told 
voluntarily and openly. There was not the touch of secrecy 
and mystery that lurks round the reason of the Ibet or Orunda. 
Therefore I rather doubt whether these prohibitions common to 
an entire family are identical with the true Orunda, Ibet, or 

Mr. Dennett in his chapter on The Folklore of the Fjort, 
evidently referring to this eating of his Kecheela, says that " so 
long as he knows nothing about it, the Fjort may eat out of 
unclean pots, but if he knows that anything unclean has been 
cooked in the pot in which his food has been prepared, and he 
eats thereof, he will be punished by some great sickness coming 
over him, or by death." 


I am unable, from my own experience, to agree with this 
statement that ignorance would save the man who had eaten his 
prohibited food. From what I know, Merolla's story as cited 
above is the correct thing : the man, though he eat in ignor- 
ance, dies or suffers severely. 

It is true that one of the doctrines of African human law is 
that the person who offends in ignorance, that is not a culpable 
ignorance, cannot be punished; but this merciful dictum I have 
never found in spirit-law. Therein if you offend, you suffer ; 
unless you can appease the enraged spirit, neither ignorance nor 
intoxication is a feasible plea in extenuation. Therefore I 
think that Mr. Dennett's informant in this case must have been 
a man of lax religious principles ; and in Merolla's story I feel 
nearly certain that the man who gives his friend his Chegilla 
to eat must have been one of the holy Father's converts, engaged 
in trying to break down the superstition of his fellow-country- 
man. Had he been a believer in Chegilla himself, he would 
have known that the outraged spirit of the Chegilla would have 
visited its wrath on him, as well as on his friend, with a fine 
impartiality and horrible consequences, 

The inevitableness of spirit-vengeance, unless suitable sacri- 
fices are made, seems to me also demonstrated in another way. 
Poisoning is a thing much dreaded in West Africa ; practically 
it is a dread that overshadows every man's life there. I per- 
sonally doubt whether white people are poisoned so frequently as 
is currently supposed in West Africa. But undoubtedly it is prac- 
tised among the natives ; and the thing that holds it in reasonable 
check is the virulence of the attack made on the poisoner, or, as 
the poisoner is currently called, the witch. Briefly, poisoning 
is the most common form of witchcraft in West Africa. The 


witch has other methods of destroying the victims — catching their 
souls, witching young crocodiles, &c, into them — but poisoning 
is the sheet-anchor, and is regarded on the same lines as soul- 
theft, &c. Now there is one form of poisoning which is regarded 
among all the various tribes I know as a particularly vile one ; 
and that is giving a person a prohibited food. For example, 
to give a man, whose Orunda is boiled chicken, a mess containing 
boiled chicken, or to boil a chicken and take it from the pot and 
then cook his meal in the pot, is equivalent to giving him so 
rnuch prussic acid or strychnine. But in spite of its efficacy in 
destroying an enemy, this giving of the prohibited food is re- 
garded as a very rare form of the crime of poisoning, because 
of the great danger to himself the giver would incur from the 
wrath of the spirit to whom the prohibited food belonged. The 
great iniquity of this form of the crime of poisoning, I believe, 
lies in its injuring, in some way, the soul of the victim after 

Mr. Dennett, moreover, in the passage I have quoted uses the 
word " unclean." He does this from his habit of using scriptural 
phraseology ; but I entirely disapprove of the use of the word 
" unclean " in connection with these Ibet. Orunda or Kecheela 
matters should suggest the word consecrated, or sacrificed, to be 
substituted. The West African has a whole series of things he 
abstains from doing, or from touching, because he believes them 
truly to be unclean. For example, he regards the drinking of 
milk from animals as a filthy practice, and also the eating of 
eggs ; and he will ask why you use these forms of animal excreta 
and avoid the others. And there are several other things besides 
that he regards as loathsome in themselves. But there is nothing 
loathsome or unclean in things connected with this prohibited 


food. There are, I believe, and I think I may say Dr. Nassau 
would support me in this view, things that a man dedicates for the 
whole of his natural life to the use of his individual attendant 
guardian spirit. 

This Koman Catholic influence over the Fjort may, I think, be 
taken as having been an evanescent one. I do not say, as the Rev. 
J. Leighton Wilson does, that this is so, because Roman Catho- 
licism is an unfit means of converting Africans ; but it suffered 
the common fate that has so far overtaken all kinds of attempts 
to Europeanise the African. It is like cutting a path in one of 
their native forests. You may make it a very nice path — a 
clean, tidy, and good one — but if you leave it, it grows over 
again, and in a few seasons is almost indistinguishable from the 
surrounding bush. The path the Roman Catholics made was 
one intended to lead the African to Heaven. At first, the African 
thought it was to lead him to earthly power and glory and 
riches. During the ascendancy of the Portuguese in the region 
it did this ; but when their power was crippled, it did not. There- 
fore the African "let it go for bush" ; and it is his blame, not 
the missionary's, that the Fjort to-day is found by Europeans in 
a state of culture lower than many African tribes, and with a 
religion as dependent " on conversing with the Devil " as ever — 
in short, a very interesting person to the folklorist. 

The mind of the African has a wonderful power of assimi- 
lating other forms of belief apart from fetish ; and when he has 
had a foreign idea put into his mind it remains there, gradually 
taking on to itself a fetish form ; for the fetish idea overmasters 
it, so long as the foreign idea is left without reinforcements, 
and it becomes a sort of fossil. The teachings of the Roman 
Catholic missionaries are now in this fossil state in the mind of 


the Fjort. Ardent ethnologists may wish that they had never 
been introduced ; but it is well to remember that their religion 
was not the only thing introduced into the region by them, for 
the Fjort of to-day owes almost all his food supply to them : the 
maize, the mango, the banana, and most likely the manioc. 
Nevertheless the high intelligence of the Fjort, as evidenced by 
their having, before coming into contact with Europeans, an 
organised state of society, a definitely thought-out religion, 
and an art superior to that of all other Bantu West Coast tribes, 
makes them a tribe that the student of the African cannot 
afford to ignore, because the study of them entails a little 
trouble and a knowledge of the doctrine taught by the Roman 
Catholic Church. 


Mr. Dennett on reading the proofs of the foregoing introduc- 
tion, and in response to an invitation from me for any sugges- 
tions, sent a number of notes. I select from these for insertion 
here such as relate to historical and ethnological questions ; the 
rest will be more appropriately placed in Appendix I. 

p. xix. " Miss Kingsley mentions a lost part of the Loango 
race (Bavili) in the Ogowe, and calls them Ivili (singular). 
Vila is to lose, in Fjort. Thus, the Bavili were the lost men, 
lost in their journey northward." 

p. xx. " The only Fumu was Kongo, king of the united 
provinces. He sent his sons under the title of Mafumu to rule 
these provinces. They in their turn divided their lands among 
their children under the title of Tekklifumu. To-day, Fumu has 
come to mean chief, head of a family ; it really means Judge. 


The son in Manif'umu, the grandson, Tekklifumu. Ma is short 
for Mani (son of) ; so that MaKongo simply meant son of 
Kongo ; and it is a proof that MaKongo always recognised his 
secondary position, just as MaLoango does today. KaCongo 
should probably be written KaciKongo, which would give the 
sense of Middle Kongo. 

" Ngoio was the name of the great Rain-doctor sent with Ma- 
Kongo and MaLoango, by Fumu Kongo ; and he gave his name 
to the province he took possession of, like MaKongo and Ma- 
Loango did ; and not only to the province, but to the chieftain- 
ship of it. Strange to say, to this day Ncanlam, the chief of the 
Musurongo, has the right to take the cap (succeed to the chief- 
tainship of the province Ngoio) ; but as Ngoio (the chief of 
this province) is always killed the day after he takes the cap, 
the throne remains vacant " — i.e. no one likes to lose his life 
for a few hours' glory on the Ngoio throne. 

The italics are mine. 

M. H. K. 



By the Fjort I mean the tribes that once formed the great 
kingdom of Congo. From the Quillo river, north of Loango, 
to the River Loge, south of Kinsembo, on the south-west coast 
of Africa, and as far almost as Stanley Pool in the interior, this 
kingdom is said to have extended. My remarks refer chiefly to 
the KaCongo and Loango provinces: that is to say, to the two 
coast provinces north of the great river Congo or Zaire. 

The religion or superstition of the Fjort, as well as their 
laws, can easily be traced to their source, namely, to San Sal- 
vador, the headquarters or capital of the great Fumu Kongo. 
Their legends describe how Fumu Kongo sent his sons Ka- 
Congo and Loango to govern these provinces ; and their route 
can be traced by their having left what you call fetishes at each 
place where they slept.* These fetishes are called Nkissi nsi, 
the spirit or mystery of the earth, just as the ruler or nFumu 

* See my Seven Years among the Fjort. London, 1887, p. 50. sqq. 



is called Fumu nsi, the prince of the land or earth. Together 
with these two sons of Kongo (called Muene nFumu, or, as we 
should write it, Manifumu), the king sent a priest or rain- 
doctor, called Ngoio. Even to this day, when the rains do 
not come in their proper season, the princes of KaCongo and 
Loango send ambassadors to Cabinda or Ngoio with presents 
to the rain-doctor, or, as they call him, Nganga. 

Loango, KaCongo, and Ngoio are now all spoken of as 
nFumu nsi ; and their existence is admitted, although, as a 
matter of fact, their thrones are vacant, and each petty prince, 
or head of a family, governs his own little town or towns. 
Each little town or collection of towns, or better perhaps each 
family, has now its patch of ground sacred to the spirit of the 
earth (Nkissi nsi) ,* its Nganga nsi, the head of the family, and 
its Nganga Nkissi (charm or fetish doctor) , and its Nganga bi- 
longo (medicine-doctor or surgeon). Nzambi-Mpungu is what 
we should call the Creator. Nzambi (wrongly called God) is 
Mother Earth, literally Terrible Earth. In all the Fjort legends 
that treat of Nzambi she is spoken of as the " mother," gener- 
ally of a beautiful daughter, or as a great princess calling all 
the animals about her to some great meeting, or palaver ; or as 
a poor woman carrying a thirsty or hungry infant on her back, 
begging for food, who then reveals herself and punishes those 

* Thus the voyage of Kongo's sons KaCongo and Loango from San 
Salvador to Loango is marked for us ; for where they rested the ground 
became blessed (Nkissiansi, land sacred to the spiritual law family Fetish). 
There are no altars made with hands, no images among the Nkissiansi. 
Sometimes one meets with a stone, a mound of earth, a tree, a mound 
of shells, on this holy ground, and I have met with huts containing the 
family fetishes 


who refused her drink or food by drowning them,* or by re- 
warding with great and rich presents those who have given her 
child drink. Animals and people refer their palavers to her 
as judge. Her name also is used as an ejaculation. 

Nkissi nsi is the mysterious spirit that dwells in the earth. 
Nkissi is the mysterious power in herbs, medicines, fetishes. 

The missionary is called a Nganga Nzambi. This alone proves, 
I think, that the natives consider Nzambi, the earth, as their 
deity; and when once the missionaries are convinced of this 
fact it should be their duty to protest against the use of the 
word Nzambi as the equivalent to the white man's God. The 
word they must use is Nzambi Mpungu, or perhaps they had 
better make a new word. Mpungu, or mpoungou, is the word 
used by the Fjort to mean gorilla. This should delight the 
heart of the evolutionist. But mpownga has the signification of 
something that covers. There are, however, no gorillas south 
of the Congo, and in the Ntandu dialect mpoungou has the 
signification of creator or father. And we must remember that 
this religion came from the south of the Congo. 

Upon the sacred earth in each village or family a small hut 
or shimbec is usually built, where the family fetish is kept. A 
tree is also usually planted there, and holes are made in it, 
where medicines are placed. Bach hole is then covered by a 
piece of looking glass, which is kept in its place by a rim of clay, 
which again is spluttered over with white and red earth or 
chalk, moistened in the mouth of the prince. Here the prince 
summons his family to what they call a " washing-up." That 
is, after having made their offerings (generally of white fowls) 

* See below, p. 121. 
B 2 


the people cut the grass and clean up the sacred ground and 
dance and sing. The prince also on certain occasions admits 
the young men who have been circumcised to the rights of 
manhood, and teaches them the secret words which act as pass- 
words throughout the tribe. The prince is crowned here ; and 
it is this fetish that he consults whenever he is in trouble. 

The Nganga Nkissi has his hut apart from his holy ground ; 
and there he keeps his image, into which nails, spear-points, 
knives, etc., are driven by the suppliant who seeks the help of 
the mysterious spirit to kill his enemies or to protect him 
against any evil. The Nganga Nkissi also sells charms, such 
as little wooden images charged with medicines, bracelets, 
armlets, head-bands, waistbands, little bits of tiger's skin to 
keep the small-pox away, the little horns of kids, and other 
pendants for the necklace. 

The Nganga bilongo is the doctor and surgeon. Each 
surgeon or doctor keeps the secret of his cure in the family, so 
that the sick have sometimes to travel great distances to be 
cured of certain diseases. After most sicknesses or misfortunes 
the native undergoes a kind of thanksgiving and purification 
according to the rites of Bingo, who has a Nganga in almost 
every family. This is not the same as the form of going 
through the " paint-house." 

The Nkissi, the spirit, as it were, of mother earth, is met 
with in mountains and rocks. Thus, in the creek that flows 
behind Ponta da Lenha in the River Congo there is a rock 
falling straight down into the water, which the natives fear to 
pass at night ; and even in the daytime they keep close to the 
far side of the creek. They declare that the Nkissi will swallow 
them up. The story of the four young men who left their 


town early in the morning to visit their lovers across the 
mountains, and after a long visit at about four o'clock wished to 
return, proves the power of the terrible spirit of the earth. 
For their lovers determined to see the four young men part of 
the way home, and so went with them up the mountain. Then 
the young men saw the young women back to their town. The 
young women again went up the hill with their lovers, and 
again the young men came back with them. The earth-spirit 
got vexed at such levity and turned them all into pillars of clay, 
as can be proved, for are not the eight pillars visible to this day 
(white-ant pillars taking the shape of four men and four women) ? 
And the lying woman who said she had no peas for sale when 
she had her basket full of them, did not the earth-spirit turn 
her into a pillar of clay, as can be seen in the woods near 
Cabinda behind Futilla even to this day ? 

The mountain Mongo is spoken of at times as a person, 
as in the story of the old lady who, after many exchanges, 
secured a drum in exchange for the red wood she had given the 
image-maker, to keep for her. For the old lady took this 
drum to Mongo and played upon it until Mongo broke it. But 
she wept and Mongo was sorry for her and gave her some 
mushrooms and told her to go away. 

Islands in the River Congo are spoken of as the home of the 
men who turn themselves into crocodiles, so that they may 
upset canoes and drag their prisoners to them and eventually 
sell them. Monkey Island, just above Boma, in the Biver 
Congo, is used as the burial-place of princes of that part of the 

The names of the rivers are also the names of the spirits of 
the same. These spirits, like those of the Chimpanzu and 


Mlomvu, kill those who drink their waters ; others get angry, 
and swell, and overflow their banks like the Lulondo, and 
drown many people ; while some punish those who fish 
in their waters for greediness by causing them to become 
deaf and dumb, as Sunga did in one of the stories I have 
given on a subsequent page. 

Then the great Chamma (rainbow) is described as a huge 
snake that enters rivers at their source and swells them up, and 
carries everything before it, grass, trees, at times whole villages, 
in its way to the sea. 

Any place, either in the hills or along the banks of rivers 
(near fishing places), or near wells, can be reserved by any one 
by his placing shells, strips of cloth, or other charms there. 
The nearest approach that we have to these charms in England 
is the scarecrow, or the hat which the Member of Parliament 
leaves on his seat to show that the place is his. 

The dead bodies of witches are either thrown down precipices 
or into the rivers. 

The sun, Ntangu, and moon, Ngonde, are generally described 
as two brothers. There is a legend which tells us that two 
brothers, Ntangu and Ngonde, lived in a village by the sea ; 
and Ntangu bet Ngonde that he could not catch him up, so they 
set off racing. Ngonde caught up Ntangu ; and then Ntangu 
got vexed and said he could catch up Ngonde, but he never 
did, so Ngonde won the bet. The fact of the moon's being seen 
during the day, together with the sun, and the sun's never 
being seen at night in company with the moon has, no doubt, 
given rise to this story. I have also collected two versions of a 
story of two brothers setting out, one after the other, to the 
land whence no man returns, which also are sun-myths. 


I have heard very little about the stars. The new moon is 
greeted with a cry of " Lu lu lu lu," in a high key, the native 
beating his mouth with his hand as he cries. 

Lightning is said to be made by a blacksmith (Funzi) who 
lives in the centre of KaCongo. Nzassi means thunder; Lu 
siemo, lightning; and they are both spoken of as persons, Nzassi 
being used often for both thunder and lightning. Thus, they 
say that if it comes on to rain when you are in the woods, and 
it thunders, and you try to run away, Nzassi runs after you and 
kills you. 

A man named Antonio one day told me a story of how he had 
seen Nzassi's dogs. It was raining, he declared; and he and his 
companions were under a shed playing at marbles when it began 
to thunder and lighten. It thundered frightfully ; and Nzassi 
sent his twenty-four dogs down upon them. They seized one of 
the party who had left the shed for a moment, and the fire burnt 
up a living palm tree. 

The sky is spoken of in certain stories as something to be 
bored through, as in the story where Nzambi on earth promises 
her beautiful daughter in marriage to anyone who should go to 
Nzambi above, and bring down a little of Nzambi Mpungu's 
fire from heaven. The woodpecker bores the hole through which 
all those anxious to compete for Nzambi' s daughter's hand creep, 
after having climbed up the silken cord made by the spider from 
heaven to earth.* 

The clouds they call Ituti, or rather Matuti (pi.). They rise 
from where the walls of heaven touch the earth, and sail across 
the sky to the other side, or round and round about. 

* The story is given at length on p. 74. 


The Fjort divide the year into two seasons : i muna ki mvula 
(rainy season), i muna ki sifu (dry season). They divide 
the month (ngonde) into seven weeks of four days ; Tono, Silu, 
Nkandu, Nsona, on the last of which they do no work. 

The sea is known as Mbu. The sun rises in the Mayomba 
bush-country, and sets in the Mbu. 

Before going to sea, the fishermen knock their fetishes to bring 
them good luck, or to kill those who spoil their luck. If a 
fisherman goes to sleep, and while he sleeps the little black bird 
called ntieti comes and rests in the stern of his canoe, and 
in the morning he awakes and finds it there, he knows some 
misfortune has come upon his family, or is to come upon him- 

The spirit that dwells in the sea is called Chicamassi-chibuinji. 
At times she comes ashore to collect red-wood and other neces- 
sary articles of toilet. Now, when anyone steals some of these 
articles she gets vexed and causes a calemma (swell) to arise, 
which stops all fishing and at times causes loss of life to those 
passing through the surf. 

Waterspouts they call Nvussuko and Ngo-lo ; and they fear 
them as we should a ghost. 

They say that they do not make sacrifices to the sea; but that 
when Chicamassi is vexed she comes ashore and takes one of 
twins or triplets, and drowns it in the sea. It is well to save a 
relation from drowning; and if you like to save a stranger's 
life, he becomes your slave, or gives you a slave in exchange. 
When the native passes certain places where Chicamassi is 
supposed to have passed, he throws bits of fish, mandioca, or 
whatnot, into the sea for her. They also splutter rum into the 
sea before drinking it. 


The tides are caused by Nzambi Mpungu, who, when the 
time comes, drops a large stone into the ocean to make the 
water rise, and takes it out again when it is time for low 

Zimini has towns under the sand in the sea ; and at times he 
comes up and seizes a maii or woman, and takes him or her down 
to his place. There are stories in which the white man is said 
to have his town under the sea, and to take thither all the 
slaves he captures and buys to help him to make his cloth. 

Woods and forests are the homes of the Mpunia (highway 
robber and murderer), Ndotchi (witch), and Chimbindi (spirit of 
the departed). 

The Nkissi that exists in herbs, plants, and trees, poisons or 
cures people ; and the natives have a great knowledge of the 
different properties of plants, herbs, and trees. The Nkissi 
grows with the plant out of the earth. 

Fetishes are made of a wood called Mlimbe; and it is said 
that when the tree is felled the blood that flows from the tree 
is mixed with the blood of a cock that the Nganga kills. This 
cock used to be a slave, when slaves were cheaper than they are 

Grasses are worn as charms around the neck or body of a 
sick man. 

The greater number of natives are called after animals. Ngo, 
the leopard ; Nkossa, the lobster ; Chingumba, lion ; Nzau, 
elephant ; Memvu, a kind of wild dog ; are the names given 
those of royal blood ; and the greatest of these names is that 
of Ngo. Only princes can wear a leopard's skin. The Leo- 
pard, the royal animal, the figure of royal motherhood (the 
earth, as opposed to Nkala, the crab, the figure of the sea), 


is the name given to women through whom the royal line may 
descend, Kongo being the name of the Fjort's Adam, the great 
and first King or Nfumu (judge), the father of KaCongo and 
Loango and Ngoio. And many customs touching the hunting 
and slaying of the Leopard still exist, and in themselves would 
form an interesting study. Its skin is still worn as a sign of 
Royalty, and its hair is used as a charm against small pox : thirty 
skins used to be sent from Loango to Ngoio, so that he might 
send Mbunzi with rain to water his plantations. 

In listening to their many stories about animals, one forgets for 
the time that the relator is talking about animals; and when it 
comes to where one eats the other, one wonders whether the 
native forgets that his ancestors did act in this outrageous 
fashion. The Fjort believe that some people have the power, or 
misfortune, to change themselves into beasts of prey, such as 
leopards and crocodiles. Stories of quite recent date tell of 
relations who have suffered in this way, and who in their better 
moods have admitted that they have killed so and so, and torn 
him to pieces. 

This brings us to another interesting subject, that of the 
kazilas, or things forbidden. Some families, especially those 
of royal descent, may not eat pig ; others may not touch goat, 
flat-fish, shell-fish, doves. None except witches would attempt 
to eat snakes, crocodiles, lizards, chamelions. Many families 
will not touch certain animals because their ancestors owe such 
animals a debt of gratitude, as many of their stories point out 
to us.* 

* Another kind of kazila, or taboo, is mentioned below (p. 122), 
namely, the prohibition to women to fish in the lake Mbosi or Mboasi, 
near Futilla. 


The native herd in the white trader's employ talks to his 
sheep and goats as if they certainly understood him. 

The plagues were sent by God (so the Hebrews say) to punish 
the oppressors of the children of Israel : so also any great 
scourge in this part of Africa is looked upon as a punishment. 
The locusts are at this moment eating up the Fjort's plantations 
here in Loango. The locusts are known by the name of Makonko, 
and are not entire strangers ; but this year (1896-97) is the first 
time that the Fjort have seen them in such abundance. They 
do not know what to do to get rid of them ; they say that their 
princes in the olden days would have done something and sent 
them away in a day. 

A French official cut the long beard of poor old Maniprato, 
who was acting in the place of the King of Loango. The Fetish, 
who is the nephew of the great Mbunzi (S.W. wind), was 
very much annoyed at this action of the French official, and sent 
word to Mbunzi, and Mbunzi sent the plague of locusts, which 
in one night ate up the large banana plantation of the French 
mission. And now they are eating up the Fjort's plantations 
and his palm trees, and the poor Fjort has no longer any princes 
to send presents to Ngoio to calm the angry Mbunzi. 

Bimbindi (pi. of Chimbindi) , the spirits of the good who have 
departed this life, live in the woods, and are generally considered 
the enemies of mankind. But I knew a Chimbindi who was a 
very decent woman indeed. She was in love, and about to be 
married ; but she fell sick, died, and was buried. Her lover was 
accused of having bewitched her, and he took casca and died. 
Her parents grieved greatly for her, for she was an only child. 
When she rose from the dead she found herself a slave, and mar- 
ried to a white man in Boma. iShe lived there with him until he 


went to Europe, when he freed her. She then tried to get back to 
her native town, which lay behind Malella. So she hired a canoe, 
and got the owners thereof to promise to paddle her there. But 
they took her to the south bank of the Congo, and sold her. 
Here she remained nearly three years, when she happened to 
meet some people of her own family, and they took her back to 
her parents. The parents were rejoiced to see her again ; but 
they will not believe that she is a human being, and continue to 
treat her as the departed spirit of their daughter. I have tried 
to convince her that the Nganga Nkissi, or native doctor, must 
have played her some trick, and that she had been buried by 
him while in a trance, or while unconscious, and that he must 
have taken her to Boma and sold her there to his own profit ; 
but she would not believe it. 

But Bimbindi as a rule are hostile to the human race, and 
consequently greatly feared. 

A certain chief owned a large town, and all the inhabitants 
were either his children or his relations. He was sorely 
troubled at times how to provide them all with animal food; 
and so he used to go into the woods, and set traps. One night 
he got up, and went to see if there was anything in his traps ; 
and sure enough there was a large antelope in one of the traps. 
He made short work of its life by drawing his long knife and 
cutting its throat. Then he carried it home, and called upon all 
to get up and eat. They rejoiced greatly, and got up quickly 
enough to skin and cut up the antelope. It was then fairly 
divided, and each took away his share. And they all ate their 
shares, except the father, who put his away. Before the first 
cock crew, he got up again to look at his traps. Yes, there was 
another antelope. He killed and took it to his town, and again 


roused the people up. They came, and again each took his 
share. And they all ate their shares, except the father, who 
put his share in the same place where he had kept his first share. 
He now slept until sun-rise. About midday his son came to 
him and said : " Father, I am hungry. Give me the antelope 
you have kept in your shimbec (hut)." "No," he answered, 
11 I wish to sell that meat for cloth, even if I only get a fathom 
or two for it." But the son pestered and bothered his father 
until he waxed wroth and shot him dead. Then the father 
called his people again, and said : " See, here is more meat for 
you, take it and eat it." " Nay," they all said, " we cannot 
eat this ; for your son was one of us ; he is of our family. But 
we will cut him up, and give the meat to the princes round 
about." And the princes were thankful for the meat, and gave 
the bearers presents. 

The next evening the father again went to visit his traps, 
and thought he saw a huge something in one of them. He 
ran up to the thing and tried to kill it ; but as he neared the 
trap, the monster's arms embraced him and held him fast. 
'' Ah, ha ! " said the Chimbindi, " so you have dared to set 
your traps in my woods, and to kill my antelopes, You shall 
die." With this the Chimbindi cut the father's head off, and 
hung his body to a tree by its feet. Now when his wife had 
cooked his food, she called for him to come and eat. Receiving 
no answer, she set out to look for him. " Surely he has gone 
to look at his traps," she thought. So she went into the woods; 
and after a little while she caught sight of the body hanging by 
its legs to the tree. The head was not there ; the Chimbindi 
had taken it away with him. She examined the body carefully, 
and at last convinced herself that it was that of her husband. 


She sat down and wept. Then she got up, and went crying 
into the town. The people asked her what she was crying for, 
and she answered : " My husband has been killed, and I have 
seen his body in the woods." Then they tried to comfort her, 
telling her that she was mistaken. But she continued weeping, 
and offered to lead them to the place where he was hung.- 
Then the whole tribe went with her ; and when they saw with 
their own eyes that their father was dead, they were sorely 
troubled and lamented. Then the Chimbindi returned, and 
utterly annihilated the tribe, cutting off their heads, and leaving 
their bodies as food for the eagles, and the crows, and the beasts 
of the woods that eat the flesh of men. So are those punished 
who kill a relation and offer his meat to be eaten. 

But the natives have a weapon with which they can put the 
Chimbindi to flight, as we learn from the following story. 

All preparations for a long stay out of town were made by a 
married couple, the parents of a little boy some four years old. 
As they could not take their little one with them on this occasion, 
they left sufficient food for him with a neighbour, and asked her 
to take care of him. Soon the little boy felt hungry, and ran to 
the neighbour's house and asked her for food. " What food, my 
child ? " she asked. " But mother told me to come and ask you 
for food whenever I felt hungry." " Your mother left no food 
with me, so that I cannot give you any ; and you can run away 
and play." Each day the little boy went to the woman and 
asked her for food. But each day she refused to give him any. 
So on the sixth day the little boy sat down and cried, saying : 
" Six days have passed and I have had no food. I know not 
whither my parents have gone. I shall surely die. I will find 
them, I will go from here at once." Then he got up and walked 


and walked all day, but could not find his parents. When the 
night came, he climbed up a big tree and sat in it and cried. 
And a Chimbindi came and found the boy. He called his 
friends together, and they asked: " Who is this? " The little 
boy was very much afraid ; but he sang in a piteous voice : 
" My father and mother left me, they gave another food for me; 
but she did not give it to me ; and now I have come here to 
die." The Bimbindi came near to him and meant to kill him. 
When the little boy saw what the Bimbindi were about he cried 
bitterly for his mother. 

Meanwhile the parents returned. The mother said : " Father, 
our little one has left our town, and has wandered away. 
Listen! I hear him crying." "Nay," says the father, "we 
left food enough for him, why should he have left the town? 
Look again for him." " No," says the mother; " he is in the 
woods, and the Bimbindi will surely eat him, and we shall 
lose our little one." Then the father went to the market and 
bought some chili pepper, and loaded his gun with it. And the 
mother carried a calabash of pepper with her. " Let us go," 
said the father, " and search for him ! " And the mother soon 
found him, attracted by his cries. Then the father shot the 
Chimbindi just as he was climbing up the tree to kill his son. 
And the mother flew at the others that were looking on, and 
rubbed pepper into their eyes, so that they all ran away. 

When the parents returned to the town they demanded an 
explanation from their neighbour ; but she could make no excuse 
for her conduct, so that the irate father shot the woman, saying: 
" Tou tried to kill my child, am I not right in killing you? " 

And the people said he was acting rightly. 

Women have been captured by Bimbindi and made to live 


with them, according to their tales, but have managed to escape. 
The Bimbindi have followed them to their towns, and to get 
rid of them these women have thrown pepper into their eyes, 
and poured boiling water over them. 

I have also heard of an opposite case, where a Chimbindi has 
come to a town and married a girl and tried to live with her, but 
he would run away at daybreak, and all night he was busy 
eating insects and lizards ; so she left him. Native women dare 
not go out at night alone for fear of meeting them ; and any 
wailing noise they hear during the night they immediately put 
down to the Bimbindi. 

The word witch, in our sense, I think, would correspond 
rather with that of Nganga Nkissi, the man learned in the art 
of mystery. But whereas our witch combines the office of 
spell-binder with that of curer, the Nganga Nkissi acts as the 
curer only, and the power that he exercises is not supposed 
to be his, but rather that of the Nkissi, or, as you would call 
it, his fetish. The sufferer goes to him to find out why it is 
that he suffers, and who it is that is making him suffer, and 
he divines the cause or person if he can ; and if he cannot, 
advises the sufferer to knock a nail into the Nkissi, or fetish, 
and ask it to kill the person who is causing him so much 

The causer of the pain or suffering is called by the Fjort a 
Ndotchi, which has rather the sense of poisoner, and then spell- 
binder, or evil-wisher, or hypnotiser. This last personage is 
usually called the witch, and the Nganga Nkissi, the witch- 
doctor, by Europeans. The Ndotchi, it is true, may have 
poisoned some of his people to get rid of them, but he will have 
done this very secretly. He is not at all likely to go about 


proclaiming the fact that he can cast spells upon people, raise 
storms, or hypnotise, as such a proclamation would mean certain 
death. I am, therefore, sceptical when I hear Europeans 
talking about African witches and witchcraft, unless indeed, you 
call a poisoner a witch. It is the knowledge of poisons in the 
native, his horror of death, and his disbelief in death from 
natural causes, that force him to believe, when a death does take 
place, that poison has in all probability caused it. Accordingly, 
a so-called Ndotchi, or poisoner, is called upon to prove his 
innocence by being forced to undergo the ordeal by poison ; he 
is made to eat two or three spoonfuls of the powdered bark of 
the " casca " tree, and drink a bottle of water. If he vomits, 
he is innocent ; if the casca acts as a purge he is guilty, and at 
once slain. A native goes to sleep and dreams some fearful 
dream, awakes and feels himself spellbound. Up he gets and 
fires off a gun to frighten away the evil spirits. He imagines 
that he has an enemy who is seeking to kill him, and accuses 
people right and left of attempting to poison him, and gives them 

There are certain of the Ngangas who profess to work 
miracles like the magicians of old. 

Women give their husbands certain medicines to cause 
them to love them, and try their own love for them, by 
undergoing different ordeals. For instance, a woman will 
bet another woman that she loves her husband more than 
she does. They will heat an iron and place it on their 
arms ; if a blister is raised, they consider their great love as 

As you enter a village by some road or other you will often 
find the grass tied into a knot {nteuo) with medicines enclosed, to 



prevent anyone bent on evil from passing that way ; or an arch* 
formed by a string of feathers and charms, stretched across the 
road from one pole to another, will keep away evil winds and 

Then, every town has some Nkissi or other to guard it. One 
will often notice an earthenware pot (nduda) half-full of sand, 
containing two eggs, placed upon a stand. It is said that these 
eggs will explode with a fearful report, if anyone bent on evil 
enters the town. 

The Fjort have no legends about the creation, except such 
as are easily traceable to the teachings of the missionaries of old, 
settled in this country some 400 years ago. Nzambi Mpungu 
made the earth, or gave birth to Nzambi; and she brought forth 
many children. We are told nothing more about the creation. 
The difference in colour between the black and white man is 
accounted for by stories of the short-sightedness of the black 
man. The best, perhaps, is that given on a later page. 

Then, we have tales which begin : "A long, long time ago, 
before even our ancestors knew the use of fire, when they ate 
grass like the animals," etc., which then go on to tell how a 
river-spirit first pointed out to them the mandioca root and 
the banana. These I think go a long way to prove that the 
agricultural age was prior to the pastoral and hunting age. 
This river-spirit taught them the use of fire, and then came 
the blacksmith, Mfuzi, (Loango, Funzi) and the iron and 
copper age. 

I do not think the people north of the Congo can yet be said to 

* An ordinary knot in the grass means that some lady has marked the 
place for a plantation, or that a passer-by has hidden something within a 
certain distance from that knot. 


