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J. G. FRAZER, D.C.L., LL.D., Litt.D. 











Chapter VI. — Fire-festivals in other 

Lands Pp. 1-20 

§ 1. The Fire-walk, pp. I- 1 5. — Bonfires at the Pongol festival in Southern 
India, i sq. ; bonfires at the Holi festival in Northern India, the priest ex- 
' pected to pass through the fire, 2 sq. ; the fire-walk in China, 3-5 ; passage 
of inspired men over the fire in India, 5 sq. ; the fire-walk at Hindoo 
festival in honour of Darma Rajah and Draupadi, 6-8 ; the fire-walk 
among the Badagas of Southern India, 8 sq. ; the fire-walk in Japan, 
9 sq. ; in Fiji, 10 sq. ; in Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, and Trinidad, 
II ; Hottentot custom of driving sheep through fire and smoke, 
11-13; fire applied to sick cattle by the Nandi and Zulus, 13; the 
fire -walk among the Indians of V^ucatan, 13 sq. ; the fire -walk in 
antiquity at Castabala in Cappadocia and at Mount Soracte near Rome, 
14 sq. 

§ 2. TAe Meaning of the Fire-walk^ ^'^. 1 5-20. — Little evidence that the fire- 
walk is a sun-charm, 15 j^. ; more probably the fire- walk is a purification 
designed to bum up or repel the powers of evil, 16 sq. ', custom of 
stepping over fires to get rid of ghosts, 17 sq.; widow fumigated, probably 
to rid her of her husband's ghost, 18 sq. ; the chief use of fire at the 
European fire -festivals probably to burn or repel witches, to whose 
maleficent arts the people ascribed most of their troubles, 1 9 sq. 

Chapter VII. — The Burning of Human 

Beings in the Fires. . . .Pp. 21-44 

§ I. TAe Burning of Effigies in the Fires, pp. 21-24. — The effigies burnt in the 
fires probably represent witches, 21 ; perhaps some of the effigies represent 
tree-spirits or spirits of vegetation, 21-23 ; the custom of passing images 
of gods or their human representatives through the fire need not be a 
substitute for burning them, it may be only a stringent form of purification, 



§ 2. The Burning of Men and Animals in the Fires, pp. 24-44. — Traces of 
human sacrifices at the fire-festivals, 24-26 ; in pagan Europe water as 
well as fire seems to have claimed its human victims on Midsummer Day, 
26-28 ; hence Midsummer Day deemed unlucky and dangerous, 29 ; 
nevertheless water supposed to acquire wonderful medicinal virtues at 
Midsummer, 29 sq. ; similar customs and beliefs as to water at Mid- 
summer in Morocco, 30 sq. ; human sacrifices by fire among the ancient 
Gauls, men and animals enclosed in great wicker-work images and burnt 
alive, 31-33 ; the victims interpreted by W. Mannhardt as representatives 
of tree-spirits or spirits of vegetation, 33 ; wicker-work giants at popular 
festivals in modern Europe, 33-38 ; the giants at Douay and Dunkirk, 
33-35 ; in Brabant and Flanders, 35 sq. ; the Midsummer giants in 
England, 36-38 ; wicker-work giants burnt at or near Midsummer, 38 ; 
animals, particularly serpents and cats, burnt alive in the Midsummer 
fires, 38-40 ; thus the sacrificial rites of the ancient Gauls have their 
counterparts in the popular festivals of modern Europe, 40 sq. ; the 
human beings and animals burnt in these fires were perhaps witches or 
embodiments of witches rather than representatives of vegetation spirits, 

Chapter VIII. — The Magic Flowers of 

Midsummer Eve Pp. 45-75 

Plants commonly supposed to acquire certain magical but transient virtues on 
Midsummer Eve, 45 ; magical plants culled on Midsummer Eve (St. 
John's Eve) or Midsummer Day (St. John's Day) in France, 45-47, in 
Germany, Austria, and Russia, 47-50; among the South Slavs, in 
Macedonia, and Bolivia, 50 sq. ; among the Mohammedans of Morocco, 
5 1 ; seven or nine different sorts of magical plants or flowers gathered at 
Midsummer, 51-54 ; St. John's wort, 54-57 ; mouse-ear hawkweed, 57 ; 
mountain arnica, 57 sq. ; mugwort, 58-61; orpine, 61 ; vervain, 62; 
four-leaved clover, 62 sq. ; camomile, 63 ; mullein, 63 sq. ; seeds of 
fir-cones, wild thyme, elder-flowers, and purple loosestrife, 64 sq. ; fern- 
seed, 65-67 ; hazel or mistletoe cut to serve as a divining-rod, 67-69 ; 
mythical springwort, 69-71 ; the magical virtues ascribed to plants and 
flowers at Midsummer may be deemed to flow from the sun, then at the 
height of his power and glory, 7 1 j^. ; the Midsummer bonfires may also, 
as Mannhardt thought, be supposed to stand in direct relation to the sun, 
72 ; miscellaneous examples of the baleful activity of witches at Mid- 
summer and the precautions then taken against them, 73-75. 

Chapter IX. — Balder and the Mistletoe Pp. 76-94 

Relation of the fire-festivals to the myth of Balder, 76 ; veneration of the Druids 
for mistletoe, "jd sq.; medical and magical virtues ascribed to mistletoe 
in ancient Italy, 78 ; agreement of the Italian with the Druidical beliefs, 
78 ; similar beliefs among the Ainos of Japan, the Torres Straits 


Islanders, and the Walos of Senegambia, 79 sq. ; these beliefs perhaps 
originate in a notion that mistletoe has fallen from heaven, 80 ; such a 
notion would explain the ritual observed in cutting mistletoe and other 
parasitic plants, 80 ; the ancient superstitions about mistletoe have their 
analogies in modem folk-lore, 81 sq. ', medicinal virtues ascribed to 
mistletoe by ancients and modems, 82 sq. ; mistletoe as a cure for 
epilepsy, 83 sq. ; the marvellous virtues ascribed to mistletoe seem to be 
fanciful inferences from the parasitic nature of the plant or from the notion 
that it falls on the tree in a flash of lightning, 84 sq. ; mistletoe deemed 
a protection against witches and Trolls, 85 sq. ; a favourite time for 
gathering mistletoe is Midsummer Eve, 86 sq. ; the two main incidents 
in Haider's myth are reproduced in the Midsummer festival of Scandinavia, 
87 sq. ; hence the Balder myth may have been the explanation given of a 
similar rite, 88 ; if a human representative of a tree-spirit was burnt in 
the fire, he probably represented the oak, the principal sacred tree of the 
Aryans in Europe, 88-92 ; if the human victims represented the oak, 
the reason for pulling the mistletoe may have been a belief that the 
life of the oak was in the mistletoe, and that the tree could not perish 
by fire or water so long as the mistletoe remained intact among its 
boughs, 92-94 ; conception of a being whose life is deposited outside of 
himself, 94. 

Chapter X. — The External Soul in 

Folk-tales Pp. 95-152 

Belief that a man's soul may be deposited for safety in a secure place outside of 
his body, and that so long as it remains there intact he himself is in- 
vulnerable and immortal, 95 sq. ; the belief illustrated in the tales of 
many peoples, 96; the extemal soul in Hindoo stories, 97-100; in 
Cashmeer stories, 100-102 ; in other Eastern stories, 102 sq. ; in ancient 
and modem Greek stories, 103-105 ; in ancient and modem Italian 
stories, 105-107; in Slavonic stories, 108-I13; in a Lithuanian story, 
113-116; in German stories, I16-I19; in Norse stories, 119 sq. ; in 
Danish stories, 120-123 ; in Icelandic stories, 123-126 ; in Celtic stories, 
126-133; in an ancient Egj-ptian story, 134-136; in Arabian stories, 
\y] sq. ; 'va. Basque, Kabyle, and Magjar stories, 139 sq. ; in a Lapp 
storj', 140 sq. ; in Samoyed and Kalmuck stories, \^\ sq.; in Tartar and 
Mongolian stories, 142-145 ; in a Chinese story, 145 ^^. ; in a Khasi 
story, 146 jf . ; in a Malay poem, 147 sq. ; in a story told in Nias, 148 ; 
in a Hausa story, 148-150 ; in a South Nigerian story, 150 ; in a Ronga 
story, 1 50 sq. ; in North American Indian stories, 151 sq. 

Chapter XI. — The External Soul in 

Folk-custom Pp. 153-278 

§ I. The ExUmal Soul in Inanimate Things, pp. 153-159. — The soul removed 
from the body in seasons of danger and temporarily deposited in a safe place. 


such as a bag or a chopping-knife, 153 sq. ; children's souls deposited in 
coco-nuts or bags, 154 sq. ; souls of persons in ornaments, horns, stones, 
a pillar, and so forth, 155-157 ; strength of people in their hair, criminals 
and witches shorn in order to deprive them of their power, 158 sq. 

§ 2. The External Soul in Plants, pp. 159-195. — Life of a person supposed to be 
\. bound up with that of a tree or plant, 159 sq. ; birth-trees in Africa, 160- 

163 ; birth-trees among the Papuans, Maoris, Fijians, Dyaks, and others, 
163-165; birth-trees in Europe, 165; trees with which the fate of 
families or individuals is thought to be bound up, 165-167 ; the life-tree 
of the Manchu dynasty, 167 sq. ; life-trees in ancient Rome, 168; life 
of persons supposed to be bound up with that of the cleft trees through 
which in their youth they were passed as a cure for rupture, 168 ; English 
custom of passing ruptured or rickety children through cleft ash-trees, 
168-170; European custom of passing ruptured or rickety children 
through cleft oaks, 170-172; sympathetic relation between a child and 
the tree through which it has been passed, 172 ; the disease apparently 
thought to be left behind on the farther side of the cleft tree, 172 sq. ; 
creeping through cleft trees or sticks to get rid of spirits or ghosts, 173- 
176; the cleft tree or stick through which a person has passed is a 
barrier to part him from a dangerous pursuer, 176; combined with this 
in the case of ruptured patients seems to be the idea that the rupture 
heals sympathetically as the cleft in the tree closes, 176 sq. ; other cases 
of creeping through narrow openings after a death, probably in order to 
escape the ghost, 177-179 ; crawling through arches to escape demons or 
disease, 1 79- 181; passing through cleft sticks to escape sickness or 
ghosts, 1 81-183 ; passing through cleft sticks in connexion with puberty 
and circumcision, 183 sq. ; crawling through a ring or hoop as a cure or 
preventive of disease, 184-186; crawling through holed stones as a cure 
in Scotland, Cornwall, France, Bavaria, Austria, Greece, and Asia Minor, 
186-190 ; passing through various narrow openings as a cure or preventive 
in India and Ireland, 190 ; passing through holes in the ground as a cure, 
190-192 ; passing through the yoke of a chariot as a cure for skin disease, 
192; passing under a yoke or arch as a rite of initiation, 193 ; the ancient 
Roman rite of passing conquered enemies under a yoke was probably in 
origin a ceremony of purification, 193-195 ; similarly the passage of a 
victorious Roman army under a triumphal arch may have been intended 
to purify the men from the stain of bloodshed and protect them from the 
pursuit of the ghosts of the slain, 195. 

§3. The External Soul in Animals, pp. 196-218. — Supposed sympathetic 
relation between a man and an animal such that the fate of the one 
depends on that of the other, 196 ; external souls of Yakut and Samoyed 
shamans in animals, 196 sq. ; witches and hares, 197 ; Malay conception 
of the external soul in an animal, 197 ; Melanesian conception of an 
external soul [tanianiu) lodged in an animal or other object, 197-200; 
the conception of an external soul lodged in an animal very prevalent in 
West Africa, 200 ; the belief among the Fans, 202 ; among the natives 
of the Cross River, 202 sq. ; among the Balong of the Cameroons, 203 ; 


among the Ibos, 203 sq. ; among the Calabar negroes, 204-206 ; among 
the Ekoi of the Oban district in Southern Nigeria, 206-208 ; among other 
Nigerian peoples, 209 sq. ; few or no traces of such a belief in South 
Africa, 2 1 0-2 12 ; the conception of the external soul (nagual) lodged in 
an animal among the Indians of Central America, 212-214; in some 
tribes of South- Eastern Australia the lives of the two sexes are thought 
to be bound up with the lives of two different kinds of animals, as bats 
and owls, which may be called sex totems, 214-218. 

; 4. A Suggested Tfuory of Totemism, pp. 218-225. — Sex totems and clan totems 
may alike be based on the notion that men and women keep their external 
souls in their totems, whether these are animals, plants, or what not, 
219 j^. ; the savage may imagine his life to be bound up with that of 
more animalg than one, at the same time ; for many savages think that 
every person has more souls than one, 220-222 ; the Battas of Sumatra, 
who have totemism, believe that every person has a soul which is always 
outside of his body, 222-224 ; if a totem is the receptacle in which a man 
keeps his soul, it is no wonder that savages should conceal the secret from 
strangers, 224 sq. 

5. The Ritual of Death and Resurrection^ •^^. zz^-rj%. — This \-iew of totemism 
may help to explain the ritual of death and resurrection at savage rites of 
initiation, 225 sq. ; the rite of death and resurrection among the Wonghi 
of New South Wales, 227 ; use of the bull-roarer at initiation in Australia, 
227 sq. ; the sound of the bull-roarer compared to thunder, 228 sq. ; 
belief of the Dieri that the sound of the bull-roarer produces a supply of 
edible snakes and lizards, 230 sq. ; the bull-roarer sounded by the Indians 
of New Mexico and Arizona to procure rain, 23 1 ; bull-roarer sounded in 
Torres Straits Islands to produce wind and good crops, 232 ; original 
significance of the bull-roarer perhaps that of a magical instrument for 
causing thunder, wind, and rain, 233 ; in Australia the sound of the bull- 
roarer at initiation is thought by women and children to be the voice of 
a spirit who carries away the novices or kills and resuscitates them, 233- 
235 ; drama of death and resurrection exhibited to nonces at initiation in 
some tribes of New South Wales, 235-237 ; in some Australian tribes a 
medicine-man at his initiation is thought to be killed and raised again 
from the dead, 237-239 ; at some rites of initiation in German New 
Guinea the no\-ices are supposed to be swallowed and disgorged by a 
monster, whose voice is heard in the hum of bull-roarers, 239-242 ; 
drama of death and resurrection exhibited to novices at initbtion in Fiji, 
243-246 ; novices supposed to be swallowed by the devil at initiation in 
the island of Rook, 246 ; noNnces thought to be killed and bom again at 
initiation into the Duk-duk society of New Britain, 246 sq. ; pretence of 
begetting the norices anew at initiation in Halmahera, 248 ; pretence of 
killing the novices and bringing them to life at initiation into the Kakian 
association in Ceram, 249-251 ; pretence of death and resurrection at 
initiation into the ndenibo society on the Lower Congo, 251-255 ; Bastian's 
account of the ritual of death and resurrection in West Africa, 256 ; 
acquisition of a patron animal or guardian spirit in a dream, 256 sq. ; 


Dapper's account of the ritual of death and resurrection at initiation into 
the Belli-Paaro society of West Africa, 257-259 ; Miss Kingsley on rites 
of initiation into secret societies in West Africa, 259 ; purra or poro 
society of Sierra Leone, novices supposed to be born again, 259-261 ; 
semo society of Senegambia, novices supposed to be killed and resuscitated, 
261 sq.% ritual of the new birth among the Akikuyu of British East 
Africa, 262 sq. ; pretence of killing lads at initiation among the Bondeis 
of German East Africa, 263 sq. ; ordeals at initiation among the Bushongo 
of the Congo, 264-266 ; rites of initiation among the Indians of Virginia, 
pretence of the novices that they have forgotten their former life, 266 sq. ; 
ritual of death and resurrection at initiation into the secret societies of 
North America, 267 sqq. ; the medicine-bag the instrument of death and 
resurrection, 268 sq. ; ritual of death and resurrection at initiation among 
the Dacotas, 269 ; ritual of death and resurrection at initiation into the 
Wolf society among the Nootka Indians, 270 sq. ; novice brought back 
by an artificial totemic animal among the Niska Indians, 271 sq. ; in 
these rites there seems to be a pretence of killing the novice as a man and 
restoring him to life as an animal, 272 sq. ; honorific totems among the 
Carrier Indians, 273-275 ; simulated transformation of a novice into a 
bear, 274 ; pretence of death and resurrection at initiation into the 
honorific totem of "the darding knife," 274 sq. ; supposed invulnerability 
of Thompson Indians who have a knife, an arrow, or other weapon for 
their personal totem or guardian spirit, 275 sq. ; traces of the rite of 
death and resurrection at initiation among more advanced peoples, 
276 sq. ; the motive for depositing the soul in a safe place outside of the 
body at puberty may have been a fear of the dangers supposed to attend 
the union of the sexes, 277 sq. 

Chapter XII. — The Golden Bough . Pp. 279-303 

Balder's life or death in the mistletoe, 279 ; the view that the mistletoe con- 
tained the life of the oak may have been suggested by the position of the 
parasite among the boughs, 280 ; analogous superstitions attaching to a 
parasitic rowan, 281 sq. ; the fate of the Hays believed to be bound up 
with the mistletoe of Errol's oak, 283 sq. ; the Golden Bough a glorified 
mistletoe, 284 sq. ; if the Golden Bough was the mistletoe, the King of 
the Wood at Nemi may have personated an oak spirit and perished in an 
oak fire, 285 sq, ; a similar fate may have overtaken the human repre- 
sentative of Balder in Norway, 286 ; the mistletoe may have been called 
the Golden Bough because it turns a golden yellow in withering, 286 sq. ; 
the yellow hue of the withered mistletoe may partly explain why the plant 
is thought to disclose yellow gold in the earth, 287 ; similarly fern-seed 
is thought to bloom like gold or fire and to reveal buried treasures on 
Midsummer Eve, 287 sq. ; sometimes fern-seed is supposed to bloom and 
confer riches on Christmas night, 288 sq. ; the wicked weaver of Roten- 
burg, 289 sq. ; the golden or fiery fern-seed appears to be deemed an 
emanation of the sun's golden fire, 290 sq. ; like fern-seed the mistletoe is 
gathered at the solstices (Midsummer and Christmas) and is supposed to 


reveal treasures in the earth, 291 ; perhaps, therefore, it too is held to be 
an emanation of the sun's golden fire, 292 sq. ; Aeneas and the Golden 
Bough, 293 sq. ; Orpheus and the willow, 294 ; trees thought by the savage 
to be the seat of fire because he elicits it from their wood, 295 sq. ; trees 
that have been struck by lightning are deemed by the savage to be charged 
with a double portion of fire, 296-298 ; the sanctity of the oak and the 
relation of the tree to the sky - god were probably suggested by the 
firequency with which oaks are struck by lightning, 298-300 ; this theory 
preferable to the one formerly adopted by the author, 300 ; the sacredness 
of the mistletoe may have been due to a belief that the plant fell on the 
tree in a flash of lightning, 301 ; hence the stroke of mistletoe that killed 
Balder may have been a stroke of lightning, 302 ; the King of the Wood 
and the Golden Bough, 302 sq. 

Chapter XIII. — Farewell to Nemi . Pp. 304-309 

Looking back at the end of the journey, 304 ; the movement of human thought 
apparently from magic through religion to science, 304 sq. ; contrast 
between the views of natural order postulated by magic and science 
respectively, 305 sq. ; the scientific theory of the world net necessarily 
final, 306 ; the shadow across the path, 307 ; the web of thought, 
307 sq. ; Nemi at evening : the Ave Maria bell, 308 sq. 

Note I. Snake Stones . . . . P. 3 1 1 

„ II. The Transformation of Witches 

into Cats . . . . Pp. 31 1-3 12 

„ III. African Balders . . . . Pp. 312-315 

„ IV. The Mistletoe and the Golden 

Bough Pp. 315-320 

Index Pp. 321-389 




^ I. The Fire-walk 

At first sight the interpretation of the European fire customs Bonfires at 
as charms for making sunshine is confirmed by a parallel fes^tiv^"^ 
custom obser\ed by the Hindoos of Southern India at the Southern 
Pongol or Feast of Ingathering. The festival is celebrated 
in the early part of Januar}% when, according to Hindoo 
astrologers, the sun enters the tropic of Capricorn, and the 
chief event of the festival coincides with the passage of the 
sun. For some days previously the boys gather heaps of 
sticks, straw, dead leaves, and everything that will burn. On 
the morning of the first day of the festival the heaps are 
fired. Every street and lane has its bonfire. The young 
folk leap over the flames or pile on fresh fuel. This fire is 
an offering to S<irya, the sun-god, or to Agni, the deity of 
fire ; it " wakes him from his sleep, calling on him again to 
gladden the earth with his light and heat." ^ If this is 
indeed the explanation which the people themselves give of 
the festival, it seems decisive in favour of the solar explana- 
tion of the fires ; for to say that the fires waken the sun- 
god from his sleep is only a metaphorical or mythical way 
of saying that they actually help to rekindle the sun's light 
and heat But the hesitation which the writer indicates , 

ctween the two distinct deities of sun and fire seems to 
prove that he is merely giving his own interpretation of 
the rite, not reporting the views of the celebrants. If 

* Ch. E. Cover, •' The Pongol of the Royal Asiatic Society, N.S., v. 
Festival in Southern Indiz." JoumaJ {1870) pp. 96 i^. 

PT. vn. VOL. II 5 B 


Bonfires at 
the Holi 
festival in 

The village 
to pass 
the fire. 

over the 
ashes of 
the fire to 
get rid of 

that is so, the expression of his opinion has no claim to 

A festival of Northern India which presents points of 
resemblance to the popular European celebrations which we 
have been considering is the Holi. This is a village festival 
held in early spring at the full moon of the month Phalgun. 
Large bonfires are lit and young people dance round them. 
The people believe that the fires prevent blight, and that 
the ashes cure disease. At Barsana the local village priest 
is expected to pass through the Holi bonfire, which, in the 
opinion of the faithful, cannot burn him. Indeed he holds 
his land rent-free simply on the score of his being fire-proof. 
On one occasion when the priest disappointed the expectant 
crowd by merely jumping over the outermost verge of the 
smouldering ashes and then bolting into his cell, they 
threatened to deprive him of his benefice if he did not dis- 
charge his spiritual functions better when the next Holi 
season came round. Another feature of the festival which 
has, or once had, its counterpart in the corresponding 
European ceremonies is the unchecked profligacy which 
prevails among the Hindoos at this time.^ In Kumaon, a 
district of North-West India, at the foot of the Himalayas, 
each clan celebrates the Holi festival by cutting down a tree, 
which is thereupon stripped of its leaves, decked with shreds of 
cloth, and burnt at some convenient place in the quarter of 
the town inhabited by the clan. Some of the songs sung 
on this occasion are of a ribald character. The people leap 
over the ashes of the fire, believing that they thus rid them- 
selves of itch and other diseases of the skin. While the 
trees are burning, each clan tries to carry off strips of cloth 
from the tree of another clan, and success in the attempt is 
thought to ensure good luck. In Gwalior large heaps of 
cow-dung are burnt instead of trees. Among the Marwaris 
the festival is celebrated by the women with obscene songs 

^ W. Crooke, Popular- Religion and 
Folk-lore of Northern India (West- 
minster, 1896), ii. 314 sqq. ; Captain 
G. R. Hearn, " Passing through the 
Fire at Phalon," Man, v. (1905) pp. 
154 sq. On the custom of walking 
through fire, or rather over a furnace, 
see Andrew Lang, Modern Mythology 

(London, 1897), pp. 148-175; id., 
in Athenaeum, 26lh August and 14th 
October, 1899 ; id., in Folk-lore, xii. 
(1 90 1) pp. 452-455 ; id., in Folk-lore, 
xiv. (1903) pp. 87-89. Mr. Lang was 
the first to call attention to the wide 
prevalence of the rite in many parts of 
the world. 


and gestures. A monstrous and disgusting image of a 
certain Nathuram, who is said to have been a notorious 
profligate, is set up in a bazaar and then smashed with blows 
of shoes and bludgeons while the bonfire of cow-dung is 
blazing. No household can be without an image of Xathuram, 
and on the night when the bride first visits her husband, the 
image of this disreputable personage is placed beside her 
couch. Barren women and mothers whose children have 
died look to Nathuram for deliverance from their troubles.^ 
Various stories are told to account for the origin of the Holi 
festival. According to one legend it was instituted in order 
to get rid of a troublesome demon {rdkshasi). The people 
were directed to kindle a bonfire and circumambulate it, 
singing and uttering fearlessly whatever might come into 
their minds. Appalled by these vociferations, by the 
oblations to fire, and by the laughter of the children, the 
demon was to be destroyed.' 

In the Chinese province of Fo-Kien we also meet with Vernal 
a vernal festival of fire which may be compared to the fire- o^fir^in 
festivals of Europe. The ceremony, according to an eminent China, 
authority, is a solar festival in honour of the renewal of 
vegetation and of the vernal warmth. It falls in April, on 
the thirteenth day of the third month in the Chinese calendar, 
and is doubtless connected with the ancient custom of 
renewing the fire, which, as we saw, used to be observed in 
China at this season.^ The chief performers in the cere- 
mony are labourers, who refrain from women for seven days, 
and fast for three days before the festival. During these 
days they are taught in the temple how to discharge the 
difficult and dangerous duty which is to be laid upon 
them. On the eve of the festival an enormous brazier 
of charcoal, sometimes twenty feet wide, is prepared in 
front of the temple of the Great God, the protector of life. 
At sunrise next morning the brazier is lighted and kept 

1 Pandit Janardan Joshi, in North the N.W. Vxoyinces," Journal of the 

iianNotesandQturus,m.^^.^2sq., Asiatic Society of Bengal, liii. Part L 

.'99 {September, 1893); W. Crooke, (Calcutta, 1884) p. 60. Compare 

J^lar Religion and Folk-lore of \J . QiooVc, Popular Religion and Folk- 

rthem India (Westminster, 1896), lore of Northern India (Westminster, 

ii. 318 sq. 1896), ii. 313 sq. 
^ E. T. Atkinson, " Notes on the 

' istory of Religion in the Himalayas of ' See above, voL L pp. 136 jf. 


to ensure 
an abun- 
dant year. 

the fire. 

Ashes of 
the fire 
mixed with 
the fodder 
of the 

burning by fresh supplies of fuel. A Taoist priest throws a 
mixture of salt and rice on the fire to conjure the flames and 
ensure an abundant year. Further, two exorcists, barefooted 
and followed by two peasants, traverse the fire again and 
again till it is somewhat beaten down. Meantime the pro- 
cession is forming in the temple. The image of the god of the 
temple is placed in a sedan-chair, resplendent with red paint 
and gilding, and is carried forth by a score or more of bare- 
footed peasants. On the shafts of the sedan-chair, behind the 
image, stands a magician with a daggerstuck through theupper 
parts of his arms and grasping in each hand a great sword, 
with which he essays to deal himself violent blows on the back ; 
however, the strokes as they descend are mostly parried by 
peasants, who walk behind him and interpose bamboo rods 
between his back and the swords. Wild music now strikes 
up, and under the excitement caused by its stirring strains 
the procession passes thrice across the furnace. At their 
third passage the performers are followed by other peasants 
carrying the utensils of the temple ; and the rustic mob, 
electrified by the frenzied spectacle, falls in behind. Strange 
as it may seem, burns are comparatively rare. Inured from 
infancy to walking barefoot, the peasants can step with 
impunity over the glowing charcoal, provided they plant 
their feet squarely and do not stumble ; for usage has so 
hardened their soles that the skin is converted into a sort of 
leathery or horny substance which is almost callous to heat. 
But sometimes, when they slip and a hot coal touches the 
sides of their feet or ankles, they may be seen to pull a wry 
face and jump out of the furnace amid the laughter of the 
spectators. When this part of the ceremony is over, the 
procession defiles round the village, and the priests distribute 
to every family a leaf of yellow paper inscribed with a magic 
character, which is thereupon glued over the door of the 
house. The peasants carry off the charred embers from the 
furnace, pound them to ashes, and mix the ashes with the 
fodder of their cattle, believing that it fattens them. How- 
ever, the Chinese Government disapproves of these perform- 
ances, and next morning a number of the performers may 
generally be seen in the hands of the police, laid face down- 
wards on the ground and receiving a sound castigation on a 


part of their person which is probably more sensitive than 
the soles of their feet.^ 

In this last festival the essential feature of the ceremony Passage of 
appears to be the passage of the image of the deity across ^"J^j^"^^^^ 
the fire ; it may be compared to the passage of the straw through 
effigy of Kupalo across the midsummer bonfire in Russia." ^^^' 
As we shall see presently, such customs may perhaps be 
interpreted as magical rites designed to produce light and 
warmth by subjecting the deity himself to the heat 
and glow of the furnace ; and where, as at Barsana, 
priests or sorcerers have been accustomed in the discharge 
of their functions to walk through or over fire, they have 
sometimes done so as the living representatives or embodi- 
ments of deities, spirits, or other supernatural beings. Some Passage 
confirmation of this view is furnished by the beliefs and of'"spired 

■' men 

practices of the Dosadhs, a low Indian caste in Behar and through 
Chota Nagpur. On the fifth, tenth, and full-moon days of J^^^j^'^'" 
three months in the year, the priest walks over a narrow 
trench filled with smouldering wood ashes, and is supposed 
thus to be inspired by the tribal god Rahu, who becomes 
incarnate in him for a time. Full of the spirit and also, it 
is surmised, of drink, the man of god then mounts a bamboo 
platform, where he sings hymns and distributes to the crowd 
leaves of tulsi^ which cure incurable diseases, and flowers 
which cause barren women to become happy mothers. The 
service winds up with a feast lasting far into the night, at 
which the line that divides religious fervour from drunken 
revelry cannot always be drawn with absolute precision.^ 
Similarly the Bhuiyas, a Dravidian tribe of Mirzapur, worship 

^ G. Schlegel, Urauographie Chinoise ^ (Sir) H. H. Risley, Tribes and 

(The Hague and Leyden, 1875), pp. 143 Capites of Bengal, Ethnographic Glossary 

sq.; id., "La fete de fouler le feu (Calcutta, 1891-1892), i. 255 sq. 

celebree en Chine et par les Chinois Compare W. Crooke, Popular Religion 

a Java," Internationales Archiv fiir and Folk-lore of Northern India (West- 

Ethnographie, ix. (1896) pp. 193-195. minster, 1896), i. 19; id.. Tribes and 

Compare J. J. M. de Groot, The Castes of the North- Western Provinces 

Religious System of China, -vi. CLeyAtn, and Otidh (Calcutta, 1896), ii. 355. 

1910) pp. 1292 sq. According to According to Sir Herbert Risley, the 

Professor Schlegel, the connexion trench filled with smouldering ashes is 

between this festival and the old custom so narrow (only a span and a quarter 

of solemnly extinguishing and relighting wide) " that very little dexterity would 

the fire in spring is unquestionable. enable a man to walk with his feet on 

either edge, so as not to touch the 

2 The Dying God, p. 262. smouldering ashes at the bottom." 


festival in 
honour of 
Rajah and 

their tribal hero Bir by walking over a short trench filled with 
fire, and they say that the man who is possessed by the hero 
does not feel any pain in the soles of his feet.^ Ceremonies 
of this sort used to be observed in most districts of the Madras 
Presidency, sometimes in discharge of vows made in time of 
sickness or distress, sometimes periodically in honour of a 
deity. Where the ceremony was observed periodically, it 
generally occurred in March or June, which are the months of 
the vernal equinox and the summer solstice respectively. A 
narrow trench, sometimes twenty yards long and half a foot 
deep, was filled with small sticks and twigs, mostly of tamarind, 
which were kindled and kept burning till they sank into a 
mass of glowing embers. Along this the devotees, often fifty 
or sixty in succession, walked, ran, or leaped barefoot. In 
1854 the Madras Government instituted an enquiry into 
the custom, but found that it was not attended by danger 
or instances of injury sufficient to call for governmental 

The French traveller Sonnerat has described how, in the 
eighteenth century, the Hindoos celebrated a fire-festival of 
this sort in honour of the god Darma Rajah and his wife 

1 W. Crooke, Tribes and Castes of 
the North- Western Provinces and Otidh, 
ii. 82. 

2 M. J. Walhouse, " Passing through 
the Fire," Indian Antiquary, vii. 
(1878) pp. 126 sq. Compare J. A. 
Dubois, Mcetirs, Institutions et CM- 
monies des Peuples de I'lnde (Paris, 
1825), ii. 373 ; E. Thurston, Ethno- 
graphic Notes in Southern India 
(Madras, 1906), pp. 471-486; G. F. 
D'Penha, in Indian Atttiquary, xxxi. 
(1902) p. 392; "Fire-walking in 
Ganjam," Madras Government Aluseum 
Bulletin, vol. iv. No. 3 (Madras, 1903), 
pp. 214-216. At Akka timanhuUy, 
one of the many villages which help to 
make up the town of Bangalore in 
Southern India, one woman at least 
from every house is expected to walk 
through the fire at the village festival. 
Captain J. S. F. Mackenzie witnessed 
the ceremony in 1873. A trench, four 
feet long by two feet wide, was filled 
with live embers. The priest walked 
through it thrice, and the women after- 

wards passed through it in batches, 
Capt. Mackenzie remarks : " From the 
description one reads of walking through 
fire, I expected something sensational. 
Nothing could be more tame than the 
ceremony we saw performed ; in which 
there never was nor ever could be the 
slightest danger to life. Some young 
girl, whose soles were tender, might 
next morning find that she had a blister, 
but this would be the extent of harm 
she could receive." See Captain J. S. P". 
Mackenzie, "The Village Feast," /«- 
dianA7itiqt<ary,\\\.{\%'ji,) pp. 6-9. But 
to fall on the hot embers might result 
in injuries which would prove fatal, 
and such an accident is known to have 
occurred at a village in Bengal. See 
H. J. Stokes, "Walking through Fire," 
Indian Antiquary, ii. (1873) PP- 190 J^. 
At Afkanbour, five days' march from 
Delhi, the Arab traveller Ibn Batutah 
saw a troop of fakirs dancing and even 
rolling on the glowing embers of a wood 
fire. See Voyages d'Ibn Batoutah 
(Paris, 1853-1858), ii. b sq., iii. 439. 


Drobede (Draupadi). The festival lasted eighteen days, during 
which all who had vowed to take part in it were bound to 
fast, to practise continence, to sleep on the ground without 
a mat, and to walk on a furnace. On the eighteenth day 
the images of Darma Rajah and his spouse were carried in 
procession to the furnace, and the performers followed 
dancing, their heads crowned with flowers and their bodies 
smeared with saffron. The furnace consisted of a trench 
about forty feet long, filled with hot embers. When the "^Vor- 
images had been carried thrice round it, the worshippers ^vafidng 
walked over the embers, faster or slower, according to the through 
degree of their religious fervour, some carrying their children 
in their arms, others brandishing spears, swords, and stand- 
ards. This part of the ceremony being over, the bystanders 
hastened to rub their foreheads with ashes from the furnace, 
and to beg from the performers the flowers which they had 
worn in their hair ; and such as obtained them preserved 
the flowers carefully. The rite was performed in honour of 
the goddess Drobed^ (Draupadi), the heroine of the great 
Indian epic, the Mahabharata. For she married five brothers 
all at once ; every year she left one of her husbands to betake 
herself to another, but before doing so she had to purify her- 
self by fire. There was no fixed date for the celebration of 
the rite, but it could only be held in one of the first three 
months of the year.^ In some villages the ceremony is per- 
formed annually ; in others, which cannot afford the expense 
every year, it is observed either at longer intervals, perhaps 
once in three, seven, ten, or twelve years, or only in special 
emergencies, such as the outbreak of smallpox, cholera, or 
plague. Anybody but a pariah or other person of very low 
degree may take part in the ceremony in fulfilment of a vow. 
For example, if a man suffers from some chronic malady, he 
may vow to Draupadi that, should he be healed of his disease, 
he will walk over the fire at her festival. As a preparation 
for the solemnity he sleeps in the temple and observes a fast. 
The celebration of the rite in any village is believed to protect 
the cattle and the crops and to guard the inhabitants from 
dangers of all kinds. When it is over, many people carry 

^ Sonnerat, Voyage aux Indes orientales et a la Chine (Paris, 1782), i. 
247 sq. 


of the 
Badagas in 

Sacred fire 
made by 

the fire. 

driven over 
the hot 

home the holy ashes of the fire as a talisman which will drive 
away devils and demons.^ 

The Badagas, an agricultural tribe of the Neilgherry Hills 
in Southern India, annually celebrate a festival of fire in vari- 
ous parts of their country. For example, at Nidugala the 
festival is held with much ceremony in the month of January. 
Omens are taken by boiling two pots of milk side by side 
on two hearths. If the milk overflows uniformly on all sides, 
the crops will be abundant for all the villages ; but if it flows 
over on one side only, the harvest will be good for villages 
on that side only. The sacred fire is made by friction, a 
vertical stick of Rhodomyrtus tomentosus being twirled by 
means of a cord in a socket let into a thick bough of Debre- 
geasia velutina. With this holy flame a heap of wood of 
two sorts, the Eugenia Jambolana and Phyllanthus Emblica, is 
kindled, and the hot embers are spread over a fire-pit about 
five yards long and three yards broad. When all is ready, 
the priest ties bells on his legs and approaches the fire-pit, 
carrying milk freshly drawn from a cow which has calved 
for the first time, and also bearing flowers of Rhododendron 
arboreum, Leucas aspera^ or jasmine. After doing obeisance, 
he throws the flowers on the embers and then pours some of 
the milk over them. If the omens are propitious, that is, if 
the flowers remain for a few seconds unscorched and the milk 
does not hiss when it falls on the embers, the priest walks 
boldly over the embers and is followed by a crowd of cele- 
brants, who before they submit to the ordeal count the hairs 
on their feet. If any of the hairs are found to be singed 
after the passage through the fire-pit, it is an ill omen. 
Sometimes the Badagas drive their cattle, which have re- 
covered from sickness, over the hot embers in performance 
of a vow.^ At Melur, another place of the Badagas in the 

* Madras Govenunent Museum, 
Bulletin, vol. iv. No. i (Madras, 
1901), pp. 55-59; E. Thurston, 
Ethnographic Notes in Southern India 
(Madras, 1906), pp. 471-474. One 
of the places where the fire -festival 
in honour of Draupadi takes place 
annually is the AUandur Temple, at 
St. Thomas's Mount, near Madras. 
Compare " Fire-walking Ceremony at 

the Dharmaraja Festival," The Quar- 
terly Journal of the Mythic Society, 
vol. ii. No. I (October, 1910), pp. 

2 E. Thurston, Castes and Tribes 
of Southern India (Madras, 1909), i. 
98 sq. ; id.. Ethnographic Notes in 
Southern India (Madras, 1906), pp. 
476 sq. 


Neilgherry Hills, three, five, or seven men are chosen to walk The fire- 
through the fire at the festival ; and before they perform the ^ed^by a 
ceremony they pour into an adjacent stream milk from cows libation of 
which have calved for the first time dunng the year. A fouowedby 
general feast follows the performance of the rite, and next ploughing 
day the land is ploughed and sown for the first time that sowing, 
season. At Jakkaneri, another place of the Badagas in the 
Neilgherry Hills, the passage through the fire at the festival 
• seems to have originally had some connection with agri- 
cultural prospects, as a young bull is made to go partly 
across the fire-pit before the other devotees, and the owners 
of young cows which have had their first calves during the 
year take precedence of others in the ceremony, and bring 
offerings of milk, which are sprinkled over the burning 
embers." ^ According to another account the ceremony 
among the Badagas was performed every second year at a 
harvest festival, and the performers were a set of degenerate 
Brahmans called Haruvarus, who " used to walk on burning 
coals with bare feet, pretending that the god they worshipped 
could allay the heat and make fire like cold water to them. 
As they only remained a few seconds, however, on the coals, 
it was impossible that they could receive much injury." - 

In Japan the fire-walk is performed as a religious rite The fire- 
twice a year at a temple in the Kanda quarter of Tokio. japan. 
One of the performances takes place in September. It was 
witnessed in the year 1903 by the wife of an American naval 
officer, who has described it. In a court of the temple a bed 
of charcoal about six yards long, two yards wide, and two 
feet deep was laid down and covered with a deep layer of 
straw. Being ignited, the straw blazed up, and when the 
flames had died down the bed of hot charcoal was fanned 
by attendants into a red glow. Priests dressed in robes of 
white cotton then walked round the fire, striking sparks from 
flint and steel and carrying trays full of salt. When mats 
had been laid down at the two ends of the fire and salt 
poured on them, the priests rubbed their bare feet twice in 
the salt and then walked calmly down the middle of the fire. 

* E. Thurston, Castes and Tribes * F. Mctz, TTu Tribes inhabiting 

of Southern India (Madras, 1909), i. the Neilgherry Hills, Second Edition 
XQO sq. (Mangalore, 1864), p. 55. 

walk in 


They were followed by a number of people, including some 
boys and a woman with a baby in her arms. " The Shinto- 
ists claim that, having been perfectly purified by their prayers 
and ceremonies, no evil has any power over them. Fire they 
regard as the very spirit of evil ; so twice a year, I believe, 
they go through this fire-walking as a kind of ' outward and 
visible sign of inward spiritual grace.' " ^ 
The fire- In the island of Mbengga, one of the Fijian archipelago, 

once every year a dracaena, which grows in profusion on 
the grassy hillsides, becomes fit to yield the sugar of which 
its fibrous root is full. To render the roots edible it is 
necessary to bake them among hot stones for four days. A 
great pit is dug and filled with great stones and blazing 
logs, and when the flames have died down and the stones 
are at white heat, the oven is ready to receive the roots. 
At this moment the members of a certain clan called Na 
Ivilankata, favoured of the gods, leap into the oven and 
walk unharmed upon the hot stones, which would scorch 
the feet of any other persons. On one occasion when the 
ceremony was witnessed by Europeans fifteen men of the 
clan, dressed in garlands and fringes, walked unscathed 
through the furnace, where tongues of fire played among 
the hot stones. The pit was about nineteen feet wide and 
the men marched round it, planting their feet squarely and 
firmly on each stone. When they emerged from the pit, 

1 "A Japanese Fire-walk," ^w^maw while on the other hand a Scotch 

Anthropologist, New Series, v. (1903) engineer named Hillhouse passed over 

pp. 377-380. The ceremony has been the hot charcoal unscathed. Several 

described to me by two eye-witnesses, of Miss Hughes's Japanese pupils also 

Mr. Ernest Foxwell of St. John's went through the ordeal with impunity, 

College, Cambridge, and Miss E. P. but one of them burned a toe. Both 

Hughes, formerly Principal of the before and after walking through the 

Teachers' Training College, Cam- fire the people dipped their feet in a 

bridge. Mr. Foxwell examined the white stuff which Miss Hughes was 

feet of the performers both before told was salt. Compare W. G. Aston, 

and after their passage through the Shinto (London, 1905), p. 348: "At 

fire and found no hurt. The heat the present day plunging the hand into 

was so great that the sweat ran down boiling water, walking barefoot over a 

him as he stood near the bed of glow- bed of live coals, and climbing a ladder 

ing charcoal. He cannot explain the formed of sword -blades set edge up- 

immunity of the performers. He in- wards are practised, not by way of 

forms me that the American writer ordeal, but to excite the awe and 

Percival Lowell walked in the fire stimulate the piety of the ignorant 

and was burned so severely that he spectators." 
was laid up in bed for three weeks ; 


the feet of several were examined and shewed no trace 
of scorching; even the anklets of dried tree-fern leaves 
which they wore on their legs were unburnt. The immunity 
thus enjoyed by members of the clan in the fiery furnace is 
explained by a legend that in former days a chief of the 
clan, named Tui Nkualita, received for himself and his 
descendants this remarkable privilege from a certain god, 
whom the chief had accidentally dragged out of a deep 
pool of water by the hair of his head.^ A similar cere- The fire- 
mony of walking through fire, or rather over a furnace ^^j^j" 
of hot charcoal or hot stones, has also been observed in the Mar- 
Tahiti,^ the Marquesas Islands,^ and by Hindoo coolies in ^^^^ 
the West Indian island of Trinidad ;^ but the eye-witnesses and 
who have described the rite, as it is observed in these islands, 
have said little or nothing as to its meaning and purpose, 
their whole attention having been apparently concentrated on 
the heat of the furnace and the state of the performers' legs 
before and after passing through it. 

" Another grand custom of the Hottentots, which they Hottentot 
likewise term andersmaken, is the driving their sheep at ^n^^°™°^ 
certain times through the fire. Early in the day appointed their sheep 
by a kraal for the observance of this custom, the women \^°^^ 


1 Basil Thomson, South Sea Yams In his Modern Mythology (pp. 162- 

(Edinburgh and London, 1894), pp. 165) Andrew Lang quotes from The 

195-207. Compare F. Arthur Jack- Polynesian Society's Journal, vol. ii. 

son, "A Fijian Legend of the Origin No. 2, pp. 105-108, an account of the 

of the Vilavilairevo or Fire Cere- fire-walk by Miss Tenira Henry, which 

mony," Journal of the Polynesian seems to refer to Raiatea, one of the 

Society, vol. iii. No. 2 (June, 1894), Tahitian group of islands. 

pp. 72-75; R. Fulton, "An Account , . , . „ . ■ ,- , , 

'^f ' . TT •• T?- w n Annates ae V Association de la 

of the Fill Fire - walking Cere- _^ . ,, r-i- ,o» 

■,.., ., . .^L , Propagation de la rot, Ixix. (1807) 

mony, or I ilavtlatrevo, with a prob- -^ * ^^ ■ \\^ \ ^i 1 

,. ■' , ,. c \u / » PP- 110-133. But in the ceremony 

able explanation of the mystery, f*^ j u j 1. 1 ■ r c 

™ f- J r, J.C iL here described the chief performer 

Transactions ana Proceedings of the r tt i.- <• l 

,.r -7 I J T ^j J /,^^-x was a native of Huahme, one of the 

New Zealand Institute, xxxv. (1902) ™ , . . r • 1 j .r-i^ 1 

o_ T- . » TT xj 1 ahitian group of islands. The wood 

pp. 107-201 : Lieutenant Vernon H. , , • ^ r , -, . 

\j J • r !L 7 /,„„,\ burned in the furnace was hibiscus 

Haggard, in Folk-lore, xiv. (1903) pp. , . 1 . . , , ^ . ,• , 

eg *''' ' \ ^ Ji vtr j^^j native chestnut (Inocarpus edulis). 

^\ P. Langley, "The Fire-walk ^^/°^.^ ^/^PP^"g °" "^^ hot stones the 

/^ • '? t,-.^' )> D ^ ^ jr jl principal performer beat the edge of 

Ceremony m Tahiti, Report of the f, r • , ■ , . • 

c- .,, ■ T ^\, ,■ jr .„„. the furnace twice or thrice with tt 

bmtthsonian Institution for igoi , , . 

i\\- u- . »^„«x ,-,^ ,. leaves (dracaena). 

(Washington, 1902), pp. 539-544; 

id., in Folk-lore, xiv. (1901) pp. 446- * Les Missions Catholiques,x. (iS^S) 

452 ; "More about Fire -walking," pp. 141 sq. ; A. Lang, Modern My t ho - 

Journal of the Polynesian Society, \o\. logy, p. 167, quoting Mr. Henry R. 

X. No. I (March, 1901), pp. 53 sq. St. Clair. 


milk all their cows, and set the whole produce before their 
husbands. 'Tis a strict rule at those times that the women 
neither taste, nor suffer their children to touch, a drop of it. 
The whole quantity is sacred to the men, who drink it all up 
before they address themselves to the business of the fire. 
Having consumed the milk, some go and bring the sheep 
together to the place where the fire is to be lighted, while 
others repair to the place to light it. The fire is made of 
chips and dry twigs and thinly spread into a long square. 
Upon the coming up of the sheep, the fire, scattered into this 
figure, is covered with green twigs to raise a great smoak ; 
and a number of men range themselves closely on both sides 
of it, making a lane for the sheep to pass through, and ex- 
tending themselves to a good distance beyond the fire on the 
side where the sheep are to enter. Things being in this 
posture, the sheep are driven into the lane close up to the 
fire, which now smoaks in the thickest clouds. The foremost 
boggle, and being forced forward by the press behind, seek 
their escape by attempting breaches in the ranks. The men 
stand close and firm, and whoop and goad them forward ; 
when a few hands, planted at the front of the fire, catch three 
or four of the foremost sheep by the head, and drag them 
through, and bring them round into the sight of the rest ; 
which sometimes upon this, the whooping and goading 
continuing, follow with a tantivy, jumping and pouring 
themselves through the fire and smoak with a mighty 
clattering and fury. At other times they are not so tract- 
able, but put the Hottentots to the trouble of dragging 
numbers of them through ; and sometimes, in a great press 
and fright, sturdily attacking the ranks, they make a breach 
and escape. This is a very mortifying event at all times, 
the Hottentots, upon whatever account, looking upon it as a 
heavy disgrace and a very ill omen into the bargain. But 
when their labours here are attended with such success, that 
the sheep pass readily through or over the fire, 'tis hardly 
in the power of language to describe them in all the sallies 
of their joy." The writer who thus describes the custom had 
great difficulty in extracting an explanation of it from the 
Hottentots. At last one of them informed him that their 
country was much infested by wild dogs, which made terrible 


havoc among the cattle, worrying the animals to death even 
when they did not devour them. " Now we have it," he said, 
" from our ancestors, that if sheep are driven through the fire, 
as we say, that is, through a thick smoak, the wild dogs will 
not be fond of attacking them while the scent of the smoak 
remains upon their fleeces. We therefore from time to time, 
for the security of our flocks, perform this atidersmaken." ^ 

When disease breaks out in a herd of the Nandi, a Fire 
pastoral tribe of British East Africa, a large bonfire is made ^^^^'^t^'ig 
with the wood of a certain tree {Olea cJirysophilla), and by the 
brushwood of two sorts of shrubs is thrown on the top. '-^^ ^ 
Then the sick herd is driven to the fire, and while the 
animals are standing near it, a sheep big with young is 
brought to them and anointed with milk by an elder, after 
which it is strangled by two men belonging to clans that 
may intermarry. The intestines are then inspected, and if 
the omens prove favourable, the meat is roasted and eaten ; 
noreover rings are made out of the skin and worn by the 
:attle-owners. After the meat has been eaten, the herd is 
(iriven round the fire, and milk is poured on each beast* 
When their cattle are sick, the Zulus of Natal will collect 
their herds in a kraal, where a medicine-man kindles a fire, 
burns medicine in it, and so fumigates the cattle with the 
medicated smoke. Afterwards he sprinkles the herd with a 
decoction, and, taking some melted fat of the dead oxen in 
his mouth, squirts it on a fire-brand and holds the brand to 
each animal in succession.^ Such a custom is probably 
equivalent to the Hottentot and European practice of driving 
cattle through a fire. 

Among the Indians of Yucatan the year which was Indians of 
marked in their calendar by the sign of Cauac was reputed 3^*^*^ 
to be very unlucky ; they thought that in the course of it the hot embers 
death-rate would be high, the maize crops would be withered 3°^*^^^° 
up by the extreme heat of the sun, and what remained of calamities, 
the harvest would be devoured by swarms of ants and birds. 
To avert these calamities they used to erect a great pyre of 

^ Peter Kolben, TTie Present State 1909), pp. 45 sq. 
of the Cape of Good Hope, Second 
Edition (London, 1738), L 129-133. 3 Rgy. Joseph Shooter, The Kafirs 

- A. C. Hollis, The Nandi {0\ioiA, o/iVa/a/ (London, 1857), p. 35. 



The fire- 
walk in 
at Casta- 
bala in 
docia and 
at Mount 
near Rome, 

wood, to which most persons contributed a faggot. Having 
danced about it during the day, they set fire to it at night- 
fall, and when the flames had died down, they spread out 
the red embers and walked or ran barefoot over them, some 
of them escaping unsmirched by the flames, but others 
burning themselves more or less severely. In this way they 
hoped to conjure away the evils that threatened them, and 
to undo the sinister omens of the year.^ 

Similar rites were performed at more than one place 
in classical antiquity. At Castabala, in Cappadocia, the 
priestesses of an Asiatic goddess, whom the Greeks called 
Artemis Perasia, used to walk barefoot through a furnace of 
hot charcoal and take no harm.^ Again, at the foot of 
Mount Soracte, in Italy, there was a sanctuary of a goddess 
Feronia, where once a year the men of certain families 
walked barefoot, but unscathed, over the glowing embers 
and ashes of a great fire of pinewood in presence of a vast 
multitude, who had assembled from all the country round 
about to pay their devotions to the deity or to ply their 
business at the fair. The families from whom the performers 
of the rite were drawn went by the name of Hirpi Sorani, 
or " Soranian Wolves " ; and in consideration of the services 
which they rendered the state by walking through the fire, 
they were exempted, by a special decree of the senate, from 
military service and all public burdens. In the discharge of 
their sacred function, if we can trust the testimony of Strabo, 
they were believed to be inspired by the goddess Feronia. 
The ceremony certainly took place in her sanctuary, which 
was held in the highest reverence alike by Latins and Sabines; 
but according to Virgil and Pliny the rite was performed 
in honour of the god of the mountain, whom they call by 
the Greek name of Apollo, but whose real name appears 
to have been Soranus.^ If Soranus was a sun-god, as his 

^ Diego de Landa, Relation des 
chases de Yucatan (Paris, 1864), pp. 
231. 233. 

2 Strabo, xii. 2. 7, p. 537. Com- 
pare Adonis, Attis, Osiris, Second 
Edition, pp. 89, 134 sqq. 

3 Pliny, Nat. Hist. vii. 19; Virgil, 
Aen. xi. 784 sqq. with the comment 
of Servius ; Strabo, v. 2. 9, p. 226 ; 

Dionysius Halicamasensis, Antiquit, 
Rom. iii. 32. From a reference to the 
custom in Silius Italicus (v. 175 sqq.) 
it seems that the men passed thrice 
through the furnace holding the en- 
trails of the sacrificial victims in their 
hands. The learned but sceptical 
Varro attributed their immunity in the 
fire to a drug with which they took 



name has by some been thought to indicate,^ we might perhaps 
conclude that the passage of his priests through the fire was 
a magical ceremony designed to procure a due supply of 
light and warmth for the earth by mimicking the sun's 
passage across the firmament. For so priceless a service, 
rendered at some personal risk, it would be natural that the 
magicians should be handsomely rewarded by a grateful 
country, and that they should be released from the common 
obligations of earth in order the better to devote themselves 
to their celestial mission. The neighbouring towns paid the 
first-fruits of their harvest as tribute to the shrine, and 
loaded it besides with offerings of gold and silver, of which, 
however, it was swept clean by Hannibal when he hung 
with his dusky army, like a storm-cloud about to break, 
within sight of the sentinels on the walls of Rome.^ 

§ 2. The Meaning of the Fire-walk 

The foregoing customs, observed in many different parts Little 
of the world, present at least a superficial resemblance to the to'shew^ 
modern European practices of leaping over fires and driving that the 
cattle through them ; and we naturally ask whether it is not js'^a^u^. 
possible to discover a general explanation which will include charm, 
them all. We have seen that two general theories have been 
proposed to account for the European practices ; according 
to one theory the customs in question are sun-charms, 

care to anoint the soles of their feet whether Soranus can be connected 
before they planted them in the with sol; he tells me that the inter- 
furnace. See Varro, cited by Servius, change of / and r is rare. He would 
on Virgil, Aen. xi. 787. The whole rather connect Soracte with the Greek 
subject has been treated by W. Mann- Cpaf, "a shrew-mouse." In that case 
hardt {Antike Wald- und Feldkulte, Apollo Soranus might be the equivalent 
Berlin, 1877, pp. 327 sqq.), who com- of the Greek Apollo Smintheus, "the 
pares the rites of these " Soranian Mouse Apollo." Professor R. S. Con- 
Wolves " with the ceremonies per- way also writes to me (nth November 
formed by the brotherhood of the 1902) that 5^ra«wy and 5(?ra^/^ "have 
Green Wolf at J umieges in Normandy. nothing to do with sol; rand /are 
See above, vol. i. pp. 185 sq. not confused in Italic." 

1 L. Preller [Romische Mythologies 2 Livy, xxvi. II. About this time 

i. 268), following G. Curtius, would the Carthaginian army encamped only 

connect the first syllable of Soranus and three miles from Rome, and Hannibal 

Soracte with the Latin sol, "sun." in person, at the head of two thousand 

However, this etymology appears to cavalry, rode close up to the walls and 

be at the best very doubtful. My leisurely reconnoitered them. See 

friend Prof, J. H. Moulton doubts Livy, xxvi. 10 ; Polybius, ix. 5-7. 


according to the other they are purifications. Let us see 
how the two rival theories fit the other facts which we have 
just passed in review. To take the solar theory first, it is 
supported, first, by a statement that the fires at the Pongol 
festival in Southern India are intended to wake the sun-god 
or the fire-god from his sleep ; ^ and, second, by the etymo- 
logy which connects Soranus, the god of Soracte, with the 
sun.^ But for reasons which have already been given, 
neither of these arguments carries much weight ; and apart 
from them there appears to be nothing in the foregoing 
customs to suggest that they are sun-charms. Nay, some 
of the customs appear hardly reconcilable with such a view. 
For it is to be observed that the fire-walk is frequently 
practised in India and other tropical countries, where as a 
rule people would more naturally wish to abate than to 
increase the fierce heat of the sun. In Yucatan certainly 
the intention of kindling the bonfires cannot possibly have 
been to fan the solar flames, since one of the principal evils 
which the bonfires were designed to remedy was precisely 
the excessive heat of the sun, which had withered up the 
maize crops.^ Thus the solar theory is not strongly sup- 
ported by any of the facts which we are considering, and it 
is actually inconsistent with some of them. 
On the Not SO with the purificatory theory. It is obviously 

other hand applicable to somc of the facts, and apparently consistent 
much to with them all. Thus we have seen that sick men make a 
be said for ^ walk ovcr the fire, and that sick cattle are driven 

the view 

that the ovcr it. In such cases clearly the intention is to cleanse the 
i^'^afbrm suffering man or beast from the infection of disease, and 
of purifica- thereby to restore him or it to health ; and the fire is supposed 
flames '^ ^o effect this salutary end, either by burning up the powers 
being of cvil or by interposing an insurmountable barrier between 

eithefto them and the sufferer. For it is to be remembered that 
burn up zv'A^ which civiHzed men regard as impersonal are often 
the powers conceivcd by uncivilized man in the personal shape of 
of evil. witches and wizards, of ghosts and hobgoblins ; so tnat 
measures which we should consider as simple disinfectants 
the savage looks upon as obstacles opportunely presented to 

1 Above, p. I. ^ Above, p. 15. 

3 Above, pp. 13 sq. 


the attacks of demons or other uncanny beings. Now of 
all such obstacles fire seems generally to be thought the 
most effective ; hence in passing through or leaping over it 
our primitive philosopher often imagines that he is not so 
much annihilating his spiritual foe as merely giving him the 
slip ; the ghostly pursuer shrinks back appalled at the flames 
through which his intended victim, driven to desperation by 
his fears, has safely passed before him. This interpretation 
of the ceremony is confirmed, first, by the observation that 
in India the ashes of the bonfire are used as a talisman against 
devils and demons ; ' and, second, by the employment of Custom of 
the ceremony for the avowed purpose of escaping from ovCT^fire 
the pursuit of a troublesome ghost. For example, in for the pur- 
China " they believe that a beheaded man wanders about a ^^n*^ rid 
headless spectre in the World of Shades. Such spectres are of a ghost, 
frequently to be seen in walled towns, especially in the 
neighbourhood of places of execution. Here they often 
visit the people with disease and disaster, causing a con- 
siderable depreciation in the value of the houses around such 
scenes. Whenever an execution takes place, the people fire 
crackers to frighten the headless ghost away from the spot ; 
and the mandarin who has superintended the bloody work, 
on entering the gate of his mansion, has himself carried in 
his sedan chair over a fire lighted on the pavement, lest the 
headless apparition should enter there along with him ; for 
disembodied spirits are afraid of fire."" For a like reason 
Chinese mourners after a funeral, and persons who have paid 
a visit of condolence to a house of death, often purify them- 
selves by stepping over a fire of straw ; ^ the purification, we 
cannot doubt, consists simply in shaking off the ghost who 
is supposed to dog their steps. Similarly at a coroner's 
inquest in China the mandarin and his subordinates hold 
pocket handkerchiefs or towels to their mouths and noses 
while they are inspecting the corpse, no doubt to hinder the 
ghost from insinuating himself into their bodies by these 
apertures ; and when they have discharged their dangerous 

1 AlxDve, p. 8, compare p. 3. 942. 

2 J. J. M. de Groot, The Religious 3 Re%-. J. H. Gray, China (London, 
System of China, L (Leyden, 1892), 1878), i. 287, 305 ; J. J. M. de Groot, 
P- 355; ^- vi. (Leyden, 19 10) p. op. cit. i. 32, vi. 942. 



duty, they purify themselves by passing through a small fire 
of straw kindled on the pavement before they enter their 
sedan-chairs to return home, while at the same time the 
crowd of idlers, who have gathered about the door, assist in 
keeping the ghost at bay by a liberal discharge of crackers. 
The same double process of purification, or rather of repelling 
the ghost, by means of fire and crackers is repeated at the gate 
of the mandarin's residence when the procession defiles into 
it.^ Among some of the Tartars it used to be customary 
for all persons returning from a burial to leap over a fire 
made for the purpose, "in order that the dead man might 
not follow them ; for apparently in their opinion he would 
be afraid of the fire." ^ " The Yakuts bury their dead as a 
rule on the day of the death, and in order not to take the 
demon of death home with them, they kindle fires on the 
way back from the burial and jump over them in the belief 
that the demon of death, who dreads fire, will not follow 
them, and that in this way they will be freed from the 
persecutions of the hated demon of death." ^ In Sikkhim, 
when members of the Khambu caste have buried a corpse, 
all persons present at the burial " adjourn to a stream 
for a bath of purification, and, on re-entering the house, 
have to tread on a bit of burning cloth, to prevent the 
evil spirits who attend at funerals from following them in." "* 
Among the Fans of West Africa, " when the mourning 
is over, the wives of the deceased must pass over a small 
lighted brazier in the middle of the village, then they sit 
down while some leaves are still burning under their feet ; 
their heads are shaved, and from that moment they arc 
purified from the mourning — perhaps we should translate : 
' delivered from the ghost of their husband ' — and may be 
divided among the heirs." ^ At Agweh, on the Slave Coast 
of West Africa, a widow used to remain shut up for six 

^ J. J. M. de Groot, op. cit. i. 137, gebrauche der Jakuten," Globus, lix. 
vi. 942. (1891) p. 85. 

2 J- G. Gmelin, Reise dtirch Sibi- 4 j_ ^ j^ Louis, The Gates of 

Schamenthum bei den Jakuten," in A. ^ E. AUegret, " Las Id^es reli- 

Bastian's Allerlei aus Volks- und Men- gieuses des Fafi (Afrique Occidentale)," 

sckenkunde (Berlin, 1888), i. 219. Revue de VHistoire des Religions, 1, 

Compare Vasilij Priklonski, "Todten- (1904) P- 220. 


months in the room where her husband was buried ; at the widows 
end of the time a fire was h'ghted on the floor, and red f"^'g^'«* 

o ' to free 

peppers strewn in it, until in the pungent fumes the widow them from 
was nearly stifled.^ No doubt the intention was to rid her h'^l^ds' 
of her husband's ghost in order that she might mingle again ghosts, 
in the world with safety to herself and others. 

On the analogy of these customs, in which the purpose Hence it 
of the passage through the fire appears to be unmistakable, ^T^j,, 
we may suppose that the motive of the rite is similar at the that the 
popular festivals of Europe and the like observances in of'^^e^fi^ 
other lands. In every case the ritual appears to be explained in the tire- 
in a simple and natural way by the supposition that the ^ope^° 
performers believe themselves to be freed from certain evils, «as to 
actual or threatened, through the beneficent agency of fire, r^nfhe"^ 
which either burns up and destroys the noxious things or witches, to 
at all events repels and keeps them at bay. Indeed this maleficent 
belief, or at least this hope, is definitely expressed by *^^ ^^^ 
some of the people who leap across the bonfires : they ascribed 
imagine that all ills are burnt up and consumed in the '"°?*o'^ 
flames, or that they leave their sins, or at all events their troubles, 
fleas, behind them on the far side of the fire.^ But we may 
conjecture that originally all the evils from which the people 
thus thought to deliver themselves were conceived by them 
to be caused by personal beings, such as ghosts and demons 
or witches and warlocks, and that the fires were kindled 
for the sole purpose of burning or banning these noxious 
creatures. Of these evil powers witches and warlocks 
appear to have been the most dreaded by our European 
peasantry ; and it is therefore significant that the fires kindled 
on these occasions are often expressly alleged to bum the 
witches,^ that effigies of witches are not uncommonly con- 
sumed in them,^ and that two of the great periodic fire- 
festivals of the year, namely May Day and Midsummer Eve, 
coincide with the seasons when witches are believed to be 
most active and mischievous, and when accordingly many 
other precautions are taken against them.^ Thus if witch- 

^ A. B. Ellis, The Ewe-speaking ^ See the references above, vol. L 

Peoples of the S/az-e Coast of West p. 342 note*. 
Africa (London, 1890), p. 160. * See the references above, vol. i, 

* Above, pp. 162, 163, 211, 212, p. 342 note'. 
214, 215, 217. * See The Magic Art and the Evolu- 



craft, as a great part of mankind has believed, is the fertile 
source of almost all the calamities that afflict our species, and 
if the surest means of frustrating witchcraft is fire, then it 
follows as clearly as day follows night that to jump over a 
fire must be a sovereign panacea for practically all the ills that 
flesh is heir to. We can now, perhaps, fully understand why 
festivals of fire played so prominent a part in the religion 
or superstition of our heathen forefathers ; the observance of 
such festivals flowed directly from their overmastering fear 
of witchcraft and from their theory as to the best way of 
combating that dreadful evil. 

tion of Kings, ii. 52 sqq., 127 ; The 
Scapegoat, pp. 157 sqq. Compare 
R. Kiihnau, Schlesische Sagen (Berlin, 
1910-1913), iii. p. 69, No. 1428: 
"In the county of Glatz the people 
believe that on Walpurgis Night 
(the Eve of May Day) the witches 
under cover of the darkness seek to 
harm men in all sorts of ways. To 
guard themselves against them the 
people set small birch trees in front 
of the house-door on the previous day, 
and are of opinion that the witches 
must count all the leaves on these 
little trees before they can get into 
the house. While they are still at 
this laborious task, the day dawns and 
the dreaded guests must retire to their 
own realm " ; id., iii. p. 39, No. 1394: 
'* On St. John's Night (between the 

23rd and 24th of June) the witches again 
busily bestir themselves to force their 
way into the houses of men and the 
stalls of cattle. People stick small 
twigs of oak in the windows and doors 
of the houses and cattle-stalls to keep 
out the witches. This is done in the 
neighbourhood of Patschkau and gener- 
ally in the districts of Frankenstein, 
Miinsterberg, Grottkau, and Neisse. In 
the same regions they hang garlands, 
composed of oak leaves intertwined with 
flowers, at the windows. The garland 
must be woven in the house itself and 
may not be carried over any threshold ; 
it must be hung out of the window 
on a nail, which is inserted there." 
Similar evidence might be multiplied 
almost indefinitely. 



§ I . The Burning of Effigies in tJie Fires 

We have still to ask, What is the meaning of burning The effigies 
effigies in the fire at these festivals ? After the preceding ^jj^reT 
investigation the answer to the question seems obvious. As probably 
the fires are often alleged to be kindled for the purpose of [^^ch^"' 
burning the witches, and as the effigy burnt in them is 
sometimes called " the Witch," we might naturally be dis- 
posed to conclude that all the effigies consumed in the flames 
on these occasions represent witches or warlocks, and that 
the custom of burning them is merely a substitute for burn- 
ing the wicked men and women themselves, since on the 
principle of homoeopathic or imitative magic you practically 
destroy the witch herself in destroying her effigy. On the 
whole this explanation of the burning of straw figures in 
human shape at the festivals appears to be the most 

Yet it may be that this explanation does not apply to Possibly 
all the cases, and that certain of them may admit and even threffi^es 
require another interpretation, in favour of which I formerly burnt in 

J r It 1 tiie fires 

argued as follows :— ^ represent 

"It remains to ask. What is the meaning of burning an tree-spirits 
effigy in these bonfires ? The effigies so burned, as I have vegetation! 
already remarked, can hardly be separated from the effigies 
of Death which are burned or otherwise destroyed in spring ; 
and grounds have been already given for regarding the so- 
called effigies of Death as really representatives of the tree- 

1 The Golden Bough, Second Edition (London, 1900), ii. 314-316. 



spirit or spirit of vegetation/ Are the other effigies, which 
are burned in the spring and midsummer bonfires, susceptible 
of the same explanation ? It would seem so. For just as 
the fragments of the so-called Death are stuck in the fields 
to make the crops grow, so the charred embers of the figure 
burned in the spring bonfires are sometimes laid on the 
fields in the belief that they will keep vermin from the crop.^ 
Again, the rule that the last married bride must leap over 
the fire in which the straw-man is burned on Shrove Tuesday, 
is probably intended to make her fruitful.^ But, as we have 
seen, the power of blessing women with offspring is a special 
attribute of tree-spirits ; ^ it is therefore a fair presumption 
that the burning effigy over which the bride must leap is a 
representative of the fertilizing tree-spirit or spirit of vegeta- 
tion. This character of the effigy, as representative of the 
spirit of vegetation, is almost unmistakable when the figure is 
composed of an unthreshed sheaf of corn or is covered from 
head to foot with flowers.^ Again, it is to be noted that, 
instead of a puppet, trees, either living or felled, are some- 
times burned both in the spring and midsummer bonfires.^ 
Now, considering the frequency with which the tree-spirit is 
represented in human shape, it is hardly rash to suppose that 
when sometimes a tree and sometimes an effigy is burned in 
these fires, the effigy and the tree are regarded as equivalent 
to each other, each being a representative of the tree -spirit. 
This, again, is confirmed by observing, first, that sometimes the 
&^'gy which is to be burned is carried about simultaneously 
with a May-tree, the former being carried by the boys, the 
latter by the girls ; ^ and, second, that the effigy is sometimes 
tied to a living tree and burned with it.^ In these cases, we 
can scarcely doubt, the tree-spirit is represented, as we have 
found it represented before, in duplicate, both by the tree and 
by the 't^'gy. That the true character of the effigy as a 
representative of the beneficent spirit of vegetation should 
sometimes be forgotten, is natural. The custom of burning 

* The Dying God, pp. 249 sqq. ^ Above, vol. i. pp. 120, 167. 

2 Above, vol. i. p. 117, compare ^ Above, vol. i. pp. 115 sq., 116, 

pp. 143, 144. 142, 173 j-^., 185, 191, 192, 193,209. 

2 See above, vol. i. p. 120. '' Above, vol. i. p. 120. 

* The Magic Art and the Evolution ** Above, vol. i. p. 116. But the 
of Kings, ii. 56 sqq. effigy is called the Witch. 


a beneficent god is too foreign to later modes of thought to 
escape misinterpretation. Naturally enough the people who 
continued to bum his image came in time to identify it as 
the effigy of persons, whom, on various grounds, they regarded 
with aversion, such as Judas Iscariot, Luther, and a witch. 

" The general reasons for killing a god or his repre- Reasons 
sentative have been examined in the preceding chapter.^ effit^'i^'f^ 
But when the god happens to be a deity of vegetation, the spirit oi 
there are special reasons why he should die by fire. For 0^0^^"°° 
light and heat are necessary to vegetable growth ; and, on passing 
the principle of sympathetic magic, by subjecting the thrOT<^h 
personal representative of vegetation to their influence, the fire, 
you secure a supply of these necessaries for trees and crops. 
In other words, by burning the spirit of vegetation in a fire 
which represents the sun, you make sure that, for a time 
at least, vegetation shall have plenty of sun. It may be 
objected that, if the intention is simply to secure enough 
sunshine for vegetation, this end would be better attained, on 
the principles of sympathetic magic, by merely passing the 
representative of vegetation through the fire instead of 
burning him. In point of fact this is sometimes done. In 
Russia, as we have seen, the straw figure of Kupalo is not 
burned in the midsummer fire, but merely carried backwards 
and forwards across it.^ But, for the reasons already given, 
it is necessary that the god should die ; so next day Kupalo 
is stripped of her ornaments and thrown into a stream. In 
this Russian custom, therefore, the passage of the image 
through the fire is a sun-charm pure and simple ; the killing 
of the god is a separate act, and the mode of killing him — 
by drowning — is probably a rain-charm. But usually people 
have not thought it necessary to draw this fine distinction ; 
for the various reasons already assigned, it is advantageous, 
they think, to expose the god of vegetation to a considerable 
degree of heat, and it is also advantageous to kill him, and 
they combine these advantages in a rough-and-ready way by 
burning him." 

On the foregoing argument, which I do not now find verj' 
cogent, I would remark that we must distinguish the cases in 

' The chapter has since been ex- the IVild, and Thi Scapegoat. 
panded into the four volumes of The 
Dying God, Spirits of the Corn and of * The Dying God, p. 262. 



custom of 
images of 
gods or 
their living 
the fires 
may be 
simply a 
form of 

which an effigy or an image is burnt in the fire from the 
cases in which it is simply carried through or over it. We 
have seen that in the Chinese festival of fire the image of the 
god is carried thrice by bearers over the glowing furnace. 
Here the motive for subjecting a god to the heat of the 
furnace must surely be the same as the motive for subjecting 
his worshippers to the same ordeal ; and if the motive 
in the case of the worshippers is purificatory, it is probably 
the same in the case of the deity. In other words we may 
suppose that the image of a god is periodically carried 
over a furnace in order to purify him from the taint of 
corruption, the spells of magicians, or any other evil in- 
fluences that might impair or impede his divine energies. 
The same theory would explain the custom of obliging the 
priest ceremonially to pass through the fire ; the custom 
need not be a mitigation of an older practice of burning 
him in the flames, it may only be a purification designed to 
enable him the better to discharge his sacred duties as 
representative of the deity in the coming year. Similarly, 
when the rite is obligatory, not on the people as a whole, 
but only on certain persons chosen for the purpose,^ we may 
suppose that these persons act as representatives of the 
entire community, which thus passes through the fire by 
deputy and consequently participates in all the benefits 
which are believed to accrue from the purificatory character 
of the rite.^ In both cases, therefore, if my interpretation of 
them is correct, the passage over or through a fire is not a 
substitute for human sacrifice ; it is nothing but a stringent 
form of purification. 

§ 2. The Burning of Men and Animals in the Fires 

Yet in the popular customs connected with the fire- 
festivals of Europe there are certain features which appear to 

1 Above, pp. 9, lo, 14. 

2 Among the Klings of Southern 
India the ceremony of walking over a 
bed of red-hot ashes is performed by a 
few chosen individuals, who are pre- 
pared for the rite by a devil-doctor or 
medicine-man. The eye-witness who 

describes the ceremony adds : '• As I 
understood it, they took on themselves 
and expiated the sins of the Kling 
community for the past year." See 
the letter of Stephen Ponder, quoted 
by Andrew Lang, Modern Mythology 
(London, 1897), p. 160. 


point to a former practice of human sacrifice. We have Yet at some 
seen reasons for believing that in Europe living persons fesJivaisthe 
have often acted as representatives of the tree-spirit and pretence of 
corn-spirit and have suffered death as such.^ There is no n^^rsons 
reason, therefore, why they should not have been burned, if 'n the fires 
any special advantages were likely to be attained by putting former 
them to death in that way. The consideration of human suffer- custom of 

... . , ... f. . . . human 

ing IS not one which enters mto the calculations ot primitive sacrifice, 
man. Now, in the fire-festivals which we are discussing, the 
pretence of burning people is sometimes carried so far that it 
seems reasonable to regard it as a mitigated survival of an 
older custom of actually burning them. Thus in Aachen, as 
we saw, the man clad in peas-straw acts so cleverly that the 
children really believe he is being burned.' At Jumieges in 
Xormandy the man clad all in green, who bore the title of 
the Green Wolf, was pursued by his comrades, and when 
they caught him they feigned to fling him upon the mid- 
summer bonfire.^ Similarly at the Beltane fires in Scotland 
the pretended victim was seized, and a show made of throw- 
ing him into the flames, and for some time afterwards 
people affected to speak of him as dead.* Again, in the 
Hallowe'en bonfires of north - eastern Scotland we may 
perhaps detect a similar pretence in the custom observed by 
a lad of lying down as close to the fire as possible and 
allowing the other lads to leap over him.^ The titular king 
at Aix, who reigned for a year and danced the first dance 
round the midsummer bonfire,"' may perhaps in days of old 
have discharged the less agreeable duty of ser\'ing as fuel 
for that fire which in later times he only kindled. In the 
following customs Mannhardt is probably right in recognizing 
traces of an old custom of burning a leaf-clad representative 
of the spirit of vegetation. At Wolfeck, in Austria, on ^lid- 
summer Day, a boy completely clad in green fir branches 
goes from house to house, accompanied by a noisy crew, 
collecting wood for the bonfire. As he gets the wood he 
sings — 

1 The Dying God, pp. 205 sqq.', ^ Above, vol. i. p. 186. 

Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild, i. * Above, vol. i. p. 148. 

216 sqq. s Above, vol. i. p. 233. 

- Above, vol. i. p. 120. ' Above, vol. i. p. 194. 


In pagan 
Europe the 
water as 
well as the 
fire seems 
to have 
its human 
victim on 

♦' Forest trees I want, 
No sour milk for me, 
But beer and wine. 
So can the wood-man be jolly and gay P^ 

In some parts of Bavaria, also, the boys who go from house 
to house collecting fuel for the midsummer bonfire envelop 
one of their number from head to foot in green branches of 
firs, and lead him by a rope through the whole village.^ At 
Moosheim, in Wurtemberg, the festival of St. John's Fire 
usually lasted for fourteen days, ending on the second 
Sunday after Midsummer Day. On this last day the bon- 
fire was left in charge of the children, while the older people 
retired to a wood. Here they encased a young fellow in 
leaves and twigs, who, thus disguised, went to the fire, 
scattered it, and trod it out. All the people present fled at 
the sight of him.^ 

In this connexion it is worth while to note that in pagan 
Europe the water as well as the fire seems to have claimed 
its human victim on Midsummer Day. Some German rivers, 
such as the Saale and the Spree, are believed still to require 
their victim on that day ; hence people are careful not to bathe 
at this perilous season. Where the beautiful Neckar flows, 
between vine-clad and wooded hills, under the majestic ruins 
of Heidelberg castle, the spirit of the river seeks to drown 
three persons, one on Midsummer Eve, one on Midsummer 
Day, and one on the day after. On these nights, if you hear 
a shriek as of a drowning man or woman from the water, 
beware of running to the rescue ; for it is only the water- 
fairy shrieking to lure you to your doom. Many a fisherman 
of the Elbe knows better than to launch his boat and trust 
himself to the treacherous river on Midsummer Day. And 
Samland fishermen will not go to sea at this season, because 
they are aware that the sea is then hollow and demands 
a victim. In the neighbourhood of the Lake of Constance 

* W, Mannhardt, BaumkuUus, p. 


2 Bavaria, Landes- tind Volkskunde 
des Konigreichs Bay em (Munich, 1860- 
1867), iii. 956; W. Mannhardt, 
Baiimkttltiis, p. 524. In the neigh- 
bourhood of Breitenbrunn the lad who 

collects fuel at this season has his face 
blackened and is called " the Charcoal 
Man" (Bavaria, etc., ii. 261). 

3 A. Birlinger, Volksthiimliches ans 
Schwaben (I'^reiburg im Breisgau, 1861- 
1862), ii. 121 sq., § 146; W. Mann- 
hardt, Baumkultus, pp. 524 sq. 


the Swabian peasants say that on St, John's Day the Angel 
or St. John must have a swimmer and a climber ; hence no 
one will climb a tree or bathe even in a brook on that day.^ 
According to others, St. John will have three dead men on 
his day ; one of them must die by water, one by a fall, and 
one by lightning ; therefore old-fashioned people warn their 
children not to climb or bathe, and are very careful them- 
selves not to run into any kind of danger on Midsummer 
Day." So in some parts of Switzerland people are warned 
against bathing on St. John's Night, because the saint's day 
demands its victims. Thus in the Emmenthal they say, 
" This day will have three persons ; one must perish in the 
air, one in the fire, and the third in the water." At Schaff- 
hausen the saying runs, " St. John the Baptist must have a 
runner, must have a swimmer, must have a climber." That 
is the reason why you should not climb cherry-trees on the 
saint's day, lest you should fall down and break your valuable 
neck.^ In Cologne the saint is more exacting ; on his day 
he requires no less than fourteen dead men ; seven of them 
must be swimmers and seven climbers.* Accordingly when custom of 
we find that, in one of the districts where a belief of this *^''o*'°f ^ 

'^ man and a 

sort prevails, it used to be customary to throw a person into tree into 
the water on Midsummer Day, we can hardly help conclud- on^^*^'^*^ 
ing that this was only a modification of an older custom of JohnsDay. 
actually drowning a human being in the river at that time. 
In Voigtland it was formerly the practice to set up a fine 
May tree, adorned with all kinds of things, on St. John's 
Day. The people danced round it, and when the lads had 
fetched down the things with which it was tricked out, 
the tree was thrown into the water. But before this was 

^ E. Meier, Deutsche Sagen, Sitten preussens l^tiXva, 1837), pp. 277 sq.', 

ttud Gebrduche aus Schwaben (Stutt- K. Haupt, Sagenbuch der Lausitz 

gart, 1852), pp. 428 sq., §§ 120, 122 ; (Leipsic, 1862-1863), i. 48 ; R. Eisel, 

O. Freiherr von Reinsberg-Duringsfeld, Sagenbuch des I 'ot'^/Zaftdes (Gera, 1S71), 

Das festliche Jahr (Leipsic, 1863), p. p. 31, Nr. 62. 

194; J. A. E. Kohler, Volksbrauch, 2 Montanus, Die deutschen Volks- 

Aberglauben, Sagen und andre alte feste, Volksbrdtuhe und deutscher Volks- 

Leberheferungen tm Voigtlande (Leip- ^i^ube (Iserlohn, N.D.), p. 34. 

sic. 1867), p. 176; J. V. Grohmann, 3 ^ „«•',!, , 

Aberglaubenund Gebrduche aus Bohmen ^- Hoffmann-Krayer, Feste und 

und Mdhren (Prague and Leipsic, ^rauche des Schwetzervolkes (Zurich, 

1864), p. 49, § 311 ; W. J. A. Tettau '9I3). P- 163. 

und J. D. H. Tenime, Die Volkssagen * E. H. Meyer, Badisches Volksleben 

Ost-preussens, Litthauens und West- (Strasburg, 1900), p. 507. 


Loaves and 
into the 
water on 
St. John's 
Day, per- 
haps as 
for human 

done, they sought out somebody whom they treated in the 
same manner, and the victim of this horseplay was called 
" the John." The brawls and disorders, which such a custom 
naturally provoked, led to the suppression of the whole 

At Rotenburg on the Neckar they throw a loaf of 
bread into the water on St. John's Day ; were this offering 
not made, the river would grow angry and take away a man." 
Clearly, therefore, the loaf is regarded as a substitute which 
the spirit of the river consents to accept instead of a human 
victim. Elsewhere the water-sprite is content with flowers. 
Thus in Bohemia people sometimes cast garlands into water 
on Midsummer Eve ; and if the water-sprite pulls one of 
them down, it is a sign that the person who threw the 
garland in will die.^ In the villages of Hesse the girl who 
first comes to the well early on the morning of Midsummer 
Day, places on the mouth of the well a gay garland com- 
posed of many sorts of flowers which she has culled from 
the fields and meadows. Sometimes a number of such 
garlands are twined together to form a crown, with which 
the well is decked. At Fulda, in addition to the flowery 
decoration of the wells, the neighbours choose a Lord of 
the Wells and announce his election by sending him a great 
nosegay of flowers ; his house, too, is decorated with green 
boughs, and children walk in procession to it. He goes 
from house to house collecting materials for a feast, of 
which the neighbours partake on the following Sunday.* 
What the other duties of the Lord of the Wells may be, we 
are not told. We may conjecture that in old days he had 
to see to it that the spirits of the water received their dues 
from men and maidens on that important day. 

1 J. A. E. Kcihler, loc. at. Tacitus 
tells us that the image of the goddess 
Nerthus, her vestments, and chariot 
were washed in a certain lake, and 
that immediately afterwards the slaves 
who ministered to the goddess were 
swallowed by the lake {Germajiia, 40). 
The statement may perhaps be under- 
stood to mean that the slaves were 
drowned as a sacrifice to the deity. 
Certainly we know from Tacitus 
(Germania, 9 and 39) that the ancient 

Germans offered human sacrifices. 

2 E. Meier, Deutsche Sagen, Sitteii 
utid Gebrduche aus Schwaben (Stutt- 
gart, 1852), p. 429, § 121. 

^ O. Frh. von Reinsberg-Diirings- 
{^(^^ Fest- Kalender aus B'6hmen{^xz.^\XQ, 
N.D.), p. 311. 

* Karl Lynker, Deutsche Sagen und 
Sitten in hessischen Gauen ^ (Cassel 
and Gottingen, i860), pp. 253, 254, 
§§ 335. 336. 


The belief that the spirits of the water exact a human Mid- 
life on Midsummer Day may partly explain why that ^™™^'^ 
dav is regarded by some people as unlucky. At Neu- deemed 

. ^ , 1 , -Kit-l T\ unlucky 

burg, m Baden, people who meet on Midsummer Day ^^^ 
bid each other beware.^ Sicilian mothers on that ominous dangerous, 
day warn their little sons not to go out of the house, 
or, if they do go out, not to stray far, not to walk on 
solitary unfrequented paths, to avoid horses and carriages 
and persons with firearms, and not to dare to swim ; in 
short they bid them be on their guard at every turn. The 
Sicilian writer w^ho tells us this adds : " This I know and 
sadly remember ever since the year 1848, when, not yet 
seven years old, I beheld in the dusk of the evening on St. 
John's Day some women of my acquaintance bringing back 
in their arms my little brother, who had gone to play in a 
garden near our house, and there had found his death, my 
poor Francesco ! In their simplicity the women who strove 
to console my inconsolable mother, driven distracted by the 
dreadful blow, kept repeating that St, John must have his 
due, that on that day he must be appeased. ' Who knows,' 
said they, ' how many other mothers are weeping now for 
other little sons forlorn ! '" ^ 

Yet curiously enough, though the water-spirits call for in Europe 
human victims on Midsummer Eve or Midsummer Day, ^^fo 
water in general is supposed at that season to acquire bathe on 
certain wonderful medicinal virtues, so that he who bathes summer 
in it then or drinks of it is not only healed of all his in- Eve or 
firmities but will be well and hearty throughout the year, summer 
Hence in many parts of Europe, from Sweden in the north P^^- 

■' ^ '^ . . because 

to Sicily in the south, and from Ireland and Spam m the water was 
west to Esthonia in the east it used to be customary for thought to 

"^ acquire 

men, women, and children to bathe in crowds in rivers, the wonderful 
sea, or springs on Midsummer Eve or Midsummer Day, ^^^^f^ 
hoping thus to fortify themselves for the next twelve months, that time. 
The usual time for taking the bath was the night which 
intervenes between Midsummer Eve and Midsummer Day;' 

1 E. H. Meyer, Badisches Volksleben ' J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie,^ 
fStrasburg, 19CX)), p. 506. i. 489 sq., iii. 487 ; A. Wuttke, Der 

2 Giuseppe Pitre, Spettacoli e Feste detttsche Volksaberglaubi- (Berlin, 
Popolari Sidliane (Palermo, 1881), p. 1869), p. 77 § 92 ; O. Freiherr von 
313. Reinsberg - Diiringsfeld, Das festliche 


but in Belgium the hour was noon on Midsummer Day. 
It was a curious sight, we are told, to see the banks of 
a river lined with naked children waiting for the first 
stroke of noon to plunge into the healing water. The dip 
was supposed to have a remarkable effect in strengthening 
the legs. People who were ashamed to bathe in public 
used to have cans of water brought to their houses from the 
river at midday, and then performed their ablutions in the 
privacy of their chambers. Nor did they throw away the 
precious fluid ; on the contrary they bottled it up and kept 
it as a sort of elixir for use throughout the year. It was 
thought never to grow foul and to be as blessed as holy water 
fetched from a church, which we may well believe. Hence 
it served to guard the house against a thunder-storm ; when 
the clouds were heavy and threatening, all you had to do 
was to take the palm branches (that is, the twigs of box- 
wood) which were blessed on Palm Sunday, dip them in 
the midsummer water, and burn them. That averted the 
tempest.^ In the Swiss canton of Lucerne a bath on Mid- 
summer Eve is thought to be especially wholesome, though 
in other parts of Switzerland, as we saw, bathing at that 
season is accounted dangerous.^ 
Similar Nor are such customs and beliefs confined to the 

and°beHefs Christian peoples of Europe ; they are shared also by the 
as to water Mohammedan peoples of Morocco. There, too, on Mid- 
summer in summer Day all water is thought to be endowed with such 
Morocco, marvellous virtue that it not only heals but prevents sick- 
ness for the rest of the year ; hence men, women, and 
children bathe in the sea, in rivers, or in their houses at 

Jahr (Leipsic, 1863), p. 193 ; F. J. British Popular Customs (London, 

Vonbun, Beitrdge ziw deutschen Mytho- 1876), pp. 322 sq., 329 sq. For more 

logie (Chur, 1862), p. 133 ; P. Drechs- evidence, see above, vol. i. pp. 193, 194, 

ler, Sitte, Brauch iind Volksglaube in 205 sq., 208, 210, 216; Adonis, Attis, 

Schlesien (Leipsic, 1903-1906), i. 143 Osiris, Second Edition, pp. 204 sqq. 
§ 161 ; Karl Haupt, Sagenhtich der ^ Le Baron de Reinsberg-Durings- 

Lausitz (Leipsic, 1862- 1863), i. 248, feld, Calendrier Beige (Brussels, 1861- 

No. 303; F. J. Wiedemann, Aus dem 1862), i. 420 sq. ; E. Monseur, Le 

inneren imd dusseren Leben der Ehsten Folklore Wallon (Brussels, N.D. ), p. 

(St. Petersburg, 1876), p. 415; L. 130; P. Sebillot, Le Folk-lore de 

lAoyA, Feasattt Life in SwedenCLoxidon, France, ii. 374 sq. 
1870), pp. 261 sq. ; Paul Sebillot, Le 2 £_ Hoffmann-Krayer, Feste und 

Folk-lore de France (V3.xh, l^Q/^-I^o^), Brduche des Schweizervolkes (Zurich, 

ii. 160 sq. ; T. F. Thiselton Dyer, 1913), p- 163. See above, p. 27. 


that time for the sake of their health. In Fez and other places 
on this day people pour or squirt water over each other in the 
-treets or from the house-tops, so that the streets become 
almost as muddy as after a fall of rain. More than that, in 
the Andjra they bathe their animals also ; horses, mules, 
donkeys, cattle, sheep, and goats, all must participate in the 
miraculous benefits of midsummer water.^ The rite forms 
part of that old heathen celebration of Midsummer which 
appears to have been common to the peoples on both sides 
of the Mediterranean ; ^ and as the aim of bathing in the 
midsummer water is undoubtedly purification, it is reasonable 
to assign the same motive for the custom of leaping over 
the midsummer bonfire. On the other hand some people in 
Morocco, like some people in Europe, think that water on 
Midsummer Day is unclean or dangerous. A Berber told 
Dr. Westermarck that water is haunted on Midsummer 
Day, and that people therefore avoid bathing in it and keep 
animals from drinking of it. And among the Beni Ahsen 
persons who swim in the river on that day are careful, before 
plunging into the water, to throw burning straw into it as an 
offering, in order that the spirits may not harm them.^ The 
parallelism between the rites of water and fire at this season 
is certainly in favour of interpreting both in the same way ; * 
and the traces of human sacrifice which we have detected in 
the rite of water may therefore be allowed to strengthen the 
inference of a similar sacrifice in the rite of fire. 

But it seems possible to go farther than this. Of human Human 
sacrifices offered on these occasions the most unequivocal ^.'^gr^ 
traces, as we have seen, are those which, about a hundred among the 
years ago, still lingered at the Beltane fires in the High- cauis. 
lands of Scotland, that is, among a Celtic people who, 
situated in a remote corner of Europe and almost com- 

* E. Westermarck, " Midsummer - See above, vol. i. pp. 213-219. 

Customs in Morocco," Folk-lore, xvi. ' E. Westermarck, Ceremonies and 

(1905) pp. 31 j^. ; id.. Ceremonies and Belies connected with Agriculture, 

Beliefs connected with Agriculture, certain Dates of the Solar Year, and 

certain Dates of the Solar Year, and the Weather in Morocco (Helsingfors, 

the Weather in Morocco (Helsingfors, 19 13). PP- 94 J?- 

1913), pp. 84-86 ; E. Doutt^, Magie * This has been rightly pointed oat 

et Religion dans P Afrique du Nord by Dr. Edward Westermarck {" Mid- 

(Algiers, 1908), pp. 567 sq. See also summer Customs in Morocco," Folk- 

above, vol. i. p. 216. lore, xvL (1905) p. 46). 


pletely isolated from foreign influence, had till then 
conserved their old heathenism better perhaps than any 
other people in the West of Europe. It is significant, there- 
fore, that human sacrifices by fire are known, on unquestion- 
able evidence, to have been systematically practised by the 
Celts. The earliest description of these sacrifices has been 
bequeathed to us by Julius Caesar. As conqueror of the 
hitherto independent Celts of Gaul, Caesar had ample 
opportunity of observing the national Celtic religion and 
manners, while these were still fresh and crisp from the 
native mint and had not yet been fused in the melting-pot 
of Roman civilization. With his own notes Caesar appears 
to have incorporated the observations of a Greek explorer, by 
name Posidonius, who travelled in Gaul about fifty years 
before Caesar carried the Roman arms to the English 
Channel. The Greek geographer Strabo and the historian 
Diodorus seem also to have derived their descriptions of 
the Celtic sacrifices from the work of Posidonius, but in- 
dependently of each other, and of Caesar, for each of the 
three derivative accounts contain some details which are not 
to be found in either of the others. By combining them, 
therefore, we can restore the original account of Posidonius 
with some probability, and thus obtain a picture of the 
sacrifices offered by the Celts of Gaul at the close of the 
second century before our era.^ The following seem to have 
been the main outlines of the custom. Condemned criminals 
were reserved by the Celts in order to be sacrificed to the gods 
at a great festival which took place once in every five years. 
The more there were of such victims, the greater was believed 
to be the fertility of the land.^ If there were not enough 
criminals to furnish victims, captives taken in war were 
immolated to supply the deficiency. When the time came the 
Men and victims wcrc Sacrificed by the Druids or priests. Some they 
enck)sed ^^°^ down with arrows, some they impaled, and some they 
in great burncd alivc in the following manner. Colossal images of 

• Caesar, i?^//. Gall. vi. 15; Strabo, 0oi't/cas 5kay /uLdXicrra Toirroi^ [i.e. the 
iv. 4. 5, p. 198 ; Diodorus Siculus, v. Druids] eireT^TpairTo SiKa^eiv, dray re 
32. See W. Mannhardt, Baumkultus., <f>opa. rovTixiv 5, <popa.v Kai ttjs xwpas i>o/xi- 
pp. 525 sg^. i^ovffiv vrrapxeif- On this passage see 

W. Mannliardt, Baumkultus^ pp. 529 

* Strabo, iv. 4. 4, p. 197 : ra.% Zk sqq.; and below, pp. 42 sq. 


wicker-work or of wood and grass were constructed ; these wicker- 
were filled with live men, cattle, and animals of other kinds ; T?!^^ 

' ' ' images 

fire was then applied to the images, and they were burned and burnt 
with their living contents. 

Such were the great festivals held once ever>' five years. As the 
But besides these quinquennial festivals, celebrated on so oTthe^and 
grand a scale, and with, apparently, so large an expenditure was sup- 
of human life, it seems reasonable to suppose that festivals d^pend°on 
of the same sort, only on a lesser scale, were held annually, ^^ese 
and that from these annual festivals are lineally descended Mannhar'dt 
some at least of the fire-festivals which, with their traces of ii^terpreted 
human sacrifices, are still celebrated year by year in many as repre- 
parts of Europe. The gigantic images constructed of osiers sentatives 
or covered with grass in which the Druids enclosed their spirits or 
victims remind us of the leafy framework in which the human ^P'"^ ^^ 

J v^etation. 

representative of the tree-spirit is still so often encased.^ 
Hence, seeing that the fertility of the land was apparently 
supposed to depend upon the due performance of these 
sacrifices, Mannhardt interpreted the Celtic victims, cased in 
osiers and grass, as representatives of the tree -spirit or 
spirit of vegetation. 

These wicker giants of the Druids seem to have had Wicker- 
till lately their representatives at the spring and mid- ^antsat 
summer festivals of modern Europe. At Douay, down popular 
to the early part of the nineteenth century, a procession \^ modem 
took place annually on the Sunday nearest to the seventh Europe, 
of July. The great feature of the procession was a Th^^* 
colossal figure, some twenty or thirty feet high, made of on July the 
osiers, and called " the giant," which was moved through ^^'^^• 
the streets by means of rollers and ropes worked by 
men who were enclosed within the eflRgy. The wooden 
head of the giant is said to have been car\ed and 
painted by Rubens. The figure was armed as a knight 
with lance and sword, helmet and shield. Behind him 
marched his wife and his three children, all constructed of 
~-iers on the same principle, but on a smaller scale.^ At 

• The Magic Art and the Evolution ment du Kord- (Cambrai, 1836), pp. 
if Kings, ii. %o sqq. 1 93-200;'SoTe,Coutumes, Mj-thes 

* Madame Clement, Histoire des rt Traditions des Provinces de Fratue, 
fhes civiles et religieuses du diparte- (Paris and Lyons, 1846), pp. 323 sq. ; 



The giants Dunkirk the procession of the giants took place on Mid- 
oli Mid'^'''' summer Day, the twenty-fourth of June. The festival, 
summer which was known as the Follies of Dunkirk, attracted such 
'^^" multitudes of spectators, that the inns and private houses 

could not lodge them all, and many had to sleep in cellars 
or in the streets. In 1755 an eye-witness estimated that 
the number of onlookers was not less than forty thousand, 
without counting the inhabitants of the town. The streets 
through which the procession took its way were lined with 
double ranks of soldiers, and the houses crammed with 
spectators from top to bottom. High mass was celebrated in 
the principal church and then the procession got under weigh. 
First came the guilds or brotherhoods, the members walking 
two and two with great waxen tapers, lighted, in their hands. 
They were followed by the friars and the secular priests, and 
then came the Abbot, magnificently attired, with the Host 
borne before him by a venerable old man. When these 
were past, the real " Follies of Dunkirk " began. They con- 
sisted of pageants of various sorts wheeled through the streets 
in cars. These appear to have varied somewhat from year 
to year ; but if we may judge from the processions of 1755 
and 1757, both of which have been described by eye-witnesses, 
a standing show was a car decked with foliage and branches 
to imitate a wood, and carrying a number of men dressed in 
leaves or in green scaly skins, who squirted water on the 
people from pewter syringes. An English spectator has 
compared these maskers to the Green Men of our own country 
on May Day. Last of all came the giant and giantess. 
The giant was a huge figure of wicker-work, occasionally as 
much as forty-five feet high, dressed in a long blue robe with 
gold stripes, which reached to his feet, concealing the dozen 
or more men who made it dance and bob its head to the 
spectators. This colossal effigy went by the name of Papa 

F. W. Fairholt, Gog and Magog, the century. In the eighteenth centurj' the 

Giants in Guildhall, their real atid procession took place on the third 

legendary History (London, 1859), pp. Sunday in June, which must always 

78-87 ; W. Mannhardt, Baiiinkulttis, have been within about a week of 

p. 523, note. It is said that the giantess Midsummer Day (H. Gaidoz, " Le dieu 

made her first appearance in 1665, and gaulois du soleil et le symbolisme de 

that the children were not added to the la roue," Revue Arch^ologique, iii. 

show till the end of the seventeenth sdrie iv. 32 j^.). 


Reuss, and carried in its pocket a bouncing infant of Brob- 
dingnagian proportions, who kept bawling " Papa ! papa ! " 
in a voice of thunder, only pausing from time to time to 
devour the victuals which were handed out to him from the 
windows. The rear was brought up by the daughter of the 
giant, constructed, Uke her sire, of wicker-work, and little, if 
at all, inferior to him in size. She wore a rose-coloured robe, 
w ith a gold watch as large as a warming pan at her side : 
her breast glittered with jewels : her complexion was high, 
and her eyes and head turned with as easy a grace as the 
men inside could contrive to impart to their motions. The 
procession came to an end with the revolution of 1789, and 
has never been revived. The giant himself indeed, who had 
won the affections of the townspeople, survived his ancient 
glory for a little while and made shift to appear in public a 
few times more at the Carnival and other festal occasions ; 
but his days were numbered, and within fifty years even his 
memory had seemingly perished.^ 

Most towns and even villages of Brabant and Flanders Wicker- 
have, or used to have, similar wicker giants which were ^"^j^ j^, 
annually led about to the delight of the populace, who Br.-ibant 
loved these grotesque figures, spoke of them with patriotic pianders 
enthusiasm, and never wearied of gazing at them. The 
name by which the giants went was Reuzes, and a special 
song called the Reuze song was sung in the Flemish dialect 
while they were making their triumphal progress through 
the streets. The most celebrated of these monstrous effigies 
were those of Antwerp and Wetteren. At Ypres a whole 
family of giants contributed to the public hilarity at the 
Carnival. At Cassel and Hazebrouch, in the French de- 
partment of Nord, the giants made their annual appearance 
on Shrove Tuesday.^ At Antwerp the giant was so big 

1 The Gentleman^ s Magazine, xxix. note ^ ; John Brand, Popular Anti- 

(1759), pp. 263-265 ; Madame Clement, quities of Great Britain (London, 1882- 

Histoire des fetes civiles et religieiises 1883), i. 325 sq.; James Logan, The 

dti dipa)-tement dii A'<?r(/,"^pp. 169- 1 75; Scottish Gael or Celtic Manners, edited 

A. de Nore, Coutumes, Mythes et Tradi- by Rev. Alex. Stewart (Inverness, N.D. ), 

tions des Provinces de France, pp. 328- ii. 358. According to the writer in The 

332. Compare John Milner, The Gentleman! s Magazine the name of the 

History, Civil and Ecclesiastical, and procession was the Cor-mass. 

Survey of the Antiquities of Win- ^ Madame Clement, Histoire des 

Chester (Winchester, N. D. ), i. 8 sq. files civiles et religieiises, &\.c.,de la Bel- 


giants ill 

that no gate in the city was large enough to let him 
go through ; hence he could not visit his brother giants 
in neighbouring towns, as the other Belgian giants used 
to do on solemn occasions. He was designed in 1534 
by Peter van Aelst, painter to the Emperor Charles the 
Fifth, and is still preserved with other colossal figures 
in a large hall at Antwerp.^ At Ath, in the Belgian 
province of Hainaut, the popular procession of the giants 
took place annually in August down to the year 1869 at 
least. For three days the colossal effigies of Goliath and 
his wife, of Samson and an Archer {Tirant), together with 
a two-headed eagle, were led about the streets on the 
shoulders of twenty bearers concealed under the flowing 
drapery of the giants, to the great delight of the towns- 
people and a crowd of strangers who assembled to witness 
the pageant. The custom can be traced back by docu- 
mentary evidence to the middle of the fifteenth century ; 
but it appears that the practice of giving Goliath a wife 
dates only from the year 171 5. Their nuptials were solem- 
nized every year on the eve of the festival in the church of 
St. Julien, whither the two huge figures were escorted by the 
magistrates in procession.^ 

In England artificial giants seem to have been a 
standing feature of the midsummer festival. A writer of 
the sixteenth century speaks of " Midsommer pageants in 
London, where to make the people wonder, are set forth 
great and uglie gyants marching as if they were alive, and 
armed at all points, but within they are stuffed full of 
browne paper and tow, which the shrewd boyes, underpeering, 

gique mdridionale,&\.c. (Avesnes, 1846), 
p. 252 ; Le Baron de Reinsberg- 
Duringsfeld, Calendrier Beige (RtnsseXs, 
1861-1862), i. 123-126. W^e may 
conjecture that the Flemish Reuze, like 
the Reuss of Dunkirk, is only another 
form of the German Riese, ' ' giant. " 

1 F. W. Fairholt, Gog and Magog, 
the Giants in Guildhall, their real and 
legendary History (London, 1859), pp. 
64-78. For the loan of this work and 
of the one cited in the next note I have 
to thank Mrs. Wherry, of St. Peter's 
Terrace, Cambridge, 

2 E. Fourdin, "La foire d'Ath," 
Annales du Cercle Arch^ologique de 
Mons, ix. (Mons, 1869) pp. 7, 8, 12, 
36 sq. The history of the festival has 
been carefully investigated, with the 
help of documents by M. Fourdin. 
According to him, the procession was 
religious in its origin and took its rise 
from a pestilence which desolated 
Hainaut in 121 5 {op. cit. pp. i sqq.). 
He thinks that the effigies of giants 
were not introduced into the proces- 
sion till between 1450 and 1460 {op. 
cit. p. 8). 


do guilefully discover, and turne to a greate derision."* 
At Chester the annual pageant on Midsummer Eve included 
the effigies of four giants, with animals, hobby-horses, and 
other figures. An officious mayor of the town suppressed 
the giants in i 599, but they were restored by another mayor 
in 1 60 1. Under the Commonwealth the pageant was dis- 
continued, and the giants and beasts were destroyed ; but 
after the restoration of Charles II. the old ceremony was 
revived on the old date, new effigies being constructed to 
replace those which had fallen victims to Roundhead bigotry. 
The accounts preserve a record not only of the hoops, buck- 
ram, tinfoil, gold and silver leaf, paint, glue, and paste which 
went to make up these gorgeous figures ; they also mention 
the arsenic which was mixed with the paste in order to pre- 
serve the poor giants from being eaten alive by the rats.* 
At Coventry the accounts of the Cappers' and Drapers' 
Companies in the sixteenth century shed light on the giants 

hich there also were carried about the town at Midsummer ; 
irom some of the entries it appears that the giant's wife 
figured beside the gianL^ At Burford, in Oxfordshire, Mid- 

immer Eve used to be celebrated with great jollity by the 
carr>'ing of a giant and a dragon up and down the town. 
The last survivor of these perambulating English giants 
dragged out a miserable existence at Salisbury, where an 
antiquary found him mouldering to decay in the neglected 
hall of the Tailors' Company about the year 1844. His 
bodily framework was of lath and hoop like the one which 
used to be worn by Jack-in-the-Green on May Day. The 
draper}^ which concealed the bearer, was of coloured chintz, 
bordered with red and purple, and trimmed with yellow 
fringe. His head was modelled in paste-board and adorned 
with a gold-laced cocked hat : his flowing locks were of 
tow ; and in his big right hand he brandished a branch of 

• George Puttenham, Tht Arte of (London, 1859). 

'iglish Poesie (IjondoTi, 181 1, reprint 'Joseph Stnitt, The Sports and 

the original edition of London, Pastimes of the People of England^ 

;S9), book iii. chapter vi. p. 128. New Edition, by W. Hone (London, 

a the history of the English giants 1834), pp. xliii.-xlv. ; F. W. Fairholt, 

d their relation to those of the Gog and Magog, the Giants in Guild- 

ntinent, see F. W. Fairholt, Gog A<i// (London, 1859), pp. 52-59. 
•/ Magog, the Giants in Guildhall, ' F. W. Fairholt, op. cit. pp. 59- 

::ir real and legendary History 61. 


work giants 
burnt at or 
near Mid- 

burnt in 
the Mid- 

artificial laurel. In the days of his glory he promenaded 
about the streets, dancing clumsily and attended by two 
men grotesquely attired, who kept a watchful eye on his 
movements and checked by the wooden sword and club 
which they carried any incipient tendency to lose his balance 
and topple over in an undignified manner, which would have 
exposed to the derision of the populace the mystery of his 
inner man. The learned called him St. Christopher, the 
vulgar simply the giant.'^ 

In these cases the giants only figure in the proces- 
sions. But sometimes they were burned in the summer 
bonfires. Thus the people of the Rue aux Ours in Paris 
used annually to make a great wicker-work figure, dressed 
as a soldier, which they promenaded up and down the 
streets for several days, and solemnly burned on the third 
of July, the crowd of spectators singing Salve Regina. 
A personage who bore the title of king presided over the 
ceremony with a lighted torch in his hand. The burning 
fragments of the image were scattered among the people, 
who eagerly scrambled for them. The custom was abolished 
in 1743.^ In Brie, Isle de France, a wicker-work giant, 
eighteen feet high, was annually burned on Midsummer 

Again, the Druidical custom of burning live animals, 
enclosed in wicker-work, has its counterpart at the spring and 
midsummer festivals. At Luchon in the Pyrenees on Mid- 
summer Eve " a hollow column, composed of strong wicker- 
work, is raised to the height of about sixty feet in the centre 
of the principal suburb, and interlaced with green foliage up 
to the very top ; while the most beautiful flowers and shrubs 
procurable are artistically arranged in groups below, so as to 
form a sort of background to the scene. The column is 
then filled with combustible materials, ready for ignition. 
At an appointed hour — about 8 P.M. — a grand procession, 
composed of the clergy, followed by young men and maidens 
in holiday attire, pour forth from the town chanting hymns, 

1 F. W. Fairholt, op. cit. pp. 6i- 

2 Felix Liebrecht, Des Gervastus von 
Tilbury Otia Iniperialia (Hanover, 
1 856), pp. 2\2sq.;K. de Nore, Coutttnies, 

Mythes, et Traditions des Provinces de 
France, pp. 354 sq. ; W. Mannhardt, 
Baumkultus, p. 514. 

^ W, Mannhardt, Baumkultus, pp. 
514, 523- 


and take up their position around the column. Meanwhile, 
ix)nfires are lit, with beautiful effect, in the surrounding hills. 
As many living serpents as could be collected are now thrown Serpents 
into the column, which is set on fire at the base by means jf^fj-^' 

' ^ burnt m 

of torches, armed with which about fifty boys and men the Mid- 
dance around with frantic gestures. The serpents, to avoid ^™^ 
the flames, wriggle their way to the top, whence they are Luchon. 
seen lashing out laterally until finally obliged to drop, their 
struggles for life giving rise to enthusiastic delight among 
the surrounding spectators. This is a favourite annual cere- 
mony for the inhabitants of Luchon and its neighbourhood, 
and local tradition assigns it to a heathen origin." ^ In the Cats 
midsummer fires formerly kindled on the Place de Greve at f°™*«';'y 

•' burnt m 

Paris it was the custom to burn a basket, barrel, or sack full the Mid- 
of live cats, which was hung from a tall mast in the midst of ^™r^^^d 
the bonfire ; sometimes a fox was burned. The people Lemen 
collected the embers and ashes of the fire and took them ^°^^ 
home, believing that they brought good luck. The French 
kings often witnessed these spectacles and even lit the bon- 
fire with their own hands. In 1648 Louis the Fourteenth, 
crowned with a wreath of roses and carrj'ing a bunch of 
roses in his hand, kindled the fire, danced at it and partook 
of the banquet afterwards in the town hall. But this was 
the last occasion when a monarch presided at the midsummer 
bonfire in Paris." At Metz midsummer fires were lighted 
with great pomp on the esplanade, and a dozen cats, en- 
closed in wicker-cages, were burned alive in them, to the 
amusement of the people.' Similarly at Gap, in the depart- 

^ Athenaeum, 24th July 1869, p. 40 ; A. de Nore, Coututms, Mythes 

115; W. Mannhardt, Baumkitlius, et Traditions des Provimes di France, 

pp. 515 sq. From a later account we pp. 355 J?- ; J. W. Wolf, Beitrdge zur 

learn that about the year 1890 the d^utschcn Mythologie (Gottingen and 

custom of lighting a bonfire and dancing Leipsic, 1852-1857), iL 388; E. 

round it was still observed at Bagneres Cortet, Essai sur les Files Religieuses 

de Luchon on Midsummer Eve, but the (Paris, 1867), pp. 213 sq.; Laisnel de 

practice of burning live serpents in it la Salle, Croyances et Ugendts du 

had been discontinued. The fire was Centre de la France (Paris, 1875), i. 

kindled by a priest. Sex Folk-lore, -s-n. 82; W. Mannhardt, .&atfmjh«//»j, p. 

(I90i)pp. 315-317- 515- 

2 A. Breuil, "Du culte de St .-Jean ^ Tessier, in Memoires et Disserta- 

Baptiste," Mimoires de la SociM des lions publics par la Sociili Royale des 

Antiquaires de Picardie, viii. (1845) Antiquaires de France, v. (1823) p. 

pp. 187 sq.', Collin de Plancy, Diction- 388 ; W. Mannhardt, Baumkullus, 

naire Infernal {^2lX\%, 1S25-1826), iii. p. 515. 


ment of the High Alps, cats used to be roasted over the 
midsummer bonfire.^ In Russia a white cock was some- 
times burned in the midsummer bonfire ;^ in Meissen or 
Thuringia a horse's head used to be thrown into it.^ Some- 
times animals are burned in the spring bonfires. In the 
Vosges cats were burned on Shrove Tuesday ; in Alsace 
they were thrown into the Easter bonfire.* In the depart- 
ment of the Ardennes cats were flung into the bonfires 
kindled on the first Sunday in Lent ; sometimes, by a 
refinement of cruelty, they were hung over the fire from 
the end of a pole and roasted alive. " The cat, which 
represented the devil, could never suffer enough." While 
the creatures were perishing in the flames, the shepherds 
guarded their flocks and forced them to kap over the fire, 
esteeming this an infallible means of preserving them from 
disease and witchcraft.^ We have seen that squirrels were 
sometimes burned in the Easter fire.^ 
Thus the Thus it appears that the sacrificial rites of the Celts of 

rUes oTthe ancient Gaul can be traced in the popular festivals of modern 
ancient Europe. Naturally it is in France, or rather in the wider 
their^ ^^^ ^^^^ Comprised within the limits of ancient Gaul, that these 
counter- rJtes havc left the clearest traces in the customs of burning 
fhe popular giants of wicker-work and animals enclosed in wicker-work 
festivals of or baskets. These customs, it will have been remarked, are 
Europe. generally observed at or about midsummer. From this we 
may infer that the original rites of which these are the de- 
generate successors were solemnized at midsummer. This 
inference harmonizes with the conclusion suggested by a 
general survey of European folk-custom, that the midsummer 
festival must on the whole have been the most widely diffused 
and the most solemn of all the yearly festivals celebrated by 
the primitive Aryans in Europe. At the same time we 
must bear in mind that among the British Celts the chief 
fire-festivals of the year appear certainly to have been those 

^ Alexandre Bertrand, La Religion glaube (Iserlohn, N.D.), p. 34. 

des Gaulois (Paris, 1897), p. 407. * W. Mannhardt, Bautnkultiis, p. 

2 J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie,* 515. 

i. 519; W. Mannhardt, Baumkultus, , ^ ^^^^^^^^ Traditions, Coutnmes, 

P" 5,5' IJs;endes, et Contes des Ardenttes 

** W. Mannhardt, BaiiDikiiltus, p. ,^', , .,, ,o„„» „ e^o 

' , , rr ,, (Charleville, logo), p. 00. 
515 ; Montanus, Dte deutschen Volks- 

/esten,VolksbrducheunddeutscherVolks- * Above, vol. i. p. 142. 


of Beltane (May Day) and Hallowe'en (the last day of 
October) ; and this suggests a doubt whether the Celts of 
Gaul also may not have celebrated their principal rites of 
fire, including their burnt sacrifices of men and animals, at 
the beginning of May or the beginning of November rather 
than at Midsummer. 

We have still to ask, What is the meaning of such The men 
sacrifices ? Why were men and animals burnt to death at ^^^ 
these festivals ? If we are right in interpreting the modern animals 
European fire-festivals as attempts to break the power of these 
witchcraft by burning or banning the witches and warlocks, festivals 
it seems to follow that we must explain the human sacrifices perhaps 
of the Celts in the same manner ; that is, we must suppose thought to 

_ ' , , *^^ be witches 

that the men whom the Druids burnt in wicker-work images or wizards 
were condemned to death on the ground that they were "^'^'^g^^ 
witches or wizards, and that the mode of execution by fire 
was chosen because, as we have seen, burning alive is 
deemed the surest mode of getting rid of these noxious 
and dangerous beings. The same explanation would apply 
to the cattle and wild animals of many kinds which the 
Celts burned alohg with the men.^ They, too, we may 
conjecture, were supposed to be either under the spell 
of witchcraft or actually to be the witches and wizards, 
who had transformed themselves into animals for the 
purpose of prosecuting their infernal plots against the welfare 
of their fellow creatures. This conjecture is confirmed by 
"le observation that the victims most commonly burned 
1 modern bonfires have been cats, and that cats are pre- 
isely the animals into which, with the possible exception 
f hares, witches were most usually supposed to transform 
themselves. Again, we have seen that serpents and foxes 
used sometimes to be burnt in the midsummer fires ; '" 
and Welsh and German witches are reported to have 
assumed the form both of foxes and serpents.^ In short, 

1 Strabo, iv. 4. 5, p. 198, kox dWa 3 ^Jarie Trevelyan, Folk - lore and 
Si aj>6(K>rro6vffiQn' fldri X^'/erat" kox Folk-stories of Wales (London, 1 909), 
■ydp icoTeT6f£i'6»' rwaj koX avearavpoiv ew pp. 214, 301 sg. ; Ulrich Jahn, Hexen- 
TOts iepoTs KoX KaToffKevdaame^ KoKoffffbv wesen uud Zauberei in Pommem 
Xoprov /cat ^vXwv, ^fjt^aXoirres (is toOtop (Breslau, 1886), p. 7 ; id., Volkssagen 
^ocKrinaTo. kolL Otjpia ravroia kcu ivOput- aus Pommem und Riigen (Stettin, 
To\n ^XoKOArrovv. 1886), p. 353, No. 446. 

2 Above, p. 39. 


when we remember the great variety of animals whose forms 
witches can assume at pleasure/ it seems easy on this hypo- 
thesis to account for the variety of living creatures that have 
been burnt at festivals both in ancient Gaul and modern 
Europe ; all these victims, we may surmise, were doomed to 
the flames, not because they were animals, but because they 
were believed to be witches who had taken the shape of 
animals for their nefarious purposes. One advantage of 
explaining the ancient Celtic sacrifices in this way is that it 
introduces, as it were, a harmony and consistency into the 
treatment which Europe has meted out to witches from 
the earliest times down to about two centuries ago, when 
the growing influence of rationalism discredited the belief 
in witchcraft and put a stop to the custom of burning 
witches. On this view the Christian Church in its dealings 
with the black art merely carried out the traditional policy 
of Druidism, and it might be a nice question to decide 
which of the two, in pursuance of that policy, exterminated 
the larger number of innocent men and women.^ Be that 
as it may, we can now perhaps understand why the Druids 
believed that the more persons they sentenced to death, the 
greater would be the fertility of the land.^ To a modern 
reader the connexion at first sight may not be obvious 
between the activity of the hangman and the productivity 
of the earth. But a little reflection may satisfy him that 
when the criminals who perish at the stake or on the 

1 See above, vol. i. p. 315 n^. within the compass of their own know- 

2 The treatment of magic and witch- ledge. It is certain there have been 
craft by the Christian Church is de- many executions on this account, as in 
scribed by W. E. H. Lecky, History the canton of Berne there were some 
of the Rise and Injluence of the Spirit put to death during my stay at Geneva. 
of Rationalism in Europe, New Edition The people are so universally infatu- 
( London, 1882), i. i sqq. Four hun- ated with the notion, that if a cow 
dred witches were burned at one time falls sick, it is ten to one but an old 
in the great square of Toulouse (W. E. woman is clapt up in prison for it, and 
H. Lecky, op. cit. ii. 38). Writing at if the poor creature chance to think 
the beginning of the eighteenth century herself a witch, the whole country is 
Addison observes: "Before I leave for hanging her up without mercy." 
Switzerland I cannot but observe, that See The Works of Joseph Addison, 
the notion of witchcraft reigns very with notes by R. Hurd, D.D. (London, 
much in this country. I have often iSii), vol. ii., "Remarks on several 
been tired with accounts of this nature Parts of Italy," p. 196. 

from very sensible men, who are most ^ Strabo, iv. 4. 4, p. 197. See 

of them furnished with matters of fact the passage quoted above, p. 32, 
which have happened, as they pretend, note ". 


gallows are witches, whose delight it is to blight the crops 
of the farmer or to lay them low under storms of hail, the 
execution of these wretches is really calculated to ensure 
an abundant har\-est by removing one of the principal 
causes which paralyze the efforts and blast the hopes of the 

The Druidical sacrifices which we are considering were Mannhardt 
explained in a different way by W, Mannhardt. He sup- |ha"the 
posed that the men whom the Druids burned in wickerwork men and 
images represented the spirits of vegetation, and accordingly ^^.^on^ the 
that the custom of burning them was a magical ceremony Druids 

1 • r 1 burned in 

mtended to secure the necessary sunshme tor the crops, w-ickenvork 
Similarly, he seems to have inclined to the view that the ""ages 

■' represented 

animals which used to be burnt in the bonfires represented spirits of 
the corn-spirit,^ which, as we saw in an earlier part of this ^^^j^"t*J^g 
work, is often supposed to assume the shape of an animal.' burning of 
This theory is no doubt tenable, and the great authority of ^^^.^J'JS "^ 
\V. Mannhardt entitles it to careful consideration. I adopted secure a 
it in former editions of this book ; but on reconsideration it sunshine 
seems to me on the whole to be less probable than the theory for the 
that the men and animals burnt in the fires perished in the "^^^^ 
character of witches. This latter view is strongly supported 
by the testimony of the people who celebrate the fire-festivals, 
since a popular name for the custom of kindling the fires is 
" burning the witches," effigies of witches are sometimes 
consumed in the flames, and the fires, their embers, or their 
ashes are supposed to furnish protection against witchcraft. 
On the other hand there is little to shew that the efifigies 
or the animals burnt in the fires are regarded by the 
people as representatives of the vegetation-spirit, and that 
the bonfires are sun-charms. With regard to serpents in 
particular, which used to be burnt in the midsummer fire at 
Luchon, I am not aware of any certain evidence that in 
Europe snakes have been regarded as embodiments of the 
tree-spirit or corn-spirit,^ though in other parts of the world 

1 W. Mannhardt, Baumkultus, pp. oaks, and as oaks were sacred among 

532-534. the Prussians, the serpents may possibly 

- Spiritsof the Corn and of the Wild, have been regarded as genii of the 

i. 270-305. trees. See Simon Grunau, Preussischer 

3 Some of the serpents worshipped Chronik, herausgegeben von Dr. M. 

by the old Prussians lived in hollow Perlbach, i. (Leipsic, 1876) p. 89 ; 


the conception appears to be not unknown.^ Whereas 
the popular faith in the transformation of witches into 
animals is so general and deeply rooted, and the fear of 
these uncanny beings is so strong, that it seems safer to 
suppose that the cats and other animals which were burnt in 
the fire suffered death as embodiments of witches than that 
they perished as representatives of vegetation-spirits. 

Christophor Hartknoch, Alt tmd Neues 
Freussen (P'rankfort and Leipsic, 
1684), pp. 143, 163. Serpents played 
an important part in the worship of 
Demeter, but we can hardly assume 
that they were regarded as embodi- 
ments of the goddess. See Spirits of 
the Corn and of the Wild, ii. 17 sq. 

^ For example, in China the spirits 
of plants are thought to assume the form 
of snakes oftener than that of any other 
animal. Chinese literature abounds with 
stories illustrative of such transforma- 
tions. See J. J. M. de Groot, The Re- 
ligious System of China, iv. (Leyden, 
1901) pp. 283-286. In Siam the spirit 
of the takhien tree is said to appear 

sometimes in the shape of a serpent 
and sometimes in that of a woman. 
See Adolph Bastian, Die Voelker des 
Oestlichen Asien, iii. (Jena, 1867) p. 
251. The vipers that haunted the 
balsam trees in Arabia were regarded 
by the Arabs as sacred to the trees 
(Pausanias, ix. 28. 4) ; and once in 
Arabia, when a wood hitherto un- 
touched by man was burned down to 
make room for the plough, certain 
white snakes flew out of it with loud 
lamentations. No doubt they were 
supposed to be the dispossessed spirits 
of the trees. See J. Wellhausen, 
Reste Arahischen Heidentums"^ (Berlin, 
1897), pp. 108 sq. 



A FEATURE of the great midsummer festival remains to be it is a 
considered, which may perhaps help to clear up the doubt ^J^'g'J'f" 
as to the meaning of the fire-ceremonies and their relation Europe 
to Druidism. For in France and England, the countries acquire"'^ 
where the sway of the Druids is known to have been most cenain 
firmly established, Midsummer Eve is still the time for ^^^ ' 
culling certain magic plants, whose evanescent virtue can transient, 
be secured at this mystic season alone. Indeed all over Mid- 
Europe antique fancies of the same sort have lingered about summer 
Midsummer Eve, imparting to it a fragrance of the past, 
like withered rose leaves that, found by chance in the pages 
of an old volume, still smell of departed summers. Thus in Magical 
Saintonge and Aunis, two of the ancient provinces of Western ^^?^ 

o ' r culled on 

France, we read that " of all the festivals for which the merry Mid- 
bells ring out there is not one which has given rise to a e™?sl 
greater number of superstitious practices than the festival of John's Eve) 
St. John the Baptist. The Eve of St. John was the day of su,^er 
all days for gathering the wonderful herbs by means of which Day (St. 
you could combat fever, cure a host of diseases, and guard oay) in 
yourself against sorcerers and their spells. But in order to Ff^^e. 
attain these results two conditions had to be observed ; first, 
you must be fasting when you gathered the herbs, and 
second, you must cull them before the sun rose. If these 
conditions were not fulfilled, the plants had no special virtue."^ 

^ J. L. M. Nogues, Zes maeurs ing of certain herbs between the Eve 

d^autrefois en Saintonge et en Aunis of St. John and the Eve of St. Peter 

(Saintes, 1891), p. 71. Amongst the and keeping them in a bottle to heal 

superstitious practices denounced by certain maladies." See J, B. Thiers, 

the French writer J. B. Thiers in the Traiti des Superstitions (Paris, 1679), 

seventeenth century- was "the gather- p. 321. 



In the neighbouring province of Perigord the person who 
gathered the magic herbs before sunrise at this season had 
to walk backwards, to mutter some mystic words, and to 
perform certain ceremonies. The plants thus collected were 
carefully kept as an infallible cure for fever ; placed above 
beds and the doors of houses and of cattle-sheds they pro- 
tected man and beast from disease, witchcraft, and accident.^ 
In Normandy a belief in the marvellous properties of herbs 
and plants, of flowers and seeds and leaves gathered, with 
certain traditional rites, on the Eve or the Day of St. John 
has remained part of the peasant's creed to this day. Thus 
he fancies that seeds of vegetables and plants, which have 
been collected on St. John's Eve, will keep better than 
others, and that flowers plucked that day will never fade." 
Indeed so widespread in France used to be the faith in the 
magic virtue of herbs culled on that day that there is a 
French proverb " to employ all the herbs of St. John in an 
affair," meaning "to leave no stone unturned."^ In the 
early years of the nineteenth century a traveller reported 
that at Marseilles, " on the Eve of St. John, the Place de 
Noailles and the course are cleaned. From three o'clock 
in the morning the country-people flock thither, and by 
six o'clock the whole place is covered with a considerable 
quantity of flowers and herbs, aromatic or otherwise. The 
folk attribute superstitious virtues to these plants ; they are 
persuaded that if they have been gathered the same day before 
sunrise they are fitted to heal many ailments. People buy 
them emulously to give away in presents and to fill the 
St. John's house with." "* On the Eve of St. John (Midsummer Eve), 
before sunset, the peasants of Perche still gather the herb 
called St. John's herb. It is a creeping plant, very aromatic, 
with small flowers of a violet blue. Other scented flowers 

1 A. de Nore, Coutumes, Mythes et Siam (Amsterdam, 1691), i. 202. 
Traditions des Provinces de France The writer here mentions an Italian 
(Paris and Lyons, 1846), pp. 1 50 sq. mode of divination practised on Mid- 

„ ^ , ^ „ . , „ summer Eve. People washed their 

2 Jules Lecoeur, Esqtusses du Socage f^^^ -^^ ^j^^ ^„j ^^rew the wine out 
Normand (Conde-sur-Noireau, 1883- ^^ ^^^ window. After that, the first 
1887), u. 8, 244; Amiilie Bosquet, ^^^^j^ ^j^ y^^^^^ ,.^„ by passers- 
La Normandie romanesque et mer- , ^^^^^ ^^^^^^ oracular. 
veilleuse (Pans and Rouen, 1845), P- 4 Aubin-Louis Millin, Voyage dans 
^94- igs Dcpartemens du Midi de la France 

* De la Loubere, Du Royauine de (Paris, 1807-181 1), iii. 344 .fy. 



are added, and out of the posies they make floral crosses 
and crowns, which they hang up over the doors of houses 
and stables. Such floral decorations are sold like the box- 
wood on Palm Sunday, and the withered wreaths are kept 
from year to year. If an animal dies, it may be a cow, they 
carefully clean the byre or the stable, make a pile of these 
faded garlands, and set them on fire, having previously closed 
up all the openings and interstices, so that the whole place 
is thoroughly fumigated. This is thought to eradicate the 
germs of disease from the byre or stable.^ At Nellingen, 
near Saaralben, in Lorraine the hedge doctors collect their 
store of simples between eleven o'clock and noon on Mid- 
summer Day ; and on that day nut-water is brewed from 
nuts that have been picked on the stroke of noon. Such 
water, is a panacea for all ailments.^ In the Vosges 
Mountains they say that wizards have but one day in the 
year, and but one hour in that day, to find and cull the 
baleful herbs which they use in their black art. That day 
is the Eve of St. John, and that hour is the time when the 
church bells are ringing the noonday Angelus. Hence in 
many villages they say that the bells ought not to ring at 
noon on that day.^ 

In the Tyrol also they think that the witching hour Magical 
is when the Ave Maria bell is ringing on Midsummer ^'^."'j 

o o culled on 

Eve, for then the witches go forth to gather the noxious Mid- 
plants whereby they raise thunderstorms. Therefore in ^^^^^ 
many districts the bells ring for a shorter time than usual ^I'd- 
that evening ; * at Folgareit the sexton used to steal quietly D^Tn'the 
into the church, and when the clock struck three he contented TjtoI and 
himself with giving a few pulls to the smallest of the bells.^ ermany. 

1 Alexandre Bertrand, La Religion 3 l_ p Sauve, Le Folk-lore des 
des Gaulois (Paris, 1897), p. 124. In //antes- Fosges (Paris, 1889), pp. 168 
French the name of St. John's herb s^. 

[lierdede la Sai,U-/ean) is usaaUygiyen 4j y zincerle "Wald Baume 

to millepertius, that is, St. John's wort, xr ■,. » v -^ z. Ii ^- j ^. , 1 r ' 

, . , .-^ .^ ' ..rr 'a c- f^'C2M\.&x," Zettschrttt fur deutsche My- 

which IS quite a dinerent flower. See .1. 1 ■ j c--/^ l j • < o . 

,, ^, T>.<.c.Ti.. thologie und Stttenkunde, 1. (181;^) 

below, pp. 54 sqq. But "St. John's „„ * ^ ., ^.^^ ' .. \ ^^' 

i, u i> 11 u 1 . PP- 332 ^q- ; ««-, Sitten, Bratiche und 

herb may well be a general term ^%- • , \- , it- ,» ■> ,-, 

,. , . j.fl- ^ , **. V J . Metnungen des Tiroler Volkes- (Inns- 

which m different places is applied to , , fo_ . o 00 o 

different plants. ^^ ^^"^^' ^^7i). P- 158, §§ I345, 1348. 

2 Bruno Stehle, " Aberglauben, » Christian Schneiler, Mdrchen und 
Sitten und Gebrauche in Lothringen," Sagen aus Wdlschtirol (Innsbruck, 
Globus, lix. (1891) p. 379. 1867), p. 237, § 24. 


At Rengen, in the Eifel Mountains, the sexton rings the 
church bell for an hour on the afternoon of Midsummer Day. 
As soon as the bell begins to ring, the children run out into the 
meadows, gather flowers, and weave them into garlands which 
they throw on the roofs of the houses and buildings. There the 
garlands remain till the wind blows them away. It is believed 
that they protect the houses against fire and thunderstorms.^ 
At Niederehe, in the Eifel Mountains, on Midsummer Day 
little children used to make wreaths and posies out of " St. 
John's flowers and Maiden-flax " and throw them on the 
roofs. Some time afterwards, when the wild gooseberries 
were ripe, all the children would gather round an old 
woman on a Sunday afternoon, and taking the now withered 
wreaths and posies with them march out of the village, 
praying while they walked. Wreaths and posies were then 
thrown in a heap and kindled, whereupon the children 
snatched them up, still burning, and ran and fumigated the 
wild gooseberry bushes with the smoke. Then they returned 
with the old woman to the village, knelt down before her, 
and received her blessing. From that time the children 
were free to pick and eat the wild gooseberries.^ In the 
Mark of Brandenburg the peasants gather all sorts of 
simples on Midsummer Day, because they are of opinion 
that the drugs produce their medicinal effect only if they 
have been culled at that time. Many of these plants, 
especially roots, must be dug up at midnight and in silence.' 
In Mecklenburg not merely is a special healing virtue ascribed 
to simples collected on Midsummer Day ; the very smoke of 
such plants, if they are burned in the fire, is believed to pro- 
tect a house against thunder and lightning, and to still the 
raging of the storm.'* The Wends of the Spreewald twine 
wreaths of herbs and flowers at midsummer, and hang them 
up in their rooms ; and when any one gets a fright he will 
lay some of the leaves and blossoms on hot coals and fumi- 
gate himself with the smoke.'' In Eastern Prussia, some 

1 '\.\i.^c!nm\\.z,SittennitdBrduche, * K. Bartsch, 5a^*«, Mdrchen uttd 

Lieder, Spriichworter und Kdthsel des Gebrduche aus Alecklenburg (Vienna, 

£//f^rro//w(Treves,i856-i858),i.40. 1879-1880), ii. p. 287, § 1436. 

^ J. H. Schmitz, op. cit. i. 42. ^ W. von Schulenburg, Wendischf 

^ A. Kuhn, Mdrkische Sagcn und Volkssagen und Gebrduche aus det/i 

Mdrcheit (Berlin, 1843), P- 33°- Spreewald {L-^'^^'^\<^, 1880), p. 254. 


two hundred years ago, it used to be customary on Mid- 
summer Day to make up a bunch of herbs of various sorts 
and fasten it to a pole, which was then put up over the gate 
or door through which the corn would be brought in at 
harvest. Such a pole was called Kaupole, and it remained 
in its place till the crops had been reaped and garnered. 
Then the bunch of herbs was taken down ; part of it was 
put with the corn in the barn to keep rats and mice from 
the grain, and part was kept as a remedy for diseases of all 

The Germans of West Bohemia collect simples on St. Magical 
John's Night, because they believe the healing virtue of the ^,^ ^^ 
plants to be especially powerful at that time." The theory Mid- 
and practice of the Huzuls in the Carpathian Mountains are EveTst. 
similar ; they imagine that the plants gathered on that night JohnsEve) 
are not only medicinal but possess the power of restraining summer 
the witches ; some say that the herbs should be plucked in ^^y '" 

1 1 \ % \ 1 • 1 1 • t 1 Austriaand 

twelve gardens or meadows. Among the simples which the Russia. 
Czechs and Moravians of Silesia cull at this season are 
dandelions, ribwort, and the bloom of the lime-tree.* The 
Esthonians of the island of Oesel gather St John's herbs 
{Jiini rohJiud) on St. John's Day, tie them up in bunches, and 
hang them up about the houses to prevent evil spirits from 
entering. A subsidiary use of the plants is to cure diseases ; 
gathered at that time they have a greater medical value than 
if they were collected at any other season. Everybody does 
not choose exactly the same sorts of plants ; some gather 
more and some less, but in the collection St. John's wort 
{Jani rohhi, Hypericum perforatuvi) should never be wanting.^ 
A writer of the early part of the seventeenth century informs 
us that the Livonians, among whom he lived, were impressed 
with a belief in the great and marvellous properties possessed 

* M. Pratorius, Deluiae Prussuae »</., "Zauberglaube bei den Huzulen," 
(Berlin, 1 871), pp. 24 sq. Kanpole is Globus, lxx\-i. (1899) P- 256. 

probably identical in name with Kupole ^ x^ -- -^ <. ^- .w • . 

^- \ . u f-L rC ■ t'r- A- letzner, "Die Tschechen 

or Kupalo, as to whom see J he i-h/mz , ,, . • r- . 1 • ., ^, , 

^ , ' c. una Mahrer in bchlesien. Globus. 

God, pp. 201 sq. .•••,» 

"' Alois John, Situ, Branch und '''^;^'- <'900) p. 340. 

Volksglaube im dititschen IVestbohmen " J. B. Holzmayer, " Osiliana," 

l(Prague, 1905), p. 86. Verhandlungen d^r geUhrten Est- 

^ K. F. Kaindl, Die Huzulen nischen Gesdlschafi., vii. Heft 2 (Dor- 

(Vienna, 1894), pp. 78, 90, 93, 105; pat, 1872), p. 62. 



culled on 
St. John's 
Eve or St. 
John's Day 
among the 
Slavs, in 
donia, and 

by simples which had been culled on Midsummer Day. Such 
simples, they thought, were sure remedies for fever and for 
sickness and pestilence in man and beast ; but if gathered 
one day too late they lost all their virtue.^ Among the 
Letts of the Baltic provinces of Russia girls and women go 
about on Midsummer Day crowned with wreaths of aromatic 
plants, which are afterwards hung up for good lUck in the 
houses. The plants are also dried and given to cows to eat, 
because they are supposed to help the animals to calve.^ 

In Bulgaria St. John's Day is the special season for 
culling simples. On this day, too, Bulgarian girls gather 
nosegays of a certain white flower, throw them into a vessel 
of water, and place the vessel under a rose-tree in bloom. 
Here it remains all night. Next morning they set it in the 
courtyard and dance singing round it. An old woman then 
takes the flowers out of the vessel, and the girls wash them- 
selves with the water, praying that God would grant them 
health throughout the year. After that the old woman 
restores her nosegay to each girl and promises her a rich 
husband.^ Among the South Slavs generally on St. John's 
Eve it is the custom for girls to gather white flowers in the 
meadows and to place them in a sieve or behind the rafters. 
A flower is assigned to each member of the household : next 
morning the flowers are inspected ; and he or she whose 
flower is fresh will be well the whole year, but he or she 
whose flower is faded will be sickly or die. Garlands are 
then woven out of the flowers and laid on roofs, folds, and 
beehives.* In some parts of Macedonia on St. John's Eve 
the peasants are wont to festoon their cottages and gird their 
own waists with wreaths of what they call St. John's flower ; 
it is the blossom of a creeping plant which resembles honey- 
suckle.^ Similar notions as to the magical virtue which 
plants acquire at midsummer have been transported by 
Europeans to the New World. At La Paz in Bolivia people 

^ P. Einhorn, " Wiederlegunge der 
Abgotterey : der ander (j/<r) Theil," 
printed at Higa in 1627, and reprinted 
in Scriptores reriiin Livonicartitn, ii. 
(Riga and Leipsic, 1848) pp. 651 sq. 

2 J. G. Kohl, Die deutsch-rusiischen 
Ostseeprovinzen (Dresden and Leipsic, 
1841), ii. 26. 

3 A. Strausz, Die Bulgaren (Leip- 
sic, 1898), pp. 348, 386. 

* F. S. Krauss, Volksglaube und 
7-eIigidser Branch der Siidslaven (Miin- 
ster i. W., 1890), p. 34. 

* G. F. Abbott, Macedonian Folk' 
lore (Cambridge, 1903), pp. 54, 58. 


believe that flowers of mint {Verba buend) gathered before 
sunrise on St. John's Day foretell an endless felicity to such 
as are so lucky as to find them.^ 

Nor is the superstition confined to Europe and to people Magical 
of European descent. In Morocco also the Mohammedans citi^at 
are of opinion that certain plants, such as penny-royal, mar- Mid- 
joram, and the oleander, acquire a special magic virtue ^™J'ihe 
{baraka) when they are gathered shortly before midsummer. Moham- 
Hence the people collect these plants at this season and Morocco? 
preserve them for magical or medical purposes. For ex- 
ample, branches of oleander are brought into the houses 
before midsummer and kept under the roof as a charm 
against the evil eye ; but while the branches are being 
brought in they may not touch the ground, else they 
would lose their marvellous properties. Cases of sick- 
ness caused by the evil eye are cured by fumigating the 
patients with the smoke of these boughs. The greatest 
efficacy is ascribed to " the sultan of the oleander," which is 
a stalk with four pairs of leaves clustered round it. Such 
a stalk is always endowed with magical virtue, but that 
virtue is greatest when the stalk has been cut just before 
midsummer. Arab women in the Hiaina district of Morocco 
gather Daphne gnidium on Midsummer Day, drj' it in the 
sun, and make it into a powder which, mixed with water, 
they daub on the heads of their little children to protect 
them from sunstroke and vermin and to make their hair 
grow well. Indeed such marvellous powers do these Arabs 
attribute to plants at this mystic season that a barren 
woman will walk naked about a vegetable garden on Mid- 
summer Night in the hope of conceiving a child through the 
fertilizing influence of the vegetables.- 

Sometimes in order to produce the desired effect it is Seven 
deemed necessary that seven or nine different sorts of plants fo^o"* 
should be gathered at this mystic season. Norman peasants, magical 
who wish to fortify themselves for the toil of harvest, will gath^^ 

at Mid- 
* H. A. Weddeli, Voyage dans U Customs in Morocco," Folk-lore, xvi. summer. 
Nord de la Bolivie et dans les parties (1905) p. 35 ; id.. Ceremonies and 
voisims du Pirou (Paris and London, Beliefs connected with Agriculture, 
1853), p. 181. certain Dates of the Solar Year, and 

the Weather in Morocco (Helsingfors, 
- W. Westermarck, "Midsummer 191 3), pp. %% sq. 


sorts of 
at Mid- 

of love on 
at Mid- 

at Mid- 

sometimes go out at dawn on St. John's Day and pull seven 
kinds of plants, which they afterwards cat in their soup as a 
means of imparting strength and suppleness to their limbs in 
the harvest ficld.^ In Mecklenburg maidens are wont to 
gather seven sorts of flowers at noon on Midsummer Eve. 
These they weave into garlands, and sleep with them under 
their pillows. Then they are sure to dream of the men who 
will marry them.^ But the flowers on which youthful lovers 
dream at Midsummer Eve are oftener nine in number. Thus 
in Voigtland nine diflcrent kinds of flowers are twined into 
a garland at the hour of noon, but they may not enter the 
dwelling by the door in the usual way ; they must be pa.ssed 
through the window, or, if they come in at the door, they 
must be thrown, not carried, into the house. Sleeping on 
them that night you will dream of your future wife or future 
husband.^ The Bohemian maid, who gathers nine kinds of 
flowers on which to dream of love at Midsummer Eve, takes 
care to wrap her hand in a white cloth, and afterwards to 
wash it in dew ; and when she brings her garland home she 
must speak no word to any soul she meets by the way, for 
then all the magic virtue of the flowers would be gone.* 
Other Bohemian girls look into the book of fate at this 
season after a different fashion. They twine their hair with 
wreaths made of nine sorts of leaves, and go, when the stars 
of the summer night are twinkling in the sky, to a brook 
that flows beside a tree. There, gazing on the stream, the 
girl beholds, beside the broken reflections of the tree and the 
stars, the watery image of her future lord.^ So in Masuren 
maidens gather nosegays of wild flowers in silence on Mid- 
summer Eve. At the midnight hour each girl takes the 
nosegay and a glass of water, and when she has spoken 
certain words she sees her lover mirrored in the water.*^ 

Sometimes Bohemian damsels make a different use of 
their midsummer garlands twined of nine sorts of flowers. 

Ueberlieferungen im Voigtlande (Leip- 
sic, 1867), p. 376. 

* O. Freiherr von Reinsber}j-Diir 
ingsfeld, Fcst - Kalcnder aus Bohvun 
(I'ragiie, n.d.), p. 312. 

° Reinsberg-Diiringsfeld, loc. at. 

^ M. Toppen, Aberglauben aus Ma 
urcn'^ (Danzig, 1867), p. 72. 

^ J. Lecoeur, Esquisses du Bocage 
Normand (Conde-sur-Noireau, 1883- 
1887), ii. 9. 

2 K. Bartsch, Sagen, Mar then nnd 
Gebrduche aus Mecklenburg (Vienna, 
1879-1890), ii. 285. 

3 J. A. E. Kohler, Volksbrauch, 
Aberglauben, Sagen und andre alte 


They lie down with the garland laid as a pillow under their Garlands 
right ear, and a hollow voice, swooning from underground, ^rf^J*^*^^ 

•3 ' ' t> o ' 01 nine 

proclaims their destiny.* Yet another mode of consulting the sons 
oracle by means of these same garlands is to throw them ff\nd. 
backwards and in silence upon a tree at the hour of noon, summer 
just when the flowers have been gathered. For every time in divina- 
that the wreath is thrown without sticking to the branches t'on and 
of the tree the girl will have a year to wait before she weds. 
This mode of divination is practised in Voigtland,- East 
Prussia,^ Silesia,^ Belgium,^ and Wales,® and the same thing 
is done in Masuren, although we are not told that there the 
wreaths must be composed of nine sorts of flowers." However, 
in Masuren chaplets of nine kinds of herbs are gathered on 
St. John's Eve and put to a more prosaic use than that of 
presaging the course of true love. They are carefully pre- 
served, and the people brew a sort of tea from them, which 
they administer as a remedy for many ailments ; or they keep 
the chaplets under their pillows till they are drj-, and there- 
upon dose their sick cattle with them.* In Esthonia the 
virtues popularly ascribed to wreaths of this sort are many 
and various. These wreaths, composed of nine kinds of 
herbs culled on the Eve or the Day of St. John, are some- 
times inserted in the roof or hung up on the walls of the 
house, and each of them receives the name of one of the 
inmates. If the plants which have been thus dedicated to 
a girl happen to take root and grow in the chinks and 
crannies, she will soon wed ; if they have been dedicated to 
an older person and wither away, that person will die. The 
people also give them as medicine to cattle at the time when 
the animals are driven forth to pasture ; or they fumigate 
the beasts with the smoke of the herbs, which are burnt 
along with shavings from the wooden threshold. Bunches 
of the plants are also hung about the house to keep off evil 

1 Reinsberg-Diiringsfeld, loc. cit. » Le Baron de Reinsberg-Durings- 

* J. A. E. Kohler, Volksbrcauh, etc., feld, Calendritr Beige {^xxissx\%, 1861- 
im Voigtlande, p. 376. 1862), i. 423. 

2 C. Lemke, I'olksthumluhes in ^ Marie Trevelyan, Folk-lore and 
Ostpreussen (Mohrungen, 1884-1887), Folk-stories of Wales (London, 1909), 
i- 20. p. 252. 

* P. Drechsler, Sitte, Brauch und ^ M. Toppen, Aberglauben aus Mas. 
Volksglaube in Schlesien (Leipsic, uren^ p. 72. 

1 903- 1 906), L 144 sq. 8 M. Toppen, op. cit. p. 71. 


spirits, and maidens lay them under their pillows to dream 
on.^ In Sweden the " Midsummer Brooms," made up of nine 
sorts of flowers gathered on Midsummer Eve, are put to 
nearly the same uses. Fathers of families hang up such 
" brooms " to the rafters, one for each inmate of the house ; 
and he or she whose broom {quasi) is the first to wither will 
be the first to die. Girls also dream of their future husbands 
with these bunches of flowers under their pillows. A 
decoction made from the flowers is, moreover, a panacea for 
all disorders, and if a bunch of them be hung up in the 
cattle shed, the Troll cannot enter to bewitch the beasts.^ 
The Germans of Moravia think that nine kinds of herbs 
gathered on St. John's Night (Midsummer Eve) are a remedy 
for fever ; ^ and some of the Wends attribute a curative 
virtue in general to such plants.* 
St John's Of the flowers which it has been customary to gather for 

wort [Hy- puj-poses of magic or divination at midsummer none perhaps 

pencum r r q a i 

perfora- is SO widely popular as St. John's wort {Hypericum per- 

ga^ered foratutn). The reason for associating this particular plant 

for magical with the great summer festival is perhaps not far to seek, for 

at"M?r'" the flower blooms about Midsummer Day, and with its bright 

summer, yellow petals and masses of golden stamens it might well 

pass for a tiny copy on earth of the great sun which reaches 

its culminating point in heaven at this season. Gathered on 

Midsummer Eve, or on Midsummer Day before sunrise, the 

blossoms are hung on doorways and windows to preserve the 

house against thunder, witches, and evil spirits ; and various 

healing properties are attributed to the different species of 

the plant. In the Tyrol they say that if you put St. John's 

wort in your shoe before sunrise on Midsummer Day you 

may walk as far as you please without growing weary. In 

Scotland people carried it about their persons as an amulet 

against witchcraft. On the lower Rhine children twine 

chaplets of St. John's wort on the morning of Midsummer 

Day, and throw them on the roofs of the houses. Here, too, 

the people who danced round the midsummer bonfires used 

^ A. Wiedemann, Aus dem inneren ^ Willibald Miiller, Beitrdge zur 

und dussem Leben der Ehsten (St. Volkskunde der Deiiischen in Mdh, 

Petersburg, 1876), pp. 362 sq. (Vienna and Olmtitz, 1893), p. 264. 

^ L. Lloyd, Peasant Life in Sweden * W. von Schulenburg, Wendisches 

(London, 1870), pp. 267 sq. Volksthum (Berlin, 1882), p. 145. 


to wear wreaths of these yellow flowers in their hair, and to 
deck the images of the saints at wayside shrines with the 
blossoms. Sometimes they flung the flowers into the 
bonfires. In Sicily they dip St. John's wort in oil, and so 
apply it as a balm for every wound. During the Middle 
Ages the power which the plant notoriously possesses of 
banning devils won for it the name o{ fuga daevionutn ; and 
before witches and wizards were stretched on the rack or 
otherwise tortured, the flower used to be administered to 
them as a means of wringing the truth from their lips.^ In 
North Wales people used to fix sprigs of St. John's wort 
over their doors, and sometimes over their windows, " in 
order to purify their houses, and by that means drive away 
all fiends and evil spirits." " In Saintonge and Aunis the 
flowers served to detect the presence of sorcerers, for if one 
of these pestilent fellows entered a house, the bunches of St. 
John's wort, which had been gathered on Midsummer Eve 
and hung on the walls, immediately dropped their yellow 
heads as if they had suddenly faded.^ However, the Germans 

* Montanus, Die deutschen Volks- 
feste, Volksbriiuche und deutscher Volks- 
glaube (Iserlohn, N.D.), p. 145; A. 
Wuttke, Der deutsche Volksaberglaube ^ 
(Berlin, 1869), p. icx), § 134; I. V. 
Zingerle, *' Wald, Baume, Krauter," 
Zeitschrift fiir dmtsche Mylholcgie und 
Sittinkunde, i. (1853) p. 329; A. 
Schlossar, " Volksmeinung und Volks- 
aberglaube aus der deutschen Steier- 
mark," Gemtania, N.R., xxiv. (1891) 
p. 387 ; E. Meier, Deutsche Sagen, 
Sitten und Gebrduche aus Schwaben 
(Stuttgart, 1852), p. 428 ; J. Brand, 
Popular Antiquities of Great Britain 
(London, 1882-1883), L 307, 312; 
T. F. Thisellon Dyer, Folk-lore of 
Plants (London, 1889), pp. 62, 286 ; 
Kev. Hilderic Friend, Flowers and 
Fltnoer Lore, Third Edition (London, 
1886), pp. 147, 149, 150, 540; G. 
Finamore, Credense, Usi e Costumi 
Abruzzesi (Palermo, 1890), pp. 161 
sq. ; G. Pitre, Spettacoli e Feste Popclari 
5/i-i7/a»^(Palermo, 1881), p. 309. One 
authority" lays down the rule that you 
should gather the plant fasting and in 
silence (J. Brand, op. cit. p. 312). 
According to Sowerby, the Hypericum 

perforatum flowers in England about 
July and August (English Botany, vol. 
V. London, 1796, p. 295). We should 
remember, however, that in the old 
calendar Midsummer Day fell twelve 
days later than at present. The reform 
of the calendar probably put many old 
floral superstitions out of joint. 

* Bingley, Tour round North IVales 
(1800), ii. 237, quoted by T. F. 
Thiselton Dyer, British Popular Cus- 
toms (London, 1876), p. 320. Com- 
pare Marie Trevelyan, Folk-lore and 
Folk-stories of Wales (London, 1909), 
p. 251 : "St. John's, or Midsummer 
Day, was an important festival. St. 
John's wort, gathered at noon on that 
day, was considered good for several 
complaints. The old saying went that 
if anybody dug the devil's bit at mid- 
night on the eve of St. John, the roots 
were then good for driving the devil 
and witches away." Apparently by "the 
devil's bit " we are to understand St. 
John's wort. 

^ J. L. M. Nogues, Les manirs 
d''autrefois en Saintonge et en Aunis 
( Saint es, 1891), pp. Jl sq. 


of Western Bohemia think that witches, far from dreading 
St. John's wort, actually seek the plant on St. John's Eve.^ 
St. John's Further, the edges of the calyx and petals of St. John's wort, 
St°^hn's ^^ ^^'^ ^^ their external surface, are marked with dark purple 
Day. spots and lines, which, if squeezed, yield a red essential oil 

soluble in spirits.^ German peasants believe that this red 
oil is the blood of St. John,^ and this may be why the plant 
is supposed to heal all sorts of wounds."* In Mecklenburg 
they say that if you pull up St. John's wort at noon on 
Midsummer Day you will find at the root a bead of red 
juice called St. John's blood ; smear this blood on your shirt 
just over your heart, and no mad dog will bite you.^ In the 
Mark of Brandenburg the same blood, procured in the same 
manner and rubbed on the barrel of a gun, will make every 
shot from that gun to hit the mark.^ According to others, 
St. John's blood is found at noon on St. John's Day, and 
only then, adhering in the form of beads to the root of a 
weed called knawel, which grows in sandy soil. But some 
people say that these beads of red juice are not really the 
blood of the martyred saint, but only insects resembling the 
cochineal or kermes-berry/ " About Hanover I have often 
observed devout Roman Catholics going on the morning of 
St. John's day to neighbouring sandhills, gathering on the 
roots of herbs a certain insect {Coccus Polonicd) looking 
like drops of blood, and thought by them to be created 
on purpose to keep alive the remembrance of the foul 
murder of St. John the Baptist, and only to be met with 
on the morning of the day set apart for him by the 
Church. I believe the life of this insect is very ephemeral, 

* Alois John, Sitte, Branch und tracted from the yellow flowers of St. 
Volksglaiibe im deuischen Westbohnien John's wort (\V. Mtiller, Beitrdge ziir 
(Prague, 1905), p. 84. They call the Volksktmde der Deuischen in Mdhren, 
plant "witch's herb" {Hexenkraut). Vienna and Olmiitz, 1893, p. 264). 

^ James Sowerby, English Botany, " K. Bartsch, op. cil. ii. p. 286, § 

vol. V. (London, 1796), p. 295. 1433- The blood is also a preserva- 

3 Montanus, Die deuischen Volks- live against many diseases {op. cil. ii. 

feste, Volksbrduche und deulscher Volks- p. 290, § 1444). 

glaube {\%Qx\o\\Vi, N.D. ), p. 35. C A. Kiihn, Mdrkische Sagen und 

* T. F. Thiseiton Dyer, Folk-lore of Miirchen (Berlin, 1843), P- 3^7> § I05- 
Planls (London, 1889), p. 2S6 ; K. "^ Die gestriegclle Kockenphilosophie'' 
"Ba-n^ch, Sagen,J\/drchen und Gebrduche (Chemnitz, 1759), pp. 2t\6 sq. ; Mon- 
aus Mecklenburg, ii. p. 291, § 1450^. tanus, Die tieutschcn Volksfesten, Volks- 
The Germans of Bohemia ascribe brduche und deulscher J olksglaubc, p. 
wonderful virtues to the red juice ex- 147. 


but by no means restricted to the twenty - fourth of 

Yet another plant whose root has been thought to Mouse-ear 
yield the blood of St. John is the mouse -ear hawkweed ^^j!,^^ 
{Hieracium pilosella), which grows very commonly in dry adum 
exposed places, such as gravelly banks, sunny lawns, and gatherad 
the tops of park walls. " It blossoms from May to the for magical 
end of July, presenting its elegant sulphur-coloured flowers at Mid- 
to the noontide sun, while the surrounding herbage, and even summer. 
its own foliage, is withered and burnt up " ; ^ and these round 
yellow flowers may be likened not inaptly to the disc of the 
great luminary whose light they love. At Hildesheim, in 
Germany, people used to dig up hawkweed, especially on the 
Gallows' Hill, when the clocks were striking noon on 
Midsummer Day ; and the blood of St. John, which they 
found at the roots, was carefully preserved in quills for good 
luck. A little of it smeared secretly on the clothes was sure 
to make the wearer fortunate in the market that day.^ 
According to some the plant ought to be dug up with a gold 
coin.* Near Gablonz, in Bohemia, it used to be customary 
to make a bed of St. John's flowers, as they were called, on 
St. John's Eve, and in the night the saint himself came and 
laid his head on the bed ; next morning you could see the 
print of his head on the flowers, which derived a healing 
virtue from his blessed touch, and were mixed with the 
fodder of sick cattle to make them whole.^ But whether 
these St. John's flowers were the mouse-ear hawkweed or 
not is doubtful.*^ 

More commonly in Germany the name of St. John's Mountain 
flowers {J oliannisbluuien) appears to be given to the g™|i*^ed 
mountain arnica. In Voigtland the mountain arnica if for magical 
plucked on St John's Eve and stuck in the fields, laid under a^Niid" 


1 Berthold Seeman, Vlti, An Ac- * C. L. Rochholz, Detttscher Glaube 
count of a Government Mission to the und Branch (Berlin, 1867), i. 9. 

I 'it tan or Fijian Islands in the years c -r ir r^ \ ., , . 

1S60-61 (Cambridge, 1862), p. 63. ^ ' h ^l G'ohmann, Aberglauben und 

2 James Sowerby, English Botany, Gd>rauche aus Bohtnen und Mahren 
vol. xvi. (London, 1803) p. 1093. ^^^^ "^^ ^^'P^''^' '^^4), P- 98, § 

^ K. Seifart, Sagen, Marchen, 

Schwiinke und Gebrduche aus Stadt ^ A. Wuttke, Der deutsche Volks- 

iind Stiff Hildesheim- (Hildesheim, aberglaube - (^erWn, 1869), p. 100, § 

1S89), p. 177, § 12. 134. 


for magical 
at Mid- 

the roof, or hung on the wall, is believed to protect house 
and fields from lightning and hail.^ So in some parts of 
Bavaria they think that no thunderstorm can harm a house 
which has a blossom of mountain arnica in the window or 
the roof, and in the Tyrol the same flower fastened to the 
door will render the dwelling fire-proof. But it is needless 
to remark that the flower, which takes its popular name 
from St. John, will be no protection against either fire or 
thunder unless it has been culled on the saint's own day.^ 

Another plant which possesses wondrous virtues, if only 
it be gathered on the Eve or the Day of St. John, is 
mugwort {^Artemisia vulgaris). Hence in France it goes 
by the name of the herb of St. John.^ Near P^ronne, in the 
French department of Somme, people used to go out fasting 
before sunrise on St. John's Day to cull the plant ; put 
among the wheat in the barn it protected the corn against 

1 J. A. E. Kohler, Volksbrauch, 
Aberglauben, Sagen und andre alte 
Ueberlieferungen im Voigtlande ( L.eipsic, 
1867), p. 376. The belief and practice 
are similar at Griin, near Asch, in 
Western Bohemia. See Alois John, 
Sitte, Branch und Volksglaube im 
deutschen Westbohinen (Prague, 1905), 
p. 84. 

^ F. Panzer, Beitrag zur deutschen 
Mythologie (Munich, 1848--1855), ii. 
299 ; Bavaria, Landes- und Volkskunde 
des Konigreichs Bayern, iii. (Munich, 
1865), p. 342 ; I. V. Zingerle, Sit/en, 
Brduche und Meinungen des Tiroler 
Volkes"^ (Innsbruck, 1 871), p. 160, § 

' J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie,'^ 
ii. 1013 ; A. de Gubernatis, Mythologie 
des Plantes (Paris, 1878-1882), i. 189 
sq. ; Rev. Hilderic Friend, Flowers and 
Floiver Lore, Third Edition (London, 
1886), p. 75. In England mugwort is 
very common in waste ground, hedges, 
and the borders of fields. It flowers 
throughout August and later. The root 
is woody and perennial. The smooth 
stems, three or four feet high, are erect, 
branched, and leafy, and marked by 
many longitudinal purplish ribs. The 
pinnatified leaves alternate on the 
stalk ; they are smooth and dark green 

above, cottony and very white below. 
The flowers are in simple leafy spikes 
or clusters ; the florets are purplish, 
furnished with five stamens and five 
awl-shaped female flowers, which con- 
stitute the radius. The whole plant 
has a weak aromatic scent and a slightly 
bitter flavour. Its medical virtues are 
of no importance. See James Sowerby, 
English Botany, xiv. (London, 1802) 
p. 978. Altogether it is not easy to 
see why such an inconspicuous and in- 
significant flower should play so large 
a part in popular superstition. Mug- 
wort {Artemisia vulgaris) is not to be 
confounded with wormwood {Artemisia 
absinthium), which is quite a different 
flower in appearance, though it belongs 
to the same genus. Wormwood is 
common in England, flowering about 
August. The flowers are in clusters, 
each of them broad, hemispherical, and 
drooping, with a buff"- coloured disc. 
The whole plant is of a pale whitish 
green and clothed with a short silky 
down. It is remarkable for its intense 
bitterness united to a peculiar strong 
aromatic odour. It is often used to 
keep insects from clothes and furniture, 
and as a medicine is one of the most 
active bitters. See James Sowerby, 
English Botany, vol. xviii. (London, 
1804) p. 1230. 


mice. In Artois people carried bunches of mugwort, or wore 
it round their body ; ^ in Poitou they still wear girdles of 
mugwort or hemp when they warm their backs at the mid- 
summer fire as a preservative against backache at harvest ; " 
and the custom of wearing girdles of mugwort on the Eve 
or Day of St. John has caused the plant to be popularly 
known in Germany and Bohemia as St. John's girdle. In 
Bohemia such girdles are believed to protect the wearer for 
the whole year against ghosts, magic, misfortune, and sick- 
ness. People also weave garlands of the plant and look 
through them at the midsummer bonfire or put them on their 
heads ; and by doing so they ensure that their heads will 
not ache nor their eyes smart all that year. Another 
Bohemian practice is to make a decoction of mugwort which 
has been gathered on St. John's Day ; then, when your cow 
is bewitched and will yield no milk, you have only to wash 
the animal thrice with the decoction and the spell will be 
broken.^ In Germany, people used to crown their heads or 
gird their bodies with mugwort, which they afterwards threw 
into the midsummer bonfire, pronouncing certain rhymes 
and believing that they thus rid themselves of all their ill- 
luck.* Sometimes wreaths or girdles of mugwort were kept 
in houses, cattle-sheds, and sheep-folds throughout the year.^ 
In Normandy such wreaths are a protection against thunder 
and thieves ; ^ and stalks of mugwort hinder witches from 
laying their spells on the butter.^ In the Isle of Man on 
Midsummer Eve people gathered barran fealoin or mugwort 
" as a preventive against the influence of witchcraft " ; ® in 

^ Breuil, " Du culte de St. -Jean- p. 42 (quoting a work of the seven- 

Baptiste," Minioires de la SocUti des teenth century) ; Y. 1. \ ovCowa, Beitrage 

Antiqtiaires de Picardie, viii. (1845) zur deutschen Mythologie (f^nx, xZdi), 

p. 224, note*, quoting the cure of p. 133, note **. See also above, vol. i. 

Manancourt, near Peronne. pp. 162, 163, 165, 174, 177. 

^ L. Pineau, Le folk-lore du Poitou ° A. de Gubernatis, Mythologie der 

(Paris, 1892), p. 499. Plantes (Paris, 1878-1882), i. 190, 

^ J. V. Grohmann, Aberglauben und quoting Du Cange. 

Gebrduche atis Bohnien und Mdhren ^ A. de Nore, Coutumes, Mythes et 

(Prague and Leipsic, 1864), pp. 90 J^., Traditions des Provinces de France 

§§ 635-637. (Paris and Lyons, 1846), p. 262. 

* F. Panzer, Beitrag zur deutschen "^ Jules Lecoeur, Esguisses du Bocage 

Mythologie, i. p. 249, § 283 ; J. Normand (Conde-sur-Noireau, 1883- 

Qxvcnm., Deutsche Mythologie,^\\. 1013; 1886), ii. 8. 

I. V. Zingerle, in Zeitschrift fiir ® ]oitY>hTizix\, Historical and Statis- 

deutsche Mythologie und Sittenkunde, tical Accauntofthe IsleofMan{^ow^a&, 

i- (1853) p. 331, and ib. iv. (1859) Isle of Man, 1845), ii. 120. 


Belgium bunches of mugwort gathered on St. John's Day or 

Eve and hung on the doors of stables and houses are beHeved 

to bring good luck and to furnish a protection against 

Mugwort sorcery/ It is curious to find that in China a similar use is, 

in China qj. ^^^^ formerly, made of mugwort at the same season of the 

and Japan. i i ,^1 • , , 

year. In an old Chmese calendar we read that " on the 
fifth day of the fifth month the four classes of the people 
gambol in the herbage, and have competitive games with 
plants of all kinds. They pluck mugwort and make dolls 
of it, which they suspend over their gates and doors, 
in order to expel poisonous airs or influences." ^ On this 
custom Professor J. J. M. de Groot observes : " Notice 
that the plant owed its efficacy to the time when it 
was plucked : a day denoting the midsummer festival, 
when light and fire of the universe are in their 
apogee." ^ On account of this valuable property mugwort 
is used by Chinese surgeons in cautery."* The Ainos of 
Japan employ bunches of mugwort in exorcisms, " because 
it is thought that demons of disease dislike the smell and 
flavour of this herb." " It is an old German belief that he 
who carries mugwort in his shoes will not grow weary.® In 
Mecklenburg, they say that if you will dig up a plant of 
mugwort at noon on Midsummer Day, you will find under 
the root a burning coal, which vanishes away as soon as the 
church bells have ceased to ring. If you find the coal and 
carry it off in silence, it will prove a remedy for all sorts of 
maladies.^ According to another German superstition, such 
a coal will turn to gold.^ English writers record the popular 
belief that a rare coal is to be found under the root of mug- 
wort at a single hour of a single day in the year, namely, at 
noon or midnight on Midsummer Eve, and that this coal will 

1 Le Baron de Reinsberg- Darings- '' Zi'itschrift fiir dciilsclu- Mythologie 

feld, Ca/endrter Be/^e (Brusseh, 1861- itnci Sittenkimde, iv. (1S59) ]>. 42; 

1862), i. 422. Montanus, Die deiitscht'ii I'o/ksffs/e, 

'^ J. J. M. de Groot, The Religious p. 141. The German name of mug- 

System of China, vi. (Leyden, 1910) wort (Beifuss) is said to be derived 

p. 1079, compare p. 947. from this superstition. 

•^ J. ]. M. de Groot, op. cit. vi. 947. 1 v -o .„-u c 1/7 j 

i T T T>. , ^ ^ . . ? ' K. isartscn, Sai^-i/i, Mar,lh-ii, tmd 

* J J. M de Groot, j;/. cit. vi 946 sq. Cehrciuche aus Mecl^Unhu^ (\ienna, 

,^r- K"/ ^^^l'^^^7' ^'" i"'" iS79~i88o), ii. 290, § .445- 
and their Folk-lore (l.on(\on, 1901), p. 

318, compare pp. 315 sij., 329, 370, ^ Montanus, />/> deiilsiht'ii J'o/ks- 

372. fesU; p. 141. 


protect him who carries it on his person from plague, car- 
buncle, lightning, fever, and ague.^ In Eastern Prussia, on 
St John's Eve, people can foretell a marriage by means of 
mugwort ; they bend two stalks of the growing plant out- 
ward, and then obser\-e whether the stalks, after straighten- 
ing themselves again, incline towards each other or not." 

A similar mode of divination has been practised both in Opine 
England and in Germany with the orpine {Sedum telephiuni), iJ^plll^) 
a plant which grows on a gravelly or chalky soil about used iu 
hedges, the borders of fields, and on bushy hills. It flowers at\iid- 
in August, and the blossoms consist of dense clustered tufts summer, 
of crimson or purple petals ; sometimes, but rarely, the 
flowers are white.^ In England the plant is popularly 
known as Midsummer Men, because people used to plant 
slips of them in pairs on Midsummer Eve, one slip standing 
for a young man and the other for a young woman. If the 
plants, as they grew up, bent towards each other, the couple 
would marry ; if either of them withered, he or she whom it 
represented would die.* In Masuren, Westphalia, and Switzer- 
land the method of forecasting the future by means of the 
orpine is precisely the same.^ 

* J. Brand, Popular Antiquities of ♦ John Aubrey, Remains of Gentil- 

Great Britain (London, 1882-1883), ismeandJudaisme(ljonAaa, 1 881), pp. 

i. 334 sq., quoting Lupton, Thomas 2^ sq.; J. Brand, Popular Antiquities 

Hill, and Paul Barbette. A precisely ^Cr^a/^/V/am (London, 1882- 1883), 

similar belief is recorded with r^ard i. 329 sqq. ; Rev. Hilderic Friend, 

to wormwood (armoise) by the French Flowers and Flower Lore, Third Edi- 

writer J. B. Thiers, who adds that tion (London, 1886), p. 136; D. H. 

nly small children and \'irgins could Moutray Read, " Hampshire Folk- 

: nd the wonderful coal. See J. B. lore," Folk-lore, xxii. (191 1) p. 325. 

Thiers, Traiti des Superstitions'' i^vns. Compare J. Sowerby, English Botany, 

1741),!. 300. In Annam people think vol. xix. (London, 1804), p. 1319: 

that wormwood puts demons to flight ; " Like all succulent plants this is very 

hence they hang up bunches of its tenacious of life, and will keep grow- 

leaves in their houses at the New Year. ing long after it has been torn from its 

See Paul Giran, Magie et Religum. native spot. The country people in 

Annamites (Paris, 1912), p. 118, Norfolk sometimes hang it up in their 

compare pp. 185, 256. cottages, judging by its vigour of the 

2 C. Lemke, Volksthiimlifhes in Ost- health of some absent friend." It 
preussett (Mohrungen, 1884-1887), i. seems that in England the course of 
21. As to mugwort (German Beifuss, love has sometimes been divined by 
French armoise), see further A^ de means of sprigs of red sage placed in a 
Gubematis, Mythologie des Plantes, ii. basin of rose-water on Midsummer Eve 
16 sqq. ; J. Grimm, Deutsche Mytho- (J. Brand, op. at. i. 333). 

■ ogie,^ iii. 356 sq. ^ M. Toppen, Aberglauben aus 

3 James Sowerby, English Botany, Masuren^ {'Dsnzig, 1867), pp. 71 sq.; 
vol, xix. (London, 1804) p. 1319. A. Kuhn, Sagen, Gebrauche und 


for magical 
at Mid- 

virtue of 
on Mid- 

Another plant which popular superstition has often 
associated with the summer solstice is vervain,^ In some 
parts of Spain people gather vervain after sunset on Mid- 
summer Eve, and wash their faces next morning in the 
water in which the plants have been allowed to steep over- 
night.^ In Belgium vervain is gathered on St. John's Day 
and worn as a safeguard against rupture.^ In Normandy 
the peasants cull vervain on the Day or the Eve of St. John, 
believing that, besides its medical properties, it possesses at 
this season the power of protecting the house from thunder 
and lightning, from sorcerers,demons,and thieves.'* Bohemian 
poachers wash their guns with a decoction of vervain and 
southernwood, which they have gathered naked before sun- 
rise on Midsummer Day ; guns which have been thus treated 
never miss the mark.^ In our own country vervain used to 
be sought for its magical virtues on Midsummer Eve.^ In 
the Tyrol they think that he who finds a four-leaved clover 
while the vesper-bell is ringing on Midsummer Eve can work 

Mdrchenaus W^5^/<?« (Leipsic, 1859), 
ii. 176, § 487; E. Hoffmann-Krayer, 
Feste und Brduche des Schweizervolkes 
(Zurich, 1913), p. 163. In Switzerland 
the species employed for this purpose 
on Midsummer day is Sedum rejlexum. 
The custom is reported from the 
Emmenthal. In Germany a root of 
orpine, dug up on St. John's morn- 
ing and hung between the shoulders, 
is sometimes thought to be a cure for 
hemorrhoids (Montanus, Die deutschen 
Volksfeste, p. 145). Perhaps the "ob- 
long, tapering, fleshy, white lumps " of 
the roots (J. Sowerby, English Botany, 
vol. xix. London, 1804, p. 13 19) are 
thought to bear some likeness to the 
hemorrhoids, and to heal them on 
the principle that the remedy should 
resemble the disease. 

^ See above, vol. i. pp. 162, 163, 
165. In England vervain (Verbena 
officinalis) grows not uncommonly by 
road sides, in dry sunny pastures, and 
in waste places about villages. It 
flowers in July. The flowers are small 
and sessile, the corolla of a very pale 
lilac hue, its tube enclosing the four 
short curved stamens. The root of 

the plant, worn by a string round the 
neck, is an old superstitious medicine 
for scrofulous disorders. See James 
Sowerby, English Botany, vol. xi. 
(London, 1800) p. 767. 

2 Dr. Otero Acevado, in Le Temps, 
September 1898. See above, vol. i. 
p. 208, note 1. 

^ Le Baron de Reinsberg-Durings- 
feld, Calendrier Beige (Brussels, 1861- 
1862), i. 422. 

* A. de Nore, Coutumes, Mythes et 
Traditions des Provinces de France, p, 
262 ; Amelie Bosquet, La Normandie 
romanesque et merveilleuse, p. 294 ; 
J. Lecoeur, Esquisses du Bocage Nor- 
mand, i. 287, ii. 8. In Saintonge and 
Aunis the plant was gathered on Mid- 
summer Eve for the purpose of evoking 
or exorcising spirits (J. L. M. Nogues, 
Les mceurs d^autrefois en Saintonge et 
en Aunis, p. 72). 

^ J. V. Grohmann, Aherglauben und 
Gebrduche aus Bdhmen und Mdhren, 
p. 207, § 1437. 

" A. Kuhn, Sagen, Gebrduche und 
Mdrchen aus Westfalen (Leipsic, 1859), 
ii. 177, citing Chambers, Edinburgh 
Journal, 2nd July 1842. 


magic from that time forth. ^ People in Berry say that the 
four-leaved clover is endowed with all its marvellous virtues 
only when it has been plucked by a virgin on the night of 
Midsummer Eve." In Saintonge and Aunis the four-leaved 
clover, if it be found on the Eve of St. John, brings good 
luck at play ; ^ in Belgium it brings a girl a husband.* 

At Kirchvers, in Hesse, people run out to the fields at Camomile 
noon on Midsummer Day to gather camomile ; for the for^^^cai 
:lowers, plucked at the moment when the sun is at the purposes 
highest point of his course, are supposed to possess the summer, 
medicinal qualities of the plant in the highest degree. In 
heathen times the camomile flower, with its healing qualities, 
its yellow calix and white stamens, is said to have been 
sacred to the kindly and shining Balder and to have borne 
his name, being called Balders-brd, that is, Balder's eye- 
lashes.^ In Westphalia, also, the belief prevails that camo- 
mile is most potent as a drug when it has been gathered on 
Midsummer Day;*^ in Masuren the plant must always be 
one of the nine different kinds of plants that are culled on 
Midsummer Eve to form wreaths, and tea brewed from the 
flower is a remedy for many sorts of maladies.' 