To face page 18. 


be in the Pastoral Age,* or to have passed through it, for, although 
they do keep a few goats, and fowls, and sheep, their attention 
is given more to the planting of mandioca, bananas, and potatoes 
than to the care of animals. But they certainly are hunters. 
They are also manufacturers of native grass-cloth, of knives, 
arms, and ornaments of iron and copper, and of ornaments made 
from European silver coins. They gather cotton, and spin a 
coarse kind of thread, with which they make chinhutu, arm-bags, 
and netted capes for their princes. They make beautiful caps from 
the fibre of the pine-apple, and mats from the leaves of the fubu- 
tree. And all these goods they dye red, black and yellow. 
Earthenware pots, vases, carafes, moringos, and pipes they make 
from the black clay that abounds in the different valleys. The 
fishermen make their own nets from the fibre of different trees, 
and floats from the bark of the baobab-tree. 

Others gather the palm-nuts from the palm-trees, and extract 
the oil from them, dry them and crack them, and then sell the 
kernels and the oil to the European. Some go into the woods 
and collect the milky juice of several vines and trees, and sell it 
as caoutchouc, or rubber, to the white man. 

And the women, as they hoe their fields, at times dig up pieces 
of preserved lightning (aulo, or buangu, gum copal), which 
they and their husbands also sell to the trader. 

People collect round the shimbec, or hut, in which a woman 

» There is no word in the KaCongo dialect to express the word shepherd. 
The nearest they have is i lungo mbizi, he who keeps animals ; but mbizi 
is used in the sense of wild animals. Thus a native missionary, or priest, 
in preaching in native-mouth to the children at the mission here in 
Loango talked of the shepherds who came to visit the child Christ and 
his Mother as the galigneru, from the Portuguese gallinheiro, one who 
looks after the fowls. 



lies, about to give birth to a child, and fire off guns and shout 
to her to help her to bring it forth. The woman is attended by 
her mother, or other female relation ; and the child is washed, 
sometimes in palm-wine, by them. As soon as the after -birth 
comes away, the woman walks away to the place where she is to 
take her hot .bath. The women then throw the very hot water 
upon her parts with their hands. 

Charm upon charm is attached to the infant ; and the mother 
suckles it until it is nearly two years old, being separated from 
her husband until she has weaned the child. 

When a boy arrives at the age of puberty he is circumcised, 
and if he is wealthy a dance is given in his honour. A girl 
arriving at the sam« age is closely watched. The moment of 
her first menstruation is marked by the firing off of a gun, and 
this is followed by a dance. And now, while she little suspects 
it, she is caught and forced into what the natives call the paint- 
house. Here she is painted red, and carefully fed and treated, 
until they consider her ready for marriage, when she is washed 
and led to her husband. But if she has not a husband waiting 
for her, she is covered over with a red cloth, or handkerchief, and 
taken round by women to the different towns, until someone is 
found anxious to have her. 

Should a man wish to marry a girl, he has to present her 
parents with goods according to the value placed upon her by 
them. In fixing the value, her position and wealth have to be 
considered. He can marry her according to different rites, such 
as those of Lembe or Funzi. On such occasions a certain kind 
of native-made copper bracelet is given to her by the husband, 
and worn also by him. She swears to be faithful to him, and 
to die and be buried with him. Formerly these wives were 


buried alive with their husbands, but the custom is now dying 

Or a man may not have money enough to marry. So he pro- 
poses to give the girl so much of his earnings if she will live 
with him. He presents the parents with some small donation, 
and they live together until he can marry her. 

But virgins may be used by a man for a certain payment, 
and afterwards put aside. These women are then at the service 
of anyone who chooses to pay them. This life is not looked 
upon as being immoral by them, and in no way stands in the 
way of future marriage. And it is a strange fact that these 
women do not seem to lose their sense of modesty. They seem 
to think that it is natural that their desires should be satisfied, 
and that until they are married they are in their right to live in 
this way. 

A man may marry as many wives as he has wealth enough 
to obtain ; and as they aH make their plantations he is not likely 
to starve so long as he treats them properly. But the wives 
quarrel for his favours, and so very often a very-much-married 
man does not live so happily as one who has (say) two wives. 

When the bridegroom takes his bride from the paint-house, 
he is generally supposed to give a dance, and this dance is kept up 
all night round about his house. 

Unfaithfulness in a princess used not very long ago to be 
punished by burying her into the ground up to her neck, 
leaving only her head visible, and then leaving her to starve 
and die. The adulterer used to be impaled and allowed to rot. 

If a KaCongo princess, one of the wives of KaCongo, was 
found to have crossed the River Loango Luz, a certain prince 
called Maloango had the right to break off her ivory bracelet 


and declare her a whore. The same law applied to any of the 
wives of Loango who crossed over into KaCongo. 

" I am in debt " is the cry of nearly every native one meets ; 
and thus he stirs himself to action. He now owes the Nganga 
Nkissi for some charms, or the Nganga bilongo, for some 
medicine, or else he has borrowed goods to help him to bury 
some relation. Wealthy men lend people goods, such as a hoe 
to a woman to bury her child. In her grief she perhaps might 
bury it with the body. Then the wealthy man would ask her 
for his hoe and she would have to dig it up again. The man 
would say to her : " This hoe smells of death ; keep it and pay 
me for it." The woman having nothing to pay him with, the 
wealthy man would take one of her little daughters to live with 
his wives. The woman might repay him at any time up to the 
time when the girl should come to the age of puberty; but once 
he put the girl into the paint-house she became his " daughter 
of the cloth," a household slave. Men wanting money used 
to go to these men and accept loans, thus becoming their 

The burden of debt seems to have been the only great motive 
power in the life of the Fjort. Thus all along the coast you will 
find that the traders have always been forced to lend money, or 
rather goods, to native princes and traders, and then use all 
their knowledge of native law to oblige them to give them the 
produce promised in exchange. 

When a child dies it is marked round the eyes and about the 
body with white and red chalk, and is buried perhaps the next 
day. The slave, or poor man, is also buried quickly without 
any particular ceremony. The rich man (or woman) when 
dead, is smoked dry over a smoky fire wrapped up in endless 


lengths of cloth according to his wealth, and after some months 
is buried in an imposing case very similar to that of a prince. 

A prince dies. Immediately it is known, all other princes 
either go themselves with, or else send, their people dressed in 
feathers, with drums and bugles, to cry. These visitors receive 
unlimited drink, and dance and sing until they are tired, and 
then they return to their towns. The Nganga Nkissi is set to 
work to find out who it is that has caused the death of the 
prince ; and many people are forced to take casca. Many 
deaths, therefore, follow that of the prince. 

His body is smoked and watched by his wives in the back 
room (as it were), while in the front half of the shimbec the 
prince's wealth, in the shape of ewers, basins, figure ornaments, 
pots, pipes, glassware, etc., is on view. One of his wives will 
generally be found walking about in front of the shimbec, throw- 
ing her arms about and crying. This may last for a year or 
more before the body is buried. 

The coffin is a case, perhaps 15 feet long, 4 feet broad, 6 feet 
high, covered over with red save-lisf. White braid is nailed by 
means of brass-headed chair-nails in diamond- shaped designs, all 
over the red cloth. The coffin (into which the dried body, 
wrapped in cloth is placed) is then put on the funeral car. Stuffed 
tigers, an umbrella, and other ornaments are placed upon the 
top of the coffin. The whole is then drawn to the burial ground 
by hundreds of assembled guests, who sing and dance by the 

The grave is ready ; and the coffin is lowered into it. Then 
one or two of his wives (10 years ago) jumped in, or (as is the 
case to this day, a little north of Loango) two small boys are 
placed in the grave beside the coffin ; and all are buried. His 


relations proclaim the new prince, and place over his shoulder a 
wreath of grass. The people then return to the prince's town 
and dance. 

A year or two after this, a kind of festival in honour of the 
departed is kept. An effigy in straw of the late prince is placed 
in a shimbec, seated behind a table which bears such earthen- 
ware, glassware, and ornaments as belonged to him, and were 
not placed over his grave when he was buried. The rest of his 
wives, who from the time of his death until that of his burial 
have never washed themselves, have now only certain marks in 
charcoal upon their faces, and walk about the place more reason- 
ably. Some of his children take it in turns to beat a drum and 
sing near to the shimbec. Visitors, bringing their offerings, 
come and congratulate the new prince upon what we should call 
his coronation ; and he receives them sitting perhaps under the 
shade of some great tree. The relics of the late prince are 
visited ; and then dancing, and singing, and eating, and drink- 
ing commence ; and this is continued for perhaps three or four 



Perhaps it may interest you to know how a story is told. 

Imagine, then, a village in a grove of graceful palm trees. 
The full moon is shining brightly upon a small crowd of Negroes 
seated round a fire in an open space in the centre of the village. 
One of them has just told a story, and his delighted audience 
demands another. Thus he begins : 

" Let us tell another story ; let us be off! " 

All then shout : " Pull away ! " 

" Let us be off! " he repeats. 

And they answer again: " Pull away ! " 

Then the story teller commences: 

" There were two brothers, the Smart Man and the Fool. 
And it was their habit to go out shooting to keep their parents 
supplied with food. Thus one day they went together into the 
mangrove swamp, just as the tide was going down, to watch for 
the fish as they nibbled at the roots of the trees. The Fool saw 
a fish, fired at it and killed it. The Smart Man fired also, but 
at nothing, and then ran up to the Fool and said : ' Fool, have 
you killed anything ? ' 

" ' Yes, Smart Man, I am a fool; but I killed a fish.' 

" ' Indeed, you are a fool,' answered the Smart Man, ' for 
when I fired I hit the fish that went your way ; so that the fish 
vou think you killed is mine. Here, give it to me.' 


" The Fool gave the Smart Man the fish. Then they went to 
their town, and the Smart Man, addressing his father, said: 
' Father, here is a fish that your son shot, but the Fool got 
nothing.' " 

Here the crowd join in, and sing over the last sentence two or 
three times. 

Then the narrator continues : 

" The mother prepared and cooked the fish, and the father 
and the Smart Man ate it, giving none to the Fool. 

" Then they went again ; and the Fool fired, and with his 
first shot killed a big fish. 

" ' Did you hear me fire ? " says the Smart Man. 

" ' No,' answers the Fool. 

" ' No?' returned the Smart Man; 'see then the fish I killed.' 

" ' All right,' says the Fool. ' take the fish.' 

" When they got home they gave the fish to their mother ; and 
when she had cooked it, the Smart Man and his father ate it, 
but gave none to the Fool. But as they were- enjoying the fish, 
a bone stuck in the father's throat. Then the Smart Man called 
to the Fool and bade him go for a doctor. 

" ' No,' says the Fool, ' I cannot. I felt that something 
would happen.' And he sings : 

' Every day you eat my fish, you call me Fool, 
And would let me starve.' " 

The crowd here join in, and sing the Fool's song over and 
over again. 

" ' How can you sing,' says the Smart Man, ' when you see 
that our father is suffering ? 


" But the Fool goes on singing : 

' You eat and eat unto repletion ; 
A bone sticks in your throat ; 
And now your life is near completion, 
The bone is still within your throat. 

' So you, smart brother, killed the fish, 
And gave the fool to eat ? 
Nay ! but now he's dead perhaps you wish 
You'd given the fool to eat.' " 

The crowd go on singing this until they are tired ; and the 
story-teller continues : 

" While yet the Fool was singing, the father died. Then the 
neighbours came and joined the family circle, and asked the 
Fool how it was that he could go on singing now that his father 
was dead. 

" And the Fool answered them, saying : ' Our Father made 
us both, one a smart man, the other a fool. The Fool kills the 
food, and they eat it, giving none to the Fool. They must not 
blame him, therefore, if he sings while they suffer. He suffered 
hunger while they had plenty. 

" And when the people had considered the matter, they gave 
judgement in favour of the Fool, and departed. 

"The father had died, and so had been justly punished for not 
having given the Fool food. 

" He who eats fish with much oil must suffer from indiges- 

" And now I have finished my story." 

All answer, " Just so ! " 

" To-morrow may you chop palm-kernels," says the narrator, 
as he gets up and walks away. 


A lady telling a story begins by shouting out the words: 
" Viado! Nkia? (An antelope! How big?) " 

The crowd answer: " ISTzoka (two fathoms)." 

Then the narrator begins : 

" Once there was a man who had a wife, but he fell in love 
with another woman. His wife was heavy with child, but he 
neglected her. He used to go out fishing ; but instead of 
giving his wife the fish, he gave it to his lover. When he shot 
an antelope he gave his wife none of it. If he trapped a bird 
it went to the wicked woman." 

The narrator sings : 

" The poor starved wife 
Brought forth a son, 
She gave it life, 
Poor weakly one ! " 

Then all join in this song in tones of disgust. 

" The son grew up and complained to his mother that while 
he had eaten of the produce of her farm he had not yet eaten 
any food killed by his father, nor even worn a cloth given by 

" One day a friend gave him a knife, and he immediately, 
unknown to his mother, went to the woods and hills to cut some 
muchinga, or native string. He tried to kill some game by 
throwing his knife at it, but to no purpose. So before he left 
for home he set a trap to catch some bird or other. He grieved 
at his bad luck. 

" Next morning he went out again, and to his intense relief 
found a guinea-fowl in his trap. He ran away home with his 
prize, and, while yet afar off, shouted to his mother : 


" ' Mother, get the fundi (tapioca) ready ! ' 

" Fundi ! my son. How is this ? You return too early for 
meal-time and call for fundi. Your father has taken no notice 
of me and has brought me no food : whence then, my son, hast 
thou got food for me to cook ? ' 

" 'Never you mind, mother, get the fundi ready.' 

" The mother prepared the fundi, and the son laid the bird at 
her feet. When she saw that her son could bring her food, she 
no longer thought of her troubles or her husband. When the 
food was ready, the mother called her son and named him Zinga 
(to continue to live), for now they could eat and live without the 
help of a father. 

" About this time the husband had grown tired of his 
concubine and sent her away, so that having no one to cook for 
him, he remained in his shimbec (house) hungering. 

" When he heard that his son now went out hunting, and 
had plenty of food, he sneaked out of his shimbec and clapped 
his hands and begged his son to give him food. 

" He sang : 

' My son, can it be true 
That you me food deny 1 
Upon my knees I sue, 
My son, let me not die.' 

All present repeat this song plaintively. 
" Then the mother replied : 

' You first denied us food ; 
We starved and nearly died ; 
We will not give him food 
Who kept that girl supplied. ' 


" Another day, when the son had been lucky and caught a 
bird, after killing and cleaning it, he said : ' Mother, time was 
when we nearly died of hunger, but now we have plenty ; and 
now that I am a man you shall need neither cloth nor food.' 

"And as they were feeding, the father, very thin and weak, 
crawled out of his shimbec, and cried : 

' Oh, Zinga, my son, Zinga, 
Will you let your father die 1 
Oh, Kengi, my wife, Kengi, 
Here starving do 1 lie.' " 

All around sing this song in a supplicating tone. 

" When the son heard his father crying so bitterly, he was 
greatly moved, and prayed his mother to put some food upon a 
plate and send it to him ; but the mother refused, saying that 
he deserved none. 

" Then the son wept and sang : 

' Mother, father wronged us 
When he starved us ; 
Let us feed him now he asks us, 
Or God may kill us. ' 

" And then he put some food upon a plate and was about to 
give it to his father, when his father dropped down dead from 

" An enquiry was held to find out how the father had come 
to die ; and when the people had heard all they gave judge- 

"He did not give his wife and child food when they needed 
it. They were in their right when they gave him none when 
he asked for it. He died by the avenging hand of the Great 


I will conclude this chapter with a native tale of a practical 
joker, a character who is as much en evidence in Africa, I regret 
to say, as he is in other parts of the world. 

There were two men who from their childhood had been fast 
friends, and never were known to have quarrelled with one 
another. So great was their friendship that they had made their 
farms close to one another. They were divided one from the 
other only by a native path. 

Now there was a wicked wit in their town, who had deter- 
mined, if possible, to make these chums quarrel. This man 
made a coat, one side or half of which was red in colour, while 
the other was blue. And he walked past these two chums as 
they were busy on their farms, making enough noise to attract 
their attention. Each of the chums looked up to see who it was 
that was passing, and then went on with his work. 

" Ugh, say ! did you see that man ? " said one. 

" Yes," answered the other. 

" Did you notice the bright coat he wore ? " 

" Yes." 

" What colour should you say it was ? " 

" Why, blue, of course." 

" Blue, man ! why, it was a kind of red ! " 

" Nay, friend, I am sure it was blue." 

" Nonsense ! I know it was red, but " 

" Well ! you are a fool ! " 

" A fool, how now ! we have been friends all our lives, and 
now you call me a fool ! let us fight ; our friendship is at an 
end." And the quondam chums fought. 

Then their women screamed and interfered, and managed to 
separate them. 


Then the wit walked quietly back, and saw the two chums 
seated each in his own farm, with his elbows resting on his 
knees and his head between his hands. 

Then they saw through the joke and they were sorry ; and 
they ordered the wit never to come that way again. 

But the women cursed the wit and hoped that he would soon 




A ceetain man, named Nenpetro, had three wives, Ndoza'ntu 
(the Dreamer), Songa'nzila (the Guide), and Fulla Fulla 
(the Raiser of the Dead). Now Nenpetro was a great hunter ; 
and one day he killed an antelope, and gave it to his three wives. 
They ate it, and after a time complained of hunger. Nenpetro 
went out shooting again, and killed a monkey. They ate this 
also, but still complained of hunger. " Oh," says Nenpetro, 
"nothing but an ox will satisfy you people." So off he went 
on the track of an ox. He followed the tracks for a long way, 
and at last caught sight of it as it was feeding with two or three 
others. He stalked it carefully, and shot it; but before he could 
reload, another angry ox charged him, and killed him. 

Now in town they knew nothing of all this ; but his wives 

grew very hungry, and cried for him to come back to them. 

Still he returned not. Then Ndoza'ntu dreamt that he had been 

killed by an ox, but that he had killed an ox before he fell. 
" Come along," said Songa'nzila ; " I will show you the 


Thus they set out, and marched up hill and down dale, through 

woods and across rivers, until towards nightfall they came up to 



the place where their husband lay dead. And now Fulla Fulla 
went into the woods and collected herbs and plants, and set about 
raising him from the dead. 

Then the three women began to quarrel and wonder into whos 
shimbec Nenpetro would first enter. 

" I dreamt that he was dead," said Ndoza'ntu. 

" But I showed you where he lay dead," said Songa'nzila. 

" And I have brought him back to life," said Fulla Fulla, as 
the husband gradually gave signs of life. 

" Well ! let us each cook a pot of food, and take it to him as 
soon as he can eat ; and let him decide out of which pot he will 
take his first meal." 

So two killed fowls, and cooked them each in her own pot, 
while the third cooked some pig in hers. And Nenpetro took 
the pot of pig that Fulla Fulla had cooked, and said : " When 
you dreamt that I was dead, you did not give me food, Ndoza'ntu ; 
for I was not yet found. And when you, Songa'nzila, had shown 
the others the road, I was still unfit to eat; but when Fulla 
Fulla gave me back my life, then was I able to eat the pig she 
gave me. The gift therefore of Fulla Fulla is the most to be 

And the majority of the people said he was right in his judge- 
ment ; but the women round about said he should have put the 
food out of the three pots into one pot, and have eaten the food 
thus mixed. 



Nenpetro had two wives, and they each gave birth to a 
beautiful daughter. As they were a rich family, they determined 
not to take a present for their daughters on being asked in mar- 
riage, but to give them to him who could find out their names. 
They called one Lunga and the other Lenga. 

The daughters grew up as beautiful as their parents could have 
wished, and were now of a marriageable age. The antelope 
then came to the parents, and, placing his large bundle of cloth 
and valuables at their feet, asked them to give him their daugh- 
ters in marriage. 

" We cannot accept your generous presents, for we have 
sworn to give our daughters only to the man who can guess 
their names." 

The antelope scampered off and wondered how he could 
possibly find out their names. 

Then Nsassi, a well-known prince of a town some way off, 
came along followed by his faithful dog, and asked Nenpetro for 
his daughters. 

" Nay, guess their names, my son, and thou shalt have them." 

* So in the Musurongo dialect. In the Cabenda and Loango dialects 
the word is Nsessi. 

D 2 


" Well ! what do you call them ? " 

" No, I may not tell you." 

And the dog sat watching his master and heard all that was 
said, and felt for him. Nsassi went away sore-hearted ; for the 
daughters of Nenpetro were beautiful to behold, and he yearned 
for them. So grieved was he, that he did not miss his dog, but 
marched straight back to his town to devise some means by 
which he might find out their names. 

And now Nenpetro called his daughters to him by their 
names, " Lunga! Lenga ! come here." 

And the dog heard their names and said: "Oh I must run 
off and tell my father the names of these beautiful daughters, 
that he may marry them and be happy." 

And off he trotted along the road, until he was nearly dead 
with hunger. Then he looked about for something to eat, and 
after some trouble caught a wild kitten. When he had eaten it, 
he set off again full of happiuess, until he began to think over in 
his mind the names of Nenpetro's daughters. Alas ! he had 
forgotten them. What was he to do ? He resolved to go back 
again to Nenpetro's town. After a weary journey, he arrived 
there about midnight, and then slept until well into the next 

" Oh ! Lunga and Lenga, give that little dog of Nsassi's some 

The daughters gave him food, but no water to drink ; but he 
licked their hands and thanked them. Off he set again as happy 
as possible, full of the importance of his mission. He met a 
clear stream of water, and so overcome was he by thirst, that he 
forgot his errand and drank deeply of the waters. When he 
had (satisfied himself, he tried to think of the names of Nenpetro's 


daughters, but he could not. So he had to return again to 
Nenpetro's town and sleep there that night. 

The next morning Nenpetro called Lunga and Lenga, and 
said : " My children, give food and drink to Nsassi's dog." 

And the daughters gave him both food and drink. And he 
was satisfied, and once more set off towards Nsassi's town. He 
arrived there safely this time, having thought of nothing else 
but the names of Nenpetro's daughters and his father's happiness 
along the road. 

And Nsassi, when he saw him, was glad, and called him, and 
said: " 0, my dear dog, where hast thou been? and canst thou 
tell me the names of Nenpetro's daughters ? " 

And the dog answered : " Yes,, my master, I know their 

" Tell me, then." 

" First, thou must pay me, father." 

Nsassi killed a pig and gave it to his dog. Then the dog 
told him the names of the beautiful girls, and all that had 
happened. And Nsassi was delighted, and gave a great dance ; 
and all in town were happy, as now it was certain that Nsassi 
would get the daughters of Nenpetro in marriage. 

Then Nsassi and his dog set out to claim the daughters of 
Nenpetro. But the dancing and singing had made them very 
thirsty, so that when they came to the clear water they drank 
deeply. And when they were satisfied they found to their 
dismay that they had forgotten the names of the girls. 

Then the dog went alone to Nenpetro's town, and again heard 
the father call his daughters by their names. They gave him 
food and drink, and he immediately returned .to his master. 
Then they neither ate nor drank on the road, but went straight 


for Nenpetro's town. And Nsassi called the daughters of 
Nenpetro by their names and claimed them as his wives. 

And Nenpetro said, " Take them, my son, for thou hast 
fulfilled the condition upon which I promised them." 

And the antelope declared war against Nsassi, and they 
fought ; but Nsassi gained the victory, and killed the antelope 
and ate him. 



Two brothers lived in a certain town. They were called Buite 
and Swarmi. 

Swarmi was married and had servants to wait upon him ; but 
Buite was alone and despised. As Buite had no one to cook for 
him, he used to eat palm-kernels, which he daily brought in from 
the bush. 

Swarmi treated Buite very badly, never asking him to join 
him at his meals, or enter in any way into the festivities of his 
family; so that Buite determined to leave his town, and live alone 
far away in the bush. So one day, without saying anything, he 
left his brother, and walked, and walked, and walked, until at 
nightfall he arrived at a deep valley, fertile and thickly planted 
with palm-trees. Far away at the bottom of this damp valley, 
beneath the shade of the high trees, palms and rushes, Buite 
built himself a little shed — a roof, supported upon sticks, about 
a foot in height above the ground. In this damp hovel he spread 
out his mat to sleep upon, and lighted his fire to cook his solitary 

Tired and weary of life, Buite one night fell asleep, and dreamt 
that a beautiful girl called him, that he rose and followed her, 
and that she led him through the thick jungle and woods, until 
they arrived at a river. Here she told him to tap on the ground 


three times ; and to his surprise a canoe appeared. He tapped 
the canoe three times, and paddles made their appearance. Then 
she told him to go and fish, and bring her food, that she might 
cook it for him ; but that he should cut the heads off the fish, 
as she could not bear to see them. And he dreamt that he did 
so, and returned to find the girl waiting for him to cook the fish. 
Then he awoke, and could sleep no longer that night. 

The next morning he got up and, remembering his dream, 
travelled through the jungle and woods, until he came to the 
river he had seen in his dream. And he tapped the ground, and 
lo ! there appeared the canoe. He tapped the canoe, and there 
were the paddles. Then he went and fished, and cut the heads 
off the fish, and returned to his wretched hovel. But the shed 
had disappeared, and in its place was a large house, beautifully 
furnished, and all the necessary out-houses, and above every- 
thing, the beautiful girl, who came forward to meet him, just as 
if she had been accustomed to do so every day, and she also had 
nine little servants to wait upon her. And when she told him, 
that she had come to comfort him, he was very pleased and 
loved her very much. 

And every day, when he went out fishing, she would send one 
of the little ones with him, to carry the fish. And people who 
passed that way were astonished at the liberal treatment bestowed 
upon them by Buite, and wondered where he had got his wife 
and riches from. His brother 1 , Swarmi, would not believe in 
Buite's prosperity, and determined to visit him. 

Now Buite each day went fishing, taking one of his wife's 
boys with him. But after a time he got tired of always cutting 
off the fishes' heads. 

And it so happened one day that he did not cut off the heads 


of the fish. When the boy saw this, he cried out and protested, 
saying that his mother did not like to see a fish's head. 

But Buite asked him if it was for him, a servant, to talk in 
that way to his master. And the boy left for the house, carry- 
ing the fish with him. But after a time Buite ran after the 
boy, and caught him up just before he got home, and cut the 
heads of the fish off, so that his wife should not see them. 

And this happened eight times with eight different servants 
of his wife. Each time the boy protested ; each time Buite 
scolded him, and then, repenting, ran after the boy and cut 
the heads of the fish off. 

The ninth time he took the youngest boy, Parrot by name, 
and fished, and gave the entire fish to him to carry home. And 
Parrot cried very much and protested, but was frightened by 
Buite's imperious manner, and ran away home with the fish. 
And Buite ran after him, and ran, and ran, and ran, but could 
not catch Parrot up. 

And Parrot arrived, and showed the fish to the woman ; and 
immediately the house vanished ; and the out-houses, and the 
servants, and beautiful furniture, and lastly the lovely wife, all 
disappeared, so that when Buite arrived, all out of breath, he 
no longer saw his house, or wife, or servants, but only his 
brother, Swarmi, who just then turned up to visit him. 

And Buite was very sorry, and wept very much; and Swarmi 
more than ever despised him, and left him once more alone. 



There were two sons of one mother, one named Mavungu, and 
the other Luemba. Luemba was a fine child, and grew up to be 
a handsome man. Mavungu was puny and miserable-looking, 
and as he came to man's estate became dwarfish and mean- 
looking. The mother always treated Luemba very well : but 
she maltreated Mavungu, and made him sleep outside the house 
beneath the mango-trees ; and often when he approached her, 
to beg for food, she would throw the water she had cooked the 
beans in over his head. 

Mavungu could not stand this bad treatment any longer; so 
he ran away into the woods, and wandered far away from home, 
until he came to a river. Here he discovered a canoe, and so 
determined to use it as a means of carrying him still further 
from his town. And he paddled and paddled, until he came to 
a huge tree, that overspread the river and prevented him from 
paddling. So he laid his paddle down, and caught hold of the 
leaves of the fuba-tree to pull his canoe along. But no sooner 
had he begun to pull the leaves of the fuba-tree, than he heard 
a voice, as if of a woman, faintly crying : " You are hurting 
me ! please take care." 

Mavungu wondered, but still pulled himself along. 


" Take care ! you are breaking my legs off," said the voice. 

Still Mavungu pulled until a leaf broke off and instantly 
became changed into a beautiful woman. This startled Mavungu, 
so that he pulled many other leaves off the fuba-tree. Each 
leaf turned into a man, or a woman ; his canoe was so full that 
he could not pull it any longer. 

Then the first woman told him that she had come to be his wife, 
and comfort him ; and Mavungu was no longer afraid, but was 
very happy. Then the wife appealed to her fetish, and said : 
" Am I to marry a man so deformed as this one is? " And 
immediately Mavungu became changed into a beautifully-formed 

" Is he to be dressed like that?" she cried ; and straightway 
his dress was changed. 

In the same magical way did the wife build Mavungu a large 
house and town for his people, so that he wanted nothing that 
was needful to a powerful prince. And as people passed that 
way they were astonished at the transformation, and wondered 
where Mavungu had obtained his beautiful wife. And his 
mother and brother and whole family came to see him ; and he 
treated them liberally and sent them away loaded with presents. 
But, having been expressly warned by his wife to say nothing to 
them as to the origin of his happiness, he left them in ignorance 
of that fact. 

Then his people invited Mavungu to their town, but his wife 
advised him not to go, and so he stayed at home. But after 
having received many invitations he finally agreed, in spite 
of his wife's advice, to visit them. He promised, however, 
not to eat any of the food given to him. When he arrived in 
town his mother placed poisoned food before him and urged him 


to partake thereof, but he refused. And then they asked about 
his beautiful wife, and being taken off his guard, he replied : 
" Oh, when I left you I wandered through the woods." 

But when he had got thus far he heard his wife's voice ringing 
through the woods : 

" Oh ! Ma-vu-ng-u-a-a-a ! " and immediately he remembered, 
and got up and ran away home. 

His wife was very cross with him, and told him plainly that 
she would not help him the next time he made a fool of 

Some time after this Mavungu again went to visit his family. 
His wife said nothing, neither asking him to stay at home, nor 
giving him her consent to his going. When he had greeted 
his mother and had partaken of food, the family again asked 
him to tell them from whence he had obtained his wife. 

And he said : " When I left you, owing to your bad treat- 
ment, I wandered through the woods and came to a river. 
Dear me ! where has my beautiful hat gone ? " 

" Your brother has taken it, to put it in the sun," said the 
mother, " but continue." 

" I found a canoe with a paddle in it. Where has my coat 
gone ? " 

" Your brother has taken that also." 

" And I paddled and paddled. Why have you taken my 
beautiful cloth ? " 

" To have it washed, of course." 

" I paddled until I came to a big tree. Nay, why not leave 
me my shirt? and as I pulled off the leaves of the fuba- 
tree, they turned into my wife and her attendants. But I am 
naked ! " 


Then Mavungu remembered, and ran away to his town, only 
to find that it and his beautiful wife had disappeared. And 
when the people heard the whole story, they said it served 
Mavungu right for being so foolish as to want to please his 
people, who had been his enemies all along, rather than please 
his wife, who had been so good to him. 



Two wives busied themselves preparing chicoanga, or native 
bread, for their husband, who purposed going into the bush 
for six months to trade. Each of these women had a child; 
and the husband, as he left them, adjured them to be very 
careful with the children, and see that no harm came to them. 
They promised faithfully to attend to his entreaty. 

When it was nearly time for the husband to return, the women 
said : " Let us go and fish, that we may give our husband some 
good food when he returns." 

But as they could not leave the children alone, one had to 
stay with them while the other fished. The elder wife went 
first, and stayed in the fishing-ground for two or three days to 
smoke what she had caught. Then the younger wife left to 
fish, and the elder remained to take care of the children. 

Now the child of the younger wife was a much brighter and 
more intelligent child than that of the elder ; and this made the 
latter jealous and angry. So she determined to murder the 
child, and get it out of the way while its mother was fishing. She 
sharpened a razor until it easily cut off the hairs on her arm, and 


then put it away until the evening when the children should 
be asleep. And when it was evening and they were fast asleep, 
she went to the place where the child was accustomed to sleep, 
and killed it. The other child awoke, and in its fright ran out 
of the house and took refuge with a neighbour. 

In the morning the elder wife went to look at her evil work, 
thinking to put the child away before its mother should return. 
But when she looked again at the child she was horror-struck to 
find that she had killed her own child. She wept as she picked 
up its little body; and wrapping it up in her cloth she ran away 
with it into the woods, and disappeared. 

The husband returned and at once missed his elder wife. He 
questioned the younger one ; but she could only repeat to him 
what her child had told her, namely, that during the night the 
elder wife had killed her child. The husband would not believe 
this story, and asked his friends, the bushmen who had come 
with him, to help him to search for his wife. They agreed, and 
scoured the woods the whole day, but without success. 

The next day one of the bushmen came across a woman who 
was nursing something ; so he hid and listened to her singing. 
The poor woman was for ever shaking the child, saying : 

" Are vou always going to sleep like this ? Why don't you 
awake ? Why don't you talk ? See ! See ! it is your mother 
that nurses you." 

" Surely," said the bushman, " this must be my friend's wife. 
I will go to him and tell him that I have found her." 

" Let us go," said the husband ; and as they approach her 
they hide themselves so that she cannot see them. And they 
find her still shaking the child and still singing the same sad 


Then the father calls in her relations, and together they go 
to the woods, and make her prisoner. And when they saw that 
the child had been really murdered, they gave casca to the 
woman ; and it killed her. Then they burnt her body, and 
scattered its ashes to the wind. 


Four little maidens one day started to go out fishing. One of 
them was suffering sadly from sores, which covered her from 
head to foot. Her name was Ngomba. The other three, after 
a little consultation, agreed that Ngomba should not accompany 
them ; and so they told her to go back. 

" Nay," said Ngomba, " I will do no such thing. I mean to 
catch fish for mother as well as you." 