Thuringian peasants hold that if the root of the yellow MuUein 
mullein ( Verbascum) has been dug up in silence with a ducat at [j^^'j '"' 
midnight on Midsummer Eve, and is worn in a piece of linen gathered 
next to the skin, it will preserve the wearer from epilepsy.* piL-^^ 
In Prussia girls go out into the fields on Midsummer Day, at Mid- 
gather mullein, and hang it up over their beds. The girl 

* I. V. Zingerle, Sitten, Brduehe oi coxaxaon ozxxioxaxX^i^Anthemisnobilis) 
und Meinungen des Tiroler Volkes ^ are white with a yellow disk, which in 
(Innsbruck, 1871), p. 107, § 919. time becomes conical. The whole 

* Laisnel de la Salle, Croyances et plant is intensely bitter, with a peculiar 
Ugtndes du Centre de la France (Paris, but agreeable smell. As a medicine 
1875), '• 288. it is useful for stomachic troubles. In 

3 J. L. M. Nogues, Les mcturs England it does not generally grow 

d'autrefois en Saintonge et en Aunis, wild. See James Sowerby, English 

pp. 71 sq. Botany, vol. xiv. (London, 1802) p. 

* Le Baron de Reinsberg-DUrings- 980. 

feld, Calendrier Beige, i. 423. ® A. Kuhn, Sagen, Gebrdtuhe und 

* W. Kolbe, Hessische Volks-Sitten Mdrchen aus West/alen CLeipsiCjlS^g), 
und Gebrduche'^ (Marburg, 1888), p. ii. 1 77, § 488. 

72 ; Sophus Bugge, Studien Uber die ^ M. Toppen, Aberglauben aus Mas- 

Entstehung der nordischen Goiter- und urett- (Danzig, 1867), p. 71. 

Heldensagen (Munich, 1889), pp. 35, * A. Witzschel, Sagen, Sitten und 

2955^.; Fr. Kauffmann, ^a/!/<;r(Stras- Gehrduche aus Thiiringen (Vienna, 

burg, 1902), pp. 45, 61. The flowers 1878), p. 289, § 139. 


Seeds of 
and purple 
for magical 
at Mid- 

whose flower is the first to wither will be the first to die/ 
Perhaps the bright yellow flowers of mullein, clustering 
round the stem like lighted candles, may partly account for 
the association of the plant with the summer solstice. In 
Germany great mullein {Verbascum thapsus) is called the 
King's Candle ; in England it is popularly known as High 
Taper. The yellow, hoary mullein {Verbascum pulverulentuni) 
" forms a golden pyramid a yard high, of many hundreds of 
flowers, and is one of the most magnificent of British herb- 
aceous plants." ^ We may trace a relation between mullein 
and the sun in the Prussian custom of bending the flower, 
after sunset, towards the point where the sun will rise, and 
praying at the same time that a sick person or a sick beast 
may be restored to health.^ 

In Bohemia poachers fancy that they can render them- 
selves invulnerable by swallowing the seed from a fir-cone 
which they have found growing upwards before sunrise on 
the morning of St. John's Day.* Again, wild thyme 
gathered on Midsummer Day is used in Bohemia to 
fumigate the trees on Christmas Eve in order that they 
may grow well ; ^ in Voigtland a tea brewed from wild 
thyme which has been pulled at noon on Midsummer 
Day is given to women in childbed.*^ The Germans of 
Western Bohemia brew a tea or wine from elder-flowers, 
but they say that the brew has no medicinal virtue unless 
the flowers have been gathered on Midsummer Eve. They 
do say, too, that whenever you see an elder-tree, you should 
take off your hat.'^ In the Tyrol dwarf-elder serves to detect 
witchcraft in cattle, provided of course that the shrub has 
been pulled up or the branches broken on Midsummer Day.^ 

1 W. J. A. von Tettau und J. D. 
H. Temme, Volkssagen Ostpretissens, 
Litthauens und Westpreiissens (Berlin, 
1837), p. 283. 

'^ James Sowerby, English Botany, 
vol. vii. (London, 1798), p. 487. As 
to great mullein or high taper, see id., 
vol. viii. (London, 1799) P- 549- 

^ Tettau und Temme, loc. cit. As 
to mullein at Midsummer, see also 
above, vol. i. pp. 190, 191. 

* J. V. Grohmann, Aberglauben und 
Gebrduche aus Bohmen und Miihren, 

p. 205, § 1426. 

° J. V. Grohmann, op, cit. p. 93, 
§ 648. 

J. A. E. Kohler, Volkshrauch, 
Aberglauhe7i, Sagen und andre alte 
Ueberlieferungen im Voigtlande (Leip- 
sic, 1867), p. 377. 

^ Alois John, Sitte, Branch und 
Volksglaube im deutschen Westbbhnien 
(Prague, 1905), p. 84. 

8 J. N. Ritter von Alpenburg, 
Mythen und Sagen Tirols (Zurich, 
1857). p. 397- 


Russian peasants regard the plant known as purple loosestrife 
{Lytlirtan salicaria) with respect and even fear. Wizards make 
much use of it. They dig the root up on St. John's morn- 
ing, at break of day, without the use of iron tools ; and they 
believe that by means of the root, as well as of the blossom, 
they can subdue evil spirits and make them serviceable, and 
also drive away witches and the demons that guard treasures.* 

More famous, however, than these are the marvellous Magical 
properties which popular superstition in many parts of auri^'^ 
Europe has attributed to the fern at this season. At lofemseed 
midnight on Midsummer Eve the plant is supposed to summer. 
bloom and soon afterwards to seed ; and whoever catches 
the bloom or the seed is thereby endowed with supernatural 
knowledge and miraculous powers ; above all, he knows 
where treasures lie hidden in the ground, and he can render 
himself invisible at will by putting the seed in his shoe. 
But great precautions must be observed in procuring the 
wondrous bloom or seed, which else quickly vanishes like 
dew on sand or mist in the air. The seeker must neither 
touch it with his hand nor let it touch the ground ; he 
spreads a white cloth under the plant, and the blossom or 
the seed falls into it Beliefs of this sort concerning fern- 
seed have prevailed, with trifling variations of detail, in 
England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Russia."' In 

* C. Russwunn, " Aberglaube aus Thiers, Trait i des Superstitions (Paris, 
Russland," Zeitschrift fiir detitsche 1679), p. 314; J. Lecoeur, Esquisses 
Mythologie und Sittenkunde,'vi. (\%^(j) du Bocage Notmand, L 290; P. 
pp. 153 sg. The purple loosestrife is Sebillot, Coutunus populaires de la 
one of our most showy English wild Haute- Bretagne (Paris, 1886), p. 217 ; 
plants. In July and August it may be id.. Traditions et Superstitions de la 
seen flowering on the banks of rivers. Haute- Bretagne (Paris. 1882), ii. 336 ; 
ponds, and ditches. The separate A. VVuttke, Der deutsche Volks- 
flowers are in axillary whorls, which aberglaube^ (Berlin, 1869), pp. 94 
together form a loose spike of a red- sq., § 123 ; F. J. Vonbun, Bei- 
dish variable purple. See James trdge zur deutschen Mythologie (Chnr, 
Sowerby, English Botany, vol. xv. 1862), pp. 133 sqq.% Montanus, Die 
(London, 1802) p. 1061. deutschen Volksfesten, p. 144; K. 

* J. Brand, Popular Antiquities, i. Bartsch, Sagen, Mcirchen und Ge- 
314 sqq. ; Hilderic Friend, Flowers brduche aus Mecklenburg, ii. 288, 
and Flou'er Lore, ThixA Edition (Lon- § 1437; M. Toppen, Aberglauben 
don, 1886), pp. 60, 78, 150, 279-283 ; aus Masuren,^ p. 72; A. Schlossar, 
Miss C. S. Bume and Miss G. F. •' V'olksmeinung und Volksaberglaube 
Jackson, Shropshire Folk-lore (London, aus der deutschen Steiermark," Ger- 
11883), p. 242; Marie Trevelyan, mania, N.R., xxiv. (1891) p. 387; 

Folk-lore and Folk-stories of Wales Theodor Vemaleken, Mythen und 
(London, 1909), pp. 89 sq. ; J. B. Brduche des Folkes in Oesterrcich 


Bohemia the magic bloom is said to be golden, and to glow 
or sparkle like fire.^ In Russia, they say that at dead oi 
night on Midsummer Eve the plant puts forth buds like 
glowing coals, which on the stroke of twelve burst open 
with a clap like thunder and light up everything near and 
far.^ In the Azores they say that the fern only blooms a1 
midnight on St. John's Eve, and that no one ever sees the 
flower because the fairies instantly carry it off. But if any 
one, watching till it opens, throws a cloth over it, and then 
when the magic hour has passed, burns the blossoms care- 
fully, the ashes will serve as a mirror in which you can reac 
the fate of absent friends ; if your friends are well anc 
happy, the ashes will resume the shape of a lovely flower 
but if they are unhappy or dead, the ashes will remain cole 
and lifeless.^ In Thuringia people think that he who ha: 
on his person or in his house the male fern {Aspidiimi fill: 
mas) cannot be bewitched. They call it St. John's roo 
{Johanniswurzel), and say that it blooms thrice in the yeai 
on Christmas Eve, Easter Eve, and the day of St. John th( 
Baptist ; it should be dug up when the sun enters the sigi 

(Vienna, 1859), p. 309; J. N. Ritter 152 sq. ; A. de Gubernatis, Mythology 

von Alpenburg, My then und Sagen des I'lantes (Paris, 1878- 1882), ii. 14 

Tirols (Zurich, 1857), pp. 407 sq.; sqq. The practice of gathering fern 

I. V. Zingerle, Sittett, Brduche und or fern seed on the Eve of St. John wa 

Meinungen des Tiroler Volkes"^ (Inns- forbidden by the synod of Ferrara i 

bruck, 1871), p. 103, § 882, p. 158, 1612. See J. B. Thiers, TraM di 

§ 1350; Christian Schneller, Mdrchen Superstitions^ (Paris, 1741), i. 29 

und Sagen atis IVd/sc/itiro/ (Innshrndi, sq. In a South Slavonian story w 

1867), p. 237 ; J. V. Grohmann, read how a cowherd understood th 

Aberglauben und Gebrduche aus Boh- language of animals, because fern-see 

men und A/dhren, p. 97, §§ 673-677 ; accidentally fell into his shoe on Mic 

Reinsberg-Diiringsfeld, Fest • Kalendar summer Day (F. S. Krauss, Sagen un 

aus Bbhmen (Prague, N.D.), pp. 311 Mdnhen der Siidslaven,'Le\^s\c, 18S3 

sq.; W. Miiller, Beitrdge ziir Volks- 1884, ii. 424 sqq.. No. 159). O 

kunde der Deutschen in Mdhren this subject I may refer to my artich 

(Vienna and Olmutz, 1893), ?• 265; "The Language of Animals," Tl 

R. F. Kaindl, Die Huuilen (Vienna, Archaeological Review, i. (1888) pj 

1894), p. 106; id., *' Zauberglaube 164^17^. 

bei den liuzulen," Globus, Ixxvi. 1 J. V. Grohmann, op. cit, p. 9; 

(1899) p. 275; P. Drechsler, Sitte, §§673,675. 

Branch und Volksglaube in Schlesien ^ Zeitschrift fiir deutsche Mytholog 

(Leipsic, 1903-1906), i. 142, § 159; und Sittenkunde, iv. (1859) pp. 15 

G. Finamore, Credenze, Usi e Cosliniii sq. ; A. de Gubernatis, Mythologie a 

Abriizzesi (Palermo, 1890), p. 161 ; Plantes, ii. 146. 

C. Russwurm, " Aberglaube in Russ- ^ M. Longworth Dames and E. Set 

land," Zeitschrift fiir deutsche Myth- mann, " Folk-lore of the Azores, 

ologie und Sittenkunde^ iv. (1859) pp. Folk-lore, xiv. (1903) pp. 142 sq. 


of the Hon. Armed with this powerful implement you can 
detect a sorcerer at any gathering, it may be a wedding 
feast or what not All you have to do is to put the root 
under the tablecloth unseen by the rest of the company, 
and, if there should be a sorcerer among them, he will turn 
as pale as death and get up and go away. Fear and horror 
come over him when the fern-root is under the tablecloth. 
And when oxen, horses, or other domestic cattle are be- 
witched by wicked people, you need only take the root 
at full moon, soak it in water, and sprinkle the cattle with 
the water, or rub them down with a cloth that has been 
steeped in it, and witchcraft will have no more power over 
the animals.^ 

Once more, people have fancied that if they cut a branch Branches 
of hazel on Midsummer Eve it would serve them as a divin- a[^^!'^"' 
ing rod. to discover treasures and water. This belief has summer to 
existed in Moravia, Mecklenburg, and apparently in Scot- dildni^- 
land.- In the Mark of Brandenburg, they say that if you r«is. 
would procure the mystic wand you must go to the hazel 
by night on Midsummer Eve, walking backwards, and when 
you have come to the bush you must silently put your 
hands between your legs and cut a fork-shaped stick ; that 
stick will be the divining-rod, and, as such, will detect 
treasures buried in the ground. If you have any doubt 
as to the quality of the wand, you have only to hold it in 
water ; for in that case your true divining-rod will squeak 
like a pig, but your spurious one will not.^ In Bavaria they 
say that the divining-rod should be cut from a hazel bush 
between eleven and twelve on St. John's Night, and that by 
means of it you can discover not only veins of metal and 

* August \Vitzschel, Sagen, Sitten Mdrchen (Berlin, 1843), p. 330. As 
'' UHd Gebrduche aus Thiiringen (Vienna, to the divining-rod in general, see A- 
!l 1878), p. 275, § 82. Kuhn, Die Herabkunft des Feuers und 

* «f »r 11 r> -s ■■ iz It. ^^ Gbttertranks^ (Gtitersloh, 1886), 

* W. Muller, Bet/rage zur Voiks- „ t \- • V. / 
^»nuUd^r Dmtsch^ni» Mdhrcn(\\^r.x,2. PP-,'!'.T:.' I Gnmm i>^«/..>4^ 

^andOlmutz, .893),p. 265; K. Bartsch, ^'^'''fj'^".* . "• 8' 3 f ^- j. f/ ^lJ)^f, 
%Sagm, Marchcntmd Gebrduche aus ^o^AA Curzous Myths of the Mzddle 


On, ,t T X' • c II. I „ Kuhn plausibly suggests that the forked 
". § 1439; J- rsapier. Folk-lore, or , *^ ^ , ' ..^° . , . 

.■7- D I- r ■ sL nr t ^ shape of the divming-rod is a rude 
^rstittous Beliefs tn the West of *^ . r ^ , r ,. 

/ v/D -1 .t-„\ .-,. representation of the human form. He 
'awrf (Paisley, 1879), p. 125. ^ .u u j • 

' ■" t^ ■> compares the shape and magic proper- 

A. Kuhn, Mdrkische Sagen und ties of mandragora. 


underground springs, but also thieves and murderers and 
unknown ways. In cutting it you should say, " God greet 
thee, thou noble twig ! With God the Father I seek thee, 
with God the Son I find thee, with the might of God the 
Holy Ghost I break thee. I adjure thee, rod and sprig, by 
the power of the Highest that thou shew me what I order, 
and that as sure and clear as Mary the Mother of God was 
a pure virgin when she bare our Lord Jesus, in the name of 
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, 
Amen!"^ In Berlin and the neighbourhood they say that 
every seventh year there grows a wonderful branch on a 
hazel bush, and that branch is the divining-rod. Only an 
innocent child, born on a Sunday and nursed in the true 
faith, can find it on St. John's Night ; to him then all the 
treasures of the earth He open.^ In the Tyrol the divining- 
rod ought to be cut at new moon, but may be cut either on 
St. John's Day or on Twelfth Night. Having got it you 
baptize it in the name of one of the Three Holy Kings 
according to the purpose for which you intend to use it : if 
the rod is to discover gold, you name it Caspar ; if it is to 
reveal silver, you call it Balthasar ; and if it is to point out 
hidden springs of water, you dub it Melchior.^ In Lechrain 
the divining-rod is a yearling shoot of hazel with two 
branches ; a good time for cutting it is new moon, and if 
the sun is rising, so much the better. As for the day of 
the year, you may take your choice between St. John's 
Day, Twelfth Night, and Shrove Tuesday. If cut with 
the proper form of words, the rod will as usual discover 
underground springs and hidden treasures.* 

1 F. Panzer, Beitrag zur deutschen that the hazel branch which is tc 

Mythologie (Munich, 1848-1855), i. serve as a divining-rod should be cut 

296 sq. at midnight on Good Friday, and 

'^ E. Krause, '* Aberglaubische that it should be laid on the altai 

Kuren und sonstiger Aberglaube in and mass said over it. If that i; 

Berlin und nachster Umgebung," Zeit- done, we are told that a Protestani 

schrift fur Ethnologie, xv. (1883) p. can use it to quite as good effect as i 

89. Catholic. See E. Meier, Deutschi 

3 J. N. Ritter von Alpenburg, Sagen, Sitten und Gebiduche au. 

Mythen und Sagen Tirols (Zurich, Schwahen (Stuttgart, 1852), pp. 24-: 

1857), p. 393. sq.. No. 268. Some of the Wends o 

* Karl Freiherr von Leoprechting, the Spreewald agree that the divin 

Aus dem Lechrain (Munich, 1855), ing-rod should be made of hazel 

p. 98. Some people in Swabia say wood, and they say that it ought t( 


Midsummer Eve is also the favourite time for procuring The divin- 
the divining-rod in Sweden. Some say that it should then 5^^^^'" 
be cut from a mistletoe bough.^ However, other people in obtained 
Sweden are of opinion that the divining-rod {Slag ruta) summer 
which is obtained on Midsummer Eve ought to be com- E^e. 
pounded out of four different kinds of wood, to wit, mistle- 
toe, mountain-ash, the aspen, and another ; and they say 
that the mountain-ash which is employed for this purpose 
should, like the mistletoe, be a parasite growing from the 
hollow root of a fallen tree, whither the seed was carried by 
a bird or wafted by the wind. Armed with this fourfold 
implement of power the treasure-seeker proceeds at sundown 
to the spot where he expects to find hidden wealth ; there 
he lays the rod on the ground in perfect silence, and when 
it lies directly over treasure, it will begin to hop about as if 
it were alive." 

A mystical plant which to some extent serves the same The 
purpose as the divining-rod is the springwort, which is some- '"y^^'*^ 
times supposed to be caper-spurge {Euphorbia lathyris). In supposed 
the Harz Mountains they say that many years ago there on nm*" 
was a wondrous flower called springwort or Johnswort, which summer 
was as rare as it was marvellous. It bloomed only on St. 
John's Night (some say under a fern) between the hours of 
eleven and twelve ; but when the last stroke of twelve was 
struck, the flower vanished away. Only in mountainous 
regions, where many noble metals reposed in the bosom of 
the earth, was the flower seen now and then in lonely 
meadows among the hills. The spirits of the hills wished 
by means of it to shew to men where their treasures were to 
be found. The flower itself was yellow and shone like a 
lamp in the darkness of night. It never stood still, but kept 

be wrapt in swaddling-bands, laid on munity it has enjoyed ever since the 

a white plate, and baptized on Easter day when it protected the Mother of 

Saturday. Many of them, however, God against a thunderstorm on her 

think that it should be made of "yel- flight into Egypt. Sec Bavaria, Landes- 

low willow." See Wilibald von und Volkskunde cUs Kimigreichs Bayem, 

Schulenburg, Weyidische Volkssagen i. (Munich, i860) p. 371. 

und Gebrmuhe aus dem Spreewald ^ J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie,^ 

(Leipsic, 1880), pp. 204 sq. A re- iii. 289, referring to Dybeck's Runa, 

markable property of the hazel in the 1844, p. 22, and 1845, p. 80. 

opinion of Bavarian peasants is that it * L. Lloyd, Peasant Life in Sweden 

is never struck by lightning ; this im- (London, 1870), pp. 266 x^. 


way of 
the spring- 

hopping constantly to and fro. It was also afraid of men and 
fled before them, and no man ever yet plucked it unless he 
had been set apart by Providence for the task. To him 
who was lucky enough to cull it the flower revealed all 
the treasures of the earth, and it made him rich, oh so rich 
and so happy ! ^ 

However, the usual account given of the springwort is 
somewhat difierent. They say that the way to procure it is 
this. You mark a hollow in a tree where a green or black 
woodpecker has built its nest and hatched its young ; you 
plug up the hole with a wooden wedge ; then you hide 
behind the tree and wait. The woodpecker meantime has 
flown away but very soon returns with the springwort in its 
bill. It flutters up to the tree-trunk holding the springwort 
to the wedge, which at once, as if struck by a hammer, jumps 
out with a bang. Now is your chance. You rush from 
your concealment, you raise a loud cry, and in its fright the 
bird opens its bill and drops the springwort. Quick as 
thought you reach out a red or white cloth, with which you 
have taken care to provide yourself, and catch the magic 
flower as it falls. The treasure is now yours. Before its 
marvellous power all doors and locks fly open ; it can make 
the bearer of it invisible ; and neither steel nor lead can 
wound the man who carries it in the right-hand pocket of 
his coat. That is why people in Swabia say of a thief who 
cannot be caught, " He must surely have a springwort." - 

^ Heinrich Prohle, Harzsagen (Leip- 
sic, 1859), i. 99, No. 23. 

^ J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie,'^ 
ii. 812 sq., iii. 289; A. Kuhn, Die 
Herabkunft des Fetters iind des Gotter- 
tranks^ (Gutersloh, 1886), pp. 188- 
193; Walter K. Kelly, Curiosities of 
Indo-European Tradition and Folk- 
lore (London, 1863), pp. 174-178; J. 
F. L. Woeste, Volksiiberlieferuttgen in 
der Grafschaft Mark (Iserlohn, 1848), 
p. 44 ; A. Kuhn und W. Schwartz, 
Norddeutsche Sagen, Miirchen und Ge- 
brduclie (Leipsic, 1848), p. 459, No. 
444 ; Ernst Meier, Deutsche Sagen, 
Sitten und Gebrauche aus Schwaben 
(Stuttgart, 1852), pp. 240 sq., No. 
265; C. Russwurm, " Aberglaube in 
Russland," Zeitschrift fiir deutsche 

Mythologie tind Sittenkunde, iv. (Got- 
tingen, 1859) p. 153; J. V. Groh- 
mann, Aberglauben und Gebrauche aus 
Bohmen und Mdhren (Prague and 
Leipsic, 1864), p. 88, No. 623; Paul 
Drechsler, Sitte, Branch und Volks- 
glaube in Schlesien (Leipsic, 1903- 
1906), ii. 207 sq. In Swabia some 
people say that the bird which brings 
the springwort is not the woodpecker 
but the hoopoe (E. Meier, op. cit. 
p. 240). Others associate the spring- 
wort with other birds. See IL Prohle, 
Harzsagen (Leipsic, 1859), ii. 116, No. 
308 ; A. Kuhn, Die Herabkunft des 
Feuers^ p. 190. It is from its power 
of springing or bursting open all doors 
and locks that the springwort derives 
its name (German Springwurzel). 


The superstition which associates the springAvort with the 
woodpecker is very ancient, for it is recorded by Pliny. It 
was a vulgar belief, he tells us, that if a shepherd plugged 
up a woodpecker's nest in the hollow of a tree with a 
wedge, the bird would bring a herb which caused the wedge 
to slip out of the hole ; Trebius indeed affirmed that the 
wedge leaped out with a bang, however hard and fast you 
might have driven it into the tree.^ Another flower which The white 
possesses the same remarkable power of bursting open all ^[^'" °'^ 

^ _ * _ or chicory. 

doors and locks is chicory', provided always that you cut 
the flower with a piece of gold at noon or midnight on St. 
James's Day, the twenty-fifth of July. But in cutting it 
you must be perfectly silent ; if you utter a sound, it is all 
up with you. There was a man who was just about to cut 
the flower of the chicory, when he looked up and saw a 
millstone hovering over his head. He fled for his life and 
fortunately escaped ; but had he so much as opened his lips, 
the millstone would have dropped on him and crushed him 
as flat as a pancake. However, it is only a rare white 
variety of the chicory flower which can act as a picklock ; 
the common bright blue flower is perfectly useless for the 

Many more examples might perhaps be cited of the The 
marvellous virtues which certain plants have been supposed ™^'*=^^ 

i trr virtues 

to acquire at the summer solstice, but the foregoing instances ascribed 
may suffice to prove that the superstition is widely spread, ^° \^^ 
deeply rooted, and therefore probably very ancient in Europe, summer 
Why should plants be thought to be endowed with these "bought to 
wonderful properties on the longest day more than on any other ^ derived 
day of the year ? It seems difficult or impossible to explain sun. then 
such a belief except on the supposition that in some mystic at the 
way the plants catch from the sun, then at the full height of his power 
his power and glory, some fleeting effluence of radiant light ^^^ sio^y- 
and heat, which invests them for a time with powers above 
the ordinary for the healing of diseases and the unmasking 
and baffling of all the evil things that threaten the life of man. 
That the supposition is not purely hypothetical will appear 
from a folk-tale, to be noticed later on, in which the magic 

* Pliny, Nat. Hist. x. 40. ten und Gebrduch^ aus Schu>abm (Stutt- 

* Ernst Meier, Deutsche Sagen, Sit- gart, 1852), pp. 238 sg,. No. 264. 


Hence it 
is possible 
that the 
stand in 
relation to 
the sun. 

This con- 
tends to 
bring us 
back to 
an inter- 
the rival 
theories of 


bloom of the fern is directly derived from the sun at noon on 
Midsummer Day. And if the magic flowers of Midsummer 
Eve thus stand in direct relation to the sun, which many of 
them resemble in shape and colour, blooming in the meadows 
like little yellow suns fallen from the blue sky, does it 
not become probable that the bonfires kindled at the 
same time are the artificial, as the flowers are the natural, 
imitations of the great celestial fire then blazing in all its 
strength? At least analogy seems to favour the inference and 
so far to support Mannhardt's theory, that the bonfires kindled 
at the popular festivals of Europe, especially at the summer 
solstice, are intended to reinforce the waning or waxing fires 
of the sun. Thus if in our enquiry into these fire-festivals 
the scales of judgment are loaded with the adverse theories of 
Mannhardt and Westermarck, we may say that the weight, 
light as it is, of the magic flowers of Midsummer Eve seems to 
incline the trembling balance back to the side of Mannhardt. 
Nor is it, perhaps, an argument against Mannhardt's view 
that the midsummer flowers and plants are so often employed 
as talismans to break the spells of witchcraft.^ For granted 
that employment, which is undeniable, we have still to 
explain it, and that we can hardly do except by reference to 
the midsummer sun. And what is here said of the mid- 
summer flowers applies equally to the midsummer bonfires. 
They too are used to destroy the charms of witches and war- 
locks ; but if they can do so, may it not be in part because 
fires at midsummer are thought to burn with fiercer fury than 
at other times by sympathy with the fiercer fervour of the 
sun ? This consideration would bring us back to an inter- 
mediate position between the opposing theories, namely, to 
the view that while the purely destructive aspect of fire is 
generally the most prominent and apparently the most im- 
portant at these festivals, we must not overlook the additional 
force which by virtue of homoeopathic or imitative magic the 
bonfires may be supposed both to derive from and to impart 
to the sun, especially at the moment of the summer s'olstice 
when his strength is greatest and begins to decline, and when 
accordingly he can at once give and receive help to the 
greatest advantage. 

' See above, pp. 45, 46, 49, 54, 55, 59, 60, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67. 


To conclude this part of our subject it may not be amiss Miscei- 
to illustrate by a few more miscellaneous examples the belief i''»"«>"f 


that Midsummer Eve is one of the great days of the year in of the 
which witches and warlocks pursue their nefarious calling: ; ^^^^^ 

'^ ° ' activity 

indeed in this respect Midsummer Eve perhaps stands second of witches 

only to the famous Walpurgis Night (the Eve of May Day). ^^^^^ 

For instance, in the neighbourhood of Lierre, in Belgium, the and of the 

people think that on the night of Midsummer Eve all witches ^^i^""t°s^ 

and warlocks must repair to a certain field which is indicated necessary 

to them beforehand. There they hold their infernal Sabbath againsl 

and are passed in review by a hellish magician, who bestows them at 

on them fresh powers. That is why old women are most 

careful, before going to bed on that night, to stop up doors 

and windows and ever>' other opening in order to bar out the 

witches and warlocks, who but for this sage precaution might 

steal into the house and make the first trial of their new 

powers on the unfortunate inmates.^ At Rottenburg, in 

Swabia, people thought that the devil and the witches could 

do much harm on Midsummer Eve ; so they made fast 

their shutters and bunged up even the chinks and crannies, 

for wherever air can penetrate, there the devil and witches 

can worm their way in. All night long, too, from nine in 

the evening till break of day, the church bells rang to disturb 

the dreadful beings at their evil work, since there is perhaps 

no better means of putting the whole devilish crew to flight 

than the sound of church bells." Down to the second half witches 

of the nineteenth century the belief in witches was still I" \o'S^- 


widespread in Voigtland, a bleak mountainous region of 
Central Germany. It was especially on the Eve of May 
Day (Walpurgis), St. Thomas's Day, St. John's Day, and 
Christmas Eve, as well as on Mondays, that they were 
dreaded. Then they would come into a neighbour's house 
to beg, borrow, or steal something, no matter what ; but 
woe to the poor wretch who suffered them to carrj- away 
so much as a chip or splinter of wood ; for they would 
certainly use it to his undoing. On these witching nights 
the witches rode to their Sabbath on baking-forks and the 

t Le Baron de Reinsberg-Diirings- * Anton Birlinger, VolksthumlUhes 

feld, Calatdrier Beige (Brussels, 1861- aus Schwaben (Freiburg im Brei^au, 
1862), i. 423 sq. (1861-1862), i. 278, § 437. 


dashers of churns ; but if when they were hurtling through 
the darkness any one standing below addressed one of 
the witches by name, she would die within the year. To 
counteract and undo the spells which witches cast on man 
and beast, people resorted to all kinds of measures. Thus 
on the before-mentioned days folk made three crosses on the 
doors of the byres or guarded them by hanging up St. John's 
wort, marjoram, or other equally powerful talismans. Very 
often, too, the village youth would carry the war into the 
enemy's quarters by marching out in a body, cracking whips, 
firing guns, waving burning besoms, shouting and making an 
uproar, all for the purpose of frightening and driving away 
'rhe the witches.^ In Prussia witches and warlocks used regularly 

Sabbafh in to assemble twice a year on Walpurgis Night and the Eve 
Prussia on qJ- 3|-^ \o\\x\. The placcs where they held their infernal 

Walpurgis ^ , , / . ^ , ,, , . . 

Night and Sabbath were various ; for example, one was Fogdanzig, m 

^^^' the district of Schlochau. They generally rode on a baking- 

summer ^ O ^ o 

Eve. fork, but often on a black three-legged horse, and they took 

their departure up the chimney with the words, " Up and 

away and nowhere to stop ! " When they were all gathered 

on the Blocksberg or Mount of the Witches, they held high 

revelry, feasting first and then dancing on a tight rope 

lefthanded-wise to the inspiring strains which an old warlock 

Mid- drew from a drum and a pig's head." The South Slavs 

Ev'eT' believe that on the night of Midsummer Eve a witch will 

witching slink up to the fence of the farmyard and say, " The cheese 

among the to me, the lard to me, the butter to me, the milk to me, but 

South ^j^g cowhide to thee ! " After that the cow will perish 

miserably and you will be obliged to bury the flesh and sell 

the hide. To prevent this disaster the thing to do is to go 

out into the meadows very early on Midsummer morning 

while the dew is on the grass, collect a quantity of dew in a 

waterproof mantle, carry it home, and having tethered your 

cow wash her down with the dew. After that you have 

only to place a milkpail under her udders and to milk away 

as hard as you can ; the amount of milk that you will 

extract from that cow's dugs is quite surprising. Again, the 

1 Robert Eisel, Sagenbuch des Voigt- Temme, Die Volkssagen Ostpreussetts, 
landes (Gera, 1871), p. 210, Nr. 551. Litthaiiens und IVestpreussens (Berlin, 

2 W. J. A. von Tettau und J. D. H. 1837), pp. 263 sg. 


Slovenians about Gorz and the Croats of Istria believe that 
on the same night the witches wage pitched battles with 
baptized folk, attacking them fiercely with broken stakes of 
palings and stumps of trees. It is therefore a wise precau- 
tion to grub up all the stumps in autumn and carry them 
home, so that the witches may be weaponless on St. John's 
Night. If the stumps are too heavy to be grubbed up, it 
is well to ram them down tighter into the earth, for then 
the witches will not be able to pull them up.^ 

^ F. S. Krauss, Volksglaube uiid religioser Brauch der Siidslaveii (Munster 
i. W,, 1890), p. 128. 



of the fire- 
festivals to 
the myth 
of Balder. 

of the 

for the 

The reader may remember that the preceding account of 
the popular fire-festivals of Europe was suggested by the 
myth of the Norse go d Balder^ who \f=, Sr"'*^ ^^ Vi-3v*>_ been 
slai n by a br a nch of mistletoe and burnt in a grea^ ^re. We 
"Have now to enquire how far the customs which have been 
passed in review help to shed light on the myth. In this 
enquiry it may be convenient to begin with the mistletoe, 
the instrument of Balder's death. 

From time immemorial the mistletoe has been the 
object of superstitious veneration in Europe. It was 
worshipped by the Druids, as we learn from a famous 
passage of Pliny. After enumerating the different kinds of 
mistletoe, he proceeds : "In treating of this subject, the 
admiration in which the mistletoe is held throughout Gaul 
ought not to pass unnoticed. The Druids, for so they call 
their wizards, esteem nothing more sacred than the mistletoe 
and the tree on which it grows, provided only that the tree is 
an oak. But apart from this they choose oak-woods for their 
sacred groves and perform no sacred rites without oak-leaves ; 
so that the very name of Druids may be regarded as a Greek 
appellation derived from their worship of the oak.^ For 

* Pliny derives the name Druid from 
the Greek drus, "oak." He did not 
know that the Celtic word for oak was 
the same (daur), and that therefore 
Druid, in the sense of priest of the oak, 
might be genuine Celtic, not borrowed 
from the Greek. This etymology is 
accepted by some modern scholars. See 
G. Curlius, Griindziige der Griechischen 

Etymologie'° (Leipsic, 1879), pp. 238 
sq. ; A. Vanicek, Griechisch-Lateinisch 
Etymologisches Worterbuch (Leipsic, 
1877), pp. 368 sqq. ; (Sir) John Rhys, 
Celtic Heathendom (London and Edin- 
burgh, 1888), pp. 221 sqq. However, 
this derivation is disputed by other 
scholars, who prefer to derive tho 
name from a word meaning kno\s - 



they believe that whatever grows on these trees is sent from 
heaven, and is a sign that the tree has been chosen by the 
god himself. The mistletoe is very rarely to be met with ; 
but when it is found, they gather it with solemn ceremony. 
This they do above all on the sixth day of the moon, from 
whence they date the beginnings of their months, of their 
years, and of their thirty years' cycle, because by the sixth 
day the moon has plenty of vigour and has not run half its 
course. After due preparations have been made for a 
sacrifice and a feast under the tree, they hail it as the 
universal healer and bring to the spot two white bulls, 
whose horns have never been bound before. A priest clad 
in a white robe climbs the tree and with a golden sickle 
cuts the mistletoe, which is caught in a white cloth. Then 
they sacrifice the victims, praying that God may make his 
own gift to prosper with those upon whom he has bestowed 
it. They believe that a potion prepared from mistletoe will 
make barren animals to bring forth, and that the plant is a 
remedy against all poison. So much of men's religion is 
commonly concerned with trifles." ^ 

ledge or wisdom, so that Druid would Athenattim, November 21st, 1891, p. 

mean " wizard " or "magician." See 687. I also misunderstood Pliny's 

J. Grimm, Deutsche MythologU,^ words, "<•/ saeculi fcst triusimum 

iii. 305; Otto Schrader, ReedUxikott annum, quia jam virium abunde habeat 

der Indogermanischen Altertumskunde nee sit sui dimidia," applying them 

(Strasburg, 1901), pp. 638 sq. ; H. to the tree instead of to the moon, to 

D'Arbois de Jubainville, Les Druides which they really refer. Ahtt saeculi ve 

et les Dicux Celtiqius a forme d'ani- must understand principium from the 

matix (Paris, 1906), pp. I, II, 83 sqq. "pxcceAing frincipia. With the thirty 

The last-mentioned scholar formerly years' cj'cle of the Druids we may 

held that the etymologj- of Druid was compare the sixty years' cycle of the 

unknown. See his Caurs de Littirature Boeotian festival of the Great Daedala 

Celtique, i. (Paris, 1 883) pp. 1 1 7- 1 27. (Pausanias, ix. 3. 5; see The Magit 

^ Pliny, Nat. Hist, xvi 249-251. Art and the Evolution of Kin^s, iL 

In the first edition of this book I under- 140 sq.), which, like the Druidical rite 

stood Pliny to say that the Druidical in question, was essentially a worship, 

ceremony of cutting the mistletoe fell or perhaps rather a conjuration, of the 

in the sixth month, that is, in June ; sacred oak. Whether any deeper 

and heace I argued that it probably affinity, based on common Arjan 

formed part of the midsummer festival. descent, may be traced between the 

But in accordance with Latin usage the Boeotian and the Druidical ceremony, 

words of Pliny {sexta luna, literally I do not pretend to determine. In 

"sixth moon") can only mean "the India a cycle of sixty years, based on 

sixth day of the month." I have to the sidereal revolution of Jupiter, has 

thank my friend Mr. W. Warde Fowler long been in use. The sidereal re- 

for courteously pointing out my mistake volution of Jupiter is accomplished in 

to me. Compare my note in the approximately twelve solar years (more 


Medical In anothcr passage Pliny tells us that in medicine the 

nialicai mistletoe which grows on an oak was esteemed the most 
virtues efficHcious, and that its efficacy was by some superstitious 
mistletoe in pcoplc supposcd to be increased if the plant was gathered 
ancient on the first day of the moon without the use of iron, and if 
^ ^' when gathered it was not allowed to touch the earth ; oak- 

mistletoe thus obtained was deemed a cure for epilepsy ; 
carried about by women it assisted them to conceive ; and 
it healed ulcers most effectually, if only the sufferer chewed 
a piece of the plant and laid another piece on the sore.^ 
Yet, again, he says that mistletoe was supposed, like 
vinegar and an &%%, to be an excellent means of extinguish- 
ing a fire.^ 
Agreement If in thcsc latter passages Pliny refers, as he apparently 

the^ruids c^OGs, to the beliefs current among his contemporaries in 
and the Italy, it will follow that the Druids and the Italians were to 
Italians as somc extent agreed as to the valuable properties possessed 
to the vaiu- by mistlctoc which grows on an oak ; both of them deemed 
perties of it an effectual remedy for a number of ailments, and both of 
them ascribed to it a quickening virtue, the Druids believing 
that a potion prepared from mistletoe would fertilize barren 
cattle, and the Italians holding that a piece of mistletoe 
carried about by a woman would help her to conceive a 
child. Further, both peoples thought that if the plant were 
to exert its medicinal properties it must be gathered in a 
certain way and at a certain time. It might not be cut 
with iron, hence the Druids cut it with gold ; and it might 
not touch the earth, hence the Druids caught it in a white 
cloth. In choosing the time for gathering the plant, both 
peoples were determined by observation of the moon ; only 
they differed as to the particular day of the moon, the 
Italians preferring the first, and the Druids the sixth. 

exactly II years and 315 days), so that {1889) pp. 193-209 ; J. F. Fleet, "A 
five of its revolutions maive a period of New System of the Sixty-year Cycle of 
approximately sixty years. It seems, Jupiter," ibid. pp. 221-224. I" Tibet 
further, that in India a much older cycle the use of a sixty-years' cycle has been 
of sixty lunar years was recognized. borrowed from India. See W. Wood- 
See Christian Lassen, IndiscJu' Alter- ville Rockhill, ^^TWxi,^^ Journal of the 
thumskunde, \? (Lei])sic, 1S67), pp. Royal Asiatic Society for iSgi {'LonAon, 
988 sqq. ; Prof. F. Kielhorn (Gottin- 1891), p. 207 note '. 
gen), "The Sixty • year Cycle of ' Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxiv. ri sq. 
Jupiter," The Indian Antiquary, xviii. ^ Pliny, Nat. Hist, xxxiii. 94. 



With these beh'efs of the ancient Gauls and Italians as similar 
to the wonderful medicinal properties of mistletoe we may |^|l^^*tietoe 
compare the similar beliefs of the modern Ainos of Japan, among the 
We read that they, " like many nations of the Northern ja^n.° 
origin, hold the mistletoe in peculiar veneration. They 
look upon it as a medicine, good in almost every disease, 
and it is sometimes taken in food and at others separately 
as a decoction. The leaves are used in preference to the 
berries, the latter being of too sticky a nature for general 
purposes. . . . But many, too, suppose this plant to have 
the power of making the gardens bear plentifully. When 
used for this purpose, the leaves are cut up into fine pieces, 
and, after having been prayed over, are sown with the millet 
and other seeds, a little also being eaten with the food. 
Barren women have also been known to eat the mistletoe, 
in order to be made to bear children. That mistletoe 
which grows upon the willow is supposed to have the 
greatest efficacy. This is because the willow is looked upon 
by them as being an especially sacred tree." ^ 

Thus the Ainos agree with the Druids in regarding similar 
mistletoe as a cure for almost every disease, and they agree ^^^'^.^s as 

. , J i> to mistletoe 

with the ancient Italians that applied to women it helps among the 
them to bear children. A similar belief as to the fertilizine J°"^ 

t> Straits 

influence of mistletoe, or of similar plants, upon women is islanders 
entertained by the natives of Mabuiag, an island in Torres \vaios^of 
Straits. These savages imagine that twins can be produced Sene- 
" by the pregnant woman touching or breaking a branch of ^*™ '^ 
a loranthaceous plant {Viscuin sp., probably V. orientale) 
parasitic on a tree, mader. The wood of this tree is much 
esteemed for making digging sticks and as firewood, no 
twin-producing properties are inherent in it, nor is it re- 
garded as being infected with the properties of its twin- 
producing parasite."^ Again, the Druidical notion that the 
mistletoe was an "all-healer" or panacea may be compared 
with a notion entertained by the Walos of Senegambia. 
These people " have much veneration for a sort of mistletoe, 
which they call tob ; they carry leaves of it on their persons 

1 Rev. John Batchelor, The Ainu - Reports of the Cambridge Anthro- 

and their Folk-lore (London, 1901), p. pologiccd Expedition to Torres Straits, 
-22. V. (Cambridge, 1904) pp. 198 sq. 








in a notion 

that the 


has Allien 



Such a 




the ritual 

used in 



and other 


when they go to war as a preservative against wounds, just 
as if the leaves were real talismans {gris-gris)." The French 
writer who records this practice adds : " Is it not very- 
curious that the mistletoe should be in this part of Africa 
what it was in the superstitions of the Gauls ? This preju- 
dice, common to the two countries, may have the same 
origin ; blacks and whites will doubtless have seen, each of 
them for themselves, something supernatural in a plant 
which grows and flourishes without having roots in the earth. 
May they not have believed, in fact, that it was a plant 
fallen from the sky, a gift of the divinity ? " ^ 

This suggestion as to the origin of the superstition is 
strongly confirmed by the Druidical belief, reported by Pliny, 
that whatever grew on an oak was sent from heaven and 
was a sign that the tree had been chosen by the god him- 
self.^ Such a belief explains why the Druids cut the 
mistletoe, not with a common knife, but with a golden sickle,^ 
and why, when cut, it was not suffered to touch the earth ; 

^ M. le baron Roger (ancien Gouver- 
neur de la Colonic fran9aise du Sene- 
gal), " Notice sur le Gouvernement, 
les Moeurs, et les Superstitions des 
Negres du pays de Walo," Bulletin de 
la Soci^ld de Giographie, viii. (Paris, 
1827) pp. 357 sq. 

2 Above, p. 77. 

^ Compare The Times, 2nd April, 
1901, p. 9 : "The Tunis correspondent 
of the Temps reports that in the course 
of certain operations in the Belvedere 
Park in Tunis the workmen discovered 
a huge circle of enormous stumps of 
trees ranged round an immense square 
stone showing signs of artistic chisel 
work. In the neighbourhood were 
found a sort of bronze trough contain- 
ing a gold sickle in perfect preserva- 
tion, and a sarcophagus containing a 
skeleton. About the forehead of the 
skeleton was a gold band, having in 
the centre the image of the sun, accom- 
panied by hieratic signs, which are pro- 
visionally interpreted as the monogram 
of Teulates. The discovery of such 
remains in North Africa has created a 
sensation." As to the Celtic god Teu- 
tates and the human sacrifices offered 
to him, see Lucan, Pharsalia, i. 
444 J?- : 

^^ Et qiiibics immitis plaiatur sanguine 
Telltales horrcnsque feris altaribus 

Compare (Sir) Jolin Rhys, Celtic 
Heathendom (London and Edinburgh, 
1888), pp. 44 sqq., 232. Branches of 
the sacred olive at Olympia, which 
were to form the victors' crowns, had 
to be cut with a golden sickle by a boy 
whose parents were both alive. See 
the Scholiast on Pindar, Olymp. iii. 
60, p. 102, ed. Aug. Boeck (Leipsic, 
18 1 9). In Assyrian ritual it was laid 
down that, before felling a sacred tama- 
risk to make magical images out of the 
wood, the magician should pray to the 
sun-god Shamash and touch the tree 
with a golden axe. See C. Fossey, 
La Afagie Assyrienne (Paris, 1902), 
pp. 132 sq. Some of the ancients 
thought that the root of the marsh- 
mallow, which was used in medicine, 
should be dug up with gold and then 
preserved from contact w ith the ground 
(Pliny, Nat. Hist. xx. 29). At the 
great horse-sacrifice in ancient India it 
was prescribed by ritual that the horse 
should be slain by a golden knife, 
because "gold is lighl" and "by 


probably they thought that the celestial plant would have 
been profaned and its marvellous virtue lost by contact with 
the ground. With the ritual observed by the Druids in 
cutting the mistletoe we may compare the ritual which in 
Cambodia is prescribed in a similar case. They say that 
when you see an orchid growing as a parasite on a tamarind 
tree, you should dress in white, take a new earthenware pot, 
then climb the tree at noon, break off the plant, put it in the 
pot, and let the pot fall to the ground. After that you 
make in the pot a decoction which confers the gift of invul- 
nerability.^ Thus just as in Africa the leaves of one parasitic 
plant are supposed to render the wearer invulnerable, so in 
Cambodia a decoction made from another parasitic plant is 
considered to render the same service to such as make use of 
it, whether by drinking or washing. We may conjecture 
that in both places the notion of invulnerability is suggested 
by the position of the plant, which, occupying a place of 
comparative security above the ground, appears to promise 
to its fortunate possessor a similar security from some of 
the ills that beset the life of man on earth. We have 
already met with many examples of the store which the 
primitive mind sets on such vantage grounds." 

Whatever may be the origin of these beliefs and The 
practices concerning the mistletoe, certain it is that some ^ilg^fgand 
of them have their analogies in the folk-lore of modern practices 

T^ . T-< 1 'i • 1 'J J concerning 

European peasants. For example, it is laid down as a mistletoe 
rule in various parts of Europe that mistletoe may not be have their 
cut in the ordinary way but must be shot or knocked down ;„ modern 
with stones from the tree on which it is growing. Thus, in European 


means of the golden light the sacrificer Nat. Hist. xxiv. 68, 103, 176; and 
also goes to the heavenly world." See above, p. 65 (as to purple loosestrife 
The Satapatha-Brdhmana, translated in Russia). On the objection to the 
by Julius Eggeling, Part v. (Oxford, use of iron in such cases compare F. 
1900) p. 303 (Sacred Books of the Liebrecht, Des Gervasius von Tilbury 
East, vol. xliv.). It has been a rule of Otia Imperialia (Hanover, 1856), pp. 
superstition both in ancient and modem 102 sq. ; Taboo and the Perils of the 
times that certain plants, to which Soul, pp. 225 sqq. 
medical or magical virtues were attri- * Etienne Aymonier, " Notes sur les 
bated, should not be cut with iron. Coutumes et Croyances Superstitieuses 
See the fragment of Sophocles 's Pool- des Cambodgiens," Cochiruhine Fran- 
cutters, quoted by Macrobius, Saturn. ^aise. Excursions et Reconnaissance 
V. 19. 9 sq. ; Virgil, Aen. iv. 513 sq. ; No. 16 (Saigon, 1883), p. 136. 
Ovid, Metanwrph. vii. 227 ; Pliny, ^ gee above, vol. i. pp. 2 sqq. 







to mistletoe 

seem to be 





from the 


nature of 

the plant. 

At Kirton-in-Lindsey, in Lincolnshire, it is thought th, 
St. Vitus's dance may be cured by the water in vvhic 
mistletoe berries have been boiled.^ In the Scotch shin 
of Elgin and Moray, down to the second half of tl 
eighteenth century, at the full moon of March people use 
to cut withes of mistletoe or ivy, make circles of them, kec 
them all the year, and profess to cure hectics and oth< 
troubles by means of them.^ In Sweden, apparently, f( 
other complaints a sprig of mistletoe is hung round tl 
patient's neck or a ring of it is worn on his finger,^ 

However, the opinion of the medical profession as 1 
the curative virtues of mistletoe has undergone a radic 
alteration. Whereas the Druids thought that mistletc 
cured everything, modern doctors appear to think that 
cures nothing.* If they are right, we must conclude th; 
the ancient and widespread faith in the medicinal virtue ( 
mistletoe is a pure superstition based on nothing better tha 
the fanciful inferences which ignorance has drawn from th 
parasitic nature of the plant, its position high up on the branc 
of a tree seeming to protect it from the dangers to whic 
plants and animals are subject on the surface of the grouni 
From this point of view we can perhaps understand wh 
mistletoe has so long and so persistently been prescribed i 
a cure for the falling sickness. As mistletoe cannot fall t 
the ground because it is rooted on the branch of a tree hig 
above the earth, it seems to follow as a necessary cor 
sequence that an epileptic patient cannot possibly fall dow 
in a fit so long as he carries a piece of mistletoe in h 
pocket or a decoction of mistletoe in his stomach. Sue 
a train of reasoning would probably be regarded even no 
as cogent by a large portion of the human species. 

Again the ancient Italian opinion that mistletoe e> 

^ County Folk-lore, vol. v. Lincoln- 
shire, collected by Mrs. Gutch and 
Mabel Peacock (London, 1908), p. 

2 Rev. Mr. Shawr, Minister of Elgin, 
quoted by Thomas Pennant in his 
"Tour in Scotland, 1769," printed in 
J. Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels, 
iii. (London, 1809) p. 136; J. Brand, 
Popular Antiquities of Great Britain 
(London, 1882-1883), iii. 151. 

3 Walter K. Kelly, Curiosities 
Indo-European Tradition and Folk-lo 
(London, 1863), p. 186. 

* On this point Prof. P. J. \ c 
("De Leer der Signatuur," Intemi 
tionales Archiv fiir Ethnogiaphie, vi 
(1894) p. 112) quotes Cauvet, El 
ments d'Histoire naturelle medical 
ii. 290 : ^'Lafamille des Loranthaci 
ne nous offre aucun intdret.^^ 


nguishes fire appears to be shared by Swedish peasants. The 
ho hang up bunches of oak-mistletoe on the ceilings of njjsfieto^* 
leir rooms as a protection against harm in general and extin- 
mflagration in particular.^ A hint as to the way in f^s^ms 
hich mistletoe comes to be possessed of this property is based on a 
irnished by the epithet "thunder-besom," which people of jt fails on 
le Aarffau canton in Switzerland apply to the plant.' For ^^^ ^^ *° 
'thunder-besom is a shagg,^ bushy excrescence on branches'^^"! 

trees, which is popularly believed to be produced by a 
ish of lightning ; ' hence in Bohemia a thunder-besom 
irnt in the fire protects the house against being struck by 

thunder-bolt.* Being itself a product of lightning it 
iturally serves, on homoeopathic principles, as a protection 
^ainst lightning, in fact as a kind of lightning-conductor, 
[ence the fire which mistletoe in Sweden is designed 
specially to avert from houses may be fire kindled by 

htning ; though no doubt the plant is equally effective 

ainst conflagration in general. 
Again, mistletoe acts as a master - key as well as a other 

htning-conductor : for it is said to open'all locks.^ How- wonderful 

t> » i^ _ properties 

er, in the Tyrol it can only exert this power " under ascribed to 
prtain circumstances," which are not specified.^ But per- "'^rtira- 
laps the most precious of all the virtues of mistletoe is that lar it is 
\ affords efficient protection against sorcery and witchcraft." [o*be a^ 
["hat, no doubt, is the reason why in Austria a twig of protection 
jiistletoe is laid on the threshold as a preventive of night- ^t^^u 
lare ; ® and it may be the reason why in the north of 

j * A. Kuhn, Die Herabkunft des des JCdnigreuhs Bayem, L (Munich, 

fetters und des Gottertranks^ (GUters- i860), p. 371. 

)h, 1886), p. 205, referring to Dybeck, * A. Kuhn, Die Herabkunft des 

luna, 1845, p. 80. Feuers und des Gottertranks^ p. 206, 

« A. Kuhn, op. cit. p. 204, referring ^^^^f^l ^° ^,^'^"' ^^!P^' P' '55 ; 

, Rochhok, X>lzc;«W.^« ausd. P'°f- ^- .J'/^^' ."^^Z Lee/. ^^ 

'armu ii. 202. Signatuur," IntematumaUs Archtvfur 

* Ethnographie, viL (1904) p. III. 

' J. Grimm, Deutsche MythologU,^ 6 j. n. Ritter von Alpenburg, 

*53- Mythen und Sagen Tirols (Zurich, 

* J. V. Grohmarm, Aberglauben und 1857), p. 398. 

"rebrdtuhe aus Bbhmen und Mdhren "^ A. Wuttke, Der deutsche Volks- 

Prague and Leipsic, 1864), p. 37, aherglaube^ (Berlin, 1869), p. 97, § 

21S. In Upper Bavaria the mistletoe 128 ; Prof. P. J. Veth, " De Leer der 

i burned for this purpose along with Signatuiu',"' Internationales Archiv fiir 

lie so-called palm - branches which ^/A/w^ra/Aiir, vii. (1894) p. III. 

rere consecrated on Palm Sunday. * A. Wuttke, op. cit. p. 267, § 

iee Bccvaria, Landes- und Volkskunde 419. 


old tradition that the summer solstice was the time when 
the good god came to his untimely end. 
Hence the Thus it has been shewn that the leading incidents of 

Bdder°was ^^^ Balder myth have their counterparts in those fire-festivals 
probably of our European peasantry which undoubtedly date from a 
pianTtbn ^^"^^ ^°"S prioi* to the introduction of Christianity. The 
given of a pretence of throwing the victim chosen by lot into the 
simiarn e. j^gj^-g^j^g f^^g 1 ^^^ ^^ similar treatment of the man, the future 
Green Wolf, at the midsummer bonfire in Normandy,^ may 
naturally be interpreted as traces of an older custom of 
actually burning human beings on these occasions ; and the 
green dress of the Green Wolf, coupled with the leafy 
envelope of the young fellow who trod out the midsummer 
fire at Moosheim,^ seems to hint that the persons who 
perished at these festivals did so in the character of tree- 
spirits or deities of vegetation. From all this we may 
reasonably infer that in the Balder myth on the one hand, 
and the fire-festivals and custom of gathering mistletoe on 
the other hand, we have, as it were, the two broken and 
dissevered halves of an original whole. In other words, we 
may assume with some degree of probability that the myth 
of Balder's death was not merely a myth, that is, a de- 
scription of physical phenomena in imagery borrowed from 
human life, but that it was at the same time the story 
which people told to explain why they annually burned a 
human representative of the god and cut the mistletoe 
with solemn ceremony. If I am right, the story of Balder's 
tragic end formed, so to say, the text of the sacred drama 
which was acted year by year as a magical rite to cause the 
sun to shine, trees to grow, crops to thrive, and to guard 
man and beast from the baleful arts of fairies and trolls, of 
witches and warlocks. The tale belonged, in short, to that 
class of nature myths which are meant to be supplemented 
by ritual ; here, as so often, myth stood to magic in the 
relation of theory to practice. 
If a human But if the victims — the human Balders — who died by 
Uv^Tf^r^ fire, whether in spring or at midsummer, were put to death 
tree-spirit as living embodiments of tree-spirits or deities of vegetation, 
^^t^he"bon- ^^ would sccm that Balder himself must have been a tree- 

^ Above, vol. i. p. 148. 2 Above, vol. i. p. 186. ^ Above, p. 26. 



spirit or deity of vegetation. It becomes desirable, therefore, fires, what 
to determine, if we can, the particular kind of tree or trees, ^^ ^^ 
of which a personal representative was burned at the fire- represent? 
festivals. For we may be quite sure that it was not as 
a representative of vegetation in general that the victim 
suffered death. The idea of vegetation in general is too 
abstract to be primitive. Most probably the victim at first 
represented a particular kind of sacred tree. Now of all The 
European trees none has such claims as the oak to be principal 
considered as pre-eminently the sacred tree of the Aryans, sacred tree 
Its worship is attested for all the great branches of the Aryans. 
Aryan stock in Europe. We have seen that it was not only 
the sacred tree, but the principal object of worship of both 
Celts and Lithuanians.^ The roving Celts appear to have 
carried their worship of the oak with them even to Asia ; 
for in the heart of Asia Minor the Galatian senate met in 
a place which bore the pure Celtic name of Drynemetum or 
" temple of the oak." ''' Among the Slavs the oak seems to 
have been the sacred tree of the great god Perun.^ Accord- 
ing to Grimm, the oak ranked first among the holy trees of 
the Germans. It is certainly known to have been adored 
by them in the age of heathendom, and traces of its worship 
have survived in various parts of Germany almost to the 
present day.^ Among the ancient Italians the oak was 
sacred above all other trees.^ The image of Jupiter on the 
Capitol at Rome seems to have been originally nothing but 
a natural oak-tree.^ At Dodona, perhaps the oldest of all 
Greek sanctuaries, Zeus was worshipped as immanent in the 
sacred oak, and the rustling of its leaves in the wind was 

1 As to the worship of the oak in the fourth century of our era. 
Europe, see The Magic Art and the ^ The Magic Art and the Evolution 
Evolution of Kings, ii. 349 sqq. Com- of Kings, ii. 365. 

pare P. Wagler, Die Eiche in alter * J. Grimm, Deutsche Afythologie,* 

und neuer Zeit, in two parts (Wurzen, i. 55 sq., 58 sq., ii. 542, iii. 187 sq. ; 

N.D., and Berlin, 1891). P. Wagler, Die Eiche in alter und 

2 Strabo, xii. 5. I, p. 567. The name neuer Zeit (Berlin, 1 891), pp. 40 sqq. ; 
is a compound of dryu, " oak," and The Magic Art and the Evolution of 
nemed, "temple" (H. F. Tozer, Selec- Kings, ii. 363 sqq., 371. 

tions frofn Strabo, Oxford, 1893, p. * L. Preller, Rdmische Mythohgie^ 

284). We know from Jerome {Com- (Berlin, 1881-1883), i. 108. 
tnentar, in Epist. ad Galat. book ii. " Livy, i. 10. Compare C. Botti- 

praef. ) that the Galatians retained cher, Der Baumkultus der Hellenen 

their native Celtic speech as late as (Berlin, 1856), pp. 133 sq. 



If the 
burnt at 
the fire- 
festival re- 
the oak, 
the reason 

up the cottage fire on Midsummer Day with a heavy block 
of oak-wood. The block is so arranged that it smoulders 
slowly and is not finally reduced to charcoal till the expiry 
of a year. Then upon next Midsummer Day the charred 
embers of the old log are removed to make room for the 
new one, and are mixed with the seed-corn or scattered 
about the garden. This is believed to guard the food 
cooked on the hearth from witchcraft, to preserve the luck 
of the house, to promote the growth of the crops, and to 
preserve them from blight and vermin.-^ Thus the custom 
is almost exactly parallel to that of the Yule-log, which in 
parts of Germany, France, England, Servia, and other 
Slavonic lands was commonly of oak-wood.^ At the Boeotian 
festival of the Daedala, the analogy of which to the spring 
and midsummer festivals of modern Europe has been already 
pointed out, the great feature was the felling and burning 
of an oak.^ The general conclusion is, that at those periodic 
or occasional ceremonies the ancient Aryans both kindled 
and fed the fire with the sacred oak-wood.* 

But if at these solemn rites the fire was regularly made 
of oak-wood, it follows that any man who was burned in it 
as a personification of the tree-spirit could have represented 
no tree but the oak. The sacred oak was thus burned in 
duplicate ; the wood of the tree was consumed in the fire, 
and along with it was consumed a living man as a personi- 

^ yLontzriMSyDiedeutschenVolksfeste, 
Volksbrduche und deutscher Volksglaube 
(Iserlohn, N.D.), pp. 127, 159. The 
log is called in German Scharholz. 
The custom appears to have prevailed 
particularly in Westphalia, about Sieg 
and Lahn. Compare Montanus, op, 
cit. p. 12, as to the similar custom at 
Christmas. The use of the Scharholz 
is reported to be found also in Nieder- 
lausitz and among the neighbouring 
Saxons. See Paul Wagler, Die Eiche 
in alter und neuer Zeit (Berlin, 1 891), 
pp. 86 sq. 

2 Above, vol. i. pp. 248, 250, 251, 
257, 258, 260, 263. Elsewhere the 
Yule log has been made of fir, beech, 
holly, yew, crab-tree, or olive. See 
above, vol. i. pp. 249, 257, 263. 

3 The Magic Art attd the Evolution 
of Kings, ii. 140 sq. 

* A curious use of an oak-wood fire 
to detect a criminal is reported from 
Germany. If a man has been found 
murdered and his murderer is unknown, 
you are recommended to proceed as 
follows. You kindle a fire of dry oak- 
wood, you pour some of the blood from 
the wounds on the fire, and you change 
the poor man's shoes, putting the right 
shoe on the left foot, and vice versa. 
As soon as that is done, the murderer 
is struck blind and mad, so that he 
fancies he is riding up to the throat in 
water ; labouring under this delusion 
he returns to the corpse, when you can 
apprehend him and deliver him up to 
the arm of justice with the greatest ease. 
See Montanus, op. cit. pp. 1 59 sq. 


fication of the oak-spirit. The conclusion thus drawn for for puiUng 
the European Aryans in general is confirmed in its special Jo^^ay^' 
application to the Scandinavians by the relation in which have been 

3. belief 

amongst them the mistletoe appears to have stood to the t^at the 
burnins: of the victim in the midsummer fire. We have life of the 

„,..., 1 , , oak was 

seen that among Scandmavians it has been customary to in the 
gather the mistletoe at midsummer. But so far as appears ™^^^^|J^^' 
on the face of this custom, there is nothing to connect it the tree 
with the midsummer fires in which human victims or effigies ^°)^5^°°^ 
of them were burned. Even if the fire, as seems probable, either by 
was originally always made with oak-wood, why should it f^'^t°/so 
have been necessary to pull the mistletoe ? The last link long as the 
between the midsummer customs of gathering the mistletoe ™|^^Jn^ 
and lighting the bonfires is supplied by Balder's myth, which intact 
can hardly be disjoined from the customs in question. The ^ughs. 
myth suggests that a vital connexion may once have been 
believed to subsist between the mistletoe and the human 
representative of the oak who was burned in the fire. Accord- 
ing to the myth. Balder could be killed by nothing in heaven 
or earth except the mistletoe ; and so long as the mistletoe 
remained on the oak, he was not only immortal but invulner- 
able. Now, if we suppose that Balder was the oak, the 
origin of the myth becomes intelligible. The mistletoe was J 
viewed as the seat of life of the oak, and so long as it was 
uninjured nothing could kill or even wound the oak. The 
conception of the mistletoe as the seat of life of the oak 
would naturally be suggested to primitive people by the 
observation that while the oak is deciduous, the mistletoe 
which grows on it is evergreen. In winter the sight of its 
fresh foliage among the bare branches must have been hailed 
by the worshippers of the tree as a sign that the divine life 
which had ceased to animate the branches yet survived in 
the mistletoe, as the heart of a sleeper still beats when his 
body is motionless. Hence when the god had to be killed — ^ 
when the sacred tree had to be burnt — it was necessary to 
begin by breaking off the mistletoe. For so long as the 
mistletoe remained intact, the oak (so people might think) 
was invulnerable ; all the blows of their knives and axes ^ 
would glance harmless from its surface. But once tear from 
the oak its sacred heart — the mistletoe — and the tree nodded 



This belief 
is illus- 
trated by 
folk -tales 
told by 

be circumstances in which, if the life or soul remains in the 
man, it stands a greater chance of sustaining injury than il 
it were stowed away in some safe and secret place. Accord- 
ingly, in such circumstances, primitive man takes his soul 
out of his body and deposits it for security in some snug 
spot, intending to replace it in his body when the danger is 
past. Or if he should discover some place of absolute 
security, he may be content to leave his soul there per- 
manently. The advantage of this is that, so long as the 
soul remains unharmed in the place where he has deposited 
it, the man himself is immortal ; nothing can kill his body, 
since his life is not in it. 

Evidence of this primitive beliet is furnished by a class 
of folk-tales of which the Norse story of " The giant who had 
no heart in his body " is perhaps the best-known example. 
Stories of this kind are widely diffused over the world, and 
from their number and the variety of incident and of details 
in which the leading idea is embodied, we may infer that 
the conception of an external soul is one which has had a 
powerful hold on the minds of men at an early stage of 
history. For folk-tales are a faithful reflection of the world 
as it appeared to the primitive mind ; and we may be sure 
that any idea which commonly occurs in them, however 
absurd it may seem to us, must once have been an ordinary 
article of belief. This assurance, so far as it concerns the 
supposed power of disengaging the soul from the body for a 
longer or shorter time, is amply corroborated by a com- 
parison of the folk-tales in question with the actual beliefs 
and practices of savages. To this we shall return after some 
specimens of the tales have been given. The specimens will 
be selected with a view of illustrating both the characteristic 
features and the wide diffusion of this class of tales.^ 

1 A number of the following examples 
were collected by Mr. E. Clodd in his 
paper, " The Philosophy of Punchkin," 
Folk-lore Journal y ii. (1884) pp. 288- 
303 ; and again in his Myths and 
Dreams (London, 1885), pp. 188-198. 
The subject of the external soul, both in 
folk-tales and in custom, has been well 
handled by G. A. Wilken in his two 
papers, " De betrekking tusschen men- 

schen- dieren- en plantenleven naarhet 
volksgeloof," De Indische Gids, Nov- 
ember 1884, pp. 595-612, and "De 
Simsonsage," De Gids, 1888, No. 5. 
In " De Simsonsage " Wilken has 
reproduced, to a great extent in the 
same words, most of the evidence cited 
by him in " De betrekking," yet with- 
out referring to that paper. When I 
wrote this book in 1889- 1 890 I was 



In the first place, the story of the external soul is told, 
in various forms, by all Aryan peoples from Hindoostan to 
the Hebrides. A very common form of it is this : A 
warlock, giant, or other fairyland being is invulnerable and 
immortal because he keeps his soul hidden far away in 
some secret place ; but a fair princess, whom he holds 
enthralled in his enchanted castle, wiles his secret from him 
and reveals it to the hero, who seeks out the warlock's soul, 
heart, life, or death (as it is variously called), and, by destroy- 
ing it, simultaneously kills the warlock. Thus a Hindoo 
story tells how a magician called Punchkin held a queen 
captive for twelve years, and would fain marry her, but she 
would not have him. At last the queen's son came to 
rescue her, and the two plotted together to kill Punchkin. 
So the queen spoke the magician fair, and pretended that 
she had at last made up her mind to marry him. " And 
do tell me," she said, " are you quite immortal ? Can death 
never touch you ? And are you too great an enchanter 
ever to feel human suffering ? " " It is true," he said, " that 
I am not as others. Far, far away, hundreds of thousands 

Stories of 

an external 






The exter- 
nal soul in 
and the 

unacquainted with " De betrekking," 
but used with advantage " De Simson- 
sage," a copy of it having been kindly 
sent me by the author. I am the 
more anxious to express my obligations 
to " De Simsonsage," because I have 
had little occasion to refer to it, most 
of the original authorities cited by the 
author being either in my own library 
or easily accessible to me in Cambridge. 
It would be a convenience to anthro- 
pologists if Wilken's valuable paf)ers, 
dispersed as they are in various Dutch 
periodicals which are seldom to be met 
with in England, were collected and 
published together. After the appear- 
ance of my tirst anthropological essay 
in 1S85, Professor Wilken entered into 
correspondence with me, and thence- 
forward sent me copies of his papers as 
they appeared ; but of his papers pub- 
lished before that date I have not a 
complete set. (Note to the Second 
Edition.) The wish expressed in the 
foregoing note has now been happily 
fulfilled. Wilken's many scattered 
PT. vn. VOL. II 

papers have been collected and pub- 
lished in a form which leaves nothing 
to be desired (Z)« verspreide Geschrifien 
van Prof. Dr. G. A. Wilkett, verzameld 
door Mr. F. D. E. van Ossenbruggen, 
in four volumes, The Hague, 191 2). 
The two papers "De betrekking" and 
" De Simsonsage" are reprinted in the 
third volume, pp. 289-309 and pp. 
55 '"579- The subject of the external 
soul in relation to Balder has been 
fully illustrated and discussed by Pro- 
fessor F. Kauffmann in his Balder, 
Mythus ttnd Sage (Strasburg, 1902), 
pp. 136 sqq. Amongst the first to 
collect examples of the external soul in 
folk-tale^was the learned Dr. Reinhold 
Kohler (in Orient ttnd Occident, ii., 
Gottingen, 1864, pp. 100-103 ; reprinted 
with additional references in the writer's 
Kkinere Schriften, i., Weimar, 189S, 
pp. 1 58- 161). Many versions of the 
tale were also cited by W. R. S. 
Ralston (Russian Folk-tales, London, 
1873. PP- 109 sijq.). (Note to the 
Third Edition.) 



of miles from this, there lies a desolate country covered 
with thick jungle. In the midst of the jungle grows a 
circle of palm trees, and in the centre of the circle stand 
six chattees full of water, piled one above another : below 
the sixth chattee is a small cage, which contains a little 
green parrot ; — on the life of the parrot depends my life ; — 
and if the parrot is killed I must die. It is, however," he 
added, " impossible that the parrot should sustain any 
injury, both on account of the inaccessibility of the country, 
and because, by my appointment, many thousand genii 
surround the palm trees, and kill all who approach the 
place." But the queen's young son overcame all difficulties, 
and got possession of the parrot. He brought it to the 
door of the magician's palace, and began playing with it. 
Punchkin, the magician, saw him, and, coming out, tried to 
persuade the boy to give him the parrot. " Give me my 
parrot ! " cried Punchkin. Then the boy took hold of the 
parrot and tore off one of his wings ; and as he did so the 
magician's right arm fell off. Punchkin then stretched out 
his left arm, crying, " Give me my parrot ! " The prince 
pulled off the parrot's second wing, and the magician's left 
arm tumbled off. " Give me my parrot ! " cried he, and fell 
on his knees. The prince pulled off the parrot's right leg, 
the magician's right leg fell off; the prince pulled off the 
parrot's left leg, down fell the magician's left. Nothing 
remained of him except the trunk and the head ; but 
still he rolled his eyes, and cried, " Give me my parrot ! " 
" Take your parrot, then," cried the boy ; and with that he 
wrung the bird's neck, and threw it at the magician ; and, 
as he did so, Punchkin's head twisted round, and, with a 
The ogre fearful groan, he died ! ^ In another Hindoo tale an ogre 
waTlnr"^ is asked by his daughter, "Papa, where do you keep your 
bird. soul ? " " Sixteen miles away from this place," he said, " is 

a tree. Round the tree are tigers, and bears, and scorpions, 
and snakes ; on the top of the tree is a very great fat 
snake ; on his head is a little cage ; in the cage is a bird ; 
and my soul is in that bird." The end of the ogre is like 
that of the magician in the previous tale. As the birc;' 

1 Mary Frere, Old Deccan Days, Third Edition (London, 1881), pj'. 


wings and legs are torn off, the ogre's arms and legs drop 
off; and when its neck is wrung he falls down dead.^ 

In another Hindoo story a princess called Sodewa Bai The 
was born with a golden necklace about her neck, and the whosrsoui 
astrologer told her parents, " This is no common child ; the ^'^ '" ^ 
necklace of gold about her neck contains your daughter's necklace. 
soul ; let it therefore be guarded with the utmost care ; for 
if it were taken off, and worn by another person, she would 
die." So her mother caused it to be firmly fastened round 
the child's neck, and, as soon as the child was old enough to 
understand, she told her its value, and warned her never to 
let it be taken off. In course of time Sodewa Bai was 
married to a prince who had another wife living. The 
first wife, jealous of her young rival, persuaded a negress to 
steal from Sodewa Bai the golden necklace which contained 
her soul. The negress did so, and, as soon as she put the 
necklace round her own neck, Sodewa Bai died. All day 
long the negress used to wear the necklace ; but late at 
night, on going to bed, she would take it off and put it by 
till morning ; and whenever she took it off, Sodewa Bai's 
soul returned to her and she lived. But when morning 
came, and the negress put on the necklace, Sodewa Bai 
died again. At last the prince discovered the treachery of 
his elder wife and restored the golden necklace to Sodewa 
Bai.' In another Hindoo story a holy mendicant tells a The prince 
queen that she will bear a .son, adding, "As enemies will whose soul 

^as in a 

try to take away the life of your son, I may as well tell you fish, 
that the life of the boy will be bound up in the life of a big 
boal fish which is in your tank, in front of the palace. In 
the heart of the fish is a small box of wood, in the box is a 
necklace of gold, that necklace is the life of your son." 
The boy was born and received the name of Dalim. His 
mother was the Suo or younger queen. But the Duo or 
elder queen hated the child, and learning the secret of his 
life, she caused the boal fish, with which his life was bound 
up, to be caught. Dalim was playing near the tank at the 

1 Maive Stokes, Indian Fairy Tales F. A. Steel and R. C. Temple, Wide- 

(London, 1880), pp. 58-60. For awake Stories (Bombay and London, 

similar Hindoo stories, see id., pp. 1884), pp. 58-60. 

187 sq. ; Lai Behari Day, Folk-tales of 2 ^^i^ry Frere, Old Deccan Days, 

Bengal (London, 1883), PP- ^21 5^. ; pp. 239 sqq. 


time, but " the moment the boat fish was caught in the net, 
that moment DaHm felt unwell ; and when the fish was 
brought up to land, Dalim fell down on the ground, and 
made as if he was about to breathe his last. He was 
immediately taken into his mother's room, and the king was 
astonished on hearing of the sudden illness of his son and 
heir. The fish was by the order of the physician taken into 
the room of the Duo queen, and as it lay on the floor 
striking its fins on the ground, Dalim in his mother's room 
was given up for lost. When the fish was cut open, a 
casket was found in it ; and in the casket lay a necklace of 
gold. The moment the necklace was worn by the queen, 
that very moment Dalim died in his mother's room." The 
queen used to put off the necklace every night, and when- 
ever she did so, the boy came to life again. But every 
morning when the queen put on the necklace, he died again.^ 
Cashmeer In a Cashmcer story a lad visits an old ogress, pretend- 

stones of jj^g ^Q i^g j^gj. grandson, the son of her daughter who had 
whose lives married a king. So the old ogress took him into her con- 
cocks'"a fidence and shewed him seven cocks, a spinning wheel, a 
pigeon, pigeon, and a starling. " These seven cocks," said she, 
a spinning- " Contain the lives of your seven uncles, who are away for a 
wheel, and few days. Only as long as the cocks live can your uncles 
hope to live ; no power can hurt them as long as the seven 
cocks are safe and sound. The spinning-wheel contains my 
life ; if it is broken, I too shall be broken, and must die ; but 
otherwise I shall live on for ever. The pigeon contains your 
grandfather's life, and the starling your mother's ; as long as 
these live, nothing can harm your grandfather or your 
mother." So the lad killed the seven cocks and the pigeon 
and the starling, and smashed the spinning-wheel ; and at 
the moment he did so the ogres and ogresses perished.'"^ In 
another story from Cashmeer an ogre cannot die unless a 
particular pillar in the verandah of his palace be broken. 
Learning the secret, a prince struck the pillar again and 
again till it was broken in pieces. And it was as if each 

' Lai Behari Iday, Folk-tales of Ben- pp. 83 sqq. 
gal, pp. I sqq. For similar stories of 

necklaces, see Mary Frere, Old Deccan ^ J- II- Knowles, Folk-talcs of Kash- 

Days, pp. 233 sq. ; F. A. Steel and niir. Second Edition (London, 1S93), 

R. C. Temple, Wide-awake Stories, pp. 49 sq. 


stroke had fallen on the ogre, for he howled lamentably and 
shook like an aspen every time the prince hit the pillar, 
until at last, when the pillar fell down, the ogre also fell 
down and gave up the ghost.^ In another Cashmeer tale Cashmeer 
an ogre is represented as laughing very heartily at the idea B^n<7aiee 
that he might possibly die. He said that " he should never stories of 
die. No power could oppose him ; no years could age him ; °^^ ^w^ 
he should remain ever strong and ever young, for the thing were in 
wherein his life dwelt was most difficult to obtain." It was 
in a queen bee, which was in a honeycomb on a tree. But 
the bees in the honeycomb were many and fierce, and it was 
only at the greatest risk that any one could catch the queen. 
However, the hero achieved the enterprise and crushed the 
queen bee ; and immediately the ogre fell stone dead to the 
ground, so that the whole land trembled with the shock.^ 
In some Bengalee tales the life of a whole tribe of ogres is 
described as concentrated in two bees. The secret was thus 
revealed by an old ogress to a captive princess who pre- 
tended to fear lest the ogress should die. " Know, foolish 
girl," said the ogress, " that we ogres never die. We are not 
naturally immortal, but our life depends on a secret which 
no human being can unravel. Let me tell you what it is, 
that you may be comforted. You know yonder tank ; there 
is in the middle of it a crystal pillar, on the top of which in 
deep waters are two bees. If any human being can dive into 
the waters, and bring up to land the two bees from the pillar 
in one breath, and destroy them so that not a drop of their 
blood falls to the ground, then we ogres shall certainly die ; 
but if a single drop of blood falls to the ground, then from it 
will start up a thousand ogres. But what human being will 
find out this secret, or, finding it, will be able to achieve the 
feat ? You need not, therefore, darling, be sad ; I am prac- 
tically immortal." As usual, the princess reveals the secret 
to the hero, who kills the bees, and that same moment all 
the ogres drop down dead, each on the spot where he 
happened to be standing.^ In another Bengalee story it is 

1 J. H. Knowles, op. cit. p. 134. 117. For an Indian story in which a 

2 J. H. Knowles, op. cit. pp. 382 sqq. giant's life is in five black bees, see 
2 Lai Behari Day, Folk-tales of Ben- W. A. Clouston, Popular Tales and 

gal, pp. 85 sq. ; compare id., pp. 253 Fictions (Edinburgh and London, 
sqq. ; Indian Antiquary, i. (1872) p. 1887), i. 350. 



The exter- 
nal soul in 
a Siamese 
or Cam- 

stories of 
a tree and 
a barley 
plant that 
were life- 

said that all the ogres dwell in Ceylon, and that all their 
lives are in a single lemon. A boy cuts the lemon in pieces, 
and all the ogres die.^ 

In a Siamese or Cambodian story, probably derived from 
India, we are told that Thossakan or Ravana, the King of 
Ceylon, was able by magic art to take his soul out of his 
body and leave it in a box at home, while he went to the 
wars. Thus he was invulnerable in battle. When he was 
about to give battle to Rama, he deposited his soul with a 
hermit called Fire-eye, who was to keep it safe for him. So 
in the fight Rama was astounded to see that his arrows 
struck the king without wounding him. But one of Rama's 
allies, knowing the secret of the king's invulnerability, trans- 
formed himself by magic into the likeness of the king, and 
going to the hermit asked back his soul. On receiving it 
he soared up into the air and flew to Rama, brandishing the 
box and squeezing it so hard that all the breath left the 
King of Ceylon's body, and he died.^ In a Bengalee story 
a prince going into a far country planted with his own hands 
a tree in the courtyard of his father's palace, and said to his 
parents, " This tree is my life. When you see the tree green 
and fresh, then know that it is well with me ; when you see 
the tree fade in some parts, then know that I am in an ill 
case ; and when you see the whole tree fade, then know that 
I am dead and gone." ^ In another Indian tale a prince, 
setting forth on his travels, left behind him a barley plant, 
with instructions that it should be carefully tended and 
watched ; for if it flourished, he would be alive and well, but 
if it drooped, then some mischance was about to happen to 
him. And so it fell out. For the prince was beheaded, 
and as his head rolled off, the barley plant snapped in two 
and the ear of barley fell to the ground.* In the legend of 

1 Indian Antiquary, i. (1872), p. 


2 A. Bastian, Die Voelker des oest- 
lichen Asien, iv. (Jena, 1868) pp. 
304 sq. 

3 Lai Behari Day, Folk-tales of Ben' 
gal, p. 189. 

* F. A. Steel and R. C. Temple, 
Wide-awake Stories (Bombay and Lon- 
don, 1884), pp. 52, 64. In the Indian 

Jataka there is a tale (book ii. No. 
208) which relates how Buddha in the 
form of a monkey deceived a crocodile 
by pretending that monkeys kept their 
hearts in figs growing on a tree. See 
The Jataka or Stories of the Buddha^ s 
former Births translated from the Pali 
by various hands, vol. ii. translated by 
W. H. D. Rouse (Cambridge, 1895), 
pp. Ill sq. 


the origin of Gilgit there figures a fairy king whose soul is 
in the snows and who can only perish by fire.^ 

In Greek tales, ancient and modern, the idea of an Theexter- 
external soul is not uncommon. When Meleasrer was seven °^„^"i 

^ m Greek 

days old, the Fates appeared to his mother and told her stones, 
that Meleager would die when the brand which was blazing Meieager 
on the hearth had burnt down. So his mother snatched the ^^^^ 
brand from the fire and kept it in a box. But in after-years, 
being enraged at her son for slaying her brothers, she burnt 
the brand in the fire and Meleager expired in agonies, as if 
flames were preying on his vitals." Again, Nisus King of Nisus and 
Megara had a purple or golden hair on the middle of his OT^oWen 
head, and it was fated that whenever the hair was pulled out bair. 
the king should die. When Megara was besieged by the 
Cretans, the king's daughter Scylla fell in love with Minos, 
their king, and pulled out the fatal hair from her father's 
head. So he died.^ Similarly Poseidon made Pterelaus Ptereians 
immortal by giving him a golden hair on his head. But ^f^^ 
when Taphos, the home of Pterelaus, was besieged by hair. 
Amphitryo, the daughter of Pterelaus fell in love with 
Amphitryo and killed her father by plucking out the golden 
hair with which his life was bound up.^ In a modern Greek Modem 
folk-tale a man's strength lies in three golden hairs on his ^^^jj 
head. When his mother pulls them out, he grows weak and 
timid and is slain by his enemies.* Another Greek story, in 
which we may perhaps detect a reminiscence of Nisus and 

^ G. W. Leitner, The Languages isches Museum, N.F, xlix. (1894) pp. 

and Races of Dardistan^ Third Edition 310-313. 
(Lahore, 1878), p. 9. ^ \^\\oioT^ Bibliotheca, m. x^. 

» Apollodorus, Bibhotheca, 1. 8 ; g. Aeschylus, Choeph. 612 sqq. ; Pau- 

Diodorus Siculus. IV. 34; Pa,^^, ^.^^^ j ^. ^^-^^ ,,5 sqq.; 

I. 31. 4; Aeschylus, C^/A. 604 Qvid, Afe/am. xiii. S sqq. According 

sqq.; Aatomnus Uherahs Trans/arm. ^^ j .j.^^^^^ ^^^^^ ^ Lycaphron, 

iL ; Dio Chrysostom Or. Ixni. vol. 11. g j ^^^ ^^^ ^^ but the strength of 

p. 23 1 , ed. L. Dindorf (Leipsic, 1857) ; j^^j^^s ^^ -^^ ^is golden hair ; when it 

Hyginus, Fab. 171 174; Ovid, 3/^/a^. ^^ jj^ ^^^^ 1^^ became weak and 

vui. 445 m- In his p ay on this ^^ 3,^ by Minos. According to 

theme Eunpides made the life of Mel- Hyginus {Fab. 198) Xisus was destined 

eager to depend on an olive-leaf which ^^ ^^j ^,. ^ 1^^^ ^ be kept the 
his mother had given birth to along j^ j^^ ^„ bis head, 

with the babe. See J. Malalas, thrarw- 

grapkia, vi. pp. 1 65 sq. ed. L. Dindorf * Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, ii. 4- 5 

(Bonn, 1 831); J. Tzetzes, Scholia on »"<! 7- 

Lycophron, 492 sq. (vol. ii. pp. 646 j^., * J. G. von Hahn, Griechische und 

ed. Chr. G. Miiller, Leipsic, 181 1) ; G. albanesiuhe Mdrchen (Leipsic, 1864), 

Knaack, "Zur Meleagersage," Rhein- i. 217 ; a similar story, ibid. ii. 282. 

ternal soul 
in doves, 


Scylla, relates how a certain king, who was the strongest man 
of his time, had three long hairs on his breast. But when 
he went to war with another king, and his own treacherous 
wife had cut off the three hairs, he became the weakest of 
The ex- men/ In another modern Greek story the life of an en- 
chanter is bound up with three doves which are in the belly 
of a wild boar. When the first dove is killed, the magician 
grows sick ; when the second is killed, he grows very sick ; 
and when the third is killed, he dies.^ In another Greek 
story of the same sort an ogre's strength is in three singing 
birds which are in a wild boar. The hero kills two of the 
birds, and then coming to the ogre's house finds him lying 
on the ground in great pain. He shews the third bird to 
the ogre, who begs that the hero will either let it fly away 
or give it to him to eat. But the hero wrings the bird's 
neck, and the ogre dies on the spot.^ In a variant of the 
latter story the monster's strength is in two doves, and when 
the hero kills one of them, the monster cries out, " Ah, woe 
is me ! Half my life is gone. Something must have 
happened to one of the doves." When the second dove is 
killed, he dies.'' In another Greek story the incidents of the 
three golden hairs and three doves are artificially combined. 
A monster has on his head three golden hairs which open 
the door of a chamber in which are three doves : when the 
first dove is killed, the monster grows sick ; when the cccond 
is killed, he grows worse ; and when the third is killed, he 
dies.^ In another Greek talc an old man's strength is in a 

' B. Schmidt, Griechische Mdrchcn, 579). 
Sagettwid Vo/Mieder (Leipslc, 1877), 2 j. g. von Ilahn, op. cit. ii. 215 

pp. 91 sq. The same writer found in 


the island of Zacynthus a behef that the , ,, ., .. _, o- -i . • 

, , , 1 /• ,1 • . /". 1 Jbta. II. 2715 sq. Similar stones, 

whole strength of the ancient Greeks •>•- •• • •> i . 

. , , . ° , . ,, ■ , iota. u. 204, 294 sq. In an Albanian 

resided in three hairs on their breasts, ^ ^ > \ .u • • .1. 

... . , , , ■ story a monster s strength is m three 

and that it vanished whenever these ■ ' , • , • , u- u • 

, . . , -r 1 1 • pigeons, which are in a hare, which is 

hairs were cut : but if the hairs were r °, ., , 1 r ■, 1 i ,1-1 

,, , ' . , . , in the silver tusk of a wild boar. \\ hen 

allowed to grow again, their strength 01 • 1 n j .u . r 1 n 

1 itT 01 • 1. T^ IT 1, , I the boar is killed, the monster feels ill: 
returned (B. Schmidt, Das VoVzshben u .i i, • .. v, 

, ,r ■ 7 T • • o when the hare is cut open, he can 

aer Neuprtechen, Leipsic, 1871, p. , „ , , ,. r» u .1 

/:. r^i TTi 1- , . f o hardly stand on his feet : when the 

200). The Biblical story of hamson ^, -^ . 1 n j u 

J T-v 1-1 1 /T 1 • % • f three pigeons are killed, he expires, 

and Delilah (fudges xvi.) implies a o ^ i-. r- , n ■ /d • 

,,.,,, ^•' ^ ^ f^' . ,\,.,, See Aug. Dozon, Ct;«/^j<2//'rt«a?j-( Pans, 
belief of the same sort, as u. A. \\ liken <.o > 

1 J .1 u 1 • v.- w T-. loai), pp. l\2 sq. 

abundantly shewed in his paper, " De ' '' "^ ^ 

Simsonsage," De Gids, 1888, No. 5 * ].G. von Hahn, op. cit. ii. 260 

(reprinted in his Verspreide Geschriflen., ^I'l- 

The Hague, 1912, vol. iii. pp. 551- ^ Ibid. i. 187. 


ten-headed serpent. When the serpent's heads are being 
cut off, he feels unwell ; and when the last head is struck off, 
he expires.^ In another Greek story a dervish tells a queen 
that she will have three sons, that at the birth of each she 
must plant a pumpkin in the garden, and that in the fruit 
borne by the pumpkins will reside the strength of the 
children. In due time the infants are born and the pump- 
kins planted. As the children grow up, the pumpkins grow 
with them. One morning the eldest son feels sick, and on 
going into the garden they find that the largest pumpkin is 
gone. Next night the second son keeps watch in a summer- 
house in the garden. At midnight a negro appears and cuts 
the second pumpkin. At once the boy's strength goes out 
of him, and he is unable to pursue the negro. The 
youngest son, however, succeeds in slaying the negro and 
recovering the lost pumpkins." 

Ancient Italian legend furnishes a close parallel to the The exter- 
Greek story of Meleager. Silvia, the young wife of Sep- "jf\j°J^jj 
timius Marcel lus, had a child by the god Mars. The god stories, 
gave her a spear, with which he said that the fate of the 
child would be bound up. When the boy grew up he 
quarrelled with his maternal uncles and slew them. So in 
revenge his mother burned the spear on which his life de- 
pended.^ In one of the stories of the Pentatnerone a certain Thedragon 
queen has a twin brother, a dragon. The astrologers de- ^^'°- 
clared at her birth that she would live just as long as the 
dragon and no longer, the death of the one involving the death 
of the other. If the dragon were killed, the only way to 
restore the queen to life would be to smear her temples, breast, 
pulses, and nostrils with the blood of the dragon.^ In a The soul in 
modern Roman version of " Aladdin and the Wonderful ^ ^^™- 
Lamp," the magician tells the princess, whom he holds captive 
in a floating rock in mid-ocean, that he will never die. The 
princess reports this to the prince her husband, who has 
come to rescue her. The prince replies, " It is impossible 

1 Ihid. ii. 23 sq. uncles is the skin of a boar, which the 

- Emile Legrand, Contes populaires nephew presented to his lady-love and 

i;rccs (Paris, 1881), pp. 191 sqq. which his uncles took from her. 

3 Plutarch, Farallela, 26. In both * G. Basile, Pentamerone, iibertragen 

the Greek and Italian stories the sub- von Felix Liebrecht (Breslau, 1846), ii. 

ject of quarrel between nephew and 60 sq. 


but that there should be some one thing or other that is 
fatal to him ; ask him what that one fatal thing is." So 
the princess asked the magician, and he told her that in 
the wood was a hydra with seven heads ; in the middle 
head of the hydra was a leveret, in the head of the leveret 
was a bird, in the bird's head was a precious stone, and if 
this stone were put under his pillow he would die. The 
prince procured the stone, and the princess laid it under 
the magician's pillow. No sooner did the enchanter lay his 
head on the pillow than he gave three terrible yells, turned 
himself round and round three times, and died.^ 
Italian Another Italian tale sets forth how a great cloud, 

wicked ^ which was really a fairy, used to receive a young girl 
fairy whose as tribute every year from a certain city ; and the in- 
inan^g! habitants had to give the girls up, for if they did not, 
the cloud would throw things at them and kill them all. 
One year it fell to the lot of the king's daughter to be 
handed over to the cloud, and they took her in proces- 
sion, to the roll of muffled drums, and attended by her 
weeping father and mother, to the top of a mountain, and 
left her sitting in a chair there all alone. Then the fairy 
cloud came down on the top of the mountain, set the 
princess in her lap, and began to suck her blood out of her 
little finger ; for it was on the blood of girls that this wicked 
fairy lived. When the poor princess was faint with the loss 
of blood and lay like a log, the cloud carried her away 
up to her fairy palace in the sky. But a brave youth had 
seen all that happened from behind a bush, and no sooner 
did the fairy spirit away the princess to her palace than he 
turned himself into an eagle and flew after them. He 
lighted on a tree just outside the palace, and looking in 
at the window he beheld a room full of young girls all in 
bed ; for these were the victims of former years whom the 
fairy cloud had half killed by sucking their blood ; yet they 
called her mamma. When the fairy went away and left the 
girls, the brave young man had food drawn up for them by 
ropes, and he told them to ask the fairy how she might be 
killed and what was to become of them when she died. It 
was a delicate question, but the fairy answered it, saying, " I 

* R. H. Busk, Folk-lore of Rome (London, 1874), pp. 164 sqq. 


shall never die." However, when the girls pressed her, she 
took them out on a terrace and said, " Do you see that 
mountain far off there? On that mountain is a tigress 
with seven heads. If you wish me to die, a lion must fight 
that tigress and tear off all seven of her heads. In her body 
is an egg, and if any one hits me with it in the middle of 
my forehead, I shall die ; but if that egg falls into my 
hands, the tigress will come to life again, resume her seven 
heads, and I shall live." When the young girls heard this 
they pretended to be glad and said, " Good ! certainly our 
mamma can never die," but naturally they were discouraged. 
However, when she went away again, they told it all to the 
young man, and he bade them have no fear. Away he went 
to the mountain, turned himself into a lion, and fought the 
tigress. Meantime the fairy came home, saying, " Alas ! I 
feel ilL!" For six days the fight went on, the young man 
tearing off one of the tigress's heads each day, and each day 
the strength of the fairy kept ebbing away. Then after 
allowing himself two days' rest the hero tore off the seventh 
head and secured the egg, but not till it had rolled into the 
sea and been brought back to him by a friendly dog-fish. 
When he returned to the fairy with the egg in his hand, she 
begged and prayed him to give it her, but he made her first 
restore the young girls to health and send them away in 
handsome carriages. When she had done so, he struck her 
on the forehead with the egg, and she fell down dead.^ 
Similarly in a story from the western Riviera a sorcerer AsOTcerer 
called Body-without-Soul can only be killed by means of an ^soui*^' 
egg which is in an eagle, which is in a dog, which is in a whose 
lion ; and the egg must be broken on the sorcerer's forehead, j^^q ^ 
The hero, who achieves the adventure, has received the 
power of changing himself into a lion, a dog, an eagle, and an 
ant from four creatures of these sorts among whom he had 
fairly divided the carcase of a dead ass." 

^ T. F. Crane, Italian Popular same type. See below, note * and pp. 

Tales (London, 1885), pp. 31-34. 120 with note, ^ 132, 133 with note. 1 
The hero had acquired the power of ^ J. B. Andrews, Contes Ligures 

turning himself into an eagle, a lion, (Paris, 1892), No. 46, pp. 213 sqg. 

and an ant from three creatures of In a parallel Sicilian story the hero 

these sorts whose quarrel about their Beppino slays a sorcerer in the same 

shares in a dead ass he had composed. manner after he had received from an 

This incident occurs in other tales of the eagle, a lion, and an ant the same 



The exter- 
nal soul in 

story of 

death was 
in an egg. 

Stories of the same sort are current among Slavonic 
peoples. In some of them, as in the biblical story of 
Samson and Delilah, the warlock is questioned by a 
treacherous woman as to the place where his strength 
resides or his life or death is stowed away ; and his sus- 
picions being roused by her curiosity, he at first puts her off 
with false answers, but is at last beguiled into telling her 
the truth, thereby incurring his doom through her treachery. 
Thus a Russian story tells how a certain warlock called 
Kashtshei or Koshchei the Deathless carried off a princess 
and kept her prisoner in his golden castle. However, a 
prince made up to her one day as she was walking alone 
and disconsolate in the castle garden, and cheered by the 
prospect of escaping with him she went to the warlock and 
coaxed him with false and flattering words, saying, " My 
dearest friend, tell me, I pray you, will you never die ? " 
" Certainly not," says he. " Well," says she, " and where is 
your death ? is it in your dwelling ? " " To be sure it is," 
says he, " it is in the broom under the threshold." There- 
upon the princess seized the broom and threw it on the fire, 
but although the broom burned, the deathless Koshchei re- 
mained alive; indeed not so much as a hair of him was singed. 
Balked in her first attempt, the artful hussy pouted and said, 
" You do not love me true, for you have not told me where 
your death is ; yet I am not angry, but love you with all 
my heart." With these fawning words she besought the 
warlock to tell her truly where his death was. So he 
laughed and said, " W^hy do you wish to know ? Well 
then, out of love I will tell you where it lies. In a certain 
field there stand three green oaks, and under the roots of 
the largest oak is a worm, and if ever this worm is found 
and crushed, that instant I shall die." When the princess 
heard these words, she went straight to her lover and told 
him all ; and he searched till he found the oaks and dug up 
the worm and crushed it. Then he hurried to the warlock's 
castle, but only to learn from the princess that the warlock 

gift of transformation in return for the 
same service. See G. Pitr6, Fiabe, 
Novelle e Kacconti popolari Siciliani, 
ii. (Palermo, 1875) p. 215; and for 

another Sicilian parallel, Laura Gon- 
zenbach, Sicilianische Miirchen (Leipsic, 
1870), No. 6, pp. 34-3S. 


was still alive. Then she fell to wheedling and coaxing 
Koshchei once more, and this time, overcome by her wiles, 
he opened his heart to her and told her the truth. " My 
death," said he, " is far from here and hard to find, on the 
wide ocean. In that sea is an island, and on the island there 
grows a green oak, and beneath the oak is an iron chest, and 
in the chest is a small basket, and in the 'basket is a hare, 
and in the hare is a duck, and in the duck is an &^'g ; and 
he who finds the egg and breaks it, kills me at the same 
time." The prince naturally procured the fateful egg and 
with it in his hands he confronted the deathless warlock. 
The monster would have killed him, but the prince began to 
squeeze the egg. At that the warlock shrieked with pain, 
and turning to the false princess, who stood by smirking 
and smiling, " Was it not out of love for you," said he, 
" that I told you where my death was ? And is this the 
return you make to me ? " With that he grabbed at his 
sword, which hung from a peg on the wall ; but before he 
could reach it, the prince had crushed the egg, and sure 
enough the deathless warlock found his death at the same 

In another version of the same story, when the cunning Other 
warlock deceives the traitress by telling her that his ^^ston-of 
death is in the broom, she gilds the broom, and at supper Koshchei 
the warlock sees it shining under the threshold and asks her DaiUiiess. 
sharply, " What's that ? " " Oh," says she, " you see how I 
honour you." " Simpleton ! " says he, " I was joking. My 
death is out there fastened to the oak fence." So next day 
when the warlock was out, the prince came and gilded the 
whole fence ; and in the evening when the warlock was at 
supper he looked out of the window and saw the fence 
glittering like gold. " And pray what may that be ? " said 
he to the princess. " You see," said she, " how I respect 
you. If you are dear to me, dear too is your death. That 
is why I have gilded the fence in which your death resides." 
The speech pleased the warlock, and in the fulness of his 
heart he revealed to her the fatal secret of the egg. When 
the prince, with the help of some friendly animals, obtained 
possession of the egg, he put it in his bosom and repaired to 

' Anton Dietrich, Russian Popular Tales (London, 1857), pp. 21-24. 




Death in 
the blue 

The exter- 
nal soul in 


True Steel, 
was in 
a bird. 

the warlock's house. The warlock himself was sitting at the 
window in a very gloomy frame of mind ; and when the 
prince appeared and shewed him the ^^'g, the light grew 
dim in the warlock's eyes and he became all of a sudden 
very meek and mild. But when the prince began to play 
with the egg and to throw it from one hand to the other, the 
deathless Koshchei staggered from one corner of the room 
to the other, and when the prince broke the ^gg^ Koshchei 
the Deathless fell down and died.^ "In one of the descrip- 
tions of Koshchei's death, he is said to be killed by a blow 
on the forehead inflicted by the mysterious egg — that last 
link in the magic chain by which his life is darkly bound. 
In another version of the same story, but told of a snake, the 
fatal blow is struck by a small stone found in the yolk of an 
6gg» which is inside a duck, which is inside a hare, which is 
inside a stone, which is on an island." ^ In another Russian 
story the death of an enchantress is in a blue rose-tree in a 
blue forest. Prince Ivan uproots the rose-tree, whereupon 
the enchantress straightway sickens. He brings the rose- 
tree to her house and finds her at the point of death. Then 
he throws it into the cellar, crying, " Behold her death I " 
and at once the whole building shakes, " and becomes an 
island, on which are people who had been sitting in Hell, 
and who offer up thanks to Prince Ivan."^ In another 
Russian story a prince is grievously tormented by a witch 
who has got hold of his heart, and keeps it seething in a 
magic cauldron.* 

In a Bohemian tale a warlock's strength lies in an ^gg 
which is in a duck, which is in a stag, which is under a tree. 
A seer finds the ^gg and sucks it. Then the warlock grows 
as weak as a child, " for all his strength had passed into the 
seer." ^ A Servian story relates how a certain warlock called 
True Steel carried off a prince's wife and kept her shut up 
in his cave. But the prince contrived to get speech of her 
and told her that she must persuade True Steel to reveal to 

I Jeremiah Curtin, Myths and Folk- 
tales of the Russians, Western Slavs, 
and Magyars (London, 1 891), pp. 
1 19- 1 22. Compare W. R. S. Ralston, 
Russian Folk -tales (London, 1873), 
pp. 100-105. 

2 W. R. S. Ralston, op. cit. p. 109. 

3 W. R. S. Ralston, Russian Folk- 
tales, pp. 113 sq. 

* Id., p. 114. 
^ Id., p. no. 


her where his strength lay. So when True Steel came home, 
the prince's wife said to him, " Tell me, now, where is your 
great strength ? " He answered, " My wife, my strength is 
in my sword." Then she began to pray and turned to his 
sword. When True Steel saw that, he laughed and said, 
" O foolish woman ! my strength is not in my sword, but in 
my bow and arrows." Then she turned towards the bow and 
arrows and prayed. But True Steel said, " I see, my wife, 
you have a clever teacher who has taught you to find out 
where my strength lies. I could almost say that your 
husband is living, and it is he who teaches you." But 
she assured him that nobody had taught her. When she 
found he had deceived her again, she waited for some days 
and then asked him again about the secret of his strength. 
He answered, " Since you think so much of my strength, I 
will tell you truly where it is. Far away from here there 
is a very high mountain ; in the mountain there is a fox ; in 
the fox there is a heart ; in the heart there is a bird, and in 
this bird is my strength. It is no easy task, however, to 
catch the fox, for she can transform herself into a multitude 
of creatures." So next day, when True Steel went forth 
from the cave, the prince came and learned from his wife 
the true secret of the warlock's strength. So away he hied 
to the mountain, and there, though the fox, or rather the 
vixen, turned herself into various shapes, he managed with 
the help of certain friendly eagles, falcons, and dragons, 
to catch and kill her. Then he took out the fox's heart, and 
out of the heart he took the bird and burned it in a great 
fire. At that very moment True Steel fell down dead.^ 

In another Servian story we read how a dragon resided in Servian 
a water-mill and ate up two king's sons, one after the other. ^^°^on^^f^ 
The third son went out to seek his brothers, and coming to the water- 
the water-mill he found nobody in it but an old woman. "Jen^^h^ 
She revealed to him the dreadful character of the being was in a 
that kept the mill, and how he had devoured the prince's P'^"'"' 
t^vo elder brothers, and she implored him to go away home 
before the same fate should overtake him. But he was both 

1 Madam Csedomille Mijatovies, 172; F. S. Kranss, Sagen und Mar- 
'^■"bian Folk-lore, edited by the Rev. chen dtr Siidslaven (Leipsic, 1883- 
. Denton (London, 1874), pp. 167- 1884), i. 164-169. 


brave and cunning, and he said to her, " Listen well to what 
I am going to say to you. Ask the dragon whither he goes 
and where his strength is ; then kiss all that place where he 
tells you his strength is, as if from love, till you find it out, 
and afterwards tell me when I come." So when the dragon 
came in, the old woman began to question him, " Where in 
God's name have you been ? Whither do you go so far ? 
You will never tell me whither you go." The dragon 
replied, " Well, my dear old woman, I do go far." Then 
the old woman coaxed him, saying, " And why do you go 
so far? Tell me where your strength is. If I knew where 
your strength is, I don't know what I should do for love ; I 
would kiss all that place." Thereupon the dragon smiled 
and said to her, " Yonder is my strength, in that fireplace." 
Then the old woman began to fondle and kiss the fireplace ; 
and the dragon on seeing it burst into a laugh. " Silly old 
woman," he said, " my strength is not there. It is in the 
tree-fungus in front of the house." Then the old woman 
began to fondle and kiss the tree ; but the dragon laughed 
again and said to her, " Away, old woman ! my strength is 
not there." " Then where is it ? " asked the old woman. 
" My strength," said he, " is a long way off, and you cannot 
go thither. Far in another kingdom under the king's city is 
a lake ; in the lake is a dragon ; in the dragon is a boar ; in 
the boar is a pigeon, and in the pigeon is my strength." The 
murder was now out ; so next morning when the dragon went 
away from the mill to attend to his usual business of eating 
people up, the prince came to the old woman and she let him 
into the secret of the dragon's strength. The prince accord- 
ingly set off to find the lake in the far country and the other 
dragon that lived in it. He found them both at last ; the lake 
was a still and lonely water surrounded by green meadows. 
The fight where flocks of sheep nibbled the sweet lush grass. The 
dragon^ hcro tuckcd up his hose and his sleeves, and wading out 
into the lake called aloud on the dragon to come forth 
and fight. Soon the monster emerged from the water, 
slimy and dripping, his scaly back glistening in the morn- 
ing sun. The two grappled and wrestled from morning to 
afternoon of a long summer day. What with the heat of 
the weather and the violence of his exertions the dragon 


was quite exhausted, and said, " Let me go, prince, that I 
may moisten my parched head in the lake and toss 
you to the sky." But the prince sternly refused ; so 
the dragon relaxed his grip and sank under the water, 
which bubbled and gurgled over the place where he 
plunged into the depths. When he had disappeared and 
the ripples had subsided on the surface, you would never 
have suspected that under that calm water, reflecting the 
green banks, the white, straying sheep, the blue sky, and the 
fleecy gold-flecked clouds of a summer evening, there lurked 
so ferocious and dangerous a monster. Next day the com- 
bat was renewed with the very same result. But on the 
third day the hero, fortified by a kiss from the fair daughter 
of the king of the land, tossed the dragon high in air, and 
when the monster fell with a most tremendous thud on the 
water he burst into little bits. Out of the pieces sprang a 
boar which ran away as fast as it could lay legs to the 
ground. But the prince sent sheep-dogs after it which 
caught it up and rent it in pieces. Out of the pieces sprang 
a pigeon ; but the prince let loose a falcon, which stooped 
on the pigeon, seized it in its talons, and brought it to the 
prince. In the pigeon was the life of the dragon who kept 
the mill, so before inflicting on the monster the doom he 
so richly merited, the prince questioned him as to the fate 
of his two elder brothers who had perished at the hands, or 
rather under the claws and fangs, of the dragon. Having 
ascertained how to restore them to life and to release a 
multitude of other victims whom the dragon kept prisoners 
in a vault under the water-mill, the prince wrung the pigeon's 
neck, and that of course was the end of the dragon and his 
unscrupulous career.^ 

A Lithuanian story relates how a prince married a princess The exter- 
and got with her a kingdom to boot She gave him the keys ?^ ^^ 
of the castle and told him he might enter every chamber Lithuanian 
except one small room, of which the key had a bit of twine ^hZsoui- 
tied to it But one day, having nothing to do, he amused less King 
himself by rummaging in all the rooms of the castle, and * fltT 

^00 J was in a 

amongst the rest he went into the little forbidden chamber, ducks egg. 

^ A. II. Wralislaw, Sixty Folk-tales from exclusively Slavonic Sources (London, 
1889), pp. 224-231. 



In it he found twelve heads and a man hanging on the 
hook of the door. The man said to the prince, " ObHge me 
by fetching me a glass of beer." The prince fetched it and 
the man drank it. Then the man said to the prince, " Oblige 
me by releasing me from the hook." The prince released 
The Soul- him. Now the man was a king without a soul, and he at 
ess ing. Qj^j,g availed himself of his liberty to come to an understand- 
ing with the coachman of the castle, and between them they 
put the prince's wife in the coach and drove off with her. 
The prince rode after them and coming up with the coach 
called out, " Halt, Soulless King ! Step out and fight ! " 
The King stepped out and the fight began. In a trice the 
King had sliced the buttons off the prince's coat and pinked 
him in the side. Then he stepped into the coach and drove off, 
The prince rode after him again, and when he came up with 
the coach he called out, " Halt, Soulless King ! Step out 
and fight 1 " The King stepped out and they fought again, 
and again the King sliced off the prince's buttons and pinked 
him in the side. Then, after carefully wiping and sheathing 
his sword, he said to his discomfited adversary, " Now look 
here. I let you off the first time for the sake of the glass of 
beer you gave me, and I let you off the second time because 
you let me down from that infernal hook ; but if you fight 
me a third time, by Gad I'll make mince meat of you." 
Then he stepped into the coach, told the coachman to 
drive on, jerked up the coach window with a bang, and 
drove away like anything. But the prince galloped after 
him and coming up with the coach for the third time he 
called out, " Halt, Soulless King ! Step out and fight ! " 
The King did step out, and at it the two of them went, tooth 
and nail. But the prince had no chance. Before he knew 
where he was, the King ran him through the body, whisked 
off his head, and left him lying a heap of raw mince beside 
the road. His wife, or rather his widow, said to the King, 
*' Let me gather up the fragments that remain." The King 
said, " Certainly." So she made up the mince into a neat 
parcel, deposited it on the front seat of the coach, and away 
The water they drove to the King's castle. Well to cut a long story 
short, a brother-in-law of the deceased prince sent a hawk to 
fetch the water of life ; the hawk brought it in his beak ; 

of life. 


the brother-in-law poured the water on the fragments of the 

prince, and the prince came to life again at once safe and 

sound. Then he went to the King's castle and played on a 

little pipe, and his wife heard it in the castle and said, " That 

is how my husband used to play, whom the King cut in bits." 

So she went out to the gate and said to him, " Are you my 

husband ? " " That I am," said he, and he told her to find 

out from the King where he kept his soul and then to come 

and tell him. So she went to the King and said to him, 

" Where my husband's soul is, there must mine be too." 

The King was touched by this artless expression of her love, The soul 

and he replied, "My soul is in yonder lake. In that lake JJIi^^segg 

lies a stone ; in that stone is a hare ; in the hare is a duck, 

in the duck is an &^%y and in the egg is my soul." So the 

queen went and told her former husband, the prince, and gave 

him plenty of money and food for the journey, and off he set 

for the lake. But when he came to the lake, he did not 

know in which part of it the stone was ; so he roamed about 

the banks, and he was hungry, for he had eaten up all the 

food. Then he met a dog, and the dog said to him, " Don't 

shoot me dead. I will be a mighty helper to you in your 

time of need." So he let the dog live and went on his way. 

Next he saw a tree with two hawks on it, an old one and a 

young one, and he climbed up the tree to catch the young 

one. But the old hawk said to him, " Don't take my young 

one. He will be a mighty helper to you in your time of 

need." So the prince climbed down the tree and went on 

his way. Then he saw a huge crab and wished to break off 

one of his claws for something to eat, but the crab said to 

him, " Don't break off my claw. It will be a mighty helper 

to you in your time of need." So he left the crab alone and 

went on his way. And he came to people and got them to 

fish up the stone for him from the lake and to bring it to him 

on the bank. And there he broke the stone in two and out 

of the stone jumped a hare. But the dog seized the hare 

and tore him, and out of the hare flew a duck. The young 

hawk pounced on the duck and rent it, and out of the duck 

fell an &^^, and the egg rolled into the lake. But the crab 

fetched the ^^% out of the lake and brought it to the prince. 

Then the King fell ill. So the prince went to the King and 



The exter- 
nal soul in 

story of a 
whose life 
was in a 

story of 

soul was 
in a box. 

said, " You killed me. Now I will kill you." " Don't," said 
the King. " I will," said the prince. With that he threw 
the egg on the ground, and the King fell out of the bed as 
dead as a stone. So the prince went home with his wife and 
very happy they were, you may take my word for it.^ 

Amongst peoples of the Teutonic stock stories of the 
external soul are not wanting. In a tale told by the Saxons 
of Transylvania it is said that a young man shot at a witch 
again and again. The bullets went clean through her but 
did her no harm, and she only laughed and mocked at him. 
" Silly earthworm," she cried, " shoot as much as you like. 
It does me no harm. For know that my life resides not in 
me but far, far away. In a mountain is a pond, on the pond 
swims a duck, in the duck is an ^%^, in the ^^^ burns a 
h'ght, that light is my life. If you could put out that light, 
my life would be at an end. But that can never, never be." 
However, the young man got hold of the &%%^ smashed it, 
and put out the light, and with it the witch's life went out 
also.^ In this last story, as in many other stories of the same 
type, the hero achieves his adventure by the help of certain 
grateful animals whom he had met and done a service 
to on his travels. The same incident occurs in another 
German tale of this class which runs thus. Once upon a 
time there was a young fellow called Body-without-Soul, or, 
for short, Soulless, and he was a cannibal who would eat 
nothing but young girls. Now it was a custom in that 
country that the girls drew lots every year, and the one on 
whom the lot fell was handed over to Soulless. In time it 
happened that the lot fell on the king's daughter. The king 
was exceedingly sorry, but what could he do ? Law was 
law, and had to be obeyed. So they took the princess to 
the castle where Soulless resided ; and he shut her up in the 
larder and fattened her for his dinner. But a brave soldier 
undertook to rescue her, and off he set for the cannibal's 
castle. Well, as he trudged along, what should he see but 
a fly, an eagle, a bear, and a lion sitting in a field by the 
side of the road, and quarrelling about their shares in a 

* A. Leskien und K. Brugmann, 2 Josef Haltrich, Deutsche Volks- 

Litauische Volkslieder und Mdrchen tndrchen aus dent Sachsenlande in 

(Strasburg, 1882), pp. 423-430; com- Siebenbiirgen^ (Vienna, 1885), No. ; 

pare id., pp. 569-571. (No. 33 of the first edition), pp. 149 .\ 


dead horse. So he divided the carcase fairly between them, The 
and as a reward the fly and the eagle bestowed on him the animals, 
power of changing himself at will into either of their shapes. 
That evening he made himself into an eagle, and flew 
up a high tree ; there he looked about, but could see nothing 
but trees. Next morning he flew on till he came to a great 
castle, and at the gate was a big black board with these 
words chalked up on it : " Mr. Soulless lives here." When 
the soldier read that he was glad, and changed himself into 
a fly, and flew buzzing from window to window, looking in 
at every one till he came to the one where the fair princess 
sat a prisoner. He introduced himself at once and said, " I 
am come to free you, but first you must learn where the soul 
of Soulless really is." " I don't know," replied the princess, 
" but I will ask." So after much coaxing and entreaty she 
learned that the soul of Soulless was in a box, and that the 
box was on a rock in the middle of the Red Sea. When 
the soldier heard that, he turned himself into an eagle again, 
flew to the Red Sea, and came back with the soul of 
Soulless in the box. Arrived at the castle he knocked and 
banged at the door as if the house was on fire. Soulless 
did not know what was the matter, and he came down and 
opened the door himself. When he saw the soldier standing 
at it, I can assure you he was in a towering rage. " What 
do you mean," he roared, " by knocking at my door like 
that ? I'll gobble you up on the spot, skin and hair and all." 
But the soldier laughed in his face. " You'd better not do 
that," said he, " for here I've got your soul in the box." When 
the cannibal heard that, all his courage went down into the 
calves of his legs, and he begged and entreated the soldier 
to give him his soul. But the soldier would not hear of it ; 
he opened the box, took out the soul, and flung it over his 
head ; and that same instant down fell the cannibal, dead as 
a door-nail.^ 

Another German story, which embodies the notion of German 
the external soul in a somewhat different form, tells how flowers that 
once upon a time a certain king had three sons and a were life- 
daughter, and for each of the king's four children there 
grew a flower in the king's garden, which was a life-flower ; 
^ J. W. Wolf, Deutsche Mdrchen und Sagen (Leipsic, 1845), No. 20, pp. 87-93. 


for it bloomed and flourished so long as the child lived, but 
drooped and withered away when the child died. Now the 
time came when the king's daughter married a rich man 
and went to live with him far away. But it was not long 
before her flower withered in the king's garden. So the 
eldest brother went forth to visit his brother-in-law and com- 
fort him in his bereavement. But when he came to his 
brother-in-law's castle he saw the corpse of his murdered 
sister weltering on the ramparts. And his wicked brother- 
in-law set before him boiled human hands and feet for his 
dinner. And when the king's son refused to eat of them, 
his brother-in-law led him through many chambers to a 
murder-hole, where were all sorts of implements of murder, 
but especially a gallows, a wheel, and a pot of blood. Here 
he said to the prince, " You must die, but you may choose 
your kind of death." The prince chose to die on the 
gallows ; and die he did even as he had said. So the 
eldest son's flower withered in the king's garden, and the 
second son went forth to learn the fate of his brother 
and sister. But it fared with him no better than with his 
elder brother, for he too died on the gallows in the murder- 
hole of his wicked brother-in-law's castle, and his flower also 
withered away in the king's garden at home. Now when 
the youngest son was also come to his brother-in-law's castle 
and saw the corpse of his murdered sister weltering on the 
ramparts, and the bodies of his two murdered brothers dang- 
ling from the gallows in the murder-hole, he said that for his 
part he had a fancy to die by the wheel, but he was not 
quite sure how the thing was done, and would his brother- 
in-law kindly shew him ? " Oh, it's quite easy," said his 
brother-in-law, " you just put your head in, so," and with 
that he popped his head through the middle of the wheel. 
" Just so," said the king's youngest son, and he gave the 
wheel a twirl, and as it spun round and round, the wicked 
brother-in-law died a painful death, which he richly deserved. 
And when he was quite dead, the murdered brothers and 
sister came to life again, and their withered flowers bloomed 
afresh in the king's garden.^ 

^ L. Strackerjan, Aberglaiibe und bitrg (Oldenburg, 1867). ii. 306-308, 
Sagsn aus dem Herzogthuin Olden- % C22. In this story the flowers are 


In another German story an old warlock lives with a The war- 
damsel all alone in the midst of a vast and gloomy ^^ J^ 
wood. She fears that being old he may die and leave whose 
her alone in the forest But he reassures her. " Dear -^^ ^^ 
child," he said, " I cannot die, and I have no heart in my 
breast." But she importuned him to tell her where his 
heart was. So he said, " Far, far from here in an unknown 
and lonesome land stands a great church. The church is 
well secured with iron doors, and round about it flows a 
broad deep moat. In the church flies a bird and in the bird 
is my heart. So long as the bird lives, I live. It cannot 
die of itself, and no one can catch it ; therefore I cannot die, 
and you need have no anxiety." However the young man, 
whose bride the damsel was to have been before the warlock 
spirited her away, contrived to reach the church and catch 
the bird. He brought it to the damsel, who stowed him and 
it away under the warlock's bed. Soon the old warlock 
came home. He was ailing, and said so. The girl wept 
and said, " Alas, daddy is dying ; he has a heart in his 
breast after all." " Child," replied the warlock, " hold your 
tongue. I can't die. It will soon pass over." At that the 
young man under the bed gave the bird a gentle squeeze ; 
and as he did so, the old warlock felt very unwell and sat 
down. Then the young man gripped the bird tighter, and 
the warlock fell senseless from his chair. " Now squeeze 
him dead," cried the damsel. Her lover obeyed, and when 
the bird was dead, the old warlock also lay dead on the 

In the Norse tale of "the giant who had no heart in his Theexter- 
body," the giant tells the captive princess, " Far, far away in JlTorse*^ '° 
a lake lies an island, on that island stands a church, in that stones, 
church is a well, in that well swims a duck, in that duck ^hos?^' 
there is an egg, and in that egg there lies my heart." The heart was 
hero of the tale, with the help of some animals to whom egg. 
he had been kind, obtains the ^^^ and squeezes it, at which 

rather life-tokens than external souls. * Y^'b\v\\^vii^oS,Sagen,Mdrchenutid 

The life - token has been carefully Lieder cUr Herzogthiimer SchUswig 

studied by Mr. E. S. Hartland in the Holsiein und Lauenburg (Kiel, 1845), 

second volume of his learned work pp. 404 sqq. 
Thi Legend of Perseus (London, 1895). 


the giant screams piteously and begs for his life. But the 

hero breaks the egg in pieces and the giant at once bursts.^ 

In another Norse story a hill-ogre tells the captive princess 

that she will never be able to return home unless she finds 

the grain of sand which lies under the ninth tongue of 

the ninth head of a certain dragon ; but if that grain of 

sand were to come over the rock in which the ogres 

live, they would all burst "and the rock itself would 

become a gilded palace, and the lake green meadows." 

The hero finds the grain of sand and takes it to the 

top of the high rock in which the ogres live. So all the 

ogres burst and the rest falls out as one of the ogres had 


Theexter- In a Danish tale a warlock carries off a princess to 

nai soul in j^jg wondrous Subterranean palace ; and when she anxiously 

stories. enquires how long he is likely to live, he assures her 

lock whose ^^^^ "^^ ^^^^^ Certainly survive her. " No man," he says, 

heart was " can rob me of my life, for it is in my heart, and my 

ma uc s j^g^j-j. jg j^Qf. j^gj.g . j^ jg jj^ safer keeping." She urges 

him to tell her where it is, so he says : " Very far from 
here, in a land that is called Poland, there is a great lake, 
and in the lake is a dragon, and in the dragon is a hare, 
and in the hare is a duck, and in the duck is an o^^^^ 
and in the ^^g is my heart. It is in good keeping, 
you may trust me. Nobody is likely to stumble upon it." 
The However, the hero of the tale, who is also the husband 

animals. of the kidnapped princess, has fortunately received the 
power of turning himself at will into a bear, a dog, an ant, 
or a falcon as a reward for having divided the carcase of a 
deer impartially between four animals of these species ; and 
availing himself of this useful art he not only makes his way 
into the warlock's enchanted palace but also secures the egg 
on which the enchanter's life depends. No sooner has he 

^ P. Chr. Asbjornsen og J. Moe, 1874), pp. 223-230 ("Boots and the 

Norske Folke - Eventyr (Christiania, Beasts "). As in other tales of this 

N.D.), No. 36, pp. 174-180; G. W. type, it is said that the hero found 

Dasent, Popular Tales from the Norse three animals (a lion, a falcon, and an 

(Edinburgh, 1859), pp. 55 sqq. ant) quarrelling over a dead horse, and 

^ P. Chr. Asbjornsen, Norske Folke- received from them the power of trans- 

Eventyry Ny Samling (Christiania, forming himself into animals of these 

1871), No. 70, pp. 3540; G. W. species as a reward for dividing the 

Dasent, Tales from the Fjeld (London, carcase fairly among them. 


smashed the &^% on the enchanter's ugly face than that 
miscreant drops down as dead as a herring.^ 

Another Danish story tells how a lad went out into the Danish 
world to look for service. He met a man, who hired him for ^l^^^^ 
three years and said he would give him a bushel of money for magician 
the first year, two bushels of money for the second, and three heart was 
bushels of money for the third. The lad was well content, as i° a fish, 
you may believe, to get such good wages. But the man was a 
magician, and it was not long before he turned the lad into 
a hare, by pronouncing over him some strange words. For 
a whole year the lad scoured the woods in the shape of a 
hare, and there was not a sportsman in all the country 
round about that had not a shot at him. But not one of 
them could hit him. At the end of the year the magician 
spoke some other words over him and turned him back 
into human form and gave him the bushel of money. But 
then the magician mumbled some other words, and the lad 
was turned into a raven and flew up into the sky. Again 
all the marksmen of the neighbourhood pointed their guns 
at him and banged away ; but they only wasted powder and 
shot, for not one of them could hit him. At the end of the 
year the magician changed him back into a man and gave 
him two bushelfuls of money. But soon after he changed 
him into a fish, and in the form of a fish the young man 
jumped into the brook and swam down into the sea. There 
at the bottom of the ocean he saw a most beautiful 
castle all of glass and in it a lovely girl all alone. Round 
and round the castle he swam, looking into all the rooms 
and admiring everything. At last he remembered the 
words the magician had spoken when he turned him back 
into a man, and by repeating them he was at once trans- 
formed into a stripling again. He walked into the glass 
castle and introduced himself to the girl, and though at first 
she was nearly frightened to death, she was soon very glad 
to have him with her. From her he learned that she was 
no other than the daughter of the magician, who kept her 
there for safety at the bottom of the sea. The two now 
laid their heads together, and she told him what to do. 

^ Svend Grundtvig, Ddnische Volks- Zweite Sammlung (Leipsic, 1879), 
w^ay-c/i^w, tibersetzt von A. Strodtmann, pp. 194-218. 


There was a certain king who owed her father money and 
had not the wherewithal to pay ; and if he did not pay 
by such and such a day, his head was to be cut off. So the 
young man was to take service with the king, offer him the 
bushels of money which he had earned in the service of the 
magician, and go with him to the magician to pay his debt. 
But he was to dress up as the court Fool so that the 
magician would not know him, and in that character he was 
to indulge in horse-play, smashing windows and so on, till 
the magician would fall into such a rage that though the 
king had paid his debt to the last farthing he would never- 
theless be condemned to instant execution unless he could 
answer the magician's questions. The questions would be 
these, " Where is my daughter ? " " Would you know her 
if you saw her ? " Now the magician would cause a whole 
line of phantom women to pass by, so that the young 
man would not be able to tell which of them was the 
sorcerer's daughter ; but when her turn came to pass by she 
would give him a nudge as a sign, and so he would know 
The her. Then the magician would ask, " And where is my 

hSt'''^"'^ heart?" And the young man was to say, "In a fish." 
And the magician would ask, " Would you know the fish if 
you saw it ? " And he would cause all sorts of fishes to 
pass by, and the young man would have to say in which of 
them was the heart of the magician. He would never be 
able of himself to tell in which of them it was, but the girl 
would stand beside him, and when the right fish passed by, 
she would nudge him and he was to catch it and rip it up, 
and the magician would ask him no more questions. Every- 
thing turned out exactly as she had said. The king paid 
his debt to the last farthing ; but the young man disguised 
as the court Fool cut such capers and smashed so many 
glass windows and doors that the heaps of broken glass 
were something frightful to contemplate. So there was 
nothing for it but that the king, who was of course re- 
sponsible for the pranks of his Fool, should either answer the 
magician's questions or die the death. While they were 
getting the axe and the block ready in the courtyard, the 
trembling king was interrogated by the stern magician. 
" Where is my daughter ? " asked the sorcerer. Here the 


court Fool cut in and said, " She is at the bottom of the sea." 
" Would you know her if you saw her ? " enquired the 
magician. " To be sure I would," answered the Fool. So 
the magician caused a whole regiment of girls to defile 
before him, one after the other ; but they were mere 
phantoms and apparitions. Almost the last of all came the 
magician's daughter, and when she passed the young man 
she pinched his arm so hard that he almost shrieked with 
pain. However, he dissembled his agony and putting his 
arm round her waist held her fast The magician now 
played his last trump. " Where is ray heart ? " said he. 
" I n a fish," said the Fool. " Would you know the fish if 
you saw it ? " asked the magician. " To be sure I would," 
answered the Fool. Then all the fishes of the sea swam 
past, and when the right one came last of all, the girl 
nudged her lover ; he seized the fish, and with one stroke of 
his knife slit it from end to end. Out tumbled the magician's 
heart ; the young man seized it and cut it in two, and at the 
same moment the magician fell dead.^ 

In Iceland they say that once a king's son was out The ester- 
hunting in a wood with the courtiers, when the mist came "cei^^c" 
down so thick that his companions lost sight of the prince, stories, 
and though they searched the woods till evening they could 
not find him. At the news the king was inconsolable, and The king's 
taking to his bed caused proclamation to be made that he ^"g'^f tj^g 
who could find and bring back his lost son should have half giantesses 
the kingdom. Now an old man and his old wife lived yfe°^ 
together in a wretched hut, and they had a daughter. She '^^ ^n egg. 
resolved to seek the lost prince and get the promised reward. 
So her parents gave her food for the journey and a pair of 
new shoes, and off she set Well, she walked and better 
walked for days, and at last she came towards evening to a 
cave and going into it she saw two beds. One of them was 
covered with a cloth of silver and the other with a cloth of 
gold ; and in the bed with the golden coverlet was the king's 
son fast asleep. She tried to wake him, but all in vain. 
Then she noticed some runes carved on the bedsteads, but 
'^he could not read them. So she went back to the mouth 

Svend Grundtvig, DdniscJu Volksmiirchen, iibersetzt von Willibald Leo 
psic, 1878), pp. 29-45. 


of the cave and hid behind the door. Hardly had she time 
to conceal herself when she heard a loud noise and saw two 
giantesses, two great hulking louts they were, stride into the 
cave. No sooner were they in than one said to the other, 
" Ugh, what a smell of human flesh in our cave ! " But the 
other thought the smell might come from the king's son. 
They went up to the bed where he was sleeping, and calling 

The swans' two swans, which the girl had not perceived in the dim light 

song, ^j- ^^ cave, they said : — 

" Sing, sing, my swans, 
That the king's son may wake." 

So the swans sang and the king's son awoke. The younger 
of the two hags offered him food, but he refused it ; then 
she asked him, if he would marry her, but he said " No, 
certainly not." Then she shrieked and said to the swans : — ■ 

" Sing, sing, my swans. 
That the king's son may sleep.*' 

The swans sang and the king's son fell fast asleep. Then 
the two giantesses lay down in the bed with the silver coverlet 
and slept till break of day. When they woke in the morn- 
ing, they wakened the prince and offered him food again, but 
he again refused it ; and the younger hag again asked him 
if he would have her to wife, but he would not hear of it. 
So they put him to sleep again to the singing of the swans 
and left the cave. When they were gone a while, the girl 
came forth from her hiding-place and waked the king's son 
to the song of the swans, and he was glad to see her and to 
get the news. She told him that, when the hag asked him 
again to marry her, he must say, " Yes, but you must first 
tell me what is written on the beds, and what you do by day." 
So when it drew to evening, the girl hid herself again, and 
soon the giantesses came, lit a fire in the cave, and cooked at 
it the game they had brought with them. And the younger 
hag wakened the king's son and asked him if he would have 
something to eat. This time he said " Yes." And when he 
had finished his supper, the giantess asked him if he would 
have her to wife. " That I will," said he, " but first you must 
tell me what the runes mean that are carved on the bed." 
She said that they meant : — 


" Run^ run, my Utile bed. 
Run whither I luill." 

He said he was very glad to know it, but she must also tell 
him what they did all day long out there in the wood. The 
hag told him that they hunted beasts and birds, and that 
between whiles they sat down under an oak and threw 
their life-egg from one to the other, but they had to be The life- 
careful, for if the &gg were to break, they would both die. ^^' 
The king's son thanked her kindly, but next morning when 
the giantess asked him to go with them to the wood he said 
that he would rather stay at home. So away went the 
giantesses by themselves, after they had lulled him to sleep 
to the singing of the swans. But hardly were their backs 
turned when out came the girl and wakened the prince and 
told him to take his spear, and they would pursue the 
giantesses, and when they were throwing their life-egg to 
each other he was to hurl his spear at it and smash it to bits. 
" But if you miss," said she, " it is as much as your life 
is worth." So they came to the oak in the wood, and there 
they heard a loud laugh, and the king's son climbed up the 
tree, and there under the oak were the two giantesses, and 
one of them had a golden egg in her hand and threw it to 
the other. Just then the king's son hurled his spear and hit 
the egg so that it burst. At the same time the two hags fell 
dead to the ground and the slaver dribbled out of their 
mouths.^ In an Icelandic parallel to the story of Meleager An ice- 
the spae-wives or sibyls come and foretell the high destiny "^^^i ,0 
of the infant Gestr as he lies in his cradle. Two candles were Meleager. 
burning beside the child, and the youngest of the spae-wives, 
conceiving herself slighted, cried out, " I foretell that the 
child shall live no longer than this candle bums." Where- 
upon the chief sibyl put out the candle and gave it to Gestr's 

^ J. C. Poestion, Islandische Mar- when the stone is caught and broken 

chen (Vienna, 1884), No. vii. pp. 49- by the heroine, the giant and giantess 

55. The same story is told with at once expire. The tale was told to 

minor variations by Konrad Maurer in Maurer when he was crossing an arm 

his Islandische Volkssagen der Gegen- of the sea in a small boat ; and the 

wart (Leipsic, i860), pp. 277-280. waves ran so high and broke into the 

In his version a giant and giantess, boat so that he could not write the 

brother and sister, have their life in story down at the time but had to 

one stone, which they throw back- trust to his memory- in recording it 

wards and forwards to each other ; afterwards. 


mother to keep, charging her not to light it again until her 
son should wish to die. Gestr lived three hundred years ; 
then he kindled the candle and expired.^ 
Theexter- The Conception of the external soul meets us also in 

ilfceTi Celtic stories. Thus a tale, told by a blind fiddler in the 
stories. island of I slay, relates how a giant carried off a king's wife 
whose'soui ^"*^ ^^^ ^^^ horses and kept them in his den. But the horses 
was in a attacked the giant and mauled him so that he could hardl\- 
crawl. He said to the queen, " If I myself had my soul to 
keep, those horses would have killed me long ago." " And 
where, my dear," said she, " is thy soul ? By the books I 
will take care of it." "It is in the Bonnach stone," said he. 
So on the morrow when the giant went out, the queen set 
the Bonnach stone in order exceedingly. In the dusk of the 
evening the giant came back, and he said to the queen, 
" What made thee set the Bonnach stone in order like that ? " 
" Because thy soul is in it," quoth she. " I perceive," said 
he, " that if thou didst know where my soul is, thou wouldst 
give it much respect." " That I would," said she. " It is 
not there," said he, " my soul is ; it is in the threshold." On 
the morrow she set the threshold in order finely, and when 
the giant returned, he asked her, " What brought thee to set 
the threshold in order like that ? " " Because thy soul is in 
it," said she. " I perceive," said he, " that if thou knewest 
where my soul is, thou wouldst take care of it." " That I 
would," said she. " It is not there that my soul is," said he, 
" There is a great flagstone under the threshold. There is a 
wether under the flag. There is a duck in the wether's belly, 
and an Qgg in the belly of the duck, and it is in the &^^ that 
my soul is." On the morrow when the giant was gone, they 
raised the flagstone and out came the wether. They opened 
the wether and out came the duck. They split the duck, 
and out came the o.^^. And the queen took the ^g^ and 
crushed it in her hands, and at that very moment the giant, 
who was coming home in the dusk, fell down dead.^ In 
another Celtic tale, a sea beast has carried off a king's 

^ W. Mannhardt, Germanische My- Donaldson (Paisley, 1879-1882), iv. 

then (Berlin, 1858), p. 592; John 869,^.2'. "Yule." 
Jamieson, Etymological Dictiotiary of '^ J. F. Campbell, Popular Tales of 

the Scottish Language, New Edition, the West Highlands, New Edition 

revised by J. Longmuir and D. (Paisley and London, 1890),!. 7-1 1. 


daughter, and an old smith declares that there is no way of 
killing the beast but one. " In the island that is in the 
midst of the loch is Eillid Chaisihion — the white-footed 
hind, of the slenderest legs, and the swiftest step, and though 
she should be caught, there would spring a hoodie out of 
her, and though the hoodie should be caught, there would 
spring a trout out of her, but there is an egg in the mouth 
of the trout, and the soul of the beast is in the zg'g, and if 
the egg breaks, the beast is dead." As usual the egg is 
broken and the beast dies.^ 

In these Celtic tales the helpful animals reappear and The herds- 
assist the hero in achieving the adventure, though for the c^chan 
sake of brevity I have omitted to describe the parts they and the 
play in the plot. They figure also in an Argv'leshire story, animals, 
which seems however to be of Irish origin ; for the Cruachan 
of which we hear in it is not the rugged and lofty mountain 
Ben Cruachan which towers above the beautiful Loch Awe, 
but Roscommon Cruachan near Belanagare, the ancient 
palace of the kings of Connaught, long famous in Irish 
tradition.^ The story relates how a big giant. King of 
Sorcha, stole away the wife and the shaggy dun filly of the 
herdsman or king of Cruachan. So the herdsman baked a 
bannock to take with him by the way, and set off in quest 
of his wife and the filly. He went for a long, long time, 
till at last his soles were blackened and his cheeks were 
sunken, the yellow-headed birds were going to rest at the 
roots of the bushes and the tops of the thickets, and the 
dark clouds of night were coming and the clouds of day 
were departing ; and he saw a house far from him, but 
though it was far from him he did not take long to reach it. 
He went in, and sat in the upper end of the house, but there 
was no one within ; and the fire was newly kindled, the 
house newly swept, and the bed newly made ; and who 
came in but the hawk of Glencuaich, and she said to him, 
" Are you here, young son of Cruachan ? " "I am," said 
he. The hawk said to him, " Do you know who was here 
last night ? " "I do not," said he. " There were here," 

^ J. F. Campbell, Popular Tales of ^ Compare Taboo and the Perils of 

the West Highlands, New Edition, the Soul, p. 1 2. 
i. 80 sqq. 


said she, " the big giant, King of Sorcha, your wife, and the 
shaggy dun filly ; and the giant was threatening terribly 
that if he could get hold of you he would take the head off 
you." " I well believe it," said he. Then she gave him 
food and drink, and sent him to bed. She rose in the 
morning, made breakfast for him, and baked a bannock for 
him to take with him on his journey. And he went away 
and travelled all day, and in the evening he came to another 
house and went in, and was entertained by the green-headed 
duck, who told him that the giant had rested there the night 
before with the wife and shaggy dun filly of the herdsman 
of Cruachan. And next day the herdsman journeyed again, 
and at evening he came to another house and went in and 
was entertained by the fox of the scrubwood, who told him 
just what the hawk of Glencuaich and the green -headed 
duck had told him before. Next day the same thing 
happened, only it was the brown otter of the burn that 
entertained him at evening in a house where the fire was 
newly kindled, the floor newly swept, and the bed newly 
made. And next morning when he awoke, the first 
thing he saw was the hawk of Glencuaich, the green-headed 
duck, the fox of the scrubwood, and the brown otter of the 
burn all dancing together on the floor. They made break- 
fast for him, and partook of it all together, and said to him, 
" Should you be at any time in straits, think of us, and we 
will help you." Well, that very evening he came to the 
cave where the giant lived, and who was there before him 
but his own wife ? She gave him food and hid him under 
clothes at the upper end of the cave. And when the giant 
came home he sniffed about and said, " The smell of a 
The simple Stranger is in the cave." But she said no, it was only a 
giant and jj^^|g ^jj.^ gj^^ j^^^ roastcd. "And I wish you would tell 

the wily "^ 

woman. me," said she, " where you keep your life, that I might take 
good care of it." " It is in a grey stone over there," said 
he. So next day when he went away, she took the grey 
stone and dressed it well, and placed it in the upper end of 
the cave. When the giant came home in the evening he 
said to her, " What is it that you have dressed there ? " 
" Your own life," said she, " and we must be careful of it." 
" I perceive that you are very fond of me, but it is not 


there," said he, " Where is it ? " said she. " It is in a grey 
sheep on yonder hillside," said he. On the morrow, when 
he went away, she got the grey sheep, dressed it well, and 
placed it in the upper end of the cave. When he came 
home in the evening he said, " What is it that you have 
dressed there ? " " Your own life, my love," said she. "It 
is not there as yet," said he. " Well ! " said she, " you are 
putting me to great trouble taking care of it, and you have 
not told me the truth these two times." He then said, " I 
think that I may tell it to you now. My life is below the 
feet of the big horse in the stable. There is a place down 
there in which there is a small lake. Over the lake are 
seven grey hides, and over the hides are seven sods from 
the heath, and under all these are seven oak planks. There 
is a trout in the lake, and a duck in the belly of the trout, 
an t.%% in the belly of the duck, and a thorn of blackthorn 
inside of the Q.^g, and till that thorn is chewed small I 
cannot be killed. Whenever the seven grey hides, the seven 
sods from the heath, and the seven oak planks are touched 
I shall feel it wherever I shall be. I have an axe above 
the door, and unless all these are cut through with one blow 
of it the lake will not be reached ; and when it will be 
reached I shall feel it" Next day, when the giant had 
gone out hunting on the hill, the herdsman of Cruachan 
contrived, with the help of the friendly animals — the hawk, 
the duck, the fox, and the otter — to get possession of the 
fateful thorn and to chew it before the giant could reach 
him ; and no sooner had he done so than the giant dropped 
stark and stiff, a corpse.^ 

Another Argyleshire story relates how a certain giant, -\ipie- 
who lived in the Black Corrie of Ben Breck, carried off three of'Se '°^ 
daughters of a king, one after the other, at internals of seven Bare- 
years. The bereaved monarch sent champions to rescue his hTq^^^ 
lost daughters, but though they surprised the giant in his *hosesoui 
sleep and cut off his head, it was all to no purpose ; for as duck's egg. 
fast as they cut it off he put it on again and made after them 
as if nothing had happened. So the champions fled away 
before him as fast as they could lay legs to the ground, and 
the more agile of them escaped, but the shorter-winded he 

^ Rev. D. Maclnnes, Folk and Hero Tales (London, 1890), pp. 103-121. 


caught, bared them to the skin, and hanged them on hooks 
against the turrets of his castle. So he went by the name 
of the Bare-Stripping Hangman. Now this amiable man 
had announced his intention of coming to fetch away the 
fourth and last of the king's daughters, when another seven 
years should be up. The time was drawing near, and the 
king, with the natural instincts of a father, was in great 
tribulation, when as good luck would have it a son of the 
king of Ireland, by name Alastir, arrived in the king's castle 
and undertook to find out where the Bare-Stripping Hang- 
man had hidden his soul. To cut a long story short, the 
artful Hangman had hidden his soul in an egg, which was 
in the belly of a duck, which was in the belly of a salmon, 
which was in the belly of a swift-footed hind of the cliffs. 
The prince wormed the secret from a little old man, and 
by the help of a dog, a brown otter, and a falcon he con- 
trived to extract the o.^^ from its various envelopes and 
crushed it to bits between his hands and knees. So when 
he came to the giant's castle he found the Bare-Stripping 
Hangman lying dead on the floor.^ 
Highland Another Highland story sets forth how Hugh, prince of 

Headless Lochlin, was long held captive by a giant who lived in a 
Hugh cave overlooking the Sound of Mull. At last, after he had 
spent many years of captivity in that dismal cave, it came 
to pass that one night the giant and his wife had a great 
dispute, and Hugh overheard their talk, and learned that the 
giant's soul was in a precious gem which he always wore on 
his forehead. So the prince watched his opportunity, seized 
the gem, and having no means of escape or concealment, 
hastily swallowed it. Like lightning from the clouds, the 
giant's sword flashed from its scabbard and flew between 
Hugh's head and his body to intercept the gem before it 
could descend into the prince's stomach. But it was too 
late ; and the giant fell down, sword in hand, and expired 
without a gasp. Hugh had now lost his head, it is true, 
but having the giant's soul in his body he felt none the 
worse for the accident. So he buckled the giant's sword at 
his side, mounted the grey filly, swifter than the east wind, 

1 Rev. J. Macdougall, Folk and {Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition^ 
Hero 7"a/« (London, 1891), pp. "jdsqq. No. iii.). 


that never had a bridle, and rode home. But the want of 
his head made a painful impression on his friends ; indeed 
they maintained that he was a ghost and shut the door 
in his face, so now he wanders for ever in shades of 
darkness, riding the grey filly fleeter than the wind. On 
stormy nights, when the wind howls about the gables and 
among the trees, you may see him galloping along the 
shore of the sea " between wave and sand." Many a 
naughty little boy, who would not go quietly to bed, has 
been carried off by Headless Hugh on his grey filly and 
never seen again.^ 

In Sutherlandshire at the present day there is a sept of TheMac- 
Mackays known as " the descendants of the seal," who descencf- 
claim to be sprung from a mermaid, and the story they tell ants of 

til 6 jsp aI. 

in explanation of their claim involves the notion of the 
external soul. They say that the laird of Borgie used to go 
down to the rocks under his castle to bathe. One day he 
saw a mermaid close in shore, combing her hair and swim- 
ming about, as if she were anxious to land. After watching 
her for a time, he noticed her cowl on the rocks beside him, 
and knowing that she could not go to sea without it, he 
carried the cowl up to the castle in the hope that she would 
follow him. She did so, but he refused to give up the cowl 
and detained the sea-maiden herself and made her his wife. 
To this she consented with great reluctance, and told him that 
her life was bound up with the cowl, and that if it rotted or was 
destroyed she would instantly die. So the cowl was placed 
for safety in the middle of a great hay-stack, and there it 
lay for years. One unhappy day, when the laird was from 
home, the servants were working among the hay and found 
the cowl. Not knowing what it was, they shewed it to the 
lady of the house. The sight revived memories of her old 
life in the depths of the sea, so she took the cowl, and 
leaving her child in its cot, plunged into the sea and never 

* Rev. James Macdonald, Religion see J. G. Campbell, Witchcraft and 

a«£^ iT/j//^ (London, 1893), pp. 187 j^. Second Sight in the Highlands and 

The writer tells us that in his youth a Islands of Scotland (Glasgow, 1902), 

certain old Betty Miles used to terrify pp. iii sqq. India also has its stories 

him with this tale. For the tradition of headless horsemen. See W. Crooke, 

of Headless Hugh, who seems to have Popular Religion and Folk-lore of 

been the only son of Hector, first chief Northern India (London, 1896), i. 256 

of Lochbuy, in the fourteenth century, sqq. 


came home to Borgie any more. Only sometimes she 
would swim close in shore to see her boy, and then she 
wept because he was not of her own kind that she might 
take him to sea with her. The boy grew to be a man, and 
his descendants are famous swimmers. They cannot drown, 
and to this day they are known in the neighbourhood as 
Sliochd an roin, that is, " the descendants of the seal." ^ 
Theexter- In an Irish story we read how a giant kept a beautiful 

nai soul damsel a prisoner in his castle on the top of a hill, which 
and Breton was whitc with the bones of the champions who had tried 
The^^iant ^'^ ^^^^ ^° rcscue the fair captive. At last the hero, after 
and the hewing and slashing at the giant all to no purpose, dis- ; 
^' covered that the only way to kill him was to rub a mole on 

the giant's right breast with a certain tgg, which was in a 
duck, which was in a chest, which lay locked and bound at 
the bottom of the sea. With the help of some obliging 
salmon, rams, and eagles, the hero as usual made himself 
master of the precious egg and slew the giant by merely 
striking it against the mole on his right breast.^ Similarly 
in a Breton story there figures a giant whom neither fire nor 
water nor steel can harm. He tells his seventh wife, whom 
he has just married after murdering all her predecessors, " I 
am immortal, and no one can hurt me unless he crushes on 
my breast an Qgg, which is in a pigeon, which is in the 
belly of a hare ; this hare is in the belly of a wolf, and this 
wolf is in the belly of my brother, who dwells a thousand 
The leagues from here. So I am quite easy on that score." A 

soldier, the hero of the tale, had been of service to an ant, 
a wolf, and a sea-bird, who in return bestowed on him the 
power of turning himself into an ant, a wolf, or a sea-bird 
at will. By means of this magical power the soldier con- 
trived to obtain the egg and crush it on the breast of the 
Body-with- giant, who immediately expired.^ Another Breton story 
out-Soul, ^gjjg Qf ^ giant who was called Body-without-Soul because 

* Rev. James Macdonald, Religion Highlands and Islands of Scotland 

and Myth, pp. 191 sq., from informa- (Glasgow, 1900), p. 284. 
tion furnished by the Rev, A. Mackay. 2 Jeremiah Curtin, Myths and Folk- 

In North Uist there is a sept known as tales of Ireland (London, N.D.), pp. 7 1 

"the MacCodrums of the seals," and sqg. 

a precisely similar legend is told to ^ p, S^billot, Contes pofntlaires de 

explain their descent from seals. See la Haute- Bretagne (Paris, 1885), pp. 

J. G. Campbell, Superstitions of the 63 sqq. 



his life did not reside in his body. He himself dwelt in 
a beautiful castle which hung between heaven and earth, 
suspended by four golden chains ; but his life was in an ^g^^ 
and the egg was in a dove, and the dove was in a hare, and 
the hare was in a wolf, and the wolf was in an iron chest at 
the bottom of the sea. In his castle in the air he kept 
prisoner a beauteous princess whom he had swooped down 
upon and carried off in a magic chariot. But her lover The 
turned himself into an ant and so climbed up one of the ^^j^^ 
golden chains into the enchanted castle, for he had done a 
kindness to the king and queen of ants, and they rewarded 
him by transforming him into an ant in his time of need. 
When he had learned from the captive princess the secret of 
the giant's life, he procured the chest from the bottom of the 
sea by the help of the king of fishes, whom he had also 
obliged ; and opening the chest he killed first the wolf, then 
the hare, and then the dove, and at the death of each animal 
the giant grew weaker and weaker as if he had lost a limb. 
In the stomach of the dove the hero found the egg on which 
the giant's life depended, and when he came with it to the 
castle he found Body-without- Soul stretched on his bed at 
the point of death. So he dashed the egg against the 
giant's forehead, the egg broke, and the giant straightway 
expired.^ In another Breton tale the life of a giant resides The giant 
in an old box-tree which grows in his castle garden ; and to ^a^^^* 
kill him it is necessary to sever the tap-root of the tree at a box-tree, 
single blow of an axe without injuring any of the lesser 
roots. This task the hero, as usual, successfully accomplishes, 
and at the same moment the giant drops dead.^ 

Xhe^notion of an external soul has now been traced in 
folk-tales told by Aryan peoples from India to Brittany and 

* F. M. Luzel, Contes populaires de not told that the life of the beast was 

Basse-Bretagm (Paris, 1887), i. 435- in the egg. In both of them also the 

449. Compare I'at, VeilUes Bretonnes hero receives from three animals, whose 

(Morlaix, 1879), pp. 133 sq. For two dispute about the carcase of a dead 

other French stories of the same type, beast he has settled, the power of 

taken down in Lorraine, see E.Cosquin, changing himself into animals of the 

Contes populaires de Lorraine (Paris, same sort. See the remarks and com- 

N.D.), Nos. 15 and 50 (vol. i. pp. 166 parisons of the learned editor. Monsieur 

sqq.^ vol. ii. pp. 128 sqq."). In both E. Cosquin, op. cit, i. ijo sqq. 
of them there figures a miraculous beast 

which can only be slain by breaking a * F. M. Luzel, VeilUes Bretonnes 

certain egg against its head ; but we are pp. 127 sqq. 


The exter- the Hebrides. We have still to shew that the same idea occurs 

^^ fodes commonly in the popular stories of peoples who do not belong 

of non- to the Aryan stock. In the first place it appears in the ancient 

peoples, Egyptian story of " The Two Brothers." This story was 

Theancient written down in the reign of Rameses II., about 1300 B.C. 

story of" It is therefore older than our present redaction of Homer, 

the Two and far older than the Bible. The outline of the story, 

so far as it concerns us here, is as follows. Once upon 

a time there were two brethren ; the name of the elder was 

Anpu and the name of the younger was Bata. Now Anpu 

had a house and a wife, and his younger brother dwelt with 

him as his servant. It was Anpu who made the garments, 

and every morning when it grew light he drove the kine 

afield. As he walked behind them they used to say to 

him, " The grass is good in such and such a place," and he 

heard what they said and led them to the good pasture that 

they desired. So his kine grew very sleek and multiplied 

greatly. One day when the two brothers were at work in 

the field the elder brother said to the younger, " Run and 

fetch seed from the village." So the younger brother ran 

and said to the wife of his elder brother, " Give me seed 

that I may run to the field, for my brother sent me saying, 

Tarry not." She said, " Go to the barn and take as much as 

thou wouldst." He went and filled a jar full of wheat and 

barley, and came forth bearing it on his shoulders. When 

the woman saw him her heart went out to him, and she laid 

hold of him and said, " Come, let us rest an hour together." 

But he said, " Thou art to me as a mother, and my brother 

\ is to me as a father." So he would not hearken to her, but 

\ took the load on his back and went away to the field. In 

the evening, when the elder brother was returning from the 

field, his wife feared for what she had said. So she took 

\ soot and made herself as one who had been beaten. And 

when her husband came home, she said, " When thy younger 

. brother came to fetch seed, he said to me. Come, let us rest 

an hour together. But I would not, and he beat me." 

Then the elder brother became like a panther of the south ; 

he sharpened his knife and stood behind the door of the 

cow-house. And when the sun set and the younger brother 

came laden with all the herbs of the field, as was his wont 


every day, the cow that walked in front of the herd said to 
him, " Behold, thine elder brother stands with a knife to kill 
thee. Flee before him." When he heard what the cow 
said, he looked under the door of the cow-house and saw 
■Jie feet of his elder brother standing behind the door, his 
icnife in his hand. So he fled and his brother pursued him 
with the knife. But the younger brother cried for help to 
:he Sun, and the Sun heard him and caused a great water 
to spring up between him and his elder brother, and the 
water was full of crocodiles. The two brothers stood, the 
one on the one side of the water and the other on the other, 
and the younger brother told the elder brother all that had 
befallen. So the elder brother repented him of what he 
had done and he lifted up his voice and wept But he 
could not come at the farther bank by reason of the 
crocodiles. His younger brother called to him and said, 
" Go home and tend the cattle thyself. For I will dwell no 
..ore in the place where thou art. I will go to the Valley 
of the Acacia. But this is what thou shalt do for me. 
Thou shalt come and care for me, if evil befalls me, for I The heart 
will enchant my heart and place it on the top of the flower '° ^* 
of the Acacia ; and if they cut the Acacia and my heart the Acacia, 
falls to the ground, thou shalt come and seek it, and when 
thou hast found it thou shalt lay it in a vessel of fresh 
water. Then I shalt come to life again. But this is the 
sign that evil has befallen me ; the pot of beer in thine hand 
shall bubble." So he went away to the Valley of the 
Acacia, but his brother returned home with dust on his head 
and slew his wife and cast her to the dogs. 

For many days afterwards the younger brother dwelt Bata in the 
alone in the Valley of the Acacia. By day he hunted the Y*^'^5^ °\ 

-' ^ ■' ^ ^ the Acacia. 

beasts of the field, but at evening he came and laid him 
down under the Acacia, on the top of whose flower was his 
heart. And many days after that he built himself a house 
in the Valley of the Acacia, But the gods were grieved 
for him ; and the Sun said to Khnumu, " Make a wife for 
Bata, that he may not dwell alone." So Khnumu made 
him a woman to dwell with him, who was perfect in her 
limbs more than any woman on earth, for all the gods were 
in her. So she dwelt with him. But one day a lock of 


I her hair fell into the river and floated down to the land 

I of Egypt, to the house of Pharaoh's washerwomen. The 

I fragrance of the lock perfumed Pharaoh's raiment, and the 

washerwomen were blamed, for it was said, '* An odour of 

perfume in the garments of Pharaoh ! " So the heart of 

Pharaoh's chief washerman was weary of the complaints 

that were made every day, and he went to the wharf, and 

there in the water he spied the lock of hair. He sent one 

down into the river to fetch it, and, because it smelt sweetly, 

he took it to Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh's magicians were 

sent for and they said, " This lock of hair belongs to a 

daughter of the Sun, who has in her the essence of all the 

gods. Let messengers go forth to all foreign lands to seek 

her." So the woman was brought from the Valley of the 

Acacia with chariots and archers and much people, and all 

the land of Egypt rejoiced at her coming, and Pharaoh loved 

her. But when they asked her of her husband, she said to 

Pharaoh, " Let them cut down the Acacia and let them 

destroy it." So men were sent with tools to cut down the 

How Bata Acacia. They came to it and cut the flower upon which 

was ^" '^^^ ^^^ heart of Bata ; and he fell down dead in that evil 

brought to hour. But the next day, when the earth grew light and 

again, ^j^^ elder brother of Bata was entered into his house and 

had sat down, they brought him a pot of beer and it 

bubbled, and they gave him a jug of wine and it grew 

turbid. Then he took his staff and his sandals and hied 

him to the Valley of the Acacia, and there he found his 

younger brother lying dead in his house. So he sought 

for the heart of his brother under the Acacia. For three 

\ years he sought in vain, but in the fourth year he found it 

\ in the berry of the Acacia. So he threw the heart into a 

\ cup of fresh water. And when it was night and the heart 

\ had sucked in much water, Bata shook in all his limbs and 

\ revived. Then he drank the cup of water in which his 
heart was, and his heart went into its place, and he lived as 

\' ^ (Sir) Gaston Maspero, Contes Wiedemann, Altdgyptische Sagen und 

populaires de r &gypte ancienne'^ {^zxis, Mdrchen (Leipsic, 1906), pp. 58-77. 

N.D.), pp. I sqq. ; W. M. Flinders Compare W. Mannhardt, " Das 

Petrie, Egyptian Tales, Second Series alteste Marchen," Zeitschrift fiir 

(London, 1895), pp. 36 sqq.; Alfred deutsche Mythologie und Sitte/tkunde, 


In the Arabian Nights we read how Seyf el-MuIook, The exter- 
after wandering for four months over mountains and hills ^fab?^'° 
and deserts, came to a lofty palace in which he found the stones. 
lovely daughter of the King of India sitting alone on a and ie"^ 
golden couch in a hall spread with silken carpets. She tells sparrow. 
him that she is held captive by a jinnee, who had swooped 
down on her and carried her off while she was disporting 
herself with her female slaves in a tank in the great garden 
of her father the king. Seyf el-Mulook then offers to smite 
the jinnee with the sword and slay him. " But," she replied, 
" thou canst not slay him unless thou kill his soul." " And 
in what place," said he, " is his soul ? " She answered, " I 
asked him respecting it many times ; but he would not 
confess to me its place. It happened, however, that I urged 
him, one day, and he was enraged against me, and said to 
me, * How often wilt thou ask me respecting my soul ? 
What is the reason of thy question respecting my soul ? ' 
So I answered him, ' O Hatim, there remaineth to me no one 
but thee, excepting God ; and I, as long as I live, would 
not cease to hold thy soul in my embrace ; and if I do not 
take care of thy soul, and put it in the midst of my eye, 
how can I live after thee ? If I knew thy soul, I would 
take care of it as of my right eye.' And thereupon he said 
to me, ' When I was born, the astrologers declared that the 
destruction of my soul would be effected by the hand of one 
of the sons of the human kings. I therefore took my soul, 
and put it into the crop of a sparrow, and I imprisoned the 
sparrow in a little box, and put this into another small box, 
and this I put within seven other small boxes, and I put 
these within seven chests, and the chests I put into a coffer 
of marble within the verge of this circumambient ocean ; for 
this part is remote from the countries of mankind, and none 
of mankind can gain access to it.'" But Seyf el-Mulook got 
possession of the sparrow and strangled it, and the jinnee 
fell upon the ground a heap of black ashes.^ In a modern 

iv. (1859) pp. 232-259. The manu- and in almost perfect condition, 

script of the story, which is now in the * The Thousand and One Nights, 

British Museum, belonged to an Egyp- commonly called, in England, The 

tian prince, who was afterwards King Arabian Nights' Entertainments, trans- 

Seti II. and reigned about the year lated by E. W. Lane (London, 1839- 

1300 B.C. It is beautifully written 1841), iii. 339-345. 


The ogress Arabian tale a king marries an ogress, who puts out the 
bottie^'^ eyes of the king's forty wives. One of the blinded queens 
gives birth to a son whom she names Mohammed the Prudent. 
But the ogress queen hated him and compassed his death. 
So she sent him on an errand to the house of her kinsfolk 
the ogres. In the house of the ogres he saw some things 
hanging from the roof, and on asking a female slave what 
they were, she said, " That is the bottle which contains the 
life of my lady the queen, and the other bottle beside it 
contains the eyes of the queens whom my mistress blinded." 
A little afterwards he spied a beetle and rose to kill it. 
" Don't kill it," cried the slave, " for that is my life." But 
Mohammed the Prudent watched the beetle till it entered 
a chink in the wall ; and when the female slave had fallen 
asleep, he killed the beetle in its hole, and so the slave died. 
Then Mohammed took down the two bottles and carried 
them home to his father's palace. There he presented him- 
self before the ogress queen and said, " See, I have your life 
in my hand, but I will not kill you till you have replaced 
the eyes which you took from the forty queens." The ogress 
did as she was bid, and then Mohammed the Prudent said, 
" There, take your life." But the bottle slipped from his 
hand and fell, the life of the ogress escaped from it, and she 

^ G. Spitta - Bey, Contes arabes by her as her son. The same incident 

modernes (Leyden and Paris, 1883), occurs in Kabyle and Berber tales. 

No. 2, pp. 12 sqq. The story in its See J. Riviere, Contes populaires de la 

main outlines is identical with the Kahylie du Djiirdjura (Paris, 1882), 

Cashmeer story of "The Ogress Queen" p. 239; R. 'S>^s,%€l, Nouveaux Contes 

(]. H.Yino-vilQS, Folk-tales of A'ashtnir, Berberes (Paris, 1897), p. 128, with 

pp. /^2 sqq.) and the Bengalee story of the editor's note, pp. 339 sqq. In a 

" The Boy whom Seven Mothers Mongolian story a king refuses to kill 

Suckled " (Lai Behari Day, Folk-tales a lad because he has unwittingly par- 

of Bengal, pp. 117 sqq. ; Indian Anti- taken of a cake kneaded with the milk 

quary,\. lyosqq.). In another Arabian of the lad's mother (B. Jiilg, Mongol- 

story the life of a witch is bound up ische Aldrchen- Sammlung, die neun 

with a phial ; when it is broken, she Aldrchen des Siddhi-KUr, Innsbruck, 

dies (W. A. Clouston, A Group of 1868, p. 183). Compare W. Robert- 

Eastern Romances and Stories,Vti'v^ie:\y son Smith, Kinship and Marriage in 

printed, 1889, p. 30). A similar in- Early Arabia, New Edition (London, 

cident occurs in a Cashmeer story 1903), p. 176; and for the same mode 

(J. H. Knowles, op. cit. p. 73). In the of creating kinship among other races, 

Arabian story mentioned in the text, see A. d'Abbadie, Douze ans dans la 

the hero, by a genuine touch of local HauteEthiopie{?2Si%,\%(i%),}^^.2,T2sq.; 

colour, is made to drink the milk of Tausch, " Notices of the Circassians," 

an ogress's breasts and hence is regarded foiirttal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 


A Basque storv', which closely resembles some of the The exter- 
stories told among Arj'an peoples, relates how a monster — "^ ^que, 
a Body-witbout-Soul — detains a princess in captivity, and is Kabyie, 
questioned by her as to how he might be slain. With some Magyar 
reluctance he tells her, " You must kill a terrible wolf which stories, 
is in the forest, and inside him is a fox, in the fox is a 
pigeon ; this pigeon has an egg in his head, and whoever 
should strike me on the forehead with this G%g would kill 
me." The hero of the story, by name Malbrouk, has learned, 
in the usual way, the art of turning himself at will into 
a wolf, an ant, a hawk, or a dog, and on the strength of 
this accomplishment he kills the animals, one after the 
other, and extracts the precious eg'g from the pigeon's 
head. When the wolf is killed, the monster feels it and says 
despondently, " I do not know if anything is going to happen 
to me. I am much afraid of it" When the fox and the 
pigeon have been killed, he cries that it is all over with him, 
that they have taken the egg out of the pigeon, and that he 
knows not what is to become of him. Finally the princess 
strikes the monster on the forehead with the egg, and he falls 
a corpse.^ In a Kabyie story an ogre declares that his fate 
is far away in an egg, which is in a pigeon, which is in a 
camel, which is in the sea. The hero procures the egg and 
crushes it between his hands, and the ogre dies." In a 
Magyar folk-tale, an old witch detains a young prince called 
Ambrose in the bowels of the earth. At last she confided 

L (1834) p. 104 ; J. Biddulph, Tribes is suckled at the breast of the Masai 

of the Hindoo Koosh (London, 1880), woman, and the Masai baby is suckled 

PP' 77j 83 (compare G. W. Leitner, at the breast of the woman belonging 

Languages and Races of Dardistan, to the enemy. See A. C. Mollis, The 

Lahore, 1878, p. 34); Denzil C J. 4/aj<« (Oxford, 1905), pp. 321 j^. 

Ibbetson, SetthmetU Report of the 1 W W Kt R Lecends 

Panipat.Tahsilyand Kamal Parganah ,t j ' o » ' o ^ , ,..*^^ 

of the Kamal District (Allahabad, (I^ndon 1877), PP- So^S'- ; JAinson. 

1883), p. loi ; T. Moura, Le Royaume ^^/f'^t "^^ ^'^"^^ ^"'f^ S^^ 

du CaJbcdge (Paris. 1883), i. 427^ F. S. ^^^3), PP- 84 sgq As so often m tales 

XT c-^. J D L J c V / of this t\-pe, the hero is said to have 

Kjmuss, Sitte und Brauch der ^judsiaven . , {\' , ,, r 

j\" .oo-x .. T u «- 1 received his wonderful powers of meta- 

(Vienna, 1885), p. 14; J. H. NVeeks, . • , • 1 u u r j 

- /- /^ -J. r IT _j morphosis from animals whom he found 

Among Congo Cannioals (London, '^ „■ , ^ • l j j 

1913)^ p. 132. \\Tjen the Masai of g^^^^ ^*^"^ "^^^ ^^^^ '° ^ ^^ 
East Africa make peace with an enemy, 

each tribe brings a cow with a calf and ' J. Riviere, Contes popidaires de la 

a woman with a baby. The two cows Kabylie du Djurdjura (Paris, 1882), 

are exchanged, and the enemy's child p. 191. 


to him that she kept a wild boar in a silken meadow, and if 
it were killed, they would find a hare inside, and inside the 
hare a pigeon, and inside the pigeon a small box, and inside 
the box one black and one shining beetle : the shining beetle 
held her life, and the black one held her power ; if these two 
beetles died, then her life would come to an end also. When 
the old hag went out, Ambrose killed the wild boar, and took 
out the hare ; from the hare he took the pigeon, from the 
pigeon the box, and from the box the two beetles ; he killed 
the black beetle, but kept the shining one alive. So the 
witch's power left her immediately, and when she came home, 
she had to take to her bed. Having learned from her how 
to escape from his prison to the upper air, Ambrose killed 
the shining beetle, and the old hag's spirit left her at once.^ 
In another Hungarian story the safety of the Dwarf-king 
resides in a golden cockchafer, inside a golden cock, inside 
a golden sheep, inside a golden stag, in the ninety-ninth 
island. The hero overcomes all these golden animals and 
so recovers his bride, whom the Dwarf-king had carried off.^ 
The exter- A Lapp story tells of a giant who slew a man and took 

nai^ui away his wife. When the man's son grew up, he tried to 
story. rescue his mother and kill the giant, but fire and sword were 
who^'ufe powerless to harm the monster ; it seemed as if he had no 
was in a life in his body. " Dear mother," at last enquired the son, 
en s egg. „ ^Jqi^'^ ygy know where the giant has hidden away his life ? " 
The mother did not know, but promised to ask. So one 
day, when the giant chanced to be in a good humour, 
she asked him where he kept his life. He said to her, 
" Out yonder on a burning sea is an island, in the island is 
a barrel, in the barrel is a sheep, in the sheep is a hen, in the 
hen is an ^^g, and in the &^g is my life." When the woman's 
son heard this, he hired a bear, a wolf, a hawk, and a diver-bird 
and set off in a boat to sail to the island in the burning sea. 
He sat with the hawk and the diver-bird under an iron tent in 
the middle of the boat, and he set the bear and the wolf to 
row. That is why to this day the bear's hair is dark brown 
and the wolf has dark-brown spots ; for as they sat at the 

» W. H. Jones and L. L. Kropf, * r. h. Husk, The Folk-lore of Rome 

The Folk-tales of the Afagyar CLonioxi, (London, 1874), p. 168. 
1889), pp. 205 sq. 


oars without any screen they were naturally scorched by 
the tossing tongues of flame on the burning sea. However, 
they made their way over the fiery billows to the island, and 
there they found the barrel. In a trice the bear had knocked The 
the bottom out of it with his claws, and forth sprang a sheep, ^^j^^^^ 
But the wolf soon pulled the sheep down and rent it in pieces. 
From out the sheep flew a hen, but the hawk stooped on it and 
tore it with his talons. In the hen was an %%'g, which dropped 
into the sea and sank ; but the diver-bird dived after it. 
Twice he dived after it in vain and came up to the surface 
gasping and spluttering ; but the third time he brought up 
the egg and handed it to the young man. Great was the 
young man's joy. At once he kindled a great bonfire on 
the shore, threw the egg into it, and rowed away back across 
the sea. On landing he went away straight to the giant's 
abode, and found the monster burning, just as he had left the 
^%Z burning on the island. " Fool that I was," lamented 
the dying giant, " to betray my life to a wicked old woman," 
and with that he snatched at an iron tube through which in 
happier days he had been wont to suck the blood of his 
human victims. But the woman was too subtle for him, for 
she had taken the precaution of inserting one end of the 
tube in the glowing embers of the hearth ; and so, when the 
giant sucked hard at the other end, he imbibed only fire and 
ashes. Thus he burned inside as well as outside, and when 
the fire went out the giant's life went out with it.^ 

A Samoyed story tells how seven warlocks killed a certain The exter- 
man's mother and carried off his sister, whom they kept to °^ soui m 

' ^ '^ Samoyed 

serve them. Every night when they came home the seven and 
warlocks used to take out their hearts and place them in a ^oriL"^^ 
dish which the woman hung on the tent-poles. But the 
wife of the man whom they had wronged stole the hearts of 
the warlocks while they slept, and took them to her husband. 
By break of day he went with the hearts to the warlocks, 
and found them at the point of death. They all begged for 
their hearts ; but he threw six of their hearts to the ground, 
and six of the warlocks died. The seventh and eldest war- 

^ F. Liebrecht, " Lapplandische Idndische Mdrchen (Vienna, 18S6), 
larchen," Germania, N. R.,iii. (1870) No. 20, pp. 81 sqq. 
174 sq. ; F. C. Poestion, Lapp- 


lock begged hard for his heart and the man said, " You 
killed my mother. Make her alive again, and I will give 
you back your heart." The warlock said to his wife, " Go 
to the place where the dead woman lies. You will find a 
bag there. Bring it to me. The woman's spirit is in the 
bag." So his wife brought the bag ; and the warlock said 
to the man, " Go to your dead mother, shake the bag and 
let the spirit breathe over her bones ; so she will come to life 
again." The man did as he was bid, and his mother was 
restored to life. Then he hurled the seventh heart to the 
ground, and the seventh warlock died.^ In a Kalmuck tale 
we read how a certain khan challenged a wise man to shew 
his skill by stealing a precious stone on which the khan's life 
depended. The sage contrived to purloin the talisman 
while the khan and his guards slept ; but not content with 
this he gave a further proof of his dexterity by bonneting 
the slumbering potentate with a bladder. This was too 
much for the khan. Next morning he informed the sage 
that he could overlook everything else, but that the indignity 
of being bonneted with a bladder was more than he could 
stand ; and he ordered his facetious friend to instant execu- 
tion. Pained at this exhibition of royal ingratitude, the 
sage dashed to the ground the talisman which he still held 
in his hand ; and at the same instant blood flowed from the 
nostrils of the khan, and he gave up the ghost.'^ 
Theexter- In a Tartar poem two heroes named Ak Molot and 

nai soul Bulat eng-ag-e in mortal combat. Ak Molot pierces his foe 

in Tartar » '^ i • i i 

poems. through and through with an arrow, grapples with him, and 
dashes him to the ground, but all in vain, Bulat could not 
die. At last when the combat has lasted three years, a 
friend of Ak Molot sees a golden casket hanging by a white 
thread from the sky, and bethinks him that perhaps this 
casket contains Bulat's soul. So he shot through the white 
thread with an arrow, and down fell the casket. He opened 
it, and in the casket sat ten white birds, and one of the birds 
was Bulat's soul. Bulat wept when he saw that his soul was 
found in the casket. But one after the other the birds were 

* A.Ci\s,ixen,EthnologischeVorlesun- ^ B. Jtilg, Kabniickische Mdrchen 

gen iiber die altaischen Volker (St. (Leipsic, 1 866), No. 12, pp. 58 sqq. 
Petersburg, 1857), pp. 173 iqq. 


killed, and then Ak Molot easily slew his foe.^ In another 
Tartar poem, two brothers going to fight two other brothers 
take out their souls and hide them in the form of a white 
herb with six stalks in a deep pit. But one of their foes 
sees them doing so and digs up their souls, which he puts 
into a golden ram's horn, and then sticks the ram's horn in 
his quiver. The two w^arriors whose souls have thus been 
stolen know that they have no chance of victory, and accord- 
ingly make peace with their enemies." In another Tartar 
poem a terrible demon sets all the gods and heroes at defiance. 
At last a valiant youth fights the demon, binds him hand 
and foot, and slices him with his sword. But still the demon 
is not slain. So the youth asked him, " Tell me, where is 
your soul hidden ? For if your soul had been hidden in your 
body, you must have been dead long ago." The demon 
replied, " On the saddle of my horse is a bag. In the bag 
is a serpent with twelve heads. In the serpent is my soul. 
When you have killed the serpent, you have killed me also." 
So the youth took the saddle-bag from the horse and killed 
the twelve-headed serpent, whereupon the demon expired.' 
In another Tartar poem a hero called Kok Chan deposits 
with a maiden a golden ring, in which is half his strength. 
Afterwards when Kok Chan is wrestling long with a hero 
and cannot kill him, a woman drops into his mouth the ring 
which contains half his strength. Thus inspired with fresh 
force he slays his enemy.* 

In a Mongolian story the hero Joro gets the better of Theexter- 
his enemy the lama Tschoridong in the following way. The ^^"\^ 
lama, who is an enchanter, sends out his soul in the form of story and 
a wasp to sting Joro's eyes. But Joro catches the wasp in p,^^^ 
his hand, and by alternately shutting and opening his hand 

* Anton Schiefner, Heldensagen d<rr op. cit. ppt 390 J^.) a bojr's soul is shut 
Minussinschen Tataren (St. Peters- up by his enemies in a box. While 
^urg, 1859), pp. 172-176. the soul is in the box, the boy is dead ; 

- A. Schiefiner, op. cit. pp. 108- when it is taken out, he is restored to 

112. life. In the same poem (p. 384) the 

' A. Schiefner, op. cit. pp. 360-364 ; sojil of a horse is kept shut up in a 

A. Castren, VorUsungen Ober die box, because it is feared the owner of 

tniscke Mythologie (St. Petersburg, the horse will become the greatest 

'857)1 PP- 186 sq. hero on earth. But these cases are, 

* A. Schiefner, op. cit. pp. 189-193. to some extent, the converse of those 
another Tartar poem (Schiefcier, in the text. 


he causes the lama alternately to lose and recover conscious- 
ness.^ In a Tartar poem two youths cut open the body of 
an old witch and tear out her bowels, but all to no pur- 
pose, she still lives. On being asked where her soul is, she 
answers that it is in the middle of her shoe-sole in the form 
of a seven-headed speckled snake. So one of the youths 
slices her shoe-sole with his sword, takes out the speckled 
snake, and cuts off its seven heads. Then the witch dies.^ 
Another Tartar poem describes how the hero Kartaga 
grappled with the Swan - woman. Long they wrestled. 
Moons waxed and waned and still they wrestled ; years 
came and went, and still the struggle went on. But the 
piebald horse and the black horse knew that the Swan- 
woman's soul was not in her. Under the black earth flow 
nine seas ; where the seas meet and form one, the sea comes 
to the surface of the earth. At the mouth of the nine seas 
rises a rock of copper ; it rises to the surface of the ground, 
it rises up between heaven and earth, this rock of copper. 
At the foot of the copper rock is a black chest, in the black 
chest is a golden casket, and in the golden casket is the soul 
of the Swan-woman. Seven little birds are the soul of the 
Swan-woman ; if the birds are killed the Swan-woman will 
die straightway. So the horses ran to the foot of the copper 
rock, opened the black chest, and brought back the golden 
casket. Then the piebald horse turned himself into a bald- 
headed man, opened the golden casket, and cut off the heads 
of the seven birds. So the Swan-woman died.^ In a Tartar 
story a chief called Tash Kan is asked where his soul is. 
He answers that there are seven great poplars, and under 
the poplars a golden well ; seven Maralen (?) come to drink 
the water of the well, and the belly of one of them trails on the 
ground ; in this Maral is a golden box, in the golden box 
is a silver box, in the silver box are seven quails, the head 
of one of the quails is golden and its tail silver ; that quail 
is Tash Kan's soul. The hero of the story gets possession 
of the seven quails and wrings the necks of six of them. 