Then the three maidens beat Ngomba until she was glad to 
run away. But she determined to catch fish also, so she walked 
and walked, she hardly knew whither, until at last she came 
upon a large lake. Here she commenced fishing and singing : 

" If my mother 

[She catches a fish and puts it in her basket.] 
Had taken care of me, 

[She catches another fish and puts it in her basket.] 
I should have been with them, 

[She catches another fish and puts it in her basket.] 
And not here alone." 

[She catches another fish and puts it in her basket.] 


But a Mpunia (murderer) had been watching her for some 
time, and now he came up to her and accosted her : 

" What are you doing here ? " 

" Fishing. Please, don't kill me ! See, I am full of sores, 
but I can catch plenty of fish." 

The Mpunia watched her as she fished and sang : 

" Oh, I shall surely die ! 

[She catches a fish and puts it in her basket.] 
Mother, you will never see me ! 

[She catches another fish and puts it in her basket.] 
But I don't care, 

[She catches another fish and puts it in her basket.] 
For no one cares for me." 

[She catches another fish and puts it in her basket.] 

" Come with me," said the Mpunia. 

" Nay, this fish is for mother, and I must take it to her." 

" If you do not come with me, I will kill you." 

"Oh! Am I to die 

[She catches a fish and puts it in her basket.] 
On the top of my fish ? 

[She catches another fish and puts it in her basket.] 
If mother had loved me, 

[She catches another fish and puts it in her basket.] 
To live I should wish. 

[She catches another fish and puts it in her basket.] 

Take me and cure me, dear Mpunia, and I will serve you." 
The Mpunia took her to his home in the woods, and cured 

her. Then he placed her in the paint-house and married her. 
Now the Mpunia was very fond of dancing, and Ngomba 

danced beautifully, so that he loved her very much, and made 

her mistress over all his prisoners and goods. 

ngomba's balloon. 51 

" When I go out for a walk," he said to her, " I will tie this 
string round my waist ; and that you may know when I am still 
going away from you, or returning, the string will be stretched 
tight as I depart, and will hang loose as I return." 

Ngomba pined for her mother, and therefore entered into a 
conspiracy with her people to escape. She sent them every day 
to cut the leaves of the mateva-palm, and ordered them to put 
them in the sun to dry. Then she set them to work to make a 
huge ntenda, or basket. And when the Mpunia returned, he 
remarked to her that the air was heavy with the smell of 

Now she had made all her people put on clean clothes, and 
when they knew that he was returning, she ordered them to 
come to him and flatter him. So now they approached him, 
and some called him " father" and others " uncle " ; and others 
told him how he was a father and a mother to them. And he 
was very pleased, and danced with them. 

The next day when he returned he said he smelt mateva. 
Then Ngomba cried, and told him that he was both father 
and mother to her, and that if he accused her of smelling of 
mateva, she would kill herself. 

He could not stand this sadness, so he kissed her and danced 
with her until all was forgotten. 

The next day Ngomba determined to try her ntenda, to see 
if it would float in the air. Thus four women lifted it on high, 
and gave it a start upwards, and it floated beautifully. Now 
the Mpunia happened to be up a tree, and he espied this great 
ntenda floating in the air ; and he danced and sang for joy, and 
wished to call Ngomba, that she might dance with him. 

That night he smelt mateva again, and his suspicions were 

2 E 


aroused ; and when he thought how easily his wife might 
escape him, he determined to kill her. Accordingly, he gave 
her to drink some palm-wine that he had drugged. She drank 
it, and slept as he put his sommo (the iron that the natives 
make red hot, and with which they burn the hole through the 
stem of their pipes) into the fire. He meant to kill her by 
pushing this red hot wire up her nose. 

But as he was almost ready, Ngomba' s little sister, who had 
changed herself into a cricket and hidden herself under her 
bed, began to sing. The Mpunia heard her and felt forced to 
join in and dance, and thus he forgot to kill his wife. But 
after a time she ceased singing, and then he began to heat the 
wire again. The cricket then sang again, and again he danced 
and danced, and in his excitement tried to wake Ngomba to dance 
also. But she refused to awake, telling him that the medicine 
he had given her made her feel sleepy. Then he went out and 
got some palm-wine, and as he went she drowsily asked him if 
he had made the string fast. He called all his people, dressed 
himself, and made them all dance. 

The cock crew. 

The iron wire was still in the fire. The Mpunia made his 
wife get up and fetch more palm-wine. 

Then the cock crew again, and it was daylight. 

When the Mpunia had left her for the day, Ngomba deter- 
mined to escape that very day. iSo she called her people and 
made them try the ntenda again ; and when she was certain that 
it would float, she put all her people, and all the Mpunia's orna- 
ments, into it. Then she got in and the ntenda began to float 
away over the tree-tops in the direction of her mother's town. 

When the Mpunia, who was up a tree, saw it coming towards 

ngomba's balloon. 53 

him, he danced and sang for joy, and only wished that his wife 
had been there to see this huge ntenda flying through the air. 
It passed just over his head, and then he knew that the people 
in it were his. So that he ran after it in the tops of the trees, 
until he saw it drop in Ngomba's town. And he determined to 
go there also and claim his wife. 

The ntenda floated round the house of Ngomba's mother, and 
astonished all the people there, and finally settled down in front 
of it. Ngomba cried to the people to come and let them out. 
But they were afraid and did not dare, so that she came out 
herself and presented herself to her mother. 

Her relations at first did not recognise her ; but after a little 
while they fell upon her and welcomed her as their long-lost 

Then the Mpunia entered the town and claimed Ngomba as 
his wife. 

" Yes," her relations said, " she is your wife, and you must 
be thanked for curing her of her sickness." 

And while some of her relations were entertaining the 
Mpunia, others were preparing a place for him and his wife 
to be seated. They made a large fire, and boiled a great quan- 
tity of water, and dug a deep hole in the ground. This hole 
they covered over with sticks and a mat, and when all was 
ready they led the Mpunia and his wife to it, and requested 
them to be seated. Ngomba sat near her husband, who, as 
he sat down, fell into the hole. The relations then brought 
boiling water and fire, and threw it over him until he died. 



" Cut you more palm-nuts? why, I am for ever cutting palm- 
nuts ! What on earth do you do with them ? I cut enough in 
one day to keep you for a week," said the husband to his wife. 

" Nay," said the wife, " what am I to do ? first, one of your 
relations comes to me, and asks me for a few, then another, and 
another, and so on, until they are all gone. Can I refuse to 
give them ? " 

" Well, as you know, its a long way to where the palm-trees 
grow. If you want palm-nuts, you can come with me and carry 
them back with you." 

" Nay, I cannot go so far, for I have just put the mandioea in 
the water." 

" But you must go ! " 

" Nay, 1 will not." 

" Yes, you shall! " And the husband dragged her after him. 

When he got her well into the woods he placed her upon a 
rough table, he had constructed, and cut off her arms and legs. 
Then the wife wriggled her body about and sang: " Oh, if I 
had never married, I could never have come to this." 

The husband left her, and returned to his town, telling the 
people that his wife had gone to visit her relations, 


Now a hunter happened to hear the wife's song, and was 
greatly shocked to find her in such a terrible condition. He 
returned to town, and told his wife all about it, but cautioned 
her to tell no one. 

But the prince got to hear about it, and knocked his chin- 
gongo (or bell), and thus summoned all his people together. 
When they were all assembled, he bade them go and fetch the 
wife. And they went and brought her, but she died just as she 
arrived in town. 

. Then they tied up the husband and accused him of the crime. 
And while they placed the wife upon a grill, to smoke and dry 
the body, they placed the husband beneath, in the fire, and so 
burnt him. 


A man had two wives named Kengi and Gunga. One day he 
called them to him, and said that he was going to Loango to buy 
salt, and so might be away some time. He left them both well. 
Some time after he had gone, Kengi became heavy with child. 
And Gunga asked her how it was that she was in that condi- 

" It is true," said Kengi, " that I am with child ; but never 
you mind. When the child is born, you will see that it is his." 

" How can it be, when he has been gone so long ? " rejoined 

Now when the child was born, it carried with it a handful of 
hair. And all the people marvelled. Then the child spoke, 
and said: " This is the work of God." 

And the people ran away, they were so much afraid. And 
when the child grew up, he went into the woods to hunt elephants. 
And all this time the father had not returned. 

One day the child killed an elephant, and came to tell his 
mother of his good fortune. They called the princes together ; 
and then they went and cut up the elephant and divided it 
among the people. Then the people said that he was a good 


And now the father returned, and Kengi was afraid, and 
prayed Grunga not to tell him that the child was his. 

" No, I will not, Kengi," said Ghinga ; " but the boy himself 

And when the father came the boy went up to him, and said: 
" Father, give me your hand." 

" Nay, child, I know thee not. If I am thy father, tell me, 
child, when did I give thee birth, and by whom ? " 

And the people all said : " He is your son by Kengi." 

" Nay, I left Kengi well." 

Then the son sings : " Now am I indeed dead, and become 
a bird." 

And hearing this, the father took his son to his heart, and gave 
him a wife, and made him chief over many towns. 



Nenpetro had two wives, Kengi and Gunga. So he cleared 
a piece of ground for them, and divided it, giving each her part. 
And they planted maize, and beans, and cassava; and soon they 
had plenty to eat. 

One day Gunga took some beans from Kengi's plantation, 
and this made Kengi very cross. Gunga was sorry that she 
had done wrong, but pointed out that they were both married 
to one man, and that they ate together. After some time they 
came to an agreement that all that was born on the farm of the 
one should belong exclusively to her, and that the other should 
have no right to take it for her use. 

Some time after this Kengi came to Gunga's plantation, and 
asked her for a little tobacco, as she was in great pain and 
wished to smoke. Gunga told her to sit down awhile, and gave 
her tobacco. And while Kengi was on Gunga's plantation, she 
bore a child. Gunga took possession of the child, and would 
not give it up to Kengi. Kengi wept bitterly, and sent a special 
ambassador to Gunga demanding her child. But Gunga refused 
to give the child up, and said she was ready to hold a palaver 
over it. Thus the two women resolved to go to the town of 
Manilombi and state their grievance to him. 


They arrived, and Manilombi received their presents, and 
welcomed them. He then asked them what ailed them. 

Kengi said : " I brought forth a child. Gunga has robbed 
me of it ; let her speak." 

And Gunga answered: " Nay, the child is mine; for when I 
took some beans from Kengi' s plantation, Kengi got vexed, and 
made me come to an agreement with her that whatsoever was 
born on her plantation should belong to her, and all that was 
born on my plantation should belong to me, and neither of us 
should take anything from each other's plantation. Now, Kengi 
came, uncalled by me, to my plantation, and this child was born 
there ; so that, according to our agreement, the child is mine 
and she cannot take it from me." 

And witnesses were called, and they gave their evidence. 

Then the prince and his old men went to drink water. And 
when they returned, Manilombi said that Gunga was acting 
within her right, and that therefore the child should belong 
to her. 



A certain woman, after prolonged labour, gave birth to twins, 
both sons. And each one, as he was brought forth, came into 
this world with a valuable fetish, or charm. One the mother 
called Luemba, the other Mavungu. And they were almost 
full-grown at their birth, so that Mavungu, the first-born, 
wished to start upon his travels. 

Now about this time the daughter of Nzambi was ready for 
marriage. The tiger came and offered himself in marriage ; 
but Nzambi told him that he must speak to her daughter himself, 
as she should only marry the man of her choice. Then the 
tiger went to the girl and asked her to marry him, but she 
refused him. And the gazelle, and the pig, and all created 
things that had breath, one after the other, asked the daughter in 
marriage ; but she refused them all, saying that she did not love 
them ; and they were all very sad. 

Mavungu heard of this girl, and determined to marry her. 
And so he called upon his charm, and asked him to help him ; 
and then he took some grass in his hands, and changed one 
blade of grass into a horn, another into a knife, another into a 
gun, and so on, until he was quite ready for the long journey. 


Then lie set oat, and travelled and travelled, until at last 
hunger overcame him, when he asked his charm whether it was 
true that he was going to be allowed to starve. The charm 
hastened to place a sumptuous feast before him, and Mavungu 
ate and was satisfied. 

" Oh, charm ! " Mavungu said, " are you going to leave 
these beautiful plates which I have used for the use of any 
commoner that may come along ? " The charm immediately 
caused all to disappear. 

Then Mavungu travelled and travelled, until at length he 
became very tired, and had to ask his charm to arrange a place 
for him where he might sleep. And the charm saw to his 
comfort, so that he passed a peaceful night. 

And after many days' weary travelling he at length arrived at 
Nzambi's town. And Nzambi's daughter saw Mavungu and 
straightway fell in love with him, and ran to her mother and 
father and cried : " I have seen the man I love, and I shall die 
if I do not marry him." 

Then Mavungu sought out Nzambi, and told her that he had 
come to marry her daughter. 

" Go and see her first," said Nzambi, " and if she will have 
you, you may marry her." 

And when Mavungu and the daughter of Nzambi saw each 
other, they ran towards each other and loved one another. 

And they were led to a fine shimbeo ; and whilst all the 
people in the town danced and sang for gladness, Mavungu and 
the daughter of Nzambi slept there. And in the morning 
Mavuno-u noticed that the whole shimbec was crowded with 
mirrors, but that each mirror was covered so that the glass 
could not be seen. And he asked the daughter of Nzambi 


to uncover them, so that ho might see himself in them. And 
she took him to one and opened it, and Mavungu immediately 
saw the perfect likeness of his native town. And she took him 
to another, and he there saw another town he knew ; and thus 
she took him to all the mirrors save one, and this one she 
refused to let him see. 

" Why will you not let me look into that mirror ? " asked 

" Because that is the picture of the town whence no man that 
wanders there returns." 

" Do let me see it ! " urged Mavungu. 

At last the daughter of Nzambi yielded, and Mavungu looked 
hard at the reflected image of that terrible place. 

" I must go there," he said. 

" Nay, you will never return. Please don't go ! " pleaded 
the daughter of Nzambi. 

" Have no fear ! " answered Mavungu. " My charm will 
protect me." 

The daughter of Nzambi cried very much, but could not 
move Mavungu from his purpose. Mavungu then left his 
newly-married wife, and mounted his horse, and set off for the 
town from whence no man returns. 

He travelled and travelled, until at last he came near to the 
town, when, meeting an old woman, he asked her for fire to 
light his pipe. 

" Tie up your horse first, and come and fetch it." 

Mavungu descended, and having tied his horse up very 
securely, he went to the woman for the fire; and when he 
had come near to her she killed him, so that he disappeared 


Now Luemba wondered at the long absence of his brother 
Mavungu, and determined to follow him. So he took some 
grass, and by the aid of his fetish changed one blade into a 
horse, another into a knife, another into a gun, and so on, 
until he was fully prepared for his journey. Then he set out, 
and after some days' journeying arrived at Nzambi's town. 

Nzambi rushed out to meet him, and, calling him Mavungu, 
embraced him. 

" Nay," said Luemba, " my name is not Mavungu ; I am his 
brother, Luemba." 

" Nonsense ! " answered Nzambi. " You are my son-in-law, 
Mavungu." And straightway a great feast was prepared. 
Nzambi's daughter danced for joy, and would not hear of his 
not being Mavungu. And Luemba was sorely troubled, and 
did not know what to do, as he was now sure that Nzambi's 
daughter was Mavungu's wife. And when night came, Nzambi's 
daughter would sleep in Luemba's shimbec ; but he appealed to 
his charm, and it enclosed Nzambi's daughter in a room, and 
lifted her out of Luemba's room for the night, bringing her 
back in the early morning. 

And Luemba's curiosity was aroused by the many closed 
mirrors that hung about the walls; so he asked Nzambi's 
danghter to let him look into them. And she showed him all 
excepting one ; and this she told him was the one that reflected 
the town whence no man returns. Luemba insisted upon 
looking into this one ; and when he had seen the terrible 
picture he knew that his brother was there. 

Luemba determined to leave Nzambi's town for the town 
whence no man returns ; and so after thanking them all for his 
kind reception, he set out. They all wept loudly, but were 


consoled by the fact that he had been there once already, and 
returned safely, so that he could of course return a second 
time. And Luemba travelled and travelled, until he also came 
to where the old woman was standing, and asked her for 

She told him to tie up his horse and come to her to fetch it, 
but, he tied his horse up only very lightly, and then fell upon 
the old woman and killed her. 

Then he sought out his brother's bones and the bones of his 
horse, and put them together, and then touched them with his 
charm. And Mavungu and his horse came to life again. Then 
together they joined the bones of hundreds of people together 
and touched them with their charms, so that they all lived 
again. And then they set off with all their followers to 
Nzambi's town. And Luemba told Mavungu how he had 
been mistaken for him by his father-in-law and wife, and how 
by the help of his charm he had saved his wife from dishonour ; 
and Mavungu thanked him, and said it was well. 

Then a quarrel broke out between the two brothers about the 
followers. Mavungu said they were his, because he was the 
elder ; but Luemba said that they belonged to him, because he 
had given Mavungu and them all life. Mavungu then fell upon 
Luemba and killed him ; but his horse remained by his body. 
Mavungu then went on his way to Nzambi's town, and was 
magnificently welcomed. 

Now Luemba's horse took his charm and touched Luemba's 
body, so that he lived again. Then Luemba mounted his 
horse, and sought out his brother Mavungu and killed him. 

And when the town had heard the palaver, they all said that 
Luemba had done quite rightly. 



In a certain town there lived two brothers who could not agree 
with one another, the younger continually asserting that he knew 
more than his brother, thus enraging his elder. 

At last the younger brother said he could stand it no longer, 
and threatened to leave his town. So he and his wife left the 
the town and wandered far away, until at last they entered a 
wood and came to a little river of very clear water. 

" Let us drink," he said, " and sit down here, as there does 
not seem to be a path leading from the river on the other side." 

So they drank and rested. Then he got up and waded down 
the stream some way, and found a pathway on the other side of 
the river. He called his wife, and they proceeded on their way. 
Soon they heard voices, and wondered what kind of people could 
have built in such a place. 

" Let us go back," said the wife ; " how do you know that 
these people will not harm us ? " 

" Nav, I will not go back ; so let us enter the town at once." 

They saw only two or three huts. 

Now these huts, or shimbecs, were inhabited by a man and his 


wife, who had left his town on acconnt of certain " palavers " 
that had been constantly pushed against him. 

" And where do you come from ? " said he, as the stranger 
and his wife entered his clearing. 

The younger brother told him how it was that he had left his 
town and wandered there, and added that he would like to live 
there with him. 

" Very well, you can do so. But first tell me, are you a bad 
man ? " 

" No, certainly not ; I am a good man, the others treated me 

" Well, there's a shimbec for you ; stay there." 

They did nothing for four days ; but on the fifth day the man 
proposed that they should take their women with their hoes to a 
certain place he knew of, and get them to dig a large hole, 
which they would cover over with dried sticks and leaves, so as 
to form a trap for the many wild animals that passed that way. 
This they did. 

" Now, that we may not quarrel over the game we catch, tell 
me : which will you have, the males or the females ? " 

The younger brother said he would take the males. 

" Agreed ! Then I will take the females." 

" Agreed ! " 

They went back to their towns, and slept soundly that night. 
The next morning very early they went to see their trap. They 
had caught an ox. 

" 'Tis yours," said the owner of the town, " take it." 

The next day an antelope, the next day a chimbimbi, * and 

* A kind of antelope-mouse coloured with a fawn-coloured patch on 
its shoulders and back, small straight horns like a goat. 


the next a hog, each day a male of some kind, until the younger 
brother had so much meat that he did not know what to do with 
it. But he gave the owner of the town none of it. He sent his 
wife out into the woods to gather sticks to smoke the meat, and 
so preserve it. Towards night he became anxious about her, as 
she had not returned. He went to the owner of the town and 
told him about it. But he could not account for her absence. 
" Let us go and look for her." 

" Nay," said the man, " it is night. To-morrow we will go." 

The younger brother roamed about the whole night, crying 

and moaning at the loss of his wife. Early he awoke the 

owner of the town and asked him to go with him to look for 


" Yes. But first let us go aud see the trap, for I have 
dreamt that luck has changed, and that to-day we shall catch 
a female." 

They went, and soon discovered the female in the trap. It 
was the young man's wife. Overjoyed at finding her the 
young man wanted to jump into the hole to help her out. 
But the man reminded him of his agreement, and how he had 
given him nothing of all the meat he had entrapped. 

" Nay, take all the meat you like, but my wife is a human 
being, surely you will not kill and eat her ? " 

" She is mine by agreement, I can do as I like with her." 
And thus they went on wrangling the day through. 

Now the elder brother had gone out hunting and had 
chanced to come into the wood not far from where the trap 
was. He heard voices, and so crept cautiously up in that 
direction. He recognised his brother's voice and ran to him. 
The younger brother was overjoyed to see him and welcomed 

P 2 


him boisterously. The elder brother met him coldly. When 
the owner of the town knew who the stranger was, he laid the 
whole matter before him, and asked him to say whether the 
female in the trap was his or not. The elder heard all, and 
answered that the female in the trap was certainly his, and that 
he had better go in and kill her. The younger brother tried 
to restrain him ; but the man flung him aside and jumped into 
the trap. 

" Fool," said the elder to the younger, when he saw him 
trying to stop the man from entering the pit ; " can you not 
yet trust your brother's superior wisdom? See, now, that 
male in your trap ; he is yours by agreement, even as your 
wife is his. Spare his life, and perhaps he will give you back 
your wife." The man saw how he had been fooled, and gave 
the woman up. The two brothers and the wife then returned 
to their town. 


A native friend of mine, who considers himself a great 
hunter and naturalist, told me that, his plantations having 
suffered severely from the depredations of the gorilla, he had 
determined to follow up his tracks, and kill him, if possible. 
After having journeyed a long distance, he at last came up to 
the gorilla's camp. The gorilla was up a tree, at the foot of 
which was a large heap of fruits of different kinds. He resolved 
upon the bold course of getting as near this fruit as he could, 
waiting until the gorilla should come down. Hardly had he 
got himself safely in his chosen position, when a chimpanzee, 
club in hand, came leisurely along, evidently looking about for 

"Oh la ! What fool has left his food in such a place, I 
wonder, right in the public footpath ? I need go no further." 

Thereupon the chimpanzee sat himself down, and began to 
enjoy a really good feed. He had not been there very long, 
however, before the gorilla came quietly down the tree. He 
quietly seated himself opposite to the chimpanzee, and com- 
menced to eat also. 

" Here, you ! " said the chimpanzee, " what do you mean by 
eating my fruit ? Can't you go and find some for yourself? " 


The gorilla made no reply, but went on eating. The chim- 
panzee got excited, and began to abuse the gorilla. The gorilla 
looked at him. Then the chimpanzee struck the gorilla. The 
gorilla smiled, and pushed him aside. The chimpanzee took 
his club, and hit the gorilla with all his might. The gorilla 
then raised his long arm, and gave the chimpanzee one fearful 
blow, which stretched him dead at his feet. 

" I did not wait to see any more," said my friend, " but ran 
away as hard as I could." 



The leopard one day bet his life to the antelope, that if he hid 
himself the antelope would never find him. 

" Well," said the antelope, " I accept your bet. Go and hide 

And the leopard went into the woods and hid himself. Then 
the antelope looked for him, and after a little while found him. 
And the leopard was very angry with the antelope, and told 
him to go and hide himself, and see how easily he would find 
him. The antelope agreed to this, but told the leopard that he 
would have his life. 

After some time the leopard set out to seek the antelope. 
He searched the woods through and through, but could not find 
him. At last, thoroughly worn out, he sat down, saying : " I 
am too fat to walk any more ; and I am also very hungry. I 
will pick some of these nonje nuts, and carry them to my town 
and eat them." 

So he filled the bag he carried under his arm (called nkutu), 
and returned to his town. Once there, he determined to call 
his people together, and continue his search for the antelope 
after breakfast, 


So he knocked his ngongo, and ordered all his people to 
assemble, from the babe that was born yesterday, to the sick 
men who could not walk and must be carried in a hammock. 
When they were all there, he ordered his slaves to crack the 
nonje nuts. But out of the first nut that they cracked jumped 
a beautiful dog. 

Now, the leopard was married to four princesses. To one by 
common consent, to another by the rites of Boomba, to the third 
by the rites of Funzi, and to the fourth by those of Lembe. 
Each of his wives had her own cooking-shed. 

Now, when the little dog jumped out of the nut, it ran into 
the first wife's shed. She beat it, so that it [ ran away and 
entered the shed of the wife after the rites of Boomba. This 
wife also beat the dog, so that it took refuge with the wife after 
the rites of Funzi. She also beat the little dog ; and thus it fled 
to the wife after the rites of Lembe. She killed it. 

But as the dog was dying, it changed into a beautiful damsel. 
And when the leopard saw this beautiful maiden, he longed to 
marry her, and straightway asked her to be his wife. 

The beautiful girl answered him and said : " First, kill those 
four women who killed the little dog." 

The leopard immediately killed them. Then the maid said : 
" How can I marry a man with such dreadful-looking nails. 
Please have them taken out." 

The leopard was so much in love with the maiden, that he 
had his claws drawn. 

" What fearful eyes you have got, my dear leopard ! I can 
never live with you with those eyes always looking at me. 
Please take them out." 

The leopard sighed, but obeyed. 


" I never saw such ugly ears ; why don't you have them cut ? " 

The leopard had them cut. 

" You have certainly the clumsiest feet that have been seen in 
this world ! Can you not have them chopped off? " 

The leopard in despair had his feet taken off. 

" And now my dear, dear leopard, there is but one more 
favour that I have to ask you. Have you not noticed how ugly 
your teeth are ? how they disfigure you ? Please have them 

The leopard was now very weak, but he was so fascinated by 
the girl, and so hopeful now that he would obtain her by this last 
sacrifice, that he sent to the cooking-shed for a stone and had his 
teeth knocked out. 

The maiden then saw that the leopard was. fast dying. So 
she turned herself into the antelope, and thus addressed him : 

" My dear leopard, you thought to kill me to avoid giving 
your life to me, as promised, when I found you. See now how 
I have outdone you. I have destroyed you and your whole 
family." And this is why the leopard now always kills the 
antelope when he meets one. 



Nzambi on earth had a beautiful daughter ; but she swore that 
no earthly being should marry her, who could not bring her the 
heavenly fire from Nzambi Mpungu, who dwelt in the heavens 
above the blue roof. And as the daughter was very fair to look 
upon, the people marvelled, saying : " How shall we secure this 
treasure ? and who on such a condition will ever marry her ? " 

Then the spider said: " I will, if you will help me." 

And they all answered : " We will gladly help you, if you 
will reward us." 

Then the spider reached the blue roof of heaven, and dropped 
down again to the earth, leaving a strong silken thread firmly 
hanging from the roof to the earth below. Now, he called the 
tortoise, the woodpecker, the rat, and the sandfly, and bade them 
climb up the thread to the roof. And they did so. Then the 
woodpecker pecked a hole through the roof, and they all entered 
the realm of the badly dressed Nzambi Mpungu.* 

Nzambi Mpungu received them courteously, and asked them 
what they wanted up there. 

* See Appendix, p, 133, 


And they answered him, saying : " Nzambi Mpungu of 
the heavens above, great father of all the world, we have 
come to fetch some of your terrible fire, for Nzambi who rules 
upon earth." 

" Wait here then," said Nzambi Mpungu, " while I go to 
my people and tell them of the message that you bring." 

But the sandfly unseen accompanied Nzambi Mpungu and 
heard all that was said. And while he was gone, the others 
wondered if it were possible for one who went about so poorly 
clad to be so powerful. 

Then Nzambi Mpungu returned to them, and said : " My 
friend, how can I know that you have really come from the 
ruler of the earth, and that you are not impostors ? " 

" Nay," they said ; "put us to some test that we may prove 
our sincerity to you." 

" I will," said Nzambi Mpungu. " Go down to this earth of 
yours, and bring me a bundle of bamboos, that I may make 
myself a shed." 

And the tortoise went down, leaving the others where they 
were, and soon returned with the bamboos. 

Then Nzambi Mpungu said to the rat : "Get thee beneath this 
bundle of bamboos, and I will set fire to it. Then if thou escape 
I shall surely know that Nzambi sent you." 

And the rat did as he was bidden. And Nzambi Mpungu set 
fire to the bamboos, and lo ! when they were entirely consumed, 
the rat came from amidst the ashes unharmed. 

Then he said : " You are indeed what you represent your- 
selves to be. I will go and consult my people again." 

Then they sent the sandfly after him, bidding him to keep well 
out of sight, to hear all that was said, and if possible to find out 


where the lightning was kepi. The midge returned and related 
all that he had heard and seen. 

Then Nzambi Mpungu returned to them, and said: "Yes, I 
will give you the fire you ask for, if you can tell me where it is 

And the spider said : " Give me then, Nzambi Mpungu, 
one of the five cases that you keep in the fowl-house." 

" Truly you have answered me correctly, spider ! Take 
therefore this case, and give it to your Nzambi." 

And the tortoise carried it down to the earth; and the spider 
presented the fire from heaven to Nzambi ; and Nzambi gave the 
spider her beautiful daughter in marriage. 

But the woodpecker grumbled, and said : " Surely the woman 
is mine ; for it was I who pecked the hole through the roof, 
without which the others never could have entered the kingdom 
of the Nzambi Mpungu above." 

" Yes," said the rat, " but see how I risked my life among the 
burning bamboos ; the girl, I think, should be mine." 

" Nay, Nzambi ; the girl should certainly be mine ; for 
without my help the others would never have found out where 
the fire was kept," said the sandfly. 

Then Nzambi said : " Nay, the spider undertook to bring me 
the fire ; and he has brought it. The girl by rights is his ; but 
as you others will make her life miserable if I allow her to live 
with the spider, and I cannot give her to you all, I will give her 
to none, but will give you each her market value." 

Nzambi then paid each of them fifty longs of cloth and one 
case of gin ; and her daughter remained a maiden and waited 
upon her mother for the rest of her days. 



A turtle and a man built themselves a small town, but be- 
cause they had as yet planted nothing they suffered from 

" Let us build a large trap," said the turtle, " that we may 
catch an antelope." The man agreed, and they set to work 
and made a very large one. 

" This is too large," said the turtle, " let us divide it, and 
each have a trap of his own." 

The man divided it and the turtle chose the best one. That 
night the man caught nothing, but a splendid antelope was 
found in the turtle's trap. As the turtle could not lift it, he 
called all the people from round about to a dance. 

While they were dancing, the chimpacasi, or wild ox, came 
out of the wood and wanted to know what all this singing was 
about. And the turtle told him that he had caught an antelope, 
and as he could not carry it to his house, he had called in his 
friends. " Perhaps, good ox, you will take the antelope out of 
the trap for me and lift it as far as my house." 

" Oh, certainly," said the ox. 

" And now, please go and fetch some water." 

The ox went and drew some water. They then cut up the 


" Clean the plates, please," said the turtle. 

And the delighted ox washed them. 

" This is your share, dear ox ; but you must go and get some 
leaves to wrap it in." 

And while the ox was away in the woods, collecting leaves, 
the turtle lifted all the meat up and carried it into his house, 
which was a very strong one, and shut himself inside. 

The ox returned and asked for his share, but the turtle re- 
fused to let him have it, and insulted him grossly. The ox 
became very angry, and told the turtle that he would destroy 
the trap. But the turtle had reset the trap, so that when the 
ox put his head in he was caught, and died after a short 

" Oh, oh, Mr. Ox, I told you so. You should be more care- 
ful when you are entering the turtle's trap." 

He called the people again to dance and sing. 

This time the leopard was attracted by the noise, and came 
to the turtle to find out what it was all about. And the turtle 
told him, and said that his hands were very sore, and that he 
could not carry the ox to his house ; would the leopard drag 
him there ? 

Glad to oblige the turtle, the leopard at once offered his 
services, and in a very short time had brought the ox to the 
turtle's house. 

" Thank you, dear leopard, will you now go to the river and 
fetch some water, and clean the pots ? " 

" Certainly," said the leopard. 

And when they had cooked the whole of the ox, the turtle 
put aside part of the meat for the leopard, and carried the rest 
into his shimbec 


" You would better go and fetch some leaves to wrap the 
meat in," said the turtle. 

The leopard went. While he was away, the turtle took the 
meat, and shut himself within his strong house. 

The leopard returned and said : " Turtle, turtle, where is my 

" It is here, my dear leopard." 

" Then give it me." 

" Nay, the ox was mine." 

" Yes, but I helped you to cook it." 

" Well, I shall not give you any." 

" Then I will destroy your trap." 

" Take care you do not meet with the fate of the ox." 

" Yes, I will take care." 

And the leopard went and destroyed the trap entirely, and 
then, placing the rope round his neck lay down in the middle 
of the ruins, as if he had been entrapped. 

Then the turtle went again to look at his trap and was de- 
lighted to find the leopard there. 

" Ah, ah, I told you so ! Why did you not take more care, 
my dear leopard ? " 

And the turtle stretched out his long neck as if to kiss the 
leopard. The leopard sprang upon him, and bit the turtle's head 
off before he had time to pull it in. He then entered his shim- 
bee and ate up all the meat that the turtle had stored there. 

Now the man wondered what the leopard was doing in the 
turtle's shimbec. So he went there and asked the leopard 
And the leopard told him how the turtle had tried to trick him, 
and how he had killed the turtle. And the man said he was 
quite right and might go on eating the food of the turtle. 



I closed the autobiography of a Fjort in " Seven Years among 
the Fjort" thus: "We were obliged to hurry back to town, 
however, as notice was brought to us that some one had killed a 
leopard. The custom is that when a leopard is killed, the 
people of the different towns in that district can loot each other's 
towns to their hearts' content, and on the day fixed for the 
delivery of the leopard to the king, the destroyer of the leopard 
can take it through any of the towns he chooses, having the 
right to appropriate any article he may meet in his road that is 
not inside a shimbec or other dwelling." 