1 Schott, " Ueber die Sage von litteratur der turkiscken Stdmme Siid- 

Gestr-Chan,^* Abkandlungen der koni^- Sibiriens, \\. (St. Petersburg, 1868), 

lichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu pp. 237 sg. 
Berlin^ 1851, p. 269. 

« W. Radloff, Prohen der Volks- » W. Radloff, op. cit. ii. 531 sqq. 


Then Tash Kan comes running and begs the hero to let 
his soul go free. But the hero wrings the last quail's neck, 
and Tash Kan drops dead.^ In another Tartar poem the hero, 
pursuing his sister who has driven away his cattle, is warned 
to desist from the pursuit because his sister has carried away 
his soul in a golden sword and a golden arrow, and if he 
pursues her she will kill him by throwing the golden sword 
or shooting the golden arrow at him.^ 

A modern Chinese story tells how an habitual criminal used The exter- 
to take his soul out of his own body for the purpose of evading " c^"^" 
the righteous punishment of his crimes. This bad man lived story, 
in Khien (Kwei-cheu), and the sentences that had been passed 
on him formed a pile as high as a hill. The mandarins had 
flogged him to death with sticks and flung his mangled 
corpse into the river, but three days afterwards the scoundrel 
got his soul back again, and on the fifth day he resumed 
his career of villainy as if nothing had happened. The thing 
occurred again and again, till at last it reached the ears of 
the Governor of the province, who flew into a violent passion 
and proposed to the Governor- General to have the rascal 
beheaded. And beheaded he was ; but in three days the 
! wretch was alive again with no trace of decapitation about 
him except a slender red thread round his neck. And now, 
like a giant refreshed, he began a fresh series of enormities. 
He even went so far as to beat his own mother. This was 
more than she could bear, and she brought the matter before 
the magistrate. She produced in court a vase and said, 
" In this vase my refractory son has hidden his soul. When- 
ever he was conscious of having committed a serious crime, 
or a misdeed of the most heinous kind, he remained at 
home, took his soul out of his body, purified it, and put it 
in the vase. Then the authorities only punished or executed 
his body of flesh and blood, and not his soul. With his 
soul, refined by a long process, he then cured his freshly 
mutilated body, which thus became able in three days to 
recommence in the old way. Now, however, his crimes 
have reached a climax, for he has beaten me, an old woman, 
and I cannot bear it. I pray you, smash this vase, and 

1 W. RadloflF, op. cit. iv. (St. Peters- "- W. Radloff, op. cit. i. (St. Peters- 

burg, 1872) pp. 88 sq. burg, 1866) pp. 345 sq. 

PT. Vn. VOL. II L 


scatter his soul by fanning it away with a windwheel ; and if 
then you castigate his body anew, it is probable that bad 
son of mine will really die." The mandarin took the hint. 
He had the rogue cudgelled to death, and when they 
examined the corpse they found that decay had set in within 
ten days,^ 
The exter- The Khasis of Assam tell of a certain Kyllong, king of 

a^story told Madur, who pursued his conquests on a remarkable principle, 
by the He needed few or no soldiers, because he himself was a very 
of Assam. Strongman and nobody could kill him permanently ; they 
could, it is true, put him to death, but then he came to life 
again immediately. The king of Synteng, who was much 
afraid of him, once chopped him in pieces and threw the 
severed hands and feet far away, thinking thus to get rid of 
him for good and all ; but it was to no purpose. The very 
next morning Kyllong came to life again and stalked about 
as brisk as ever. So the king of Synteng was very anxious 
to learn how his rival contrived thus to rise from the dead ; 
and he hit on a plan for worming out the secret. He chose 
the fairest girl of the whole country, clad her in royal robes, 
put jewels of gold and silver upon her, and said, " All these 
will I give thee and more besides, if thou canst obtain for me 
King Kyllong's secret, and canst inform me how he brings 
himself to life again after being killed." So he sent the girl 
to the slave-market in King Kyllong's country ; and the 
king saw and loved her and took her to wife. So she 
caressed him and coaxed him to tell her his secret, and in 
a fatal hour he was beguiled into revealing it. He said, 
" My life depends upon these things. I must bathe every 
day and must wash my entrails. After that, I take my 
food, and there is no one on earth who can kill me unless 
he obtains possession of my entrails. Thus my life hangs 
only on my entrails." His treacherous wife at once sent 
word to the king of Synteng, who caused men to lie in wait 
while Kyllong was bathing. As usual, Kyllong had laid his 
entrails on one side of the bathing-place, while he disported 
himself in the water, intending afterwards to wash them 
and replace them in his body. But before he could do so, 

* J. J. M. de Groot, The Religious System of China, iv. (Leyden, 1901) 
pp. 105 sq. 


one of the liers-in-wait had seized the entrails and killed 
him. The entrails he cut in pieces and gave to the dogs 
to eat. That was the end of King Kyllong. He was never 
able to come to life again ; his country was conquered, and 
the members of the royal family were scattered far and 
wide. Seven generations have passed since then.^ 

A Malay poem relates how once upon a time in the city The exter- 
of Indrapoora there was a certain merchant who was rich ^IliS^y'" 
and prosperous, but he had no children. One day as he poem, 
walked with his wife by the river they found a baby girl, ^nd^ 
fair as an angel. So they adopted the child and called her golden fish. 
Bidasari. The merchant caused a golden fish to be made, 
and into this fish he transferred the soul of his adopted 
daughter. Then he put the golden fish in a golden box full 
of water, and hid it in a pond in the midst of his garden. 
In time the girl grew to be a lovely woman. Now the 
King of Indrapoora had a fair young queen, who lived in 
fear that the king might take to himself a second wife. So, 
hearing of the charms of Bidasari, the queen resolved to put 
her out of the way. She lured the girl to the palace and 
tortured her cruelly ; but Bidasari could not die, because her 
soul was not in her. At last she could stand the torture no 
longer and said to the queen, " If you wish me to die, you 
must bring the box which is in the pond in my father's 
garden." So the box was brought and opened, and there 
. was the golden fish in the water. The girl said, " I\Iy soul 
is in that fish. In the morning you must take the fish out 
of the water, and in the evening you must put it back into 
the water. Do not let the fish lie about, but bind it round 
your neck. If you do this, I shall soon die." So the queen 
took the fish out of the box and fastened it round her neck ; 
and no sooner had she done so, than Bidasari fell into a 
swoon. But in the evening, when the fish was put back 
into the water, Bidasari came to herself again. Seeing that 
she thus had the girl in her power, the queen sent her home 
to her adopted parents. To save her from further persecu- 
tion her parents resolved to remove their daughter from the 
city. So in a lonely and desolate spot they built a house 
and brought Bidasari thither. There she dwelt alone, under- 

1 Major p. K. T. Gurdon, The Khasis (London, 1907), pp. 181- 184. 




The exter- 
nal soul in 
a story told 
in Nias. 

The exter- 
nal soul in 
a Hausa 
The king 
whose life 
was in a 

going vicissitudes that corresponded with the vicissitudes 
of the golden fish in which was her soul. All day long, 
while the fish was out of the water, she remained un- 
conscious ; but in the evening, when the fish was put into 
the water, she revived. One day the king was out hunting, 
and coming to the house where Bidasari lay unconscious, 
was smitten with her beauty. He tried to waken her, but 
in vain. Next day, towards evening, he repeated his visit, 
but still found her unconscious. However, when darkness 
fell, she came to herself and told the king the secret of her 
life. So the king returned to the palace, took the fish from 
the queen, and put it in water. Immediately Bidasari 
revived, and the king took her to wife.^ 

Another story of an external soul comes from Nias, an 
island to the west of Sumatra. Once on a time a chief was 
captured by his enemies, who tried to put him to death but 
failed. Water would not drown him nor fire burn him nor 
steel pierce him. At last his wife revealed the secret. On 
his head he had a hair as hard as a copper wire ; and with 
this wire his life was bound up. So the hair was plucked 
out, and with it his spirit fled.^ 

A Hausa story from Northern Nigeria closely resembles 
some of the European tales which we have noticed ; for it 
contains not only the incident of the external soul, but also 
the incident of the helpful animals, by whose assistance the 
hero is able to slay the Soulless King and obtain possession 
of the kingdom. The story runs thus, A certain man and 
his wife had four daughters born to them in succession, but 

1 G. A. Wilken, '«De betrekking 
tusschen menschen- dieren- en planten- 
leven naar het volksgeloof," De Indische 
Gtds, November 1884, pp. 600-602 ; 
id., " De Simsonsage," Z)e Cids, 1888, 
No. 5, pp. 6 sqq. (of the separate re- 
print); id., Verspreide Geschriften {T\\Q 
Hague, 1912), iii. 296-298, 559-561. 
Compare L. de Backer, VArchipel 
Indien (Paris, 1874), pp. 144-149. 
The Malay text of the long poem was 
published with a Dutch translation and 
notes by W. R. van Hoevell ("Sjair 
Bidasari, een oorspronkelijk Maleisch 
Gedicht, uitgegeven en van eene Verta- 
ling en Aanteekeningen voorzien," 

Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch 
Genootschap van Kunsten en Weten- 
schappeit, xix. (Batavia, 1843) pp. i- 

2 J. T. Nieuwenhuisen en H. C. B. 
von Rosenberg, " Verslag omtrent het 
eiland Nias," Verhandelingen van het 
Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten 
en Wetensc happen, xxx. (Batavia, 1863) 
p. Ill; H. Sundermann, " Die Insel 
Nias," Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschi-ift, 
xi. (1884) p. 453 ; id.. Die Insel Nias 
nnd die Mission daselbst (Barmen, 
I905)> P- 7'- Compare E. Modig- 
liani, Un Viaggio a Kias (hVi\3,r\, 1890), 
P- 339- 


every one of the baby girls mysteriously disappeared on the 
day when she was to be weaned ; so the parents fell under the 
suspicion of having devoured them. Last of all there was 
born to them a son, who to avoid accidents was left to wean 
himself. One day, as he grew up, the son received a magic 
lotion from an old woman, who told him to rub his eyes with 
it. He did so, and immediately he saw a large house and 
entering it he found his eldest sister married to a bull. She 
bade him welcome and so did her husband the bull ; and 
when he went away, the bull very kindly presented him with 
a lock of his hair as a keepsake. In like manner the lad 
discovered his other three sisters, who were living in wedlock 
with a ram, a dog, and a hawk respectively. All of them 
welcomed him and from the ram, the dog, and the hawk he 
received tokens of regard in the shape of hair or feathers. 
Then he returned home and told his parents of his adventure 
and how he had found his sisters alive and married. Next 
day he went to a far city, where he made love to the Queen 
and persuaded her to plot with him against the life of the 
King her husband. So she coaxed the King to shew his 
affection for her by " taking his own life, and joining it to 
hers." The unsuspecting husband, as usual, fell into the 
trap set for him by his treacherous wife. He confided to 
her the secret of his life. " My life," said he, " is behind the 
city, behind the city in a thicket. In this thicket there is a 
lake ; in the lake is a rock ; in the rock is a gazelle ; in the 
gazelle is a dove ; and in the dove' is a small box." The Theheipfui 
Queen divulged the secret to her lover, who kindled a fire ^^^ ' 
behind the city and threw into it the hair and feathers which 
he had received from the friendly animals, his brothers-in-law. 
Immediately the animals themselves appeared and readily 
gave their help in the enterprise. The bull drank up the 
lake ; the ram broke up the rock ; the dog caught the 
gazelle ; the hawk captured the dove. So the youth 
extracted the precious box from the dove and repaired to the 
palace, where he found the King already dead. His Majesty 
had been ailing from the moment when the young man left 
the city, and he grew steadily worse with every fresh success 
of the adventurer who was to supplant him. So the hero 
became King and married the false Queen ; and his sisters' 


husbands were changed from animals into men and received 

subordinate posts in the government. The hero's parents, 

too, came to live in the city over which he reigned.^ 

Theexter- A West African story from Southern Nigeria relates 

nai soul in |^q^ g^ king kept his soul in a little brown bird, which perched 

Nigerian ou a tall tree beside the gate of the palace. The king's life 

story- ;vas so bound up with that of the bird that whoever should 

kill the bird would simultaneously kill the king and succeed 

to the kingdom. The secret was betrayed by the queen to 

her lover, who shot the bird with an arrow and thereby slew 

The exter- the king and ascended the vacant throne.^ A tale told by 

rJtoTy^ '" the Ba-Ronga of South Africa sets forth how the lives of a 

told by the whole family wcrc contained in one cat. When a girl of the 

of^South^ family, named Titishan, married a husband, she begged her 

Africa. parents to let her take the precious cat with her to her new 

of the Cat. home. But they refused, saying, "You know that our life is 

attached to it " ; and they offered to give her an antelope or 

even an elephant instead of it. But nothing would satisfy 

her but the cat. So at last she carried it off with her and 

shut it up in a place where nobody saw it ; even her husband 

knew nothing about it. One day, when she went to work 

in the fields, the cat escaped from its place of concealment, 

entered the hut, put on the warlike trappings of the husband, 

and danced and sang. Some children, attracted by the noise, 

discovered the cat at its antics, and when they expressed 

their astonishment, the animal only capered the more and 

insulted them besides. So they went to the owner and said, 

" There is somebody dancing in your house, and he insulted 

us." " Hold your tongues," said he, " I'll soon put a stop to 

your lies." So he went and hid behind the door and peeped 

in, and there sure enough was the cat prancing about and 

singing. He fired at it, and the animal dropped down dead. 

At the same moment his wife fell to the ground in the field 

where she was at work ; said she, " I have been killed at 

home." But she had strength enough left to ask her husband 

to go with her to her parents' village, taking with him the 

^ Major A. J. N. Tremearne, Hausa na Hausa (ii. 27), to which Major 

Superstitions and Customs (London, Tremearne refers (p. 9). 

1913), pp. \i\ sq. The original Hausa - Major A. G. Leonard, The Lower 

text of the story appears to be printed Niger a?td its Tribes (London, 1906), 

in Major Edgar's Ze'/o/? ;/a Tatsuniyoyi pp. 319-321. 


dead cat wrapt up in a mat. All her relatives assembled, 
and bitterly they reproached her for having insisted on taking 
the animal with her to her husband's village. As soon as 
the mat was unrolled and they saw the dead cat, they all 
fell down lifeless one after the other. So the Clan of the 
Cat was destroyed ; and the bereaved husband closed the 
gate of the village with a branch, and returned home, and 
told his friends how in killing the cat he had killed the whole 
clan, because their lives depended on the life of the cat. In 
another Ronga story the lives of a whole clan are attached 
to a buffalo, which a girl of the clan in like manner insists 
on taking with her.^ 

Ideas of the same sort meet us in stories told by the Theexter- 
North American Indians. Thus in one Indian tale the hero °^' s°"i '" 

stones told 

pounds his enemy to pieces, but cannot kill him because his by the 
heart is not in his body. At last the champion learns that AmeHcan 
his foe's heart is in the sky, at the western side of the noon- Indians, 
day sun ; so he reaches up, seizes the heart, and crushes it, 
and straightway his enemy expires. In another Indian myth 
there figures a personage Winter whose song brings frost 
and snow, but his heart is hidden away at a distance. 
However, his foe finds the heart and burns it, and so the 
Snow -maker perishes.^ A Pawnee story relates how a 
wounded warrior was carried off by bears, who healed him 
of his hurts. When the Indian was about to return to his 
village, the old he-bear said to him, " I shall look after you. 
I shall give you a part of myself. If 1 am killed, you 
shall be killed. If I grow old, you shall be old." And the 
bear gave him a cap of bearskin, and at parting he put his 
arms round the Indian and hugged him, and put his mouth 
against the man's mouth and held the man's hands in his 


paws. The Indian who told the tale conjectured that when 
the man died, the old bear died also,^ The Navajoes tell of 
a certain mythical being called " the Maiden that becomes a 

' W.^x\x\ h.. 1\xnoA, Les Chants et ks Magyars (London, 1891), p, 551. 

Contes des Ba-ronga ( Lausanne, N. D. ), The writer does not mention his 

pp. 253-256; id.. The Life of a South authorities. 
African Tribe (Neuchatel, 1912-1913), 
1. 338 sq. ' G. B, Grinnell, Pa-^imee Hero 

- J. Curtin, Myths and Folk-tales of Stories and Folk-tales (New York, 

the /Russians, IVesteni Slavs, and 1889), pp. 121 j^^., " The Bear Man." 



whose life 
was in ;i 

Bear," who learned the art of turning herself into a bear from 
the prairie wolf. She was a great warrior and quite 
invulnerable ; for when she went to war she took out her 
vital organs and hid them, so that no one could kill her; 
and when the battle was over she put the organs back in 
The ogress their placcs again.^ The Kwakiutl Indians of British 
Columbia tell of an ogress, who could not be killed because 
her life was in a hemlock branch. A brave boy met her in 
the woods, smashed her head with a stone, scattered her 
brains, broke her bones, and threw them into the water. 
Then, thinking he had disposed of the ogress, he went into 
her house. There he saw a woman rooted to the floor, who 
warned him, saying, " Now do not stay long. I know that 
you have tried to kill the ogress. It is the fourth time that 
somebody has tried to kill her. She never dies ; she has 
nearly come to life. There in that covered hemlock branch 
is her life. Go there, and as soon as you see her enter, 
shoot her life. Then she will be dead." Hardly had she 
finished speaking when sure enough in came the ogress, 
singing as she walked : — 

" / have the magical treasure, 
I have the supernatural power ^ 
I can return to life." 

Such was her song. But the boy shot at her life, and she 
fell dead to the floor.^ 

^ Washington Matthews, " The 
Mountain Chant: a Navajo Ceremony," 
JFifth Annual Report of the Buremi of 
Ethnology (Washington, 1887), pp. 
406 sg. 

2 Franz Boas, "The Social Organiza- 
tion and the Secret Societies of the 
Kwakiutl Indians," Report of the 
United States National Museum for 
i8<}S (Washington, 1897), p. 373. 



§ I. The External Soul in Inanimate Things 

Thus the idea that the soul may be deposited for a longer The exter- 
or shorter time in some place of security outside the body, "^'f^JJ!*' 
or at all events in the hair, is found in the popular tales of custom, 
many races. It remains to shew that the idea is not a 
mere figment devised to adorn a tale, but is a real article of 
primitive faith, which has given rise to a corresponding set 
of customs. 

We have seen that in the tales the hero, as a prepara- The soul 
tion for battle, sometimes removes his soul from his body, in f^^^jh^ 
order that his body may be invulnerable and immortal in body as a 
the combat. With a like intention the savage removes his f^^^l^ons 
soul from his body on various occasions of real or imaginary of danger, 
peril. Thus among the people of Minahassa in Celebes, peop'e 
when a family moves into a new house, a priest collects the collected 
souls of the whole family in a bag, and afterwards restores at a house- 
them to their owners, because the moment of entering a new warming, 
house is supposed to be fraught with supernatural danger.^ 
In Southern Celebes, when a woman is brought to bed, the 
messenger who fetches the doctor or the midwife always 
carries with him something made of iron, such as a chopping- 
knife, which he delivers to the doctor. The doctor must 
keep the thing in his house till the confinement is over, when 
he gives it back, receiving a fixed sum of money for doing so. 
The chopping-knife, or whatever it is, represents the woman's 
soul, which at this critical time is believed to be safer out of 

^ Taboo and the Perils of the Soul, pp. 63 sq. 


Soul of a her body than in it. Hence the doctor must take great 
hiTchop-^ care of the object ; for were it lost, the woman's soul would 
ping-knife assurcdly, they think, be lost with it.^ But in Celebes the 
birth. convenience of occasionally depositing the soul in some 

external object is apparently not limited to human beings. 
The Alfoors, or Toradjas, who inhabit the central district of 
that island, and among whose industries the working of 
iron occupies a foremost place, attribute to the metal a soul 
which would be apt to desert its body under the blows of 
the hammer, if some means were not found to detain it. 
Accordingly in every smithy of Poso — for that is the name 
of the country of these people — you may see hanging up 
a bundle of wooden instruments, such as chopping-knives, 
swords, spear-heads, and so forth. This bundle goes by the 
name of lamoa, which is the general word for " gods," and in 
it the soul of the iron that is being wrought in the smithy 
is, according to one account, supposed to reside. " If we 
did not hang the lanioa over the anvil," they say, " the iron 
would flow away and be unworkable," on account of the 
absence of the soul.^ However, according to another inter- 
pretation these wooden models are substitutes offered to the 
gods in room of the iron, whose soul the covetous deities 
might otherwise abstract for their own use, thus making the 
metal unmalleable.^ 

Among the Dyaks of Pinoeh, a district of South-Eastern 
Borneo, when a child is born, a medicine-man is sent for, 
who conjures the soul of the infant into half a coco-nut, 

1 B. F. Matthes, Bijdragen tot de Celebes, en zijne beteekenis," Ver- 
Ethnologic van Zuid- Celebes (The slagen en Mededeelingen der koninklijke 
Hague, 1875), p. 54. Akademie der Wetenschappen, Afdeel- 

2 A. C. Kruijt, "Een en ander aan- ing Letterkunde, iv. Reeks, iii. (Am- 

, . ^ \ i-i . I, sterdam, 1899) pp. 201 sq. ; id., 

gaande net geestelnk en maatscnap- ,^ ^^ ^ .'. • >,-jj r- 1 u » d- 

*= ,.., , " J Ti Air )> " Ilet nzer m Midden-Celebes, Bti- 

peliik leven van den Poso-Alfoer, , \ ^ j r^ 1 r j rr n 

,,%,,. r . \T J drae^en tot de J aal- Land- en Volken- 

Mededeehnp-en vatt wege net Neder- , ■^ , .r/, jirj-v 1 — 

,,,„*,,. , 7 ^ ■ kunde van NeJerlandsch- Indtl, Ini. 

landsche Zendehnsvenootschap, xxxix. , , ,, -o .u *i. • . 

o e\ . fj <<v P 1 (1901) pp. 156 sq. Both the inter- 

V 95^ PP- .•'^y' ' ■'. PP pretations in the text appear to be 

naar Posso, Mededeelins[en van wege f , , . »* ir -^ c 

1 ^ nT J 1 J I T J ,- > inferences drawn by Mr. Kruijt from 

net Nederlandsche Zendeltnggenoot- . ^ ^ ^ c ^i. .• .u .. -i 

, ^ ,•• / o o\ ^ K \ .\, the statement of the natives, that, if 

schap, xlii. (1898) p. 72. As to the . ,., ^ , ., ' , 

, ^^ . ^ 1 A i-^ Tr ". they did not hang up these wooden 

lamoa in general, see A. C. Kruijt, j 1 • ..i. -..u «<»u u 

•. 1 , o ^> models m the smithy, " the iron would 

op. at. xl. (1896) pp. \o sq. a J 1 1 11 » /w 

r \ y I ff 1 Aq^ away and be unworkable y^ U)U 

^ A. C. Kruijt, " Het koppen- het ijzer vervloeien en onbewerkbaar 
Snellen der Toradja's van Midden- worden "). 


which he thereupon covers with a cloth and places on a Soui of a 
square platter or charger suspended by cords from the roof, f^r safety 
This ceremony he repeats at every new moon for a year.^ in an empty 
The intention of the ceremony is not explained by the ^^ a bag. 
writer who describes it, but we may conjecture that it is to 
place the soul of the child in a safer place than its own frail 
little body. This conjecture is confirmed by the reason 
assigned for a similar custom observed elsewhere in the 
Indian Archipelago. In the Kei Islands, when there is a 
newly-born child in a house, an empty coco-nut, split and 
spliced together again, may sometimes be seen hanging 
beside a rough wooden image of an ancestor. The soul of 
the infant is believed to be temporarily deposited in the 
coco-nut in order that it may be safe from the attacks of 
evil spirits ; but when the child grows bigger and stronger, 
the soul will take up its permanent abode in its own body. 
Similarly among the Esquimaux of Alaska, when a child is 
sick, the medicine-man will sometimes extract its soul from 
its body and place it for safe-keeping in an amulet, which 
for further security he deposits in his own medicine-bag.^ 
It seems probable that many amulets have been similarly 
regarded as soul-boxes, that is, as safes in which the souls 
of the owners are kept for greater security.^ An old 

^ A. H. B. Agerbeek, " Enkele found plaques or palettes of schist 

gebruiken van de Dajaksche bevolking bearing traces of paint ; some of them 

der Pinoehlanden," Tijdschrift voor are decorated with engravings of ani- 

Indische Taal- Land- en Volkenkunde, mals or historical scenes, others are 

li. (1909) pp. 447 sq. modelled in the shape of animals of 

2 J. A. Jacobsen, Reiscn in dU ^^"""^ sorts such as antelopes, hippo- 
Insehvelt des Banda- Metres (Berlin, Potamuses, birds, tortoises, and hsh. 

o g, n iQQ As a rule only one such plaque is 

' " found in a tomb, and it lies near the 

3 In a long list of female ornaments hands of the mummy. It has been 
the prophet Isaiah mentions (iii. 20) conjectured by M. Jean Capart that 
" houses of the soul" (rS3n 'm), which these plaques are amulets or soul- 
modern scholars suppose to have been boxes, in which the external souls of 
perfume boxes, as the Revised English the dead were supposed to be pre- 
Version translates the phrase. The served. See Jean Capart, Les Palettes 
name, literally translated "houses of en schiste de P£gypte primitive {Bms- 
the soul," suggests that these trinkets sels, 1908), pp. 5 sqq., 19 sqq. 
were amulets of the kind mentioned in (separate reprint from the Revue des 
the text. See my article, " Folk-lore Qiusticns Scientifiques, avril, 1908). 
in the Old Testament," Anthropo- For a full description of these plaques 
logical Essays presented to E. B. Tylor or palettes, see Jean Capart, Les Dibuts 
(Oxford, 1907), pp. 148 sqq. In de PArt en Egypte (Brussels, 1904), 
ancient Egyptian tombs there are often pp "jd sqq., 221 sqq. 


Souls of Mang'anje woman in the West Shire district of British 
people in QQ^\x?t\ Africa used to wear round her neck an ivory orna- 

ornanients, •' 

horns, a ment, hollow, and about three inches long, which she called 
and To"' ^^^^ 1^^^ o'' ^'^^^ {iHoyo ivango). Naturally, she would not 
forth. part with it ; a planter tried to buy it of her, but in vain,^ 

When Mr. James Macdonald was one day sitting in the house 
of a Hlubi chief, awaiting the appearance of that great man, 
who was busy decorating his person, a native pointed to a 
pair of magnificent ox-horns, and said, " Ntame has his soul 
in these horns." The horns were those of an animal which 
had been sacrificed, and they were held sacred. A magician 
had fastened them to the roof to protect the house and its 
inmates from the thunder- bolt. " The idea," adds Mr. 
Macdonald, " is in no way foreign to South African thought. 
A man's soul there may dwell in the roof of his house, in a 
tree, by a spring of water, or on some mountain scaur." ^ 
Among the natives of the Gazelle Peninsula in New Britain 
there is a secret society which goes by the name of Ingnict 
or Ingiet. On his entrance into it every man receives a stone 
in the shape either of a human being or of an animal, and 
henceforth his soul is believed to be knit up in a manner 
with the stone. If it breaks, it is an evil omen for him ; 
they say that the thunder has struck the stone and that he 
who owns it will soon die. If nevertheless the man survives 
the breaking of his soul-stone, they say that it was not a 
proper soul -stone and he gets a new one instead.^ The 
emperor Romanus Lecapenus was once informed by an 
astronomer that the life of Simeon, prince of Bulgaria, was 

1 Miss Alice Werner, in a letter to tects the hut ; these horns also protect 
the author, dated 25th September the hut from lightning, though not in 
1899. Miss Werner knew the old virtue of their spiritual connections, 
woman. Compare Contemporary Jie- (They are also used simply as orna- 
vtew, Ixx. (July-December 1896), p. ments.)" No doubt amulets often 
389, where Miss Werner describes the degenerate into ornaments, 
ornament as a rounded peg, tapering •' R. Thurnwald, " Im Bismarck- 
to a point, with a neck or notch at archipel und auf den Salomo-inseln," 
the top. Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie, xlii. (1910) 

2 Rev. James Macdonald, Religion p. 136. As to the Ingniet, Ingiet, or 
and Myth (London, 1893), p. 190. Iniet Society see P. A. Kleintitschen, 
Compare Dudley Kidd, The Essential Die Kiistenbewohner der Gazellehalb- 
A'o/fr (London, 1904), p. 83 : "The insel (Hiltrup bei Munster, N.D.), 
natives occasionally fix ox -horns in pp. 354 sqq. ; R. Parkinson, Dreissig 
their roofs and say that the spirit of Jahre in afer 5«</j^<; (Stuttgart, 1907), 
the chief lives in these horns and pro- pp. 598 sqq. 



bound up with a certain column in Constantinople, so that 
if the capital of the column were removed, Simeon would 
immediately die. The emperor took the hint and removed 
the capital, and at the same hour, as the emperor learned by 
enquiry, Simeon died of heart disease in Bulgaria.^ The The souls 
deified kings of ancient Egypt appear to have enjoyed the ^a^"!]^ 
privilege of depositing their spiritual doubles or souls {ka) in portrait 
during their lifetime in a number of portrait statues, pro- 
perly fourteen for each king, which stood in the chamber of 
adoration {J>a douait) of the temple and were revered as the 
equivalents or representatives of the monarchs themselves.^ 
Among the Karens of Burma " the knife with which the 
navel string is cut is carefully preserved for the child. The 
life of the child is supposed to be in some way connected 
with it, for, if lost or destroyed, it is said the child will not 
be long lived." ^ Among the Shawnee Indians of North a man's 
America it once happened that an eminent man was favoured up^jthUie 
with a special revelation by the Great Spirit. Wisely refusing fire in his 
to hide the sacred light of revelation under a bushel, he ^^ 
generously communicated a few sparks of the illumination 
to John Tanner, a white man who lived for many years as an 
Indian among the Indians. " Henceforth," said the inspired 
sage, " the fire must never be suffered to go out in your 
lodge. Summer and winter, day and night, in the storm, 
or when it is calm, you must remember that the life in your 
body, and the fire in your lodge, are the same, and of the 
same date. If you suffer your fire to be extinguished, at 
that moment your life will be at its end." "* 

Again, we have seen that in folk-tales a man's soul or 

* G. Cedrenus, HiUoriarum Com- ' F. Mason, " Physical Character of 

pendhtm, p. 625B, voL ii. p. 308, ed. the Karens," Journal of the AsitUic 

Im. Bekker (Bonn, 1838-1839). Society of Bengal, 1866, Part ii. No. i, 

2 Alexandre Moret, Du caractere p. 9. 
religieitx de la Royauti Pharaonique 

(Paris, 1902), pp. 224 sqq. As to the ^ A Narrative of the Captivity and 

Eg}-ptian doctrine of the spiritual Adventures of John Tanner, during 

double or soul (ka), see A. Wiede- Thirty Years' Residence among the 

mann, The Ancient Egyptian Doctrine Indians, prepared for the press by 

of the Immortality of the Soul {London, Edwin James, M.D. (London, 1830), 

1895), PP- JO ^^9- ; A. Erman, Die pp. 155 sq. The passage has been 

dgyptische Religion (Berlin, 1905), already quoted by Sir John Lubbock 

p. 88 ; A. Moret, Mysth'es Egyptiem (Lord Avebury) in his Origin of Civil- 

(Paris, 1913), pp. 199 sqq. isaticn* (London, 1882), p. 241. 



of people 
to reside in 
their hair. 

shaved to 
them of 

strength is sometimes represented as bound up with his hair, 
and that when his hair is cut off he dies or grows weak. 
So the natives of Amboyna used to think that their strength 
was in their hair and would desert them if it were shorn. 
A criminal under torture in a Dutch Court of that island 
persisted in denying his guilt till his hair was cut off, when 
he immediately confessed. One man, who was tried for 
murder, endured without flinching the utmost ingenuity of 
his torturers till he saw the surgeon standing with a pair of 
shears. On asking what this was for, and being told that 
it was to cut his hair, he begged they would not do it, and 
made a clean breast. In subsequent cases, when torture 
failed to wring a confession from a prisoner, the Dutch 
authorities made a practice of cutting off his hair.^ In 
Ceram it is still believed that if young people have their hair 
cut they will be weakened and enervated thereby.^ 

Here in Europe it used to be thought that the maleficent 
powers of witches and wizards resided in their hair, and that 
nothing could make any impression on these miscreants so 
long as they kept their hair on. Hence in France it was 
customary to shave the whole bodies of persons charged with 
sorcery before handing them over to the torturer, Millaeus 
witnessed the torture of some persons at Toulouse, from 
whom no confession could be wrung until they were stripped 
and completely shaven, when they readily acknowledged the 
truth of the charge. A woman also, who apparently led a 
pious life, was put to the torture on suspicion of witchcraft, 
and bore her agonies with incredible constancy, until com- 
plete depilation drove her to admit her guilt. The noted 
inquisitor Sprenger contented himself with shaving the head 
of the suspected witch or wizard ; but his more thorough- 
going colleague Cumanus shaved the whole bodies of forty- 
one women before committing them all to the flames. He 
had high authority for this rigorous scrutiny, since Satan 
himself, in a sermon preached from the pulpit of North 
Berwick church, comforted his many servants by assuring 

^ Fran9ois Valentyn, Oud en Nieuw reprint) ; id., V'erspreide Geschriften 

Oost-Indien (Dordrecht and Anister- (The Hague, 1912), iii. 569 sq. 
dam, 1 724-1 726), ii. 143 sq. ; G. A. ^ j (j, p\ Riedel, De sluik- en 

Wilken, " De Simsonsage," De Gids, kroesharige rassen tusschen Selebes en 

1888, No. 5, pp. 15 J?, (of the separate Papua (The Hague, 1886), p. 137. 


them that no harm could befall them " sa lang as their hair 
wes on, and sould newir latt ane teir fall fra thair ene." ^ 
Similarly in Bastar, a province of India, " if a man is ad- 
judged guilty of witchcraft, he is beaten by the crowd, his 
hair is shaved, the hair being supposed to constitute his 
power of mischief, his front teeth are knocked out, in order, 
it is said, to prevent him from muttering incantations. . . . 
Women suspected of sorcery have to undergo the same 
ordeal ; if found guilty, the same punishment is awarded, 
and after being shaved, their hair is attached to a tree in 
some public place." ^ So among the Bhils of India, when 
a woman was convicted of witchcraft and had been subjected 
to various forms of persuasion, such as hanging head down- 
wards from a tree and having pepper put into her eyes, a 
lock of hair was cut from her head and buried in the ground, 
" that the last link between her and her former powers of mis- 
chief might be broken."^ In like manner among the Aztecs 
of Mexico, when wizards and witches " had done their evil 
deeds, and the time came to put an end to their detestable 
life, some one laid hold of them and cropped the hair on the 
crown of their heads, which took from them all their power 
of sorcery and enchantment, and then it was that by death 
they put an end to their odious existence."*' 

§ 2. The External Soul in Plants 

Further it has been shewn that in folk-tales the life of Life of a 
a person is sometimes so bound up with the life of a plant ^"o"ed 
that the withering of the plant will immediately follow or be tobebound 
followed by the death of the person.^ Similarly among the "jfarofa 
natives of the Pennefather River in Queensland, when a tree or 
visiter has made himself very agreeable and taken his ^^'^ 
departure, an effigy of him about three or four feet long is 
cut on some soft tree, such as the Canarium australasicum^ 

* J. G. Dalyell, The darker Super- minster, 1896), ii. 281. 

stitions of Scotland {^^WiOViX^, 1834), ^ \y_ Crooke, op. cit. ii. 28 1 sq. 

pp. 637-639 ; C. de Mensignac, Re- * B. de Sahagun, Histoire des ckoses 

cherches ethnographiques sur hi Salive de la Nouvelle Espapie, traduite par 

et le Crachat (Bordeaux, 1892), p. 49 D. Journdanet et R. Simeon (Paris, 

note. 1880), p. 274. 

2 W. Crooke, Popular Religion and ° Above, pp. 102, no, 117 sq.^ 

Folk-lore of Northern India (West- 135, 136. 

in Africa. 


so as to face in the direction taken by the popular stranger. 
Afterwards from observing the state of the tree the natives 
infer the corresponding state of their absent friend, whose 
illness or death are apparently supposed to be portended by 
the fall of the leaves or of the trce.^ In Uganda, when a 
new royal enclosure with its numerous houses was built for 
a new king, barkcloth trees used to be planted at the main 
entrance by priests of each principal deity and offerings were 
laid under each tree for its particular god. Thenceforth 
" the trees were carefully guarded and tended, because it was 
believed that as they grew and flourished, so the king's life 
Birth-trees and power would increase." ^ Among the M'Bengas in 
Western Africa, about the Gaboon, when two children are 
born on the same day, the people plant two trees of the 
same kind and dance round them. The life of each of the 
children is believed to be bound up with the life of one of 
the trees ; and if the tree dies or is thrown down, they are 
sure that the child will soon die.^ In Sierra Leone also it is 
customary at the birth of a child to plant a shoot of a malep- 
tree, and they think that the tree will grow with the child 
and be its god. If a tree which has been thus planted withers 
away, the people consult a sorcerer on the subject.^ Among 
the Wajagga of German East Africa, when a child is born, 
it is usual to plant a cultivated plant of some sort behind 
the house. The plant is thenceforth carefully tended, for 
they believe that were it to wither away the child would die. 
When the navel-string drops from the infant, it is buried 
under the plant. The species of birrh-plant varies with the 
clan ; members of one clan, for example, plant a particular 
sort of banana, members of another clan plant a sugar-cane, 
and so on.^ Among the Swahili of East Africa, when a 
child is born, the afterbirth and navel-string are buried in 

1 Walter E. Roth, North Queetis- ii. 173. 
land Ethnography, Bulletin, No. j, * P'r. Kunstmann, " Valentin Fer- 
Superstiiion, Magic, and Medicine dinand's Beschreibungder Serra Leoa," 
(Brisbane, 1903), p. 27. Ahhandlungen der histor. Classe dtr 

2 Rev. J. Roscoe, The Baganda kbnig. Bayer. Akad. der Wis5enschafte7i, 
(London, 191 1), p. 202. ix. (1866) pp. 131 sq. 

3 G. Duloup, " Iluit jours chez les ^ Bruno Gutmann, " Feldbausitten 
M'Bengas," Revue d'' Ethnographic, ii. und Wachstumsbrauche der Wad- 
(1883), p. 223 ; compare P. Barret, schagga," Zeiischrift fUr Ethnologic, 
UAfrique Occidentale (Paris, 1888), xlv. (191 3), p. 496. 


the courtyard and a mark is made on the spot. Seven 
days afterwards, the hair of the child is shaved and 
deposited, along with the -clippings of its nails, in the 
same place. Then over all these relics of the infant's 
person a coco-nut is planted. As the tree grows up from 
the nut, the child likes to point it out to his playfellows 
and tell them, "This coco -nut palm is my navel." In 
planting the coco-nut the parents say, " May God cause our 
child to grow up, that he or she may one day enjoy the 
coco-nut milk of the tree which we plant here." ^ Though 
it is not expressly affirmed, we may perhaps assume that 
such a birth -tree is supposed to stand in a sympathetic 
relation with the life of the person. In the Cameroons, also, 
the life of a person is believed to be sympathetically bound 
up with that of a tree." The chief of Old Town in Calabar 
kept his soul in a sacred grove near a spring of water. 
When some Europeans, in frolic or ignorance, cut down part 
of the grove, the spirit was most indignant and threatened 
the perpetrators of the deed, according to the king, with all 
manner of evil.^ Among the Fans of the French Congo, 
when a chief's son is born, the remains of the navel-string 
are buried under a sacred fig-tree, and " thenceforth great 
importance is attached to the growth of the tree ; it is strictly 
forbidden to touch it. Any attempt on the tree would be 
considered as an attack on the human being himself." * 
Among the Boloki of the Upper Congo a family has a plant 
with red leaves (called nkungu) for its totem. When a 
woman of the family is with child for the first time, one of 
the totemic plants is planted near the hearth outside the 
house and is never destroyed, otherwise it is believed that 
the child would be born thin and weak and would remain 
puny and sickly. " The healthy life of the children and 
family is bound up with the healthiness and life of the totem 

' C. Velten, Sitten und Gebrduche Paris, 1830) pp. 400 sq. 

der Stiaheli (Gottingen, 1903), pp. 2 \_ Bastian, Die deutiche Expedi- 

8 sq. In Java it is customary to plant Hon an dtr Loango-Kuste (Jena, 1874- 

a tree, for example, a coco-nut palm, 1875), i. 165. 

►at the birth of a child, and when he 3 Rgy. J. Macdonald, Religion and 

'grows up he reckons his age by the Myth (London, 1893), p. 17S. 

age of the tree. See AnttaUs de la * H. Trilles, Le Tot^misme chez hi 

Propagation de la Foi, iii. (Lyons and F&h (Munster i. \V., 1912), p. 570. 

PT. vn. VOL. II M 



tree as respected and preserved by the family." ^ Among 
the Baganda of Central Africa a child's afterbirth was called 
the second child and was believed to be animated by a spirit, 
which at once became a ghost. The afterbirth was usually 
buried at the root of a banana tree, and afterwards the tree 
was carefully guarded by old women, who prevented any 
one from going near it ; they tied ropes of fibre from tree 
to tree to isolate it, and all the child's excretions were 
thrown into this enclosure. When the fruit ripened, it was 
cut by the old woman in charge. The reason for guarding 
the tree thus carefully was a belief that if any stranger were 
to eat of the fruit of the tree or to drink beer brewed from 
it, he would carry off with him the ghost of the child's after- 
birth, which had been buried at the root of the banana-tree, 
and the living child would then die in order to follow its 
twin ghost. Whereas a grandparent of the child, by eating 
the fruit or drinking the beer, averted this catastrophe and 
ensured the health of the child.^ Among the Wakondyo, 

^ Rev. John H. Weeks, Among 
Congo Cannibals (London, 191 3), p. 


^ Rev. J. Roscoe, The Baganda 
(London, 191 1), pp. 52, 54 J^'. Com- 
pare The Magic Art a7id the Evolution 
of Kings, i. 295 sq. ; and for other 
examples of burying the afterbirth or 
navel-string at the foot of a tree or 
planting a young tree over these re- 
mains, see id., pp. 182 sqq. In 
Kiziba, a district to the west of Lake 
Victoria Nyanza, the afterbirth is 
similarly regarded as a sort of human 
being. Hence when twins are born 
the people speak of four children 
instead of two, reckoning the two 
afterbirths as two children. See H. 
Rehse, Kiziba, Land und Leute (Stutt- 
gart, 1910), p. 117. The conception 
of the afterbirth and navel-string as 
spiritual doubles of the child with 
whom they are born is held very firmly 
by the Kooboos, a primitive tribe of 
Sumatra. We are told that among 
these people " a great vital power is 
ascribed to the navel-string and after- 
birth ; because they are looked upon 
as brother or sister of the infant, and 
though their bodies have not come to 

perfection, yet their soul and spirit are 
just as normal as those of the child 
and indeed have even reached a much 
higher stage of development. The 
navel-string {oeri) and afterbirth {t^m- 
boeni) visit the man who was born with 
them thrice a day and thrice by night 
till his death, or they hover near him 
{* zweven voorbij hem heeit''). They 
are the good spirits, a sort of guardian 
angels of the man who came into the 
world with them and who lives on 
earth ; they are said to guard him from 
all evil. Hence it is that the Kooboo 
always thinks of his navel-string and 
afterbirth (oeri-t/mboeni) before he goes 
to sleep or to work, or undertakes a 
journey, and so on. Merely to think 
of them is enough ; there is no need to 
invoke them, or to ask them anything, 
or to entreat them. By not thinking 
of them a man deprives himself of their 
good care." Immediately after the 
birth the navel-string and afterbirth 
are buried in the ground close by the 
spot where the birth took place ; and 
a ceremony is performed over it, for 
were the ceremony omitted, the navel- 
string and afterbirth, " instead of being 
a good spirit for the newly born child, 


at the north-western corner of Lake Albert Nyanza, it is 
customary to bury the afterbirth at the foot of a young 
banana-tree, and the fruit of this particular tree may be 
eaten by no one but the woman who assisted at the birth.^ 
The reason for the custom is not mentioned, but probably, 
as among the Baganda, the life of the child is supposed to 
be bound up with the life of the tree, since the afterbirth, 
regarded as a spiritual double of the infant, has been buried 
at the root of the tree. 

Some of the Papuans unite the life of a new-born child Binh-trees 
sympathetically with that of a tree by driving a pebble into Papu^s,^ 
the bark of the tree. This is supposed to give them com- Maoris, 
plete mastery over the child's life ; if the tree is cut down, Dyaks. 
the child will die.^ After a birth the Maoris used to bury ^"'^ °^^^'"s- 
the navel-string in a sacred place and plant a young sapling 
over it. As the tree grew, it was a tohu oranga or sign of 
life for the child ; if it flourished, the child would prosper ; 
if it withered and died, the parents augured the worst for . 
their child.^ In the Chatham Islands, when the child of a 
leading man received its name, it was customary to plant 
a tree, " the growth of which was to be as the growth of the 
child," and during the planting priests chanted a spell.^ In 
some parts of Fiji the navel-string of a male child is planted 
together with a coco-nut or the slip of a breadfruit-tree, and 
the child's lifejs supposed to be intimately connected with 
that of the tree.^ With certain Malayo-Siamese families of 

might become an evil spirit for him Salvador {^itxn^xi, 1859), pp. 103 sq. ; 
and visit him with all sorts of calami- id., Der Metisch in der Geschichte 
ties out of spite for this neglect." The (Leipsic, i860), iii. 193. 
nature of the ceremony performed over ^ R. Taylor, Te Ika a Maui, or 
the spot is not described by our New Zealand and its Inhabitants^ 
authority. The navel-string and after- (London, 1870), p. 184; Dumont 
birth are often regarded by the Koo- D'Urville, Voyage autour du monde et 
boos as one ; their names are always a la recherche de La P^otise sur la 
mentioned together. See G. J. van corvette Astrolabe, ii. 444. 
Dongen, " De Koeboe in de Onderaf- * W. T. L. Travers, "Notes of the 
deeling Koeboe-streken der Residentie traditions and manners and customs of 
Palembang," Bijdragcn tot de Taal- the Mori-oris," Transactions and Pro- 
Land- en Volkenkunde van Neder- ceedings of the New Zealand Institute, 
iandsch- Indie, Ixiii. (1910) pp. 229 sq. ix. (1876) p. 22. 

^ Franz Stuhlmann, Mit Emin = The late Rev. Lorimer Fison, in a 

Pascha ins Her% von Afrika (Berlin, letter to me dated May 29th, 1901. 

^894), p. 653. Compare The Alagic Art and the 

* A. Bastian, Ein Besiich in San Evolution of Kings, i. 184. 


the Patani States it is customary to bury the afterbirth 
under a banana-tree, and the condition of the tree is after- 
wards regarded as ominous of the child's fate for good or 
evil.^ In Southern Celebes, when a child is born, a coco-nut 
is planted and watered with the water in which the after- 
birth and navel-string have been washed. As it grows up, 
the tree is called the " contemporary " of the child." So in 
Bali a coco-palm is planted at the birth of a child. It is 
believed to grow up equally with the child, and is called its 
" life-plant." ^ On certain occasions the Dyaks of Borneo 
plant a palm-tree, which is believed to be a complete index 
of their fate. If it flourishes, they reckon on good fortune ; 
but if it withers or dies, they expect misfortune.* Amongst 
the Dyaks of Landak and Tajan, districts of Dutch 
Borneo, it is customary to plant a fruit-tree for a child, 
and henceforth in the popular belief the fate of the child 
is bound up with that of the tree. If the tree shoots up 
rapidly, it will go well with the child ; but if the tree is 
dwarfed or shrivelled, nothing but misfortune can be ex- 
pected for its human counterpart.* According to another 
account, at the naming of children and certain other festivals 
the Dyaks are wont to set a sawang-'^Xaxit^ roots and all, 
before a priestess ; and when the festival is over, the plant 
is replaced in the ground. Such a plant becomes thence- 
forth a sort of prophetic index for the pjwson in whose 
honour the festival was held. If the plant thrives, the 
man will be fortunate ; if it fades or perishes, some evil 
will befall him.^ The Dyaks also believe that at the birth 
of every person on earth a flower grows up in the spirit 
world and leads a life parallel to his. If the flower flourishes, 

^ N. Annandale, "Customs of the De Gids, 1888, No. 5, p. 26 (of the 

Malayo - Siamese," Fasciculi Malay- separate reprint); id., Verspreide Ge- 

enses, Anthropology, part ii. (a) (May, schriften (The Hague, 1912), iii. 562. 
1904), p. 5. ^ M. C. Schadee, " Het familie- 

2 B. F. Matthes, Bijdragen tot de L^^^" f " familierecht der Dajaks van 

Ethnologic van Zuid- Celebes (The }^^^f^ ,^" J^J'^'^' B^dragen tot dt 

Hague, 1875), P- 59. 

Taal- Land- en Volkenkunde van 

Nederlandsch - Indie, Ixiii. (1910) p. 

' R. van Eck, ** Schetsen van het .^b. 

eiland Bali," Tijdschrift voor Neder- e p. Grabowsky, "Die Theogenk 

landsch Indie, N.S., ix. (1880) pp. der Dajaken auf Borneo," /«/^fma/wJl 

417 ^1- ales Archiv fiir Ethnographie, V. 

* G. A. Wilken, "De Simsonsage," (1892) p. 133. 


the man enjoys good health, but if it droops, so does he. 
Hence when he has dreamed bad dreams or has felt unwell 
for several days, he infers that his flower in the other world 
is neglected or sickly, and accordingly he employs a medicine- 
man to tend the precious plant, weed the soil, and sweep it 
up, in order that the earthly and unearthly life may prosper 
once more,^ 

It is said that there are still families in Russia, Germany, Birth-trees 
England, France, and Italy who are accustomed to plant a '° "^°p^ 
tree at the birth of a child. The tree, it is hoped, will grow 
with the child, and it is tended with special care.^ The 
custom is still pretty general in the canton of Aargau in 
Switzerland ; an apple-tree is planted for a boy and a pear- 
tree for a girl, and the people think that the child will 
flourish or dwindle with the tree.^ In Mecklenburg the 
afterbirth is thrown out at the foot of a young tree, and the 
child is then believed to grow with the tree/ In Bosnia, 
when the children of a family have died one after the other, 
the hair of the next child is cut with some ceremony by a 
straneer, and the mother carries the shorn tresses into the 
garden, where she ties them to a fine young tree, in order 
that her child may grow and flourish like the tree^ At Marriage 
Muskau, in Lausitz, it used to be customary for bride and 
bridegroom on the morning of their wedding-day to plant 
a pair of young oaks side by side, and as each of the trees 
flourished or withered, so the good luck of the person who 
planted it was believed to wax or wane.*' On a promontory' Trees with 
in Lake Keitele, in Finland, there used to stand an old fir- fate^'o/^^ 
tree, which according to tradition had been planted by the families or 
first colonists to serve as a symbol or token of their fortune. S" thought^ 
First-fruits of the harvest used to be offered to the tree to be 

bound up. 

* J. Perham, "Manangism in 1884), i. 79. 

'Qomto;-' Journal of the Straits Branch 4 k. Bartsch, Sagen, Marchen und 

of the Royal Asiatic SocUty, No. 19 Gebrauche aus Mecklenburg (Vienna, 

(Singapore, 1887), p. 97 ; id., in H. 1879-1880), ii. p. 43, § 63. 

Ling Roth, The Natives of Sarawak ,___, ^,^-^ , , 

and British North Bormo (London, * r J" ^ ^Ji " Haarschurgod- 

i8o6\ ■ 278 schalt bei den budslaven, Intemat- 

* An!geIo de Gubematis, ^fytholosU ^7^" ^'''^^ >"'' ^thncgraphie, viL 
des Plantes (Paris, 1878-1882), i. pp. ^^^94) P- 193- 

xxviii. sq. ® Karl Haupt, Sageninuh der Lausitx 

' \V. Mannhardt, Baumkultus, p. (Leipsic, 1862-1863), ii. 129, No. 
50; H. Ploss, Das Kind- (Leipsic, 207. 



The Edge- 
well oak. 

The old 
tree at 

The oak 
of the 

before any one would taste of the new crop ; and whenever 
a branch fell, it was deemed a sign that some one would die. 
More and more the crown of the tree withered away, and in 
the same proportion the family whose ancestors had planted 
the fir dwindled away, till only one old woman was left. 
At last the tree fell, and soon afterwards the old woman 
departed this Hfe.^ When Lord Byron first visited his 
ancestral estate of Newstead " he planted, it seems, a young 
oak in some part of the grounds, and had an idea that as it 
flourished so should he'.' ^ On a day when the cloud that 
settled on the later years of Sir Walter Scott lifted a little, 
and he heard that Woodstock had sold for over eight thousand 
pounds, he wrote in his journal : " I have a curious fancy ; 
I will go set two or three acorns, and judge by their success 
in growing whether I shall succeed in clearing my way or 
not." ^ Near the Castle of Dalhousie, not far from Edin- 
burgh, there grows an oak-tree, called the Edgewell Tree, 
which is popularly believed to be linked to the fate of the 
family by a mysterious tie ; for they say that when one of the 
family dies, or is about to die, a branch falls from the Edge- 
well Tree. Thus, on seeing a great bough drop from the 
tree on a quiet, still day in July 1874, an old forester 
exclaimed, " The laird's deid noo ! " and soon after news 
came that Fox Maule, eleventh Earl of Dalhousie, was 
dead.* At Howth Castle in Ireland there is an old tree 
with which the fortunes of the St. Lawrence family are 
supposed to be connected. The branches of the tree are 
propped on strong supports, for tradition runs that when the 
tree falls the direct line of the Earls of Howth will become 
extinct.^ On the old road from Hanover to Osnabriick, at 
the village of Oster-Kappeln, there used to stand an ancient 
oak, which put out its last green shoot in the year 1 849. The 

^ " Heilige Haine und Baume der 
Finnen," Globus, lix. (1891) p. 350. 
Compare K. Rhamm, "Der heiden- 
ische Gottesdienst des finnischen 
Stammes," Globus, Ixvii. (1891) p. 


2 Thomas Moore, Life of Lord 
Byron, i. loi (i. 148, in the collected 
edition of Byron's works, London, 

3 J. G. Lockhart, Life of Sir Walter 
Scott (First Edition), vi. 283 (viii. 317, 
Second Edition, Edinburgh, 1839). 

* Sir Walter Scott's /<7«r«a/ (First 
Edition, Edinburgh, 1890), ii. 282, 
with the editor's note. 

^ Letter of Miss A. H. Singleton to 
me, dated Rathmagle House, Abbey 
Leix, Ireland, 24th February, 1904. 


tree was conjecturally supposed to be contemporary with 
the Guelphs ; and in the year 1866, so fatal for the house 
of Hanover, on a calm summer afternoon, without any 
visible cause, the veteran suddenly fell with a crash and lay 
stretched across the highroad. The peasants regarded its 
fall as an ill omen for the reigning family, and when King 
George V. heard of it he gave orders that the giant trunk 
should be set up again, and it was done w^ith much trouble 
and at great expense, the stump being supported in position 
by iron chains clamped to the neighbouring trees. But the 
king's efforts to prop the falling fortunes of his house were 
vain ; a few months after the fall of the oak Hanover 
formed part of the Prussian monarchy.^ 

In the midst of the " Forbidden City " at Peking there The Life- 
is a tiny private garden, where the emperors of the now ^j^uchu ^ 
fallen Manchu dynasty used to take the air and refresh dynasty, 
themselves after the cares of state. In accordance with 
Chinese taste the garden is a labyrinth of artificial rockeries, 
waterfalls, grottoes, and kiosks, in which everything is as 
unlike nature as art can make it. The trees in particular 
(Ardor vttae\ the principal ornament of the garden, exhibit 
the last refinement of the gardener's skill, being clipped and 
distorted into a variety of grotesque shapes. Only one of 
the trees remained intact and had been spared these defor- 
mations for centuries. Far from being stunted by the axe 
or the shears, the tree was carefully tended and encouraged 
to shoot up to its full height. " It was the ' Life-tree of the 
Dynasty,' and according to legend the prosperity or fall of 
the present dynasty went hand in hand with the welfare or 
death of the tree. Certainly, if we accept the tradition, the 
days of the present reigning house must be numbered, for 
all the care and attention lavished on the tree have been 
for some years in vain. A glance at our illustration shews 
the tree as it still surpasses all its fellows in height and size ; 
but it owes its pre-eminence only to the many artificial 
props which hold it up. In reality the ' Life-tree of the 
Dynasty ' is dying, and might fall over night, if one of its 
artificial props were suddenly to give way. For the 

^ P. Wagler, Die Eiche in alter und neuer Zeit, ii. (Berlin, 1891) pp. 
85 xy. 



trees of the 

at Rome. 

The oak 
of the 

Life of 
to be 
bound up 
with that 
of the cleft 
which in 
their youth 
they were 

superstitious Chinese — and superstitious they certainly are — 
it is a very, very evil omen." ^ Some twelve years have 
passed since this passage was written, and in the interval 
the omen has been fulfilled — the Manchu dynasty has 
fallen. We may conjecture that the old tree in the quaint 
old garden has fallen too. So vain are all human efforts to 
arrest the decay of royal houses by underpropping trees on 
which nature herself has passed a sentence of death. 

At Rome in the ancient sanctuary of Quirinus there 
grew two old myrtle-trees, one named the Patrician and 
the other the Plebeian. For many years, so long as the 
patricians were in the ascendant, their myrtle-tree flourished 
and spread its branches abroad, while the myrtle of the 
plebeians was shrivelled and shrunken ; but from the time 
of the Marsian war, when the power of the nobles de- 
clined, their myrtle in like manner drooped and withered, 
whereas that of the popular party held up its head and 
grew strong.^ Thrice when Vespasia was with child, an 
old oak in the garden of the Flavian family near Rome 
suddenly put forth branches. The first branch was puny 
and soon withered away, and the girl who was born ac- 
cordingly died within the year ; the second branch was 
long and sturdy ; and the third was like a tree. So on the 
third occasion the happy father reported to his mother that 
a future emperor was born to her as a grandchild. The old 
lady only laughed to think that at her age she should keep 
her wits about her, while her son had lost his ; yet the omen 
of the oak came true, for the grandson was afterwards the 
emperor Vespasian.^ 

In England children are sometimes passed through a 
cleft ash-tree as a cure for rupture or rickets, and thence- 
forward a sympathetic connexion is supposed to exist 
between them and the tree. An ash-tree which had been 
used for this purpose grew at the edge of Shirley Heath, 
on the road from Hockly House to Birmingham. " Thomas 
Chillingworth, son of the owner of- an adjoining farm, 
now about thirty-four, was, when an infant of a year old, 

* Die Woche, Berlin, 31 August, 
1901, p. 3, with an illustration shew- 
ing the garden and the tree. 

2 Pliny, Natur. Hist. xv. 120 sq. 

3 Suetonius, Divus Vespasianus, 5. 


passed through a similar tree, now perfectly sound, which he passed as 
preserves with so much care that he will not suffer a single ^^^^ 
branch to be touched, for it is believed the life of the in England 
patient depends on the life of the tree, and the moment that ^fid"en 
is cut down, be the patient ever so distant, the rupture are passed 
returns, and a mortification ensues, and terminates in death, ^left a^h- 
as was the case in a man driving a waggon on the very ^ees. 
road in question." " It is not uncommon, however," adds the 
writer, " for persons to survive for a time the felling of the 
tree." ^ The ordinar>' mode of effecting the cure is to split 
a young ash-sapling longitudinally for a few feet and pass 
the child, naked, either three times or three times three 
through the fissure at sunrise. In the West of England it 
is said that the passage should be " against the sun." As 
soon as the ceremony has been performed, the tree is bound 
tightly up and the fissure plastered over with mud or clay. 
The belief is that just as the cleft in the tree closes up, so 
the rupture in the child's body will be healed ; but that if 
the rift in the tree remains open, the rupture in the child 
will remain too, and if the tree were to die, the death of the 
child would surely follow.^ 

Down to the second half of the nineteenth century The 
the remedy was still in common use at Fittleworth and j^s,^^^ 
many other places in Sussex. The account of the 

* The Gentleman^ s Magazine, 1804, cellaneous Notes from Monmoath- 

p. 909 ; John Brand, Popular Anti- shire," Folk-lore, xvi. (1905) p. 65 ; 

fut/ies 0/ Grea/ Brilat'n (hondon, 1S82- Marie Trevelyan, Folk-lore and Folk- 

1883), iiL 289. stories of Wales (London, 1909), p. 

320. Sometimes the tree was an oak 

■^ Gilbert White, The Natural His- instead of an ash (M. Trevelyan, l.c.\ 
lory of Selbarm, Part II. Letter 28 To ensure the success of the cure 
(Edinburgh, 1829), pp. 239 sq. ', various additional precautions are some- 
Francis Grose, A Provincial Glossary times recommended, as that the ash 
(London, 181 1), p. 290; J. Brand, should be a maiden, that is a tree that 
op. cit. iii. 287-292 ; R. Hunt, Popu- has never been topped or cut ; that the 
lar Romanees of the West of England'^ split should be made east and west; 
(London, 1881), pp. 415, 421 ; W. G. that the child should be passed into 
Black, Folk-medicine (London, 1883), the tree by a maiden and taken out on 
pp. 67 sq. ; W. Wollaston Groome, the other side by a boy ; that the child 
" Suffolk Leechcraft," Folk-lore, vi. should always be passed through head 
(1895) PP- 123 sq. ; E. S. Hartland, foremost (but according to others feet 
in Folk-lore, vii. (1896) pp. 303-306; foremost), and so forth. In Surrey we 
County Folk-lore, Suffolk, edited by hear of a holly-tree being used instead 
Lady E. C Gurdon (London, 1893) of an ash (Notes and Queries, Sixth 
pp. 26-28; Beatrix A. Wherr)-, "Mis- Series, xi. Jan.-Jun. 1885, p. 46). 







cleft trees, 


oaks, as a 

cure in 





and Greece, 

Sussex practice and belief is notable because it brings 
out very clearly the sympathetic relation supposed to 
exist between the ruptured child and the tree through 
which it has been passed. We are told that the patient 
" must be passed nine times every morning on nine successive 
days at sunrise through a cleft in a sapling ash-tree, which 
has been so far given up by the owner of it to the parents 
of the child, as that there is an understanding it shall not 
be cut down during the life of the infant who is to be 
passed through it. The sapling must be sound at heart, 
and the cleft must be made with an axe. The child on 
being carried to the tree must be attended by nine persons, 
each of whom must pass it through the cleft from west to 
east. On the ninth morning the solemn ceremony is con- 
cluded by binding the tree lightly with a cord, and it is 
supposed that as the cleft closes the health of the child will 
improve. In the neighbourhood of Petworth some cleft 
ash-trees may be seen, through which children have very 
recently been passed. I may add, that only a few weeks 
since, a person who had lately purchased an ash-tree standing 
in this parish, intending to cut it down, was told by the 
father of a child, who had some time before been passed 
through it, that the infirmity would be sure to return upon 
his son if it were felled. Whereupon the good man said, he 
knew that such would be the case ; and therefore he would 
not fell it for the world." ^ 

A similar cure for various diseases, but especially 
for rupture and rickets, has been commonly practised in 
other parts of Europe, as Germany, France, Denmark, and 
Sweden ; but in these countries the tree employed for the 
purpose is usually not an ash but an oak ; sometimes a 
willow-tree is allowed or even prescribed instead. With 
these exceptions the practice and the belief are nearly the 
same on the Continent as in England : a young oak is split 
longitudinally and the two sides held forcibly apart while 
the sick child is passed through the cleft ; then the 
opening in the tree is closed, and bound up, and it is 
believed that as the cleft in the tree heals by the parts 

^ " Some West Sussex superstitions Charlotte Latham, at Fittleworth," 
lingering in 1868, collected by Folk-lore Record, \. {\%'j%)^Tf. ^o sq. 



growing together again, so the rupture in the child 
will be simultaneously cured. It is often laid down that 
the ceremony must be performed in the strictest silence ; 
sometimes the time prescribed is before sunrise, and some- 
times the child must be passed thrice through the cleft.^ In 
Oldenburg and Mecklenburg they say that the cure should 
be performed on St. John's Eve (Midsummer Eve) by three 
men named John, who assist each other in holding the split 

^ For the custom in Germany and 
Austria, see J. Grimm, Deutsche 
Mythologie,^ ii. 975 sq. ; A. Wuttke, 
Der deutscke Volksaberglaube"^ (Berlin, 
1869), p. 317, § 503; A. Kuhn und 
\V. Schwartz, Nord-deutsche Sagen, 
Mdrchen und Gebrduche (Leipsic, 
1848), pp. 443 sq.; J. F. L. Woeste, 
Volksiiberlieferungen in der Grafschaft 
J/ar,^ (Iserlohn, 1848), p. 54; E. Meier, 
Deutsche Sagen, Sitten und Gebrduche 
aus Schwaben (Stuttgart, 1852), p. 
39O1 § 56 ; F. Panzer, Beitrag zur 
deulschen Mythologie (Munich, 1848- 
1855), ii. 301 ; Bavaria, Landes- und 
Volkskunde des Konigreichs Bayern, 
ii. (Munich, 1863) p. 255; J. A. E. 
Kohler, Volksbrauch, Aberglauben, 
Sagen und andre alte Ueberlie/erungen 
im Voigtlande (Leipsic, 1867), pp. 415 
sq. ; L. Strackerjan, Aberglaube und 
Sagen aus dem Herzogthum Oldenburg 
(Oldenburg, 1867), i. 72 sq., § 88; 
K. Bartsch, Sagen, Mdrchen und Ge- 
brduche aus Mecklenburg (Vienna, 1879- 
1880), ii. 290 sq., § 1447 ; J. Haltrich, 
Zur Volkskunde der Siebetibiirger 
Sachsen (Vienna, 1885), p. 264; P. 
Wagler, Die Eiche in alter und neuer 
Zeit, i. (Wurzen, 1891) pp. 21-23. As 
to the custom in France, see Marcellus, 
De medicamentis, xxxiii. 26 (where the 
tree is a cherr}) ; J. B. Thiers, Traits 
des Superstitions (Paris, 1679), pp. 333 
sq. ; A. de Nore, Cotitiimes, Mythes et 
Traditions des Provinces de France 
(Paris and Lyons, i846),p.23i; L.J.B. 
Berenger-Feraud, in Bulletins de la 
Sociiti d^ Anthropologie de Paris, iv. 
serie, i. (1890) pp. 895-902 ; id.. Super- 
stitions et Survivances (Paris, 1896), i. 
523 sqq. As to the custom in Denmark 
and Sweden, see J. Grimm, Deutsche 
Mythologie,^ ii. 976 ; H. F. Feilberg, 
" Zwieselbaume nebst verwandtem 

Aberglauben in Skandinavien," Zeit- 
schrift des Vereins fiir Volkskunde, 
vii. (1897) pp. 42 sqq. In Mecklen- 
burg it is sometimes required that the 
tree should have been split by lightning 
(K. Bartsch, I.e.). The whole subject 
of passing sick people through narrow 
apertures as a mode of cure has been 
well handled in an elegant little mono- 
graph {^Un Vieux Rite medical, Paris, 
1892) by Monsieur H. Gaidoz, who 
rightly rejects the theory that all 
such passages are symlxjls of a new 
birth. But I cannot agree with 
him in thinking that the essence 
of the rite consists in the transfer- 
ence of the disease from the person to 
the tree ; rather, it seems to me, the 
primary idea is that of interposing an 
impassable barrier between a fugitive 
and his pursuing foe, though no doubt 
the enemy thus left behind is apparently 
supposed to adhere to the further side 
of the obstacle (whether tree, stone, or 
what not) through which he cannot 
pass. However, the sympathetic rela- 
tion supposed to exist between the 
sufferer and the tree through which he 
has been passed certainly favours the 
view that he has left some portion of 
himself attached to the tree. But in 
this as in many similar cases, the ideas 
in the minds of the persons who 
practise the custom are probably vague, 
confused, and inconsistent ; and we need 
net attempt to define them precisely. 
Compare also R. Andree, Ethno- 
graphische Parallelen und Vergleiche 
(Stuttgart, 1878), pp. 31 sq.; E. S. 
Hartland, The Legend of Perseus 
(London, 1894-1896), ii. 146 sq. ; 
L. J. B. Berenger-Feraud, Superstitions 
et Survivances (Paris, 1896), i. 523- 



to exist 
the child 
and the tree 
which it 
has been 

The disease 
is appar- 
to be left 
behind on 
the farther 
side of the 
cleft tree. 

oak-sapling open and passing the child through it.^ Some 
people, however, prefer Good Friday or Christmas Eve as the 
season for the performance of the ceremony.^ In Denmark 
copper coins are laid as an offering at the foot of the tree 
through which sick persons have been passed ; and threads, 
ribbons, or bandages which have been worn by the sufferers 
are tied to a branch of the tree.^ In the Greek island of 
Ceos, when a child is sickly, the parents carry it out into the 
country " and the father selects a young oak ; this they split 
up from the root, then the father is assisted by another man 
in holding the-tree open whilst the mother passes the child 
three times through, and then they bind up the tree well, 
cover it all over with manure, and carefully water it for 
forty days. In the same fashion they bind up the child for 
a like period, and after the lapse of this time they expect 
that it will be quite well." * 

In Mecklenburg, as in England, the sympathetic relation 
thus established between the tree and the child is so close 
that if the tree is cut down the child will die.* In the 
island of Rugen people believe that when a person who has 
been thus cured of rupture dies, his soul passes into the 
same oak-tree through which his body was passed in his 
youth.^ Thus it seems that in ridding himself of the 
disease the sufferer is supposed to transfer a certain vital 
part of his person to the tree so that it is impossible to injure 
the tree without at the same time injuring the man ; and in 
Riigen this partial union is thought to be completed by the 
transmigration of the man's soul at death into the tree. 
Apparently the disease is conceived as something physical, 
which clings to the patient but can be stripped off him and 
left behind on the farther side of the narrow aperture 
through which he has forced his way ; when the aperture is 
closed by the natural growth of the tree, the door is as it 

1 L. Strackerjan, I.e. ; K. Bartsch, 

2 E. Meier, I.e. ; Bavaria, Landes- 
und Volkskuiide des Aonigreiehs Bayern, 
ii. 255 ; A. Wuttke, I.e. 

3 H. F. Feilberg, " Zwieselbaume 
nebst verwandtem Aberglauben in 
Skandinavien," ZeitsehH/t des Vereins 
fur Volkskunde, vii. (1897) p. 44. 

* J. Theodore Bent, The Cyelades 
(London, 1885), pp. 457 sq. 

5 H. Ploss, Das Kind^ (Leipsic, 
1884), ii. 221. 

8 R. Baier, " Beitrage von der Insel 
Riigen," Zeitsehrift fiir deutsehe My- 
tkologie und Sittenkunde, ii. (1855) 
p. 141. 


were shut against the disease, which is then unable to 
pursue and overtake the sufferer. Hence the idea at the 
root of the custom is not so much that the patient has 
transferred his ailment to the tree, as that the tree forms an 
impervious barrier between him and the malady which had 
hitherto afflicted him. This interpretation is confirmed by 
the following parallels. 

In those parts of Armenia which are covered with Creeping 
forests, many great and ancient trees are revered as sacred cieft^^ees 
and receive marks of homage. The people burn lights '« z^\ "d 
before them, fumigate them with incense, sacrifice cocks and in Armenia 
wethers to them, and creep through holes in their trunks or ^^'^ ^'^ 
push lean and sickly children through them '* in order to put 
a stop to the influence of evil spirits." ^ Apparently, they 
think that evil spirits cannot creep through the cleft in the 
holy tree, and therefore that the sick who have effected the 
passage are safe from their demoniacal pursuers. The same 
conception of a fissure in a tree as an obstacle placed in the 
path of pursuing spirits meets us in a number of savage 
customs. Thus in the island of Nias, when a man is in 
training for the priesthood, he has to be introduced to the 
various spirits between whom and mankind it will be his 
office to mediate. A priest takes him to an open window, 
and while the drums are beating points out to him the great 
spirit in the sun who calls away men to himself through 
death ; for it is needful that the future priest should know 
him from whose grasp he will often be expected to wrest the 
sick and dying. In the evening twilight he is led to the 
graves and shewn the envious spirits of the dead, who also 
are ever drawing away the living to their own shadowy 
world. Next day he is conducted to a river and shewn the 
spirit of the waters ; and finally they take him up to a 
mountain and exhibit to him the spirits of the mountains, 
who have diverse shapes, some appearing like swine, others 
like buffaloes, others like goats, and others again like men 
with long hair on their bodies. When he has seen all this, 
his education is complete, but on his return from the 
mountain the new priest may not at once enter his own 
house. For the people think that, were he to do so, the 

' Manuk Abeghian, Der armeniscke Vo/ksg/aude {heipsic, 1S99), p. 58. 


dangerous spirits by whom he is still environed would stay 

in the house and visit both the family and the pigs with 

sickness. Accordingly he betakes himself to other villages 

and passes several nights there, hoping that the spirits will 

leave him and settle on the friends who receive him into 

their houses ; but naturally he does not reveal the intention 

of his visits to his hosts. Lastly, before he enters his own 

dwelling, he looks out for some young tree by the way, 

splits it down the middle, and then creeps through the 

fissure, in the belief that any spirit which may still be 

Among the clinging to him will thus be left sticking to the tree.^ Again, 

indians°°^ among the Bilqula or Bella Coola Indians of British Columbia 

mourners " the bed of a moumcr must be protected against the ghost 

through of the deceased. His male relatives stick a thorn-bush into 

cleft trees the ground at each corner of their beds. After four days 

to get rid of , , . , ,, _ . , 

the ghost, these are thrown mto the water. Mourners must rise early 
and go into the woods, where they stick four thorn-bushes 
into the ground, at the corners of a square, in which they 
cleanse themselves by rubbing their bodies with cedar 
branches. They also swim in ponds. After swimming 
they cleave four small trees and creep through the clefts, 
following the course of the sun. This they do on four sub- 
sequent mornings, cleaving new trees every day. Mourners 
cut their hair short. The hair that has been cut off is 
burnt. If they should not observe these regulations, it is 
believed that they would dream of the deceased." ^ To the 
savage, who fails to distinguish the visions of sleep from the 

^ Fr. Kramer, " Der Gotzendienst other than Death ; and because he is 

der Niasser," Tijdschrift voor Indische Death, therefore the creatures that are 

Taal- Land- en Volkenhinde, xxxiii. on this side of him die. But those 

(1890) pp. 478-480 ; H. Sundermann, that are on the other side of him are 

Die Insel Nias und die Mission daselbst the gods, and they are therefore im- 

(Barmen, 1905), pp. 81-83. According mortal. . . . And the breath of whom - 

to the latter writer the intention of soever he (the sun) wishes he takes and 

passing through the cleft stick is "to rises, and that one dies." 
strip off from himself {jjon zich 

abzustreifen) the last spirit that may ^ Fr. Boas, in Seventh Report on 

have followed him." The notion that the North- Western Tribes of Canada, 

the sun causes death by drawing away p. 13 (separate reprint from the Report 

the souls of the living is Indian. See of the British Association, Cardiff meet- 

The Satapatha Brdhmana, ii. 3. 3. ing, 1891). The Shuswap Indians 

7-8, translated by Julius Eggeling, of the same region also fence their 

Part I. (Oxford, 1882) p. 343 {Sacred beds against ghosts with a hedge of 

Books of the East, vol. xii. ) : "Now thorn bushes. See Taboo and the 

yonder burning (sun) doubtless is no Perils of the Soul, p. 142. 


appearances of waking life, the apparition of a dead man in 
a dream is equivalent to the actual presence of the ghost ; 
and accordingly he seeks to keep off the spiritual intruder, 
just as he might a creature of flesh and blood, by fencing 
his bed with thorn-bushes. Similarly the practice of creep- 
ing through four cleft trees is clearly an attempt to shake 
off the clinging ghost and leave it adhering to the trees, just 
as in Nias the future priest hopes to rid himself in like 
manner of the dangerous spirits who have dogged his steps 
from the mountains and the graves. 

This interpretation of the custom is strongly confirmed The 
by a funeral ceremony which Dr. Charles Hose witnessed of Borneo 
at the chief village of the Madangs, a tribe of Kayans creep 
who occupy a hitherto unexplored district in the heart cieft slick 
of Borneo. " Just across the river from where we were ^'^ * . 

j' ■ , , ^ funeral in 

sitting, says Dr. Hose, "was the graveyard, and there I order to 
witnessed a funeral procession as the day was drawing to a "d them- 
close. The coffin, which was a wooden box made from a the ghost, 
tree-trunk, was decorated with red and black patterns in 
circles, with two small wooden figures of men placed at either 
end ; it was lashed with rattans to a long pole, and by this 
means was lifted to the shoulders of the bearers, who 
numbered thirteen in all, and who then carried it to the 
bur>'ing-ground. After the mourners had all passed over 
to the graveyard, a man quickly cut a couple of small sticks, 
each five feet long and about an inch in diameter. One of 
these he split almost the whole way down, and forced the 
unspHt end into the ground, when the upper part opened 
like a V, leaving sufficient room for each person to pass 
through. He next split the top of the other stick, and, 
placing another short stick in the cleft, made a cross, which 
he also forced into the ground. The funeral procession 
climbed the mound on which the cemetery was situated, 
passing through the V of the cleft stick in single file. As 
soon as the coffin had been placed on the stage erected for 
the purpose, the people commenced their return, following 
on one another's heels as quickly as possible, each spitting 
out the words, ' Pit balli krat balli jat tesip bertatip ! ' (' Keep 
back, and close out all things evil, and sickness ') as they 
passed through the V-shaped stick. The whole party having 



The cleft 
stick or 

which a 
passes is a 
barrier to 
part him 
from a 
foe ; the 
closing of 
the cleft is 
like shut- 
ting the 
door in the 
face of a 
But com- 
bined with 
this in the 
case of 

left the graveyard, the gate was closed by the simple process 
of tying the cleft ends of the stick together, and a few words 
were then said to the cross-stick, whick they call ngring^ or 
the wall that separates the living from the dead. All who 
had taken part in the ceremony then went and bathed before 
returning to their homes, rubbing their skins with rough 
pebbles, the old Mosaic idea of the uncleanness of the dead, 
as mentioned in Numbers (chap, xix.), evidently finding a 
place among their religious beliefs. It is apparently a great 
relief to their minds to think that they can shut out the 
spirit of the deceased. They believe that the spirit of the 
dead is not aware that life has left the body until a short 
time after the coffin has been taken to the graveyard, and 
then not until the spirit has had leisure to notice the clothes, 
weapons, and other articles belonging to its earthly estate, 
which are placed with the coffin. But before this takes 
place the gate has been closed." ^ 

Here the words uttered by the mourners in passing 
through the cloven stick shew clearly that they believe the 
stick to act as a barrier or fence, on the further side of 
which they leave behind the ghost or other dangerous spirit 
whose successful pursuit might entail sickness and death on 
the survivors. Thus the passage of these Madang mourners 
through the cleft stick is strictly analogous to the passage 
of ruptured English children through a cleft ash-tree. Both 
are simply ways of leaving an evil thing behind. Similarly 
the subsequent binding up of the cloven stick in Borneo is 
analogous to the binding up of the cloven ash-tree in Eng- 
land. Both are ways of barricading the road against the 
evil which is dogging your steps ; having passed through 
the doorway you slam the door in the face of your pursuer. 
Yet it seems probable that the intention of binding up the 
cleft in a tree through which a ruptured patient has been 

* C. Hose, "Inthe heart of Borneo," 
The Geographical Journal, xvi. (1900) 
pp. 45 sq. Compare C. Hose and W. 
McDougall, The Pagan Tribes of 
Borneo (London, 191 2), ii. 36 sq., 
where, after describing the ceremony 
of passing through the cloven stick, the 
writers add : "In this way the Kayans 
symbolically prevent any of the un- 

canny influences of the graveyard 
following the party back to the house ; 
though they do not seem to be clear as 
to whether it is the ghosts of the dead, 
or the Toh of the neighbourhood, or 
those which may have contributed to 
his death, against whom these pre- 
cautions are taken." 


passed is not merely that of shutting the door on the malady patients 
conceived as a personal being; combined with this idea is ^'^^ea'^ 
perhaps the notion that in virtue of the law of magical homoeo- that the 
pathy the rupture in the body of the sufferer will close up ^{^^. 
exactly in the same measure as the cleft in the tree closes up pathetic- 
through the force of bandages and of natural growth. That cieft in the 
this shade of meaning attaches to the custom is rendered ^^ closes, 
probable by a comparison of an ancient Roman cure for Roman 
dislocation, which has been preserved for us by the grave ^^^T ^°'^. 
authority of the elder Cato. He recommended that a green 
reed, four or five feet long, should be taken, split down the 
middle, and held by two men to the dislocated bones while 
a curious and now unintelligible spell was recited ; then, 
when the spell had been recited and the aperture in the reed 
had closed, the reed was to be tied to the dislocated limb, 
and a perfect cure might be expected. Apparently it was 
supposed that just as the two sides of the split reed came 
together and coalesced after being held apart, so the dislocated 
bones would come together and fit into their proper places.^ 

But the usual idea in passing through a narrow aper- other 
ture as a cure or preventive of evil would seem to be ^^^'"P'^ 

, , -. of creeping 

Simply that of giving the slip to a dangerous pursuer. With through 
this intention, doubtless, the savage Thays of Tonquin "^^n^ngs 
repair after a burial to the banks of a stream and there after a 
creep through a triangle formed by leaning two reeds ^^^ 
against each other, while the sorcerer souses them with dirty 
water. All the relations of the deceased must wash their 
garments in the stream before they return home, and they 
may not set foot in the house till they have shorn their hair 

* Cato, De agri culiura, 159 (pp. Jiet." The passage is obscure and per- 

106 sq. ed. H. Keil, Leipsic, 1884) : haps corrupt. It is not clear whether 

"Luxum siqtwdest, hoc cantione sanum " usque dum coeant " and "ubicourint" 

&/. Harundinem prende tibi viridem refer to the drawing together of the 

P. III. aut quinque longam, mediam bones or of the split portions of the 

Hffinde, et duo homines tejuant ad reed, but apparently the reference is 

^oxendues. Indpe cantor e in alios./, to the reed. The charm is referred to 

moetas vaeta daries dardaries asia- by Pliny, Nat. Hist., xvii. 267 : 

larides una petes, usque dum coeant. *' Quippe cum averti grandines carmine 

Motas vaeta daries dardares astaiaries credant plerique, cujus verba inserere 

iissunapiter, usque dum coeant. Fer- non equidem serio ausim, quamquam a 

ntm insuper jactato. Ubi coierint et Caione proditis contra luxala membra 

altera alteram tetigerint, id manu pre- jungenda harundinum Jissurcu." Com- 

\ende et dextera sinistra praecide, ad pare J. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie,* 

'uxum aut ad frcuturam alliga, sanum L 186, ii. 103 1 sq. 



at the foot of the ladder. Afterwards the sorcerer comes 
and sprinkles the whole house with water for the purpose of 
expelling evil spirits.^ Here again we cannot doubt that 
the creeping through the triangle of reeds is intended to 
rid the mourners of the troublesome ghost. So when the 
Kamtchatkans had disposed of a corpse after their usual 
fashion by throwing it to the dogs to be devoured, they 
purified themselves as follows. They went into the forest 
and cut various roots which they bent into rings, and through 
these rings they crept twice. Afterwards they carried the 
rings back to the forest and flung them away westward. 
The Koryaks, a people of the same region, burn their dead 
and hold a festival in honour of the departed a year after 
the death. At this festival, which takes place on the spot 
where the corpse was burned, or, if that is too far off, on a 
neighbouring height, they sacrifice two young reindeer which 
have never been in harness, and the sorcerer sticks a great 
many reindeer horns in the earth, believing that thereby 
he is dispatching a whole herd of these animals to their 
deceased friend in the other world. Then they all hasten 
home, and purify themselves by passing between two poles 
planted in the ground, while the sorcerer strikes them with 
a stick and adjures death not to carry them off.^ The 
Tokoelawi in the interior of Central Celebes hold a great 
sacrificial festival on the eighth day after the death of a man 
or the ninth day after the death of a woman. When the 
guests return homewards after the festival they pass under 
two poles placed in a slanting direction against each other, 
and they may not look round at the house where the death 
occurred. " In this way they take a final leave of the soul 
of the deceased. Afterwards no more sacrifices are offered 
to the soul." ^ Among the Toboengkoe, another tribe in the 
interior of Central Celebes, when a man buries his wife, he 
goes to the grave by a different road from that along which 

1 Pinabel, " Notes sur quelques des Landes Kamtschatka (Lemgo, 
peuplades dependant du Tong-King," 1766), pp. 26S, 282. 

Bulletin de la Social de G^ographie, ^ N. Adrian! en Alb. C. Kruijt, 

Septieme Serie, v. (Paris, 1884) p. "Van Posso naar Parigi, Sigi en 

430 ; A. Bourlet, " Funerailles chez Lindoe," Mededeeliiigen van wege kei 

les Tiiay," Anthropos, viii. (1913) p. Nederlandsche Zendelinggenootschap, 

45. xlii. (1898) p. 502. The poles are oi 

2 S. Krascheninnikow, Beschreibung a certain plant or tree called bojuba. 


the corpse is carried ; and on certain days afterwards he 
bathes, and on returning from the bath must pass through 
a A-shaped erection, which is formed by splitting a pole up 
the middle and separating the two split pieces except at the 
top. " This he must do in order that his second wife, if he 
has one, may not soon die." ^ Here the notion probably is 
that the jealous ghost of the dead wife seeks to avenge her- 
self on her living rival by carrying off her soul with her to 
deadland. Hence to prevent this catastrophe the husband 
tries to evade the ghost, first by going to the grave along a 
different path, and second by passing under a cleft stick, 
through which as usual the spirit cannot follow him. 

In the light of the foregoing customs, as well as of a multi- The inten- 
tude of ceremonies observed for a similar purpose in all parts ^'°" '^^^^^ 

. r- r- r- custom 

of the world, we may safely assume that when people creep probably is 
through rings after a death or pass between poles after a fromTh? 
sacrifice to the dead, their intention simply is to interpose ghost of 
a barrier between themselves and the ghost ; they make ^ ^ ^ • 
their way through a narrow pass or aperture through which 
they hope that the ghost will not be able to follow them. 
To put it otherwise, they conceive that the spirit of the dead 
is sticking to them like a burr, and that like a burr it may 
be rubbed or scraped off and left adhering to the sides of 
the opening through which they have squeezed themselves. 

Similarly, when a pestilence is raging among the Koryaks, Passing 
they kill a dog, wind its guts about two poles, and pass through 
between the poles,^ doubtless for the sake of giving the slip in order 
to the demon of the plague in the same way that they give ["q^'^^^ 
the slip to the ghost. When the Kayans of Borneo have demons. 
been dogged by an evil spirit on a journey and are nearing 
their destination, they fashion a small archway of boughs, 
light a fire under it, and pass in single file under the archway 
and over the fire, spitting into the fire as they pass. By 
this ceremony, we are told, " they thoroughly exorcise the 

^ Alb, C. Kruijt, " Eenige ethno- burial customs as illustrative of the 

grafische aanteekeningen omtrent de primitive theory of the so\x\," Jottrnal 

Toboengkoe en de Tomori," Mededeel- of the Anthropological Institute, xv. 

ingen van wege het Nederlandsche (1886) pp. 64 sqq. 
Zendelinggenootschap, xliv. (1900) p. 
' 223. 8 S. Krascheninnikow, Beschreibung 

* For examples of these ceremonies des Landes Katntschatka(l^Gvago,i'j66), 

I may refer to my article, "On certain pp. 277 sq. 



under an 
arch of 
as a cure 
for various 

evil .spirits and emerge on the other side free from all baleful 
influences." ^ Here, to make assurance doubly sure, a fire as 
well as an archway is interposed between the travellers and 
the dreadful beings who are walking unseen behind. To crawl 
under a bramble which has formed an arch by sending down 
a second root into the ground, is an English and Welsh cure 
for whooping-cough, rheumatism, boils, and other complaints. 
In some parts of the west of England they say that to get rid 
of boils the thing to do is to crawl through such a natural arch 
nine times against the sun ; but in Devonshire the patient 
should creep through the arch thrice with the sun, that is 
from east to west. When a child is passed through it for 
whooping-cough, the operators ought to say : 

" In bramble, out cough, 
Here I leave the whooping-cough." 2 

Crawling In Perigord and other parts of France the same cure is 

under employed for boils.^ In Bulgaria, when a person suffers from 

of various a congenital malady such as scrofula, a popular cure is to 

sorts as \_q\^q him to a neighbouring village and there make him creep 

preventive naked thrice through an arch, which is formed by inserting 

of sickness, ^j^^ lower cnds of two vine branches in the ground and joining 

their upper ends together. When he has done so, he hangs 

his clothes on a tree, and dons other garments. On his way 

home the patient must also crawl under a ploughshare, 

which is held high enough to let him pass.* Further, when 

1 W. H. Furness, Folk-lore in 
Borneo, a Sketch, p. 28 (Walling- 
ford, Pennsylvania, 1899, privately 
printed). Compare id.. The Home- 
life of Borneo Head-hunters (Phila- 
delphia, 1902), p. 28: "Here a halt 
for final purification was made. An 
arch of boughs about five feet high was 
erected on the beach, and beneath it a 
fire was kindled, and then Tama Bulan, 
holding a young chicken, which he 
waved and brushed over every portion 
of the arch, invoked all evil spirits 
which had been accompanying us, and 
forbade them to follow us further 
through the fire. The fowl was then 
killed, its blood smeared all over the 
archway and sprinkled in the fire ; 
then, led by Tama Bulan, the whole 
party filed under the arch, and as they 

stepped over the fire each one spat in 
it vociferously and immediately took 
his place in the boats." 

2 T. F. Thiselton Dyer, English 
Folk-lore (London, 1884), pp. 171 sq. \ 
W. G. Black, Folk-medicine (London, 
1883), p. 70; R. Hunt, Popular 
Romances of the fVest of England, 
Third Edition (London, 1881), pp. 
412, 415 ; Marie Trevelyan, Folk-lore 
and Folk -stories of Wales (London, 
1909). P- 320. 

3 A. de Nore, Coutumes, Mythes ei 
Traditions des Provinces de France 
(Paris and Lyons, 1846), p. 152 ; H. 
Gaidoz, Un Vieux Rite mddical (Vans, 
1892), pp. 7 sq. 

* A. Strausz, Die BulgarenCLc'iYt^xc, 
1898), p. 414. 


whooping-cough is prevalent in a Bulgarian village, an old 
woman will scrape the earth from under the root of a willou- 
tree. Then all the children of the village creep through the 
opening thus made, and a thread from the garment of each 
of them is hung on the willow. Adults sometimes go through 
the same ceremony after recovering from a dangerous illness.^ 
Similarly, when sickness is rife among some of the villages 
to the east of Lake Nyassa, the inhabitants crawl through 
an arch formed by bending a wand and inserting the two 
ends in the ground. By way of further precaution they 
wash themselves on the spot with medicine and water, and 
then bury the medicine and the evil influence together in 
the earth. The same ceremony is resorted to as a means of 
keeping off evil spirits, wild beasts, and enemies.^ 

In Uganda " sometimes a medicine-man directed a sick Custom in 
man to provide an animal, promising that he would come and ^^^^ 
transfer the sickness to the animal. The medicine-man would sick man 
then select a plantain-tree near the house, kill the animal by it, ^^^^ a 
and anoint the sick man with its blood, on his forehead, on cleft stick 
each side of his chest, and on his legs above the knees. The opening in 
plantain-tree selected had to be one that was about to bear »he door- 


fruit, and the medicine-man would split the stem from near 
the top to near the bottom, leaving a few inches not split 
both at the top and at the bottom ; the split stem would be 
held open so that the sick man could step through it, and in 
doing so he would leave his clothing at the plantain-tree, and 
would run into the house without looking back. When he 
entered the house, new clothes would be given him to wear. 
The plantain, the clothing, and meat would be carried away 
by the medicine-man, who would deposit the plantain-tree on 
waste land, but would take the meat and clothing for himself. 
Sometimes the medicine-man would kill the animal near the 
hut, lay a stout stick across the threshold, and narrow the 
doorway by partially filling it with branches of trees ; he 
would then put some of the blood on either side of the narrow 
entrance, and some on the stick across the threshold, and 

* A. Strausz, op. cit. p. 404. As - Last Journals of David Living- 

to the Bulgarian custom of creeping statu in Central Africa{^vAoxi,\%T^, 

throogh a tunnel in a time of epidemic, L 60. 
see above, vol. i. pp. 2S2-284. 



by the Kai 
of New 
and the 
of Sumatra 
for the 
of giving 
the slip to 

would also anoint with it the sick man, who would be takeil' 
outside for the purpose. The patient would then re-ente'' 
the house, letting his clothing fall off, as he passed througl 
the doorway. The medicine-man would carry away the 
branches, the stick, the clothing, and the meat. TIk 
branches and the stick he would cast upon waste land 
but the meat and the clothing he would keep for himself," ' 
Here the notion of transferring the sickness to the animal is 
plainly combined with, we may almost say overshadowed by 
the notion that the ailment is left behind adhering to the 
cleft plantain-stem or to the stick and branches of the narrow 
opening through which the patient has made his way. That 
obviously is why the plantain-stem or the stick and branches 
are thrown away on waste land, lest they should infect other 
people with the sickness which has been transferred to them 
The Kai of German New Guinea attribute sickness to the 
agency either of ghosts or of sorcerers, but suspicion always 
falls at first on ghosts, who are deemed even worse than the 
sorcerers. To cure a sick man they will sometimes cleave a 
stick in the middle, leaving the two ends intact, and then oblige 
the sufferer to insert his head through the cleft. After that 
they stroke his whole body with the stick from head to foot. 
" The stick with the soul-stuff of the ghosts is then hurled 
away or otherwise destroyed, whereupon the sick man is 
supposed to recover." ^ Here the ghosts who cause the sick- 
ness are clearly supposed to be scraped from the patient's 
body by means of the cleft stick, and to be thrown away or 
destroyed with the implement. The Looboos, a primitive 
tribe in the Mandailing district of Sumatra, stand in great 
fear of the wandering spirits of the dead {soemangots). But 
*' they know all sorts of means of protecting themselves 
against the unwelcome visits of the spirits. For example, 
if a man has lost his way in the forest, he thinks that this 
is the work of such a spirit {soemangot)^ who dogs the 

1 Rev. J. Roscoe, The Baganda 
(London, 191 1), p. 343. Compare 
id., " Notes on the Manners and 
Customs of the Baganda," yi;«rwa/ 0/" 
the Anthropological Institute, xxxi. 
(1901) p. 126; id., "Further Notes 
on the Manners and Customs of the 

Baganda," Journal of the Anthro- 
pological Institute, xxxii. (1902) pp. 
42 sq. 

^ Ch. Keysser, " Aus dem Leben 
der Kaileute," in R. Neuhau<-s's 
Deutsch Ncu-Guinea,\\\. (Berlin, 191 1) 
pp. 141 sq. 



1 wanderer and bedims his sight So in order to throw the 
malignant spirit off the track he takes a rattan and sph'ts it 

i through the middle. By bending the rattan an opening is 
made, through which he creeps. After that the rattan is 
quickly stretched and the opening closes. By this pro- 
cedure the spirit (so they think) cannot find the opening 
again and so cannot further follow his victim."* Here 
therefore, the passage through a cleft stick is conceived in 
the clearest way as an escape from a spiritual pursuer, and 
the closing of the aperture when the fugitive has passed 
through it is nothing but the slamming of the door in the 
face of his invisible foe. 

A similar significance is probably to be attached to Passing 
other cases of ceremonially passing through a cleft stick !^T"^\ 
even where the intention of the rite is not expressly alleged, in con- 
Thus among the Ovambo of German South-West Africa ""^^^^^ 
young women who have become marriageable perform a and cir- 
variety of ceremonies ; among other things they dance in 
the large and the small cattle- kraal. On quitting the 
large cattle -kraal after the dance, and on entering and 
quitting the small cattle-kraal, they are obliged to pass, one 
after the other, through the fork of a cleft stick, of which 
the two sides are held wide open by an old man." Among 

I the Washamba of German East Africa, when a boy has 

' been circumcised, two women bring a long sugar-cane, which 
still bears its leaves. The cane is split at some distance 
from its upper and lower ends and the two sides are held 
apart so as to form a cleft or opening ; at the lower end 
of the cleft a danga ring is fastened. The father and mother 
of the circumcised youth now place the sugar-cane between 
them, touch the ring with their feet, and then slip through 
the cleft ; and after them the lad's aunt must also pass 
through the cleft sugar-cane.^ In both these cases the 
passage through the cleft stick is probably intended to give 

* J. Kreemer, " De Loeboes in ascertain the meaning of the rite ; the 
Mandailing," Bijdragen tot de TaaJ- natives would only say that it was their 
Land- en Volkenkunde van Ned^r- custom. 
landsch- Indie, Ixvi. (1912) p. 327. ' A. Karasek, " Beitrage zur 

* Hermann Tonjes, Ovamboiand, Kenntnis der Waschambo," BaessUr- 
Land, Leiite, Mission (Berlin, 191 1), Arehiv, i. (Leipsic and Berlin, 191 1) 
pp. 139 sq. The writer was unable to p. 192. 

1 84 


through a 
ring or 
hoop as a 
cure or 
of disease. 

a hoop 
of rowan. 

the slip to certain dangerous spirits, which are apt to molest 
people at such critical seasons as puberty and circumcision. 

Again, the passage through a ring or hoop is resorted 
to for like reasons as a mode of curing or preventing disease. 
Thus in Sweden, when a natural ring has been found in a 
tree, it is carefully removed and treasured in the family ; for 
sick and especially rickety children are healed by merely 
passing through it.^ A young married woman in Sweden, 
who suffered from an infirmity, was advised by a wise 
woman to steal three branches of willow, make them into 
a hoop, and creep through it naked, taking care not to touch 
the hoop and to keep perfectly silent. The hoop was after- 
wards to be burnt. She carried out the prescription faithfully, 
and her faith was rewarded by a perfect cure.^ No doubt her 
infirmity was thought to adhere to the hoop and to be burnt 
with it. Similarly in Scotland children who suffered from 
hectic fever and consumptive patients used to be healed by 
passing thrice through a circular wreath of woodbine, which 
was cut during the increase of the March moon and was let 
down over the body of the sufferer from the head to the feet. 
Thus Jonet Stewart cured sundry women by " taking ane 
garland of grene woodbynd, and causing the patient pas 
thryis throw it, quhilk thairefter scho cut in nyne pieces, and 
cast in the fyre." Another wise woman transmitted the sick 
" throw ane girth of woodbind thryis thre times, saying, ' I 
do this in name of the Father, the Sone, and the Halie 
Ghaist.* " ^ The Highlanders of Strathspey used to force 
all their sheep and lambs to pass through a hoop of 
rowan-tree on All Saints' Day and Beltane (the first of 
November and the first of May),* probably as a means of 

* H. F. Feilberg, " Zwieselbaume 
nebst verwandtem Aberglauben in 
Skandinavien," Zeitschrift des Vereins 

fiir Volkskunde, vii. (1897) pp. 49 

2 H. F. Feilberg, op. cit. p. 44. 

^ J. G. Dalyell, The Darker Super- 
stitions of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1834), 
p. 121 ; Ch. Rogers, Social Life in 
Scotland (Edinburgh, 1 884-1 886), iii. 

* John Ramsay of Ochtertyre, Scot- 
land and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth 

Century, edited by A. Allardyce, 
(Edinburgh and London, 1888), ii. 
454. Immediately after mentioning 
this custom the writer adds : "And in 
Breadalbane it is the custom for the 
dairymaid to drive the cattle to the 
sheals with a wand of that tree [the 
rowan] cut upon the day of removal, 
which is laid above the door until the 
cattle be going back again to the winter- 
town. This was reckoned a preservative 
against witchcraft." As to the activity 
of witches and fairies on Hallowe'en and 


warding off the witches and fairies, who are especially 
dreaded at these seasons, and against whose malignant arts 
the rowan-tree affords an efficient protection. In Oldenburg Milking 
when a cow gives little or no milk, they milk her through a ^^*„,j 
hole in a branch. In Eversten they say that this should be a natural 
done through a ring which an oak-tree has formed round the !5°?^^°, 

o & nng or a 

scar where a branch has been sawn off. Others say the "witch's 
beast should be milked through a " witch's nest," that is, °^^ 
through the boughs of a birch-tree which have grown in a 
tangle. Such a '* witch's nest " is also hung up in a pig's stye 
to protect the pig against witchcraft^ Hence the aim of 
milking a cow through a " witch's nest " or through a natural 
wooden ring is no doubt to deliver the poor creature from 
an artful witch who has- been draining away the milk into 
her own pail, as witches are too apt to do. Again, in Passing 
Oldenburg sick children, and also adults and animals, are ^"^'^ 

^ _ ' _ ' ^ piersons 

passed through a ring of rough unwashed yarn, just as it or animak 
comes from the reel. To complete the cure you should ^n^*^*^ 
throw a hot coal thrice through the ring, then spit through of yam. 
it thrice, and finally bury the }'arn under a stone, where you 
leave it to rot. The writer who reports these remedies ex- 
plains them as intended to strip the witchcraft, as you might 
say, from the bodies of the victims, whether human or animal, 
on whom the witch has cast her spell.^ Among the Lushais Passing 
of Assam " five to ten days after the child is born its body ^hM^ 
is said to be covered with small pimples, its lips become through 
black and its strength decreases. The family then obtain * *^ 
a particular kind of creeping plant called vawm, which they 
make into a coil. In the evening everything in the house 
that has a lid or covering is uncovered, and the child is thrice 
passed through this coil, which act is supposed to clear the 

the first of May, see above, vol. L pp. 0/ the North-East of Scotland {IjonAoii, 

226 sqq., 29s ; The Magic Art and thi 18S1), p. 18S ; J. C. Atkinson, Forty 

Evolution of Kings, ii. 52 sqq. ; J. G. Years in a Moorland Parish (London, 

Campbell, Superstitions of the High- 1 891), pp. 97 sqq. ; The Scapegoat, pp. 

lands and Islands of Scotland (Glasgow, 266 sq. 

1900), p. 18; id.. Witchcraft and 1 , 0. 1 • al i 1. j 

r- J 5>- 7^ • ^T TT- 1.J J J 1- Strackenan, Aberglaube und 

Second inght tn the Htzhlands and o j tt ^i ^,j i 

T 1 J ^ c- u, J //^i , oagen aus aem Herzogthum Oldenburg 

Islands of Scotland (Glasgow, 1902), ,o,Tj u o^ > • ^l <• 

p. 270. ^ As to the l^wer of the (O'^enburg, 1S67), 1. p. 364. § 241. 

rowan-tree to counteract their spells, ^ L. Strackerjan, op. cit. i. p. 364, 

see W. Gregor, Notes on the Folk-lore § 240. 

1 86 


a hemlock 
ring during 
an epi- 

through a 
ring of red- 
hot iron to 
escape an 
evil spirit. 

stones as 
a cure in 

child's skin and restore its strength. After this is finished, 
the parents go to bed and the pots or other receptacles are 
covered again by any of the other members of the family. 
The parents themselves must not replace any of these lids 
for fear that they might shut up the spirit of the child in 
them." ^ When the Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia 
fear the outbreak of an epidemic, a medicine-man takes a 
large ring of hemlock branches and causes every member of 
the tribe to pass through it. Each person puts his head 
through the ring and then moves the ring downwards over 
his body till it has almost reached his feet, when he steps 
out of it, right foot first. They think that this prevents the 
epidemic from breaking out.^ In Asia Minor, " if a person 
is believed to be possessed by an evil spirit, one form of 
treatment is to heat an iron-chain red-hot, form it into a ring 
and pass the afflicted person through the opening, on the 
theory that the evil spirit cannot pass the hot chain, and 
so is torn from his victim and left behind." ^ Here the 
intention of the passage through the aperture is avowedly 
to shake off a spiritual pursuer, who is deterred from 
further pursuit not only by the narrowness of the opening 
but by the risk of burning himself in the attempt to make 
his way through it. 

But if the intention of these ceremonies is essentially to 
rid the performer of some harmful thing, whether a disease 
or a ghost or a demon, which is supposed to be clinging to 
him, we should expect to find that any narrow hole or 
opening would serve the purpose as well as a cleft tree or 
stick, an arch or ring of boughs, or a couple of posts fixed 
in the ground. And this expectation is not disappointed. 
On the coast of Morven and Mull thin ledges of rock may 
be seen pierced with large holes near the sea. Consumptive 
people used to be brought thither, and after the tops of nine 

' Lieutenant -Colonel H. W. G. 
Cole, "The Lushais," in Census of 
India, igii, vol. iii. Assam, Part i. 
Report (Shillong, 19 12), p. 140. 

* Franz Boas, in Eleventh Report 
on the North- Western Tribes of Canada, 
pp. 3 sq. (separate reprint from the 
Report of the British Association for 

the Advancement of Science, Liverpool 
meeting, 1896). 

3 Rev. G. E. White, Dean of Ana- 
tolia College, Survivals of Primitive 
Religion among the People of Asia 
Minor, p. 12 (paper read before the 
Victoria Institute or Philosophical 
Society of Great Britain, 6 Adelplii 
Terrace, Strand, London). 



waves had been caught in a dish and thrown on the patient's 
head, he was made to pass through one of the rifted rocks 
thrice in the direction of the sun.^ " On the farm of 
Crossapol in Coll there is a stone called Clach Thuill, 
that is, the Hole Stone, through which persons suffering 
from consumption were made to pass three times in the 
name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost They took 
meat with them each time, and left some on the stone. 
The bird that took the food away had the consumption 
laid upon it Similar stones, under which the patient can 
creep, were made use of in other islands." * Here it is 
manifest that the patient left his disease behind him on the 
stone, since the bird which carried off the food from the 
stone caught the disease. In the Aberdeenshire river Dee, 
at Cambus o' ^lay, near Ballater, there is a rock with a hole 
in it large enough to let a person pass through. Legend 
runs that childless women used to wade out to the stone 
and squeeze themselves through the hole. It is said that a 
certain noble lady tried the effect of the charm not verj' many 
years ago with indifferent success.^ In the parish of Madern 
in Cornwall, near the village of Lanyon, there is a perforated 
stone called the Men-an-tol or " holed stone," through which 
people formerly crept as a remedy for pains in the back and 
limbs ; and at certain times of the year parents drew their 
children through the hole to cure them of the rickets.* 
The passage through the stone was also deemed a cure for 
scrofula, provided it was made against the sun and repeated 
three times or three times three.* 

Near the little town of Dourgne, not far from Castres, Crawling 
in Southern France, there is a mountain, and on the top J^j^^ 
of the mountain is a tableland, where a number of large stones as 
stones may be seen planted in the ground about a cross p^^" 
and rising to a height of two to five feet above the 

^ John Ramsay, Scotland and Scots- me dated Lindean, Perth Road, 

men in the Eighteenth Century, edited Dundee, 17th August, 191 3. 
by iJex. Allardyce (Edinburgh, ,888), , ^ ^^^^^ Antiquities, historical 

^]. G. Campbell, IFitchcra/i and and mc^mmental, o/the County 0/ Coryi- 

Second Sight in the Highlands and ^'^^^ (Lo°do°. 1769). PP- 177^?- 
Islands of Scotland (Glasgow, 1902), ' Robert Hunt, Popular Romances 

p. 100. of the West of England, Third Edition 

* Mr. James S. Greig, in a letter to (London, 1881), pp. 176, 415. 


ground. Almost all of them are pierced with holes of 
different sizes. From time immemorial people used to as- 
semble at Dourgne and the neighbourhood every year on 
the sixth of August, the festival of St. Estapin. The palsied, 
the lame, the blind, the sick of all sorts, flocked thither 
to seek and find a cure for their various infirmities. Very 
early in the morning they set out from the villages where 
they had lodged or from the meadows where for want of 
better accommodation they had been forced to pass the 
night, and went on pilgrimage to the chapel of St. Estapin, 
which stands in a gorge at the southern foot of the mountain. 
Having gone nine times in procession round the chapel, they 
hobbled, limped, or crawled to the tableland on the top of 
the mountain. There each of them chose a stone with a 
hole of the requisite size and thrust his ailing member 
through the hole. For there are holes to suit every com- 
plaint ; some for the head, some for the arm, some for the 
leg, and so on. Having performed this simple ceremony 
they were cured ; the lame walked, the blind saw, the palsied 
recovered the use of their limbs, and so on. The chapel of 
the saint is adorned with the crutches and other artificial 
aids, now wholly superfluous, which the joyful pilgrims left 
behind them in token of their gratitude and devotion.^ 
About two miles from Gisors, in the French department of 
Oise, there is a dolmen called Trie or Trie- Chateau, consist- 
ing of three upright stones with a fourth and larger stone 
laid horizontally on their tops. The stone which forms the 
back wall of the dolmen is pierced about the middle by an 
irregularly shaped hole, through which the people of the 
neighbourhood used from time immemorial to pass their 
sickly children in the firm belief that the passage through 
the stone would restore them to health.^ 

In the church of St. Corona at the village of Koppenwal, 
in Lower Bavaria, there is a hole in the stone on which the 

^ Thomas-de-Saint-Mars, " Fete de Sociiti d* AnthropologU de Paris, v. 

Samt Y.sX.z.^in," Miimoires de la SociHi serie, j. (1900) p. iii. Compare 

Koyiale des Antiquaires de France, i. H. Gaidoz, Un Vieux Rite midical 

(181 7) pp. 428-430. {Paris, 1892), pp. 26 sq.; G. Fouju, 

" Legendes et Superstitions prehis- 

^ J. Deniker, "Dolmen et supersti- toriques," Hevue des Traditions Vopu- 

tions," Bulletins et Mimoires de la laires, xiv. (1899) PP* 477 ^1- 


altar rests. Through this hole, while service was going on, Crawling 
the peasants used to creep, believing that having done so ^^^^^ 
they would not suffer from pains in their back at harvest.^ stones 
In the crj'-pt of the old cathedral at Freising in Bavaria ^Bav*^, 
there is a tomb which is reputed to contain the relics of Austria, 
SL Nonnosius. Between a pillar of the tomb and the Greece, 
wall there is a narrow opening, through which persons 
afflicted with pains in the back creep in order to obtain 
thereby some mitigation of their pangs.^ In Upper Austria, 
above the Lake of Aber, which is a sheet of dark -green 
water nestling among wooded mountains, there stands 
the Falkenstein chapel of St. Wolfgang built close to the 
face of a cliff that rises from a little green dale. A 
staircase leads up from the chapel to a narrow, dark, 
dripping cleft in the rock, through which pilgrims creep 
in a stooping posture " in the belief that they can strip 
off their bodily sufferings or sins on the face of the rock." ' 
Women with child also crawl through the hole, hoping 
thus to obtain an easy delivery.* In the Greek island 
of Cythnos, when a child is sickly, the mother will take 
it to a hole in a rock about half an hour distant from 
Messaria. There she strips the child naked and pushes it 
through the hole in the rock, afterwards throwing away the 
old garments and clothing the child in new ones.^ 

Near Everek, on the site of the ancient Caesarea in Asia Crawling 
Minor, there is a rifted rock through which persons pass to rid |,o^i^^^ 
themselves of a cough.® A writer well acquainted with Asia stones 
Minor has described how he visited "a well-known pool of ^^'^i^*' 
water tucked away in a beautiful nook high up among the Minor. 
Anatolian mountains, and with a wide reputation for sanctity 
and healing powers. We arrived just as the last of a flock 
of three hundred sheep were being passed through a peculiar 
hole in the thin ledge of a huge rock to deliver them 
from a disease of the liver supposed to prevent the proper 

' F. Panzer, Beitrag ztir deutschen * F. Panzer, Beitrag zur deutschen 

thologie (Munich, 1848-1855), ii. Mythologie, ii. 431, 

^ 2 F.' Panzer, op. cU. ii. 431 sq. „ * J; Theodore Bent, The Cydades 

3 Marie Andree-Eysn, Volkskund- (London, 1885), p. 437. 

liches aus dem bayrisch-'dsterreichischen * E. H. Camoy at J. Nicolaides, 

Alpengebiet (Brunswick, 1910), pp. I, Traditions populaires de FAsie Min^ 

9, with the illustrations on pp. 10, 11. eure (Paris, 1889), p. 338. 








as a cure or 


in India 



holes in the 
ground as 
a cure for 

laying on of fat." ^ Among the Kawars of the Central 
Provinces in India a man who suffers from intermittent 
fever will try to cure it by walking through a narrow 
passage between two houses.^ In a ruined church of St. 
Brandon, about ten miles from Dingle, in the west of Ireland, 
there is a narrow window, through which sick women pass 
thrice in order to be cured.^ The Hindoos of the Punjaub 
think that the birth of a son after three girls is unlucky for 
the parents, and in order to avert the ill-luck they resort to 
a number of devices. Amongst other things they break the 
centre of a bronze plate and remove all but the rim ; then 
they pass the luckless child through the bronze rim. More- 
over, they make an opening in the roof of the room where 
the birth took place, and then pull the infant out through 
the opening ; and further they pass the child under the sill 
of the door.'* By these passages through narrow apertures 
they apparently hope to rid the child of the ill-luck which is 
either pursuing it or sticking to it like a burr. For in this 
case, as in many similar ones, it might be hard to say whether 
the riddance is conceived as an escape from the pursuit of a 
maleficent spirit or as the abrasion of a dangerous sub- 
stance which adheres to the person of the sufferer. 

Another way of ridding man and beast of the clinging 
infection of disease is to pass them through a hole dug in 
the ground. This mode of cure was practised in Europe 
during the Middle Ages, and has survived in Denmark down 
to modern times. In a sermon preached by St. Eloi, Bishop 
of Noyon, in the sixth century, he forbade the faithful to 
practise lustrations and to drive their sheep through hollow 
trees and holes in the earth, " because by this they seem to 
consecrate them to the devil." ^ Theodore, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, who died in 690 A.D., decreed that " if any one 
for the health of his little son shall pass through a hole in 
the ground and then close it behind him with thorns, let him 

^ Rev. George E. White (of Mars- 
ovan, Turkey), Present Day Sacrifices 
in Asia Minor ^ p. 3 (reprinted from 
The Hartford Seminary Record^ Feb- 
ruary 1906). 

2 Central Provinces^ Ethnographic 
Survey, vii. Draft Articles on Forest 
Tribes (Allahabad, 191 1), p. 46. 

3 So my friend Dr. G. W. Prothero 
informs me in a letter. 

* Census of India, igii, vol. xiv. 
Punjab, Part i. Report, by Pandit 
Harikishan Kaul (Lahore, 1912), p. 

6 H. Gaidoz, Un Vietix Rite midical 
(Paris, 1892), p. 10. 


do penance for eleven days on bread and water." ^ Here 
the closing of the hole with thorns after the patient or his 
representative has passed through is plainly intended to 
barricade the narrow way against the pursuit of sickness 
personified as a demon ; hence it confirms the general 
interpretation here given of these customs. Again, Burchard, 
Bishop of Worms, who died in A.D. 1025, repeated the same 
condemnation : " Hast thou done what certain women are 
wont to do ? I mean those who have squalling babes ; 
they dig the earth and pierce it, and through that hole they 
drag the babe, and they say that thus the squalling babe 
ceases to squall. If thou has done this or consented unto 
it, thou shalt do penance for fifteen days on bread and 
water." " At Fiinen in Denmark, as late as the latter part of 
the nineteenth century, a cure for childish ailments was to 
dig up. several sods, arrange them so as to form a hole, 
and then to pass the sick child through it.' A simplified 
form of this cure is adopted in Jutland. At twelve o'clock 
on a Thursday night you go to a churchyard, dig up a 
circular piece of turf, and make a hole in it large enough 
to permit the passage through it of your infant progeny. 
Taking the sod with you, go home, salute nobody on the 
way, and speak to nobody. On getting to your house, 
take the child and pass it thrice through the turf from right 
to left; then take the turf back to the churchyard and 
replace it in position. If the turf takes root and grows 
afresh, the child will recover ; but if the turf withers, there is 
no hope. Elsewhere it is at the hour of sunset rather than 
of midnight that people cut the turf in the churchyard. The 
same cure is applied to cattle which have been bewitched ; 
though naturally in that case you must cut a much bigger 
turf and make a much bigger hole in it to let a horse or a 
cow through than is necessary' for an infant* Here, again, 
the conception of a sympathetic relation, established between 

^ H. Gaidoz, op. cit. p. 21. nebst verwandtem Aberglaube in 

9 tr ,- -J TT ir- r>; ij- i Skandinavien," Zf/'/jfirT/? ii-j- Vereins 

J H. Gaidoz, Un Vta,x RUcmidtcaJ ^^^ VolkskuncU, viL (1897) p. 45. 

(Pans, 189a). p. 21 Compare J , ^ ^ ^.^ ViZL RUel^dical 

Gnmm, Deutsche Mythology* u. 975 (Parfs, 1892), pp. 22 sg., referring to 

^' Nyrop, in Dania, L No. i (Copen- 

3 H. F. Feilberg, " Zwieselbaume hagen, 1890), pp. ^ sqq. 



the sufferer and the thing which has rid him of his ailment, 
comes out clearly in the belief, that if the turf through which 
the child has been passed thrives, the child will thrive also, 
but that if the turf withers, the child will die. Among the 
Corannas, a people of the Hottentot race on the Orange 
River, " when a child recovers from a dangerous illness, a 
trench is dug in the ground, across the middle of which an 
arch is thrown, and an ox made to stand upon it ; the child 
is then dragged under the arch. After this ceremony the 
animal is killed, and eaten by married people who have 
children, none else being permitted to participate of the 
feast." ^ Here the attempt to leave the sickness behind in 
the hole, which is probably the essence of the ceremony, 
may perhaps be combined with an endeavour to impart to 
the child the strength and vigour of the animal. Ancient 
Passing India seems also to have been familiar with the same 
the°yoke of pnmitive notion that sickness could, as it were, be stripped 
a chariot off the person of the sufferer by passing him through a 
narrow aperture ; for in the Rigveda it is said that Indra 
cured Apala of a disease of the skin by drawing her through 
the yoke of the chariot ; " thus the god made her to have a 
golden skin, purifying her thrice." ^ 

as a cure 
for skin 

^ Rev. John Campbell, Travels in 
South Africa, Second Journey (London, 
1822), ii. 346. Among the same 
people " when a person is ill, they 
bring an ox to the place where he is 
laid. Two cuts are then made in one 
of its legs, extending down the whole 
length of it. The skin in the middle 
of the leg being raised up, the operator 
thrusts in his hand, to make way for 
that of the sick person, whose whole 
body is afterwards rubbed over with 
the blood of the animal. The ox after 
enduring this torment is killed, and 
those who are married and have chil- 
dren, as in the other case, are the only 
partakers of the feast " (J. Campbell, 
op. cit. ii. 346 sq.). Here the in- 
tention seems to be not so much to 
transfer the disease to the ox, as to 
transfuse the healthy life of the beast 
into the veins of the sick man. The 
same is perhaps true of the Welsh and 
French cure for whooping-cough, which 
consists in passing the little sufferer 

several times under an ass. See J. 
Brand, Popular Antiquities of Great 
Britain (London, 1 882-1883), »>• 288 ; 
L. J. B. Berenger-Feraud, in Bulletins 
de la Soci^ti W Anthropologic de Paris, 
Quatrieme S^rie, i. (1890) p. 897 ; 
id. , Superstitions et Survivatues ( Paris, 
1896), i. 526. The same cure for whoop- 
ing-cough "is also practised in Ireland ; 
only here the sufferer is passed round, 
that is, over and under, the body of 
an ass" (letter of Miss A. H. Singleton 
to me, dated Rathmagle House, Abbey- 
Leix, Ireland, 24th February 1904). 
But perhaps the intention rather is to 
give the whooping-cough to the animal ; 
for it might reasonably be thought that 
the feeble whoop of the sick child would 
neither seriously impair the lungs, nor 
perceptibly augment the stentorian bray, 
of the donkey. 

2 H. Oldenberg, Die Religion des 
Veda (Berlin, 1894), p. 495. Accord- 
ing to a fuller account, Indra drew 
her through three holes, that of a war- 


At the small village of Damun, on the Kabenau river, Passing 
n German New Guinea, a traveller witnessed the natives "°j.eor 
Derforming a ceremony of initiation, of which the following arch as 
ite formed part. The candidates for initiation, six in jnitiation- 
lumber, were boys and lads of various ages from about 
bur years of age to sixteen or seventeen. The company 
Detook themselves to the bed of a small stream, where at 
:he end of a gully a hollow in the rocks formed a natural 
)asin. At the entrance to the gully a sort of yoke, so the 
Taveller calls it, was erected by means of some poles, and 
rom the cross-piece plants were hung so as to make an arch. 
3ne of the men took up his station in front of the arch, and 
IS each candidate came up, the man seized him, spat on his 
)reast and back a clot of red spittle, and gave him several 
levere blows with the stock of a plant. After that the 
:andidate, who had previously stripped himself naked, passed 
mder the leafy arch and bathed in the rocky pool at the 
)ther end of the gully. All the time that this solemnity 
vas proceeding another man sat perched on a neighbouring 
•ock, beating a drum and singing. Only men took part in 
:he ceremony.^ Though no explanation of the ceremony is 
jiven by the observer who witnessed it, we may suppose 
hat by passing under the yoke or arch the novices were 
supposed to rid themselves of certain evil influences, whether 
:onceived as spiritual or not, which they left behind them 
>n the further side of the barrier. This interpretation is 
onfirmed by the bath which each candidate took immedi- 
itely afterwards. In short the whole purpose of the rite 
yould seem to have been purificator>'. 

With the preceding examples before us, it seems worth The 
^hile to ask whether the ancient Italian practice of making ^^^^^^ 
:onquered enemies to pass under a yoke may not in its custom 

:hariot, that of a cart, and that of a ceremonies of initiation to bend grow- 

f'oke. See W. Caland, Altindisches ing saplings into arches and compel 

Zaw^^rnVwa/ (Amsterdam, 1900), p. 31 the novices to pass under them; some- 

iote°. times the youths had to crawl on 

* Dr. E. Werner, " Im westlichen the ground to get through. See 

Finsterregebirge und an der Nordktiste A. W. Howitt, " On some Australian 

«>n Deutsch-Neuginea," Petermanns ceremonies of Initiation,'' Journal of 

Miiteiluugen, Iv. (1909) pp. 74 sg. the Authropologtcal Institute, x\i\.{l?>%^) 

Among some tribes of South -Eastern p. 445 ; id.. Native Tribes of South- 

lAustralia it was customary at the £'a5/-4«5/ra//<i (London, 1904), p. 536. 
FT. vn. VOL. H O 



of passing 
under a 
yoke was 
in origin a 
of puri- 
rather than 
of degrada- 

origin have been a purificatory ceremony, designed to ric 
the foe of some uncanny powers before dismissing him tc 
his home. For apparently the ceremony was only observec 
with prisoners who were about to be released ;^ had it been 
a mere mark of ignominy, there seems to be no feasor 
why it should not have been inflicted also on men who 
were doomed to die. This conjectural explanation of the 
ceremony is confirmed by the tradition that the Roman 
Horatius was similarly obliged by his fellow-countrymen tc 
pass under a yoke as a form of purification for the murder 
of his sister. The yoke by passing under which he cleansed 
himself from his sister's blood was still to be seen in Rome 
when Livy was writing his history under the emperor 
Augustus. It was an ancient wooden beam spanning a 
narrow lane in an old quarter of the city, the two ends oi 
the beam being built into the masonry of the walls on 
either side ; it went by the name of the Sister's Beam, and 
whenever the wood decayed and threatened- to fall, the 
venerable monument, which carried back the thoughts of 
passers-by to the kingly age of Rome, was repaired at the 
public expense.^ If our interpretation of these customs is 
right, it was the ghost of his murdered sister whom the 
Roman hero gave the slip to by passing under the yoke ; 
and it may have been the angry ghosts of slaughtered 

* Livy iii. 28, ix. 6, x. 36 ; 
Dionysius Halicarnasensis, Antiquit. 
Roman, iii. 22. 7. The so-called yoke 
in this case consisted of two spears or 
two beams set upright in the ground, 
with a third spear or beam laid trans- 
versely across them. See Livy iii. 28 ; 
Dionysius Halicarnasensis, I.e. 

2 Livy i. 26: '^ Itaqtie, tit caedes 
nianifesta aliquo tamenpiaculo Itieretur, 
imperatum patri, ut filium expiaret 
pecunia publica. Is quibusdam piacul- 
aribus sacrificiis factis, quae deinde 
genti Horatiae tradita sunt, tratismisso 
per viam tigillo capite adoperto velut 
sub jugum misit juvenetn. Id hodie 
qnoque publice semper refcctum inauet ; 
sororium tigillum vacant;" Festus, j.&. 
" Sororium Tigillum," pp. 297, 307, 
ed. C. O. Miiller (Leipsic, 1839) ; 
Dionysius Halicarnasensis, Antiquit. 

Roman, iii. 22. The position of the 
beam is described exactly by the last 
of these writers, who had evidently 
seen it. According to Festus, the 
yoke under which Horatius passed wai 
composed of three beams, two uprights, 
and a cross-piece. The similarity ol 
the ceremony to that which was ex- 
acted from conquered foes is noted bj 
Dionysius Halicarnasensis as well as 
by Livy. The tradition of the purifica- 
tion has been rightly explained bj 
Dr. W. H. Roscher with reference tc 
the custom of passing through clefl 
trees, holed stones, and so on. See 
W. H. Roscher, AusfUhrliches Lexikon 
dcr gricch. uiid rom. Mythologie, iL 
(Leipsic, 1890-1897) col. 21. Com- 
pare G. Wissowa, Religion und Kultm 
fl't?/' A't»//f/-'^ (Munich, 191 2), p. 104. 


Romans from whom the enemy's soldiers were believed to 
be delivered when they marched under the yoke before 
lacing dismissed by their merciful conquerors to their homes. 
I In a former part of this work we saw that homicides in Similarly 
general and victorious warriors in particular are often ^^^^^^ 
abliged to perform a variety of ceremonies for the purpose tonous 
Df ridding them of the dangerous ghosts of their victims.^ army 
[f the ceremony of passing under the yoke was primarily ^^^^ * 
designed, as I have suggested, to free the soldiers from the arch may 
mgry ghosts of the men whom they had slain, we should have been 

^ J ^ ■' ' mtended to 

ixpect to find that the victorious Romans themselves purify the 
)bserved a similar ceremony after a battle for a similar ™^° ^^of 
Durpose. Was this the original meaning of passing under a bloodshed 
xiumphal arch ? In other words, may not the triumphal ^sing a 
irch have been for the victors what the yoke was for the barrier 
/■anquished, a barrier to protect them against the pursuit of tiie*sSye« 
he spirits of the slain ? That the Romans felt the need and the 
)f purification from the taint of bloodshed after a battle ^^of 
ippears from the opinion of Masurius, mentioned by Pliny, the slain, 
hat the laurel worn by soldiers in a triumphal procession 
vas intended to purge them from the slaughter of the 
:nemy." A special gate, the Porta Triumphalis^ was reserved 
or the entrance of a victorious army into Rome ; ^ and it 
vould be in accordance with ancient religious views if this 
iistinction was originally not so much an honour conferred 
.s a precaution enforced to prevent the ordinary gates from 
>eing polluted by the passage of thousands of blood-guilty 

* Taboo and the Perils of the Soul, both these Roman structures. I have 
p. 165 sqq. left my exposition, except for one or 

* Pliny, Naiur. Histor. xv. 135 : two trivial verbal changes, exactly as 
' Quia suffimentum sit caedis hostium it stood before I was aware that my 
t purgatio.''' friend had anticipated me in both con- 

^ Cicero, In Pisonem, xxiiu 55 ; jectures. The closeness of the coincid- 

osephus, Bellum Judaicum, vii. 5. 4. ence between our views is a welcome 

* It was not till after I had given confirmation of their truth. As to 
lis conjectural explanation of the the Porta Triumphalis, the exact 
' Sister's Beam " and the triumphal position of which is uncertain, Mr. 
rch at Rome that I read the article Warde Fowler thinks that it was not a 
f Mr. W. Warde Fowler, " Passing gate in the walls, but an archway 
nder the Yoke" (The Classical He- standing by itself in the Campus 
\iew, March 191 3, pp. 48-51), in Martius outside the city walls. He 
'hich he quite independently suggests points out that in the oldest existing 
ractically the same explanation of triumphal arch, that of Augustus at 



Belief in 
a sym- 
between a 
man and 
an animal 
such that 
the fate 
of the one 
on that of 
the other. 

The exter- 
nal souls 
of Yakut 
in animals. 

I 3. Tlie. External Soul in Animals 

But in practice, as in folk-tales, it is not merely with 
inanimate objects and plants that a person is occasionally 
believed to be united by a bond of physical sympathy. 
The same bond, it is supposed, may exist between a man 
and an animal, so that the welfare of the one depends on 
the welfare of the other, and when the animal dies the man 
dies also. The analogy between the custom and the tales 
is all the closer because in both of them the power of thus 
removing the soul from the body and stowing it away in an 
animal is often a special privilege of wizards and witches. 
Thus the Yakuts of Siberia believe that every shaman or 
wizard keeps his soul, or one of his souls, incarnate in an 
animal which is carefully concealed from all the world. 
" Nobody can find my external soul," said one famous 
wizard, " it lies hidden far away in the stony mountains 
of Edzhigansk." Only once a year, when the last snows 
melt and the earth turns black, do these external souls of 
wizards appear in the shape of animals among the dwellings 
of men. They wander everywhere, yet none but wizards 
can see them. The strong ones sweep roaring and noisily 
along, the weak steal about quietly and furtively. Often 
they fight, and then the wizard whose external soul is 
beaten, falls ill or dies. The weakest and most cowardly 
wizards are they whose souls are incarnate in the shape of 
dogs, for the dog gives his human double no peace, but 
gnaws his heart and tears his body. The most powerful 
wizards are they whose external souls have the shape of 
stallions, elks, black bears, eagles, or boars. Again, the 
Samoyeds of the Turukhinsk region hold that every shaman 
has a familiar spirit in the shape of a boar, which he leads 
about by a magic belt. On the death of the boar the 
shaman himself dies ; and stories are told of battles between 

Ariminum, the most striking part of 
the structure consists of two upright 
Corinthian pillars with an architrave 
laid horizontally across them ; and he 
ingeniously conjectures that we have 

here a reminiscence of the two uprights 
and the cross-piece, which, if our theory 
is correct, was the original form both 
of the triumphal arch and of the yoke. 


wizards, who send their spirits to fight before they encounter 
each other in person.^ In Yorkshire witches are thought to Sym- 
stand in such peculiarly close relations to hares, that if a ^j^^^ 
particular hare is killed or wounded, a certain witch will at between 
the same moment be killed or receive a hurt in her ^ji^^s. 
body exactly corresponding to the wound in the hare." 
However, this fancy is probably a case of the general 
European belief that witches have the power of temporarily 
transforming themselves into certain animals, particularly 
hares and cats, and that any hurts inflicted on such trans- 
formed animals are felt by the witches who are concealed in 
the animals.^ But the notion that a person can temporarily 
transform himself into an animal differs from the notion 
that he can deposit his soul for a longer or shorter period in 
an animal, while he himself retains the human form ; though 
in the cloudy mind of the peasant and the savage the two 
ideas may not always be sharply distinguished. The 
Malays believe that "the soul of a person may pass into 
another person or into an animal, or rather that such a 
mysterious relation can arise between the two that the fate 
of the one is wholly dependent on that of the other." * 

Among the Melanesians of Mota, one of the New Meianesian 
Hebrides islands, the conception of an external soul is of'Jh^^^'°° 
carried out in the practice of daily life. The Mota word tamaniu. 
for soul is atai. " The use of the word atai in Mota seems ex^emaT ^ 
properly and originally to have been to signify something soul lodged 
peculiarly and intimately connected with a person and animal 
sacred to him, something that he has set his fancy upon o^ other 
when he has seen it in what has seemed to him a wonderful 
manner, or some one has shewn it to him as such. What- 
ever the thing might be the man believed it to be the 
reflection of his own personality ; he and his atai flourished, 
suffered, lived, and died together. But the word must not 
be supposed to have been borrowed from this use and 

1 Professor V. M. Mikhailo%-iskij, * B. F. Matthes, Afakassaarsch- 

" Shamanism in Siberia and European HoUandsch Woordenboek (Amsterdam, 

'Rv&sisi," Journal of the Anthropological 1859), s.v. soemSngd, p. 569; G. A. 

Institute, xxiv. (1895) pp. 133, 134. Wilken, "Het animisme bij de volken 

* Th. Parkinson, Yorkshire Legends van den Indischen Archipel," De 

and Traditions, Second Series (Lon- Indische Gids,J\iae 1884, p. 933; id., 

don, 1889), pp. 160 sg. Verspreide Geschrifien (The Hague, 

3 See above, vol. i. pp. 315 sqq. 1912), iii. 12. 

a man 
and his 


applied secondarily to describe the soul ; the word carries i 
sense with it which is applicable alike to that second self 
the visible object so mysteriously connected with the man 
and to this invisible second self which we call the soul 
There is another Mota word, tamaniu, which has almost ii 
not quite the same meaning as atai has when it describes 
something animate or inanimate which a man has come to 
believe to have an existence intimately connected with his 
own. The word tamaniu may be taken to be properly 
* likeness,' and the noun form of the adverb tama, as, like. 
It was not every one in Mota who had his tamaniu ; only 
some men fancied that they had this relation to a lizard, a 
snake, or it might be a stone ; sometimes the thing was 
sought for and found by drinking the infusion of certain 
leaves and heaping together the dregs ; then whatever 
living thing was first seen in or upon the heap was the 
tamaniu. It was watched but not fed or worshipped ; the 
natives believed that it came at call, and that the life of the 
man was bound up with the life of his tamaniu, if a living 
thing, or with its safety ; should it die, or if not living get 
broken or be lost, the man would die. Hence in case of 
sickness they would send to see if the tamaniu was safe and 
well. This word has never been used apparently for the 
soul in Mota ; but in Aurora in the New Hebrides it is the 
accepted equivalent. It is well worth observing that both 
the atai and the tamaniu, and it may be added the Motlav 
talegi, is something which has a substantial existence of its 
own, as when a snake or stone is a man's atai or tamaniu ; 
a soul then when called by these names is conceived of as 
something in a way substantial." ^ 

From this account, which we owe to the careful and 
accurate researches of the Rev. Dr. Codrington, we gather 
that while every person in Mota has a second self or external 
soul in a visible object called an atai, only some people 
have, it may be, a second external soul in another visible 
object called a tamaniu. We may conjecture that persons 
who have a tamaniu in addition to an atai are more than 

1 R. II, Codrington, D.D., The Transactions and Proceedings of the 

Melanesians (Oxford, 1891), pp. 250 Royal Society of Victoiia, xvi (1880) 

sq. Compare id., "Notes on the p. 136. 
Customs of Mota, Banks Islands," 


usually anxious as to the state of their soul, and that they 
f seek to put it in perfect security by what we may call a 
. system of double insurance, calculating that if one of their 
^external souls should die or be broken, they themselves may 
J still survive by virtue of the survival of the other. Be that 

* as it may, the tamaniu discharges two functions, one of them 
" defensive and the other offensive. On the one hand, so long 
. as it lives or remains unbroken, it preserves its owner in life ; 

and on the other hand it helps him to injure his enemies. 
In its offensive character, if the tamaniu happens to be an 
eel, it will bite its owner's enemy ; if it is a shark, it will 
swallow him. In its defensive character, the state of the 
tamaniu is a symptom or life-token of the state of the man ; 
hence when he is ill he will visit and examine it, or if he 
cannot go himself he will send another to inspect it and 
report. In either case the man turns the animal, if animal 
it be, carefully over in order to see what is the matter with 
it ; should something be found sticking to its skin, it is 
removed, and through the relief thus afforded to the creature 
tlie sick man recovers. But if the animal should be found 

' ig, it is an omen of death for the man ; for whenever it 

- he dies also.^ 
In Melanesia a native doctor was once attending to a Souiofa 
sick man. Just then " a large eagle-hawk came soaring past d!^\o°^^ 
the house, and Kaplen, my hunter, was going to shoot it ; an eagie- 
but the doctor jumped up in evident alarm, and said, ' Oh, ^^^^ ^° 
don't shoot ; that is my spirit ' {niog, literally, my shadow) ; 
' if you shoot that, I will die.' He then told the old man, 

* If you see a rat to-night, don't drive it away, 'tis my spirit 
(niog)y or a snake which will come to-night, that also is my 
spirit.' " " It does not appear whether the doctor in this 
case, like the giant or warlock in the tales, kept his spirit 

^ W, H. R. Rivers, " Totemism in was deemed a sign that the lizard also 

Polynesia and Melanesia," Journal of was dead. ' 
the Royal Anthropological Institute, 

xxxix. (1909) p. 177. Dr. Rivers * Geoi^e Brown, D.D., J/<f/a/7<?j«i«j 

cites a recent case of a man who had a and Polynesians (London, 1910), p. 

large lizard for his tamaniu. The 177, The case was known to Dr. 

animal lived in the roots of a big Brovm, who made notes of it. The 

banyan-tree ; when the man was ill, part of Melanesia where it happened 

the lizard also seemed onwell ; and was probably the Duke of York Island 

when the man died, the tree fell, which or New Britain. 


permanently in the bird or in the animal, or whether he onl) 
transferred it temporarily to the creature for the purpose 
of enabling him the better to work the cure, perhaps bj 
sending out his own soul in a bird or beast to find and brin^ 
back the lost soul of the patient. In either case he seem.' 
to have thought, like the giant or warlock in the stories, thai 
the death of the bird or the animal would simultaneously 
entail his own. A family in Nauru, one of the Marshal] 
Islands, apparently imagine that their lives are bound up 
with a species of large fish, which has a huge mouth and 
devours human beings ; for when one of these fish was killed 
the members of the family cried, " Our guardian spirit is 
killed, now we must all die ! " ^ 
The theory The theory of an external soul deposited in an animal 

ternaiToui appears to be very prevalent in West Africa, particularly in 
lodged in Nigeria, the Cameroons, and the Gaboon.^ In the latter part 
is very ^^ the nineteenth century two English missionaries, established 
prevalent at San Salvador, the capital of the King of Congo, asked the 
Africa. natives repeatedly whether any of them had seen the strange, 
big, East African goat which Stanley had given to a chief at 
Stanley Pool in 1877. But their enquiries were fruitless; 
no native would admit that he had seen the goat. Some 
years afterwards the missionaries discovered why they could 
obtain no reply to their enquiry. All the people, it turned 
out, imagined that the missionaries believed the spirit of the 
King of Salvador to be contained in the goat, and that they 
wished to obtain possession of the animal in order to exercise 
an evil influence on his majesty.^ The belief from the stand- 
point of the Congo savages was natural enough, since in that 
region some chiefs regularly link their fate to that of an 
The soul of animal. Thus the Chief Bankwa of Ndolo, on the Moeko 
hippopota^ River, had conferred this honour on a certain hippopotamus of 
mus or a the neighbourhood, at which he would allow nobody to shoot.* 
snake -^^ ^"^^ village of Ongek, in the Gaboon, a French missionary 

slept in the hut of an old Fan chief. Awakened about two 

1 " Totemismus auf den Marshall- ^ Herbert Ward, Five Years with 
Iiiseln(Sudsee),'M«Mr^/oj-, viii. (1913) the Congo Cannibals (London, 1890), 
P- 251. p. 53- 

2 Much of the following evidence * Notes Afialytiques sur les Collec- 
has already been cited by me in Totem- tions cthnographiques du Musie du 
ism and Exogamy, ii. 593 sqq. Congo, i. (Brussels, 1902-1906) p. 150. 


in the morning by a rustling of dry leaves, he lit a torch, 
when to his horror he perceived a huge black serpent of the 
most dangerous sort, coiled in a corner, with head erect, 
shining eyes, and hissing jaws, ready to dart at him. In- 
stinctively he seized his gun and pointed it at the reptile, 
when suddenly his arm was struck up, the torch was 
extinguished, and the voice of the old chief said, " Don't 
fire 1 don't fire ! I beg of you. In killing the serpent, it is 
me that you would kill. Fear nothing. The serpent is my 
elangela" So saying he flung himself on his knees beside 
the reptile, put his arms about it, and clasped it to his breast. 
The serpent received his caresses quietly, manifesting neither 
anger nor fear, and the chief carried it off and laid it down 
beside him in another hut, exhorting the missionary' to have 
no fear and never to speak of the subject^ His curiosity Belief of 
being excited by this adventure, the missionary'. Father [jj^j^g^.^ 
Trilles, pursued his enquiries and ascertained that among wizard 
the Fans of the Gaboon every wizard is believed at initia- Hfe'^JjJat 
tion to unite his life with that of some particular wild animal of a wild 
by a rite of blood-brotherhood ; he draws blood from the ear ^Hteof ^ 
of the animal and from his own arm, and inoculates the blood 
animal with his own blood, and himself with the blood of the hood, 
beast Henceforth such an intimate union is established 
between the two that the death of the one entails the death 
of the other. The alliance is thought to bring to the wizard 
or sorcerer a great accession of power, which he can turn to 
his advantage in various ways. In the first place, like the 
warlock in the fair>' tales who has deposited his life outside 
of himself in some safe place, the Fan wizard now deems 
himself invulnerable. Moreover, the animal with which he 
has exchanged blood has become his familiar, and will obey 
any orders he may choose to give it ; so he makes use of it 
to injure and kill his enemies. For that reason the creature 
with whom he establishes the relation of blood-brotherhood 
is never a tame or domestic animal, but always a ferocious 
and dangerous wild beast, such as a leopard, a black serpent, 
a crocodile, a hippopotamus, a wild boar, or a vulture. Of 

^ Father H. Trilles, "Chez las chez Us Fdh (Miinster L W. 191 2), 
Fangs," L^s ^fissions Catholiques^ xxx. pp. 473 sq. 
(1898) p. 322 ; id., Le Tothnisnu 


Belief of 
the natives 
of the Cross 
River that 
they stand 
in a vital 
relation to 
certain wild 
animals, so 
that when 
the animal 
dies the 
man dies 

all these creatures the leopard is by far the commonest 
familiar of Fan wizards, and next to it comes the black 
serpent ; the vulture is the rarest. Witches as well as wizards 
have their familiars ; but the animals with which the lives of 
women are thus bound up generally differ from those to 
which men commit their external souls. A witch never has a 
panther for her familiar, but often a venomous species of 
serpent, sometimes a horned viper, sometimes a black serpent, 
sometimes a green one that lives in banana-trees ; or it may 
be a vulture, an owl, or other bird of night. In every case 
the beast or bird with which the witch or wizard has con- 
tracted this mystic alliance is an individual, never a species ; 
and when the individual animal dies the alliance is naturally 
at an end, since the death of the animal is supposed to entail 
the death of the man.^ 

Similar beliefs are held by the natives of the Cross. River 
valley within the German provinces of the Cameroons. 
Groups of people, generally the inhabitants of a village, have 
chosen various animals, with which they believe themselves 
to stand on a footing of intimate friendship or relationship. 
Amongst such animals are hippopotamuses, elephants, 
leopards, crocodiles, gorillas, fish, and serpents, all of them 
creatures which are either very strong or can easily hide them- 
selves in the water or a thicket. This power of concealing 
themselves is said to be an indispensable condition of the 
choice of animal familiars, since the animal friend or helper is 
expected to injure his owner's enemy by stealth ; for example, 
if he is a hippopotamus, he will bob up suddenly out of the 
water and capsize the enemy's canoe. Between the animals 
and their human friends or kinsfolk such a sympathetic 
relation is supposed to exist that the moment the animal 
dies the man dies also, and similarly the instant the man 

^ Father H. Trilles, Le Totdmisme 
chez les FAh (Miinster i. W. 19 12), 
pp. 167 sq., 438 sq., 484-489. The 
description of the rite of blood- 
brotherhood contracted with the animal 
is quoted by Father Trilles (pp. 486 
sq.) from a work by Mgr. Buleon, Sous 
le del (fA/riqiie, Kicits d'lin Alission- 
naire, pp. 88 sqq. Father Trilles's own 
observations and enquiries confirm the 

account given by Mgr. Buleon. But 
the story of an alliance contracted 
between a man or woman and a 
ferocious wild beast and cemented by 
the blood of the high contracting parti- - 
is no doubt a mere fable devised i 
wizards and witches in order to increa- 
their reputation by imposing on the 
credulity of the simple. 


perishes so does the beast. From this it follows that the 
animal kinsfolk may never be shot at or molested for fear of 
injuring or killing the persons whose lives are knit up with 
the lives of the brutes. This does not, however, prevent the 
people of a village, who have elephants for their animal 
friends, from hunting elephants. For they do not respect 
the whole species but merely certain individuals of it, which 
stand in an intimate relation to certain individual men and 
women ; and they imagine that they can always distinguish 
these brother elephants from the common herd of elephants 
which are mere elephants and nothing more. The recogni- 
tion indeed is said to be mutual. When a hunter, who has 
an elephant for his friend, meets a human elephant, as we 
may call it, the noble animal lifts up a paw and holds it 
before his face, as much as to say, " Don't shoot." Were the 
hunter so inhuman as to fire on and wound such an elephant, 
the person whose life was bound up with the elephant would 
fall ill.^ 

The Balong of the Cameroons think that every man has similar 
several souls, of which one is in his body and another in an J^e^°on„ 
animal, such as an elephant, a wild pig, a leopard, and so in the 
forth. When a man comes home, feeling ill, and says, " I ,^^' 
shall soon die," and dies accordingly, the people aver that one 
of his souls has been killed in a wild pig or a leopard, and that 
the death of the external soul has caused the death of the 
soul in his body. Hence the corpse is cut open, and a 
diviner determines, from an inspection of the inwards, 
whether the popular surmise is correct or not.^ 

A similar belief in the external souls of living people is Belief of 
entertained by the Ibos, an important tribe of the Niger ^tg[^*° 
delta, who inhabit a country west of the Cross River. They human 
think that a man's spirit can quit his body for a time during ^^ lodge? 
life and take up its abode in an animal. This is called ishi in animals. 
ami, " to turn animal." A man who wishes to acquire this 
power procures a certain drug from a wise man and mixes 
it with his food. After that his soul goes out and enters 

^ Alfred Mansfeld, Urwald- Doku- das Land und Volk der Balong," 

mente, vier Jahre unter den Crossfluss- Deutsches Kolonialblatt, l Oktober 

negem Kanieruns (Berlin, 1908), pp. 1895, p. 484; H. Seidel, "Ethno- 

220 sq. graphisches aus Nordost Kamerun," 

* J. Keller (missionary), " Ueber Globus, Ixix. (1896) p. 277. 


into the animal. If it should happen that the animal is 

killed while the man's soul is lodged in it, the man dies ; 

and if the animal be wounded, the man's body will presently 

be covered with boils. This belief instigates to many deeds 

of darkness ; for a sly rogue will sometimes surreptitiously 

administer the magical drug to his enemy in his food, and 

having thus smuggled the other's soul into an animal will 

destroy the creature, and with it the man whose soul is 

lodged in it.^ A like belief is reported to prevail among the 

tribes of the Obubura Hill district on the Cross River in 

Southern Nigeria. Once when Mr. Partridge's canoe-men 

wished to catch fish near a town of the Assiga tribe, the 

people objected, saying, " Our souls live in those fish, and if 

you kill them we shall die." ^ 

Belief of The ncgrocs of Calabar, at the mouth of the Niger, 

the negroes beiieyg that evcry person has four souls, one of which always 

that every livcs outsidc of his or hcr body in the form of a wild beast 

person has j^^ ^^ forcst. This external soul, or bush soul, as Miss 

an external ' ' 

or bush Kingsley calls it, may be almost any animal, for example, a 
^n a wiid*^ leopard, a fish, or a tortoise ; but it is never a domestic 
beast. animal and never a plant. Unless he is gifted with second 
sight, a man cannot see his own bush soul, but a diviner will 
often tell him what sort of creature his bush soul is, and after 
that the man will be careful not to kill any animal of that 
species, and will strongly object to any one else doing so. 
A man and his sons have usually the same sort of animals 
for their bush souls, and so with a mother and her daughters. 
But sometimes all the children of a family take after the 
bush soul of their father ; for example, if his external soul 
is a leopard, all his sons and daughters will have leopards 
for their external souls. And on the other hand, sometimes 
they all take after their mother ; for instance, if her external 
soul is a tortoise, all the external souls of her sons and 
daughters will be tortoises too. So intimately bound up is 
the life of the man with that of the animal which he regards 
as his external or bush soul, that the death or injury of the 
animal necessarily entails the death or injury of the man. 

* John Parkinson, "Note on the xxxvi. (1906) pp. 314 J?. 
Asaba People (Ibos) of the Niger," ^ Charles Partridge, Cross River 

Joumcdof the Anthropological Instiitite, Natives (London, 1905), pp. 225 sq. 


And, conversely, when the man dies, his bush soul can no 
longer find a place of rest, but goes mad and rushes into the 
fire or charges people and is knocked on the head, and that 
is an end of it When a person is sick, the diviner will 
sometimes tell him that his bush soul is angry at being 
neglected ; thereupon the patient will make an offering to 
the offended spirit and deposit it in a tiny hut in the forest 
at the spot where the animal, which is his external soul, 
was last seen. If the bush soul is appeased, the patient 
recovers ; but if it is not, he dies. Yet the foolish bush 
soul does not understand that in injuring the man it injures 
itself, and that it cannot long survive his decease.^ 

Such is the account which Miss Kingsley gives of the Further 
bush souls of the Calabar negroes. Some fresh particulars ^o*^[h^ 
are furnished by Mr. Richard Henshaw, Agent for Native Calabar 
Affairs at Calabar. He tells us that a man may only marry ^ush souk, 
a woman who has the same sort of bush soul as himself; 
for example, if his bush soul is a leopard, his wife also must 
have a leopard for her bush soul. Further, we learn from 
Mr. Henshaw that a person's bush soul need not be that 
either of his father or of his mother. For example, a child 
with a hippopotamus for his bush soul may be born into a 
family, all the members of which have wild pigs for their 
bush souls ; this happens when the child is a reincarnation 
of a man whose external soul was a hippopotamus. In such 
a case, if the parents object to the intrusion of an alien soul, 
they may call in a medicine-man to check its growth and 
finally abolish it altogether, after which they will give the 
child their own bush soul. Or they may leave the matter 
over till the child comes of age, when he will choose a bush 
soul for himself with the help of a medicine-man, who will also 
select the piece of bush or water in which the chosen animal 
lives. When a man dies, then the animal which contains his 

^ Miss Mary H. Kingsley, Travels that when a man knows what kind of 

in West Afrita (London, 1897), pp. creature his bush soul is, he will not kill 

459-461. The lamented authoress was an animal of that species and will 

kind enough to give me in conversa- strongly object to any one else doing 

tion (1st June 1897) some details which so. ^Iiss Kingsley was not able to 

do not appear in her book ; among say whether persons who have the same 

these are the statements, which I have sort of bush soul are allowed or for- 

embodieti in the text, that the bush bidden to marry each other, 
soul is never a domestic animal, and 



Belief of 
the Ekoi 
Nigeria in 
lodged in 

external soul " becomes insensible and quite unconscious of 
the approach of danger. Thus a hunter can capture or 
kill him with perfect ease." Sacrifices are often offered to 
prevent other people from killing the animal in which a 
man's bush soul resides. The tribes of Calabar which hold 
these beliefs as to the bush soul are the Efik and Ekoi.^ 
The belief of the Calabar negroes in the external soul has 
been described as follows by a missionary : " Ukpong is the 
native word we have taken to translate our word soul. It 
primarily signifies the shadow of a person. It also signifies 
that which dwells within a man on which his life depends, 
but which may detach itself from the body, and visiting 
places and persons here and there, again return to its abode 
in the man. . , . Besides all this, the word is used to 
designate an animal possessed of an ukpong, so connected 
with a person's ukpong, that they mutually act upon each 
other. When the leopard, or crocodile, or whatever animal 
may be a man's ukpong, gets sick or dies, the like thing 
happens to him. Many individuals, it is believed, have the 
power of changing themselves into the animals which are 
their ukpongV ^ 

Among the Ekoi of the Oban district, in Southern 
Nigeria, it is usual to hear a person say of another that he 
or she " possesses " such and such an animal, meaning that 
the person has the power to assume the shape of that par- 
ticular creature. It is their belief that by constant practice 
and by virtue of certain hereditary secrets a man can quit 
his human body and put on that of a wild beast. They say 
that in addition to the soul which animates his human body 

1 John Parkinson, "Notes on the 
Efik Belief in ' Bush-soul,' " Man, vi. 
(1906) pp. 121 sq., No. 80. Mr. 
Henshaw is a member of the highest 
grade of the secret society of Egbo. 

2 Rev. HughGoldie, Calabar and its 
Mission, New Edition (Edinburgh and 
London, 1901), pp. 51 sq. Compare 
Major A. G.Leonard, The Lower Niger 
and its Tribes (London, 1906), p. 217 : 
" When Efik or waterside Ibo see a 
dead fish floating in the water of the 
kind called Edidim by the former and 
Elili by the latter — a variety of the 

electric species — they believe it to be a 

bad omen, generally signifying that 
some one belonging to the house will 
die, the man who first sees it becoming 
the victim according to Ibo belief. The 
only reason that is assigned for this 
lugubrious forecast is the fact that one 
of the souls of the departed is in the dead 
fish — that, in fact, the relationship or 
affinity existing between the soul 
essence that had animated the fish 
and that of one of the members of the 
household was so intimate that the 
death of the one was bound to efiect 
the death of the other." 


everybody has a bush soul which at times he can send forth 
to animate the body of the creature which he "possesses." 
When he wishes his bush soul to go out on its rambles, he 
drinks a magic potion, the secret of which has been handed 
down from time immemorial, and some of which is always 
kept ready for use in an ancient earthen pot set apart for the 
purpose. No sooner has he drunk the mystic draught than 
his bush soul escapes from him and floats away invisible 
through the town into the forest There it begins to swell 
and, safe in the shadow of the trees, takes on the shape of 
the man's animal double, it may be an elephant, a leopard, a 
buffalo, a wild boar, or a crocodile. Naturally the potion 
differs according to the kind of animal into which a man is 
temporarily converted. It would be absurd, for example, to 
expect that the dose which turns you into an elephant should 
also be able to turn you into a crocodile ; the thing is mani- 
festly impossible. A great advantage of these temporary 
conversions of a man into a beast is that it enables the 
convert in his animal shape to pay out his enemy without 
being suspected. If, for example, you have a grudge at a 
man who is a well-to-do farmer, all that you have to do is to 
turn yourself by night into a buffalo, an elephant, or a wild 
boar, and then, bursting into his fields, stamp about in them 
till you have laid the standing crops level with the ground. 
That is why in the neighbourhood of large well-tilled farms, 
people prefer to keep their bush souls in buffaloes, elephants, 
and wild boars, because these animals are the most convenient 
means of destroying a neighbour's crops. Whereas where 
the farms are small and ill-kept, as they are round about 
Oban, it is hardly worth a man's while to take the trouble 
of turning into a buffalo or an elephant for the paltry satis- 
faction of rooting up a few miserable yams or such like trash. 
So the Oban people keep their bush souls in leopards and 
crocodiles, which, though of little use for the purpose of 
destroying a neighbour's crops, are excellent for the purpose 
of killing the man himself first and eating him afterwards. 
But the power of turning into an animal has this serious dis- 
advantage that it lays you open to the chance of being 
ounded or even slain in your animal skin before you have 
time to put it off and scramble back into your human integu- 


Case of a mcnt A remarkable case of this sort happened only a few 
externai°^^ miles from Oban not long ago. To understand it you must 
soul was in know that the chiefs of the Ododop tribe, who live about ten 
'^ " ^°' miles from Oban, keep their bush souls, whenever they are 
out on a ramble, in the shape of buffaloes. Well, one day the 
District Commissioner at Oban saw a buffalo come down to 
drink at a stream which runs through his garden. He shot 
at the beast and hit it, and it ran away badly wounded. At 
the very same moment the head chief of the Ododop tribe, 
ten miles away, clapped his hand to his side and said, 
" They have killed me at Oban." Death was not instant- 
aneous, for the buffalo lingered in pain for a couple of days 
in the forest, but an hour or two before its dead body was dis- 
covered by the trackers the chief expired. Just before he died, 
with touching solicitude he sent a message warning all 
people who kept their external souls in buffaloes to profit by 
his sad fate and beware of going near Oban, which was not 
a safe place for them. Naturally, when a man keeps his 
external soul from time to time in a beast, say in a wild 
cow, he is not so foolish as to shoot an animal of that 
particular sort, for in so doing he might perhaps be killing 
himself. But he may kill animals in which other people 
keep their external souls. For example, a wild cow man 
may freely shoot an antelope or a wild boar ; but should he 
do so and then have reason to suspect that the dead beast is 
the animal double of somebody with whom he is on friendly 
terms, he must perform certain ceremonies over the carcase 
and then hurry home, running at the top of his speed, to 
administer a particular medicine to the man whom he has 
unintentionally injured. In this way he may possibly be in 
time to save the life of his friend from the effects of the 
deplorable accident.^ 

^ P. Amaury Talbot, In the Shadow member of the Legislative Council for 

^///^ /?//i/i (London, 1912), pp. 80-87. ^^^ of the West African Colonies, 

The Ekoi name for a man who has the offered to take oath that he had seen 

power of sending out his spirit into Agbashan not only in his elephant 

the form of some animal is efumi {id., form, but while actually undergoing the 

p. 71 note*). A certain chief named metamorphosis" (id., pp. 82 sq.). In 

Agbashan, a great elephant hunter, is this case, therefore, the man seems to 

believed to have the power of trans- have felt no scruples at hunting the 

forming himself into an elephant ; and animals in one of which his own bush 

" a man of considerable intelligence, soul might be lodged, 
educated in England, the brother of a 


Near Eket in North Calabar there is a sacred lake, the fish Belief 
of which are carefully preserved because the people believe that "rites of 
their own souls are lodged in the fish, and that with every Nigeria in 
fish killed a human life would be simultaneously extinguished.-^ souls 
In the Calabar River not very many years ago there used lodged in 

• 1 animals. 

to be a huge old crocodile, popularly supposed to contam the 
external soul of a chief who resided in the flesh at Duke 
Town. Sporting vice-consuls used from time to time to 
hunt the animal, and once a peculiarly energetic officer con- 
trived to hit it. Forthwith the chief was laid up with a 
wound in his leg. He gave out that a dog had bitten him, 
but no doubt the wise shook their heads and refused to be 
put off with so flimsy a pretext.^ Again, among several 
tribes on the banks of the Niger between Lokoja and the 
delta there prevails " a belief in the possibility of a man 
possessing an alter ego in the form of some animal such as a 
crocodile or a hippopotamus. It is believed that such a 
person's life is bound up with that of the animal to such an 
extent that, whatever affects the one produces a corresponding 
impression upon the other, and that if one dies the other 
must speedily do so too. It happened not very long ago that 
an Englishman shot a hippopotamus close to a native village; 
the friends of a woman who died the same night in the 
village demanded and eventually obtained five pounds as 
compensation for the murder of the woman." ^ Among the 
Montols of Northern Nigeria, " in many of the compounds 
there will be found a species of snake, of a non-poisonous 
sort, which, when full grown, attains a length of about five 
"eet and a girth of eight or nine inches. These snakes live 
n and about the compound. They are not specially fed by 
he people of the place, nor are places provided for them to 
nest in. They live generally in the roofs of the small 
granaries and huts that make up the compound. They feed 
ipon small mammals, and no doubt serve a useful purpose 
n destroying vermin which might otherwise eat the stored 
jrain. They are not kept for the purpose of destroying 
i/ermin, however. The Montols believe that at the birth of 

* Letter of Mr. P. Amaury Talbot in West Africa (London, 1897), pp. 

o me, dated Eket, North Calabar, 538 sq. 

Jouthem Nigeria, April 3d, 191 3. 3 q h. Robinson, f I ausa land (l^on- 

''• Miss Mar)' H. Kingsley, Travels don, 1896), pp. 36 sq. 



every individual of their race, male and female, one of thes 
snakes, of the same sex, is also born. If the snake be killec 
his human partner in life dies also and at the same time. ] 
the wife of a compound-owner gives birth to a son, shortl 
after the interesting event, the snake of the establishmen 
will be seen with a young one of corresponding sex. Fron 
the moment of birth, these two, the snake and the mar 
share a life of common duration, and the measure of the oni 
is the measure of the other. Hence every care is taken t< 
protect these animals from injury, and no Montol would ii 
any circumstances think of injuring or killing one. It is sai( 
that a snake of this kind never attempts any injury to a mar 
There is only one type of snake thus regarded." ^ Amonj 
the Angass, of the Kanna District in Northern Nigeria, " whei 
a man is born, he is endowed with two distinct entities, lifi 
and a kurua (Arabic rin) . . . When the rz'n enters a man 
its counterpart enters some beast or snake at the sami 
time, and if either dies, so also does the body containing tb 
counterpart. This, however, in no wise prevents a mai 
from killing any game, etc., he may see, though he know 
full well that he is causing thereby the death of some mai 
or woman. When a man dies, his life and rtn both leavi 
him, though the latter is asserted sometimes to linger nea 
the place of death for a day or two." ^ Again, at the town o 
Paha, in the northern territory of the Gold Coast, there an 
pools inhabited by crocodiles which are worshipped by thi 
people. The natives believe that for every death or birth ii 
the town a similar event takes place among the crocodiles.^ 
The con- In South Africa the conception of an external sou 

an^externai deposited in an animal, which is so common in West Africa 
soul appears to be almost unknown ; at least I have met with n< 

an animal clear traccs of it in literature. The Bechuanas, indeed, com 
appears to monly bcHeve that if a man wounds a crocodile, the mai 
in South will be ill as long as the crocodile is ill of its wound, an( 


^ J. F. J. Fitzpatrick (Assistant My thanks are due to Mr. N. W 

Resident, Northern Nigeria), "Some Thomas for sending me the extract am 

Notes on the Kwolla District and its to the authorities of the Colonial Offic 

'YxWit?," Journal of the African Society^ for their permission to publish it. 
No. 37, October, 1910, p. 30. 

2 Extract from a Report by Captain ^ The Daily Graphic, Tuesday 

Foulkes to the British Colonial Office. October 7th, 1902, p. 3. 



that if the crocodile dies, the man dies too. This belief is 
not, apparently, confined to the Bechuana clan which has 
the crocodile for its totem, but is shared by all the other 
:lans ; all of them certainly hold the crocodile in respect.^ It 
does not appear whether the sympathetic relation between a 
man and a crocodile is supposed by theBechuanas to be 
ifelong, or only to arise at the moment when the man 
kvounds the animal ; in the latter case the shedding of the 
:rocodile's blood might perhaps be thought to establish a 
relationship of affinity or sympathy between the two. The 
Zulus believe that every man is attended by an ancestral 
spirit {ihlozi, or rather idJilozi) in the form of a serpent, 
' which specially guards and helps him, lives with him, wakes 
»vith him, sleeps and travels with him, but always under 
ground. If it ever makes its appearance, great is the joy, 
md the man must seek to discover the meaning of its 
ippearance. He who has no ihlozi must die. Therefore if 
my one kills an ihlozi serpent, the man whose ihlozi it was 
dies, but the serpent comes to life again." ^ But the concep- 

• Rev. \V. C. Willoughby, "Notes 
>n the Totemism of the Becwana," 
Ion rnal of the A nth ropological Institute, 
XXV. (1905) p. 300. The writer adds 
hat he found a similar belief as to 
he sympathetic relation between a 
vounded crocodile and the man who 
vounded it very general among the 
iVanyamwezi, who, in 1882, were 
iving under Mirambo about two 
lundred miles south of Lake Victoria 
S'yanza and a hundred miles east of 
^ke Tanganyika. 

- F. Speckmann, Die Hermanns- 
•nrger Mission in Africa (Hermanns- 
)urg, 1876) p. 167. Compare David 
-^slie, Among the Zulus and Amaton- 
-as, Second Edition (Edinburgh, 1875) 
>p. 47 s^. ; "The Kaffirs believe that 
fter death their spirits turn into a 
nake, which they call Ehlose, and that 
very living man has two of these 
imiliar spirits — a good and a bad. 
Vhen everything they undertake goes 
n-ong with them, such as hunting, 
attle - breeding, etc , they say they 
now that it is their enemies who are 
nnoying them, and that they are only 
3 be appeased by sacrificing an animal; 

but when everj'thing prospers, they 
ascribe it to their good Ehlose being in 
the ascendant " ; id., op. cit. p. 148 : 
" \Mien in battle two men are fighting, 
their snakes {.Mahloze') are poetically 
said to be twisting and biting each 
other overhead. One ' softens ' and 
goes down, and the man, whose attend- 
ant it is, goes down with it. Every- 
thing is ascribed to Ehlose. If he 
fails in anything, his Ehlose is bad ; if 
successful, it is good. ... It is this 
thing which is the inducing cause of 
everything. In fact, nothing in Zulu 
is admitted to arise from natural 
causes ; everything is ascribed to 
witchcraft or the Ehlose." 

It is not all serpents that are amad- 
hlozi (plural of idhlozi), that is, are the 
transformed spirits of the dead. Ser- 
pents which are dead men may easily 
be distinguished from common snakes, 
for they frequent huts ; they do not 
eat mice, and they are not afraid of 
people. If a man in his life had a, his serpent after his death will 
also have a scar ; if he had only one 
eye, his serpent will have only one 
eye ; if he was lame, his serpent 



The con- 
ception of 
an external 

lodged in 
an animal 
among the 
Indians of 
some of 
whom call 
such a soul 
a nagual. 

tion of a dead ancestor incarnate in a snake, on which 1 
welfare or existence of one of his living descendants depen 
is rather that of a guardian spirit than of an extcri 

Amongst the Zapotecs of Central America, when 
woman was about to be confined, her relations assembled 
the hut, and began to draw on the floor figures of differc 
animals, rubbing each one out as soon as it was complet( 
This went on till the moment of birth, and the figure thi 
then remained sketched upon the ground was called t 
child's tona or second self. " When the child grew c 
enough, he procured the animal that represented him a: 
took care' of it, as it was believed that health and existcn 
were bound up with that of the animal's, in fact that t 
death of both would occur simultaneously," or rather th 
when the animal died the man would die too.^ Among t 

will be lame too. That is how you 
can recognise So-and-So in his serpent 
form. Chiefs do not turn into the 
same kind of snakes as ordinary people. 
For common folk become harmless 
snakes with green and white bellies 
and very small heads ; but kings 
become boa-constrictors or the large 
and deadly black mamba. See Rev. 
Henry Callaway, M.D., The Religious 
System of the Amazulu, Part ii. 
(Capetown, London, etc., 1869) pp. 
134 j^., 140, 196-202, 205, 208-211, 
231. "The Ehlose of Chaka and 
other dead kings is the Boa-constrictor, 
or the large and deadly black Mamba, 
whichever the doctors decide. That 
of dead Queens is the tree Iguana " 
(David Leslie, op. cit. p. 213). Com- 
pare Rev. Joseph Shooter, The Kafirs 
of Natal and the Zulu Country (Lon- 
don, 1857), pp. 161 sq. ; W. R. 
Gordon, " Words about Spirits," 
{South African) Folk-lore Journal, ii. 
(Cape Town, 1880) pp. 101-103 ; W. 
Grant, " Magato and his Txihc," Jour- 
nal of the Anthropological Institute, 
XXXV. (1905) p. 270. A word which is 
sometimes confounded with idhlozi is 
itongo (plural amatongo); but the natives 
themselves when closely questioned 
distinguish between the two. See 
Dudley Kidd, Savage Childhood, a 

Study of Kafir Children (Loiidt 
1906), pp. 14 sq., 281-286. T 
notion that the spirits of the de 
appear in the form of serpents is wic 
spread in Africa. See Adonis, Att 
Osiris, Second Edition, pp. "jt, sq 
Dr. F. B. Jevons has suggested th 
the Roman genius, the guardian-spi 
which accompanied a man from bir 
to death (Censorinus, De die natali, 
and was commonly represented in tl 
form of a snake, may have been 
external soul. See F. B. Jevon 
Plutarch's Romane Questions (Londo 
1892) pp. xlvii. sq.; id., Introductic 
to the History of Religion (Londoi 
1896), pp. 186 sq. ; L. Prelle 
Romische Mythologie^ (Berlin, iJ 
1883), ii. 195 sqq. ; G. Wissowj 
Religion und Kulttis der Romer 
(Munich, 1912), pp. 176 sq. 

1 H. H. Bancroft, The Native Raa 
of the Pacific Coast (London, 1875- 
1876), i. 661. The words quoM 
by Bancroft (p. 662, note), " Cm 
s^mase entre ellos la creencia de qit 
su vida estd unida a la de un aninud 
y que es forzoso que mueran elit 
cuando ^ste muere," are not quite aC 
curately represented by the stateme 
of Bancroft in the text. Elsewha 
(vol. ii. p. 277) the same writer cal 
the "second self" of the Zapotecs a 


[ndians of Guatemala and Honduras the nagual or naual is 

, ' that animate or inanimate object, generally an animal, 

,vhich stands in a parallel relation to a particular man, so 

:hat the weal and woe of the man depend on the fate of the 

tagual."^ According to an old writer, many Indians of 

, juatemala "are deluded by the devil to believe that their 

ife dependeth upon the life of such and such a beast (which 

hey take unto them as their familiar spirit), and think that 

Ivhen that beast dieth they must die ; when he is chased, 

;heir hearts pant ; when he is faint, they are faint ; nay, it 

. lappeneth that by the devil's delusion they appear in the 

,;hape of that beast (which commonly by their choice is a 

i3uck, or doe, a lion, or tigre, or dog, or eagle) and in that 

shape have been shot at and wounded." '" Herrera's account 

pf the way in which the Indians of Honduras acquired their 

naguals, runs thus : " The devil deluded them, appearing in 

:he shape of a lion or a tiger, or a coyte, a beast like a 

,volf, or in the shape of an alligator, a snake, or a bird, that 

arovince abounding in creatures of prey, which they called 

wgiiales, signifying keepers or guardians, and when the bird 

iied the Indian that was in league with him died also, 

vhich often happened and was looked upon as infallible. 

The manner of contracting this alliance was thus. The 

[ndian repaired to the river, wood, hill, or most obscure 

l^ua', or tutelary genius," adding (Berlin, 1899), pp. 52-57. 
hat the fate of the child was supposed * Otto Stoll, Die Ethnologic der 

o be so intimately bound up with the ludianerstamme von Guatemala (Ley- 

ortune of the animal that the death den, 1889), p. 57. 
)f the one involved the death of the ^ Thomas Gage, A New Survey of 

)ther. Compare Daniel G. Brinton, M« Wurj/ZwdftV^, Third Edition (London, 

'Nagualism, a Study in American 1677), p. 334. The same writer 

?olk-lore and History," Proceedings of relates how a certain Indian named 

he American Philosophical Society Gonzalez was reported to have the 

held at Philadelphia, vol. xxxiii. No. power of turning himself into a lion or 

(44 (Philadelphia, January, 1894), pp. rather a puma. Once when a Spaniard 

11-73. According to Professor E. had shot a puma in the nose, Gonzalez 

seler the word nagual is akin to the was found with a bruised face and 

Mexican naualli, "a witch or wizard," accused the Spaniard of having shot 

ffhich is derived from a word meaning him. Another Indian chief named 

•' hidden " with reference to the power Gomez was said to have transformed 

ittributed to sorcerers of transforming himself into a puma, and in that shape 

Jjemselves into animals. See E. Seler, to have fought a terrific battle with a 

■'Altmexikanische Studien, II." P<rrci^ rival chief named Lopez, who had 

'itntlichungen aus dem Koniglichen changed himself into a jaguar. See 

Museum fur Vblkerkunde, \-i, heft 2/4 Gage, op. cit. pp. 383-389. 



In some 
tribes of 

place, where he called upon the devils by such names as k 
thought fit, talked to the rivers, rocks, or woods, said le 
went to weep that he might have the same his predecess 
had, carrying a cock or a dog to sacrifice. In that mel;|- 
choly fit he fell asleep, and either in a dream or waki \ 
saw some one of the aforesaid birds or other creatui ly*' 
whom he entreated to grant him profit in salt, cacao, or a />' 
other commodity, drawing blood from his own tongue, eai '* 
and other parts of his body, making his contract at t ; 
same time with the said creature, the which either in j 
dream or waking told him, ' Such a day you shall go abro :1 
asporting, and I will be the first bird or other animal yL 
shall meet, and will be your nagual and companion at \ 
times,' Whereupon such friendship was contracted betwe 
them, that when one of them died the other did not survi^ 
and they fancied that he who had no nagual could not 
rich." ^ The Indians were persuaded that the death of th( 
nagual would entail their own. Legend affirms that in t'; 
first battles with the Spaniards on the plateau of Quetzaltl 
nango the naguals of the Indian chiefs fought in the for 
of serpents. The nagual of the highest chief was especial 
conspicuous, because it had the form of a great bird, r 
splendent in green plumage. The Spanish general Pedi 
de Alvarado killed the bird with his lance, and at the san 
moment the Indian chief fell dead to the ground.^ 

In many tribes of South-Eastern Australia each sex use 
to regard a particular species of animals in the same way that 
Central American Indian regarded his nagual, but with th; 

Australia o ' 

the lives of difference, that whereas the Indian apparently knew the ind: 

* Antonio de Herrera, General His- 
tory of the Vast Continent and Islands 
of America, translated by Capt. John 
Stevens (London, 1725- 1726), iv. 
138 j^. The Spanish original of Her- 
rera's history, a work based on ex- 
cellent authorities, was first published 
at Madrid in 1601-1615. The Indians 
of Santa Catalina Istlavacan still receive 
at birth the name of some animal, 
which is commonly regarded as their 
guardian spirit for the rest of their life. 
The name is bestowed by the heathen 
priest, who usually hears of a birth 

in the village sooner than his Catholi 
colleague. See K. Scherzer, " Di 
Indianer von Santa Catalina Istlava 
cana (Frauenfuss), ein Beitrag zu 
Culturgeschichte der Urbewohner Cen 
tral-Amerikas," Sitzimgsberichte de. 
philos. histor. Classe der kais. Akademi 
der IVissenschaften (Vienna), xviii 
(1856) p. 235. 