I can now tell you more of this custom. The slayer, it seems, 
is himself tied up, and the head of the leopard is carefully 
wrapped up in cloth. Both are then taken to the king, who 
addresses the slayer thus : 

" My son, why have you slain this man ? " 

" Father," answers the slayer, " he is a very dangerous man 
and has taken the life of many of your people's sheep and 

" Thou hast done well, my son. Count now the hairs of his 
whiskers. As thoa knowest, there should be three times nine 


hairs, and for every one that is missing must thou pay me two 
pieces of cloth." 

" Father, they are all there." 

" Then pull them out carefully ; take also his teeth, his claws, 
and his skin, and prepare them for my use." 

This the hunter does and presents them to the king. 

Then the king again addresses him : 

" My son, thou art a great hunter and must need someone to 
cook thy food for thee when thou goest out hunting. Take 
therefore this young girl as thy slave, or concubine." 

" But father, look ! I am not in a fit state to receive such a 
gift; my clothes are worn and tattered." 

" Thou say est but what is the truth, my son. Take therefore 
these clothes and dress thyself." 

" Yea, father, thou art too good to me ; but 1 have no one to 
cut wood for such a beautiful creature." 

" There, there, take this small boy to cut wood for her, and 
this man to carry thy gun." 

" I clap my hands to thee, father, and thank thee." 

Then the king has to give a grand feast in honour of die 



The gazelle said to the leopard : " It is now the dry season, 
and we should be cutting down the bush, that our women may 
plant as soon as the first rains come." 

" Well," said the leopard, " I cannot go to-day, but you 
may as well go." 

And the gazelle went ; and all that day he cut the bush, and 
cleared the ground for planting. And the next day he went 
also alone. 

On the third day the leopard called on the gazelle and asked 
him to go to the plantation with him. But the gazelle said he 
was sick, and could not go, so the leopard went by himself. 

The next day the leopard again called for the gazelle, but he 
was not in. 

" Where has he gone?" enquired the leopard. 
" Oh, he has gone to another part." 

And each day the leopard called upon the gazelle he was 
either sick or out of town : so that the leopard had nearly all 
the hard work to himself. When the women had planted, and 
the harvest was ripe, however, the gazelle went to look at the 
plantation. He was greatly pleased to find so much planted, 
and thought how pleased his friends would be if he invited them 

The gazelle and the leopard. 83 

to a feast ; so he called in all the antelopes and other beasts of 
the field, and they had a splendid feast. 

By and by the leopard thought he would go and see how his 
plantation was getting on, and no sooner had he arrived there 
than he exclaimed: "Hullo, who has been feeding on my planta- 
tion and eaten up my corn ? Surely I will set a trap for them 
and catch the thieves." 

The next day the animals, led by the little gazelle, came 
again ; and he warned them, saying : "Be careful, for the 
leopard will surely set a trap for us." But the antelope 
became careless, and finally fell into the leopard's trap. 
"There," says the gazelle, " I told you to be careful. What 
shall we do ? They have all run away and left us, and I am not 
strong enough to release you." 

Then the leopard came, and rejoiced greatly at having caught 
a thief. He took the antelope to his town. " Please, Sir, the 
gazelle told me to go," cried the antelope, "don't kill me, don't 
kill me." 

"How am I to catch the gazelle?" the leopard replied. 
" No, I must kill you." And so he killed the antelope and ate 

When the gazelle heard what the leopard had done, he was 
greatly annoyed, and declared that as the leopard was their 
chief, they were quite right in eating the food he had provided 
for them. Was it not the duty of the father to provide for his 
children? " Well, well, never mind, he will pay us for this." 

Then the gazelle made a drum, and beat it until all the 
animals came as if to a dance. When they were assembled, he 
told them that they must be revenged upon the leopard. 

The leopard heard the drum, and said to his wife: " Let us 



go to the dance." But his wife said she would rather stay at 
home, and did not go. The leopard went ; but no sooner had 
he arrived than they all set upon him and killed him. And 
when the dance was over, the leopard's wife wondered why he 
did not return. The gazelle sent her the head of her husband 
skinned as her part of the feast ; and not knowing that it was 
her husband's head, she ate it. 

" Oh, for shame," said the gazelle, " You have eaten your 
husband's head." 

" Nay, Sir, the shame rests with you ; for you gave it to me 
to eat, after having murdered him." And she wept and cursed 
the gazelle. 



Nenpetro (kind of wild cat) and Nsessi (the gazelle), agreed 
that in case of famine the one might eat the other's mother. 
The famine came. Nsessi killed Nenpetro's mother and ate 
her ; but, loving his own mother very much, he took her into 
the bush, and hid her there in a cave, telling her never to come 
out unless she should hear him call her. Each day he took her 
food, but not caring to carry it himself, he got Nenpetro's little 
son to carry it for him. 

Now this little boy felt with his father in his loss of his 
mother, and so resolved to tell him where Nsessi kept his 
mother. Thus he told Nenpetro, and showed him the way to 
the cave where Nsessi had hidden his mother. Nenpetro then 
simulated the voice of Nsessi, and called to her to come out. 
When she came, Nenpetro killed her and took her to town. 
Then he had her cooked, and gave a feast, and invited Nsessi. 
But Nsessi wondered where he could have got his meat, and 
went to look for his mother. Could he have killed her ? She 
was not there. Yes, he had killed her. He refused Nenpetro's 
invitation, and said he would no longer live in that town. So 
he called his people together, and they burned their houses and 
went to live elsewhere. 


It was market day, and all were intent upon going to Kitanda 
(the market). The first lady to arrive brought a large basket 
of chieoanga (native bread), placed it under the shade of the 
market-tree, and then hid herself in the bush near at hand. 

A second lady came along with a basket (or matet) of pig, 
and sat herself down beneath the tree. 

" I wonder," said she, as she caught sight of the chieoanga, 
" to whom that belongs ? I should very much like one piece 
to eat with a little of my pig. I was so busy preparing the pig 
for market, that I really had no time to get any chieoanga 
ready." She raised her voice and cried out : 

" To whom does this chieoanga belong ? Where is its 
owner ? " 

This she repeated many times, and then came to the con- 
clusion that it had no owner. So she took one piece and ate it 
with her pig. 

By-and-bye the owner of the chieoanga came forth, and told 
the owner of the pig that she nrast pay her in pig for the 
chieoanga she had taken. 

"No," said the owner of the pig. 

And the people round about were called in ; and after hearing 


what both had to say, they declared that the woman who owned 
the chicoanga was in the wrong; because she had hidden herself 
in the bush on purpose that her chicoanga should be taken by 
the owner of the pig, whom she had evidently seen coming. 
She had laid this trap to get some of the pig, and she deserved 
to lose her chicoanga. 



Basa was my great uncle's twin brother, and a very clever 
fisherman. Every day he used to go out fishing in the river ; 
and every day he caught great quantities of fish, which he used 
to smuggle into his house, so that none should know that he had 
caught any. His brother and relations used each day to ask 
him : " Basa, have you caught any fish ? " And he would 
answer " No," although his house was full of fish going rotten. 
All this time the fetish Sunga was watching, and was grieved 
to hear him lie thus. So one day she sent one of her moleques, 
or little servants, to the place where Basa was fishing, to call him 
to her. It happened that upon that day Basa caught so much 
fish that he had to make some new matets, or baskets, to 
hold it all. He had already filled two, and placed them in the 
fork of a large tree, when he heard three distinct clappings of 
the hands, as if some child were saluting him, and then he heard 
a voice saying: " Come to my mother." 

Then Basa was greatly afraid, and answered: " Which way ? 
please show me the way." 

" Follow me," said the voice of the child, as she led him to 
the river. 


When they stepped into the river, the waters dried up, and 
all the fish disappeared, so that the bed of the river formed a 
perfect road for them. Even the fallen trees had been removed, 
that Basa might not meet the slightest difficulty in the way. 
When they had reached the watershed of the river, there in the 
great lake he saw a large and beautiful town. Here he was 
met by many people, and warmly welcomed. They led him to 
a chair, and asked him to be seated. But he was alarmed at all 
this ceremony, and wondered what it all meant. 

Then Sunga laid a table before him, and loaded it with food 
and wine, and asked him to eat and drink. But he was still 
afraid, and told Sunga that so grand was the feast she had 
placed before him that the smell alone of it had satisfied him. 
Then she pressed him to eat and drink, and finally he did so, 
drinking all the wine that there was. 

Then Sunga deprived him of the power of speech, that he 
might lie no more, and bade him depart to his town. And so 
for the future he could only make his wants known by signs. 



It was during an almost rainless " hot season," when all who 
had no wells were beginning to feel the pangs of thirst, that the 
rabbit and the antelope formed a partnership to dig a deep well 
so that they could never be in want of water. 

" Let us finish our food," said the antelope, " and be off to 
our work." 

"Nay," said the rabbit; "had we not better keep the food 
for later on, when we are tired and hungry after our work ? " 

" Very well, hide the food, rabbit ; and let us get to work, 
I am very thirsty." 

They arrived at the place where they purposed having the 
well, and worked hard for a short time. 

" Listen ! " said the rabbit ; " they are calling me to go back 
to town." 

" Nay, I do not hear them." 

" Yes, they are certainly calling me, and I must be off. My 
wife is about to present me with some children, and I must name 

" Go then, dear rabbit, but come back as soon as you can." 

The rabbit ran off to where he had hidden the food, and ate 
some of it, and then went back to his work. 


" Well!" said the antelope, "what have you called your little 

" Uncompleted one," said the rabbit. 

" A strange name," said the antelope. 

Then they worked for a while. 

" Again they are calling me," cried the rabbit. " I must 
be off, so please excuse me. Cannot you hear them calling 

" No," said the antelope, " I hear nothing." 

Away ran the rabbit, leaving the poor antelope to do all the 
work, while he ate some more of the food that really belonged to 
them both. When he had had enough, he hid the food again, and 
ran back to the well. 

" And what have you called your last, rabbit ? " 

" Half-completed one." 

" What a funny little fellow you are ! But come, get on with 
the digging ; see how hard I have worked." 

Then they worked hard for quite a long time. " Listen, now ! " 
said the rabbit, " surely you heard them calling me this time!" 

" Nay, dear rabbit, I can hear nothing ; but go, and get 
back quickly." 

Away ran the rabbit, and this time he finished the food before 
going back to his work. 

" Well, little one, what have you called your third child ? " 

" Completed," answered the rabbit. Then they worked hard 
and as night was setting in returned to their village. 

"I am terribly tired, rabbit ; run and get the food, or I 
shall faint." 

The rabbit went to look for the food, and then calling out to 
the antelope, told him that some horrid cat must have been 



there, as the food was all gone, and the pot quite clean. The 
antelope groaned, and went hungry to bed. 

The next day the naughty little rabbit played the antelope 
the same trick. And the next day he again tricked the antelope. 
And the next, and the next, until at last the antelope accused 
the rabbit of stealing the food. Then the rabbit got angry, 
and dared him to take casca (or the test-bark, a purge or 
emetic) . 

"Let us both take it," said the antelope, "and let him whose 
tail is the first to become wet, be considered the guilty one." 

So they took the casca and went to bed. And as the medicine 
began to take effect upon the rabbit, he cried out to the 
antelope : 

" See, your tail is wet ! " 

" Nay, it is not J" 

" Yes, it is ! " 

" No, but yours is, dear rabbit ; see there ! " 

Then the rabbit feared greatly, and tried to run away. But 
the antelope said : " Fear not, rabbit ; I will do you no harm. 
Only you must promise not to drink of the water of my well, 
and to leave my company for ever." 

Accordingly the rabbit left him and went his way. 

Some time after this, a bird told the antelope that the rabbit 
used to drink the water of the well every day. Then the 
antelope was greatly enraged, and determined to kill the 
rabbit. So the antelope laid a trap for the silly little rabbit. 
He cut a piece of wood, and shaped it into the figure of an 
animal about the size of the rabbit ; and then he placed this 
figure firmly in the ground near to the well, and smeared it all 
over with bird-lime. 


The rabbit went as usual to drink the waters of the well, 
and was much annoyed to find an animal there, as he thought, 
drinking the water also. 

" And what may you be doing here, Sir ? " said the rabbit to 
the figure. 

The figure answered not. 

Then the rabbit, thinking that it was afraid of him, went 
close up to it, and again asked what he was doing there. 

But the figure made no answer. 

" What ! " said the rabbit, " do you mean to insult me ? 
Answer me at once, or I will strike you." 

The figure answered not. 

Then the little rabbit lifted up his right hand, and smacked 
the figure in the face. His hand stuck to the figure. 

" What's the matter ? " said the rabbit. " Let my hand go, 
sir, at once, or I will hit you again." 

The figure held fast to the rabbit's right hand. Then the 
rabbit hit the figure a swinging blow with his left. The left 
hand stuck to the figure also. 

"What can be the matter with you, Sir? You are excessively 
silly. Let my hands go at once, or I will kick you." 

And the rabbit kicked the figure with his right foot ; but his 
right foot stuck there. Then he got into a great rage, and 
kicked the figure with his left. And his left leg stuck to the 
figure also. Then, overcome with rage, he bumped the figure 
with his head and stomach, but these parts also stuck to the 
figure. Then the rabbit cried with impotent rage. The 
antelope, just about this time, came along to drink water ; and 
when he saw the rabbit helplessly fastened to the figure, he 
laughed at him, and then killed him. 



Now this is a sad but true story, for it is of recent occurrence, 
and many living witnesses can vouch for its truth. 

Poor King Jack, late of Cabinda, now retired a little into 
the interior of KaCongo, known to all who visit this part of 
Africa, either in whaler, steamer, or man of war, owns the 
fetish called Lifuma. Lifuma had all his life sniffed the fresh 
sea-breezes, and rejoiced with his people when they returned 
from the deep sea in their canoes laden with fish. But now 
circumstances (namely, the occupation of Cabinda by the Portu- 
guese) forced him to retire to the interior, behind the coast-line 
between Futilla and Cabinda. How he longed to see his people 
happy yet again is proved by the trouble he put himself to in 
trying to gain possession of a part of the sea-beach that he 
thought should belong to his " hinterland." He left the sweet 
waters of Lake Chinganga Miyengela (waters that have travelled 
even to the white man's country, and returned without being 
corrupted) and quietly travelled down to the sea-beach, near to 
a place called Kaia. Once there, he picked up a fev< shells and 
pebbles, and filled a pint mug with salt water, meaning to carry 
them back to his sweet-water home, and to place them on the 


holy ground beside him as a sign of his ownership of the sea- 
beach, and as a means whereby his people might once more play 
on the sea-beach by the salt water, and once again occupy them- 
selves in fishing in the deep blue sea. Peaceful and benevolent 
was indeed his mission, and perhaps, as he passed the town of 
Kaia and Subantanu unmolested, he at last thought that his 
object was secured. Alas ! the bird Ngundu espied him, and 
rushed to town to acquaint the Kaia people's fetish, called 
Chimpukela. Then Chimpukela ran after Lifuma, and caught 
him up, and roughly asked him what he had there, hidden 
under his cloth. 

" Go away," cried the anxious Lifuma, as he pushed Chim- 
pukela aside. 

Chimpukela stumbled over an ant-hill and fell, so that when 
he got up again he was very angry with Lifuma, and knocked 
him down. Poor Lifuma fell upon a thorn of the Minyundu 
tree and broke his leg. The mug of salt water was also spilt, 
and Chimpukela took from him all the relics he had gathered 
upon his sea-beach. 

Then Chimpukela swore that ant-hills should no longer exist 
in his country, and that is why you never see one there now 
as you travel through his country. 

And Lifuma cursed the bird Ngundu, and the tree Min- 
yundu, and canoes, and salt water, and everything pertaining to 
the beach. And that is why all these things do not now exist in 
his country, or on his sweet-water lake. 



At a place called Chilunga, north of Loango, there is a fetish 
called Boio, who by his representative in the flesh, a princess, 
rules the country with a rod of iron. His dwelling-place is the 
earth ; and as people pass that part which is dedicated to him, 
they hear his voice. People place their offerings here, and 
while yet they are looking at them they disappear. The spirit, 
or fetish, has, besides this human voice, the voice of a certain 

The sister of my cook, married to a man in Chilunga, was 
one day gathering sticks in a wood, when she heard a bird 
singing very loudly. Half in fun, half seriously, she spoke 
roughly to it, telling it to keep quiet ; when to her astonish- 
ment her hands were roughly tied behind her back by some 
invisible force. She stood rooted to the place, as it were, by 
fear, and was found there by her husband who, wondering at 
her delay, had come to look for her. 

" How have you angered Boio ? " he asked. 

She told him what had happened, and said that she did not 
know that the voice of the bird was that of Boio. The husband 
ran to the princess, and, having explained the matter, made 
her a peace-offering. The princess then gave the woman her 


On another occasion some natives laughed at two men who 
were carrying a hammock-pole as if a hammock was hanging 
from it. Immediately they were made prisoners by invisible 
hands, and only released upon a heavy payment being made to 
the princess by their relations. The men, you see, were carry- 
ing the fetish in his hammock, although both it and the hammock 
were invisible to the passers-by. 

Girls who are given in marriage by their parents to ugly 
men, and who object to them on that account, are taken to the 
holy ground. Then they hear a voice speaking to them, saying : 
" Are you then so beautiful that you can afford to despise these 
good men on account of their ugliness?" Then their hands are 
tied behind them ; and there they remain prisoners until such 
time as they are willing to marry the men. When the whole 
town, men, women, and children, go to the holy ground to 
praise this fetish, it takes a great delight in those who dance 
well, and punishes those who dance badly. 

A certain white man would not believe in the sudden disap- 
pearance of the offerings made to this spirit. So he was asked 
by the princess to come to the holy ground and bring some 
presents for the spirit. The white man immediately set out 
with many presents, laughing at the whole matter as if it were 
a huge joke. His servants placed the gifts upon the ground, 
while he looked sharply after them. Then they cleared the 
ground and left him there. And lo ! while he was yet looking, 
the presents disappeared. Then he said he believed in that 

Only two men have the power of seeing this fetish in his 

earthly home ; and they are the men appointed to carry food 

to him. 




Once a man and his many wives lived in a certain town far 
away in the bush. His wives refused to work, and he was at 
his wit's ends to know what to do to feed them and himself. 

One day a happy thought struck him, and away he went into 
the bush to cut palm-kernels. He cut twenty bunches in all. 
Then he sought out the leopard, and made him his friend by- 
presenting him with ten bunches of palm-nuts. The leopard 
thanked him very much, and told him that if he would cut 
palm -nuts for him, and him only, he would never more be 
without fresh meat to feed his wives. The man thanked the 
leopard, and promised to supply his wants. 

Then the man went to the crocodile and presented him with 
ten bunches of palm-nuts. The crocodile was indeed thankful, 
and promised to supply the man daily with a quantity of fish, 
if he would only promise in his turn to cut palm-nuts for him 
and no other. 

The next day, the leopard came to the man's town and pre- 
sented him with a wild pig. The crocodile came soon after- 
wards and brought him plenty of fish. Thus the town was full 
of food, and the man and his wives were never hungry. 

This continued for a long time, until, in fact, the crocodile 


and leopard were getting tired of palm-nuts, and asked the 
man to present them with a dog, as they had heard that dog's 
flesh was excellent. Hitherto neither the crocodile nor the 
leopard had met each other, nor had they ever seen a dog. 
The man did not wish to lose his dogs, so he told them that he 
had none. But they each day became more anxious to eat 
dog's flesh, and so they worried the man, until at last he 
promised them a dog each. But he did not mean to give them 
the dogs. However, they bothered and vexed him so much 
that they became a nuisance to him, and he determined to rid 
himself of them. 

The next day, the leopard came and asked for a dog, which 
as yet he had neither seen nor tasted. The man told him that 
if he went to such and such a place he would there find a dog 
just to his taste. The leopard left him to find the dog. 

The crocodile also came, bringing plenty of fish, and again 
asked for a dog. The man told him to go to the same place he 
had indicated to the leopard, and told him that he would there 
meet a dog that he would enjoy immensely. 

The crocodile arrived at th6 spot first, but saw nothing that 
he could imagine a dog. So relying upon the word of the man 
he closed his eyes and basked in the hot sun. After a time the 
leopard came along and found the crocodile, as he thought, 

" This is indeed a much larger animal than I had imagined 
the dog to be," he murmured. 

The crocodile, aroused by the rustling noise made by the 
leopard as he approached, slowly opened his eyes, and thought 
the leopard was a very large kind of dog, if all he had heard 
about dogs was true. Hardly had he moved, when the leopard 

H 2 


sprang upon him. Then there was a terrible fight, and the 
man called all the town to witness it. After a prolonged 
struggle the beasts killed each other, and the man and his 
people returned to town and feasted upon the food the crocodile 
and leopard had given him, and sang and danced until the 
next day. 



It was in the beginning, and four men were walking through 
a wood. They came to a place where there were two rivers. 
One river was of water, clear as crystal and of great purity ; 
the other was black and foul and horrible to the taste. And 
the four men were puzzled as to which river they should cross ; 
for, whereas the dirty river seemed more directly in their way, 
the clear river was the most pleasant to cross, and perhaps after 
they had crossed it they might regain the proper path. The 
men, after some consultation, thought that they ought to cross 
the black river, and two of them straightway crossed it. The 
other two, however, scarce touched and tasted the water than 
they hesitated and returned. The two that had now nearly 
crossed the river called to them and urged them to come, but in 
vain. The other two had determined to leave their companions, 
and to cross the beautiful and clear river. They crossed it, and 
were astonished to find that they had become black, except just 
those parts of them that had touched the black river, namely, 
their mouths, the soles of their feet, and the palms of their 
hands. The two who had crossed the black river, however, 


were of a pure white colour. The two parties now travelled in 
different directions, and when they had gone some way, the 
white men were agreeably surprised to come across a large 
house containing white wives for them to marry ; while the 
black men also found huts, or shimbecs, with black women 
whom they married. And this is why some people are white 
and some black. 


All the towns in Molembo or Ncotchi were suffering terribly 
from the awful scourge or evil wind (the disease we know 
by the name of small-pox). And the chief prince called the 
princes and people together and asked them if it were not time 
to ask Nzambi Mpungu why he was so cross with them ? And 
they all agreed that it was so. But whom were they to send ? 
They said that the Ngongongo was a wonderful bird, and could 
fly in a marvellous way. They sent him with a message to 
Nzambi Mpungu ; but when he got there, and cried out " quang, 
quang, quang," it was evident that Nzambi Mpungu did not 
understand his tongue. So he flew back back to Ncotchi and 
reported his failure. 

Then Ncotchi sent the rock-pigeon (mbemba), but he could 
not make Nzambi Mpungu understand, and he also returned to 

Then the prince sent the ground-dove (ndumbu nkuku), and 
she went and sang before Nzambi Mpungu : 

" Tuka Matenda ma fua 
Vanji Maloango ma fua 
Vanji Makongo ma fua 
Sukela sanga vi sia. " 


(■" Mafuka Matenda is dead, 
"Vanji Maloango is dead, 
Vanji Makongo is dead ; 
This is the news that I bring."*) 

And Nzambi Mpungu heard what the dove had said, but 
answered not. 

* Mafulia means ambassador, and is a title given to certain rich natives. 
Matenda is the name of a prince of KaCongo. Vanji is a title and has the 
sense of creator, lord. The last line is a form expressing that one has 
delivered one's message. 



Nzambi Mpungu heard that some one across the seas was 
making people who could speak. This roused his ire, so that he 
called the ox, the tiger, the antelope, the cock, and other 
birds together, and after telling them the news, he appointed 
the cock his ambassador. 

" Tell the white man that I alone am allowed to make people 
who can talk, and that it is wrong of them to make images of 
men and give them the power of speech." 

And the cock left during the night, passing through a 
village about midnight, and only a few of the people got up to 
do honour to Nzambi Mpungu's ambassador, so that Nzambi 
Mpungu waxed wroth, and turned the inhabitants of that 
village into monkeys. 



There was a certain hen; and she used to go down to the 
river's edge daily to pick up bits of food. One day a crocodile 
came near to her and threatened to eat her, and she cried : " Oh, 
brother, don't I " 

And the crocodile was so surprised and troubled by this cry 
that he went away, thinking how he could be her brother. He 
returned again to the river another day, fully determined to 
make a meal of the hen. 

But she again cried out : " Oh, brother, don't ! " 

" Bother the hen ! " the crocodile growled, as she once more 
turned away. " How can I be her brother ? She lives in a 
town on land ; I live in mine in the water." 

Then the crocodile determined to see Nzambi about the ques- 
tion, and get her to settle it ; and so he went his way. He had 
not gone very far when he met his friend Mbambi (a very 
large kind of lizard). " Oh, Mbambi ! " he said, " I am sorely 
troubled. A nice fat hen comes daily to the river to feed ; and 
each day, as I am about to catch her, and take her to my home 
and feed on her, she startles me by calling me ' brother.' I 


can't stand it any longer; and I am now off to Nzambi, to hold a 
palaver about it." 

" Silly idiot ! " said the Mbambi, " do nothing of the sort, or 
you will only lose the palaver and show your ignorance. Don't 
you know, dear crocodile, that the duck lives in the water and 
lays eggs ? the turtle does the same ; and I also lay eggs. The 
hen does the same ; and so do you, my silly friend. Therefore 
we are all brothers in a sense." And for this reason the croco- 
dile now does not eat the hen. 



In the beginning, when KaCongo had still one mother, and the 
whole family yet lived on grass and roots, and knew not how to 
plant, a woman brought forth three babes at one birth. 

" Oh, what am I to do with them ? " she cried. " I do not 
want them ; I will leave them here in the grass." And the three 
little ones were very hungry, and looked about them for food. 
They walked and walked a long long way, until at last they came 
to a river, which they crossed. 

They saw bananas, and palm-trees, and mandioca, growing in 
great quantities, but dared not eat the fruit thereof. Then the 
river-spirit called to them, and told them to eat of these good 
things. And the tiniest of the three tried a banana and found it 
very sweet. Then the other two ate them, and found them very 
good. And after this they ate of the other trees, and so grew up 
well nurtured and strong; and they learnt how to become car- 
penters and blacksmiths, and built themselves houses. The river- 
spirit supplied them with women for wives ; and soon they 
multiplied and created a town of their own. 

A man who had wandered far from his town came near to 
where the three brothers had built their home, and was astonished 


as he approached it, to hear voices. This man happened to be 
the father of the three brothers. So he returned to his town, 
without having entered the village, to tell his wife that he had 
found her children. Then the old woman set out with her 
husband to seek for her children, and wandered and wandered on, 
until she was too tired to go any further, when she sank down 
by the wayside to rest. 

Now one of the children of the three brothers came across the 
old woman, and was afraid, and ran back to tell his father. 

Then the three brothers set out with the intention of killing the 
intruder ; but the river-spirit called out to them, and told them 
not to kill her, but to take her to their home, and feed her, for 
she was their mother. And they did so. 



One of my cook's many fathers having died (this time, his real 
father), he came to me with tears in his eyes to ask me for a 
little rum to take to town, where he said his family were waiting 
for him. Some days previously the cook had told me that his 
father was suffering from the sleeping sickness, and was nearing 
his end, so that when I heard the cry of " Chibai-i " floating 
across the valley from a little town close to that in which the 
cook lived, I guessed who the dead one was, and was prepared 
to lose the cook's services for a certain number of days. 

The death of the father of a family is always a very sad event, 
but the death of the father of a Fjort family seems to me to be 
peculiarly pathetic. His little village at once assumes a deserted 
appearance ; his wives and sisters, stripped of their gay cloths, 
wander aimlessly around and about the silent corpse, crying 
and wringing their hands, their tears coursing down their 
cheeks along little channels washed in the thick coating of oil 
and ashes with which they have besmeared their dusky faces. 
Naked children, bereft for the time being of their mother's care, 
cry piteously ; and the men, with a blue band of cloth (ntanta 
mabundi) tied tightly round their heads, sit apart and in silence, 


already wondering what evil person or fetish has caused them 
this overwhelming loss. 

The first sharp burst of grief being over, loving hands shave 
and wash the body, and, if the family be rich enough, palm- 
wine or rum is used instead of water. Then the heavy body is 
placed upon mats of rushes and covered with a cloth. After 
resting in this position for a day, the body is wrapped in long 
pieces of cloth and placed upon a kind of rack or framework 
bed, underneath which a hole has been dug to receive the 
water, etc , that comes from the corpse. A fire is lighted both 
at the head and foot of the rack, and the body is covered each 
day with the leaves of the Acaju, so that the smoke that hangs 
about it will keep off the flies. More cloth is from time to time 
wrapped around the body ; but, unless there are many palavers 
which cannot be quickly settled, it is generally buried after two 
or three wrappings. The more important the person, the longer, 
of course, it takes to settle these palavers and their many com- 
plications; and as the body cannot be buried until they are 
settled, one can understand how the heirs of a great king some- 
times come to give up the hope of burying their relation, and 
leave him unburied for years. On the other hand, the slave, 
however rich he may be, is quickly buried. 

The family being all present, a day is appointed upon which 
the cause of the death shall be divined. Upon this day the 
family, and the family in which the deceased was brought up, 
collect what cloth they can and send it to some well-known 
Nganga, a long way off. The Nganga meets the messengers 
and describes to them exactly all the circumstances connected 
with the life, sickness and death of the deceased ; and if they 
conclude that this information agrees with what they know to 


be the facts of the case, they place the cloth before him and 
beseech him to inform them the cause of their relation's death. 
This the Nganga sets himself to divine. After some delay he 
informs the relations (1) that the father has died because some- 
one (perhaps now dead) knocked a certain nail into a certain 
fetish, with his death as the end in view, or (2) that so-and-so 
has bewitched him, or (3) that he died because his time had 

The relations then go to the Nganga of the fetish or Nkissi 
mentioned, and ask him if he remembers so-and-so knocking 
a nail into it ? and if so, will he kindly point out the nail to them? 
He may say Yes. Then they will pay him to draw it out, so that 
the rest of the family may not die. Or the relations give the 
person indicated by the Nganga as having bewitched the dead 
man, the so-called Ndotchi (witch) , a powdered bark, which he 
must swallow and vomit if he be really innocent. The bark 
named Mbundu is given to the man who owns to being a 
witch, but denies having killed the person in question. That of 
Nlcassa is given to those who deny the charge of being witches 
altogether. The witches or other persons who, having taken the 
bark, do not vomit are either killed or die from the effects of 
the poison, and their bodies used to be burnt. Since civilized 
government have occupied the country a slight improvement 
has taken place, in that the relations of the witch are allowed 
to bury the body. If events turns out as divined by the Nganga, 
he retains the cloth given to him by the relations or their 
messengers : otherwise he must return it to the family, who 
take it to another Nganga. 

While all this is going on, a carpenter is called in to build 
the coffin ; and he is paid one fowl, one mat of rushes, and one 


To j ace page 113. 


closely woven mat per day. Hum and a piece of blue cloth 
are given to him on the day he covers the case with red cloth. 
Palm-wine, rum, and cloth are given to him as payment on its 
completion. And now that all palavers are finished, and the 
coffin ready, the family are once more called together ; and the 
prince of the land and strangers are invited to come and hear 
how all the palavers have been settled. A square in front of 
the shimbec containing the coffin is cleared of herbs and grass, 
and carefully swept; and here, during the whole night previous to 
the official meeting, women and children dance. Mats are placed 
immediately in front of the shimbec for the family and their 
fetishes (Poomba) : the side opposite is prepared for the prince 
and his followers; and the other two sides are kept for those 
strangers and guests who care to come. At about three o'clock 
guns are fired off as a signal that all is ready. The family 
headed by their elder and spokesman then seat themselves ready 
to receive their guests. Then the guests glide into the village 
and make their way to the elder, present themselves, and then 
take their allotted seats. 

When all are assembled, the elder addresses the two family 
fetishes held by two of the family. Pointing and shaking his 
hand at them, he tells them how the deceased died, and all the 
family has done to settle the matter ; he tells them how they 
have allowed the father to be taken, and prays them to protect 
the rest of the family ; and when he has finished his address, 
the two who hold the fetishes, or wooden figures, pick up a little 
earth and throw it on the heads of the fetishes, then, lifting 
them up, rub their heads in the earth in front of them. 

Then the elder addresses the prince and his people, and the 
strangers who have come to hear how the deceased has died, and 


offers them each a drink. When they have finished drinking, 
he turns to the fetishes and tells them that they have allowed 
evil to overtake the deceased, but prays them to protect his 
guests from the same. Then the fetishes again have earth 
thrown at them, and their heads are once more rubbed in 
the earth. 

And now the elder addresses the wives and tells them that 
their husband has been cruelly taken from them, and that they 
are now free to marry another ; and then, turning to the 
fetishes, he trusts that they will guard the wives from the evil j 
that killed their husband ; and the fetishes are again dusted and 
rubbed in the earth. 

On the occasion that I watched these proceedings, the elder 
got up and addressed me, telling me that my cook, who had 
served me so well and whom I had sent to town when he was 
sick, etc., etc., had now lost his father ; and once more turning 
to his fetishes, the poor creatures were again made to kiss old 
mother earth, this time for my benefit. 

If a witch has to undergo the bark-test, rum is given to the 
prince, and he is told that if he hears that the Ndotchi has been 
killed he is to take no official notice of the fact. 

Then the men dance all through the night ; and the next day 
the body is placed in the coffin and buried. In KaCongo the 
coffin is much larger than that made in Loango ; and it is placed 
upon a huge car on four or six solid wheels. This car remains 
over the grave, ornamented in different ways with stuffed 
animals, and empty demijohns, animal-boxes, and other earthen- 
ware goods, in accordance with the wealth of the deceased. I 
can remember when slaves and wives were buried together with 
the prince ; but this custom has now died out in Loango and 


KaCongo, and we only hear of its taking place far away 

The " fetish chibinga " * sometimes will not allow the corpse 
to close its eyes. This is a sure sign that the deceased is 
annoyed about something, and does not wish to be buried. In 
such a case no coffin is made, the body is wrapped in mats and 
placed in the woods near to an Nlomba tree. Should he be 
buried in the ordinary way, all the family would fall sick and 
die. Should his chimyumba (KaCongo chimlindi) appear to 
one of his family, that person would surely die. But others 
not of the family may see it and not die. 