2 Otto StoU, Die Ethnologie de\ 
Indianerstdvinie von Guatemala (Ley 
den, 1889), pp. 57 sq. ; id., Suggestio) 
und Hypnotism- (Leipsic, 1904), p 


vidual animal with which his life was bound up, the Australians the two 
only knew that each of their lives was bound up with some thorc^hrto 
\ one animal of the species, but they could not say with which, be bound 
The result naturally was that every man spared and protected Hverof two 
all the animals of the species with which the lives of the men different 
were bound up ; and every woman spared and protected all the animals, 
animals of the species with which the lives of the women were ^ ^^^ 

3.ncl owls 

bound up ; because no one knew but that the death of any 
animal of the respective species might entail his or her own ; 
just as the killing of the green bird was immediately 
followed by the death of the Indian chief, and the killing of 
the parrot by the death of Punchkin in the fairy tale. 
Thus, for example, the Wotjobaluk tribe of South-Eastern 
Australia " held that ' the life of Ngunungunut (the Bat) is 
the life of a man, and the life of Yartatgurk (the Nightjar) 
is the life of a woman,' and that when either of these 
creatures is killed the life of some man or of some woman 
is shortened. In such a case every man or every woman 
in the camp feared that he or she might be the victim, and 
from this cause great fights arose in this tribe. I learn that 
in these fights, men on one side and women on the other, 
it was not at all certain which would be victorious, for 
at times the women gave the men a severe drubbing with 
their yamsticks, while often women were injured or killed 
by spears." The Wotjobaluk said that the bat was the 
man's " brother " and that the nightjar was his " wife." ^ 

' A. W. Hewitt, "Further Notes went out and killed a superb warbler, 

on the Australian Class Systems," which was the women's " sister," and 

Joiimalof the Anthropological Institute, this led to a worse fight than before, 

xviii. (1889) pp. 57 -f^. Compare ?a?'., Some days afterwards, when the wounds 

Native Tribes of South- East Australia and bruises were healed, one of the 

(London, 1904), pp. 148, 150. It is marriageable young men met one of 

very remarkable that among the Kurnai the marriageable young women, and 

these fights had a special connexion said, " Superb warbler ! " She an- 

with marriage. When young men were swered, " Emu- wren ! What does the 

backward of taking wives, the women emu-wren eat ? " To which the young 

used to go out into the forest and kill man answered, " He eats so-and-so," 

an emu-wren, which was the men's naming kangaroo, opossum, emu, or 

"brother"; then returning to the some other game. Then they laughed, 

camp they shewed the dead bird to the and she ran off with him without telling 

men. The result was a fight between any one. See L. Fison and A. W. 

the young men and the young women, Howitt, Kamilaroi and Kurnai (Mel- 

in which, however, lads who were not bourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and Bris- 

yet marriageable might not take part. bane, 1880), pp. 201 sq.; A. W. 

Next day the marriageable young men Howitt, Native Tribes of Sotilh-East 


The particular species of animals with which the lives of 
the sexes were believed to be respectively bound up varied 
somewhat from tribe to tribe. Thus whereas among the 
Wotjobaluk the bat was the animal of the men, at Gunbower 
Creek on the Lower Murray the bat seems to have been 
the animal of the women, for the natives would not kill it 
for the reason that " if it was killed, one of their lubras 
[women] would be sure to die in consequence."^ In the 
Kurnai tribe of Gippsland the emu-wren {Stipiturus mala- 
churus) was the " man's brother " and the superb warbler 
{Malurus cyaneus) was the " woman's sister " ; at the initiation 
of young men into the tribal mysteries the name of the 
emu-wren was invoked over the novices for the purpose of 
infusing manly virtue into them.^ Among the Yuin on the 
south-eastern coast of Australia, the " woman's sister " was 
the tree-creeper {Climacteris scandens), and the men had 
both the bat and the emu- wren for their " brothers." ^ In 
the Kulin nation each sex had a pair of " brothers " and 
" sisters " ; the men had the bat and the emu-wren for their 
" brothers," and the women had the superb warbler and the 
small nightjar for their " sisters." * It is notable that in South- 
Eastern Australia the animals thus associated with the lives of 
men and women were generally flying creatures, either birds 
or bats. However, in the Port Lincoln tribe of South Australia 
the man's " brother " and the woman's " sister " seem to have 
been identified with the male and female respectively of a 
species of lizard ; for we read that " a small kind of lizard, 
the male of which is called ibirri, and the female zvaka, is 
said to have divided the sexes in the human species ; an 
event that would appear not to be much approved of by the 
natives, since either sex has a mortal hatred against the 

Australia, pp. 149, 273 sq. Perhaps 2 A. W. Howitt, " Further Notes on 

this killing of the sex- totem before the Australian Class Systems,"yi7«r«<T/ 

marriage may be related to the pre- of the Anthropological Institute, xviii. 

tence of killing young men and bringing {1889) pp. 56 sq. 

them to life again at puberty. See ^ A. W. Howitt, op. cit. p. 57 ; 

below, pp. 225^^5^. id.. Native Tribes of South -East 

* Gerard Krefft, • ' Manners and Australia, p. 1 50. 
Customs of the Aborigines of the Lower * A. W. Howitt, " On the Migra- 

Murray and Darling," Transactions of tions of the Kurnai Ancestors, "y(7///7;a/ 

the Philosophical Society of New South of the Anthropological Institute, xv. 

IVaUs, 1862-65, pp. 359 sq. (1886) p. 416. 


opposite sex of these little animals, the men always destroy- 
ing the ivaka and the women the ibirri." ^ But whatever 
the particular sorts of creature with which the lives of men 
and women were believed to be bound up, the belief itself 
and the fights to which it gave rise are known to have 
prevailed over a large part of South-Eastern Australia, and 
probably they extended much farther.' The belief was a very 
serious one, and so consequently were the fights which sprang 
from it. Thus among some tribes of Victoria " the common 
bat belongs to the men, who protect it against injury, even 
to the half-killing of their wives for its sake. The fern owl, 
or large goatsucker, belongs to the women, and, although a 
bird of evil omen, creating terror at night by its cry, it is 
jealously protected by them. If a man kills one, they are 
as much enraged as if it was one of their children, and will 
strike him with their long poles." ^ 

The jealous protection thus afforded by Australian men Bats 
and women to bats and owls respectively (for bats and ^^^ 
owls seem to be the creatures usually allotted to the two brothers of 
sexes) * is not based upon purely selfish considerations. owU as the 
For each man believes that not only his own life but the sisters of 
lives of his father, brothers, sons, and so on are bound up with 
the lives of particular bats, and that therefore in protecting the 
bat species he is protecting the lives of all his male relations 
as well as his own. Similarly, each woman believes that the 
lives of her mother, sisters, daughters, and so forth, equally 
with her own, are bound up with the lives of particular owls, 

^ C.W.Schurmann," The Aboriginal both the creatures thtis assigned to the 

Tribes of Port Lincoln," in Native two sexes should be nocturnal in their 

Tribes of South Australia (Adelaide, habits. Perhaps the choice of such 

1879), p. 241. Compare G. F. Angas, creatures is connected with the belief 

Savage Life and Scetus in Australia that the soul is absent from the body 

and Ne-iV Zealand (London, 1847), L in slumber. On this hypothesis bats 

109. and owls would be regarded by these 

^ A. W. Howitt, *' Further Notes on savages as the wandering souls of 

the Australian Class Systems, "yb«rw<2/ sleepers. Such a belief would fully 

of the Anthropological Institute, xviii. account for the reluctance of the natives 

(1889) p. 58. Compare id.. Native to kill them. The Kiowa Indians of 

Tribes of South-EastAustralia{ljOD.d.oa, North America think that owls and 

1904), pp. 148-15 1. other night birds are animated by the 

' James Dawson, Australian Abor- souls of the dead. See James Mooney, 

i^ines (Melbourne, Sydney, and Ade- "Calendar History of the Kiowa 

laide, 1 881), p. 52. Indians," Seventeenth Annual Report 

* See Totemism and Exogamy, L of the Bureau cf American Ethnology, 

47 sq. It is at least remarkable that Part i. (Washington, 1898) p. 237. 


and that in guarding the owl species she is guarding the lives 
of all her female relations besides her own. Now, when 
men's lives are thus supposed to be contained in certain 
animals, it is obvious that the animals can hardly be dis- 
tinguished from the men, or the men from the animals. If 
my brother John's life is in a bat, then, on the one hand, the 
bat is my brother as well as John ; and, on the other hand, 
John is in a sense a bat, since his life is in a bat. Similarly, 
if my sister Mary's life is in an owl, then the owl is my 
sister and Mary is an owl. This is a natural enough con- 
clusion, and the Australians have not failed to draw it. 
When the bat is the man's animal, it is called his brother ; 
and when the owl is the woman's animal, it is called her 
sister. And conversely a man addresses a woman as an owl, 
and she addresses him as a bat.^ So with the other animals 
allotted to the sexes respectively in other tribes. For 
example, among the Kurnai all emu-wrens were " brothers " 
of the men, and all the men were emu-wrens ; all superb 
warblers were " sisters " of the women, and all the women 
were superb warblers.^ 

S 4. -^ Suggested Theory of Totemisvi ' 
But when a savage names himself after an animal, calls 

* A. L. P. Cameron, "Notes on time much additional evidence as to 

some Tribes of New South Wales," the nature and prevalence of totemism 

Journal of the Anthropological Institute, has come to light, and with the new 

xiv. (1885) p. 350 note* ; A. W. evidence my opinions, or rather con- 

Howitt, *' On the Migrations of the jectures, as to the origin of the institu- 

Kurnai Ancestors," Journal of the tion have repeatedly changed. If I 

Anthropological Institute, xv. (1886) here reprint my earliest conjecture, it 

p. 416; id., "Further Notes on the is partly because I still think it may 

Australian Class Systems," ybwrwa/ of contain an element of truth, and partly 

the Anthropological Institute, xviii. because it serves as a convenient peg 

(1889) p. 57. on which to hang a collection of facts 

2 L. Fison and A. W. Howitt, which are much more valuable than 
Kamilaroi and A'urnai, pp. 194, 201, any theories of mine. The reader who 
sq., 21^; Journal of the Anthropological desires to acquaint himself more fully 
Institute, xv. 416, xviii. 565^. ; A. W. with the facts of totemism and with 
Howitt, Native Tribes of South-East the theories that have been broached 
.<4«j/ra//fl(London, I904),pp. 148-151. on the subject, will find them stated 

3 The following suggestion as to the at length in my Totemism and Exo- 
origin of totemism was made in the gamy (London, 1 9 10). Plere I will 
first edition of this book (published in only call attention to the Arunta 
1890) and is here reprinted without legend that the ancestors of the tribe 
any substantial change. In the mean- kept their spirits in certain sacred sticks 


it his brother, and refuses to kill it, the animal is said to Sex totems 
be his totem. Accordingly in the tribes of South- Eastern f°l^^,^ 

o ■' totems may 

Australia which we have been considering the bat and the both be 
owl, the emu-wren and the superb warbler, may properly be jj^g notion 
described as totems of the sexes. But the assignation of a that men 

, , . . , 1 1 1 • I 1 and women 

totem to a sex is comparatively rare, and has hitherto been keep their 
discovered nowhere but in Australia. Far more commonly external 

1 • -1 11 souls in 

the totem is appropriated not to a sex, but to a clan, and their 
is hereditary either in the male or female line. The relation ^o'^'^s, 

. "^ whether 

of an individual to the clan totem does not differ in kind these are 
from his relation to the sex totem : he will not kill it, he ^"•™^^5> . 

' ' plants, or 

speaks of it as his brother, and he calls himself by its name, what not. 
Xow if the relations are similar, the explanation which holds 
good of the one ought equally to hold good of the other. 
Therefore the reason why a clan revere a particular species 
of animals or plants (for the clan totem may be a plant) and 
call themselves after it, would seem to be a belief that the 
life of each individual of the clan is bound up with some one 
animal or plant of the species, and that his or her death 
would be the consequence of killing that particular animal, 
or destroying that particular plant. This explanation of 
totemism squares very well with Sir George Grey's definition 
of a totem or kobong in Western Australia. He says : " A 
certain mysterious connection exists between a family and 
its kobong, so that a member of the family will never kill an 
animal of the species to which his kobong belongs, should he 
find it asleep ; indeed he always kills it reluctantly, and never 
without affording it a chance to escape. This arises from 
the family belief that some one individual of the species is 
their nearest friend, to kill whom would be a great crime, 
and to be carefully avoided. Similarly, a native who has 
a vegetable for his kobong may not gather it under certain 

and stones {churinga), which bear a This tradition appears to point to a 
close resemblance to the well-known custom of transferring a man's soul or 
bull-roarers, and that when they went spirit temporarily to his totem. Con- 
out hunting they hung these sticks or versely when an Arunta is sick he 
stoneson certain sacred poles (««r/K«/Vzj) scrapes his f^«r/>/^a and swallows the 
which represented their totems. See scrapings, as if to restore to himself 
Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen, the spiritual substance deposited in the 
Native Tribes of Central Australia instrument. See Baldwin Spencer and 
(London, 1899), pp. 137 sq., 629. F. J. Gillen, «^. oV. p. 135 note'. 


circumstances, and at a particular period of the year," ^ Here 

it will be observed that though each man spares all the 

animals or plants of the species, they are not all equally 

precious to him ; far from it, out of the whole species there 

is only one which is specially dear to him ; but as he does 

not know which the dear one is, he is obliged to spare them 

all from fear of injuring the one. Again, this explanation 

of the clan totem harmonizes with the supposed effect of 

killing one of the totem species. " One day one of the 

blacks killed a crow. Three or four days afterwards a 

Boortwa (crow) \i.e. a man of the Crow clan] named 

Larry died. He had been ailing for some days, but the 

killing of his ivingong [totem] hastened his death." ^ Here 

the killing of the crow caused the death of a man of the 

Crow clan, exactly as, in the case of the sex-totems, the 

killing of a bat causes the death of a Bat-man or the killing 

of an owl causes the death of an Owl-woman. Similarly, 

the killing of his nagual causes the death of a Central 

American Indian, the killing of his bush soul causes the 

death of a Calabar negro, the killing of his iamaniu causes 

the death of a Banks Islander, and the killing of the animal 

in which his life is stowed away causes the death of the giant 

or warlock in the fairy tale. 

The savage Thus it appears that the story of " The giant who had no 

agine hVs heart in his body " may perhaps furnish the key to the relation 

life to be which is supposcd to subsist between a man and his totem. 

with"thar The totem, on this theory, is simply the receptacle in which 

of more a man keeps his life, as Punchkin kept his life in a parrot, 

than one and Bidasari kept her soul in a golden fish. It is no 

at the same valid objection to this view that when a savage has both 

time ; for ■' , . i . r 111 

many a scx totcm and a clan totem his life must be bound up 

savages y^lKSx two different animals, the death of either of which 

Ihmk that ' 

* (Sir) George Grey, Journals of intention seems to imply a belief in a 

Two Expeditions of Discovery in North- sympathetic connexion between the man 

West and Western Australia (London, and the animal. Similarly the Siena 

1 84 1), ii. 228 sq. of the Ivory Coast, in West Africa, 

'^ L. Fison and A. W. Howitt, who have totemism, believe that if a 

Kafnilaroi and Kumai, p. 169. Ac- man kills one of his totemic animals, 

cording to Dr. Howitt, it is a serious a member of his totemic clan dies 

oflfence to kill the totem of another instantaneously. See Maurice Dela- 

person "with intent to injure him" fosse, " Le peuple Siena ou Senoufo," 

(Journal of the Anthropological Insti- Revue des £tudes Ethnographiques el 

tute, xviii. (1889) p. 53). Such an Sociologiques, i. (1908) p. 452. 



would entail his own. If a man has more vital places ever)- per- 
than one in his body, why, the savage may think, should ^ore^^js 
he not have more vital places than one outside it ? Why, than one. 
since he can put his life outside himself, should he not 
transfer one portion of it to one animal and another to 
another ? The divisibility of life, or, to put it otherwise, 
the plurality of souls, is an idea suggested by many familiar 
facts, and has commended itself to philosophers like Plato,^ 
as well as to savages. It finds favour also with the sages of 
China, who tell us that every human being is provided with 
what may be called a male soul {shen) and a female soul 
{kwet), which by their harmonious co-operation compose an 
organic unity. However, some Chinese philosophers will have 
it that each of the five viscera has its own separate male soul 
{shen) ; and a Taoist treatise written about the end of the 
tenth or beginning of the eleventh century has even enriched 
science with a list of about three dozen souls distributed over 
the various parts of the human frame ; indeed, not content 
with a bare catalogue of these souls, the learned author has 
annexed to the name and surname of each a brief descrip- 
tion of its size and stature, of the kind of dress in which it 
is clothed and the shape of hat it wears." It is only when 
the notion of a soul, from being a quasi-scientific hypothesis, 
becomes a theological dogma that its unity and indivisibility 
are insisted upon as essential. The savage, unshackled by 
dogma, is free to explain the facts of life by the assumption 
of as many souls as he thinks necessary. Hence, for ex- 
ample, the Caribs supposed that there was one soul in the 
head, another in the heart, and other souls at all the places 
where an artery is felt pulsating.^ Some of the Hidatsa 
Indians explain the phenomena of gradual death, when the 
extremities appear dead first, by supposing that man has four 

1 According to Plato, the different System of China, iv. (Leyden, 1901) 
parts of the soul were lodged in pp. 3 sq., 70-75. 

different parts of the body (Timaeus, 

pp. 690-720), and as only one part, on ^ Le sieur de la Borde, " Relation 

his theory, was immortal, Lucian seems de I'Origine, McEurs, Coustumes, Re- 

not unnaturally to have interpreted the ligion, Guerres et Voyages des Caraibes 

Platonic doctrine to mean that every sauvages des Isles Antilles de TAmeri- 

man had more than one soul {Demonax, que," p. 1 5, in Recueil de divers Voyages 

12,). fails en Afrique et en VAmerique (Paris, 

2 J. J. M. de Groot, The Religious 1684). 




Battas of 
who have 
believe that 
every per- 
son has a 
soul which 
is always 
outside of 
his body. 

souls, and that they quit the body, not simultaneously, but 
one after the other, dissolution being only complete when all 
four have departed.^ Some of the Dyaks of Borneo and the 
Malays of the Peninsula believe that every man has seven 
souls.'^ The Alfoors of Poso in Celebes are of opinion that 
he has three.^ The natives of Laos suppose that the body 
is the seat of thirty spirits, which reside in the hands, the feet, 
the mouth, the eyes, and so on.* Hence, from the primitive 
point of view, it is perfectly possible that a savage should 
have one soul in his sex totem and another in his clan 
totem. However, as I have observed, sex totems have been 
found nowhere but in Australia ; so that as a rule the savage 
who practises totemism need not have more than one soul 
out of his body at a time.^ 

If this explanation of the totem as a receptacle in which 
a man keeps his soul or one of his souls is correct, we should 
expect to find some totemic people of whom it is expressly 
said that every man amongst them is believed to keep at 
least one soul permanently out of his body, and that the 
destruction of this external soul is supposed to entail the 
death of its owner. Such a people are the Battas of Sumatra. 
The Battas are divided into exogamous clans {inargas) with 
descent in the male line ; and each clan is forbidden to eat 

1 Washington Matthews, The 
Hidatsa Indians (Washington, 1877), 
p. 50. 

2 H. Ling Roth, " Low's Natives of 
'Borneo " Journal of the Anthropological 
Institute, xxi. (1892) p. I17; W. W. 
Skeat, Malay Magic (London, 1900), 
p. SO. 

3 A. C. Kruijt, " Een en ander 
aangaande het geestelijk en maatschap- 
pelijk leven van den Poso-Alfoer," 
Alededeelingen van wege het Neder- 
landsche Zendelinggenootschap, xxxix. 

(1895) PP- 3 ^1- 

* A. Bastian, Die Volker des ostlichen 
Asien, iii. (Jena, 1867) p. 248. 

6 In some tribes, chiefly of North 
American Indians, every man has an 
individual or personal totem in addition 
to the totem of his clan. This personal 
totem is usually the animal of which 
he dreamed during a long and solitary 
fast at puberty. See Totemism and 

Exogamy, i. 49-52, iii. 370-456, where 
the relation of the individual or personal 
totem (if we may call it so) to the 
clan totem is discussed. It is quite 
possible that, as some good authorities 
incline to believe, the clan totem has 
been developed out of the personal 
totem by inheritance. See Miss Alice 
C. Fletcher, The Import of the Totem, 
pp. 3 sqg. (paper read before the 
American Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science, August 1887, 
separate reprint) ; Fr. Boas, " The 
Social Organization and the Secret 
Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians," 
Report of the United States National 
Museum for iSgj (Washington, 1897), 
pp. 323 sq., 336-338, 393. In the 
bush souls of the Calabar negroes (see 
above, pp. 204 sqq.) we seem to have 
something like the personal totem on 
its way to become hereditary and so to 
grow into the totem of a clan. 



the flesh of a particular animal. One clan may not eat the 
tiger, another the ape, another the crocodile, another the dog, 
another the cat, another the dove, another the white buffalo, 
and another the locust. The reason given by members of a 
clan for abstaining from the flesh of the particular animal is 
either that they are descended from animals of that species, 
and that their souls after death may transmigrate into the 
animals, or that they or their forefathers have been under 
certain obligations to the creatures. Sometimes, but not 
always, the clan bears the name of the animal.^ Thus the 
Battas have totemism in full. But, further, each Batta 
believes that he has seven or, on a more moderate com- 
putation, three souls. One of these souls is always outside 
the body, but nevertheless whenever it dies, however far 
away it may be at the time, that same moment the man dies 
also.^ The writer who mentions this belief says nothing 

1 J. B. Neumann, " Het Pane- en 
Bila - stroomgebied op het eiland 
Sumatra," Tijdschrift van het Neder- 
landsck Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 
Tweede Serie, dl. iii. Afdeeling, meet 
uitgebreide artikelen, No. 2 (1886), pp. 
311 sq. ; id., dl. iv. No. i (1887), pp. 
8 sq. ; Van Hoevell, " lets over 't 
oorlogvoeren der Batta's," Tijdschrift 
voor Xederlandsch Itidie, N.S., vii. 
{1878) p. 434; G. A. Wilken, Ver- 
spreide Gesckri/ten (The Hague, 191 2), 
L 296, 306 sq., 309, 325 sq. ; L. de 
Backer, VArchipel Indien (Paris, 
1874), p. 470; Col. Yule, m Journal 
of the Anthropological Institute, ix. 
(1880) p. 295 ; Joachim Freiherr von 
Brenner, Besuch bei den Kannibalen 
Sumatras (Wurzburg, 1 894), pp. 197 
sqq. ; P. A. L. E. van Dijk, "Eenige 
aanteekeningen omtrent de verschillen- 
den stammen {Margas) en de stamver- 
deling bij de Battaks," Tijdschrift 
voor Indische Taal- Land- en Volken- 
kunde, xxxviii. (1895) pp. 296 sq, ; 
M. Joustra, " Naar het landschap 
Goenoeng," Mededeelingen van wege 
het Nederlandsche Zendelinggenoot- 
schap, xlv. (190 1) pp. 80 sq. ; id., 
" Het leven, de zeden en gewoonten 
der Bataks," Mededeelingen van wege 
het Nederlandsche Zendelinggenootschap, 
xlvi. (1902) pp. 387 sqq. ; J. E. Neu- 

mann, " Kemali, Pantang, en Rdboe 
bij de Karo-Bataks," Tijdschrift vooi 
Indische Taal- Land- en Volkenkunde, 
xlviii. (1906) p. 512. See further 
Totemism and Exogamy, ii. 185 sqq. 

- B. Hagen, " Beitrage zur Kennt- 
niss der Battareligion," Tijdschrift voor 
Indische Taal- Land- en Volkenkunde, 
xx\-iii. (1883) p. 514. J. B. Neumann 
(pp. cit. dl. iii. No. 2, pp. 299) is the 
authority for the seven soiils. According 
to another writer, six out of the seven 
souls reside outside of the body ; one of 
them dwells in heaven, the remaining 
five have no definite place of abode, 
but are so closely related to the man 
that were they to abandon him his 
health would suffer. See J. Freiherr 
von Brenner, Besuch bei den Kanni- 
balen Sumatras, pp. 239 sq. A different 
account of Batta psychology is given by 
Mr. Westenberg. According to him, 
each Batta has only one tendi (not three 
or seven of them) ; and the tendi is 
something between a soul and a guar- 
dian spirit. It always resides outside 
of the body, and on its position near, 
before, behind, above, or below, the 
welfare of its owner is supposed in 
great measure to depend. But in 
addition each man has two invisible 
guardian spirits (his kaka and agi) 
whose help he invokes in great danger ; 



If a totem 
is the re- 
in which a 
man keeps 
his external 
soul, it is 
no wonder 
should con- 
ceal the 
secret from 

about the Batta totems ; but on the analogy of the Australian, 
Central American, and African evidence we may conjecture 
that the external soul, whose death entails the death of the 
man, is housed in the totemic animal or plant. 

Against this view it can hardly be thought to militate 
that the Batta does not in set terms affirm his external 
soul to be in his totem, but alleges other grounds for 
respecting the sacred animal or plant of his clan. For 
if a savage seriously believes that his life is bound up 
with an external object, it is in the last degree unlikely 
that he will let any stranger into the secret. In all that 
touches his inmost life and beliefs the savage is exceed- 
ingly suspicious and reserved ; Europeans have resided 
among savages for years without discovering some of their 
capital articles of faith, and in the end the discovery has 
often been the result of accident.^ Above all, the savage 
lives in an intense and perpetual dread of assassination by 
sorcery ; the most trifling relics of his person — the clippings 
of his hair and nails, his spittle, the remnants of his food, his 
very name ^ — all these may, he fancies, be turned by the 

one is the seed by which he was 
begotten, the other is the afterbirth, 
and these he calls respectively his elder 
and his younger brother. Mr. Westen- 
berg's account refers specially to the 
Karo-Battas. See C. J. Westenberg, 
'* Aanteekeningen omtrent de gods- 
dienstige begrippen der Karo-Bataks," 
Bijdragen tot de Taal- Land- en 
Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch Indie, 
xli. (1892) pp. 228 sq. 

1 Compare Ch. Hose and W. 
McDougali, The Pagan Tribes of 
Borneo (London, 1912), ii. 90 sqq. : 
" An important institution among some 
of the I bans, which occurs but in rare 
instances among the other peoples, is 
the ngarong or secret helper. The 
ugarong is one of the very few topics in 
regard to which the I bans display any 
reluctance to speak freely. So great is 
their reserve in this connection that 
one of us lived for fourteen years on 
friendly terms with Ibans of various 
districts without ascertaining the mean- 
ing of the word ngarong, or suspecting 
the great importance of the part played 

by the notion in the lives of some of 
these people. The itgaroug seems to 
be usually the spirit of some ancestor 
or dead relative, but not always so, and 
it is not clear that it is always con- 
ceived as the spirit of a deceased 
human being. This spirit becomes 
the special protector of some indi- 
vidual Iban, to whom in a dream he 
manifests himself, in the first place in 
human form, and announces that he 
will be his secret helper. . . . When, 
as is most commonly the case, the 
secret helper takes on the form of 
some animal, all individuals of that 
species become objects of especial 
regard to the fortunate Iban ; he will 
not kill or eat any such animal, and 
he will as far as possible restrain others 
from doing so." Thus the ngarong 
or secret helper of the Ihans closely 
resembles what I have called the in- 
dividual or personal totem. 

2 It is not merely the personal name 
which is often shrouded in mystery (see 
I'aboo and the Perils of the Soul, pp. 
318 sqq.) ; the names of the clans and 


sorcerer to his destruction, and he is therefore anxiously- 
careful to conceal or destroy them. But if in matters such 
as these, which are but the outposts and outworks of his life, 
he is so shy and secretive, how close must be the conceal- 
ment, how impenetrable the reserve in which he enshrouds 
the inner keep and citadel of his being ! When the princess 
in the fairy tale asks the giant where he keeps his soul, he 
often gives false or evasive answers, and it is only after 
much coaxing and wheedling that the secret is at last wrung 
from him. In his jealous reticence the giant resembles the 
timid and furtive savage ; but whereas the exigencies of the 
story demand that the giant should at last reveal his secret, 
no such obligation is laid on the savage ; and no inducement 
that can be offered is likely to tempt him to imperil his soul 
by revealing its hiding-place to a stranger. It is therefore 
no matter for surprise that the central mysterj' of the savage's 
life should so long have remained a secret, and that we should 
be left to piece it together from scattered hints and fragments 
and from the recollections of it which linger in fairy tales. 

^ 5 . The Ritual of Death and Resurrection 

This view of totemism throws light on a class of relieious This 
rites of which no adequate explanation, so far as I am aware, totem*^-:!!! 
has yet been offered. Amongst many savage tribes, especially may help 
such as are known to practise totemism, it is customary the^rite'of 

for lads at puberty to undergo certain initiatory rites, of '^^a'^ ^^ 
which one of the commonest is a pretence of killing the lad tion which 
and bringing him to life again. Such rites become intelligible '^"'"'"^ p^" 

, , . , ^ of manv 

if we suppose that their substance consists in extracting the initiator- 
youth's soul in order to transfer it to his totem. For the «^«'^«'"o'"es 

' among 

— ■ — _-— sa\-ages. 

their sulxlivisions are objects of niysteri- said to be more likeyi^/a, or magic, 

ous reverence among many, if not all, than a name ; and it was in one sense 

of the Siouan tribes of North America, a secret name, for with it an enemy 

and are never tised in ordinary conver- might cause injury to its bearer by magic, 

saiion. See J. Owen Dorsey, " Osage Thus verj- few people knew the totem 

Traditions," Sixth Annual Report of names of others, the name being told 

tJu Bureau of Ethnology (Washington, to a youth by his father at his initia- 

1888), p. 396. Among the Vuin of tion " (A. W. Howitt, Native Tribes of 

South -Eastern Australia "the totem South-East Australia, London, 1904, 

name was called BtiJjan, and it was p. 133). 

PT. vn. VOL. n Q 


extraction of his soul would naturally be supposed to kill the 
youth or at least to throw him into a death-like trance, which 
the savage hardly distinguishes from death. His recovery 
would then be attributed either to the gradual recovery of his 
system from the violent shock which it had received, or, more 
probably, to the infusion into him of fresh life drawn from 
the totem. Thus the essence of these initiatory rites, so far 
as they consist in a simulation of death and resurrection, 
would be an exchange of life or souls between the man and 
his totem. The primitive belief in the possibility of such an 
exchange of souls comes clearly out in the story of the 
Basque hunter who affirmed that he had been killed by a 
bear, but that the bear had, after killing him, breathed its 
own soul into him, so that the bear's body was now dead, 
but he himself was a bear, being animated by the bear's 
soul.^ This revival of the dead hunter as a bear is exactly 
analogous to what, on the theory here suggested, is supposed 
to take place in the ceremony of killing a lad at puberty 
and bringing him to life again. The lad dies as a man and 
comes to life again as an animal ; the animal's soul is now 
in him, and his human soul is in the animal. With good 
right, therefore, does he call himself a Bear or a Wolf, etc., 
according to his totem ; and with good right does he treat 
the bears or the wolves, etc., as his brethren, since in these 
animals are lodged the souls of himself and his kindred. 

Examples of this supposed death and resurrection at 

1 Theodor Benfey, Pantschatantra seen (pp. 213 sq.) that the Indians of 

(Leipsic, 1859), i. 128 sq. Similarly Honduras made an alliance with the 

a man of the Kulin tribe in Victoria animal that was to be their nagiial 

was called Kurburu, that is, "native by ofTering some of their own blood 

bear," because the spirit of a native to it. Conversely the Norih American 

bear was supposed to have entered into Indian kills the animal which is to be 

him when he killed the animal, and his personal totem, and thenceforth 

to have endowed him with its wonder- wears some part of the creature as 

ful cleverness. This I learn from Miss an amulet ( Totemism and Exogamy, 

E. B. Howitt's Folklore and Legends i. 50). These facts seem to point 

0/ some Victorian Tribes (chapter vi.), to the establishment of a blood cove- 

which I have been privileged to see nant, involving an interchange of life 

in manuscript. Among the Chiquites between a man and his personal totem 

Indians of Paraguay sickness was some- or nagiial; and among the Fans of 

times accounted for by supposing that West Africa, as we saw (above, p. 

the soul of a deer or a turtle had entered 201), such a covenant is actually sup- 

into the patient. See Lettres Edi- posed to exist between a sorcerer and 

Jiantes et Cutieuses, Nouvelle Edition, liis elangela. 
viii. (Paris, 1 781) p. 339. We have 


initiation are as follows. In the Wonghi or Wonghibon The rite 
tribe of New South Wales " the youths on approaching and^ur- 
manhood attend a meeting of the tribe. The ceremonies rection 
of initiation are secret, and at them none but the men of the wonghiof 
tribe who have been initiated attend with the novices. At New South 
the spot where the ceremonies are to be performed, a large 
oval space is cleared. The old men of the tribe conduct the 
ceremonies, and the ' medicine man ' of the tribe is the master 
of them. Part of the proceedings consists in knocking out 
a tooth and giving a new designation to the novice, indicating 
the change from youth to manhood. When the tooth is 
knocked out, a loud humming noise is heard, which is made 
with an instrument of the following description : a flat piece 
of wood is made with serrated edges, and having a hole at 
one endj to which a string is attached, and this swung round 
produces a humming noise. The uninitiated are not even 
allowed to see this instrument. Women are forbidden to be 
present at these ceremonies, and should one, by accident or 
otherwise, witness them, the penalty is death. The penalty 
for revealing the secrets is probably the same. When every- 
thing is prepared the women and children are covered with 
boughs, and the men retire, with the young fellows who are 
to be initiated, to a little distance. It is said that the youths 
are sent away a short distance one by one, and that they are 
each met in turn by a Being, who, so far as I can understand, 
is believed to be something between a blackfellow and a spirit. 
This Being, called Thuremlin, it is said, takes the youth to a 
distance, kills him, and in some instances cuts him up, after 
which he restores him to life and knocks out a tooth. Their 
belief in the power of Thuremlin is undoubted." ^ 

The foregoing account, while it applies strictly to one Use of the 
tribe only, may be regarded as typical of the initiation cere- aunida^^"^ 
monies performed on young men throughout the tribes of tory cere- 
South-Eastern and Central Australia, except that among the ^^/^j!^ 
Central tribes the practice of knocking out a tooth on these 
occasions is replaced by the equally mysterious and much 
severer bodily mutilations of circumcision and subincision, 

* A. L. P. Cameron, " Notes on pare A. W. Howitt, Native Tribes of 

some Tribes of New South Wales," South-East Australia (London, 1904), 

Journal of the Anthropological Insti- pp. 588 sq. 
tute^ xiv. (1885) pp. 357 sq. Com 




sound of 
the bull- 
to thunder. 

which are not practised by the tribes of the South-East.^ 
The instrument whose humming or booming sound accom- 
panies the critical operation of knocking out the tooth of 
the novice, is the now well-known bull-roarer, which figures 
in many savage rites of initiation. Its true nature is con- 
cealed from the women and uninitiated lads, who are taught 
to believe that its sonorous and long-drawn notes are the 
voice of the mythical being, often called Daramulun, who 
lives in the sky, instituted the rites, and superintends their 
performance. The hollow roar of the slat of wood, as it is 
swung round and round, " represents the muttering of thunder, 
and the thunder is the voice of Daramulun, and therefore its 
sound is of the most sacred character. Umbara once said to 
me, ' Thunder is the voice of him (pointing upward to the 
sky) calling on the rain to fall and make everything grow 
up new.' " ^ This supposed resemblance of the sound to 

^ Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen, 
Native Tribes of Central Australia 
(London, 1899), pp. 213, 453. 

2 A. W. Howitt, Native Tribes of 
South- East Australia (London, 1904), 
p. 538. As to Daramulun (of whose 
name Thuremlin is no doubt only a 
dialectical variation) see id., pp. 407, 

493. 494 ^l-, 497, 499, 5oo» 507, 
523 sq., 526, 528, 529 sq., 535, 540, 
541, 585 sq., 587 ; id., " On some 
Australian Ceremonies of Initiation," 
Journal of the Anthropological Insti- 
tute, xiii. (1884) pp. 442, 443, 446, 

447, 448, 450, 451, 452, 455, 456, 
459. On the bull-roarer see Andrew 
Lang, Custom and Myth (London, 
1884), pp. 29-44 ; J. D. E. Schmeltz, 
Das Schwirrholz (Hamburg, 1896) ; 
A. C. Haddon, The Study of Man 
(London and New York, 1898), pp. 
277-327; J. G. Frazer, "On some 
Ceremonies of the Central Australian 
Aborigines," Proceedings of the Austral- 
asian Association for the Advancement 
of Science for the Year igoo (Melbourne, 
1901), pp. 317-322. The religious or 
magical use of the bull-roarer is best 
known in Australia. See, for example, 
L. Fison and A. W. Howitt, Kamilaroi 
aW A «;-«rt/( Mel bourne, Sydney, Ade- 
laide, and Brisbane, 1880), pp. 267- 
269 ; A. \V. Howitt, Native Tribes 

of South- East Australia, pp. 354, 509 
sq., 514, 515, 517, 569, 571, 575, 
578, 579. 582, 583- 584, 589, 592, 
594, 595, 606, 659 sq., 670, 672, 
696, 715 ; Baldwin Spencer and F. J, 
Gillen, Native Tribes of Central Aus- 
tralia (London, 1899), pp. 246, 344, 
347 ; W. Baldwin Spencer, Introduc- 
tion to the Study of Certain Native 
Tribes of the Northern Territory 
{Bulletin of the Northern 7'erritory, 
No. 2) (Melbourne, 1912), pp. 19 sq., 
23, 24, 31 sq., 37 sqq. ; A. R. Brown, 
"Three Tribes of Western Australia,' 
Journal of the Koyal Anthropological 
Institute, yX\\\. (I9i3)pp. 168, 174; R. 
Pettazzoni, " Mythologie Australienne 
du Rhombe," Revue de IHistoire des 
Religions, Ixv. (19 12) pp. 149-170. 
But in the essay just referred to 
Mr. Andrew Lang shewed that the 
instrument has been similarly em- 
ployed not only by savages in vari- 
ous parts of the world, but also by the 
ancient Greeks in their religious mys- 
teries. In the Torres Straits Islands 
it is used both at the initiation of 
young men and as a magical instru- 
ment. See Reports of the Cambridge 
Anthropological Expedition to Torres 
Straits, v. (Cambridge, 1904) pp. 217, 
218, 219, 328, 330-333, 346, 352. 
In various parts of New Guinea it is 



thunder probably explains a certain use which the Dieri, a 
tribe of Central Australia, made of the instrument. When 

sounded at the initiation of young men 
and is carefully concealed from women ; 
the sound is thought to be the voice of a 
spirit. See Rev. J. Chalmers, Pioneer- 
ing in New Guinea (London, 1887), 
p. 85 ; It/., "Toari pi, "yi^Krwrt/ of the 
Anthropological Institute, xx\-iL (1898) 
p. 329 ; Rev, J. Holmes, " Initiation 
Ceremonies of Natives of the Papuan 
Gulf," Journal of the Anthropological 
Institute, xxxii. (1902) pp. 420, 424 
sq. ; O. Schellong, " Das Barlum-fest 
der Gegend Finsch-hafens," Internat- 
ionales Archiv fiir Ethnographie, ii. 
(1889) pp. 150 sq., 154 sq. ; F. 
Grabowsky, "Der Bezirk von Hatz- 
feldthafett und seine Bewohner," Peter- 
manns Mitteilungen, xli. (1895) p. 
189; B. Hagen, Unter den Papua's 
(Wiesbaden, 1899), PP- 188 sq. ; Max 
Krieger, Neu-Guinea (Berlin, preface 
dated 1899), pp. 168 sqq. ; J. Velter, 
in Mitteilungen der Geographischen 
Gesellschaft zu Jena, xi. (1892) p. 
105 ; K. Vetter, in Nachrichten iiber 
Kaiser Wilhelms-Land und den Bis- 
marck- Archipel, jSgj (Berlin), p. 93 ; 
R. Neuhauss, Deutsch Neu - Guinea 
(Berlin, 1911), pp. 36, 297, 403, 406 
sq., 410-412, 494 sqq. ; Otto Reche, 
Der Kaiserin- Augusta- Fluss (Ham- 
burg, 191 3), pp. 349 ^<1<I- (Ergebnisse 
der Siidsee- Expedition igoS-igiO, her- 
ausgegeben von G. Thilenius). It is 
similarly used at the circumcision- 
festivals in the French Islands, to the 
west of New Britain (R. Parkinson, 
Dreissigjahre in der Siidsee, Stuttgart, 
1907, pp. 640 sq.\ and it is employed 
at mysteries or mourning ceremonies 
in Bougainville and other Mclanesian 
Islands. See R. Parkinson, op. cit. 
pp. 658 sq. ; id., Zur Ethnographie 
der Nordwestlichen Salomo Inseln (Ber- 
lin, 1899), p. II ; R. H. Codrington, 
The Melanesians (Oxford, 1891), pp. 
98 sq., 342. .\mong the Minangka- 
bauers of Sumatra the bull - roarer 
{gasifytg) is used by a rejected lover 
to induce the demons to carry off the 
soul of the jilt and so drive her mad. 
It is made of the frontal bone of a 
brave or skilful man, and some of the 

intended victim's hair is attached to it. 
See J. L. van der Toom, " Het ani- 
misme bij den Minangkabauer in der 
Padangsche Bovenlanden," Bijdragen 
tot de Taal- Land- eti Volkenkunde van 
Nederlandsch Indie, xxxix. (1 890) pp. 
55 sq. Among the Yoruba-speaking 
negroes of the Slave Coast in West 
Africa, particularly at Abeokuta, the 
sound of the bull-roarer is supposed to 
be the voice of a great bogey named 
Oro, whose votaries compose a secret 
society under the name of Ogboni. 
When the sound of the bull-roarer is 
heard in the streets, every woman must 
shut herself up in her house and not 
look out of the window under pain of 
death. See R. F. Burton, Abeokuta 
and the Cameroons Mountains (London, 
1863), i. 197 j^.; Missionary Chautard, 
in Annates de la Propagation de la Id, 
iv. (Lyons, 1883) pp. 192-198; Mis- 
sionary Baudin, " Le Fetichisme," Les 
Missions Catholiques, xvi. (1884) p. 
257 ; P. Bouche, La C&te des Esclaves 
et le Dahomey (Paris, 1885), p. 124; 
Mrs. R. B. Batty and Governor Mol- 
oney, " Notes on the Yoruba Country," 
Journal of the Anthropological Institute^ 
xix. (1890) pp. 160-164; A. B. Ellis, 
The Yoruba-speaking Peoples of the 
Slave Coast of IVest Africa (London, 
1894), pp. no sq. ', R. H. Stone, In 
Afric's Forest and Jungle (Edinburgh 
and London, 1900), p. 88 ; L. Fro- 
benius. Die Masken und GeheimbUnde 
Afrikas (Halle, 1898), pp. 95 sqq. 
(Nova Acta, Abh. der Kaiserl. Leop.- 
Carol. Deutsfhen Akademie der Natur- 
forscher, vol. Ixxiv. No. l). Among 
the Nandi of British East Africa and 
the Bushongo of the Congo region bull- 
roarers are sounded by men to frighten 
novices at initiation. See A. C. Hollis, 
The Nandi (Oxford, 1909), pp. 40, 
56 ; E. Torday and T. A. Joyce, Les 
Bushongo (Brussels, 1910), p. 82. 
Among the Caffres of South Africa 
and the Boloki of the Upper Congo 
the bull-roarer is a child's toy, but yet 
is thought to be endowed with magical 
virtue. See below, p. 232 note^. Among 
the Koskimo Indians of British Col- 


Belief of 
the Dieri 
that by 
sounding a 
a newly 
young man 
produces a 
supply of 
snakes and 

a young man had passed through an initiatory rite, which 
consisted in cutting a row of gashes in his back, he was 
given a bull-roarer, and when he went out in search of game, 
he used to twirl the implement in the belief that by doing 
so, while his wounds were still unhealed, he created a good 
harvest of snakes, lizards, and other reptiles, which the 
natives employ as food ; but on the contrary they imagined 
that these supplies of food would be cut off for ever, if a 
woman were to see a bull-roarer which had been swung at 
the rites of initiation/ No doubt these savages, living in a 
parched v/ilderness where the existence of plants and animals 
depends on rare and irregular showers,^ have observed that 

umbia the sound of the bull-roarers is 
supposed to be the voice of a spirit who 
comes to fetch away the novices. See 
Franz Boas, "The Social Organization 
and the Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl 
Indians," Report of the United States 
National Museum (Washington, 1897), 
p. 610. The bull-roarer is used as a 
sacred or magical instrument for the 
making of rain by the Zuni and other 
Pueblo Indians of Arizona and New 
Mexico, also by the Navajos and 
Apaches of the same region, and by 
the Utes of Nevada and Utah. See 
Dr. Washington Matthews, " The 
Mountain Chant, a Navajo Ceremony," 
Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of 
Ethnology (Washington, 1887), pp. 
435i 436 ; Captain J. G. Bourke, 
"The Medicine-men of the Apache," 
Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau 
of Ethnology (Washington, 1892), pp. 
476-479 ; Mrs. Matilda Coxe Steven- 
son, " The Zuiii Indians," Twenty- 
third Report of the Bureau of American 
Ethnology (Washington, 1904), pp. 
115, 117, 128 sq., 175, 177, 355. 
The Guatusos of Costa Rica ascertain 
the will of the deity by listening 
to the humming sound of the bull- 
roarer. See Dr. C. Sapper, " Ein 
Besuch bei den Guatusos in Costarica," 
Globus, Ixxvi. (1899) p. 352 ; id., 
" Beitrage zur Ethnographic des slid- 
lichen Mittelamcrika," Peter/natiiis 
Mitteilungen, xlvii. (1901) p. 36. 
The Caripunas Indians of the Madeira 
River, in Brazil, sound bull-roarers in 

lamentations for the dead. See Franz 
Keller, The Amazon and Madeira 
Rivers (London, 1874), p. 124. The 
Bororo of Brazil also swing bull-roarers 
at their festivals of the dead ; the sound 
of them is the signal for the women to 
hide themselves ; it is believed that 
women and children would die if they 
saw a bull-roarer. See K. von den 
Steinen, Unter den Naturvdlkern Zen- 
tral-Bf-asiliens (Berlin, 1 894), pp. 497- 
499. The Nahuqua and other Brazilian 
tribes use bull-roarers in their masked 
dances, but make no mystery of them. 
See K. von den Steinen, op. cif. pp. 
327 sq. As to the magical use of the 
bull-roarer, see pp. 230 sqq. 

1 A. W. Howitt, "The Dieri and 
other Kindred Tribes of Central Aus- 
Kx^Xva," Journal of the Anthropological 
Institute, xx. (1891) p. 83 ; id.. Native 
Tribes ofSouth-East Australia, p. 660. 
In the latter pass.ige Dr. Howitt omits 
the not unimportant particular that the 
bull-roarer is swung for this purpose by 
the young man before his woutuis are 

2 On the desert nature of Central 
Australia and the magical-like change 
wrought in its fauna and flora by heavy 
rain, see Baldwin Spencer and F. J. 
Gillen, Native Tribes of Central Aus- 
tralia (London, 1899), pp. 4 sq. ; 
Totemism and Exogamy, i. 170 sqq., 
316 sqq., 341 sq. ; J. G. Frazer, 
" Howitt and Fison," Folk-lore, xx. 
(1909) pp. 160, 162 sq., 164. 


the fall of rain is regularly followed by a great and sudden 
increase in the food supply, and that this increase is most 
marked after violent thunder-storms. Hence by making a 
noise like thunder with the help of bull-roarers they probably 
hope, on the principle of imitative magic, to bring on a 
thunder-storm and with it a fertilizing deluge of rain. 

For the same reason in the parched and torrid regions of The 
Arizona and New Mexico the Indians make great use of the used bv the 
bull-roarer in their ceremonies for procuring rain. For ex- Indians 
ample, when Captain Bourke was at the Pueblo Indian village Mexicoand 
of Walpi in the month of August, 1 88 1, he saw the instrument Arizona 

111 < T'l !• • • 1 1 • *o procure 

m use at the snake dance. Ihe medicme-men twirled it rain, 
rapidly, and with a uniform motion, about the head and from 
front to rear, and succeeded in faithfully imitating the sound 
of a gust of rain-laden wind. As explained to me by one 
of the medicine-men, by making this sound they compelled 
the wind and rain to come to the aid of the crops. At a later 
date I found it in use among the Apache, and for the same 
purpose." ^ The Zuiii Indians of New Mexico whirl bull- 
roarers " to create enthusiasm " among the mythical beings 
who are supposed to cause rain, or for the purpose of making 
them gather in the air over the village.^ In a Zuni rain- 
making ceremony, while one medicine- man whirls a bull- 
roarer, another whips up a mixture of water and meal 
into frothy suds symbolic of clouds, and a third plays a flute. 
" All this is an invocation to the gods for rain — the one 
great and perpetual prayer of the people of this arid 
land."^ This supposed connexion of the instrument with 
thunder-storms explains why the Navajos of the same torrid 
country say that the bull-roarer should always be made of 
wood from a pine-tree that has been struck by lightning;* 
and why the Bakairi of Brazil call the unpretentious 

1 Captain J. G. Bourke, " The ^ ^j^^ Matilda Coxe Stevenson, op. 
Medicine-men of the Apache," Ninth cit. p. 175 ; compare «i, pp. 128 sq.. 
Annual Report of the Bureau of Eth- 177. 

tiology (Washington, 1892), pp. 476 * Dr. Washington Matthews, "The 

sq. Navajo Chant," Fifth Annual Report 

2 Mrs. Matilda Coxe Stevenson, of the Bureau of Ethnology (Washing- 
" The Zuni Indians," Twenty -third ton, 1S87), p. 436; compare id., p. 
Annual Report of the Bureau of Ameri- 435, where the sound of the \i\x\\- 
fa« £Mwfl/<7£>' (Washington, 1904), pp. roarer is said to be "like that of a 
11;, x^^. rain storm." 



The bull- 
roarer used 
in Torres 
Islands to 
and good 


of bull- 
roarers by 
young men 
with bleed- 
ing backs 
in Aus- 
seems to 
have been 
a rain- 

instrument by a name that means " thunder and h'ghtning." ^ 
The resemblance of the sound of the bull-roarer to the 
roaring of the wind is doubtless the reason why in the Torres 
Straits Islands wizards whirled bull-roarers in order to make 
the wind to blow,^ and why, when Cafifres wish for calm 
weather, they forbid boys to play with bull-roarers, because 
they think that the booming noise attracts a gale of wind.^ 
Hence, as an instrument whose sound resembles the rumbline 
of thunder, the roar of wind, and the patter of rain, the bull- 
roarer is naturally swung by agricultural savages as a power- 
ful means of promoting the growth of the crops. In the 
island of Kiwai, off the mouth of the Fly River in British 
New Guinea, bull-roarers are whirled in order to ensure a 
good crop of yams, sweet potatoes, and bananas.* Similarly 
the Yabim of German New Guinea imagine that by twirling 
bull-roarers while they mention the names of the dead they 
produce a fine crop of taro.^ 

But why among the Dieri of Central Australia should 
the power of attracting rain and so ensuring a supply of 
food be specially attributed to a young man whose back has 
just been scored and whose wounds are still raw ? Perhaps 
the reason may be that the blood dripping from the gashes 
is thought to resemble rain and therefore to be endowed with 
a magical potency of drawing showers from the clouds. The 
conjecture is confirmed by the observation that the Dieri 
actually do bleed themselves avowedly for the purpose of 
making rain, and they are not the only people in Australia 
and elsewhere who have resorted to this singular mode of 

1 Karl von den Steinen, Unter den 
Natw-volkcni Zciitral-Brasiliens (Ber- 
lin, 1894), p. 328. 

2 Reports 0/ /he Cambricl^^e Anthro- 
pological Expedition to Torres Straits, 
V. (Cambridge, 1904) p. 352. 

^ G. McCall Theal, Kaffir Folk-lore 
(London, 1886), pp. 222 sq. ; id., 
Records of Sonth-Eastern Africa, vii. 
(1901) p. 456; Dudley Kidd, The 
Essential Kafir (London, 1904), p. 
333. For an analogous reason among 
the Boloki of the Upper Congo the 
ciders do not like when boys play 
with bull -roarers, because the sound 
resembles the growl of a leopard and 

will attract these ferocious animals. 
See Rev. John H. Weeks, Among 
Congo Cannibals (London, 1913), p. 

* A.C. \\^<~Wm,Hcad-huntersfilack, 
While, and Brown (London, 1901), p. 
104 ; Ktports of the Cambridge Anthro- 
pological Expedition to Torres Straits, 
V. (Cambridge, 1904) pp. 218, 219; 
Rev. J. Chalmers, " Notes on the 
Natives of Kiwai Island," Journal 0/ 
the Anthropological Institute, xxxiii. 
(1903) p. 119. 

' IL Zahn, "Die Jabim," in R. 
Neuhauss's Deutsch A-eu-Gtiinca (Ber- 
lin, 191 1), iii. 333. 



putting an end to a drought/ Altogether the foregoing 
evidence seems to hint that the whole virtue of the bull- 
roarer resides, as its English name implies, in its voice, and 
that its original significance was simply that of a magical 
instrument for causing thunder, wind, and rain."^ When these 
natural phenomena came to be personified as spirits, the 
sound of the bull-roarer was naturally interpreted as their 

Among the tribes on the Brisbane River in Queensland The 

the weird sound of the bull-roarers swung at initiation was ^^ j,y,j. 

believed by the women and children to be made by the roarer at 

1 . 1 1 • t 1 t 1 • • 1 • initiation is 

Wizards m swallowmg the txjys and bnngmg them up agam believed by 
as young men. The Ualaroi of the Upper Darling River Australian 

.,111 1 1 1 -11 1 1 • 11 1 womenand 

said that the boy met a ghost, who killed him and brought chndren 
him to life again as a youn^j man. Among the natives on to teethe 

° "' ° ° voice of a 

the Lower Lachlan and Murray Rivers it was Thrum.alun spirit, who 
(Daramulun) who was thought to slay and resuscitate the ^^^^ 
novices.^ In the Arunta tribe of Central Australia, at the novices, 
moment when the lads are being circumcised, the bull-roarer 
sounds in the darkness all round the ceremonial ground ; 
and the awestruck women, listening in the distance, believe 
that it is the voice of a spirit called Twanyirika, who lives 
in wild and inaccessible regions and only comes out when a 
youth is initiated. They think that the spirit enters the body 
of the lad after the operation of circumcision has been per- 
formed and carries him away into the bush, keeping him there 
till his wound is healed. While the newly circumcised youth 
is out in the wilds, carefully secluded from the sight of the 
women and children, he constantly sounds the bull-roarer. 
When he has recovered from the wound, the spirit leaves 
him and he returns to camp an initiated, or rather partially 
initiated, man. He has learned, at all events, the secret of 
Twanyirika ; for no sooner is he circumcised than an elder 
brother comes up to him, and placing in his hands a bundle 

* The Magic Art and the Evolution strument is to make thunder, and that 
of Kings, i. 256-258. the idea of making rain is secondary. 

* This appears to be the view also of ' A. W. Howitt, " On Australian 
Professor K. von den Steinen ( Unterden Medicine ^ien" Journal of the Anthro- 
Naturvblkem 2^ntral - Brasiliens, pp. pological Institute, x\t. {1887) pp. 47 
527 j^.), who is probably right in think- sq. ; compare id.. Native Tribes of 
ing that the primary intention of the in- South-East Australia, p. 596. 


of sacred sticks or stones {cJiuriiiga), says, " Here is Twanyirika, 

of whom you have heard so much. They are churinga and 

will help you to heal quickly ; guard them well, or else you 

and your mothers and sisters will be killed." ^ 

In some In this account nothing is said about killing the lad and 

tribes the bringing him to life again ; but a belief in the death and 

women rcsurrcction of the novices at initiation is expressly affirmed 

l>elieve tlin.t 

lads at to be part of the feminine creed in other tribes of Central 
initiation Australia. Thus in the Unmatjera tribe both women and 

are killed ^ _ •' 

and children believe that Twanyirika kills the youth and after- 

brought to ^jjj.(jg brings him to life again during the period of initiation. 

lite again o t> £> r 

by a spirit, The ritcs of initiation in this tribe, as in the other Central 
voicris tribes, comprise the operations of circumcision and sub- 
heard in incision ; and as soon as the second of these has been per- 
orthe^luU- formed on him, the young man receives from his father a 
roarer. sacrcd stick {cJiuringd), with which, he is told, his spirit was 
associated in the remotest past. While he is out in the bush 
recovering from his wounds, he must swing the bull-roarer, 
or a being who lives up in the sky will swoop down and 
carry him off.^ In the Urabunna tribe of Central Australia 
a lad at initiation receives a bull-roarer, the very name of 
which icJiimbaliri) is never heard by women and children. 
They are taught to believe that the sound of it is the voice 
of a spirit called Witurna, who takes the boy away, cuts out 
all his bowels, provides him with a new set, and brings him 
back an initiated youth. The lad is warned that on no 
account may he allow a woman or a child to see the sacred 
stick, else he and his mother and sisters will fall down as 
dead as stones.^ In the Binbinga tribe, on the western coast 
of the Gulf of Carpentaria, the women and children believe 
that the noise of the bull-roarer at initiation is made by a 
spirit named Katajalina, who lives in an ant-hill and comes 

1 Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen, sister, though there need not be a drop 

Native Tribes of Central Australia, p. of blood in common between them, as 

246 note'; id.. Northern Tribes of we count kin. This explains the refer- 

Central Australia (London, 1904), p. ence in the text to a boy's "mothers." 
497. According to the classificatory ^ 3. Spencer and F. J. Gillen, 

system of relationship, which prevails ^^^,^^^ ^y.^-^,, ^j central Australia, 
among all the aborigines of Australia, „ ■' 

a man may have, and generally has, a v\- 6'^ y- > 4y • 

number of women who stand to him in ^ Spencer and Gillen, op. cit. p. 

the relation of mother as well as of 498. 


out and eats up the boy, afterwards restoring him to life.^ 
Similarly among their neighbours the Anula the women 
imagine that the droning sound of the bull-roarer is pro- 
duced by a spirit called Gnabaia, who swallows the lads at 
initiation and afterwards disgorges them in the form of in- 
itiated men. In this tribe, after a lad has been subincised 
as well as circumcised, he is presented with a bull-roarer and 
informed that the instrument was originally made by the 
whirlwind, that it is sacred or tabooed, and that it may 
on no account be shewn to women or children." 

Among the tribes settled on the southern coast of New a drama 
South Wales, of which the Coast Murring tribe may be ^jon^"^' 
regarded as typical, the drama of resurrection from the dead the dead 
was exhibited in a graphic form to the novices at initiation, shewn to 
Before they were privileged to witness this edifying spectacle ^°^j^ »^ 
they had been raised to the dignity of manhood by an old in some 
man, who promoted them to their new status by the simple ^'^^^ 
process of knocking a tooth out of the mouth of each with Wales, 
the help of a wooden chisel and hammer. The ceremony ^- . . 
of the resurrection has been described for us in detail by an descrip- 
eye-witness, the late Dr. A. W. Howitt, one of the best ''°" °^ '^^ 

•' ' ' scene. 

authorities on the customs of the Australian aborigines. 
The scene selected for the sacred drama was the bottom 
of a deep valley, where a sluggish stream wound through a 
bed of tall sharp-edged sedge. Though the hour was between 
ten and eleven o'clock in the morning, the sun had but just 
peeped over the mountains which enclosed the valley like a 
wall on the east ; and while the upper slopes, clothed with 
a forest of tall rowan trees, looked warm and bright in 
sunshine, which shot between the grey stems and under 
the light feathery foliage of the trees, all the bottom of 
the dell was still in deep shadow and dank with the 
moisture of the night's rain. While the novices rested and 
warmed themselves at a crackling fire, the initiated men laid 
their heads together, prepared a stock of decorations made 
of stringy bark, and dug a grave. There was some dis- 
cussion as to the shape of the grave, but the man who was 
to be buried in it decided the question by declaring that he 

* Spencer and Gillen, op. cU. pp. - Spencer and Gillen, op. cit. pp. 

366 sq., 501. 373, 501. 


would be laid in it on his back at full length. He was a 
man of the eagle-hawk totem and belonged to the tribal 
subdivision called Yibai. So while two men under his 
directions were digging the grave with sticks in the friable 
granitic soil, he superintended the costume of the other 
actors in the drama. Sheets of bark were beaten out into 
fleeces of stringy fibre, and in these garments six per- 
formers were clothed from head to foot so that not even 
a glimpse could be obtained of their faces. Four of them 
were tied together by a cord which was fastened to the back 
of their heads, and each of them carried two pieces of bark 
in his hands. The other two walked free, but hobbled along 
bent double and supporting their tottery steps on staves to 
mark the weight of years ; for they played the part of two 
medicine -men of venerable age and great magical power. 
The seem- By this time the grave was ready, and the eagle-hawk man 
ing dead stretched himself in it at full length on a bed of leaves, his 

man m ^ ° ^ ' 

the grave, head resting on a rolled-up blanket, just as if he were a 
corpse. In his two hands, crossed on his chest, he held the 
stem of a young tree {Persoonia linearis), which had been 
pulled up by the roots and now stood planted on his chest, 
so that the top of it rose several feet above the level of the 
ground. A light covering of dried sticks filled the grave, and 
dead leaves, tufts of grass, and small plants were artistically 
arranged over them so as to complete the illusion. All 
being now ready, the novices were led by their sisters' 
husbands to the grave and placed in a row beside it, while 
a singer, perched on the trunk of a fallen tree at the head of 
the grave, crooned a melancholy ditty, the song of Yibai. 
Though the words of the song consisted merely of a monot- 
onous repetition of the words Burrin-burrin Yibai, that is, 
Stringy-bark Yibai, they were understood to refer to the 
eagle- hawk totem, as well as to the tribal subdivision of the 
buried man. Then to the slow, plaintive but well-marked 
air of the song the actors began to move forward, winding 
among the trees, logs, and rocks. On came the four disguised 
men, stepping in time to the music, swaying from side to 
side, and clashing their bark clappers together at every step, 
while beside them hobbled the two old men keeping a little 
aloof to mark their superior dignity. They represented a 


party of medicine -men, guided by two reverend seniors, 

who had come on pilgrimage to the grave of a brother 

medicine-man, him of the eagle-hawk totem, who lay buried 

here in the lonely valley, now illumined by the warm rays 

of the sun ; for by this time the morning was wearing on 

to noon. When the little procession, chanting an invocation 

to Daramulun, had defiled from among the rocks and trees 

into the open, it drew up on the side of the grave opposite 

to the novices, the two old men taking up a position in the 

rear of the dancers. For some time the dance and song Theresur- 

went on till the tree that seemed to grow from the grave ^^"^^^ 

began to quiver. " Look there ! " cried the sisters' hus- grave. 

bands to the novices, pointing to the trembling leaves. 

As they looked, the tree quivered more and more, then was 

violently agitated and fell to the ground, while amid 

the excited dancing of the dancers and the chanting of 

the tuneful choir the supposed dead man spurned from 

him the superincumbent mass of sticks and leaves, and 

springing to his feet danced his magic dance in the grave 

itself, and exhibited in his mouth the magic substances 

which he was supposed to have received from Daramulun 

in person.^ 

In some tribes of Central and Northern Australia the in some 
initiation of a medicine -man into the mysteries of his bribes a 
craft is supposed to be accomplished by certain spirits, medidne- 
who kill him, cut out his internal organs, and having pro- initiation 
vided him with a new set bring him to life again. Some- "^ thought 

to be killed 

times the spirits kindly replace the man's human organs by and raised 
their own spiritual organs ; sometimes along with the new ^^^ ^^^^^ 
organs they insert magical stones in his body or even a 
serpent, and the stones or the serpents naturally endow the 
new wizards with marvellous powers. In some tribes the 
initiation takes place in a cave, where the spirits dwell. 
After the man has been restored to life with a new heart, 
a new pair of lungs, and so forth, he returns to his people 
in a more or less dazed condition, which his friends may at 
first mistake for insanity, though afterwards they recognize 

' A. W. Howitt, Native Tribes of Ceremonies of Initiation," Journal of 
Sottth'East Australia, pp. 554-556. the Anthropologiral Institute, xiiL 
Compare id., "On some Australian (1884) pp. 453 J^. 


its true character as inspiration.^ One eminent medical 
practitioner in the Unmatjera tribe assured Messrs. Spencer 
and Gillen that when he came to himself after the operation, 
which in his case was performed by an aged doctor, he had 
completely forgotten who he was and all about his past life. 
After a time his venerable friend led him back to the camp 
and shewed it to him, and said, " That woman there is your 
wife," for she had gone clean out of his head.^ We shall 
see presently that this temporary oblivion, a natural effect 
of the shock to the nervous system produced by resuscita- 
tion from the dead, is characteristic of novices under similar 
circumstances in other lands. Among the Arunta of Alice 
Springs the cave where the mystic initiation takes place is 
a limestone cavern in a range of hills which rises to the 
north of the wide level expanse known as the Emily plain. 
None of the ordinary natives would dare to set foot in the 
awful grotto, which they believe to extend for miles into the 
bowels of the earth and to be tenanted by certain ancestral 
spirits, who live there in perpetual sunshine and amid streams 
of running water, an earthly paradise by contrast with the 
arid sun -scorched steppes and barren mountains outside. 
White men have explored the cave, and if they perceived 
no spirits, they found bats in plenty. The man who aspires 
to the rank of a wizard lies down at the mouth of the 
cave and falls asleep ; and as he sleeps one of the ancestral 
spirits steals up to him and drives an invisible spear through 
his neck from back to front. The point of the spear comes 
out through the man's tongue, leaving a hole through which 
you could put your little finger, and this hole the man 
retains for the rest of his natural life, or at least so long as 
he retains his magical powers ; for if the hole should close 
up, these spiritual gifts and graces would depart from him. 
A second thrust from the invisible spear transfixes the man's 
head from ear to ear ; he drops down dead, and is immedi- 
ately transported into the depths of the cavern, where the 
spirits dissect his dead body, extract the old viscera, and 

1 B. Spencer and F. J. Gillen, ^'i'j , i,%% ; id. , Across Australia {\^o\\- 

Native Tribes of Central Australia, don, 19 12), ii. 334 sqq. 
PP- 523-525 ; id.. Northern Tribes of ^ Spencer and Gillen, Northern 

Central Australia, 480 sq., 484, 485, Tribes 0/ Central Australia, •p'p. <\%osq. 


replace them with a new set in the manner already de- 

In this account of the manner in which medicine-men Notable 
obtain their magical powers not only are the supposed death t^'^^ja" 
and resurrection of the novice worthy of attention, but also tion of 
the exchange of internal organs which in the Binbinga and niedkine- 
Mara tribes is supposed to be effected between the man men. 
and the spirit ; "" for this exchange resembles that which, on 
the theory I have suggested, may be thought to take place 
between a lad and his totem at the ceremonies of initiation 
which mark the momentous transition from boyhood to 
manhood. Further, the bodily mutilation which is the 
visible sign of the medicine-man's initiation (for however 
the hole may be made it certainly exists in the tongues of 
regular Arunta practitioners) corresponds to the bodily 
mutilations of other sorts, which in many savage tribes 
attest to the world that the mutilated persons are fullgrown 
men. What the precise meaning of such mutilations may 
be, still remains very obscure ; but they seem in some cases 
to be directly associated with the conception of death and 

This association certainly comes out plainly in the rites R'tes of 
of initiation through which in some parts of New Guinea ^^^g tribes 
all lads must pass before they attain to the status of adults, of German 
The rites are observed by a group of tribes who occupy Guinea, 
contiguous territories about Finsch Harbour and Huon 
Gulf in German New Guinea. The tribes in question are 
the Yabim, the Bukaua, the Kai, and the Tami. All of 
them except the Kai belong to the Melanesian stock and 
are therefore presumably immigrants from the adjoining 
islands ; but the Kai, who inhabit the rugged, densely 
wooded, and rainy mountains inland from Finsch Harbour, 
belong to the aboriginal Papuan stock and differ from their 
neighbours in speech as well as in appearance. Yet the 

^ F. J. Gillen, "Notes on some F.J. Gillen, Native Tribes of Central 

Manners and Customs of the Abori- Australia (London, 1899), pp. 523 

gines of the McDonnel Ranges belong- sq.; id.. Across Australia (London, 

ing to the Arunta Tribe," in Report on 1912), ii. 335. 

the Work of the Horn Scientiju: Expedi- ^ B. Spencer and F. J. Gillen, 

tion to Central Australia^ Part iv. Northern Tribes of Central Australia, 

.^«/^/£7/^/(705' (London and Melbourne, pp. 487,488; id.. Across Australia^ 

1896), pp. 180 sg. ; B. Spencer and ii. 481 sg. 



to be 
and dis- 
gorged by 
a monster, 
voice is 
heard in 
the hum 
of the bull- 

rites of initiation which all these tribes celebrate and the 
beliefs which they associate with them are so similar that 
a single description will apply accurately enough to them all. 
All of them, like many Australian tribes, require every male 
member of the tribe to be circumcised before he ranks as 
a full-grown man ; and the tribal initiation, of which circum- 
cision is the central feature, is conceived by them, as by 
some Australian tribes, as a process of being swallowed and 
disgorged by a mythical monster, whose voice is heard in 
the humming sound of the bull-roarer. Indeed the New 
Guinea tribes not only impress this belief on the minds 
of women and children, but enact it in a dramatic form 
at the actual rites of initiation, at which no woman or un- 
initiated person may be present. For this purpose a hut 
about a hundred feet long is erected either in the village or 
in a lonely part of the forest. It is modelled in the shape 
of the mythical monster ; at the end which represents his 
head it is high, and it tapers away at the other end. A 
betel-palm, grubbed up with the roots, stands for the back- 
bone of the great being and its clustering fibres for his 
hair ; and to complete the resemblance the butt end of the 
building is adorned by a native artist with a pair of goggle 
eyes and a gaping mouth. When after a tearful parting 
from their mothers and women folk, who believe or pretend 
to believe in the monster that swallows their dear ones, the 
awe-struck novices are brought face to face with this im- 
posing structure, the huge creature emits a sullen growl, 
which is in fact no other than the humming note of bull- 
roarers swung by men concealed in the monster's belly. 
The actual process of deglutition is variously enacted. 
Among the Tami it is represented by causing the candi- 
dates to defile past a row of men who hold bull-roarers over 
their heads ; among the Kai it is more graphically set forth 
by making them pass under a scaffold on which stands a 
man, who makes a gesture of swallowing and takes in fact 
a gulp of water as each trembling novice passes beneath 
him. But the present of a pig, opportunely offered for the 
redemption of the youth, induces the monster to relent and 
disgorge his victim ; the man who represents the monster 
accepts the gift vicariously, a gurgling sound is heard, and 


the water which had just been swallowed descends in a jet on 
the novice. This signifies that the young man has been 
released from the monster's belly. However, he has now 
to undergo the more painful and dangerous operation of 
circumcision. It follows immediately, and the cut made by 
the knife of the operator is explained to be a bite or scratch 
which the monster inflicted on the novice in spewing him out 
of his capacious maw. While the operation is proceeding, a 
prodigious noise is made by the swinging of bull-roarers to 
represent the roar of the dreadful being who is in the act 
of swallowing the young men. 

When, as sometimes happens, a lad dies from the effect The 
of the operation, he is buried secretly in the forest, and his ^*^ 
sorrowing mother is told that the monster has a pig's novices 
stomach as well as a human stomach, and that unfortunately ftialL'n." 
her son slipped into the wrong stomach, from which it was 
impossible to extricate him. After they have been circum- 
cised the lads must remain for some months in seclusion, 
shunning all contact with women and even the sight of 
them. They live in the long hut which represents the 
monster's belly ; among the Yabim they beguile the tedium 
of this enforced leisure by weaving baskets and playing on 
certain sacred flutes, which are never used except on these 
occasions. The instruments are of two patterns. One is 
called the male and the other the female ; and they are 
believed to be married to each other. No woman may see 
these mysterious flutes ; if she did, she would die. When 
the long seclusion is over, the lads, now ranking as initiated 
men, are brought back with great pomp and ceremony to 
the village, where they are received with sobs and tears of 
joy by the women, as if the grave had given up its dead. 
At first the young men keep their eyes rigidly closed or 
even sealed with a plaster of chalk, and they appear not 
to understand the words of command which are given them 
by an elder. Gradually, however, they come to themselves 
as if awaking from a stupor, and next day they bathe and 
wash off the crust of white chalk with which their bodies 
had been coated.^ 

* As to the initiatory rites among richten iiber Kaiser Wilhelms - Land 
the Yabim, see K. Vetter, in Nach- und den Bismarck- Arcktpel, 1897, 
PT. vn. VOL. II R 




who is 
to swallow 
the novices 
is appar- 
ently con- 
ceived as a 
ghost or 

It is highly significant that all these tribes of New 
Guinea apply the same word to the bull-roarer and to the 
monster, who is supposed to swallow the novices at circum- 
cision, and whose fearful roar is represented by the hum of 
the harmless wooden instruments. The word in the speech 
of the Yabim and Bukaua is balum \ in that of the Kai it 
is ngosa ; and in that of the Tami it is kani. Further, it 
deserves to be noted that in three languages out of the four 
the same word which is applied to the bull-roarer and to the 
monster means also a ghost or spirit of the dead, while in 
the fourth language (the Kai) it signifies " grandfather." 
From this it seems to follow that the being who swallows 
and disgorges the novices at initiation is believed to be a 
powerful ghost or ancestral spirit, and that the bull-roarer, 
which bears his name, is his material representative. That 
would explain the jealous secrecy with which the sacred imple- 
ment is kept from the sight of women. While they are not 
in use, the bull-roarers are stowed away in the men's club- 
houses, which no woman may enter ; indeed no woman or 
uninitiated person may set eyes on a bull-roarer under pain 
of death.^ Similarly among the Tugeri or Kaya-Kaya, a 
large Papuan tribe on the south coast of Dutch New 

pp. 92 sq.; id., in Afitteilungen der 
Geographischen Gesellschajl zu Jena, 
xi. (1892) p. 105 ; id., Komm heriiber 
und hilf U71S ! ii. (Barmen, 1898) p. 
18; id., cited by M. Krieger, Neu- 
Giiinea (Berlin, preface dated 1899), 
pp. 167-170; O. Schellong, "Das 
Barium - fest der Gegend Finsch- 
hafens," Inlernationales Archiv fUr 
Ethnographic, ii. (1889) pp. 145-162 ; 
H. Zahn, "Die Jabim," in R. Ncu- 
hauss's Dcutsch Neu-Guinea (Berlin, 
191 1), iii. 296-298. As to the initi- 
atory rites among the Bukaua, see S. 
Lehner, " Bukaua," in R. Neuhauss's 
Deutsch Neii-Gtiinea, iii. 402-410; 
among the Kai, see Ch. Keysser, 
*' Aus dem Kai-Leute," ibid. pp. 34- 
40 ; among the Tami, see G. Bamler, 
"Tami," ibid. pp. 493-507. I have 
described the rites of the various tribes 
more in detail in The Belief in Immor- 
tality and the Worshipoftlu Dead,\. 250- 
255, 260 sq., 290 sq., 301 sq. In the 

Bukaua and Tami tribes the initiation 
ceremonies are performed not in the 
forest but in a special house built for 
the purpose in the village, which the 
women are obliged to vacate till the 
rites are over. 

1 The Belief in Immortality and the 
Worship of the Dead, i. 250, 251, 255, 
261, 290 sq., 301. Among the 
Bukaua not only does the bull-roarer 
bear the general name for a ghost 
(balum), but each particular bull-roarer 
bears in addition the name of a par- 
ticular dead man, and varies in dignity 
and importance with the dignity and 
importance of the deceased person 
whom it represents. And l^esides the 
big bull-roarers with gruft" voices there 
are little bull-roarers with shrill voices, 
which represent the shrill-voiced wives 
of the ancient heroes. See S. Lehner, 
" Bukaua," in R. Neuhauss's Deutsch 
Neu-Guinea, iii. 410-412. 


Guinea, the name of the bull-roarer, which they call sosovi, 
is given to a mythical giant, who is supposed to appear 
every year with the south-east monsoon. When he comes, 
a festival is held in his honour and bull- roarers are swung. 
Boys are presented to the giant, and he kills them, but 
considerately brings them to life again,^ 

In certain districts of Viti Levu, the largest of the Fijian The drama 
Islands, the drama of death and resurrection used to be off^^ 

' _ and resur- 

acted with much solemnity before the eyes of young men at rection 
initiation. The ceremonies were performed in certain sacred ^^j^ ^. 
precincts of oblong shape, enclosed by low walls or rows of fore young 
stones but open to the sky. Such a precinct was called a i^fttadonin 
Nanga, and it might be described as a temple dedicated to some parts 
the worship of ancestors ; for in it sacrifices and prayers ° '^^ 
were offered to the ancestral spirits. For example, the first- 
fruits of the yam harvest were regularly presented with great 
ceremony to the souls of the dead in the temple before the 
bulk of the crop was dug for the people's use, and no man 
might taste of the new yams until this solemn offering had 
been made. The yams so offered were piled up in the sacred 
enclosure and left to rot there ; if any man were so bold as 
to eat of these dedicated fruits, it was believed that he would 
go mad." Any initiated man had the right of approaching 
the ancestral spirits at any time in their holy place, where 
he would pray to them for help and protection and propitiate 
them by laying down his offering of a pig, or yams, or eels, 
or cloth, or what not.^ Of these offerings perhaps the most 
curious was that of the foreskins of young men, who were 
circumcised as a sort of vicarious sacrifice or atonement for 

1 R. Poch, "Vierter Bericht iiber tukia), who inhabited a comparatively 

meine Reise nach Neu-Guinea," Sitz- small area, barely a third, of the 

ungsberichte der mathemcUischtn- island of Viti Levu. As to the insti- 

yiaturwissenschaftlichen Klasse der tution in general, see Rev. Lorimer 

Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissen- Fison, op. cit. pp. 14-31 ; A. B. 

schaften (Vienna), cxv. (1906) Ab- Joske, "The Nanga of Viti-levu," 

teilung i. pp. 901, 902. ItitemationaUs Archiv fiir Ethno- 

- Rev. Lorimer Fison, ^^Tac Nanga graphic, ii. (1889) pp. 254-266; Basil 

or Sacred Stone Enclosure of Waini- Thomson, 7'A^/^^ya«J (London, 1908), 

mala, Fiji," Journal of the Anthropo- pp. 146-157. Compare The Belief in 

logical Institute, xiv. (1885) p. 27. Immortality and the Worship of the 

The Nanga or sacred enclosure of Dead, i. 427-438. 
stones, with its sacred rites, was known 

only to certain tribes of Fiji (the Nuy- ^ Rev. Lorimer Fison, op. cit. p. 

aloa, Vatusila, Mbatiwai, and Mdavu- 26 ; Basil Thomson, op. cit. 147. 



tion of the 

the recovery of a sick relative, it might be either their father 
or one of their father's brothers. The bloody foreskins, stuck 
in the cleft of a split reed, were presented to the ancestral 
gods in the temple by the chief priest, who prayed for the 
sick man's recovery.^ The temple or sacred enclosure was 
divided into two or three compartments by cross walls of 
stones, and the inmost of these compartments was the Nanga- 
tambu-tambu, or Holy of Holies.^ 

In these open-air temples of the dead the ceremony of 
initiating young men was performed as a rule every year at 
the end of October or the beginning of November, which 
was the commencement of the Fijian New Year ; hence the 
novices who were initiated at that season went by the name 
of Vilavou or New Year's Men. The exact time for cele- 
brating the rite was determined by the flowering of the 
ndrala tree {Erythrind) ; but it roughly coincided with the 
New Year of the Tahitians and Hawaiians, who dated the 
commencement of the year by observation of the Pleiades. 
The highlanders of Fiji, who alone celebrated these rites, did 
not trouble their heads about the stars.^ As a preparation 

^ Rev. Lorimer Fison, op. cit. pp. 27 
sq. The phrase "the ancestral gods" 
is used by Mr. Fison, one of our best 
authorities on Fijian religion. Mr. 
Basil Thomson {pp. cit. p. 157) 
questions the accuracy of Mr. Fison's 
account of this vicarious sacrifice on 
the ground that every youth was regu- 
larly circumcised as a matter of course. 
But there seems to be no inconsistency 
between the two statements. While 
custom required that every youth should 
be circumcised, the exact time for per- 
forming the ceremony need not have 
been rigidly prescribed ; and if a sav- 
ing or atoning virtue was attributed to 
the sacrifice of foreskins, it might be 
thouglit desirable in cases of emergency, 
such as serious illness, to anticipate it 
for the benefit of the sufferer. 

2 According to Mr. Fison, the en- 
closure was divided into three com- 
partments ; Mr. Basil Thomson de- 
scribes only two, though by speaking 
of one of them as the "Middle 
Nanga " he seems to imply that there 
were three. The structure was a rough 

parallelogram lying east and west, 
about a hundred feet long by fifty feet 
broad, enclosed by walls or rows of 
stone slabs embedded endwise in the 
earth. See Basil Thomson, op. cit. 
pp. 147 sq. 

3 A. B. Joske, "The Nanga ofViti- 
levu," Internationales Archivfiir Eth- 
nop-aphie, ii. (1889) p. 259; Basil 
Thomson, The Fijians, pp. 150 sq. 
According to Mr. Fison (op. cit. p. 19) 
the initiatory ceremonies were held as 
a rule only every second year ; but he 
adds: "This period, however, is not 
necessarily restricted to two years. 
There are always a number of youths 
who are growing to the proper age, 
and the length of the interval depends 
upon the decision of the elders." Per- 
haps the seeming discrepancy between 
our authorities on this point may be ex- 
plained by Mr. Joske's statement (p. 
259) that the rites are held in alternate 
years by two different sets of men, the 
Kai Vesina and the Kai Rukuruku, 
both of whom claim to be descended 
from the original founders of the rites. 


for the solemnity the heads of the novices were shaved and 
their beards, if they had any, were carefully eradicated. On 
four successive days they went in procession to the temple 
and there deposited in the Holy of Holies their offerings of 
cloth and weapons to the ancestral spirits. But on the fifth 
and great day of the festival, when they again entered the 
sacred ground, they beheld a sight which froze their souls 
with horror. Stretched on the ground was a row of dead or The mimic 
seemingly dead and murdered men, their bodies cut open ^^^ 
and covered with blood, their entrails protruding. At the 
further end sat the High Priest, regarding them with a 
stony glare, and to reach him the trembling novices had 
to crawl on hands and knees over the ghastly blood- 
bedabbled corpses that lay between. Having done so they 
drew up in a line before him Suddenly he blurted out a The mimic 
piercing yell, at which the counterfeit dead men started to "■esurrec- 
their feet and ran down to the river to cleanse themselves 
from the blood and guts of pigs with which they were 
beslobbered. The High Priest now unbent his starched 
dignity, and skipping from side to side cried in stridulous 
tones, " Where are the people of my enclosure ? Are they 
gone to Tonga Levu ? Are they gone to the deep sea ? " 
He was soon answered by a deep-mouthed chant, and back 
from the river marched the dead men come to life, clean, 
fresh, and garlanded, swaying their bodies in time to the 
music of their solemn hymn. They took their places in 
front of the novices and a religious silence ensued. Such 
was the drama of death and resurrection. It was immedi- Thesacra- 
ately followed by a sacramental meal. Four old men of ™^^ 
the highest order of initiates now entered the Holy of 
Holies. The first bore a cooked yam carefully wrapt up in 
leaves so that no part of it should touch the hands of the 
bearer : the second carried a piece of baked pork similarly 
enveloped : the third held a drinking-cup full of water and 
wrapt round with native cloth ; and the fourth bore a 
napkin of the same stuff. The first elder passed along the 
row of novices putting the end of the yam into each of their 

The custom of dating the New Year nesians. See The Spirits of the Com 
by observation of the Pleiades was and of the Wild, i. 312 jy. 
apparently universal among the Poly- 


mouths, and as he did so each of them nibbled a morsel of 

the sacred food : the second elder did the same with the 

hallowed pork : the third elder followed with the holy 

water, with which each novice merely wetted his lips ; and 

the fourth elder wiped all their mouths with his napkin. 

Then the high priest or one of the elders addressed the 

young men, warning them solemnly against the sacrilege of 

betraying to the profane vulgar any of the high mysteries 

which they had witnessed, and threatening all such traitors 

The inten- with the vcngcancc of the gods. The general intention of the 

rite^*^'^^^ initiatory rites seems to have been to introduce the young 

men to the worshipful spirits of the dead at their temple, 

and to cement the bond between them by a sacramental 


Initiatory The pcoplc of Rook, an island between New Guinea and 

nte in the jsj^^ Britain, hold festivals at which one or two disguised men, 

island of ' & > 

Rook: their heads covered with wooden masks, go dancing through 

thaMhT ^^^ village, followed by all the other men. They demand 

novices are that the circumcised boys who have not yet been swallowed 

by^the^^ by Marsaba (the devil) shall be given up to them. The 

devil. boys, trembling and shrieking, are delivered to them, and 

must creep between the legs of the disguised men. Then 

the procession moves through the village again, and 

announces that Marsaba has eaten up the boys, and will 

not disgorge them till he receives a present of pigs, taro, 

and so forth. So all the villagers, according to their means, 

contribute provisions, which are then consumed in the name 

Secret of Marsaba.^ In New Britain all males are members of an 

theDuk-'^ association called the Duk-duk. The boys are admitted to 

dukinNew it very young, but are not fully initiated till their fourteenth 

year, when they receive from the Tubuvan or Tubuan a 

^ Rev. Lorimer Fison, op. cit. pp. cated by their shaven heads — they 

20-23 ; ^- ^' Joske, op. cit. pp. 264 were presented to the ancestors, and 

sq. ; Basil Thomson, The Fijiaiis, pp. their acceptance was notified by what 

^50- 1 53- The sacramental character (looking at the matter from the 

of the meal is recognized by Mr. Fison, natives' standpoint) we might, without 

who says (p. 23) that after the per- irreverance, almost call the scurament 

formance of the rites the novices "are of food and water, too sacred even for 

now Vtlavdu, accepted members of the the elders' hands to touch." 