The deceased will often not rest quiet until his nkulu (soul ? 
spirit ?) is placed in the head of one of his relations, so that he 
can communicate with the family. This is done by the Nganga 
picking up some of the earth from the grave of the deceased, 
and, after mixing it with other medicine, placing it in either 
the horn of an antelope (lekorla) or else a little tin box 
(nJcobbi). Then seating himself upon a mat within a circle 
drawn in chalk on the ground, he shakes a little rattle 
(nquanga) at the patient, and goes through some form of 
incantation, until the patient trembles and cries out with the 
voice of the deceased, when they all know that the nkulu has 
taken up its residence in his head. The medicine and earth 
together with the nkobbi is called nkulu mpemba, and shows 
that the deceased died of some ordinary disease ; but when the 
medicine and earth are put into the lekorla it shows that the 
deceased died of some sickness of the head, and this is called 
nkulu mabiali. 

Ghibinga is the state of a corpse which remains with its eyes open, 
and is also the power, or nkissi, that is the cause of this affliction. 



The Fjort say the " shadow" ceases at the death of the person. 
I asked if that was because they kept the corpse in the shade ; 
what if they put the corpse in the sun ? The young man asked 
turned to his elderly aunt and re-asked her this question. 
" No," she said emphatically, " certainly not ! " * 

* Miss Kingsley writes as follows on this : "The final passage is an 
unconscious support to my statements regarding the four souls of man. 
The shadow dies utterly at bodily death; therefore it does not matter 
whether the corpse is in the sun, or no, because the shadow it might throw 
would not be the shadow of the man as he was when alive ; it would only 
be the shadow of the dead stuff." (See Folk-Lore, vol. viii., p. 144.^ 



In the preceding pages Mr. Dennett's observations 
have been given just as they have reached the hands 
of the Folk-Lore Society ; but there are many more 
of his observations on the religion of the Fjort which 
have come into my hands, unfortunately in so scattered 
a state that they cannot be given as separate chapters, 
little fragments of a few pages only, paragraphs in 
letters, and so on. Yet, as these fragments contain 
much valuable information in themselves, and also help 
in the understanding of much of the information he 
has sent home from KaCongo and Loango in a more 
connected form, I have collected some of them, and 
give them here without any alteration of Mr. Dennett's 
words, except obvious and trifling errors. 

I have explained in the Introduction that I regard 
Nkissism as a school of the fetish form of thought, 
and that I regard Mr. Dennett as the best authority 


we have on this particular school of this great Nature- 
Eeligion. The most important bit of work that he 
has done for us in the study of Nkissism seems to me 
to be his explanation of the word Nzambi in its inner 
meaning. Mr. Dennett himself would probably not 
agree with me on this point, and prefer to base his 
claim to honour od his investigation of the inner 
meaning of the whole Fjort language ; but, at present, 
he has not sent up his observations in this matter in a 
form that makes sufficient allowance for the ignorance 
of the civilised world regarding that beautiful but 
complex form of Bantu ; and, as the material Mr. 
Dennett has sent home regarding the inner meaning 
of the Fjort language is not printed in this volume, I 
will confine my collection of supplementary matter to 
Nzambi and the religion which surrounds her. 

Mr. Dennett says in a letter of the 6th July, 1897 : 

I have translated Nzambi as the Spirit of the Earth or Old 
Mother Earth. But A nza is the River Congo, and so Anzambi 
might well be translated the River-Spirit ; but this does not fit in 
with Fjorts' explanation of Nzambi, who figures in their folklore 
as the Great Princess, the mother of all animals, etc., the real truth 
being that Anza, the river, comes out of the earth, Nsi. In Fjort 
legends the river-spirits are legion, the name of the river and 
the spirit being one, Anzambi then is the spirit of the River 
Congo. All river-spirits appear to teach some lesson, physical 
or moraL In one story you will see the river-spirit taught the 

NZAMBI. 1 19 

Fjort to plant bananas and manioc,* to forge iron and so on ; 
and I have given you the real etymology of the word Nzambi 
and its real meaning, which fits in with the ideas, with the love 
of Mother Earth (Nzambi, mother earth) and this knowledge of 
the Anzambi, River-Spirit. 

Nsi the earth may be also translated as the Offspring of the 
Beginner ; then we have the river-spirit of knowledge coming 
out of the spirit of motherhood, which in its turn is the (N) 
Offspring of the (isi) Beginner. 

That Mr. Dennett is right in this matter I have no 
doubt from my own investigations of important words 
in other schools of fetish than Nkissism ; but that it will 
seem clear to those who have not personally wrestled 
with the difficulties of such words as Nzambi, or Woka, 
I feel many doubts. I hope, however, Mr. Dennett 
will soon be able to publish a full account of his long 
study of the Fjort language, and that may make the 
affair clearer. Of one thing I am very sure ; and 
that is, that until we know the underlying meaning 

* Bananas and manioc were introduced in Fjort culture by the Roman 
Catholic missionaries, who first landed among the Fjort in 1490, but I 
found Anyambie as a great god among the Mpongwe, but with them it is 
not Anyambie, that is connected with knowledge, and with the river, and 
sea, but Mbuiri (see Travels in West Africa, p. 228). The difference 
between the Fjort and the Mpongwe in this matter is easily explainable, 
for the Mpongwe did not receive, up any of their rivers, Roman Catholic 
missionaries to the same extent and in the same manner as the Fjorts 
received, via the Congo, instruction and new articles of food. The under- 
lying idea, which is earlier than the introduction of manioc and bananas, 
is identical. M. H. K. 


of the languages of Africa, we cannot safely dog- 
matise regarding the African's religion. I do not 
say that when Mr. Dennett does publish his key to 
the Fjort alphabet, he and I will be found to agree 
in all deductions ; because, although we both steep 
our minds in black and agree in black, we, in our 
white capacities, start from very different points of 
view in these matters. 

I now pass on to another fragment of Mr. Dennett's 
observations on Nzambi, wherein he says : 


It is the most difficult thing in the world at present, I think, 
to get a clear definition of Nzambi Mpungu, or of Nzambi, from 
the natives themselves in a direct way. 

Some say that Nzambi Mpungu made the world and sent 
Nzambi there, and that then he came down and married his 
creation, and thus became the father of us all. And of course 
we have distorted versions of the Creation according to the 
Bible. God, we are told, made man and woman, and put them 
in a large white house in a beautiful garden and told them not 
to eat of the tree of shame. But before they took charge of their 
house, thousands and thousands of rats trooped out of it. They 
ate of the tree of shame, and when God called to see them they 
were ashamed and dared not come out. And so forth. 

Still the faint notion of a spirit that rules the rains and sends 
the lightning, and gives them rainbows, exists ; and they call 
that very humanised spirit Nzambi Mpungu. 


To face page 121. 


But Nzambi, as the great princess that governed all on earth, 
is ever in their mouths as a mighty ruler, and she seems to have 
obtained the spirit of rain, lightning, etc., and to have buried it 
in her bowels. The following is a little story that gives her a 
human shape, and fixes her position as a mother : 

Some women were busy planting in a country where water 
was scarce, so that they had brought their sangas, containing 
that precious fluid, with them. As they were working, a poor 
old woman, carrying a child on her back, passed by them, 
hesitated for a moment, and then walked back to them and 
asked them to give her child a cup of water. 

The women said that they had carried the water from afar, 
and needed it for themselves, as there was no water just 

The poor old woman passed on, but told them that they 
would one day regret their want of charity. 

Noticing a man up a palm tree, she asked him if he would 
mind giving her baby a little palm-wine, as the poor little thing, 
she was afraid, was dying of thirst. 

" Why not, mother?" he replied, and straightway came down 
the tree and placed a calabash at her feet. 

" But I have no cup," she said. 

" Nay, mother, let me break this spare calabash, and give the 
child a drink." 

She thanked him, and went her way, saying : " Be here, my 
I son, at this time to-morrow." 

i. He wondered what the old woman meant ; but such was the 
impression her words had made upon him, that he could not 
sleep at all that night, and felt himself obliged, when the morrow 
came, to proceed to the place. 


" Surely this cannot be the place," he said, as he came near 
to the palm-tree where he had met the old woman. "There was 
no water where the women were at work yesterday, yet surely 
that is a great lake." 

"Wonder not, my son," said the old woman, as she approached 
him, " for thus have I punished the women for their want of 
charity. See my son, this lake is full of fish, and you and all 
men may fish here daily, and the abundance of fish shall never 
grow less. But no woman shall eat the fish thereof, for as sure 
as she eats the fish of this lake, so surely shall she immediately 
die. Let the lake and its fish be hazila for women. For I, 
Nzambi, have so ordered it." Nzambi then loaded the young 
man with many gifts, and told him to depart in peace. The 
name of this lake is Bosi, and it is situated a few miles inland 
behind a place called Futilla. 

Another story proves to us that retribution is an attribute of 
Nzambi : 

An old lady, after some days' journey, arrived at a town called 
Sonanzenzi, footsore and weary, and covered with those terrible 
sores that afflict a great number of the Negroes in the Congo 
district. The old lady asked for hospitality from each house- 
holder as she passed through the town; but they all refused to 
receive her, saying that she was unclean, until she arrived at the 
very last house. Here the kind folk took her in, nursed and 
cured her. When she was quite well and about to depart, she 
told her kind friends to pack up their traps and leave the town 
with her, as assuredly it was accursed and would be destroyed 
by Nzambi. And the night after they had left it, heavy rains 
fell, and the town was submerged, and all the people drowned, 
for Sonanzenzi was in a deep valley, quite surrounded by hills. 


And now as the people of Tandu pass on their way to Mbuela, 
and they look down into the deep waters, they notice the sticks 
of the houses at the bottom ; and they remember that Nzambi 
would have them take care of the sick, and not turn them 
cruelly away from their doors. 

From the following, one gathers that Nzambi is also a 
judge : 

Nzambi was in her town resting, when she was called to settle 
a palaver in a town close to. She and her followers went, and 
after the usual preliminary formalities, commenced to talk the 
palaver. While they were yet talking, Nzambi heard the drum 
beaten in her own town, and wondered greatly what the matter 
could be. She sent the pig to see what the disturbance was, and 
to find out who had dared to beat her Ndungu zilo, or great drum, 
during her absence. But the pig returned, and said: " Princess, 
I did not see anyone in the town, and all was quiet and in order." 

" Strange! " said Nzambi, "but I distinctly heard the beating 
of my drum." 

They continued the palaver until Nzambi again heard her 
drum beating. 

"Gro immediately, antelope! " said Nzambi, " and find out 
who is beating my drum." 

The antelope went and returned; but he had not seen nor 
heard anything. They continued the palaver, and just as they 
drew it to a close, Nzambi heard the drum a third time. 

" Let us all go and find out," said Nzambi, " who has thus 
dared to disturb us." 

They went, but saw nothing. 
' " Hide yourselves in the grass round about the town, and 
watch for the intruder ! " 


Then they saw the crab coming out of the water. Breath- 
lessly they all watched him. They saw the crab creep stealthily 
up to the drum and beat it. Then they heard him sing : 

" Oh, Nzambi has gone up to the top of the mountain, and 
left me here all alone." 

Then the people rushed out of the grass, and caught the terri- 
fied crab and dragged him to Nzambi. 

And Nzambi rebuked him saying : " Thou hast acted as one 
without a head, henceforth thou shall be headless, and shalt be 
eaten by all men." 

According to another crab story, Nzambi had already given 
the crab a body and legs, and promised on the next day to give 
him a head. Then the crab sent invitations to all around to 
come and see Nzambi place his head on. And when they had 
all arrived, he was so proud that he could hardly walk straight. 
But Nzambi rebuked him for his great pride, and told those 
who were present that as a warning to them not to be self- 
glorious she would not give the crab a head. And thus it hap- 
pens that when the crab wants to see where he is going, he has 
to lift his eyes out of his body. 

Nzambi Mpungu made the world and all the people in it. 
But Nzambi had made no drum for her people, so that they 
could not dance. Nchonzo nkila, a little bird with a long tail, 
fashioned like a native drum that seems always to be beating the 
earth, lived in a small village near to the town that Nzambi had 
chosen as her place of residence. This Nchonzo nkila set to 
work, and was the first to make a drum. He then called his 
followers together, and they beat the drum and danced. And 
when Nzambi heard the beating of the drum she wanted it, so 
that her people might also dance. " What ! " she said to her 


people, " I, a great princess, cannot dance, because I have no 
drum, while that little wagtail dances to the beat of the drum 
he has made. Go now, antelope, and tell the little wagtail 
that his Great Mother wants his drum. " 

And the antelope went to wagtail's town and asked him to 
send Nzambi his drum. 

" Nay," answered the wagtail, " I cannot give Nzambi my 
drum, because I want it myself." 

" But," said the antelope, " the great mother gave you your 
life ; surely you owe her something in return." 

" Yes, truly," answered wagtail, " but I cannot give her 
my drum." 

" Lend it to me then," said the antelope, " that I may play 
it for you." 

" Certainly," said the wagtail. 

But after beating the drum for a short time, the antelope ran 
away with it. Then wagtail waxed exceeding wrath, and sent 
his people after him. And they caught the antelope and killed 
him, and gave him to their women to cook for them. 

After a while Kivunga, the hyena, was sent by Nzambi to 
see why the antelope was so long away. And he asked Nchon- 
zo nkila what had become of the antelope. And Nchonzo nkila 
told him. 

" Give me then some of his blood, that I may take it to our 
mother, and show her." 

Nchonzo nkila gave him some, and Kivunga took it to Nzambi, 
and told her all that had occurred. And Nzambi was grieved 
at not being able to secure the drum. Then she addressed the 
Mpacasa, or wild ox, and besought him to get her the drum. 
But Mpacasa tried the same game as the antelope, and met 



with the same fate. Kivunga came again, and was told by the 
wagtail that Mpacasa had been killed by his people for trying 
to steal the drum. Kivunga returned to Nzambi, and told her 
how Mpacasa had tried to run away with the drum, and had 
been killed. Nzambi grieved sorely, and would not be com- 
forted, and cried out to her people, praying them to get her 
Nchonzo nkila's drum. 

Then Mfiti (the ant) stood out from among the people and 
volunteered, saying : " Weep not, Nzambi, I will get the 
drum for you." 

" But you are so small a creature, how will you secure the 

" From the fact of my being so small I shall escape 

And so the ant went out to wagtail's town, and waited 
there until all were asleep. Then he entered the house where 
the drum was kept, and carried it away unperceived, and 
brought it to Nzambi. And Nzambi rewarded the ant and 
then beat the drum and made all her people dance. 

Then Nchonzo nkila heard the noise, and said : " Listen ! 
they are dancing in Nzambi's town. Surely they have stolen 
my drum." 

And when they looked in the house for the drum, they found 
it not. So Nchonzo nkila became very angry and called all the 
birds together ; and they all came to hear what he had to say, 
save the Mbemba, or pigeon. Then they discussed the matter 
and decided upon sending Nzambi a messenger, asking her to 
appoint a place of meeting where the palaver between them 
might be talked. And Nzambi promised to be in Neamlau's 
town the next day to talk the palaver over before that prince. 


Then Nehonzo nkila and his followers went to Neamlau's 
town and awaited Nzambi. Two days they waited, and on the 
third Nzambi and her people arrived. 

Then Nehonzo nkila said : " 0, prince ! I made a drum and 
Nzambi has taken it from me. It is for her to tell you why ; 
let her speak." 

Nzambi arose and said : " 0, prince ! My people wished to 
dance, but we had no drum, and therefore they could not. Now 
I heard the sound of a drum being beaten in the village over 
which 1 had set Nehonzo nkila to rule. I therefore first sent 
the antelope as my ambassador to Nehonzo nkila, to ask him 
for the drum ; but his people killed the antelope. I then sent 
Mpacasa for the drum ; but they killed him also, as Kivunga 
will bear witness. Finally I sent the ant ; and he brought me 
the drum, and my people danced and we were happy. Surely, 
prince, I who brought forth all the living in this world have 
a right to this drum if I want it." 

Then Kivunga told them all he knew of the palaver. 

Nenlau* and his old men, having heard all that was said, 
retired to drink water. When he returned, Nenlau said : " You 
have asked me to decide this question, and my judgment is 
this : It is true that Nzambi is the mother of us all, but 
Nehonzo nkila certainly made the drum. Now when Nzambi 
made us, she left us free to live as we chose, and she did not 
give us drums at our birth. The drums we make ourselves ; 
and they are therefore ours, just as we may be said to be 
Nzambi's. If she had made drums and sent them into the 
world with us, then the drums would be hers. But she did 

Nenlau is a contracted form of Neamlau. 


not. Therefore she was wrong to take the drum from Nchonzo 

Nzambi paid Nchonzo nkila for the drum, and was fined for 
the mistake. 

Then both Nzambi and Nchonzo nkila gave presents to Nenlau 
and went their way. 

Thus, in this case, we have Nzambi brought down to the 
level of the rest of the world, and judged by human laws. And 
such is the native idea of their second divinity ; for while they 
willingly give her credit for being the mother of all things and 
full of all power, they cannot entertain the idea of her being 
other than human. 


Nzambi had a most beautiful daughter, and she took the 
greatest care of her. As the child grew up, she was kept 
within the house, and never allowed to go outside, her mother 
alone waiting upon her. And when she arrived at the age of 
puberty, her mother determined to send her to a town a long 
way off, that she might be undisturbed while she underwent 
her purification in the paint-house. 

She gave her child a slave ; and unnoticed these two left 
Nzambi's town for the distant place where the paint-house was 

" Oh, see there, slave ! what is that ? " 

" Give me your anklets, and I will tell you," answered the 

The daughter of Nzambi gave the slave the anklets. 


" That is a snake." 

And then they walked along for some time, when suddenly 
the daughter of Nzambi said : " Oh, slave, what is that ? " 

" Give me your two new cloths, and I will tell you." 

She gave the slave the two cloths. 

" That is an antelope." 

They had not gone far when the daughter again noticed 
something strange. 

" Slave, tell me what that thing is ? " 

" Give me your bracelets." 

The girl gave the slave her bracelets. 

" That thing is an eagle." 

The princess thought it wonderful that the slave should 
know so much more than she did ; and when she caught sight 
of a thing rising gently from the ground, she turned to her 
again and asked : " And what is that ? " 

" Give me your coral necklace." 

The girl gave the slave the coral. 

"That is a butterfly." 

The next time she asked the slave for information, the slave 
made her change her clothes with her ; so that while she was 
nearly naked, the slave was dressed most beautifully. And in 
this fashion they arrived at their destination, and delivered 
their message to the prince. 

After the proper preparations they placed the slave in the 
paint-house, with all the ceremony due to a princess ; and they 
set the daughter of Nzambi to mind the plantations. In her 
innocence and ignorance the daughter of Nzambi at first 
thought all this was in order, and part of what she had to go 


through ; but in a very short time she began to realize her 
position, and to grieve about it. She used to sing plaintive 
songs as she minded the corn, of how she had been mistaken 
for a slave, while her slave was honoured as a princess. And 
the people thought her mad. But one day a trade-caravan 
passed her and she asked the trader where he was going, and 
he answered : " To Nzambi's town." 

" Will you then take a message to Nzambi for me." 

The trader gladly assented. 

" Then tell her that her daughter is as a slave watching the 
plantations, while the slave is in the paint-house." 

He repeated the message ; and when she had said that it was 
correct, he went on his way and delivered it to Nzambi. 

Nzambi and her husband immediately set out in their 
hammock, accompanied by many followers, for the town where 
she had sent her daughter. And when she arrived she was 
greatly shocked to see her daughter in that mean position, and 
would have punished the prince, had she not seen that he and 
his people were not to blame. 

They called upon the slave to come out of the paint-house. 
But she was afraid, and would not. Then they entered, and 
having stripped her of all her borrowed plumes, they shut her 
within the house and burnt her. 

Mr. Dennett also informs me that, in districts occu- 
pied by Fjort south of the Congo, the high roads from 
the sea to the capital town are called "the footsteps 
of Nzambi." We now pass on to the consideration of 


the cult which has Nzambi for its central object, 
namely the cult of Nkissism. Mr. Dennett says : 


Nkissi means the mysterious power that is contained in plants 
and herbs and earth, or, as we should say, the medicine or poison. 
Hence it comes to mean any mysterious power — in short, a 
mystery. The power of the hypnotiser is called Nkissi; the 
hypnotiser is called Ndotchi or Ndokki. The poisoner is also 
called by this name. To explain the Great Something, the 
unknown power that certainly governs the universe, has puzzled 
the Fjort, as it has puzzled all others who have tried to dive 
beyond the regions of certainty. But while others have reasoned 
and sought after wisdom, Fjort has just put the whole matter 
on one side, and called it Nkissi. So that it has not been a 
search after wisdom so much as a severe letting alone. His 
knowledge has come to him from his experience of a series of 
hard lessons in every-day life. 

He suffered pain ; fire burnt him ; water drowned him ; 
without food he hungered ; sickness caused him pain, and death 
followed sickness. He ascribed it to Nkissi. Herbs poisoned 
some people, and herbs contained the power that cured others — 
Nkissi. Here there was something visible that contained the 
Nkissi ; that caused pain and relieved it. Whence this power ? 
It grew with the trees and herbs out of the earth : Nkissi 
nsi, the mysterious power that comes from the earth. Fearful 
earth, or Nza-mbi, really, terrible firstborn, mother, or pro- 
ducer. The earth is the father's firstborn ; the father's name, 




Thus have we arrived at the name the Fjort has given to the 
Creator. He calls him Nzambi Mpungu, the Father of the 
Fearful Firstborn, or Earth. 

The Rev. Pere Alexandre Visseq, in his Fiot Dictionary, under 
the heading " Nzambi," says it means " God, the Supreme 
Being, Creator and Preserver of the Universe. The Negroes 
believe in a Supreme Being who has made all things. According 
to them, he is a great monarch who has a great number of 
wives and beautiful children. He passes a happy existence in 
the heavens, and scarcely troubles himself about us. As he is 
not wicked, there is no use in their offering him sacrifices. 
Below him there are smaller divinities capable of doing harm. 
It is necessary to pray to them, invoke them and adore them. 
God is not jealous of the worship people render to them," and 
so on. I think we need not pursue this definition any further. 
There can be no doubt that the Supreme Being, Nzambi 
Mpungu, and Nzambi, Mother Earth, are two separate and 
distinct conceptions. 

But we have another dictionary to appeal to, that of Mr. 
Bentley, a Baptist missionary in the Congo. And his vast 
knowledge of the natives and their language commands our 
respect. He writes : " The root of the word Nzambi has not 
been found in Congo. It is suggested by Mr. Kobbe in his 
Huero Dictionary that in Kurunga, ' Ndyambi ' = God, and 
Ndyambi is derived from Yamba, to present on a special 
occasion, and connects it with Ndyembi, a reward, to which may 
be allied the Congo Nzamba, a toll for a bridge or a ferry. 
These suggestions can scarcely be regarded as satisfactory." 
So much for this authority. 

But in the Tandu dialect of the Congo district, the word 


Mpungu means Father in the sense of Creator. And in the 
words : Nsusu, the young of a fowl, chicken ; Nswa, the child ; 
Nsa, dependents ; Nsa Ka, the title of the heir apparent of the 
throne of Congo; we have a root which, in each case, refers to 
immediate offspring or dependence. 

You will also learn as we proceed that Nzambi is talked of 
as the mother of all things, the first daughter of the first father. 
Nza, the earth, was the creator's first creation. That the earth 
that contained the Nkissi that poisoned or cured people should 
have been called the bad (mbi) earth, in the sense of the earth 
that is to be feared, is surely not a wonderful conclusion. 

Hence Nza mbi, I conclude, first meant the Fearful First-born 
and producer. Thus we have Nkiss nsi, Nzambi's spirit, mystery 
in the earth ; Nzambi, the Fearful First-born of Mpungu, the 
Father : a Trinity. 

Mpungu, or, as he is more often called, Nzambi Mpungu, 
the father of the Fearful First-born, is seldom invoked by the 
natives. He is far above them. A father perhaps ; but do 
not the children belong to the mother ? and is it not to their 
mother and her family that they must look for assistance ? The 
line between the white man's Grod and Nzambi Mpungu is a 
very thin one. The Negro has got as far as natural religion 
will take him, and admits that he knows little or nothing about 
Him. He is willing to believe whatever the white man likes to 
tell him. And thus we have Nzambi Mpungu, the father of 
Nzambi, described to us in their mythology, or folklore, as a 
human being — as a naked man. This idea has crept into their 
minds through their having come across pictures of Our Lord 
as he is painted dying for us upon the cross. 

There is a man still living who declares that he was translated 


to heaven and saw Nzambi Mpungu. He lives in a town not 
far from Loango. He says that one day, when it was thundering 
and lightning and raining very heavily, and when all the people 
in his village, being afraid, had hidden themselves in their 
shimbecs, he alone was walking about. Suddenly, and at the 
moment of an extraordinarily vivid flash of lightning, after a 
very loud peal of thunder, he was seized and carried through 
space until he reached the roof of heaven, when it opened and 
allowed him to pass into the abode of Nzambi Mpungu. Nzambi 
Mpungu cooked some food for him, and gave him to eat. And 
when he had eaten, he took him about and showed him his 
great plantations and rivers full of fishj and then left him, 
telling him to help himself whenever he felt hungry. He 
stayed there two or three weeks, and never had he had such an 
abundance of food. Then Nzambi Mpungu came to him again, 
and asked him whether he would like to remain there always, 
or whether he would like to return to the earth. He said that 
he missed his friends, and would like to return to them. Then 
Nzambi Mpungu sent him back to his family.* 

I have said in the Introduction, that from historical 
tradition and from internal evidence, it is clear that 
Nkissism is a superimposed religion on the peoples of 
Loango and KaCongo, and that I believe the religion 
that was extant in these regions before the coming of 
the sons of the 'king of Congo and the priests of the 
Congo religion (Nkissism) was a religion identical 

* This story was told to me by Antonio Lavadeiro, my linguister, or 
head-man. at Bintamba, River Chiloango. 


in essentials with that which I had opportunities of 
studying among the tribes of the Mpongwe stem 
(Mpongwe, Ajumba, Orungu, Nkami and Igalwa) ; 
and I may remark that among these tribes there is 
not a priesthood apart, but the house-father is the 
priest of his people. The following observations of 
Mr. Dennett seem to me to have a bearing on this 


And now it is that we come to Nkissi, the spirit, the power, 
the mystery, that is contained in the Bilongo, or medicines, in 
the earth, and trees, and herbs. 

The father of the tribe carefully guarded one spot within 
his domain, in which he planted a stunted baobab, or placed a 
sacred stone, or a wooden image. Nails were not driven into 
this image, and the place so set apart was sacred — sacred to the 
mysterious power or spirit — and this was called his Nkissinsi. 
He was father and priest, or Nganga, the man learned in the folk- 
lore of his people. He it was who cured the sick, and instructed 
the young by his wise words and stories. He, as the direct 
descendant of Nzambi, ruled his people by that moral authority 
that devolved from what he considered his God. 

But as this family became great, it was ruled not only by the 
father, but by those elders that he might select to govern certain 
districts under him ; and these lieutenants in their turn appointed 
others to govern small portions of their regency. And finally 
Ngangas, or priests, men learned in folklore and medicine, were 
sent to help these lieutenants, and thus the office of ruler and 



priest, the effective authority and the moral authority, were 
separated, although the elder still considered himself as high-priesf 
and ruler. The Ngangas became a class apart under the title ot 
Zinganga Nkissi (Zinganga being the plural of Nganga). 

These Zinganga developed Nkissism as time went on, and ; 
instituted the Nkissi, or wooden image of a man or a beast 
charged with medicines. The petitioner who wished to kill the 
thief who had stolen some of his property, made the Nganga 
an offering, and drove a nail into the image as he made his 
request. Or the friends of the sick man would present their 
offering to the Nganga of a certain Nkissi ; and he would present 
them with some bracelet or amulet, Nkissi, charged with medi- 
cine which he affirmed would certainly cure the sick man. 

What a field was thus opened to unscrupulous Ngangas, and 
how quick they were to avail themselves of their chance, we can 
easily realise. 

The Zinganga at last professed to be able to call down the 
rain from heaven, and thus held the whole country in fear and 
trembling while they filled their pockets with ^heir peace 
offerings; and they backed up their profession by wholesale 
murder and poisoning of all unbelievers. They hypnotised the 
weak, who thought that some evil Nkissi had possession of them, 
until the patient's friends paid the Zinganga heavily to come and 
cast out the evil spirit, or killed them as so-called witches. 
They usurped the powers of the Elders, and cast off their 
allegiance to their great Father, until the great kingdom of 
the Bantu became cut up into innumerable petty sovereignties. 

The month of February is sacred to Nkissinsi. This month 
is called Muauda. The prince calls all his people before him and 
addresses them ; they then clean the holy ground of all grass 


and herbs, and for the first fifteen days the people dance and 
sing. On the fifteenth day all fetishes (Nkissi) are covered 
up, and no one is allowed to touch an image until the new 
moon appears again. 

The day of the week upon which the prince calls his people 
together to discuss any subject is called Nduka. Palavers con- 
cerning dead people are talked over on the day called Ntono. 

The Fjort has four days in his week: Tono; Silu; Nkandu; 
Nsona, the fourth day, upon which the women will not work in 
the fields, sacred to production and motherhood. 

Touching those things which the Fjort regard as forbidden, 
and which they call Xina (thina, or tchina), the youngest 
resident amongst them must have noticed many of these Xina 
Swine, which no prince will touch. In addition to these, the Fjort 
regard all things that come from the sea and have not fins and 
scales as forbidden, and also all eagles, crows, cuckoos, hawks, 
owls, herons, bats, and snakes. 

So long as he knows nothing about it he says he may eat 
food out of unclean pots, but if be knows that anything unclean 
has been cooked in the pot in which his food has been prepared, 
and he eats thereof, he will be punished by some great sickness 
coming over him, or by death. 

The rites of purification are numerous. After menstruation, 
childbirth, or sickness, they anoint their bodies with palm-oil 
mixed with the red powder called takula. 

Lastly, I give a note of Mr. Dennett's on the Nkissi 
of the Musurongo. These Musurongo to this day keep 
up their tradition for turbulence and miscellaneous 
villainy with which the Roman Catholic missionaries 


of the 15th and 16th centuries credited them. They 
are the descendants of the people of u the Count of 
Sogno." I also venture to think that they are a 
people upon whom Nkissism is a superimposed 
religion ; but the superimposition of this religion 
on the Musurongo took place prior to superimposi- 
tion of it on the people of Loango and KaCongo. 
We have, however, no white record on this point, but 
it shows faintly here and there in the black tradition, 
the Musurongo being frequently called " the bastard 
tribe, or people," and so on. Nevertheless, the infor- 
mation Mr. Dennett gives of these Nkissi at the pre- 
sent day is of such interest that I include it here. 

The principal Nkissi, or wooden images, into which nails are 
driven in this part of the Musurongo territory are : 

Kabata, which is said to kill its victims by giving them the 
sleeping sickness. 

Nsimbi, that causes dropsy. 

Quansi, that infests them with a ceaseless itching. 

Then we have their rain -giver, or withh older, called Nvemba. 

The Nkissist is robbed, and straightway he goes to the Nganga 
of Kabata, with an offering, and knocks a nail into the Nkissi 
(or fetish, as you are given to calling it) that the robber may be 
plagued with the sleeping sickness and die. 

Has he the sleeping sickness, the Nkissist goes to the Nganga, 
and, perhaps, confesses his sin, and pays him to withdraw the 
nail and cure him. 


It has not rained as it should have done ; then the prince 
collects cloth and goods from his people to present to the 
Nganga Nvemba ; and they all go to the sacred grove, and having 
made their offering sing and dance, and clap their hands and 
shout for rain. The Nganga secures them this blessing if he 
can ; but if he cannot, it is because someone has committed some 
great act of indecency, or has broken some of the orders of 
Nvemba — perhaps someone has been digging up the gum copal 
and selling it to some trader. The fault at any rate is never 
with the Nganga ; and some victim or other is pounced upon and 
has to appease the wrathful Nvemba by either losing his life, or 
that of a slave, or else by paying the Nganga. 

But if the thief or sinner who has kindled the wrath of Nvemba 
will not confess his fault, how then is the culprit to be brought 
to justice ? 

The Nganga Nkissi is not behind the sainted priests of our 
own church in its infancy, and is privileged to proceed by the 
ordeal of poison, fire, and water. And this again opens to the 
unscrupulous Nganga a wide field for what is called priestly 
jugglery, although I do not believe that the Ngangas, who in 
their simplicity appeal to the interposition of the Great Hidden 
Power, are necessarily impostors ; for they certainly are not. 

What we will call the conscience, for want of a better 
word, of people such as these KaCongos, who are still under the 
power of a religion full of superstition, is peculiarly sensitive. 
As then they fully believe that the Great Hidden Power will 
expose them, is it a wonderful conclusion to arrive at that this 
fear reacts upon their system ? The next time you are in fear 
and trembling, just try to eat a mouthful of dry bread; and I 
think that after that you will be a step nearer faith in trial by 


ordeal than you are to-day, and that you will easily understand 
how a native suffering from a guilty conscience, and dreading 
discovery, standing in the presence of the Nganga and the 
people, when suddenly called upon to swallow a piece of dry 
mandioco, may probably be choked in his terrible effort to do 
so. And if fear acts upon the system in this way in this case, 
why should we doubt its action in other ordeals ? 

The swindling comes in when a rich sinner confesses his sin to 
the Nganga, and bribes him to see him through the ordeal safely. 
The Nganga promises ; and the sinner, no longer the victim of 
fear, gets through the ordeal, even if the Nganga does not help 
him. But the unscrupulous Nganga does often help by putting 
a bean in the powdered bark, or casca, and thus ensuring 
its rejection by the stomach, and by other tricks known to 

We know that St. Wilfrid built an abbey near Ripon, which 
was destroyed by fire in 950, and that the privilege of ordeal by 
fire and water was granted to this church ; yet we do not hear 
people talking of St. Wilfrid as an old humbug. They give 
him the benefit of the doubt, and call him a saint. And yet I 
have no doubt that there were unscrupulous priests in those 
days, quite equal in villany to the vilest Nganga Nkissi of 

But before a man is brought to his trial there must be some 
evidence against him ; and this is supplied by the Nganga, who, 
having gone through a process of divining, accuses the man 
of being a poisoner, spell-binder, thief, or adulterer. Thus, a 
person falling sick will not presume that his sickness is brought 
about by his own folly, but rather concludes that someone is 
quietly poisoning him. He therefore calls in a Nganga; and it 


is this man's business to divine the evil-doer, or to tell the 
sufferer that his sickness is a natural one. 

I have often known my servants get up in the night after a 
disagreeable dream and fire off their guns to drive the evil 
power away, and the next day busy themselves by divining who 
the person was that was trying to get at them. 

I will close this collection of miscellaneous frag- 
ments with an account Mr. Dennett gives of the 
method of conducting a native palaver, a story that 
shows in what respect the decisions of the law were 
held, and a story showing the danger that is in 


It has struck me, as it must have struck all residents in Africa, 
that the force of reason and logic, as illustrated in his many 
palavers, plays no mean part in the life of the Fjort. 

A discussion takes place between two natives which leads to a 
quarrel. Each party relates his side of the question to some 
friend, these friends enter into the discussion, but fail to settle 
the question in dispute. A bet is then made between the two 
in the following way : one offers the other a corner of his cloth 
(a dress), and the other taking his knife cuts it off. Or a stick is 
broken into two parts, each keeping his part until the palaver is 
settled. The dispute is then referred to a prince, in whose pre- 
sence it is " talked out." This prince decides the matter, and is 
paid for his trouble. This the Fjort calls " Ku funda nKana," 
that is to plead and circumstantiate a cause. 

Palavers of the above kind of course are easily settled, but the 


more serious questions, such as those of shedding blood and inter- 
tribal dispute, are far more imposing and formal. It matters 
not whether the tribes have had recourse to arms in their en- 
deavours to settle the palaver ; no question is considered finally 
settled until it has been properly and judicially talked out. In 
wars of this kind the stronger may gain the day, but the 
weaker, if not entirely annihilated, will bide his time, and bring 
the palaver up again on some future and more favourable oc- 
casion, and probably be successful in getting right given to him 
after all. The palaver settled, the fine inflicted paid, the whole 
question is closed for ever.* 

The princes before whom the palaver is to be talked are 
generally seated near the trunk of some wide-spreading, shade- 
giving tree. The audience sit opposite to them — the defendant 
and plaintiff and their followers on either side, the space left 
being thus formed with a hollow square. 

If the palaver is one of great importance, and the parties 
opposed to each other are wealthy, they will employ their 
pleaders or Nzonzi (who know how to speak). The plaintiff 
states his case. The defendant states his. The simple hearing 
of the supposed facts of the case may take days, for each has to 
trace back the palaver to its origin. " If you want to catch a 
rat," says the Fjort, " go to its hole." Then the Nzonzi of the 
plaintiff argues the case, showing that under each head his 
party is in the right, illustrating his speech by well-known 
comparisons, proverbs, truisms, and songs. The Nzonzi of 
the defendant, on the other hand, takes up each heading and 
argues against it. The followers on each side emphasize each 

* This Is common to all the West African tribes I know, and not con- 
fined to the Fjort. M. H. K. 


conclusion drawn by the Nzonzi by repeating his last sentence, 
by clapping their hands, or by joining in the chorus of the song 
that the Nzonzi has sung to illustrate his case. If this song is 
a stirring one and does not tell much either way, princes and 
audience as well as both sides join in it until by a terrific grunt 
the presiding prince silences the court. 

This kind of thing goes on for many days, perhaps, until the 
two have as it were talked themselves dry, then, after leaving 
the court to drink water (as they say), the princes, having 
decided upon the guilt of the litigant, return. The presiding 
prince then, going through the counts once more, gives his 
judgment. Song after song is sung, hands are clapped, and 
telling words are repeated, until as the prince nears the end of 
his discourse the whole court is led by pure reason to admit the 
justice of his words and judgment. 

Then a great uproar ensues, the last song is sung with 
terrible enthusiasm, men jump up and twist themselves about, 
dancing and waving their spears and guns above their heads. 
The condemned is fined and given so many days to pay, or if 
the punishment be death, he is immediately tied up and either 
killed or ransomed according to his position. If the dispute has 
been between two tribes, after the fine has been paid an agree- 
ment is made between the two parties, and a slave killed, to seal 
the compact. 


There were two partners in trade, but they were of different 
tribes ; one was of the tribe of Mandamba, the other of that of 
Nsasso. 'They were going to sell a goat. On their way to 


market the Mandamba man said to the Nsasso man : " You go 
on ahead, while I go into the bush ; I will tie the goat up here, 
and catch you up shortly." 

" Ah," thought the Nsasso man, " he wants to give me the 

So he assented and went on ahead. But when he saw that 
the Mandamba man had tied up the goat and gone into the 
bush, he came back and took the goat, and sold it quickly. 
Then he returned to the Mandamba man. They met, and the 
Nsasso man asked the Mandamba man how it was that he had 
been so long. 

" Oh, I have lost the goat," he replied. 

" Well, how stupid it was of you not to have given me charge 
of the goat while you went into the bush ! " 

" Let us go to the market," said the Mandamba man, " we 
may find the goat there " (for a suspicion of what had occurred 
crossed his mind). 

" Very well," said the Nsasso man. 

On arriving at the market they saw the goat in the hands of 
a certain man. 

" Who sold you that goat ? " said the Nsasso man. 

" Why, you to be sure," said the man. 

" In truth then our partnership is at an end, for you have 
grossly deceived me," said the Mandamba man. 

And they went before the king, Nteka Matunga, and the 
Nsasso man said he thought the Mandamba man meant to play 
him a trick. 

" Yes," said the king, " perhaps he did intend to do so, as 
you are of different families, and do not trust one another ; but 
you did play the trick, which amounts to robbery." The king 


condemned the Nsasso man to be burnt, but he promised to pay 
the price of his life to the Mandamba man, and the latter agreed 
to receive payment, and thus the palaver was settled. 


The Fjort, as we have seen, is quick to give a subtle meaning 
to words that may have no evil significance. The following may 
help to bring this force of words before you. 

Kingolla one day went to Banana and came back to his town 
in rather a happy state, and thus influenced he called upon his 
sister Cha and said : " Keep up your health and strength and 
look well after your children, they are of a great family, and 
must live to prolong the race." 

" What can he mean ? " thought the sister. " We are all in 
good health ! " 

Next day one of the children fell sick and died. And Cha 
told her father all that Kingolla had said, and how she feared 
that he had bewitched her little one. 

The father accused Kingolla of having poisoned the little 

Kingolla denied the charge. 

"Take casca* then," said the father, "and let God judge 
between us." 

Kingolla took casca and vomited, thus proving his innocence. 

I watched Kingolla's career, and as it may interest you 
to know more about him, I give you the following as a sequel 
to the above. 

Some time after this, Kingolla committed adultery with the 
wife of a man named Lallu. Lallu caught him in the act, 

* Casca, or cassia, or NKasa, the powdered bark of a tree. 


and fell upon his wife, and stabbed her to death. Then the 
father of the woman was very wroth with Lallu for spilling the 
blood of his daughter, when by the laws of the land he (the 
father) was willing to take his daughter back again and to pay 
Lallu, not only what he had received for her, but also a sum 
equal to the value of the food and clothing Lallu had given her 
during the time she had been with him. Thus the father declared 
war against Lallu and his family, and they fought. Now 
Kingolla joined the side of the father, and was the only man 
killed in that war. 

Since the foregoing was in type I have received 
Mr. Dennett's notes on certain points raised in the 
Introduction. Such of them as relate to Nkissism 
and the allied subject of Kazila, or Xina, are here 
inserted, at the risk of some repetition, since they 
help us to form a clearer conception of those matters. 

Nkissism is divided into four parts : 1. Nkissi'nsi (or Nkissi 
anci) Earth or Nature ; Nkissi, with the king as high priest. 
2. Nkissi, the wooden images into which nails are driven, with 
their priests or Ngangas. This division may be termed Nganga 
Nkissi. 3. Nkissi kissi, little fetishes, or family fetishes, with a 
family Nganga. 4. Medicines, with their Nganga bilongo, or 
medicine man. 

The division here made by Mr. Dennett is interest- 
ing, because, under the four fairly distinct schools of 


Fetish existent in West Africa, you will find these 
four divisions in the religion. I would prefer to use 
the word departments, for the form of religion each 
of these departments deals with is the same in essence. 
The king deals with one class of affairs, the medicine- 
man with another, and the private individual sees to 
his home-fetish for himself. Mr. Dennett has called 
the Nganga bilongo " the medicine-man," but this 
term, I think, belongs more correctly to the Nganga 
Nkissi. For the Nganga bilongo is the Fjort repre- 
sentative of our apothecary, and is quite a reasonable 
person in his way, and it is Nganga Nkissi who 
represents that class to which the name " medicine- 
man " has been applied by European writers. Nganga 
in Fjort, Mr. Dennett says, means Repeater, i.e. he who 
repeats the secrets of native religion, family affairs, 
or medicine, or, as I should say, those parts of religion 
appertaining to these several things; for no Nganga 
tackles all of them, but takes a department. 

Mr. Dennett's most important statement is on 
Kazila, he says : 

As it is pronounced to-day it might mean " no road," and we 
must remember that in old Portuguese ch had the force of k, 
and g had a sound between j and a. So Merolla's " Chegilla " 
is evidently the same thing as the Kazila. But there is some- 
thing uncanny about this word; for some natives say it was 
given them by the Portuguese, and if so, ha or he is simply a 

L 2 


prefix, and the word was gira, which means gibberish or cant. 
The Fjort cannot roll his r or put I in its place. 

The native word (about which there is no doubt) for these 
things forbidden is (s.) xina (for) Bina. It is xina to steal, to 
murder, to sleep with a woman on the bare earth, and to eat a 
certain number of food-stuffs. The punishment is not always 
death. Sometimes the punishment for eating a forbidden food 
shows itself in the culprit's coming out in spots and blotches. 
I know one family that will not eat pigeons, because that bird, 
by scratching, let light into a cave in which one of the family's 
ancestors had been made a prisoner. Death is certainly not 
necessarily the punishment for breaking one's xina. 

Merolla's tale, which Miss Kingsley quotes in the Introduc- 
tion (p. xxv.), proves that so long as the young Negro knew 
nothing about it, he was " as right as a trivet," and that it was 
only when he was roughly told the truth that his fear and 
power of imagination got the better of him and killed him. 
That tale is incomplete, for, according to native law, the host 
was the cause of the young Negro's death, and it should end 
up with : " and the relations of the young Negro fell upon 
the host, and killed him, and the people said they had 
done well." Once the man knew that, even by acci- 
dent, he had eaten his xina, he would notice something 
was wrong, and he would go to the Nganga of the 
fetish set apart for that particular crime, and get the thing 
righted, or suffer sickness or death, as the case might be. 
I grant Miss Kingsley that if a native gave another his 
xina to eat, and that person died within a decent period, 
he would feel he had murdered him ; so that when casca was 
given to him to eat as an ordeal, he would die in almost the exactly 


same way as that in which the young Negro in the story did. 
All of which proves the terrible hold fear mixed with imagina- 
tion has over the Fjort's mind and stomach. A pot in which 
any xina has been cooked is unclean for ever, as far as that 
person is concerned, and no amount of washing will do. As I 
have said, xina are general and particular. The pig is xina to 
all royal blood ; the Ampa kala, or buffalo, to the Bakutu, as a 
punishment to them for not listening to the words of Maloango ; 
the antelope to a family round about Fahi, for refusing to give 
water to a voice in the bush when asked for it ; fish of certain 
inland waters to certain people, near Cabinda, for not giving 
water to Nzambi and her child ; and so on. The Fjort believes 
in the " voice that speaks," and this voice (as the very soul of 
man) is taken from the dead father and placed in the head of a 
living relation, and it speaks to the dead man's offspring, and 
thus what was his xina becomes the xina of his offspring. This 
is what the reverend fathers would call " conversing with the 



The following songs and additional matter by Mr. 
Dennett reached the Editor's hands in letters after 
the rest of the book was in type. As they contained 
valuable illustrations of the native customs and modes 
of thought, it was determined to add them by way of 
Appendix. Unfortunately the photographs of the 
string of symbols and the mode of using it were in 
such a condition that it was found impossible to 
reproduce them. Mr. Dennett's description, how- 
ever, is so clear that their reproduction is hardly 

The Editor has to thank Miss Kingsley for 
arranging the translation and explanation furnished 
by Mr. Dennett of the Song of Hunger, and for 
further elucidating some of its obscurities. His prac- 
tice has been to give a translation of each word of the 
song separately, and at the end of a line or phrase to 
paraphrase the whole or translate it as closely as the 


differences of idiom of Bantu and Aryan languages 
permit. It was thought too tedious to reproduce this 
procedure in the case of every song ; hence, in four 
out of the five songs here printed, only the translation 
or paraphrase of the entire line or phrase is given. 
In the case of the Song of Hunger, however, Mr. 
Dennett's procedure has been retained, as an illus- 
tration of the construction of the Bantu song. 

The name given to the first of the following songs 
is Miss Kingsley's suggestion. 

It should be noted that the symbol X stands 
throughout for tch or dj. 


I now have the pleasure of enclosing two photographs, 
representing, the one a string of symbols or headings of a 
native song, and the other the boy singing the song from the 

The song itself and the string came from the Mayumba 
district, i.e., that country to the north and east of Loango. 

The string is composed of pieces of stick, shells, calabashes, 
and skins and feathers strung together. 

A piece of rounded stick about an inch long. 
The shell of a peanut. 

A piece of rounded stick with two notches in it. 
Two pieces of rounded stick (two wives of the dead repre- 
sented by a small bundle of cloth). 
A piece of rounded stick (ximanga liambu). 
Two pieces of rounded stick (ngoma and mavungu). 














7th line A piece of calabash (ntumbu). 

8th „ Two pieces of rounded stick (two women). 

One little piece of mandioca. 

One piece of husk of palm-kernel. 
9th ,, One piece of rounded stick (one woman, Buketi). 
10th ,, ,, ,, with string round it (nganga nsassi). 

11th ,, „ „ (Buyali). 

One piece of hollow wood for canoe. 
12th ,, One rounded piece of calabash (sun). 

One half -moon-shaped piece of calabash (moon). 
13th , , One short piece of round stick (two notches). 

One small round stick (hammer). 

One small bundle of cloth (Bisakala). 
14th , , One piece of wood in shape of cross supposed to represent man 
with drum between his legs. 

A very small piece of wood as drumstick. 
15th ,, One round piece of wood (xivunda). 

One smaller piece (son). 

A bit of the leaf of Indian corn. 
16th „ A flat piece of wood representing bark of a tree. 
17th ,, Round piece of stick with string round top (Nganga bi 

18th ,, Round piece of stick, one notch (son). 

Small piece of stick, drumstick (ngoma). 
19th ,, Flat piece of stick like spoon (cease eating). 
20th ,, Two little bits of stem of tobacco (pipe and tobacco). 
21st , , Small flat stick (xibala nganzi). 
22nd ,, Rather long round stick with forked stick tied round the 

top representing Father Makuika, a prisoner. 
23rd ,, Small piece of pipe. 

24th ,, Round piece of stick tied round the middle. 
25th ,, Small piece of grass. 
26th „ Shell. 
27th ,, Imitation of a comb. 

Piece of wood like hand-mirror. 
28th ,, Round stick tied to string j way up. 
29th ,, Skin of Mpakasa. 
30th „ Tail of Ngumba. 

Piece of skin. 
31st ,, Piece of skin of big antelope (sungu). 
32nd ,, Tail-feather of parrot (nkusu). 

,, ,, pheasant (mbulu nkoko). 


So much, then, for the symbols ; now for the song. One boy 
holds one end of the string while the singer holds the other; 
then, as the latter sings, his fingers touch the symbols. He 
sings a sentence, the other boy and the onlookers repeat it. 

1. Xitini xinkondo xif umina ku Sundi. (Shoots of the silk-cotton tree 
came from Sundi.)* 

2. Lunguba lu nkuanji lu fumina ku Sundi. (And peanuts, which are 
now so common also, came from Sundi.)t 

3. Ma ngombi xinanga nquanga. (O, mother, ngombi dance the 
nquanga. ) 

4. Xibaiia niombo bakanga vulubongo. (Tie up the corpse in native 

5. Ximanga liambu buna ku manga busu ku bititi. (The man who does 
not wish to hear the word turns his face to the grass.) 

6. Ngoma i Mavungu ba nkote mi kunji. (Ngoma and Mavungu 
[Truth and Falsehood] are present at all palavers.) 

7. Ntumpunganga ntumpu ilanga ma bungu. (Tell us openly the 
palaver you have hidden in your heart. ) 

8. Bilezi bixentu ku yolo, biyolo m'uenda ku lindaiia. (Two young 
ladies after smearing themselves over with takula, or red paint, go to 
visit their lovers.) 

9. Buketi nkuendanga ku buala, keti nkuendanga ku buala kutanga 
babota. (Buketi keeps on going to town, going to town [because she is 
pregnant ; may she] bring forth her child well.) 

10. Nganga Nsassi Kubela ku mbela. (Nganga Nsassi [Suami] is sick.) 

11. Buyali ku buyali tuala ko nlungu, mino ku simika nlungu muana 
ku banda. ([A man on the other side of the river shouts] " Buyali, 
Buyali, bring hither thy canoe [I want to cross this river] " [Buyali 
answers] : "I am pushing my canoe along with a bamboo ; my child is at 
the bottom of the river.") 

12. Ntangu mu luanda, ngonde ne bi sunji. (The sun is always 
marching [as in a hammock], and meets the new moon on the beach.) 

13. Nkubi nyundu 'mduda bi sengo, kududa, kududa, mioko u aka 
nxienzo, bonga bi sakala u dudila bi sengo. (The blacksmith by beating 
makes the hoe ; he beats and beats the iron until his hammer [too hot to 

* And now fishermen in Cabinda, etc. , make their nets and floats from 
its bark. 

t Sundi is the grass country beyond the Mayomba district. 


hold] drops to the ground. [Says his friend :] " Take this bit of native 
cloth to hold your hammer with, and go on beating the iron and make 
your hoe.") 

14. Akubemba ndungu kubemba i xikonko. ([He addresses the 
drummer:] "Take your drum and put it between your legs, and your 
drum-stick, and beat the drum.") 

15. Xivunda xibuala xinkenia li sango, kukenia kukenia li eno li aka 
nxienzo ; bikela muana mudidi ku manisia li sango. (When a man in town 
is old and eats Indian corn, he leaves some corn on the cob ; and the corn 
he leaves, his son is forced to finish. ) 

16. Lubalu lubaluka vi xifumba ? (How is it my family respect me no 
longer 1) 

17. Nganga biyango biyango ba sumuka. (Some one has touched my 
birth-fetish [nganga biyango], and it has lost its virtue.) 

18. Muana mbela ngoma mi ntomba. (My child is sick ; fetch the 
ngoma [little drum.]) 

19. Bika i lia malandu e landu landu mabungu. (Let me eat malandu 
[a fruit] and remember the whole palaver.)" 

20. Sungu mu xi timba, liamba mu nkondo. ([Put] tobacco in the 
pipe, liamba [hemp] in the calabash.) 

21. Xibala nganzi balanga mabungu. (To think heavily, with a frown 
on one's forehead [nganzi], about the palaver). 

22. Tata makuika bueka bonso mbi lilanga bueka ieka mu xivanga. 
(Father Makuika, who is a prisoner, is saluted by his sons, and answers : 
" Don't salute me ; can't you see the yoke on my neck ? ") 

23. Nkonko xitumba bakulu bito babika. (An old pipe left by a rela- 
tion must not be thrown away.) 

24. Muamba sango ntiti bilongo. (Eenowned muamba [yellow-tree] is 
our medicine-tree.) 

25. Xizika zika nzila nkulu ntu bititi. (Xizika [grass with great roots] 
is the old man of the road [nkulu ntu = wisehead.]) 

26. Seve nganga sevanga mabungu. (The laugher hears good words and 
goes on laughing. ) 

27. Kusimba xisanu ku simbuanga lu emueno. (When you comb your 
hair, hold the glass before you.) 

28. Xisinza rriazila umananga milembo. (Stumps on the road keep on 
damaging one's toes. ) 

29. Mapakasa xinuaini ntuandi u tabuka. (The buffalo fights until his 
head falls off. ) 

* The malandu is a fruit given to a man to give him the power of 
remembering, and the will to speak all that is hidden in his heart. 


30. Nzau e xilanga, ngumba imimbiekesi. (The elephant has a tail 
[the hairs of which are a valuable ornament], the porcupine has spines.) 

31. Sungu kulila mu binanga. (Sungu [the name of a very large kind 
of antelope] eats on the top of hills. ) 

32. Nkusu mu nkunda, nbulu nkoko kuta nilolo. (The parrot perches 
on a branch, the pheasant sings his song [ko, ko, ko, ku, ku.]) 

It has been a very difficult matter to get the song together. 
One cannot pick it up while they are singing it, for rnany of 
the words are new to one ; and to sit out of sight, perhaps in a 
cramped position, from 7 p.m. until 4 a.m. is no joke, and not 
an aid to one's work. To go openly to such a meeting means 
either a disturbance of the peace or a change in the programme. 
Then when one has got the rough part done and begins to ask 
questions about the song, the native " fights shy." He is 
sufficiently accustomed to the white man's ways to know that 
he will not give him credit for being serious, and he does not 
like his ways laughed at It needs a native (if he is a good 
man) of great moral courage to tell a white man these things ; 
and if he is a bad one he must be a great villain, without any 
sense of respect for the white man he is conversing with, to 
speak upon such a subject. It is greatly to the Fjort's credit 
that he is not worse and more degraded than he is, for he has 
forgotten the deep meaning of the words he uses, which per- 
haps would keep him pure in thought in the midst of his " wor- 
ship " (?) of maternity, or earth as the mother and bearer of all 
things. Watching the Fjort at his burial ceremonies, and not 
knowing the meaning of the words of his song, no one could 
possibly detect the slightest sign of indecency. Some who, as 
Chicaia said, had shame, wore the leaves of the mandioca 
before their persons, and these were under the influence of 


Christianity. Personally, the pure and unadulterated heathen 
seemed to me the more decent of the two, naked as he was, for 
he, like the half-naked stoker on board a steamer, struck me as 
a man who had a certain work to do, and was not afraid to 
do it. * * * * 

The Fjort either destroys the house in which his late relative 
dwelt after burial, or else dismantles it and sells the material to 
some other family. He plants mandioca in the ground where 
the deceased's bed rested, so that people shall not build there 
again. The wives sleep in the shimbec with the corpse, but 
none of the family dare sleep in it after the burial of the 
deceased, for fear of being considered his poisoner or be- 
witcher. They fear a meeting with the ghost, or chimbindi, 
of the deceased, for no one has been known to live more than 
two days after having been beaten by one. 

I took instantaneous photographs of the shimbec and coffin of 
my cook's father, whose death and burial I have related. 

In my walks through KaCongo it was by no means a rare 
occurrence to come across a place where orange, lime, and 
mango-trees were found growing in a half-wild state ; levelled 
terraces, raised foundations, and neglected mandioca planta- 
tions clearly pointed to the fact that a village had once existed 
there. Upon enquiry I found that these places had been 
deserted, owing to the number of deaths from small-pox. This 
is one of the reasons why a prince, although he may have a fine 
house, generally lives in a small shimbec by the side of it. 
This custom may also be one of the reasons why the Fjort is, as 
a rule, so poorly housed, apart from the fear he has of being 
considered a witch if he builds himself a substantial dwelling. 


If millionaires at home were as easily frightened by the 
Socialists, where should we all be ? 

Now for the song. It is past sundown, and the relations and 
friends about to bury their chief are seated around the coffin, 
that as yet does not contain the corpse. That relation who has 
undertaken the burial now arises, and beating the coffin with 
his hand, cries out : 

1. " Mpolo ku fu." (Bene est mori et quiescere.) 
Again he hits the coffin, and cries : 

2. " Mpola makata." (Testiculi bene quiescunt.) 
Again he beats the case, and shouts : 

3. " Mpolo xikolo. " (Cunnus bene quiescit.) 

4. " Mpolo msutu. " (Penis bene quiescit.) 

5. "Ku fua nkulu u tuba bu ao." (Et spiritus mortuus est et dicendi 

Then the people there assembled take off their clothes, and, 
after the chief mourner has sung the following verse, burst 
forth in song, repeating the same words and tune time after 

1. " Ku aba si tuli monanga." (In olden days of the earth [these good 
things] were often seen.) 

The song is now changed to : 

2. " Basi uanda liboili banonga mpakala bikolo." (Basi [the Basi, or 
secret society] illius oppidi saccum virginitatum habent.) 

This song is sung by all until they are tired of it, when 
another one is given out, and so on. 

3. "Bakakata boili umquenda o." (The old folk of the town are all 


4. Aujel ko u rata mikala abu uaka mkuta 'mpinda" (You did not 
plant nor hoe, and now you have a basket of peanuts ; [where did you 
get it?].) 

5. " Neno uak'ili bulu msutu nako uvanga li bulu." (Vulva cavea est, 
quam fecit penis.) 

6. " Beno ni kufulanga nkossa ubilo nkela kubenga nkossa kubengila 
nyamu milenji." (You are always asking about the lobster ; don't you 
know that its teeth [mouth] are misplaced, and that when you boil it, it 
becomes red up to its hair ?) 

7. " Xilumbuxinaxinquendayaiamasuellakwitekanga." (The day that 
my brother goes [dies] I keep on shedding tears.) 

8. "Ma mbamba* songa neno uvisia munu uaka enxienzo." (Mam- 
bamba, utere cunno bene, donee os ejus doleat.) 

9. " Abu \A6 makata mavia mbazu. " (Dum dormis, testiculi ardent). 

10. " Abu lele" msutu mavia mbazu. " (Dum dormis, ardet penis.) 

11. "Abu lele 1 xikoalo xavia mbazu." (Dum dormis, ardet cunnus.) 

Then comes the final part of this song : 

12. " Una uku vena uli ku linda mayaka ma mona u lili obua. " (One 
gives without being asked. The new mandioca one plants, another 

Then the people sing ordinary songs until the cock crows ; 
then they put the corpse into the coffin. The wife of the dead 
prince then places a Email gourd into a " matet," or basket, 
and goes to the place she has been in the habit of going 
to fetch water. On arriving there, she falls into the water 
once, twice, three times, and her part in the ceremony of 
the burial of the Fjort is at an end, and she is free. 

When the wife has left the coffin, the chief mourner again 
sings : 

13. " Mingenza monami kuluma tuenda Kamangot u fua." (Young 
man, my son, push and go ; Kamango is dead.) 

14. " Mueniyambi j: ngulubu xina xikoada ku lia." (Mueniyambi, they 

* Ma mbamba is said by the Fjort to be the name of a man of old, and 
to-day he attaches no meaning to the name. 

t Kamango, they say, is the name of an old prince. 
t Mueniyambi, another prince of old. 


said, did not eat pig [but one day he asked them what it was he was 
eating, and they had to admit that] he was eating the foot of a pig.) 

Then the coffin is placed in the hole dug for it, and the earth 

is heaped up over it by willing hands ; and as the Fjort throws 

the earth upon the coffin, he murmurs : 

" Bakulu * vandu vandu." (People of spirit-land, be at rest, be at rest 
[and don't bother the people of this world].) 


1. Sanguila mboma kumina muntu. 

2. Mbelli sandangu nkambu ku vonda muntu. 

3. Aula mani Zinga bazolila muliambu. 

4. Bakana t ku vonda, ba vonda kua u — 

5. Macosso muana Danka banzola maka lilanga. 

1. [Si quis, in oppidum cum venerit, dicat] anguem parvulum 
hominem devorasse, [nemo ei credat. Sic Fjort cum primum 
de psederastia audivisset, non verum esse credidit.] 

2. [Ut inter saltantes opus est] cuivis cultro, quo nescio quern 
[illudentem] occidat: [sic Fjort, cum primum audivisset aliquem 
hoc facinus, in se admisisse, cultrum desideravit, quo eum occi- 

3. Filius Zingse, [cujus facies velut] gum-copal [pulchra erat], 
psederastiae deditus erat. 

* Bakulu — Nkulu, as I have already described to you, is that part of 
the dead which the Fjort says can be placed in the head of a living 
person ; Ba, Bantu people ; Kulu, perhaps soul, spirit. The Fjort say 
that the Bakulu are invisible and that they cannot see one another ; but they 
contradict themselves, for on referring to my notes I find that when a man 
wishes to become rich, he obtains a fetish, or nkissi, called Buti, and when 
a man who has obtained this fetish dies, his nkulu ties up other Bakulu, 
and places them in the corner of some shimbec, and keeps them there. 

+ Zinca means the long-lived; Bakana, the calculator, the man of 


4. Bakana [eum] occidere [voluit, et filius Zingse respondit:] 
Oceide [me, si vis, at ego in flagitio pergam]. 

5. Macosso, puer Dankee [albi hominis] dominum amabat, [et~ 
quum hie in Europam abiisset] non desiit lugere]. 


1. Munu u li vumba lelo u xinda ku vata mama. 

2. Muango ma woho ba li aku bunkuela anjea ku kuela 

3. Ku simba va nxenzo, ku simba va ku bella, malongo, 
malongo mabila nkumbu. 

4. Minu uali aku mama. 

5. Ndumba buala lelo uiza muinhi. 

6. Suaka esesi lelo xinda ku sala. 

7. Minu uali aku mama 

8. Zimvula ziamana. 

1 . Tu mater cui os est magnum, multum serere debes. 

2. Tu qui permultum saltas [nuptse mulieres dicunt] desine 
saltare, et nube tu quoque. 

3. Mulier salax, quae hue illue (multa loea) visitat, sed si 
quando eum ea vis coire, morbum nescio quem semper pro 
exeusatione habet. 

4. Forsitan quae propria sint tibi palam faeiam, mater. 

5. Meretrix in urbem inierdiu venire solet [dum nuptae 
mulieres in villa restant] . 

6. Gracilis mulier opus suum bene perficit. 

7. Forsitan [etc., ut supra (4)]. 

8. Imbres cessant [id est, hoc carmen de mulier ibus, quae per 
imbres serunt, finitum est] . 



1. Xissanga e Buali bi koka mti 

2. Muanyali ba nlambili xikamvu 

3. Xinkatu nkatu manyonga 

4. Lembe li Ngongo ngeia tubanga 

5. Tubanga minu i lembo 

6. Xilunga e Quillo bi koka mti 

7. Xilunga uaka xi nanu 

8. Nzala nguli yalla tanta 

9. Ndevo nkunda mbongo 

10. Bemvena madungo masina mbinda 

11. Zimvula zi Maloango ziaku zimani 

12. Xilumbu mfuafua minu kuxibota. 

1. Xissanga, a province of Loango ; e, and ; Buali, another 
province of Loango ; bi, they ; koka, drag ; mti, a tree. 

Explanation. — In these provinces the people are dying 
of hunger, and are therefore making new farms in the 
Fjort way, clearing forest and dragging about the trees as 
a sort of rough ploughing. 

2 & 3. Muanyali, proper name meaning the first stage of 
pregnancy ; ba nlambili, cooked ; xikamvu, large basket used 
for carrying food ; Xinkatu, mat on which food is served ; 
nkatu, mat ; manyonga, to feel bitterly in one's heart. 

Muanyali gets a large basket and a mat of the right 
kind, and cooked food, and is angry that the basket and 
the mat are all right, the food is properly cooked, but 
there is not enough. This is a common African way of 
indirectly saying disagreeable things or telling you what 
they dislike in a thing. " This is right," they say, " and 



that is right ; " and they expect you to know what is 
wanting. It is as if they set you a subtraction sum : 
given the total, you deduct what is praised, and the 
difference is what is disliked. If you don't arrive at it, 
you are a fool, and it is no use talking to you. 

4 & 5. Lembe (the name given to a wife married according 
to the rites of Lemba, i.e., the wife, properly so called, who 
binds herself not to survive her husband), the wife of Muanyali; 
li ngongo (a large fish-eating bird — a pelican), proper name; 
ngeia, thou ; tubanga, talk ; minu, I ; lembo, cease. 

Muanyali's wife, Lembe, asks her father, Mr. Pelican, 
to explain to her husband why she has not been able to 
send him more food. She says to her father: "You talk 
to him about it; I cease from telling him." That is, it is 
no good my telling him, he thinks I could send more if 
I chose. Then off goes Pelican to his son-in-law, and 

6 & 7. Xilunga e Quillo bi koka mti, Xilunga and Quillo 
are dying of hunger (details explained above) ; Xilunga, a 
province of Loango ; uaka, now ; xi nanu, is far away. 

I think this means : " We who live in Quillo (a province 
of Loango) can get nothing, even if we go to Xilunga, 
because that is famine -stricken too." I know, xi nanu, 
far away, is often used as a description of a place not worth 
going to. 

8. Nzala, through; nguli, mother; yalla, hunger; tanta, 

" The thought of the hungered mother pains them." Peli- 


can throws this observation in, meaning Xilunga and Quillo 
grieve for their hungering mothers. 

9. Ndevo, beard; rikunda, elephant's tail; mhongo, money. 

I think Pelican throws out a suggestion that a man 
named Ndevo nkunda is a rich man, and should be asked 
for aid ; " money," of course, not being necessarily coin, 
but possibly in this case food. 

10. Bemvena, efficiunt ; madungo, testiculos tumefactos ; 
masina, fundum ; rribinda, cueurbitas. 

Mulieres viros ita elephantiasi afficiunt, ut testiculi 
ventri cucurbitas similes Sunt. (A statement not made 
in the interest of medical knowledge, but connected in 
the African mind with the rainfall, and having a definite 
bearing on what falls.) Pelican is still speaking. 

11. Zimvula, rain ; zi Maloango, as in the days of Maloango; 
ziaku, they ; zimani, are finished. 

"Now we no longer get the rains we had in the days of 

1 2. Xilumbu, day ; mafuafua, die ; minu, I ; kuxi bota, to 
be well. 

" I shall be well cared for the day I die ; " I shall be well 
buried. That is, I wish I were dead. This is the final 
lament of poor Pelican. 


Adultery, see Crimes, Sexual Relations 
Agriculture, xx., 18, 19, 161 
Ajumba tribe, x. 
Alfonso I., King of Congo, xxii. 
Ambassador, Story of Nzambi Mpun- 

gu's, 105 
Amulets, 136, see Charms, Spells 
Angola, xvii., xxi. 

Expulsion of priests from, xx. 

Angoy, Kingdom of, xv., xxiv., 2 
successor to the throne of, 

always put to death the next day, 

Animal's, Helpful, 7, 36, 74, 103, 126 
Animals, lower, spoken of as human 

beings, 3, 10, 11 
stories of, 35, 69, 71, 74, 77, 

82, 85, 90, 94, 98, 106, 123, 124 
Antelope and the Leopard, story of 

the, 71 

■ story of the Rabbit and the, 


• in other stories, 77, 82, 123, 

Anyambie, god of the Mpongwe, 119 

Bafan, The, vii. 

Balloon, story of Ngomba's, 49 

Bantu, religion, xiii. 

tribes, xxxi. 

Barbot, vi. 

quoted, xiv. 

Bastian, Dr., iii. 

Battel, Andrew, cited, xvii. 

Bavili, tribe of Fjorts, xix., xxxi. 

Benin, Bight of, vii., xiii. 

Benito, River, vii. 

Bimbindi, spirits of the dead, 11, 115, 

stories of, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 

Bingo, rites of, 4 
Bird-messengers, story of the, 103 
Birth customs and superstitions, 19, 

Black, Why some men are white, 

others black, 18, 101 
Boma, 5, 11 
Bombangoij, city, xv. 
Boomba, form of marriage, 72 
Bosi, see Mbosi 
Bosman, vi. 
Bride-wagers, 35, 74 

incident of the Supplanted, 128 

Brother who knew more than the 

elder, story of the younger, 65 
Brothers, story of the Twin, ii., 60 

story of the three, 108 

Brue, Sieur, vi. 

Buchholz, iii. 

Burial customs and superstitions, 22, 

23, 55, 110, 155 

places. 5 

song, 165 

Burton, Sir R. F, ix. 

Cabinda, port in Angoy, xvi., xx., 

xxiv., 5, 94 
Calabar, people, xxvi. 
Cameroons, xiii. 
Cannibalism, xiv. 
Cao, Diego, discoverer of the Congo, 

Capuchin Fathers, adventures of two, 

xiv., xvi. 
• Missionaries, allies of the 

Portuguese, xvi. . xxiii.. xxiv. 
Casca, use of, 17, 23, 48, 92, 140, 145 
Cat and the Gazelle, story of the Wild, 




Charms, use of, 4, 6, 9, 10, 17, 20, 60, 

Chegilla, see Kazila 
Child, story of how Kengi lost her, 


story of the wonderful, ix., 56 

Chimbindi, see Bimbindi 
Chimpanzee and Gorilla, story of the, 

Chimpanzu, river and spirit, 5 
Christian influence in native religion, 

xxi., 120 
Circumcision, 4, 20 
Clouds, beliefs as to, 7 
Coffin, see Burial 
Congo Beige, xxi. 

Francais, viii. 

Congo, Kingdom of, xiii., xiv., xvii., 

xviii., xxiii. 

extent of, in 1875, xxi. 

kings of, xxi., xxii., and see 

Fumu Congo 

natives of, xxv. 

• Biver, vii., xiv., xviii., xx., 1, 

4, 118 

discovery of xvii., xviii. 

Islands in, 5 

Coronation of prince, xxxii., i 
Creation, no legends of the, 18 

stories of the, 120, 124, 127 

Creator, see Nzambi Mpungu 
Crimes, criminal procedure and punish- 
ments, xi., xix., xxviii., 16, 21, and 
see Justice 

in tales, 48, 54 

Crocodile does not eat the Hen, story 
of why the, ix., 106 ; cited in 
pleading, xi., xii. 

story of the Leopard and the, 

Crocodiles and witchcraft, xxix, 5 
Culture-legends, 18, 118 

Dead, festivals in honour of the, 24 

Death-customs, see Burial 

Debt, almost universal, 22 

Deities, West African, xix., and see 
Anyambie, Earth, Fetish, Images, 
Mbuiri, Mongo, Nkissi nsi, Nzambi, 
Nzambi Mpungu, Bain-giving god, 

Travelling, disguised, 121, 


Dennett, B. E., i., viii., ix., xvm., 
xix., xxiv. 

Dennett, B. E., Notes by, on Intro- 
duction, xxxi. 

Notes by, on Appendix 

I., 146 

Opinions of, on Nkis- 

sism, discussed, xii., xiv., 118, 147 
Statements by, on 

Kazila, discussed, xxvii., xxviii. 

Descent into Hell, ii., and see Brothers, 
The Twin 

Difficulties of collecting and interpret- 
ing West African folklore, ii., 119 

Divination, 16, 111, HO 

Dondo in Angola, xvii. 

Dreams, influence of, 17, 141 

Drowning, rescue from, 8 

Dutch break up Portuguese power in 
Congo, xxiii. 

Earth, Mother, 4, 118, 119, 131, 132 

Spirit, 5, 118 

Kggs, not eaten, xxix. 
Ellis, Col. A. B., ix. 
Ew6-speaking peoples, ix., x. 
Exorcism, 17 

Ban tribes, x. 

February sacred to Nkissi nsi, 136 

Festivals, 24, 137 

Fetish, in tales, 43, 60, 88, 94, 96 

■ of Chilunga, story of the, 96 

religion, xiii., xiv., xviii., xxi., 

rites and belief, 2, 3, 9, 11, 96, 

112, 113, 115, 135, 136, 146, 159 

Sunga punished my great- 

uncle's twin brother Basa, story of 

How the, 88 
Fetishes, story of the Fight between 

the Two, 94 
Fire, descent of, ii., 7, 74 

legend of the first use of, 1 8 

Fish and fishermen, 8, 19, 25, 49, 88 
Fjort agriculture, 19, 161 

beliefs, 10, 18 

• language, 118, 119 

religion, xviii., xx., xxi., xxii., 

xxx., 1, 117 

songs, 150 

• tribes, xviii., xix., xxxi., 1, 119 

Flemish missionaries, xiii. 

Fool, story of the Smart Man and the, 

Forests, superstitions as to, 9 
Franciscans, xvi., xxiii. 
French rule, xxi. 



Friends who quarrelled, story of the 

Two, 31 
Fumu Kongo, King of Congo, xii., 

xiv., xvi., xvii., xix., xx., xxi., 

xxxi., 1, 2, 10, 134 
Fumu, meaning of, xxxi., 1 
Funeral, see Burial 
Funzi, form of marriage, 20, 72 
the Blacksmith, 7, 18 

Gaboon people, xxvi. 
Gagas, cannibal tribe, xvii., xxii. 
Gangas, see Ngangas 
Gazelle and the Leopard, story of the, 

■ got married, story of How the, 


story of the Wild Cat and the, 


Gindes, see Gagas 
Gold Coast, xxi. 
Goldie, Bev. H., v. 
Gorilla, native name for, 3 
story of the Chimpanzee and, 

Gum-copal, 19, 139, 159 

Heaven, journey to, 74, 133 

Hell, descent into, ii.,and see Brothers 

Hen, see Crocodile 

Hospitality, want of, punished, 121, 

Hunger, song of, 150, 161 
Hunters and hunting, 18, 19 
Husband, story of the Wicked, 54, and 

see Wife 

Ibet, see Kazila 

Images, 2, 4, 9, 112, 113,135, 136, 138, 

Imbuiri, see Ombuiri 

Industries, see Agriculture, Fish, Hun- 
ters, Iron, Manufactures, Pottery 

Iron and other smiths' work, xx., 18, 

Italian missionaries, xiii. 

Ivili, see Bavili 

Ivory coast, xxi. 

Jesuits, xx.,xxiii. 

Joao II., King of Portugal, xxii. 

Johnston, Sir H. H., xiii. 

Justice, administration of native, xi., 

141, and see Crimes ; in tales, 48, 55, 

59, 126, 141, 144 

Kabinda, see Cabinda 
Ka-Congo, family of, 108 

King of, xv., xvi., xvii., 2, 

21, 22, and see Fumu Kongo 

■ province and people of, viii., 

xii., xm. , xiv., xvi., xvii., xvni., 
xix., xx., xxi., xxiii., 1, 7, 94, 114, 
Karkola Biver, iii. 
Kazila, explained, xxvi., 137, 147 

instances of, xxix., 10, 122, 148 

Merolla's account of, xxv., 

Kengi lost her child, story of How, 58 
King of Congo, xxi., and see Fumu 

Kongo, Alfonso I. 
Kingsley, Miss, adventure on the Kar- 
kola Biver, iii. 
Kinsembo, 1 
Kongo, see Congo 

Lake formed to punish want of hospi- 
tality, 121, 122 

Languages, necessity of studying Afri- 
can, v. 

Law, Doctrine of Native, that igno- 
rance is not to be punished unless 
culpable ignorance, xxviii. 

Examples of Native : how an 

injured man obtains help against 
his enemies, iii. ; in tales, 48, 55, 
59, and see Crimes, Justice 

Lemba, or Lembe, form of marriage, 
20, 72, 162 

Leopard and the Crocodile, story of 
the, 98 

killing a, 80 

punished the turtle, How the, 


story of the Antelope and 

■ story of the Gazelle and the, 

■ the royal animal, beliefs and 
practices as to the, 9, 80 

Life, restoration to, folktale incident, 


song of, 151 

story of How the wives restored 

their husband to, 33 
Lightning, superstition as to, 7, and 

see Funzi 
Lion in love, folktale incident of the, 

Literature, branches of native oral, ix. 
Loanda, xx. 

the, 71 




Loango, province and kingdom of, xii., 
xiii. , xiv., xvi. , xvii., xviii., xix., 
xx.,xxi., xxiii., 1, 2, 11, 22,114, 162 

population, xxxi. 

women, song of, 160 

Loango Luz, River, 21 

Locusts, 11 

Loge, River, 1 

Lulondo, River and spirit, 6 

Mafumu, title of nnder-kings of pro- 
vinces, xxxi. , 2 
Makongo, king of Congo, xvii., xxxii. 
Malandu, fruit, use of, 151 
Maloango, 21, 163 
Man, story of the turtle and the, 77 
Manifumu, see Mafumu 
Manufactures, xx., 19 
Marriage customs and superstitions, 20, 


forms of, 20 72 

Mayumba district, 151 

Mbosi,Lake, 10, 122 

Mbuiri, god or spirit of the Mpongwe, 

Mbnnzi, the south-west wind, 10, 11 
Medicine and medical practice, 4, 9 
Medicines, see Amulets, Charms, 

Medusa-witch, folktale incident of 

the, 60 
Men, difference in colour of, how 

caused, 18, 101 
Merolla, quoted, xv., xxiii., xxv. 
statement of, on Chegilla, dis- 
cussed, xxviii., 147 
Mfuzi, the blacksmith, 7, 18 
Milk of animals, not drunk, xxix. 
Missionaries as authorities on African 

folklore, iii., v. 

influence of, on native 

religion, xxi., 119 

reports of, xiii., and see 

Roman Catholic 
Mlomvu, River and spirit, 6 
Mohammedan influences in native 

religion, xxi. 
Mongo, mountain, xix. 

legends of, 5 

Monkey Island, 5 
Monteiro, J. J., quoted, xx. 
Month, division of the, 8 
Moon, legend of the, 6 

new, ceremony, 7 

Mpongwe-speaking tribes, xix., 135 
gods of, 119 

Mpungu, meaning of, 3 
Mungo, see Mongo 
Musurongo, xxxii., 137 
Nkissi of the, 138 

Names, of natives after animals, 9 

secret, 35 

Nassau, Rev. Dr., v., x., xxix. 

Nature-spirits, see Deities 

Ncanlam, chief of the Musurongo, 

Ndotchi, poisoner and witch, 16, 112, 
114, 131, and see Witch, Witch- 

Negro religion, xiii., xiv., xxv., xxvi. 

Ngangas, xii., xiv., xviii., xx., 2, 9, 12, 
16,17,23,111, 112, 135, 136, 138, 
139, 140, 146 

— classes of, 2, 4 

Ngoio, a rain-doctor, xxxii., 2 

native embassies to, 2, 11 

Ngomba's balloon, story of, 49 

Ngunie River, xix. 

Niari River, xxii. 

Niger Coast Protectorate, vii. 

Company, Royal, vii. 

River, vii., xxi. 

Nkissi and Nkissism, xii., xiii.. xiv., 
xviii., xx., 1, 2, 4, 9, 18, 112, 115, 
117, 119, 131, 134, 136, 137, 138, 

Nkissi nsi, spirit of the earth, 1, 2, 3, 
133, 135, 136 

Ntandu dialect, 3 

Nzambi, ii., 117 

— cult of, 3 

drum of, story of the, 123, 124 

footsteps of, 130 

in stories, 2. 7, 18, 60, 74, 106, 

120, 121, 122, 123, 128 

introduction of the cult of, xii, 
meaning of name, 2, 118, 131. 


stories of, their value, ix. 

Nzambi Mpungu, the Creator, 2, 3, 18, 

120, 124, 131, 132, 133 

causes tides, 9 

his fire stolen, 7 

in stories, 74, 103, 105 

Nzambi Mpungu's ambassador, story 

of, 105 
Nzambi's daughter, story of How the 

spider won and lost, 74 
marriage of, 60, 




Offerings, see Sacrifices 

Ogowe, River and district^ xiii., xix. 

Ogre, in tales, 50, and see Bimbindi 

Oil rivers, xiii. 

Okanda River, xix. 

Ombuiri, supernatural being of Mpon- 

gwe tribes, xix., xx., 119 
Omens, 8 
Ordeals, 17, 23, 48, 92, 112, 114, 139, 

140, 145 
Oroungou country, iii, 
Ornnda, see Kazila 
Otherworld, journey to, 133, and see 

Heaven, Hell 

Paint-house, 4, 20, 22, 50 

Palavers, see justice 

Partnership, the story of a, 143 

Pelican, 162 

Philtres, 17 

Pillars of clay, human beings trans- 
formed into, 5 

Pleading, see Justice 

Poisoning, crime of, xxviii., 16, 17, 
and see Ndotchi 

Polygamy, see Marriage 

Ponta da Lenha, 4 

Pottery, 19 

Protuguese, discovery of Congo by the, 
xiii., xvii. 

missionaries, xiii., xvii 

navagators, early, xiii. 

political power and in- 
fluence of the, xvi., xvii., xx., xxi. 
xxii., xxiii., xxx. 

Priesthood, 135, and see Ngangas 

Prohibitions, see Kazila ; in tales, 40, 

Prometheus, see Fire 

Proverbs, Native African, examples 
of, 27, 142 

importance of, ix. 

Proyart. Abbe, quoted, xvi. 

Puberty, rites of, 4, 20, 22, 128 

Purification, rites of, 137, 158 

Quillo, province of, 162 
River, 1 

Rabbit and the Antelope, story of the, 

Rainbow, superstition as to, 6 
Rainfall, belief as to, 103 
Rain-doctor, xxxii., 2 
Rain-giving god and his rites, 138, 


Religion, xii., and see Bantu, Deities, 
Fetish, Images, Ngangas, Negro, 

Resurrection, see Life 

Riddles, native African, ix. 

Rivers, spirits of, 5, 88, 109, 118, 119 

Rocks, superstitions as to, 4 

Roman Catholic missionaries, xiii., 

■ Influ- 
ence of, on the Fjort religion, xxii., 

Sacrifices, 3, 8, 9, 96 

St. James, miracle of, xxiii. 

San Salvador, throne-town of Congo, 

xviii., xx., xxi., 1, 2 
Schlieden, Hubbe, iii. 
Sea and lakes, towns under the, 9, 

superstitions as to 

the, 8 
symbolized by a 

crab, 9 
Sexual relations, 20, 21, 145 
Shekiani tribe, x. 
Sierra Leone, xvii., xxi. 
Sister, folktale incident of the Despised, 

Sky, beliefs about the, 7 
Slavery and slaves, xxvi., 8, 22 
Smart Man and the Fool, story of the, 

Snake, song of the, 159 
Sogno, Count of, xiv., 138 

province of, xvi. 

Song of Burial of Fjort prince, 155 

of Hunger, 150, 1 61 

of Life, 151 

of Loango Women, 160 

of the Snake, 159 

Songs, native African, difficulty of 

interpreting, ix. 

Fjort, 150 

how sung, 153 

Souls, Catching, xxix. 

doctrine of, 116 

transferring soul of deceased, 

115, 159 
Spells, 17, 18, and see Amulets 

Spider won and lost Nzambi' 

Daughter, story of How the, ii., 7 

Stanley Pool, i. 
Stars, 7 



Stories, classes of, ix. 

historical, rare, is. 

how told, 25 

legal, their use and value, x. 

play-stories, xii. 

position of, in native culture, 


Sun, legend of the, 6 

Sunga punished my great-uncle's twin- 
brother, Basa, story of How the 
fetish, 6, 88 

Sunken towns, see Hospitality, Lake 

Symbols of native song, string of, 150, 

how used, 153 

Taboo, see Kazila, Prohibitions 
Tar-baby, folktale incident of the, 92 
Tekklifumu, title of subordinate chief, 

xxxi. , xxxii. 
Thunder, superstitions as to, 7 
Totems, animal, unknown, xxvii. 
Traders as authorities on African folk- 
lore, iii., vi. 
lend money to native princes 

and traders, 22 
Transformation, belief in the power 

of, 10 
in tales, 5, 42, 52, 57, 

Travellers often untrustworthy on 

African folklore, iii. 
Tshi-speaking peoples, ix., x. 
Turtle and tbe man, story of the, 77 
Twin brother, Basa, story of How the 

fetish, Sunga, punished my great 

uncle's, 6, 88 

brothers, story of the, 60 

Twins, superstitions as to, 8 

Unclean, means prohibited in Mr. 
Dennett's phraseology, xxix. 

Vanishing wife, story of the, see Wife 

Waddell, Rev. H. M„ v. 

Waterspouts, 8 

Week, days of the, 8, 137 

White, others black, story of Why 
some men are, 18, 101 

iVhitford, J., vi. 

Wife, folktale incident of the Super- 
natural, 39, 42 

stealing, iv. 

story of the ill-used, saved by 

her son, 28 

story of the jealous, 46 

story of the vanishing, i., 39, 42 

Wilson, Kev. J. L., v., xxx. 

Witchcraft, xxiii., 112, 114 

Witch-doctors, 16 ' 

Witches dwell in forests, 9 

fear of being considered, 156 

treatment of dead, 6, 1 12, and 

see Ndotchi 

Wives restored their husband to life, 
story of How the, 33 

Wizards, xiv., and see Ndotchi, Witch- 
craft, Witches 

Woman overreaches herself, story of 
the, 86 

Woodpecker, see Animals, Helpful 

Xina, see Kazila 

Year, division of the, 8 
Yoruba-speaking peoples, ix. 

Zaire, see Congo river 

Zimini, supernatural being under the 

sea, 9 
Zinganga, see Ngangas 



The Folk-Lore Society. 



PROF. A. C. H ADDON, M.A., D.Sc, M.R.I. A. 

LL.D., P.R.S., F.S.A. 
Lt.-Gen. PITT-RIVERS, D.C.L., F.R.S., F.S.A. 













F. B. JEVONS, M.A., LittD. 


W. F. KIRBY, F.L.S., F.E.S. 



W. H. D. ROUSE, M.A. 




j^on. {Treasurer. 

E. W. BRABROOK, C.B., F.S.A., 178, Bedford Hill, Balham, S.W. 

jfyon. autritor. 



F. A. MILNE, M.A., 11, Old Square, Lincoln's Inn, London, W.C. 

^Publications Committee. 

E. SIDNEY HARTLAND (Chairman) ; G. L. GOMME (Vice-Chairman) ; 

BiMiograplJB Committee. 

G. L. GOMME (Chairman) ; L. L. DUNCAN ; J. JACOBS ; W. F. KIRBY ; 


fBluseum Committee. 

.■if inanee anti (Setieral purposes Committee. 
E W BRABROOK (Chairman) ; G. L. GOMME ; DR. GASTER ; 
The President and Treasurer are ex-vfficio members of all Committeas. 

ii Officers and Members. 

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Hussey, A., Esq., Wingeham, near Dover. 

Hutchinson, Rev. H. N., F.G.S., 7, Cowley Street, Westminster, S.W. 
Hutchinson, Dr. Jonathan, E.R.S., 15, Cavendish Square, W. 

India Office Library, Whitehall, S.W., per C. H. Tawney, Esq. 

Jackson, A. M. J., Esq., Bycullah Club, Bombay (Assistant Collector, 

Nasik, Bombay). 
Jacob, H. F., Esq., Assistant Resident, Aden. 
Jacobs, Joseph, Esq., B.A., Merodelia, Grafton Road, Acton, W. 
Jevons, F. B., Esq., M.A., Litt.D., The Bailey, Durham. 

Officers and Members. vii 

Johns Hopkins University Library, Baltimore, per E. G. Allen, 28, Hen- 
rietta Street, Covent Garden, W.C. 
Jones, Bryan J., Esq., Lionawilly, Dundalk. 

Jones, D. Brynmor, Esq., Q.C., M.P., LL.B., 22, Bryanston Square, W. 
Jones, William, Esq., Abberly Hall, Stourport. 

Karlowicz, Dr. John, Jasna, 10, "Warsaw, Poland. 

Kegan Pan], Trench, Triibner, & Co., Ld., Messrs. (American Dept.), 

Charing Cross Boad, W.C. 
Kennedy, Miss L., Fairacre, Concord, Mass., U.S.A. 
Ker, C, Esq., 1, Windsor Terrace, West Glasgow. 
Ker, Professor W. P., M.A., 95, Gower Street, W.C. 
Kermack, John, Esq., 9, Hill Street, Edinburgh. 
Kinahan, G. H., Esq., M.R.I.A., Woodlands, Eairview, co. Dublin. 
Kincaid, General W., per A. Eletcher, 2, St. Helen's Place, E.C. 
Kirby, W. P., Esq., E.L.S., F.E.S., Hilden, Sutton Court Koad, Chiswick. 
Kitts, E. J., Esq., Bareilly, N.W.P., India. 

Klincksieck, C, Paris, per Th. Wohlleben, 46, Gt. Eussell Street, W.C. 
Knowles, W. J., Esq., Elixton Place, Ballymena, Ireland. 

Ladbury, Miss E. J., Goldness, Hartlebury, Kidderminster. 

Lang, A., Esq., M.A., 1, Marloes Boad, Kensington, W. ( Vice-President"). 

Layton, C. Miller, Esq., F.S.A., Shortlands, Folkestone. 

Leathes, F. de M., Esq., 18, Badnor Park Road, Folkestone. 

Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society, per G. Hull, Esq., Church 

Hill House, Clarendon Park Boad, Leicester. 
Leland, C. G., Esq., Hotel Victoria, 44, Lung' Arno Vespucci, Florence. 
Lemcke & Buechner, Messrs., 812, Broadway, New York, U.S.A. 
Letts, C, Esq., 24, Bartlett's Buildings, E.C. 
Levy, C. E., Esq., Boundstone Lodge, Farnham, Surrey. 
Library of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree, etc., for England 

& Wales, and the Colonies, 33, Golden Square, W. 
Lindsay, Lady, 41, Hans Place, W. 
Lockhart, J. H. Stewart, Esq., Registrar-General of the Legislative 

Council, Hong Kong. 
London Institution, Finsbury Circus, E.C. 
London Library, St. James's Square, SW. 
Lubbock, Eight Hon. Sir John, Bart., M.P., D.C.L., F.B.S., F.S.A., High 

Elms, Farnborough, B.S.O {Vice-President). 
Lyall, Sir Alfred, K.C.S.I., 18, Queen's Gate, S.W. 
Lynn Linton, Mrs. E., Brougham House, Malvern. 

Macauliffe, His Honour Judge, Sialkot, Punjab, India. 
Macbean, E., Esq., Eullarton House, by Tollcross, Lanarkshire. 
Macgregor, A., Esq., Stamford Brook House, Hammersmith, W. 
Mackenzie, W., Esq., Crofters Commission, 6, Parliament Square, Edin- 

viii Officers and Members. 

c. Mackinlay, Dr., 6, Great Western Terrace, Kelvinside, Glasgow. 
Maclagan, R. Craig, Esq., M.D. 5, Coates Crescent, Edinburgh. 
McNair, Major , C.M.G., F.L.S., F.R.G.S., Scotia, Preston Park, 

Maitland, Mrs. J. A. Puller, 39, Phillimore Gardens, Kensington, W. 
Major, A. F., Esq., 17, Grosvenor Road, Westminster. 
Man, E. H., Esq., care of A. P. Man, Esq., 2, Palace Road, Surbiton. 
Manning, P., Esq., M.A., P.S.A., 6, St. Aldate's, Oxford (Beechfield, 

Manchester Free Library, King. Street, Manchester. 
Marsh, R. H., Esq., Ingleside, Epping, Essex. 
Marshall, W. Gore, Esq., Hambleton Hall, Oakham. 
Marston, E., Esq., St. Dunstan's House, E.C. 
Masson, D. P., Esq , Managing Director, The Punjab Bank, Lahore, per 

H. S. King and Co., 65, Cornhill, E.C. 
Matthews, Miss Elizabeth, The Hollies, Swaffham, Norfolk. 
Max, J., and Co., 21, Schweideritzenstrasse, Breslau. 
Mendham, Miss Edith, Shepscombe House, Stroud, Gloucestershire. 
Mercantile Library, Philadelphia, U.S.A., per G. E. Stechert, 2, Star Yard, 

Carey Street, W.C. 
Merrick, W. P., Esq., Manor Farm, Shepperton. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y., U.S.A., per G. E. Stechert 30, Welling- 
ton Street, Strand, W.C. 
Meyrick Library, Jesus College, Oxford, per W. M. Lindsay, Esq., 

Middlesborough Free Library, per Baker Hudson, Esq., Middlesborough. 
Milne, F. A. Esq., M.A., 11, Old Square, Lincoln's Inn, W.C. {Secretary). 
Minet, Miss J., care of Miss Julia Dyke, Glovers, Sittingbourne, Kent. • 
Minnesota, University of, Minneapolis, U.S.A., per G. E. Stechert, 2, Star 

Yard, Carey Street, W.C. 
Mitchell Library, 21, Miller Street, Glasgow, care of F. T. Barrett, Esq. 

c.Mocatta, P. D., Esq., F.S.A., 9, Connaught Place, W. 
Mond, Mrs. Frida, 20, Avenue Road, Regent's Park, N.W. 
Moore, C. H., Esq., Clinton, HI., U.S.A. 

Morison, Miss C. I., 49, Bullingham Mansions, Kensington, W. 
Morison, Theodore, Esq., Aligarh, N.W.P., India. 
Morris, Mrs. M. E., Uxbridge House, Uxbridge Road, Ealing. 
Munich Royal Library, per Asher and Co., 13, Bedford Street, W.C. 
Murray-Aynsley, Mrs. J. C, Great Brampton, Hereford. 
c.Myres, J. L., Esq., M.A., P.S.A., Christ Church, Oxford. 

Naake, J. T., Esq., Library, British Museum, W.C. 

National Library of Ireland, per Hodges, Figgis, and Co., 104, Grafton 
Street, Dublin. 

Officers and Members. ix 

C. Nesfleld, J. P., Esq., Stratton House, 2, Madley Road, Ealing. 
Newberry Library, Chicago, per B. E. Stevens, 4, Trafalgar Square, W.C. 
Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle-on-Tyne. 
New Jersey, The College of, Princeton, N.J., U.S.A., per E. C. Osbo 

Esq. , Treasurer. 
New York, College of the City of, per G. E. Stechert, 2, Star Yard, 

Carey Street, W.C. 
New York State Library, per G. E. Stechert, 2, Star Yard, Carey St., W.C. 
Nicholson, C. N., Esq., 35, Harrington Gardens, S.W. 
Ninnis, Belgrave, Esq., M.D., E.S.A., F.R.A.S., F.R.G.S., Brockenhurst, 

Aldrington Road, Streatham, S.W. 
Nottingham Free Public Library. 
Nutt, Alfred, Esq., 270, Strand (President). 

Oelsner, H., Esq., Springfield, Honor Oak Park, S.E. 

Oldfield, Capt. E. H, R.E., Scottish Conservative Club, Edinburgh. 

Olrik, Dr. Axel, Martinsvej, 9, Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Ordish, T. E., Esq., F.S.A., Warwick House, Warwick Court, Gray's Lid. 

Owen, Rev. Elias, M.A., E.S.A., Llanyblodwel Vicarage, Oswestry. 
Owen, Miss Mary A., 306, North Ninth Street, St. Joseph, Missouri 


Paget, Lady, Litchfield Lodge, Bodenham Road, Hereford. 
C. Paris, M. Gaston, Membre de l'lnstitut, 2, Rue Pommereu, Passy, Paris. 

Parker, Mrs. K. Langloh, Banyate, Walgett, New South Wales. 
. Paton, W. R., Esq., Yathy, Samos, Turkey, via Smyrna. 

Payne, Mrs. George, The Precincts, Rochester. 

Peabody Institute, Baltimore, U.S.A., per E. G. Allen, Esq., 28, Hemietta 
Street, W.C. 

Peacock, E., Esq., E.S.A., Dnnstan House, Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire. 

Peorio, Public Library of, per G. E. Stechert, Esq., 2, Star Yard, Carey 
Street, W.C. 

Philadelphia, The Library Company of, U.S.A., per E. G. Allen, Esq., 28, 
Henrietta Street, W.C. 

Philpot, Mrs. J. H., 61, Chester Square, S.W. 

Phipson, Miss, 5, Park Place, Upper Baker Street, N.W. 

Pineau, Mons. Leon, 60, Boulevard Berauger, Tours, France. 

Pitt-Rivers, Lieut.-General, D.C.L., F.R.S., F.S.A., Rushmore, Salisbury 
( Vice-President'). 

Plymouth In-titution and Devon and Cornwall Natural History Society, 
per C. S. Jago, Esq., Plymouth Public School. 

Pocklington-Coltman, Mrs., Hagnaby Priory, Spilsby, Lincolnshire. 

Powell, Professor F. York, M.A., E.S.A., Christ Church, Oxford (Vice- 

Officers and Members. 

c. Power, D Arcy, Esq., M.A., M.B., E.S.A., 10a, Chandos Street, Cavendish 
Square, W. 
Price, P. G. Hilton, Esq., P.S.A., E.G.S., 17, Collingham Gardens,. S. Ken- 

. sington, S.W. 
Providence Public Library, per G. E. Stechert, 2, Star Yard, Carey St. , W.C. 
Pulling, Alexander, Esq., 20, Stanford Road, Kensington, W. 
Pusey, S. E. Bouverie, Esq., F.R.G.S., 18, Bryanston St., Portman Sq., W. 

Eaynbird, H., junr., Esq., Garrison Gateway Cottage, Old Basing, 

Reade, John, Esq., 270, Laval Avenue, Montreal, Canada. 
Beichel, H. B., Esq., Penrallt, Bangor, N. Wales. 
Reynolds, Llywarch, Esq., B.A., Old Church Place, Merthyr Tydvil. 
Rhys, Professor John, M.A., LL.D., Jesus College, Oxford (Vice- 

Risley, H. H., Esq., M.A., CLE., care of Messrs. Thacker, 2, Creed Lane, 

Ludgate Hill, E.C. 
Rbhrscheid and Ebbecke, Messrs., Buchhandlung, Am Hof, 28, Bonn. 
Rossall, J. H., Esq., Charleville, Roscrea,- Ireland. 
Rouse, W. H. P., Esq., M.A., 4, Bilton Road, Rugby. 
Royal Irish Academy, per Hodges, Eiggis, and Co., 104, Grafton Street, 

Rndmose-Brown, T. B., Esq., 52, Beaconsfield Place, Aberdeen. 
Ry lands, Mrs., Langford Hall, Stretford, Manchester, per Arnold Green, 

66, Paternoster Row, E.C. 

Salisbury, J., Esq., 48, Eleet Lane, E.C. 

Saunders, J. E. Esq., F.S.A., E.G.S., 9, Finsbury Circus, E.C. 

Saussaye, Professor P. D. C, Beek, near Nymegen, Holland. 

Savage, Rev. E. B., M.A., E.S.A., St. Thomas' Vicarage, Douglas, Isle 

of Man. 
Sayce Rev. Prof. A. H., M.A., LL.D., Queen's College, Oxford (23, 

Chepstow Villas, W.) ( Vice-President). 
Scott, J. G., Esq., per R. F. Scott, Esq., St. John s College, Cambridge. 
Sebillot, Mons. Paul, 80, Boulevard St. Marcel, Paris. 
Seebohm, E., Esq., LL.D., E.S.A., The Hermitage, Hitchin, Herts. 
Seligmann, C. G., Esq., care of A. Solomon, Esq., Portland House, 

Basinghall Street, E.C. 
Sessions, F., Esq., Monkleighton, Alexandra Road, Gloucester. 
Sidgwick, Mrs. C. The Manor House, Kingston, Taunton. 
Signet Library, Edinburgh. 

Sikes, E. E., Esq., St. John's College, Cambridge. 
Simpkins, J. E., Esq., Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh. 
Singer, Professor, 9, Falkesplatz, Bern, Switzerland. 
Sinkinson, Mrs., Gayton Road, Harrow-on-the-Hill 

Officers and Members. xi 

Skilbeck, J. H., Esq., 1, Portman Mansions, Baker Street, W. 

Skipwith, G. H., Esq., 3, Tanza Road, Hampstead, N.W. 

Skrine, H. D., Esq., Claverton Manor, Bath. 

Southam, S. Clement, Esq., Elmhurst, Shrewsbury. 

Speakman, Mrs. J. G., 4, Rue Royer Collard, Paris. 

Stanbery, Miss K. S., Adair Avenue, Zanesville, Ohio, U.S.A. 

Stephens, The Very Rev. W. R. W., M.A., F.S.A, Dean of Winchester, 

The Deanery, Winchester. 
Stephenson, C. H., Esq., 64, Kew Road, Birkdale, Lancashire. 
St. Helen's Corporation Free Library, per A. Lancaster, Esq., Librarian, 

Town Hall, St. Helen's. 
Stockholm, Royal Library of, per Sampson, Low and Co., St. Dunstan's 

House, Fetter Lane, E. C. 
Stokes, Whitley, Esq., C.S.I., CLE., D.C.L., LL.D., F.S.A., 15, Grenville 

Place, S. Kensington, W. 
Storr,, Esq., Haslemere, Surrey. 
Strafford, Right Hon. the Earl of, Wrotham Park, Barnet. 
Struben, Mrs. E., 4, Albert Hall Mansions, Kensington Gore, S.W. 
Stuart, Mrs. Alexander, Crear Cottage, Morningside Drive, Edinburgh. 
Surgeon-General's Office, Washington, U.S.A., per Kegan Paul, Trench 

Triibner, and Co., Ld., Charing Cross Road, S.W. 
Swainson, Rev. C, The Rectory, Old Charlton. 
Swansea Public Library, per S. E. Thompson, Esq., Librarian. 
Sydney Free Public Library, per J. Pentland Young, 38, West Smith- 
field, E.C. 

Tabor, C, Esq., The White House, Knotts Green, Leyton. 

Tate Library, University College, Liverpool, care of J. Sampson, Esq. 

Tayler, Miss Constance, 29, Kensington Gate, W. 

Taylor Institution, Oxford, per Parker and Co., 6, Southampton Street, 

Strand, W.C. 
Taylor, Miss Helen, Avignon, France. 
Temple, Lient.-Colonel R. C, CLE., Government Hocse, Port Blair, 

Andaman Islands. 
Terry, F. C Birkbeck, Esq., The Paddocks, Palgrave, Diss, Norfolk. 
Thomas N. W., Esq., 64, Church Street, Oswestry. 
Thompson Miss Skeffington, Glenelly, Chislehurst Common, Kent. 
Todhunter, Dr. J, Orchardcroft, Bedford Park, W. 
Tolhurst, J., Esq., F.S.A., Glenbrook, Beckenham, Kent 
Torquay Natural History Society, care of A. Somervail, Esq. 
Townshend, Mrs. R. B„ 80, Woodstock Road Oxford. 
Traherne, G. G, Esq., Coedarbydyglyn, Cardiff. 
Traherne, L. E, Esq, Coedriglan Park, Cardiff. 

xii Officers and Members. 

Travancore, His Highness the Maharajah of, Huzier, Cutcherry, Trevan- 

drnm, per P. Macfadyen and Co., Winchester House, Old Broad 

Street, E.C. 
Turnbull, A. H., Esq., Elibank, Wellington, New Zealand, per A. L. Elder 

and Co., 7, St. Helen's Place, E.C. 
Tylor, Professor E. B., LL.D., D.C.L-, F.R.S., The Museum House, Oxford 

( Viee-President). 
TJdal, The Hon. J. S., Attorney-General, Fiji Islands, per Messrs. Lovell, 

Son, and Pitfield, 3, Gray's Inn Square, W.C. 
Van Stockum, W. P., and Son, 36, Buitenhof, The Hague, Holland. 
Voss' Sortiment (G. Haessler), Leipzig. 

Walhouse, M. J., Esq., 28, Hamilton Terrace, St. John's Wood, N.W. 
Walker, J. S. E., Esq., Persownie, Nawada, Bara, I.S. Territory, Chumparun, 

Walker, Dr. Robert, Budleigh-Salterton, Devon, per E. W. Watson, Esq., 

22, Highbury New Park, N. 
Walpole, H, Esq., India Office, Whitehall, S.W. 

Wardrop, Miss Marjory, British Vice-Consnlate, Kertch, Crimea, Russia. 
Warner, S. G., Esq., Elmside, Bolingbroke Grove, S.W. 
Waters, W. G., Esq., 7, Mansfield Street, Portland Place, W. 
Watkinson Library, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A., per E. G. Allen, 28, 

Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, W.C. 
Weston, Miss J. L., Barnavie, Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth. 
Wheatley, Henry B., Esq., F.S.A., 2, Oppidans Road, Primrose Hill, N.W. 
White, Miss Diana, Old Priory, Sydenham. 
White, George, Esq., Ashley House, Epsom. 
Williamson, Rev. Charles A., 14, Upper Mount St., Dublin. 
Wills, Miss M. M. Evelyn, Heathfield, Swansea. 
Wilson, R. H., Esq., 23, Cromwell Crescent, S.W. 
Windle, Professor B. C. A., MA., M.D., D.Sc, Dean of Queen's Faculty of 

Medicine, Mason College, Birmingham. 
C. Wissendorff, H., 19, Nadeschkinskara, St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Woman's Anthropological Society, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., care of Mrs. 

M. P. Seaman, 1424, Eleventh Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., U.S.A. 
Wood, Alexander, Esq., Thornly, Saltcoats, N.B. 
Woodall, E., Esq., Wingthorpe, Oswestry. 
Worcester Free Public Library, Mass., U.S.A., per Kegan Paul, Trench, 

Triibner, and Co., Ld. 
Wright, A. R., Esq , H.M. Patent Office, 25, Southampton Buildings, 

Chancery Lane, W.C. 
Wright, W. Aldis, Esq., M.A., Trinity College, Cambridge. 
Wurtzburg, J. H., Esq., Clavering, 2, De Greys Road, Leeds 
Wyndham, George, Esq., M.P., 35, Park Lane, W. 

The Folk-Lore Society. 


JANUARY, 1898. 




M.A., D.Sc. 


LL.D., F.R.S. 











publications €ommitttt 


F.R.S., F.S.A. 

M.A., F.S.A. 



LL.D., F.R.S. 



F. B. JEVONS, M.A., Litt.D. 


W. F. KIRBY, F.L.S. F.E.S. 



W. H. D. ROUSE, M.A. 




W. F. KIRBY, F.L.S., F.E.S 




E. S. HARTLAND, F. S-A.,Chairmcm. 

With the President and Hon. Treasurer. 

E W. BRABROOK, F.S.A., 178, Bedford Hill, Balham. S.W, 



F. A MILNE, M.A., 11, Old Square, Lincoln's Inn, W.C. 

The Folk-Lore Society. 

Objects of the Society. 

This Society was established in 1878 for the purpose of collecting 
and preserving the fast-perishing relics of Folklore. Under this 
general term are included Folk-tales ; Hero-tales ; Traditional Ballads 
and Songs ; Place Legends and Traditions ; Goblindom ; Witch- 
craft ; Leechcraft ; Superstitions connected with material things ; 
Local Customs ; Festival Customs ; Ceremonial Customs ; Games ; 
Jingles, Nursery Rhymes, Riddles, etc. ; Proverbs ; Old Saws, 
rhymed and unrhymed ; Nick-names, Place-rhymes and Sayings ; 

Foreign countries have followed the example of Great Britain, 
and are steadily collecting and classifying their Folklore.* It is 
most gratifying to this Society to observe that one great result of its 
work has been to draw attention to the subject in all parts of the 
world ; and it is particularly noticeable that the word " Folklore " 
has been adopted as the name of the subject in foreign countries. 

Scope of the Society. 

Since the establishment of the Society great impetus has been 
given to the study and scientific treatment of those crude philoso- 
phies which Folklore embodies. Hence the place now accorded to 
it as a science, to be approached in the historic spirit and treated on 
scientific methods. The meaning for a long time given to the term 
Folklore has thus been greatly enlarged, and the definition which 
the Society has adopted will illustrate the importance of the new 
departure : — The science of Folklore is the comparison and identification 
of the survivals of archaic beliefs, customs, and traditions in modern 

* The French Sociitl des Traditions populaires was founded in 1885, and an 
additional French Folk-Lore Society, the Society des Traditionnistes, in 1886 ; 
the American Folk-Lore Society in 1888 ; the German Verein flir Volkskunde 
in 1890 ; the Swiss Gesellschaft fur Volkskunde in 1896. 

Characteristics of Folklore. 

It may be well to point out the essential characteristics of 
Folklore under the terms of this definition. It was found by 
observation that there exists, or has existed, among the least cultured 
of the inhabitants of all the countries of modern Europe, a vast body 
of curious beliefs, customs, and story-narratives which are handed 
down by tradition from generation to generation, and the origin of 
which is unknown. They are not supported or recognised by the 
prevailing religion, nor by the established law, nor by the recorded 
history of the several countries. They are essentially the property 
of the unlearned and least advanced portion of the community. 

Then it was noted that, wherever any body of individuals, 
entirely ignorant of the results of science and philosophy to which the 
advanced portion of the community have attained, habitually believe 
what their ancestors have taught them, and habitually practise the 
customs which previous generations have practised, a state of mind 
exists which is capable of generating fresh beliefs in explanation of 
newly observed phenomena, and is peculiarly open to receive any 
fanciful explanations offered by any particular section of the 
community. Thus, in addition to the traditional belief or custom, 
there is the acquired belief or custom arising from a mythic inter- 
pretation of known historical or natural events. 

From these potent influences in the uncultured life of a people 
— traditional sanctity and pre-scientific mental activity — and from 
the many modifications produced by their active continuance, it is 
seen that the subjects which constitute Folklore principally consist 
of the relics of an unrecorded past in man's mental and social history. 

Thus it will be seen that the subjects dealt with by the Folk- 
lorist are very wide in range and of absorbing interest. Customs, 
beliefs, folk-tales, institutions, and whatever has been kept alive by 
the acts of the Folk are Folklore. Other studies which illustrate 
Folklore, whether it be archaeology, geology, or anthropology, must 
be brought to bear upon it, so that no item may be left without some 
attempt to determine its place in man's history. As Edmund 
Spenser wrote, nearly three hundred years ago, "By these old 

customes and other like conjecturall circumstances the descents of 
nations can only be proved where other monuments of writings are 
not remayning." 

Work of the Society. 

The work of the Society is divided into two branches. First, 
there is the collection of the remains of Folklore still extant. Much 
remains to be done in our country, especially in the outlying parts 
of England and Scotland, the mountains of Wales, and the rural 
parts of Ireland, and the publications of the Society bear 
witness to the fact that in all parts of our land the mine has 
abundant rich ore remaining unworked. In European countries 
for the most part there are native workers who are busy upon 
the collection of Folklore ; but in India and in other states under 
English dominion, besides savage lands not politically attached 
to this country, there is an enormous field where the labourers are 
few. No one who has opportunities of knowing the folk in his own 
neighbourhood should be deterred from recording the lore gathered 
from them by the fear that his information may not be worth it. 
What is an everyday occurrence, seemingly of no import, in one's 
own neighbourhood, may be a new revelation to the student seeking 
for links to complete his investigations. And should the same item 
have been already noted elsewhere, the addition of a hitherto 
unrecorded habitat will have a definite value, when accompanied by 
particulars of the date when the custom was observed, the occasion 
on which the superstitious notion was revealed, the person by 
whom the story was related. Full instruction for the guidance of 
collectors will be found in the Society's Handbook* 

Secondly, there is the very important duty of classifying and 
comparing the various items of Folklore as they are gathered from 
the people and put permanently on record. The section of 
Folklore devoted to Folktales has been taken in hand, and 
a scheme of tabulation which is being extensively used both by 

* See List of Publications under 1889. 

workers in the Society and by other students has been prepared. 
A large number of variants of one tale, namely, Cinderella, have been 
collected and printed. Printed Forms are prepared for those willing 
to assist in these important labours. 

Ancillary tasks to the collection of oral and to the classification of 
recorded material, are the preservation in a form convenient for Folk- 
lore students of the vast number of facts and notices of a Folklore 
character scattered in various books and periodical publications, and 
the compilation of a fully detailed bibliography covering all fields of 
Folklore research. A promising start towards the accomplishment of 
the first task has been made in the initiation of the series entitled 
"County Folk-Lore, Printed Extracts," in which numberless items of 
Folklore interest are rescued from the pages of county histories, disser- 
tations of the older antiquaries, local archaeological associations, &c, 
and classified, upon a definite plan, by counties {see List of Publica- 
tions, No. 37). The second task, the compilation of an adequate 
Folklore bibliography, has been and still is delayed alike by the lack 
of funds and the insufficiency of workers, and the Council address an 
earnest appeal to all Members of the Society to come forward and aid 
in its achievement. 

By such means the Society feel convinced they will be able to 
show how much knowledge of early man has been lying hidden for 
centuries in popular traditions and customs, and this object will be 
quickened by the addition to its roll of all students interested in 
primitive culture. Those who cannot collect can help in the work 
of classification and comparison, and much might be thus accom- 
plished by a few years of hearty co-operation. 

The Society further needs more ample funds to publish its 
results and its materials in hand, as well as to extend the area of its 
labours. Increased membership would make it possible to establish 
a library and a museum of Folklore objects. Meanwhile the nucleus 
of both already exists ; the former at the Secretary's chambers, and 
the latter in a case in the Cambridge University Museum, for which 
space has for the present been kindly found by the authorities of 
the Museum. Contributions to both are invited. 


All the publications of the Society are issued to Members, and 
those volumes that are priced in the following list may be obtained 
by non-members of the publisher, Mr. David Nutt, 270, Strand. 

Besides the volumes prepared for the Society, Members receive 
a copy of the quarterly journal, Folk-Lore, published by Mr. Nutt. 
This journal is the official organ of the Society, in which all necessary 
notices to Members are published, and to which Members of the 
Society are invited to contribute all unrecorded items of Folk- 
lore which become known to them from time to time, or any studies 
on Folklore or kindred subjects which they may have prepared for 
the purpose. 


The Annual Subscription to the Society is One Guinea, and is 
payable in advance on the first of January in each year. This will 
entitle Members to receive the publications of the Society for such 
year. Members joining during the current year, and desirous 
of obtaining the publications of the Society already issued, several of 
which are becoming scarce, may do so by paying the subscriptions 
for the back years. Post-office orders and cheques should be sent 
to the Secretary. 

C ommunioations. 

All communications relating to literary matters, to contributions 
to the Journal, to the work of collection, to the tabulation of Folk- 
tales, &c, and to the general aims of the Society, should be made 
to the Secretary. All communications respecting the delivery or 
purchase of publications to the Publisher. 

Persons desirous of joining the Society are requested to send in 
their names to the Secretary, Mr. F. A. Milne, ii, Old Square, 
Lincoln's Inn, W.C. 


are as follows (all prices are net for cash) : 


1. The Folk-Lore Record, Vol. I. 8vo, pp. xvi, 252. 

[Issued to Members only.] 

Mrs. Latham : West Sussex Superstitions. W. R. S. Ralston : 

Notes on Folktales. A. Lang : The Folklore of France. C. 

Pfoundes : Some Japan Folktales. W. J. Thorns : Chaucer's 

Night-Spell ; &c, &c. 


2. Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of 

England and the Borders, by William Henderson. A 
new edition, with considerable additions by the Author. 8vo, 
pp. xvii., 391, [Published at 16s.] 

3. The Folk-Lore Record, Vol. II. 8vo, pp. yiii., 250; Ap- 

pendix, pp. 21. [Issued to Members only.] 

H. C. Coote : The Neo-Latin Fay. J. Sibree : Malagasy Folk- 
lore. J. Hardy: Popular History of the Cuckoo. J.Napier: 
Old Ballad Folklore. F. G. Fleay : Some Folklore from 
Chaucer. The Story of Conn-Eda ; &c, &c. 


4. Aubrey's Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme, with 

the additions by Dr. White Kennet. Edited by James 
Britten, F.L.S. 8vo, pp. vii., 273. [Published at 13s. 6d.] 

5. The Folk-Lore Record, Vol. III., Part I. 8vo, pp. 152. 

{Issued to Members only.] 
H. C. Coote : Catskin.- J. Fenton : - Biographical Myths ; 
illustrated from the Lives of Buddha and Muhammad. J. B. 
Andrews : Stories from Mentone ; Ananci Stories. J. Long : 
Proverbs, English and Celtic. J. S. Udal : Dorsetshire 
Mummers. H. C. Coote: Indian Mother- Worship; &c, &c. 

6. The Folk-Lore Record, Vol. III., Part II. 8vo, pp. 153-318 ; 

Appendix, pp. 20. [Issued to Members only.] 

G. Stephens : Two English Folktales. W. S. Lach-Szyrma : 

Folklore Traditions of Historical Events. Evelyn Carrington : 

Singing Games. H. C. Coote : Folklore the Source of some 
of M. Galland's tales ; &c, &c. 


7. Notes on the Folk-Lore of the North-east of Scotland. 

By the Rev. Walter Gregor. 8vo, pp. xii., 288. [13s. 6d.] 

8. Tne Folk-Lore Record, Vol. IV. 8vo, pp. 239. [Members only.] 
Alfred Nutt : The Aryan Expulsion-and-Return Formula in the 

Folk- and Hero-Tales of the Celts. J. Sibree: Additional 
Folklore from Madagascar. W. S. Lach-Szyrma : Slavonic 
Folklore. H. Friend : Euphemism and Tabu in China. 
W. Crooke : Notes on Indian Folklore ; &c, &c. 


9. Researches respecting the Book of Sindibad. By Pro- 

fessor Domenico Comparetti pp. viii., 167. — Portuguese 
Folk-Tales. By Professor Z. Consiglieri Pedroso, of Lisbon ■ 
with an Introduction by W. R. S. Ralston, M.A. pp. ix., 124. 
In one vol., 8vo. [Published at 15s.] 

10. The Folk-Lore Record, Vol. V. 8vo.pp.229. [Members only.] 

Alfred Nutt : Mabinogion Studies, I. Branwen, the daughter 
of Llyr. R. C. Temple: Agricultural Folklore Notes (India). 
Mrs. Mawer : Roumanian Folklore Notes. G. L. Gomme ; 
Bibliography of English Folklore Publications (A — B). R. 
Clark : Wexford Folklore. North American Indian Legends 
and Fables ; &c., &c. 


11. Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. I. (Monthly.) [Not sold separately.] 
W. G. Black: The Hare in Folklore. D. G. Brinton: Folklore 

of Yucatan. J Britten : Irish Folktales. A. Lang : Anthro- 
pology and the Vedas. F. E. Sawyer: St. Swithin and 
Rainmakers. Professor Sayce : Babylonian Folklore. J. Sibree : 
On the Oratory, Songs, Legends, and Folktales of the 
Malagasy. C. Swinnerton : Four Legends of King Rasalu. 
R. C. Temple : Panjabi Proverbs. C. S. Wake : Ananci 

12. Folk Medicine. By W. G. Black. 8vo, pp. ii., 227. [13s. 6d.] 


14. Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. II. (Monthly.) [Not sold separately.] 
J. Abercromby: Irish Stories; Irish Bird-Lore. J. Britten : Irish 

Folktales. Ed. Clodd: The Philosophy of Punchkin. H. C. 
Coote: Sicilian Children's Games. The Folklore of Drayton. 
W. Gregor : Folktales from Aberdeenshire. W. H. Jones and 
L. Kropf : Szekely Folk-Medicine. G. A. Kinahan : Conne- 
mara Folklore. Countess Martinengo-Cesaresco : American 
Games and Songs. Rich. Morris : Folktales of India. Alf. 
Nutt : Irish Mythology according to a recent Writer. F. E. 
Sawyer : Sussex Tipteerer's Play ; Old Clem Celebrations. 
J. Sibree : Malagasy Folktales. R. C. Temple : Burmese 

15. The Religious System of the Amazulu. By the Bishop 

of St. John's, Kaffraria. [Out of print.] 


16. Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. III. (Quarterly.) [Published at 20s.] 
Ch. S. Burne : The Science of Folklore. H. C. Coote : Origin 

of the Robin Hood Epos, The Folklore of Drayton. G. L. 
Gomme : The Science of Folklore. W. Gregor : Some Folk- 
lore of the Sea. E. S. Hartland : The Science of Folklore ; 
The Forbidden Chamber. T. H. Moore : Chilian Popular 
Tales. Rich. Morris : Folktales of India (Jatakas). R. C. 
Temple : North Indian Proverbs. 

17. Folk-Lore and Provincial Names of British Birds. 

By the Rev. C. Swainson. [Not sold separately.] 


18. Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. IV. (Quarterly.) [Published at 20s.] 
Ch. S. Burne: Classification of Folklore; Staffordshire Guiser's 

Play. M. A. Courtney : Cornish Feasts and Feasten Custom. 
W. Gregor : Folklore of the Sea ; Children's Amusements. 
E. S. Hartland : The Outcast Child. G. H. Kinahan 
Donegal Superstitions. Rich. Morris : Folktales of India 
T S. Stuart-Glennie : Classification of Folklore. R. C 
Temple : The Science of Folklore. 


[13.] Magyar Folk-Tales. By the Rev. W. H. Jones and 
Lewis H. Kropf. [Published at 15s.] 

19. Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. V. (Quarterly.) [Published at 20s.] 
W. H. Babcock : American Song-Games. W. G. Black : North 
Friesland Folktales. C. P. Bowditch : Negro Songs from 
Barbados. A. Colles: A Witch's Ladder. M. A. Courtney: 
Cornish Folklore. J. G. Frazer : A Witch's Ladder. M. Gaster: 
The Modern Origin of Fairy Tales. J. S. King : Folklore of 
the Western Somali Tribes. W. F. Kirby : The Forbidden 
Doors of the Thousand and One Nights. C. G. Leland : The 
Witch's Ladder. N. G. Mitchell Innes : Chinese Birth, 
Marriage, and Death Rites. Mrs. Murray-Aynsley : Secular 
and Religious Dances of Primitive Peoples. G. Taylor : 
Folklore of Aboriginal Formosa. 


21. Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. VI. (Quarterly.) [Not sold separately.] 
R. Abercromby : Cloud-Land in Folklore. W. H. Babcock : 

Folktales collected near Washington. J. Batchelor : Some 
Specimens of Aino Folklore. B. H. Chamberlain : Aino 
Folktales. Miss Dempster ! Folklore of Sutherlandshire. J. J. 
Foster : Dorset Folklore. J. G. Frazer : Folklore at Bal- 
quhidder. D. F. A. Hervey : Traditions of the Aborigines 
of Malacca. J. S. King : Folklore and Social Customs of the 
Western Somali Tribes. Rajah Donan : A Malay Fairy 
Tale j &c, &c. 

22. Aino Folk-Tales. By Basil Hall Chamberlain, with Intro- 

duction by Edward B. Tylor. (Privately printed and sold to 
Members of the Society only, price 5s. Not included in the 
Annual Subscription.) 

23. Studies in the Legend of the Holy Grail, with especial 

reference to the Hypothesis of its Celtic Origin. By 

Alfred Nutt. [10s. 6d.] 


24. Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. VII. (Quarterly.) 

[Not sold separately, only in set.] 
J. Abercromby : The Beliefs and Religious Superstitions of 

the Mordvins. Ch. S. Burne : Derbyshire and Staffordshire 
Sayings. Ed. Clodd : The Philosophy of Rumpelstiltskin 
J. G. Frazer : Notes on Harvest Customs ; A South African 
Red Riding Hood. G. L. Gomme : Coorg Folklore. 
W. Gregor : Aberdeenshire Folktales. Rich. Morris : Death's 
Messengers. T. F. Ordish : Morris Dance at Revesby. 
R. F. St. A. St. John : Indo-Burmese Folklore. Prof. Sayce : 
Cairene Folklore. J. S. Udal : Dorsetshire Children's Games. 

25. Gaelic Folk-Tales. Edited and translated by the Rev. D. 

Mclnnes, with notes by Alfred Nutt. 

[Not sold separately in Society binding, but copies may be 
had from D. Nutt at 15s. net.] 

[20.] The Handbook of Folk-Lore. [Published at 2s. 6d.] 


26. The Exempla of Jacques de Vitry. with Introduction, 

Analysis, and Notes. Edited by Professor T. F. Crane. 

[Not sold separately ; only in set.] 

27. Folk-Lore, Vol. I. (Issued quarterly.) [Published at 15s.] 
A. Lang : Presidential Address ; English and Scotch Fairy 

Tales. J. Abercromby: Magic Songs of the Finns; Marriage 
Customs of the Mordvins. A. C. Haddon : Legends from 
Torres Straits. W. Ridgeway : Greek Trade Routes to 
Britain. E. S. Hartland : Recent Research on Folktales ; 
Peeping Tom and Lady Godiva. F. York Powell : Recent 
Research on Teutonic Mythology. J. G: Frazer: Some 
Popular Superstitions of the Ancients, G. L. Gomme : A 
Highland Folktale and its Foundation in Usage. James 
Darmesteter and A. Barth : "How they met themselves." 
A. Nutt: Reports on Celtic Myth and Saga, 1888-89, ar >d 
on the Campbell MSS. at Edinburgh. R. H. Busk : Report 
on Italian Folksongs. C. S. Burne : The Collection of 
English Folklore. S. Schechter : The Riddles of Solomon 
in Rabbinic Literature. J. H. S. Lockhart : Notes on 
Chinese Folklore ; The Marriage Ceremonies of the Manchus. 
T. Jacobs : Recent Research in Comparative Religion ; 
P. Kowalewsky : Marriage among the Early Slavs. W. A 
Clouston : The Story of The Frog Prince. 


28. Folk-Lore, Vol. II. (Issued quarterly.) [Published at 15s.] 
G. L. Gomme : Annual Address ; Recent Research on Institu- 
tions. J. Abercromby : Magic Songs of the Finns. M. Gaster: 
The Legend of the Grail. Col. G. Maxwell: Slava. W. Gregor: 
The Scotch Fisher Child ; Weather Folklore of the Sea. 
A. Nutt An Early Irish Version of The Jealous Stepmother 
and the Exposed Child. R. F. St. A. St. John, Bhuridatta. 
E. S. Hartland : Report on Folktale Research, 1890. Mrs. 
M. C. Balfour : Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. J. Aber- 
cromby: An Amazonian Custom in the Caucasus- J. Jacobs: 
Childe Rowland. F. B. Jevons : Report on Greek Mythology. 
J. Rhys : Manx Folklore and Superstitions. T. F. Ordish : 
Folkdrama. J. Sibree : The Folklore of Malagasy Birds 
J. G. Bourke : Notes upon the Religion of the Apache 
Indians. Alfred Nutt : Les derniers travaux allemands et 
la legende du Saint-Graal. 

29. The Denham Tracts. Vol. I. Edited by Dr. James 

Hardy. [Published at 13s. 6d.] 


30. Folk-Lore,. Vol. III. (Issued quarterly.) [Published at 15s.] 
G. L. Gornme : Presidential Address. A. Nutt : The Lai of 

Eliduc and the Marchen of Little Snow-white; Celtic Myth 
and Saga, 1890-91. J. Abercromby: Magic Songs of the 
Finns ; Samoan Tales ; An Analysis of certain Finnish Myths 
of Origin. W. Gregor : Guardian Spirits of Wells and Lochs. 
J. Rhys : Manx Folklore and Superstitions; ''First Foot" in 
the British Isles. D. Elmslie : Folklore Tales of Central 
Africa. E. S. Hartland: Folktale Research, 1890-91; 
The Sin-Eater. A. Tille : German Christmas and Christmas 
Tree. A. MacBain : The Baker of Beauly. J. Sibree : 
Divination among the Malagasy. Mrs. E. Gutch : The Pied 
Piper of Hamelin. J. S. Stuart-Glennie : Dr. Tylor's Views 
on Animism. J. Macdonald : Bantu Customs and Legends. 
M. Wilmotte : Importance du Folklore pour les etudes de 
l'ancien Frangais. C. J. Billson : The Easter Hare. Whitley 
Stokes : The Bodleian Dinnschenchas, edited and translated. 


M. L. Dames : Balochi Tales. Cecil Smith : Recent Greek 
Archeology in its relation to Folklore. 

31. Cinderella. Three hundred and forty-five variants. Edited 
by Miss M. Roalfe Cox. [Published at 15s.] 

32 Folk-Lore, Vol. IV. (Issued quarterly.) [Published at 15s.] 
G. L. Gomme : Presidential Address. J. Abercromby : Magic 
Songs of the Finns. W. H. D. Rouse : May Day in 
Cheltenham. J. Rhys : Sacred Wells in Wales. E. S. 
Hartland: Folktale Research, 1892; Pin-Wells and Rag- 
Bushes. A. Nutt . Cinderella and Britain ; Some Recent 
Utterances of Mr. Newell and Mr. Jacobs, a Criticism. 
G. M. Godden: The False Bride; The Sanctuary of 
Mourie. T. F. Ordish : English Folk-drama. L. L. 
Duncan : Folklore Gleanings from County Leitrim. M. L. 
Dames: Balochi Tales. May Robinson and M. J. Wal- 
house : Obeah Worship in East and West Indies. W. A. 
Craigie : The Oldest Icelandic Folklore. J. Jacobs : Cin- 
derella in Britain. E. Peacock : The Cow-Mass. G. Hastie, 
Jas. E. Crombie : First Footing. P. Gave : Szekely Tales. 
A. C. Haddon : A Batch of Irish Folklore. A. Nutt : Celtic 
Myth and Saga, 1892-93. A. Lang : Cinderella and the 
Diffusion of Tales. W. Stokes : The Edinburgh Dinnschen- 
chas. R. H. Codrington : Melanesian Folklore. 

33. Saxo-Grammaticus. Books I.-IX. Translated by Oliver 

Elton, with introduction by Professor York Powell. 

[Not sold separately in Society binding, but copies may be 
had from D. Nutt at 15s. net.] 

34. Folk-Lore, Vol. V. (Issued quarterly. . [Published at 20s.] 
G. L. Gomme : Presidential Address. W. H. D. Rouse : 

Religious Tableaux in Italian Churches. F. Fawcett : Early 
Races of South India. C. S. Burne : Guy Fawkes on the 
South Coast. F. York Powell : Saga-Growth. E. Anichkof : 
St. Nicolas and Artemis.. W. P. Ker : The Roman van 
Walewein. J- Jacobs, A. Nutt : The Problem of Diffusion. 


L. L Duncan : Further Notes from County Leitrim. A. W. 
Moore : Water and Well-Worship in Man G. W. Wood : 
On the Classification of Proverbs and Sayings in Manx and 
English. M. J. Walhouse: Ghostly Lights. K. Meyer: 
The Irish Mirabilia in the Norse Speculum Regale. A. C. 
Haddon : Legends from the Woodlarks, British New Guinea. 

35. Denham Tracts, Vol. II. [Published at 13s. 6d.] 


36. Folk-Lore, Vol. VI. (Issued quarterly.) [Published at 20s.] 
E. Clodd: Presidential Address. A. J. Evans : The Rollright 

Stones and their Folklore. T. Walters : Some Corean 
Customs and Notions. W. W. Groome : Suffolk Leech- 
craft. A. E. Crawley : Taboos of Commensality. R. C. 
Maclagan ; Notes on Folklore Objects collected in Argyle- 
shire. M. MacPhail : Traditions, Customs, and Super- 
stitions of the Lewis. W. H. D. Rouse ; Notes from Syria. 
J. P. Lewis : Folklore from North Ceylon. G. M. Godden : 
The Sacred Marriage. A. Lang : Protest of a Psycho- 
Folklorist. J. E. Crombie : Shoe-throwing at Weddings. 
C. J. Billson : Folksongs in the Kalevala. W. A. Craigie : 
Donald Ban and the Bdcan. H. F. Feilberg : Hopscotch- 
as played in Denmark. The "Witch-burning" at Clonmel. 

37. County Folk-Lore. Printed Extracts. Vol. I. Gloucester- 

shire, Suffolk, Leicester and (Rutland. 

[Published at 15s.] 

38. Folk-Lore, Vol. VII. (Issued quarterly.) [Published at 20s.] 
E. Clodd : Presidential Address. B. G. Corney : Leprosy 

Stones in Fiji. F. C. Conybeare : The Barlaam and Josaphat 
Legend in the Ancient Georgian and Armenian Literatures. 
W. H. D. Rouse : Folklore Firstfruits from Lesbos. L. L. 
Duncan : Fairy Beliefs, &c, from County Leitrim ; The 
Quicken-Tree of Dubhross. M. Gaster : Fairy Tales from 
inedited Hebrew MSS. of the Ninth and Twelth Centuries. 
F. W. Bourdillon : The Genesis of a Romance-hero, as illus- 
trated by the development of Taillefer de Le"on. M. Peacock 


Executed Criminals and Folk-Medicine ; The Hood-Game 
at Haxey, Lincolnshire. J. Abercromby : Funeral Masks in 
Europe. C. S. Burne : Staffordshire Folk and their Lore. 

39. The Procession and Elevation of the Ceri at Gubbio. 

By H. M. Bower. [Published at 7s. 6d ] 


40. Folk-Lore, Vol- VIII. (Issued quarterly.) [Published at 20s 
A. Nutt : Presidential Address, the Fairy Mythology of 

English Literature, its Origin and Nature. J. B. Andrews : 
Neapolitan Witchcraft. T. Doherty : Notes on the Peasantry of 
Innishowen, Co. Donegal. H. Gollancz: The History of Sind- 
ban and the Seven Wise Masters, translated from the Syriac. 
R. E. Dennett : Death and Burial of the Fiote. Mary H. 
Kingsley ; The Fetish View of the Human Soul. M. J. 
Walhouse : Folklore Parallels and Coincidences. R. C. 
Maclagan : Ghost Lights of the West Highlands. W. P. Ker : 
Notes on Orendel and other Stories. P. Manning : Some 
Oxfordshire Seasonal Festivals. W. Crooke : The Binding 
of a God : a Study of the Basis of Idolatry. 

41. The Folk-Lore of the Fiote (French Congo), by R. M. 

Dennett. [In the Press.] 

The Society also has the very small remainder stock of the late 
Bishop Callaway's "Nursery Tales and Traditions of the Zulus." 
Price, to Members only, 21s. 

The Society also issues "The Transactions of the Second 
International Folk-Lore Congress" (London, 1891), edited by 
J, Jacobs and Alfred Nutt. 15s. 

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