Nanga, qualified to take their place ^ Paul Reina, *' Ueber die Bewoh- 

among the men of the community, ner der Insel Rook," Zeitschrift fur 

* though still only on probation. As all^etneine Erdkiiiide, 'H.Y., 'w. (1858) 

children — their cliildhood being indi- pp. 356 sq. 


terrible blow with a cane, which is supposed to kill them. Xovices 
The Tubuan and the Duk-duk are two disguised men who tote^Ued. 
represent cassowaries. They dance with a short hopping 
step in imitation of the cassowary. Each of them wears a 
huge hat like an extinguisher, woven of grass or palm- 
fibres ; it is six feet high, and descends to the wearer's 
shoulders, completely concealing his head and face. From 
the neck to the knees the man's body is hidden by a crino- 
line made of the leaves of a certain tree fastened on hoops, 
one above the other. The Tubuan is regarded as a female, 
the Duk-duk as a male. The former is supposed to breed The new 
and give birth to the novices, who are accordingly looked 
upon as newly born. The female masks are very plain 
compared with the male masks. Two of them are regularly 
kept from year to year in order that they may annually 
breed new Duk-duks. When they are wanted for this purpose 
they are brought forth, decorated afresh, and provided with 
new leaf dresses to match. According to one account, women 
and children may not look upon one of these disguised men 
or they would die. So strong is this superstition among 
them that they will run away and hide as soon as they hear 
him coming, for they are aware of his approach through a 
peculiar shrieking noise he utters as he goes along. In the 
district of Berara, where red is the Duk-duk colour, the mere 
sight of a red cloth is enough to make the women take to 
their heels. The common herd are not allowed to know 
who the masker is. If he stumbles and his hat falls to the 
ground, disclosing his face, or his crinoline is torn to tatters 
by the bushes, his attendants immediately surround him to 
hide his person from the vulgar eye. According to one 
writer, indeed, the performer who drops his mask, or lets it 
fall so that the sharp point at the top sticks in the ground, 
is put to death. The institution of the Duk-duk is common 
to the neighbouring islands of New Ireland and the Duke 
of York.i 

* R. Parkinson, Im Bismarck IrtXanA" Journal of the Royal Geogra- 

ArcMpil (hei^ic, 18S7), pp. 129-134; phical Society, xlvii. (1878) pp. \\%sq.-, 

id. Dreissig Jahre in der Siidsee H. H. Romilly, "The Islands of the 

(Stuttgart, 1907), pp. 567 sqq. ; Rev. New Britain Group," Proceedings of 

G. Brown, "Notes on the Duke of the Royal Geographical Society, N.S., 

York Group, New Britain, and New ix. (18S7) pp. 115^. ; Rev. G. Brown, 


Initiatory Among the Galelarcese and Tobelorese of Halmahera, 

Haima- ^" island to the west of New Guinea, boys go through a form 
hera: pre- of initiation, part of which seems to consist in a pretence of 
i^getting begetting them anew. When a number of boys have reached 
the novices the proper age, their parents agree to celebrate the ceremony 
at their common expense, and they invite others to be present 
at it. A shed is erected, and two long tables are placed in 
it, with benches to match, one for the men and one for the 
women. When all the preparations have been made for a 
feast, a great many skins of the rayfish, and some pieces of 
a wood which imparts a red colour to water, are taken to the 
shed. A priest or elder causes a vessel to be placed in the 
sight of all the people, and then begins, with significant 
gestures, to rub a piece of the wood with the ray-skin. The 
powder so produced is put in the vessel, and at the same 
time the name of one of the boys is called out. The same 
proceeding is repeated for each boy. Then the vessels are 
filled with water, after which the feast begins. At the third 
cock-crow the priest smears the faces and bodies of the boys 
with the red water, which represents the blood shed at the 
perforation of the hymen. Towards daybreak the boys are 
taken to the wood, and must hide behind the largest trees. 
The men, armed with sword and shield, accompany them, 
dancing and singing. The priest knocks thrice on each of 
the trees behind which a boy is hiding. All day the boys 
stay in the wood, exposing themselves to the heat of the sun 
as much as possible. In the evening they bathe and return 
to the shed, where the women supply them with food.^ 

ibid.\). 17; id., Melanesians and Poly- The inhabitants of these islands are 

nesians (London, 19 10), pp. 60 sqq. ; divided into two exogamous classes, 

W. Powell, Wandermgs in a Wild which in the Duke of York Island have 

Country (London, 1883), pp. 60-66; two insects for their totems. One of 

C. Hager, Kaiser Wilhehti's Land und the insects is the mantis religiosus ; the 

der Bismarck Archipel (Leipsic, N.D. ), other is an insect that mimics the leaf 

pp. 1 1 5- 1 28; Hubner, quoted by W. of the horse-chestnut tree very closely. 

H. Dall, "On masks, labrets, and See Rev. H. Danks, "Marriage Customs 

certain aboriginal customs," Third of the New Britain Group, "yiswrwa/ ^ 

Annual Report of the Bureau of Eth- the Anthropological Institute, xviii. 

nology (Washington, 1884), p. 100; (1889) pp. 281.?^.; Totemism and 

P. A. Kleintitschen, Die Kiistenbewoh- Exogamy, ii. 1 18 sqq. 
ner der Gazellehalbinsel (Hiltrup bei 

Miinster, n.d.), pp. 350 sqq.', H. ^ J. G. F. Riedel, " Galela und 

Schurtz, Altersklassen und Miinner- Tobeloresen," Zeitschrift fiir Ethno- 

biinde (Berlin, 1902), pp. 369-377. logie, xvii. (1885) pp. 81 sq. 



In the west of Ceram boys at puberty are admitted to The 
the Kakian association.^ Modern writers have commonly associauon 
regarded this association as primarily a political league in- in Ceram. 
stituted to resist foreign domination. In reality its objects 
are purely religious and social, though it is possible that the 
priests may have occasionally used their powerful influence 
for political ends. The society is in fact merely one of those 
widely-diffused primitive institutions, of which a chief object 
is the initiation of young men. In recent years the true 
nature of the association has been duly recognized by the 
distinguished Dutch ethnologist, J. G. F. Riedel. The Kakian 
house is an oblong wooden shed, situated under the darkest 
trees in the depth of the forest, and is built to admit so little 
light that it is impossible to see what goes on in it Every 
village has such a house. Thither the boys who are to be The rite of 
initiated are conducted blindfold, followed by their parents '^"1^'°° of 
and relations. Each boy is led by the hand by two men, killing the 
who act as his sponsors or guardians, looking after him 
during the period of initiation. When all are assembled 
before the shed, the high priest calls aloud upon the devils. 
Immediately a hideous uproar is heard to proceed from the 
shed. It is made by men with bamboo trumpets, who have 
been secretly introduced into the building by a back door, 
but the women and children think it is made by the devils, 

^ The Kakian association and its van Hoevell, Ambon en meer bepaal- 

initiatory ceremonies have often been cUlijk <U Oeliasers (Dordrecht, 1875), 

described. See Francois Valentyn, PP-I53^^?-; Schulze, " Ueber Ceram 

Oud en nieuw Oost-IndUn (Dordrecht and seine Bewohner," Verhandlungen 

and Amsterdam, 1724-1726), iii. 3 sq. ; der Berliner Geselhchaft fiir Anthro- 

Von Schmid, " Het Kakihansch Ver- pologie, Ethnologie, und Urgeschichte 

bond op het eiland Ceram," Tijdsckrift (1877), p. 117; \V. Joest, " Beitrage 

Tocr Neerlands Indie (Batavia, 1843), zur Kenntniss der Eingebomen der 

dl. ii. pp. 25-38; A. van Ekris, "Het Insel Formosa und Ceram," ibid 

Ceramsche Kakianverbond," iiy^<&^^/- (1882) p. 64; H. von Rosenberg, 

ingen van ivege het Nederlandsche Zen- Der Alalayische Archipel (Leipsic, 

delinggenootschap, ix. (1865) pp. 205- 1878), p. 318 ; A. Bastian, Indo- 

2i(i (repeated with slight changes in nesien, i. (Berlin, 1884) pp. 145-148 ; 

TijJschrifi voor Indische Taal- Land- J. G. F. Riedel, De sluik- en kroes- 

en Volkenkttnde, xvL (1867) pp. 290- harige rassen tusschen Selebes en Papua 

315); P. Foiirnier, " De Zuidkust van (The Hague, 1886), pp. 107- iii; 

Ceram," Tijdsckrift voor Indische O. D. Tauern, " Ceram," Zeitschrift 

Taal- Land- en Volkenkunde, xvi. y/» Z"M«^/<7§7>, xlv. (1913) pp. 167 sq. 

(1867) pp. 154-156; W. A. van Rees, Thebestaccountsare those of Valentyn, 

Die Pianniers der Beschaving in Von Schmid, Van Ekris, Van Rees, 

Neerlands Indie (Amheim, 1867), and Riedel, which axe accordingly fol- 

pp. 92-106 ; G. W. W. C. Baron lowed in the text 



and are much terrified. Then the priests enter the shed, 
followed by the boys, one at a time. As soon as each boy 
has disappeared within the precincts, a dull chopping sound 
is heard, a fearful cry rings out, and a sword or spear, dripping 
with blood, is thrust through the roof of the shed. This is a 
token that the boy's head has been cut off, and that the devil 
has carried him away to the other world, there to regenerate 
and transform him. So at sight of the bloody sword the 
mothers weep and wail, crying that the devil has murdered 
their children. In some places, it would seem, the boys are 
pushed through an opening made in the shape of a crocodile's 
jaws or a cassowary's beak, and it is then said that the devil 
has swallowed them. The boys remain in the shed for five 
or nine days. Sitting in the dark, they hear the blast of the 
bamboo trumpets, and from time to time the sound of musket 
shots and the clash of swords. Every day they bathe, and 
their faces and bodies are smeared with a yellow dye, to give 
them the appearance of having been swallowed by the devil. 
During his stay in the Kakian house each boy has one 
or two crosses tattooed with thorns on his breast or arm. 
When they are not sleeping, the lads must sit in a crouch- 
ing posture without moving a muscle. As they sit in a row 
cross-legged, with their hands stretched out, the chief takes 
his trumpet, and placing the mouth of it on the hands of 
each lad, speaks through it in strange tones, imitating the 
voice of the spirits. He warns the lads, under pain of death, 
to observe the rules of the Kakian society, and never to 
reveal what has passed in the Kakian house. The novices 
are also told by the priests to behave well to their blood 
relations, and are taught the traditions and secrets of the 
The resur- Meantime the mothers and sisters of the lads have gone 
irl!^"i°^e home to weep and mourn. But in a day or two the men 

the novices. ^ ■' 

who acted as guardians or sponsors to the novices return 
to the village with the glad tidings that the devil, at the 
intercession of the priests, has restored the lads to life. The 
men who bring this news come in a fainting state and 
daubed with mud, like messengers freshly arrived from the 
nether world. Before leaving the Kakian house, each lad 
receives from the priest a stick adorned at both ends with 



cock's or cassowary's feathers. The sticks are supposed to 
have been given to the lads by the devil at the time when he 
restored them to life, and they serve as a token that the youths 
have been in the spirit land. When they return to their 
homes they totter in their walk, and enter the house back- 
ward, as if they had forgotten how to walk properly ; or they 
enter the house by the back door. If a plate of food is given 
to them, they hold it upside down. They remain dumb, 
indicating their wants by signs only. All this is to shew 
that they are still under the influence of the devil or the 
spirits. Their sponsors have to teach them all the common 
acts of life, as if they were new-born children. Further, 
upon leaving the Kakian house the boys are strictly for- 
bidden to eat of certain fruits until the next celebration of 
the rites has taken place. And for twenty or thirty days 
their hair may not be combed by their mothers or sisters. 
At the end of that time the high priest takes them to a 
lonely place in the forest, and cuts off a lock of hair from the 
crown of each of their heads. After these initiatory rites the 
lads are deemed men, and may marry; it would be a scandal 
if they married before. 

In the region of the Lower Congo a simulation of death The secret 
and resurrection is, or rather used to be, practised by the ^^.^J*^ 
members of a guild or secret society called ndembo. The in the 
society had nothing to do with puberty or circumcision, ^^e Lowe 
though the custom of circumcision is common in the country. Congo. 
Young people and adults of both sexes might join the 
guild ; after initiation they were called " the Knowing 
Ones " {ngangd). To found a branch of the society it was 
necessary to have an albino, who, whether a child, lad, or 
adult, was the acknowledged head of the society.^ The 
ostensible reason for starting a branch of the guild in a 
district was commonly an epidemic of sickness, " and the 

* No reason is assigned for this English traveller Andrew Battel ob- 

curious choice of a president. Can ser\es that "the children of this 

it have been that, because negro chil- country are bom white, but change 

dren are born pale or nearly white, their colour in two days' time to 

an albino was deemed a proper presi- a perfect black" ("Adventures of 

dent for a society, all the initiated Andrew Battel," in J. Pinkerton's 

members of which claimed to have Voyages and Travels, xvL London, 

been bom again? Speaking of the 1814, p. 331). 
people of the Lower Congo the old 


idea was to go into ndembo to die, and after an indefinite 
period, from a few months to two or three years, to be 
resurrected with a new body not Hable to the sickness then 
troubling the countryside. Another reason for starting a 
ndembo was a dearth of children in a district. It was 
believed that good luck in having children would attend 
those who entered or died ndembo. But the underlying 
idea was the same, i.e. to get a ' new body ' that would be 
healthy and perform its functions properly." The quarters 
of the society were always a stockaded enclosure in a great 
thick forest ; a gate of planks painted yellow and red gave 
access to it, and within there was an assemblage of huts. 
The place was fenced to keep intruders from prying into 
the mysteries of the guild, and it was near water. Un- 
initiated persons might walk on the public roads through 
the forest, but if they were caught in bye-paths or hunting 
in the woods, they were flogged, fined, and sometimes killed. 
They might not even look upon the persons of those who 
had " died ndembo " ; hence when these sanctified persons 
were roving about the forest or going to the river, the boom- 
ing notes of a drum warned the profane vulgar to keep out 
of their way. 
Pretence of When the stockade and the huts in the forest were 
death as a rg^dy to receive all who wished to put off the old man or 

preliminary ■' Jl 

to resurrec- woman and to put on the new, one of the initiates gave ■ 
^'°"' the sign and the aspirant after the higher life dropped down 

like dead in some public place, it might be the market or 
the centre of the town where there were plenty of people to || 
witness the edifying spectacle. The initiates immediately 
spread a pall over him or her, beat the earth round about 
the pretended corpse with plantain stalks, chanted incanta- 
tions, fired guns, and cut capers. Then they carried the 
seemingly dead body away into the forest and disappeared 
with it into the stockade. The spectacle proved infectious ; 
one after another in the emotional, excitable crowd of negroes 
followed the example, dropped down like dead, and were 
carried off, sometimes in a real cataleptic state. In this 
way fifty to a hundred or more novices might feign death 
and be transported into the sacred enclosure. There they 
were supposed not only to die but to rot till only a single 


bone of their body remained, of which the initiated had to 
take the greatest care in expectation of the joyful resurrection 
that was soon to follow. However, though they were both 
dead and rotten, they consumed a large quantity of food, 
which their credulous relatives brought to them in baskets, 
toiling with the loads on their backs over the long paths 
through the forest in the sweltering heat of the tropical 
day. If the relations failed to discharge this pious and 
indispensable duty, their kinsman in the sacred enclosure ran 
a risk of dying in good earnest, or rather of being spirited 
away to a distant town and sold as a slave. 

Shut up within the stockade for months or years, the men Seclusion 
and women, boys and girls, dispensed with the superfluity of °^^^ 
clothes, rubbed their naked bodies with red ochre or powdered 
camwood instead, and gave themselves up to orgies of un- 
bridled lust. Some feeble attempts were made to teach them 
the rudiments of a secret language, but the vocabulary was 
small and its principles lacking in ingenuity. The time during 
which this seclusion lasted might vary from three months 
to three years. When the circumstances which had furnished 
the pretext for instituting the society had passed away, 
whether it was that the epidemic had died out or that the 
birth-rate had sensibly increased, murmurs would begin to 
be heard among friends and relatives in the town, who did 
not see why they should be taxed any longer to support a 
set of idle and dissolute ruffians in the forest, and why they 
should trudge day after day in the sweat of their brow to 
carry provisions to them. So the supplies would begin to 
run short, and whenever that happened the mystery of the 
esurrection was sure to follow very soon after. 

Accordingly it would be announced that on a certain Resurrec- 
inarket-day the new initiates, now raised from the dead, would tJ^n of the 


reveal themselves in all their glory to the astonished gaze of the 
public. The glad tidings were received with enthusiasm, and 
crowds assembled from all the country round about to welcome 
those who had come back from the world beyond the grave. 
When all were gathered in eager expectancy in the market- 
place, the sounds of distant music would be heard, and soon 
the gay procession would defile into the open square and 
march round it, while the dusky skins, reddened with cam- 



wood powder, glistened in the sunshine, the gay garments 
fluttered in the wind, and the tassels of palm-leaf fibre 
dangled at every arm. In the crowd of spectators many 
parents would recognize their children in the marching 
figures of the procession, and girls and boys would point 
out their brothers and sisters and eagerly call out their 
names. But in the stolid faces of the initiates not an eye 
would gleam with recognition, not a muscle would twitch 
with an involuntary expression of delight ; for having just 
been raised from the dead they were supposed to know 
nothing of their former life, of friends and relations, of home 
and country. There might be in the crowd a mother or a 
sister not seen for years ; or, more moving still, the novice 
might look in vain for loved and remembered faces that 
would never be seen in the market-place again. But what- 
ever his feelings might be, he must rigidly suppress them 
under pain of a flogging, a fine, or even death. At last the 
parade was over and the procession broke up. Then the 
old hands introduced the new hands to their own parents 
and brothers and sisters, to their old homes and haunts. 
For still the novices kept up the pretence that everything 
was new and strange to them, that they could not speak 
their mother tongue, that they did not know their own 
fathers and mothers, their own town and their own houses ; 
everything, nay that they had forgotten even how to eat their food. So 
everything and everybody had to be shewn to them and 
their names and meanings explained. Their guides would 
lead them about the town, pointing out the various roads 
and telling where they led to — this one to the watering- 
place on the river, this to the forest, that to the farms, and 
so on : they would take up the commonest domestic utensils 
and shew what they were used for : they would even chew 
the food and put it into the mouths of the novices, like 
mother birds feeding their callow young. For some time 
afterwards the resuscitated persons, attended by their mentors, 
would go about the town and the neighbourhood acting in a 
strange way like children or mad folk, seizing what they 
wanted and trying to beat or even kill such as dared to 
refuse them anything. Their guardian would generally 
restrain these sallies ; but sometimes he would arrange with 

of the 
that they 
have for- 


his hopeful pupils to be out of sight when two or three of 

them clubbed together to assault and rob an honest man, 

and would only return in time to share the booty. After 

a while, however, the excitement created by the resurrection 

ould wear off; the dead folk come to life were expected 

) have learned their lessons, and if they forgot themselves, 

eir memory was promptly refreshed by the law.^ 

1 Rev. J. H. Weeks, "Notes on 
lie Customs of the Lower Congo 
People," Folk-lore, xx. (1909) pp. 
189-198; Rev. W. H. Bentley, Zj> 
on the Congo (London, 1S87), pp. 
78 sq.; id.. Pioneering on the Congo 
(London, 1900), i. 284-287. Mr. 
■\Veeks's description of the institution 
is the fullest and I have followed it 
in the text. The custom was in vogue 
down to recent years, but seems to 
have been suppressed chiefly by the 
exertions of the missionaries. Besides 
the ndembo guild there is, or was, in 
these regions another secret society 
known as the nkiniba, which some 
writers have confused with the ndembo. 
The nkimba was of a more harmless 
character than the other ; indeed it 
seems even to have served some useful 
purposes, partly as a kind of free- 
masonry which encouraged mutual 
help among its members, partly as a 
system of police for the repression of 
crime, its professed object being to put 
down witchcraft and punish witches. 
Only males were admitted to it. Can- 
didates for initiation were stupefied by 
a drug, but there was apparently no 
pretence of killing them and bringing 
them to life again. Members of the 
society had a home in the jungle away 
from the town, where the novices lived 
together for a period varying from six 
months to two years. They learned a 
secret language, and received new 
names ; it was afterwards an offence 
to call a man by the name of his child- 
hood. Instead of the red dye affected 
by members of the ndembo guild, 
members of the nkimba guild whitened 
their bodies with pipe clay and wore 
crinolines of palm frondlets. See 
Rev. W. H. Bentley, Life on the 
Congo, pp. 80-83 ; id.. Pioneering on 
the Congo, i. 282-284 ; Rev. J. H. 

Weeks, op. cit. pp. 198-201 ; (Sir) 
H. H. Johnston, "A Visit to Mr. 
Stanley's Stations on the River Con- 
go," Proceedings of the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society, N.S. v. (1883) pp. 
572 sq. ; E. Delmar Morgan, " Notes 
on the Lower Congo," id., N.S. vi. 
(1884) p. 193. As to these two secret 
societies on the Lower Congo, see 
further (Sir) H. H. Johnston, "On 
the Races of the Congo," Joiimal of 
the Anthropological Institute, xiii. 
(1884) pp. 472 sq. ; t.. Dupont, Lettres 
sur le Congo (Paris, 1889), pp. 96- 
100 ; Herbert Ward, Five Years with 
the Congo Cannibals (London, 1890), 
pp. 54 sq. ; id. " Ethnographical 
Notes relating to the Congo Tribes," 
Journal of the Anthropological Insti- 
tute, xxiv. (1895) pp. 288 sq. ; E. J. 
Glave, Six Years of Adventure in 
Congo Land (London, 1893), pp. 80- 
83 ; L. Frobenius, Die Masken und 
Geheimbiinde Afrikas (Halle, 1898), 
PP- 43 - 54 {Nova Acta, Abh. der 
Kaiserl. Leap. Carol. Deutschen Ak- 
ademie der Naturforscher, vol. Ixxiv. 
No. I ) ; H. Schurtz, Altersklassen 
und Mdnnerbiinde (Berlin, 1902), pp. 
433-437 ; Notes Atinalytiques sur les 
Collections Ethnographiques du Musde 
du Congo (Brussels, 1902- 1906), pp. 
199-206; Ed. de Jonghe, les Societis 
Secretes au Bas- Congo (Brussels, 1907), 
pp. 15 sqq. (extract from the Revue 
des Questions Scientifiques, October 
1907). Some of these writers do not 
discriminate between the two societies, 
the ndembo and the nkimba. Accord- 
ing to our best authorities (Messrs. 
Bentley and Weeks) the two societies 
are quite distinct and neither of them 
has anything to do with circumcision, 
which is, however, prevalent in the 
region. See Rev. J. H. Weeks, 
"Notes on some Customs of the 



account of 
the ritual 
of death 
and resur- 
rection in 

of a patron 
animal or 
spirit in a 

The following account of the rites, as practised in this 
part of Africa, was given to Adolf Bastian by an interpreter. 
" The great fetish lives in the interior of the forest-land, 
where nobody sees him and nobody can see him. When he 
dies, the fetish priests carefully collect his bones in order to 
bring them to life again, and they nourish them, that he may 
be clothed anew in flesh and blood. But it is not good to 
speak of it. In the land of Ambamba every one must die 
once, and when the fetish priest shakes his calabash against 
a village, all the men and lads whose hour is come fall into 
a state of lifeless torpidity, from which they generally arise 
after three days. But if the fetish loves a man he carries 
him away into the bush and buries him in the fetish house, 
often for many years. When he comes to life again, he 
begins to eat and drink as before, but his understanding is 
gone and the fetish man must teach him and direct him in 
every motion, like the smallest child. At first this can only 
be done with a stick, but gradually his senses return, so that 
it is possible to talk with him, and when his education is 
complete, the priest brings him back to his parents. They 
would seldom recognize their son but for the express assur- 
ances of the fetish priest, who moreover recalls previous 
events to their memory. He who has not gone through the 
ceremony of the new birth in Ambamba is universally looked 
down upon and is not admitted to the dances." ^ 

In the same part of Africa we hear of a fetish called 
Malassi, the votaries of which form a secret order of the 
usual sort with a variety of ranks to which the initiates are 
promoted. " The candidate is plunged into a magic sleep 
within the temple-hut, and while he sleeps he beholds a bird 
or other object with which his existence is henceforth 

Lower Congo People," Folk-lore, xx. 
(1909) pp. 304 sqq. A secret society 
of the Lower Congo which Adolf 
Bastian has described under the 
name of quimba is probably identical 
with the nkimba. He speaks of a 
" Secret Order of those who have 
been born again," and tells us that the 
candidates "are thrown into a death- 
like state and buried in the fetish 
house. When tliey are wakened to 
life again, they have (as in the Belli- 

paro) lost their memory of everything 
that is past, even of their father and 
mother, and they can no longer re- 
member their own name. Hence new 
names are given them according to 
the titles or ranks to which they are 
advanced." See A. Bastian, Die, 
deiitsche Expedition an der Loango^^ 
Kiisie (Jena, 1S74-1875), ii. 15 sqq. 

^ A. Bastian, Fin Besuch in San i 
Salvador (Bremen, 1859), pp. 82 sq. ■ 


sympathetically bound up, just as the life of the young 
Indian is bound up with the animal which he sees in his 
dream at puberty. All who have been born again at 
initiation, after their return to a normal state, bear the name 
of Swamie (a sacred designation also in India) or, if they are 
women, Sumbo (Tembo), and wear as a token the ring called 
sase, which consists of an iron hoop with a fruit attached to 
it." ^ Similarly among the Fans of the Gaboon a young 
warrior acquires his guardian spirit by dreaming. He is 
secluded in the forest, drinks a fermented and intoxicating 
liquor, and smokes hemp. Then he falls into a heavy sleep, 
and next morning he must describe exactly to the fetish 
priest the animal, tree, mineral, or whatever it may have 
been which he saw in his dream. This magical dream is 
repeated on three successive nights ; and after that the young 
man is sent forth by the priest to seek and bring back the 
beast, bird, reptile, or whatever it was of which he dreamed. 
The youth obeys, reduces the animal or thing to cinders or 
ashes, and preserves these calcined remains as a talisman 
which will protect him against many dangers.^ However, 
in these rites there is no clear simulation of dying and coming 
to life again. 

Rites of death and resurrection were formerly observed in Dappers 
Quoja, on the west coast of Africa, to the north of the Congo, ^he'riui?^ 
They are thus described by an old writer : — " They have of death 
another ceremony which they call Belli-Paaro, but it is not for ^^i^]^" 
everybody. For it is an incorporation in tlie assembly of the BeUi- 
the spirits, and confers the right of entering their groves, s(^°y, 
that is to say, of going and eating the offerings which the 
simple folk bring thither. The initiation or admission to 
the Belli-Paaro is celebrated every twenty or twenty-five 
years. The initiated recount marvels of the ceremony, 
saying that they are roasted, that they entirely change their 

' A. Bastian, Die deutsche Expedi- the ear of him who has been bom 

tion an der Loango-Kiiste, ii. 183. again." See A. Bastian, Ein Besuch 

Elsewhere Bastian says that about San in San Salvador (Bremen, 1859), pp. 

Salvador lads at puberty are secluded %^sq. 

in the forest and circumcised, and 2 j| Trilles, Le Toiifmisme chez Us 

during their seclusion " each of them is Fdii (Mlinster i. W., 1912), pp. 479 sg. 

mystically united to the fetish by which The writer speaks of the guardian 

his life is henceforth determined, as the spirit as the individual totem of the 

Brahman whispers the secret charm in young warrior. 

PT. VH. VOL. n S 


habits and life, and that they receive a spirit quite different 
from that of other people and quite new lights. The badge : 
of membership consists in some lines traced on the neck 
between the shoulders ; the lines seem to be pricked with a 
needle. Those who have this mark pass for persons of 
spirit, and when they have attained a certain age they are 
allowed a voice in all public assemblies ; whereas the 
uninitiated are regarded as profane, impure, and ignorant 
persons, who dare not express an opinion on any subject of 
importance. When the time for the ceremony has come, it 
is celebrated as follows. By order of the king a place is 
appointed in the forest, whither they bring the youths who 
have not been marked, not without much crying and weep- 
ing ; for it is impressed upon the youths that in order to 
undergo this change it is necessary to suffer death. So they 
dispose of their property, as if it were all over with them. 
There are always some of the initiated beside the novices to 
instruct them. They teach them to dance a certain dance 
called killing, and to sing verses in praise of Belli. Above 
all, they are very careful not to let them die of hunger, 
because if they did so, it is much to be feared that the 
spiritual resurrection would profit them nothing. This 
manner of life lasts five or six years, and is comfortable 
enough, for there is a village in the forest, and they amuse 
themselves with hunting and fishing. Other lads are brought 
thither from time to time, so that the last comers have not 
long to stay. No woman or uninitiated person is suffered 
to pass within four or five leagues of the sacred wood. 
When their instruction is completed, they are taken from the 
wood and shut up in small huts made for the purpose. Here 
they begin once more to hold communion with mankind and 
to talk with the women who bring them their food. It is 
amusing to see their affected simplicity. They pretend to 
know no one, and to be ignorant of all the customs of the 
country, such as the customs of washing themselves, rubbing 
themselves with oil, and so forth. When they enter these huts, 
their bodies are all covered with the feathers of birds, and 
they wear caps of bark which hang down before their faces. 
But after a time they are dressed in clothes and taken to a 
great open place, where all the people of the neighbourhood 


are assembled. Here the novices give the first proof of their 
capacity by dancing a dance which is called the dance of Belli. 
After the dance is over, the novices are taken to the houses 
of their parents by their instructors." ^ 

Miss Kingsley informs us that " the great point of Miss 
agreement between all these West African secret societies on"the rites 
lies in the methods of initiation. The boy, if he belongs ofinitiaUon 

into sccTfct 

to a tribe that goes in for tattooing, is tattooed, and is societies 
handed over to instructors in the societies' secrets and in West 
formulae. He lives, with the other boys of his tribe 
undergoing initiation, usually under the rule of several in- 
structors, and for the space of one year. He lives always 
in the forest, and is naked and smeared with clay. The 
boys are exercised so as to become inured to hardship ; in 
some districts, they make raids so as to perfect themselves in 
this useful accomplishment. They always take a new name, 
and are supposed by the initiation process to become new 
beings in the magic wood, and on their return to their village 
at the end of their course, they pretend to have entirely 
forgotten their life before they entered the wood ; but this 
pretence is not kept up beyond the period of festivities given 
to welcome them home. They all learn, to a certain extent, 
a new language, a secret language only understood by the 
initiated. The same removal from home and instruction 
from initiated members is observed also with the girls. 
However, in their case, it is not always a forest-grove they 
are secluded in, sometimes it is done in huts. Among the 
Grain Coast tribes, however, the girls go into a magic wood 
until they are married. Should they have to leave the wood 
for any temporary reason, they must smear themselves with 
white clay. A similar custom holds good in Okyon, Calabar 
district, where, should a girl have to leave the fattening- 
house, she must be covered with white clay." ' 

Among the natives of the Sherbro, an island lying close 

* O. Dapper, Descriptioit de PAfrique may be intended to indicate that the 
(Amsterdam, 1686), pp. 268 sq. novices have undergone the new birth ; 
Dapper's account has been abridged for the negro child, though bom 
in the text. reddish - brown, soon turns slaty -grey 

(E. B. Tylor, Anthropology, London, 

* Miss Mary H. Kingsley, Travels 1881, p. 67), which would answer well 
in Wesl Africa (London, 1867), p. enough to the hue of the clay-bedaubed 
531. Perhaps the smearing with clay novices. 



or poro, 
a secret 
of Sierra 

The ///rra to the coast of Sierra Leone, there is a secret society called 
the purra or poro^ " which is partly of a religious, but chiefly 
of a political nature. It resembles free-masonry in excluding 
females, and in obliging every member by a solemn oath, 
which I believe is seldom violated, not to divulge the sacred 
mysteries, and to yield a prompt and implicit obedience to i 
every order of their superiors. Boys of seven or eight years 
of age are admitted, or rather serve a novitiate until they 
arrive at a proper age ; for it is difficult to procure exact 
information, and even somewhat dangerous to make many 
inquiries. Every person on entering the society lays aside m 
his former name and assumes a new one ; to call him by his ^ 
old name would produce a dispute. They have a superior 
or head purra man, assisted by a grand council, whose 
commands are received with the most profound reverence 
and absolute submission, both by the subordinate councils 
and by individuals. Their meetings are held in the most 
retired spots, amid the gloom of night, and carried on with 
inquisitorial secrecy. When the purra comes into a town, 
which is always at night, it is accompanied with the most 
dreadful bowlings, screams, and other horrid noises. The 
inhabitants, who are not members of the society, are obliged 
to secure themselves within doors ; should any one be 
discovered without, or attempting to peep at what is going 
forward, he would inevitably be put to death. To restrain 
the curiosity of the females, they are ordered to continue 
within doors, clapping their hands incessantly, so long as the 
purra remains. Like the secret tribunal, which formerly 
existed in Germany, it takes cognizance of offences, 
particularly of witchcraft and murder, but above all of 
contumacy and disobedience in any of its own members, an 
punishes the guilty with death in so secret and sudden 
manner, that the perpetrators are never known : indeed, such' 
is the dread created by this institution, that they are never 
even inquired after." ^ When the members of the purra or 




^ Thomas Winterbottom, An Ac- 
count of tlie Native Africans in the 
Neighbourhood of Sierra Leone (Lon- 
don, 1803), pp. 135 sq. Compare 
John Matthews, A Voyage to the River 
Sierra-Leone (London, 1791), pp. 82- 

85 ; J- B. L. Durand, Voyage au 
Shu'gal (Paris, 1802), pp. 183 sq. 
(whose account is copied without 
acknowledgment from Matthews). 
The purra or poro society also exists 
among the Timmes of Sierra Leone; 


ro society visit a town, the leader of the troop, whom an 
English writer calls " the Poro devil," draws discordant notes 
from a sort of reed flute, the holes of which are covered with 
piders' webs. The only time when this devil and his rout 
ake a prolonged stay in the town is on the evening before 
le day on which the newly initiated lads are to be brought 
back from the forest. Then the leader and his satellites 
parade the streets for hours, while all the uninitiated men, 
women, and children remain shut up in their houses, listening 
■) the doleful strains of the flute, which signify that the devil The new 
!s suffering the pangs of childbirth before he brings forth the '" ' 
initiated lads ; for he is supposed to have been pregnant 
with them the whole of the rainy season ever since they 
entered into the forest. When they come forth from the 
wood, they wear four or five coils of twisted ferns round their 
waists in token of their being initiated members of the order.^ 
Among the Soosoos of Senegambia there is a similar secret The semo, 
society called semo : " the natives who speak English call it society 
African masonry. As the whole ceremonies are kept very ofSene- 
private, it is difficult to discover in what they consist : but ^^"^ 
it is said that the novices are met in the woods by the 
old men, who cut marks on several parts of their bodies, 
but most commonly on the belly ; they are also taught a 
language peculiar to the sejfw, and swear dreadful oaths 
never to divulge the secrets revealed to them. The young 
men are then made to live in the woods for twelve months, 
and are supposed to be at liberty to kill any one who 
approaches and does not understand the language of the 
semo. . . . It is said, when women are so unfortunate as to 
intrude upon the sewo, they kill them, cut off their breasts, 
and hang them up by the side of the paths as a warning 

in this tribe the novices are sometimes ' T. J. Alldridge,*7'>4<r Sherbro and 

secluded from their families for ten jVj /r////<;r/a«flf( London, 190 1), p. 130. 

years in the wood, they are tattooed on This work contains a comparatively 

their backs and arms, and they learn full account of the ///rra or /(?ro society 

a language which consists chiefly of (pp. 124-131) and of the other secret 

names of plants and animals used in societies of the country (pp. 131- 149, 

special senses. Women are not ad- 153- 1 59)- Compare L. Frobenius, 

mitted to the society. See Zweifel et Die Masken und Geheimbiinde Afrikas 

Moustier, "Voyage aux sources du (Halle, 1898), pp. 138-144 (Nova 

Niger," Bulletin de la Soci^t^ de Gio- Acta, Abh. der Kaiserl. Leap. -Carol, 

graphic (Paris), VI. Serie, xv. (1878) Deutschen Akademie der Naturforscher, 

pp. 108 sq. vol. Ixxiv. No. l). 



Death and 
tion at 

of the 
new birth 
among the 
of British 

to others. This circumstance is perhaps less deserving of 
credit, because the Soosoos are fond of telling wonderful and 
horrid stories respecting this institution. They say, for 
instance, that when first initiated their throats are cut, and 
they continue dead for some time ; at length they are 
reanimated and initiated into the mysteries of the institution, 
and are enabled to ramble about with much more vigour 
than they possessed before." ^ 

While the belief or the pretence of death and resurrection 
at initiation is common among the negroes of West Africa, 
few traces of it appear to be found among the tribes in the 
southern, central, and eastern parts of that continent ; and it 
is notable that in these regions secret societies, which flourish 
in the West, are also conspicuously absent. However, the 
Akikuyu of British East Africa " have a curious custom 
which requires that every boy just before circumcision must 
be born again. The mother stands up with the boy crouching 
at her feet ; she pretends to go through all the labour pains, 
and the boy on being reborn cries like a babe and is 
washed. He lives on milk for some days afterwards." ^ 
A fuller description of the ceremony was given by a member 
of the Kikuyu tribe as follows : " A day is appointed, any 
time of year, by father and mother. If the father is dead 
another elder is called in to act as proxy in his stead, or if 
the mother is not living another woman to act in her place. 
Any woman thus acting as representative is looked upon in 
future by the boy as his own mother. A goat or sheep is 
killed in the afternoon by any one, usually not by the father, 
and the stomach and intestines reserved. The ceremony 
begins in the evening. A piece of skin is cut in a circle, and 
passed over one shoulder of the candidate and under the 
other arm. The stomach of the goat is similarly treated and 
passed over the other shoulder and under the other arm. 
All the boy's ornaments are removed, but not his clothes. 
No men are allowed inside the hut, but women are present. 
The mother sits on a hide on the floor with the boy between 

^ Thomas Winterbcttom, An Ac- Frobenius, op. cit. pp. 130-138. 
count of the Native Africans in the ^ Extract from a kucr of Mr. A. C. 

Neighbourhood of Sierra Leone (Lon- Hollis to me. Mr. IloIli.s"s authority 

don, 1803), pp. 137-139. As to the is Dr. T. W. W. Crawford of the 

semo or sinio society see further L. Kenia Medical Mission. 


er knees. The sheep's gut is passed round the woman and 
rought in front of the boy. The woman groans as in labour, 
nother woman cuts the gut, and the boy imitates the 
:iy of a new-born infant. The women present all applaud, 
and afterwards the assistant and the mother wash the 
boy. That night the boy sleeps in the same hut as the 
mother." ^ Here the cutting of the sheep's gut, which 
unites the mother to the boy, is clearly an imitation of 
severing the navel string. Nor is it boys alone who are 
born again among the Akikuyu. " Girls go through the rite 
of second birth as well as boys. It is sometimes adminis- 
tered to infants. At one time the new birth was com- 
bined with circumcision, and so the ceremony admitted 
to the privileges and religious rites of the tribe. Afterwards 
trouble took place on account of mere boys wishing to take 
their place alongside of the young men and maintaining 
they were justified in doing so. The old men then settled 
the matter by separating the two. Unless the new birth has 
been administered the individual is not in a position to be 
admitted to circumcision, which is the outward sign of 
admittance to the nation. Any who have not gone through 
the rite cannot inherit property', nor take any part in the 
religious rites of the country." ^ For example, a man who 
has not been born again is disqualified for carrying his dying 
father out into the wilds and for disposing of his body after 
death. The new birth seems to take place usually about the 
tenth year, but the age varies with the ability of the father 
to provide a goat, whose guts are necessary to enable the 
boy or girl to be born again in due form.^ 

Among the Bondeis, a tribe on the coast of German Rites 
East Africa, opposite to the island of Pemba, one of the ^"jf^J^" 
rites of initiation into manhood consists in a pretence of Bondeis 

of East 

1 W. Scoresby Routledge and W. S. RouUedge and K. Routledge, ^"«^ 

Catherine Routledge, With a Pre- With a Prehistoric People, p. 151, 

historic People, the Akikuyu of British note.^ Mr. McGregor "has resided 

East Africa (London, 1910), p. 152. amongst the Akikuyu since 1901. He 

Compare C. VV. Hobley, " Kikuyu has by his tact and kindness won the 

Customs and Beliefs," Journal of the confidence of the natives, and is the 

Royal Anthropological Institute, xl. greatest authority on their language" 

(1910) p. 441. (id., p. xxi). 

- Mr. A. W. McGregor, of the ^ ^y. g. Routledge and K, Rout- 
Church Missionary' Society, quoted by ledge, op. cit. p. 151. 




of initiation 

among the 


of the 


The first 

The second 

slaying one of the lads with a sword ; the entrails of a 
fowl are placed on the boy's stomach to make the pretence 
seem more real.^ Among the Bushongo, who inhabit a 
district of the Belgian Congo bounded on the north and 
east by the Sankuru River and on the west by the Kasai, 
young boys had formerly to undergo certain rites of initia- 
tion, amongst which a simulation of killing them would seem 
to have had a place, though in recent times the youths have 
been allowed to escape the ordeal by the payment of a fine. 
The supreme chief of the tribe, who in old days bore the 
title of God on Earth {Chembe Kunjt), used to assemble 
all the lads who had just reached puberty and send them 
away into the forest, where they remained for several 
months under the care of one of his sons. During their 
seclusion they were deemed unclean and might see no one; 
if they chanced to meet a woman, she had to flee before 
them. By night the old men marched round the quarters 
of the novices, raising hideous cries and whirling bull-roarers, 
the noise of which the frightened lads took to be the 
voices of ghosts. They wore nothing but a comb, an( 
passed their leisure hours in learning to make mats anc 
baskets. After about a month they had to submit to the first 
ordeal. A trench about ten feet deep was dug in the ground 
and roofed over with sticks and earth so as to form a dark 
tunnel. In the sides of the tunnel were cut niches, and in 
each niche a man took post, whose business it was to terrify 
the novices. For this purpose one of them was disguised in 
the skin of a leopard, a second was dressed as a warrior with 
a knife in his hand, a third was a smith with his furnace and 
red-hot irons, and a fourth was masked to look like an ugly 
ape, while he too gripped a knife in his hand. The novices 
generally recoiled in dismay from each of these apparitions, 
and it was only by means of reiterated taunts and threats that 
the elders forced them to traverse the whole length of the 
tunnel. After the lapse of another month the youths had to 
face another ordeal of a similar character. A low tunnel, about 
three feet deep, was dug in the earth, and sticks were inserted 


^ Rev. G. Dale, "An Account of 
the principal Customs and Habits of 
the Natives inhabiting the Eondei 

Country," Joiintal of ihe Anthropo- 
logical Iiislitulc, XXV. (1896) p. 189. 


in it so that their tops projected from the surface of the ground. 

At the end of the tunnel a calabash was set full of goat's blood. 

By way of encouraging the timid novices the master of the 

ceremonies himself crawled through the tunnel, his progress 

under ground being revealed to the novices above ground by 

the vibrations of the sticks with which he collided in the 

dark passage. Then having bedabbled his nose, his mouth, 

and all the rest of his body with the goat's blood, he emerged 

from the tunnel on hands and knees, dripping with gore and 

to all appearance in the last stage of exhaustion. Then he 

lay prostrate on his stomach in a state of collapse ; the elders 

declared him to be dead and carried him off. The chief 

now ordered the lads to imitate the example set them by 

the master of the ceremonies, but they begged and prayed 

to be excused. At first the chief was inexorable, but in time 

he relented and agreed to accept a fine of so many cowries as 

a ransom paid by the youths for exemption from the ordeal. 

A month later the last of the ordeals took place. A great The last 

trunk of a tree was buried with its lower end in the earth ^^5^^! ^'^^ 

and surrounded for three-quarters of its circumference with from the 

arrows stuck in the ground so that the barbs were pointed ^^^' 

towards the tree. The chief and the leading men sat down 

at the gap in the circle of arrows, so as to conceal the gap 

from the eyes of the novices and other spectators, among whom 

the women were allowed to be present. To the eyes of the 

uninitiated it now seemed that the tree v.-as surrounded by a 

bristling hedge of arrows, to fall upon which would be death. 

All being ready the master of the ceremonies climbed the 

tree amid breathless silence, and having reached the top, 

which was decorated with a bunch of leaves, he looked about 

him and asked the women, " Shall I come down ? " " No ! 

no ! " they shrieked, " you will be killed by the arrows." 

Then, turning disdainfully from these craven souls, the 

gallant man addressed himself to the youths and repeated 

his question, " Shall I come down ? " A shout of " Yes ! " 

gave the answer that might have been expected from these 

heroic spirits. In response the master of the ceremonies at 

once slid down the tree and, dropping neatly to the ground 

just at the gap in the hedge of arrows, presented himself 

unscathed to the gaze of the excited assembly. The chief 


now ordered the young men to go up and do likewise. But 
the dauntless courage with which they had contemplated the 
descent of the master of the ceremonies entirely forsook them 
when it came to their turn to copy his shining example. 
Their mothers, too, raised a loud cry of protest, joining their 
prayers and entreaties to those of their hopeful sons. After 
some discussion the chief consented to accept a ransom, and 
the novices were dispensed from the ordeal. Then they 
bathed and were deemed to have rid themselves of their 
uncleanness, but they had still to work for the chief for 
three months before they ranked as full-grown men and 
might return to their villages.^ 
Rites Among the Indians of Virginia, an initiatory ceremony, 

^mon'^the ^^^^^^^ Huskanaw, took place every sixteen or twenty years, 
Indians or oftcncr, as the young men happened to grow up. The 
preten^ce'^' youths wcrc kept in solitary confinement in the woods for 
of the several months, receiving no food but an infusion of some 
that^they intoxicating roots, so that they went raving mad, and con- 
have for- tinned in this state eighteen or twenty days. "Upon this 
former life, occasion it is pretended that these poor creatures drink so 
much of the water of Lethe that they perfectly lose the 
remembrance of all former things, even of their parents, their 
treasure, and their language. When the doctors find that 
they have drunk sufficiently of the Wysoccan (so they call 
this mad potion), they gradually restore them to their senses 
again by lessening the intoxication of their diet ; but before 
they are perfectly well they bring them back into their 
towns, while they are still wild and crazy through the violence 
of the medicine. After this they are very fearful of discover- 
ing anything of their former remembrance ; for if such a 
thing should happen to any of them, they must immediately 
be Huskanaivd again ; and the second time the usage is so 
severe that seldom any one escapes with life. Thus they 
must pretend to have forgot the very use of their tongues, 
so as not to be able to speak, nor understand anything that 
is spoken, till they learn it again. Now, whether this be 
real or counterfeit, I don't know ; but certain it is that they 

1 E. Torday et T. A. Joyce, Les applied to the principal chief or king, 
Bushongo (Brussels, 1910), pp. 82-85. see id., p. 53. 
As for the title *' God on Earth," 


will not for some time take notice of anybody nor anything 
with which they were before acquainted, being still under 
the guard of their keepers, who constantly wait upon them 
everywhere till they have learnt all things perfectly over 
again. Thus they unlive their former lives, and commence 
men by forgetting that they ever have been boys." ^ 

Among some of the Indian tribes of North America Ritual 
there exist certain religious associations which are only open °j,d^sur- 
to candidates who have gone through a pretence of being rection 
killed and brought to life again. In 1766 or 1767 Captain fntothe °° 
Jonathan Carver witnessed the admission of a candidate to an secret 
association called " the friendly society of the Spirit " ( Wakon- of xorth 
KitchewaJi) among the Naudowessies, a Siouan or Dacotan America, 
tribe in the region of the great lakes. The candidate knelt 
before the chief, who told him that " he himself was now 
agitated by the same spirit which he should in a few 
moments communicate to him ; that it would strike him 
dead, but that he would instantly be restored again to 
life ; to this he added, that the communication, however 
terrifying, was a necessary introduction to the advantages 
enjoyed by the community into which he was on the point 
of being admitted. As he spoke this, he appeared to be 
greatly agitated ; till at last his emotions became so violent, 
that his countenance was distorted, and his whole frame con- 
vulsed. At this juncture he threw something that appeared 
both in shape and colour like a small bean, at the young 
man, which seemed to enter his mouth, and he instantly 
fell as motionless as if he had been shot" For a time the 
man lay like dead, but under a shower of blows he shewed 
signs of consciousness, and finally, discharging from his 
mouth the bean, or whatever it was that the chief had thrown 
at him, he came to life.^ In other tribes, for example, the 

1 (Beverley's) History of Virginia was probably not a bean but a small 
(London, 1722), pp. 177 5^. Compare white sea-shell (Cy/ro^ra »/^7«^/a). See 
J. Bricknell, The Natural History of H. R. Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes of 
North Carolina (Dublin, 1737), pp. M^ £/7KV<frf5/<7/^5 (Philadelphia, 1853- 
405 sq. 1856), iii. 287 ; J. G. Kohl, Kitschi- 

Garni (Bremen, 1859), i. 71 ; Seventh 

2 J. Carver, Travels through the Annual Report of the Bureau cf Eth- 
Interior Parts of North America, nology (Washington, 1891), pp. 19 1, 
Third Edition (London, 1781), pp. 215 ; Fourteenth Annual Report cf 
271-275. The thing thrown at the the Bureau of Ethnology' {y^ashmglon, 
man and afterwards vomited by him 1896), p. loi. 



The medi- 
as an in- 
of death 
and resur- 

Ojebways, Winnebagoes, and Dacotas or Sioux, the instru- 
ment by which the candidate is apparently slain is the 
medicine-bag. The bag is made of the skin of an animal 
(such as the otter, wild cat, serpent, bear, raccoon, wolf, owl, 
weasel), of which it roughly preserves the shape. Each 
member of the society has one of these bags, in which he 
keeps the odds and ends that make up his " medicine " or 
charms. " They believe that from the miscellaneous contents 
in the belly of the skin bag or animal there issues a spirit or 
breath, which has the power, not only to knock down and 
kill a man, but also to set him up and restore him to life." 
The mode of killing a man with one of these medicine-bags 
is to thrust it at him ; he falls like dead, but a second thrust 
of the bag restores him to life.^ Among the Dacotas the 
institution of the medicine-bag or mystery-sack was attributed 
to Onktehi, the great spirit of the waters, who ordained that 
the bag should consist of the skin of the otter, raccoon, 
weasel, squirrel, or loon, or a species of fish and of serpents. 
Further, he decreed that the bag should contain four sorts of 
medicines of magical qualities, which should represent fowls, 
quadrupeds, herbs, and trees. Accordingly, swan's down, 
buffalo hair, grass roots, and bark' from the roots of trees are 
kept by the Dacotas in their medicine-bags. From this 
combination there proceeds a magical influence {tonwan) 
so powerful that no human being can of his own strength 
withstand it. When the god of the waters had prepared the 
first medicine-bag, he tested its powers on four candidates 
for initiation, who all perished under the shock. So he 
consulted with his wife, the goddess of the earth, and by 

^ J. Carver, op. cit. pp. 277 sq. ', 
H. R. Schoolcraft, Indian Ti-tbes of 
the United States, iii. 287 (as to the 
Winnebagoes), v. 430 sqq. (as to the 
Chippeways and Sioux) ; J. G. Kohl, 
Kitschi- Garni, i. 64-70 (as to the 
Ojebways). For a very detailed 
account of the Ojebway ceremonies, 
see W. J. Hoffman, "The Midewiwin 
or Grand Medicine Society of the 
Ojibwa," Seventh Annual Report of 
the Bureau of Ethnology (Washington, 
1 89 1), especially pp. 215 sq., 234 sq., 
248, 265. For similar ceremonies 
among the Menomini, see id., "The 

Menomini \x^(S\7xx\%," Fourteenth Annual 
Report of the Bureau of Ethnology 
(Washington, 1896), pp. 99-102; and 
among the Omahas, see J. Owen 
Dorsey, " Omaha Sociology," Third 
Annual Report of the Bureau of Eth- 
nology (Washington, 1884), pp. 342- 
346. I have dealt more fully with 
the ritual in Totcwism atid Exogamy, 
iii. 462 sqq. Compare also P. Radin, 
" Ritual and Significance of the Win- 
nebat^o Medicine Dance," Journal of 
.[)}icrican Folk-lore, xxiv. (1911) pp. 


holding up his left hand and pattering on the back of it 
with the right, he produced myriads of little shells, whose 
virtue is to restore life to those who have been slain by the 
medicine-bag. Having taken this precaution, the god chose 
four other candidates and repeated the experiment of initia- 
tion with success, for after killing them with the bag he 
immediately resuscitated them by throwing one of the shells 
into their vital parts, while he chanted certain words assur- 
ing them that it was only sport and bidding them rise to 
their feet. That is why to this day every initiated Dacota 
has one of these shells in his body. Such was the divine 
origin of the medicine-dance of the Dacotas. The initiation Ritual 
takes place in a special tent. The candidate, after being and^sur- 
steamed in a vapour-bath for four successive days, plants rection 
himself pn a pile of blankets, and behind him stands an aged among the 
member of the order. " Now the master of the ceremonies, Dacotas. 
with the joints of his knees and hips considerably bent, 
advances with an unsteady, uncouth hitching, sack in hand, 
wearing an aspect of despei'ate energy, and uttering his 
' Heen, been, been ' with frightful emphasis, while all around 
are enthusiastic demonstrations of all kinds of wild passions. 
At this point the sack is raised near a painted spot on the 
breast of the candidate, at which the tonwan is discharged. 
At the instant the brother from behind gives him a push and 
he falls dead, and is covered with blankets. Now the 
frenzied dancers gather around, and in the midst of bewilder- 
ing and indescribable noises, chant the words uttered by the 
god at the institution of the ceremony, as already recorded. 
Then the master throws off the covering, and chewing a 
piece of the bone of the Onktehi, spirts it over him, and he 
begins to show signs of returning life. Then as the master 
pats energetically upon the breast of the initiated person, he, 
convulsed, strangling, struggling, and agonizing, heaves up 
the shell which falls from his mouth on a sack placed in 
readiness to receive it. Life is restored and entrance effected 
into the awful mysteries. He belongs henceforth to the 
medicine -dance, and has a right to enjoy the medicine- 
feast." ^ 

^ G. H. Pond, " Dakota super- Historical Society for the year 1S67 
stitions," Collections of the Minnesota (Saint Paul, 1867), pp. 35, 37-40. A 



of mimic 
among the 
of Nootka 

Rite of 
death and 
tion at 

A ceremony witnessed by the castaway John R. Jewitt 
during his captivity among the Indians ofNootkaSound doubt- 
less belongs to this class of customs. The Indian king or chief 
"discharged a pistol close to his son's ear, who immediately fell 
down as if killed, upon which all the women of the house set 
up a most lamentable cry, tearing handfuls of hair from their 
heads, and exclaiming that the prince was dead ; at the 
same time a great number of the inhabitants rushed into the 
house armed with their daggers, muskets, etc., enquiring the 
cause of their outcry. These were immediately followed by 
two others dressed in wolf skins, with masks over their faces 
representing the head of that animal. The latter came in 
on their hands and feet in the manner of a beast, and taking 
up the prince, carried him off upon their backs, retiring 
in the same manner they entered." ^ In another place 
Jewitt mentions that the young prince — a lad of about 
eleven years of age — wore a mask in imitation of a wolf's 
head.^ Now, as the Indians of this part of America are 
divided into totem clans, of which the Wolf clan is one of 
the principal, and as the members of each clan are in the 
habit of wearing some portion of the totem animal about 
their person,^ it is probable that the prince belonged to the 
Wolf clan, and that the ceremony described by Jewitt repre- 
sented the killing of the lad in order that he might be born 
anew as a wolf, much in the same way that the Basque 
hunter supposed himself to have been killed and to have 
come to life again as a bear. 

This conjectural explanation of the ceremony has, since 
it was first put forward, been confirmed by the researches of 
Dr. Franz Boas among these Indians ; though it would seem 

similar but abridged account of the 
Dakota tradition and usage is given by 
S. R. Riggs in his Dakota Grammar, 
Texts, and Ethnography (Washington, 
1893), pp. 227-229 [Contributions to 
North Arnericatt Ethnology, vol. ix.). 

* Narrative of the Adventures and 
Sufferings of John A'. Jewitt (Middle- 
town, 1820), p. 119. 

2 /(/., p. 44. For the age of the 
prince, see id., p. 35. 

'' H. J. Holmberg, " Ueber die 
Volker des russischen Amerika," Acta 
Societatis Scientiarutn Fcnnicae, iv. 
(Helsingfors, 1856) pp. 292 sqq., 328; 
Ivan Petroff, Report on the Population, 
Industries and Resources of Alaska, 
pp. 165 sq. ; A. Krause, Die Tlinkit- 
Indianer (Jena, 1885), p. 112; R. C. 
Mayne, Four Years in British Col' 
umbia and Vancouver Island (London, 
1862), pp. 257 sq., 268 ; Totemisin 
and Exogamy, iii. 264 sqq. 


that the community to which the chief's son thus obtained initiation 
admission was not so much a totem clan as a secret society '^^-^^tka 
called Tlokoala, whose members imitated wolves. The society of 
name Tlokoala is a foreign word among the Nootka Indians, ^^oiyes. 
having been borrowed by them from the Kwakiutl Indians, 
in whose language the word means the finding of a vianitoo 
or personal totem. The Nootka tradition runs that this 
secret society was instituted by wolves who took away a 
chiefs son and tried to kill him, but, failing to do so, became 
his friends, taught him the rites of the society, and ordered 
him to teach them to his friends on his return home. Then 
they carried the young man back to his village. They also 
begged that whenever he moved from one place to another 
he would kindly leave behind him some red cedar-bark to be 
used by them in their own ceremonies ; and to this custom 
the Nootka tribes still adhere. Every new member of the 
society must be initiated by the wolves. At night a pack 
of wolves, personated by Indians dressed in wolf-skins and 
wearing wolf-masks, make their appearance, seize the novice, 
and carry him into the woods. When the wolves are heard 
outside the village, coming to fetch away the novice, all the 
members of the society blacken their faces and sing, " Among 
all the tribes is great excitement, because I am Tlokoala." 
Next day the wolves bring back the novice dead, and the 
members of the society have to revive him. The wolves are 
supposed to have put a magic stone into his body, which 
must be removed before he can come to life. Till this is 
done the pretended corpse is left lying outside the house. 
Two wizards go and remove the stone, which appears to be 
quartz, and then the novice is resuscitated.^ Among the Novice 
Niska Indians of British Columbia, who are divided into four i^ck^v an 
principal clans with the raven, the wolf, the eagle, and the bear artificial 
for their respective totems, the novice at initiation is always animal 
brought back by an artificial totem animal. Thus when a among the 

* Fr. Boas, in Sixth Report on the iSgj (Washington, 1897), pp. 632 sq. Indians. 

North- IVesterti Tribes of Canada, pp. But while the initiation described in the 

47 sq. (separate reprint from the Re- text was into a wolf society, not into a 

fort of the British Association, Leeds wolf clan, it is to be observed that the 

meeting, 1890) ; id., " The Social wolf is one of the regular totems of the 

Organization and the Secret Societies Nootka Indians. See Fr. Boas, in 

of the Kwakiutl Indians," Report of the Sixth Report on the A'orth - IVestem 

United States National Museum for Tribes of Canada, p. 32. 

seems to be 
killed as a 


man was about to be initiated into a secret society called 
Olala, his friends drew their knives and pretended to kill 
him. In reality they let him slip away, while they cut off the 
head of a dummy which had been adroitly substituted for him. 
Then they laid the decapitated dummy down and covered it 
over, and the women began to mourn and wail. His rela- 
tions gave a funeral banquet and solemnly burnt the effigy. 
In short, they held a regular funeral. For a whole year the 
novice remained absent and was seen by none but members 
of the secret society. But at the end of that time he came 
back alive, carried by an artificial animal which represented 
his totem.^ 
In these In thcsc ccrcmonics the essence of the rite appears 

initiatory ^^ y^^ ^^ kilHncr of the novice in his character of a man 

rites the ° 

and his restoration to life in the form of the animal which 
is thenceforward to be, if not his guardian spirit, at least 
man and linked to him in a peculiarly intimate relation. It is to 
[ffg°s\jj° be remembered that the Indians of Guatemala, whose life 
animal. vvas bound up with an animal, were supposed to have the 
power of appearing in the shape of the particular creature 
with which they were thus sympathetically united." Hence 
it seems not unreasonable to conjecture that in like manner 
the Indians of British Columbia may imagine that their life 
depends on the life of some one of that species of creature to 
which they assimilate themselves by their costume. At least 
if that is not an article of belief with the Columbian Indians 
of the present day, it may very well have been so with their 
ancestors in the past, and thus may have helped to mould 
the rites and ceremonies both of the totem clans and of the 

^ Fr. Boas, in Tenth Report on the is towed across the river by ropes. 

North-Western Tribes of Canada, pp. Again, members of the wolf clan are 

49 sq., 58 sq. (separate reprint from brought back by an artificial bear, and 

the Report of the British Association, members of the raven clan by a frog. 

Ipswich meeting, 1895). ^^ i^ remark- In former times the appearance of the 

able, however, that in this tribe persons artificial totem animal, or of the guar- 

who are being initiated into the secret dian spirit, was considered a matter of 

societies, of which there are six, are great importance, and any failure which 

not always or even generally brought disclosed the deception to the uniniti- 

back by an artificial animal which repre- ated was deemed a grave misfortune 

sents their own totem. Thus while men which could only be atoned for by the 

of the eagle totem are brought back by death of the persons concerned in the 

an eagle which rises from underground, disclosure, 
men of the bear clan return on the 
back of an artificial killer-whale which ^ See above, p. 213. 


secret societies. For though these two sorts of communities 
differ in respect of the mode in which membership of them 
is obtained — a man being born into his totem clan but 
admitted into a secret society later in life — we can hardly 
doubt that they are near akin and have their root in the 
same mode of thought.^ That thought, if I am right, is 
the possibility of establishing a sympathetic relation with 
an animal, a spirit, or other mighty being, with whom a 
man deposits for safe-keeping his soul or some part of 
it, and from whom he receives in return a gift of magical 

The Carrier Indians, who dwell further inland than the Honorific 
tribes we have just been considering, are divided into four *°^^™5 

•" °' among the 

clans with the grouse, the beaver, the toad, and the grizzly Carrier 
bear for their totems. But in addition to these clan totems '°*^^^^ 
the tribe recognized a considerable number of what Father 
Morice calls honorific totems, which could be acquired, 
through the performance of certain rites, by any person who 
wished to improve his social position. Each totem clan had 
a certain number of honorific totems or crests, and these 
might be assumed by any member of the clan who fulfilled 
the required conditions ; but they could not be acquired by 
members of another clan. Thus the Grouse clan had for its 
honorific totems or crests the owl, the moose, the weasel, 
the crane, the wolf, the full moon, the wind, and so on ; the 
Toad clan had the sturgeon, the porcupine, the wolverine, 
the red-headed woodpecker, the " darding knife," and so 
forth ; the Beaver clan had the mountain-goat for one of its 

* This is the opinion of Dr. F. Boas, Museum for iSgj, p. 662). Dr. Boas 
who writes : "The close similarity be- would see in the acquisition of a mani- 
tween the clan legends and those of too or personal totem the orijjin both 
the acquisition of spirits presiding over of the secret societies and of the totem 
secret societies, as well as the intimate clans ; for according to him the totem 
relation between these and the social of the clan is merely the manitoo or 
organizations of the tribes, allow us to personal totem of the ancestor trans- 
pply the same argument to the con- mitted by inheritance to his descend- 
sideration of the growth of the secret ants. As to personal totems or guardian 
societies, and lead us to the conclusion spirits (nianitoos) among the North 
that the same psychical factor that American Indians, sec Totemism and 
molded the clans into their present shape Exogamy, iii. 370 sqq. ', as to their 
molded the secret societies" ("The secret societies, see id., iiL 457 sqq. ; 
Social Organization and the Secret as to the theory that clan totems origin- 
Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians," ated in personal or individual totems. 
Report of the United States National see id., iv. 48 sqq. 

FT. Vn. VOL. n T 


honorific totems ; and the goose was a honorific totem of 
the Grizzly Bear clan. But the common bear, as a honorific 
totem or crest, might be assumed by anybody, whatever his 
clan. The common possession of a honorific totem appears 
to have constituted the same sort of bond among the Carrier 
Indians as the membership of a secret society does among 
the coast tribes of British Columbia ; certainly the rites of 
initiation were similar. This will be clear from Father 
Morice's account of the performances, which I will subjoin in 
his own words. " The connection of the individual with his 
crest appeared more especially during ceremonial dances, 
when the former, attired, if possible, with the spoils of the 
latter, was wont to personate it in the gaze of an admiring 
Initiatory assemblage. On all such occasions, man and totem were 
rites at the ^^^^ called bv the same name. The adoption of any such 

adoption of ■' '■ •' 

a honorific 'rite' or crest was usually accompanied by initiatory cere- 
totem, monies or observances corresponding to the nature of the 
crest, followed in all cases by a distribution of clothes to all 
Simulated present. Thus whenever anybody resolved upon getting 
transfor- received as Luleni or Bear, he would, regardless of the 

mationofa ° 

novice into season, divcst himself of all his wearing apparel and don a 
bear-skin, whereupon he would dash into the woods there 
to remain for the space of three or four days and nights ir 
deference to the wonts of his intended totem animal. Everyi 
night a party of his fellow-villagers would sally out in search 
of the missing ' bear.' To their loud calls : Yi I Kelulem 
(Come on, Bear !) he would answer by angry growls ir 
imitation of the bear. The searching party making for the 
spot where he had been heard, would find by a second cal 
followed by a similar answer that he had dexterously shiftec 
to some opposite quarter in the forest. As a rule, he coule 
not be found, but had to come back of himself, when he waf 
speedily apprehended and conducted to the ceremonial lodge 
where he would commence his first bear-dance in conjunctior 
with all the other totem people, each of whom would then per- 
sonate his own particular totem. Finally would take place 
the potlatch [distribution of property] of the newly initiatec 
* bear,' who would not forget to present his captor with at least 
a whole dressed skin. The initiation to the ' Darding Knife 
was quite a theatrical performance. A lance was prepared 

a bear. 


which had a very sharp point so arranged that the slightest Pretence of 
pressure on its tip would cause the steel to gradually sink r^^^ 
into the shaft. In the sight of the multitude crowding the t'onat 
lodge, this lance was pressed on the bare chest of the 
candidate and apparently sunk in his body to the shaft, 
when he would tumble down simulating death. At the 
same time a quantity of blood — previously kept in the 
mouth — would issue from the would-be corpse, making it 
quite clear to the uninitiated gazers-on that the terrible 
knife had had its effect, when lo ! upon one of the actors 
striking up one of the chants specially made for the cir- 
cumstance and richly paid for, the candidate would gradually 
rise up a new man, the particular protegi of the ' Darding 
Knife.' " ^ 

In the former of these two initiatory rites of the Carrier Signifi- 
Indians the prominent feature is the transformation of the ^"^^ ° 
man into his totem animal ; in the latter it is his death and initiatory 
resurrection. But in substance, probably, both are identical. 
In both the novice dies as a man and revives as his totem, 
whether that be a bear, a " darding " knife, or what not ; in 
other words, he has deposited his life or some portion of it in 
his totem, with which accordingly for the future he is more 
or less completely identified. Hard as it may be for us to 
conceive why a man should choose to identify himself with a 
knife, whether " darding " or other\vise, we have to remember 
that in Celebes it is to a chopping-knife or other iron tool 
that the soul of a woman in labour is transferred for safety ; " 
and the difference between a chopping-knife and a " darding " 
knife, considered as a receptacle for a human soul, is per- 
haps not very material. Among the Thompson Indians of Supposed 
British Columbia warriors who had a knife, an arrow, or abiiity*^of 
any other weapon for their personal totem or guardian men who 
spirit, enjoyed this signal advantage over their fellows that ^^^ns 
they were for all practical purposes invulnerable. If an for their 
arrow did hit them, which seldom happened, they vomited spirits. 

' A. G. Morice, "Notes, archaeo- correspond in some measure to the 

logical, industrial, and sociological, on sub-totems or multiplex totems of the 

the Western Denes,'' Transactions of Australians. As to these latter see 

the Canadian Institute, iv. (1892-93) Totemism and Exogamy, i. 78 sqq., 

pp. 203-206. The honorific totems 133 sqq. 

of the Carrier Indians may perhaps '' See above, pp. 153 sq. 



rite of the 

Traces of 
the rite of 
death and 
tion amonj 

the blood up, and the hurt soon healed. Hence these 
arrow-proof warriors rarely wore armour, 'which would in- 
deed have been superfluous, and they generally took the 
most dangerous posts in battle. So convinced were the 
Thompson Indians of the power of their personal totem 
or guardian spirit to bring them back to life, that some 
of them killed themselves in the sure hope that the spirit 
would immediately raise them up from the dead. Others, 
more prudently, experimented on their friends, shooting 
them dead and then awaiting more or less cheerfully their 
joyful resurrection. We are not told that success crowned 
these experimental demonstrations of the immortality of the 

The Toukaway Indians of Texas, one of whose totems 
is the wolf, have a ceremony in which men, dressed in wolf- 
skins, run about on all fours, howling and mimicking wolves. 
At last they scratch up a living tribesman, who has been 
buried on purpose, and putting a bow and arrows in his 
hands, bid him do as the wolves do — rob, kill, and murder.^ 
The ceremony probably forms part of an initiatory rite like 
the resurrection from the grave of the old man in the 
Australian rites. 

The simulation of death and resurrection or of a new 
birth at initiation appears to have lingered on, or at least to 
have left traces of itself, among peoples who have advanced 
far beyond the stage of savagery. Thus, after his investiture 
with the sacred thread — the symbol of his order — a Brah- 
man is called " twice born." Manu says, " According to 
the injunction of the revealed texts the first birth of an 

of the United States (Philadelphia, 
1853-1856), V. 683. In a letter dated 
l6th Dec. 1887, Mr. A. S. Gatschet, 
formerly of the Bureau of Ethnology, 
Washington, wrote to me: "Among 
the Toukawe whom in 1884 I found at 
Fort Griffin [?], Texas, I noticed that 
they never kill the big or grey wolf, 
hatchukuncin, which has a mythological 
signification, 'holding the earth' 
(hatch). He forms one of their totem 
clans, and they have had a dance in his 
honor, danced by the males only, who 
carried sticks." 

1 James Teit, The Thompson Indians 
of British Columbia, p. 357 (The J e sup 
North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of 
the American Museum of Natural 
History, April, 1900). Among the 
Shuswap of British Columbia, when a 
young man has obtained his personal 
totem or guardian spirit, he is sup- 
posed to become proof against bullets 
and arrows (Fr. Boas, in Sixth Report 
of the Committee on the North- Western 
Tribes of Catiada, p. 93, separate re- 
print from the Report of the British 
Association, Leeds meeting, 1890). 

2 n. R. Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes 


Ar\'an is from his natural mother, the second happens on 
the tying of the girdle of Mu;7ga grass, and the third on the 
initiation to the performance to a Srauta sacrifice." ^ A 
pretence of killing the candidate perhaps formed part of the 
initiation to the Mithraic mysteries." 

Thus, on the theory here suggested, wherever totemism is The 
found, and wherever a pretence is made of killing and bring- attempting 
ing to life again the novice at initiation, there may exist or ^° deposit 
have existed not only a belief in the possibility of permanently in a safe 
depositing the soul in some external object — animal, plant, place out- 

, . 1 . . r 1 • rr , sidC of 

or what not — but an actual mtention 01 so domg. it the the body 
question is put, why do men desire to deposit their life out- ^^ Puberty 

'■ sr ^ J IT P,ay ijave 

side their bodies ? the answer can only be that, like the been a 
giant in the fairy tale, they think it safer to do so than to ^f^'^^^^^ 

*> J y ■/ dangers 

carry it about with them, just as people deposit their money which, 
with a banker rather than carry it on their persons. We t^rimitfve 
have seen that at critical periods the life or soul is some- notions, 
times temporarily stowed away in a safe place till the ynjon ^f 
danger is past. But institutions like totemism are not ^^^ sexes, 
resorted to merely on special occasions of danger ; they are 
systems into which every one, or at least every male, is 
obliged to be initiated at a certain period of life. Now the 
period of life at which initiation takes place is regularly 
puberty ; and this fact suggests that the special danger 
which totemism and systems like it are intended to obviate 
is supposed not to arise till sexual maturity has been attained, 
in fact, that the danger apprehended is believed to attend 
the relation of the sexes to each other. It would be easy 
to prove by a long array of facts that the sexual relation is 
associated in the primitive mind with many serious perils ; 
but the exact nature of the danger apprehended is still 

* The Laws of Manti, ii. 169, 2 Lampridius, Commodus, 9 ; C. W. 
translated by G. Biihler (Oxford, 1S86), King, The Gnostics and their Remains, 
p. 61 (The Sacred Books of the East, Second Edition (London, 1887), pp. 
vol. XXV.) ; J. A. Dubois, Maurs, In- 127, 129. Compare Fr. Curoont, 
stitutions et Cir^mtmies des Peuples de Textes et Monuments figures relatifs 
rinde (Paris, 1825), i. 125 ; Monier aux mysthes de Mithra, i. (Brussels, 
Williams, Religious Thought and Life 1 899) pp. b^ sq., 321 sq. ; E. Rohde, 
m India (London, 1883), pp. 360 sq.. Psyche^ (Tubingen and Leipsic, 1903^, 
396 sq. ; H. Oldenberg, L>ie Religion ii. 400 «.* ; A. Dieterich, Eine Mit ti- 
des Veda (Berlin, 1894), pp. 466 rasliturgie (Leipsic, 1903), pp. 91, 
sqq. I S7 sqq. 


obscure. We may hope that a more exact acquaintance 
with savage modes of thought will in time disclose this 
central mystery of primitive society, and will thereby furnish 
the clue, not only to totemism, but to the origin of the 
marriage system. 



Thus the view that Balder's life was in the mistletoe is Raider's 
entirely in harmony with primitive modes of thought. It ^^^^°^ 

• 11 11-1 ,. • , -,- 1 . 1-,- . deathinthe 

may mdeed sound like a contradiction that, if his life was in mistletoe, 
the mistletoe, he should nevertheless have been killed by a 
,blow from the plant. But when a person's life is conceived 
as embodied in a particular object, with the existence of 
which his own existence is inseparably bound up, and the 
destruction of which involves his own, the object in question 
may be regarded and spoken of indifferently as his life 
or his death, as happens in the fairy tales. Hence if a 
man's death is in an object, it is perfectly natural that he 
should be killed by a blow from it. In the fairy tales 
Koshchei the Deathless is killed by a blow from the egg or 
the stone in which his life or death is secreted ; ^ the ogres 
burst when a certain grain of sand — doubtless containing their 
life or death — is carried over their heads ; ^ the magician 
dies when the stone in which his life or death is contained 
is put under his pillow;^ and the Tartar hero is warned 
that he may be killed by the golden arrow or golden sword 
in which his soul has been stowed away.* 

1 Above, p. no ; compare pp. 107, See Spirits of the Com and of the 

no sq., 132, 133. (Vi/d, i. 144. In Mecklenburg a cock 

- Above, p. 1 20. is sometimes buried in the ground and 

^ Above, p. 106. a man who is blindfolded strikes at it 

•* Above, p. 145. In the myth the with a flail. If he misses it, another 

throwing of the weapons and of the tries, and so on till the cock is killed. 

mistletoe at Balder and the blindness See K. Bartsch, Sagen, Mdrchen und 

of Hother who slew him remind us of Gebrduche aus Mecklenlnirg (Vienna, 

the custom of the Irish reapers who 1879-1880), ii. 280. In England on 

kill the corn-spirit in the last sheaf by Shrove Tuesday a hen used to be tied 

throwing their sickles blindfold at it. upon a man's back, and other men blind- 




The view 
that the 
the life of 
the oak 
may have 
been sug- 
gested by 
the posi- 
tion of the 
among the 

parallel to 
and the 

The idea that the life of the oak was in the mistletoe 
was probably suggested, as I have said, by the observation 
that in winter the mistletoe growing on the oak remains 
green while the oak itself is leafless. But the position of 
the plant — growing not from the ground but from the trunk 
or branches of the tree — might confirm this idea. Primitive 
man might think that, like himself, the oak-spirit had sought 
to deposit his life in some safe place, and for this purpose 
had pitched on the mistletoe, which, being in a sense neither 
on earth nor in heaven, might be supposed to be fairly out 
of harm's way. In the first chapter we saw that primitive 
man seeks to preserve the life of his human divinities by 
keeping them poised between earth and heaven, as the 
place where they are least likely to be assailed by the 
dangers that encompass the life of man on earth. We 
can therefore understand why it has been a rule both of 
ancient and of modern folk -medicine that the mistletoe 
should not be allowed to touch the ground ; were it to 
touch the ground, its healing virtue would be gone.^ This 
may be a survival of the old superstition that the plant in 
which the life of the sacred tree was concentrated should 
not be exposed to the risk incurred by contact with the 
earth. In an Indian legend, which offers a parallel to the 
Balder myth, Indra swore to the demon Namuci that he 
would slay him neither by day nor by night, neither with 
staff nor with bow, neither with the palm of the hand nor 
with the fist, neither with the wet nor with the dry. But 
he killed him in the morning twilight by sprinkling over 
him the foam of the sea.^ The foam of the sea is just such 

folded struck at it with branches till they 
killed it. See T. F. Thiselton Dyer, 
British Popular Customs (London, 
1876), p. 68. W. Mannhardt (Die 
Kornddmonen, Berlin, 1868, pp. xbsq.) 
has made it probable that such sports are 
directly derived from the custom of kill- 
ing a cock upon the harvest-field as a 
representative of the corn-spirit. See 
Spirits of the Corn and of the IVild, i. 
277 sq. These customs, therefore, com- 
bined with theblindnessof Mother in the 
myth, suggest that the man who killed 
the human representative of the oak- 

spirit was blindfolded, and threw his 
weapon or the mistletoe from a little 
distance. After the Lapps had killed 
a bear — which was the occasion of 
many superstitious ceremonies — the 
bear's skin was hung on a post, and 
the women, blindfolded, shot arrows at 
it. See J. Scheffer, Lapponia (Frank- 
fort, 1673), p. 240. 

1 Pliny, Nat. Hist, xxiv, 12; J. 
Grimm, Deutsche Mytho/ogie,* ii. loio. 
Compare below, p. 282. 

- The Satapatha Brahmana, xii. 7. 
3. 1-3, translated by J. Eggeling, 


an object as a savage might choose to put his life in, because 
it occupies that sort of intermediate or nondescript position 
between earth and sky or sea and sky in which primitive 
man sees safety. It is therefore not surprising that the 
foam of the river should be the totem of a clan in India.^ 

Again, the view that the mistletoe owes its mystic char- Analogous 
acter partly to its not growing on the ground is confirmed by ^^ '' 
a parallel superstition about the mountain-ash or rowan-tree, attaching 

.- . f. . to a para- 

In Jutland a rowan that is found growing out 01 tne top sitk rowan, 
of another tree is esteemed " exceedingly effective against 
witchcraft : since it does not grow on the ground witches 
have no power over it ; if it is to have its full effect it must 
be cut on Ascension Day." " Hence it is placed over doors 
to prevent the ingress of witches.^ In Sweden and Nor\vay, 
also, magical properties are ascribed to a " flying-rowan " 
{flogrann), that is to a rowan which is found growing not in the 
ordinary fashion on the ground but on another tree, or on a 
roof, or in a cleft of the rock, where it has sprouted from seed 
scattered by birds. They say that a man who is out in the 
dark should have a bit of " flying-rowan " with him to chew ; 
else he runs a risk of being bewitched and of being unable 
to stir from the spot.^ A Norwegian story relates how 
once on a time a Troll so bewitched some men who were 
ploughing in a field that they could not drive a straight 
furrow ; only one of the ploughmen was able to resist the 
enchantment because by good luck his plough was made 
out of a " flying-rowan." ^ In Sweden, too, the " flying- 
rowan " is used to make the divining rod, which discovers 
hidden treasures. This useful art has nowadays unfor- 

Part V. (Oxford, igtxj) pp. 222 sq. indebted to the kindness of the late 

{The Scured Books of the East, vol. Rev. Walter Gregor, M. A., ofPitsligo, 

xliv. ) ; Denham Rouse, in Folk - lore who pointed out the passage to me. 

Journal, vij. (1S89) p. 61, quoting ' E. T. Kristensen, lydske Folke- 

Taittirya finlhrnana, I. vii. I. winder, vi. 380og.„ referred to by 

* Col. E. T. Dalton, "The Kols of Feilber?, I.e. According to Marcellus 

Chota-Nagpore," Transactions of the (De Meditamentis, xxvL 11$), ivy 

Ethnological Society, N.S. \\. (1868) which springs from an oak is a remedy 

p. 36. for stone, provided it be cut with a 

2 Jens Kamp, Danske Folkeminder copper instrument. 

(Odense, 1877), pp. 172, 65 sq., re- * A. Kuhn, Die Herabkunft des 

ferred to in Feilberg's Bidrag til en Feuers und des Gottertranks ^ {Gtiters- 

Ordbog oz'er Jyske Almuesmal, Fjerde loh, 1886), pp. 175 sq., quoting 

hefte (Copenhagen, 1888), p. 320. Dybeck's Runa, 1845, pp. 62 sq. 

For a sight of Feilberg's work I am * A. Kuhn, op. cit. p. 176. 


tunately been almost forgotten, but three hundred years ago 
it was in full bloom, as we gather from the following con- 
temporary account. " If in the woods or elsewhere, on old 
walls or on high mountains or rocks you perceive a rowan- 
tree irunn) which has sprung from a seed that a bird has 
dropped from its bill, you must either knock or break off 
that rod or tree in the twilight between the third day and 
the night after Ladyday. But you must take care that 
neither iron nor steel touches it and that in carrying it 
home you do not let it fall on the ground. Then place it 
under the roof on a spot under which you have laid various 
metals, and you will soon be surprised to see how that rod 
under the roof gradually bends in the direction of the metals. 
When your rod has sat there in the same spot for fourteen _ 
days or more, you take a knife or an awl, which has been ■ 
stroked with a magnet, and with it you slit the bark on all 
sides, and pour or drop the blood of a cock (best of all the 
blood from the comb of a cock which is all of one colour) on 
the said slits in the bark ; and when the blood has dried, 
the rod is ready and will give public proof of the efficacy of 
its marvellous properties." ^ Just as in Scandinavia the 
parasitic rowan is deemed a countercharm to sorcery, so in ^i 
Germany the parasitic mistletoe is still commonly con- •• 
sidered a protection against witchcraft, and in Sweden, as 
we saw, the mistletoe which is gathered on Midsummer Eve 
is attached to the ceiling of the house, the horse's stall or 
the cow's crib, in the belief that this renders the Troll power- 
less to injure man or beast.^ 

1 Quoted by A. Kuhn, op. cit. pp. seemstomeanthatifamati who possesses 

1 80 sq. In Zimbales, a province of the this parasitic plant sees a person at the 

Philippine Islands, " a certain parasitic new moon, the person on whom his 

plant that much resembles yellow moss eye falls will be sick in his stomach, 

and grows high up on trees is regarded but that the owner of the parasite 

as a very powerful charm. It is called can cure the sufferer by laying his (the 

gay-u-ma, and a man who possesses owner's) hands on his (the patient's) 

it is called nanara gayuma. If his stomach. It is interesting to observe 

eyes rest on a person during the new that the magical virtue of the parasitic 

moon he will become sick at the plant appears to be especially effective 

stomach, but he can cure the sickness at the new moon. 

by laying hands on the afflicted part." ^ A. Wuttke, Der deutsche Volks- 

See W. A. 'R.etd, Negritos of Zambales aherglatibe'^ (Berlin, 1869), p. 97 § 

(Manilla, 1904), p. 67 {Department of 128; L. Lloyd, Peasant Life in 

the Interior, Ethnological Survey Pub- Sweden (London, 1870), p. 269. See 

lications, vol. ii. part i.). Mr. Reed above, p. 86. 


The view that the mistletoe was not merely the instru- The fate of 
ment of Balder's death, but that it contained his life, is [,gij"2\o 
countenanced by the analogy of a Scottish superstition, be bound 
Tradition ran that the fate of the Hays of Errol, an estate ^^is^gtoJ ^ 
in Perthshire, near the Firth of Tay, was bound up with the on Erroi's 
mistletoe that grew on a certain great oak. A member of 
the Hay family has recorded the old belief as follows : 
" Among the low country families the badges are now 
almost generally forgotten ; but it appears by an ancient 
MS. and the tradition of a few old people in Perthshire, 
that the badge of the Hays was the mistletoe. There was 
formerly in the neighbourhood of Errol, and not far from 
the Falcon stone, a vast oak of an unknown age, and upon 
which grew a profusion of the plant : many charms and 
legends were considered to be connected with the tree, and 
the duration of the family of Hay was said to be united with 
its existence. It was believed that a sprig of the mistletoe cut 
by a Hay on Allhallowmas eve, with a new dirk, and after 
surrounding the tree three times sunwise, and pronouncing 
a certain spell, was a sure charm against all glamour or 
witchery, and an infallible guard in the day of battle. A 
spray gathered in the same manner was placed in the cradle 
of infants, and thought to defend them from being changed 
for elf-bairns by the fairies. Finally, it was affirmed, that 
when the root of the oak had perished, ' the grass should 
grow in the hearth of Errol, and a raven should sit in the 
falcon's nest.' The two most unlucky deeds which could be 
done by one of the name of Hay was, to kill a white falcon, 
and to cut down a limb from the oak of Errol. When the 
old tree was destroyed I could never learn. The estate has 
been some time sold out of the family of Hay, and of course 
it is said that the fatal oak was cut down a short time 
before." ^ The old superstition is recorded in verses which 
are traditionally ascribed to Thomas the Rhymer : — 

" While the mistletoe bats on ErroVs aik, 
And that aik stands fast. 
The Hays shall flourish, and their good grey hawk 
Shall nocht flinch before the blast. 

■ ^ John Hay Allan, The Bridal of Cabkhairn (London, 1822), pp. 337 sq. 




life of the 


and the 

deer of 


" But when the root of the aik decays^ 

And the mistletoe dwincs on its withered breast. 
The grass shall grow on ErroPs hearthstanc^ 
And the corbie roup in the falcotis nest.^^ ^ 

The idea that the fate of a family, as distinct from the 
lives of its members, is bound up with a particular plant or 
tree, is no doubt comparatively modern. The older view 
may have been that the lives of all the Plays were in this 
particular mistletoe, just as in the Indian story the lives of 
all the ogres are in a lemon ; to break a twig of the mistletoe 
would then have been to kill one of the Hays. Similarly in 
the island of Rum, whose bold mountains the voyager from 
Oban to Skye observes to seaward, it was thought that if one 
of the family of Lachlin shot a deer on the mountain of 
Finchra, he would die suddenly or contract a distemper which 
would soon prove fatal.^ Probably the life of the Lachlins 
was bound up with the deer on Finchra, as the life of the 
Hays was bound up with the mistletoe on Errol's oak, and 
the life of the Dalhousie family with the Edgewell Tree. 

It is not a new opinion that the Golden Bough w^as the 
mistletoe.^ True, Virgil does not identify but only compares 

^ Rev. John B. Pratt, Buckaii, 
Second Edition (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, 
and London, 1859), p. 342. " The 
corbie roup''^ means " the raven croak." 
In former editions of this work my 
only source of information as to the 
mistletoe and oak of the Hays was an 
extract from a newspaper which was 
kindly copied and sent to me, without 
the name of the newspaper, by the late 
Rev. Walter Gregor, M.A., of Pitsligo. 
For my acquaintance with the works of 
J. H. Allan and J. B. Pratt I am 
indebted to the researches of my 
learned friend Mr. A. B. Cook, who 
has already quoted them in his article 
" The European Sky-God," P'olk-lorc, 
xvii. (1906) pp. 318 sq. 

* M. Martin, "Description of the 
Western Islands of Scotland," in J. 
Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels (Lon- 
don, 1808-1814), iii. 661. 

3 See James Sowerby, English 
Botany, xxi. (London, 1 805), p. 1470: 
"The Misseltoe is celebrated in story 

as the sacred plant of the Druids, and 
the Golden Bough of Virgil, which 
was Aeneas's passport to the infernal 
regions." Again, the author of the 
Lexicon Mythologiciim concludes, ^^cnm 
Jonghio nostro," that the Golden Bough 
" was nothing but the mistletoe glori- 
fied by poetical license." See EdJa 
Rhythmica sen Antiquior, vulgo Sae- 
mundina dicta, iii. (Copenhagen, 
1828) p. 513 note. C. L. Roch- 
holz expresses the same opinion 
{Deutscher Glattbe itnd Branch, Berlin, 
1867, i. 9). The subject is discussed 
at length by IC. Norden, /-'. Vergilius 
Maro, Aeneis Buch VI. (Leipsic, 1903) 
pp. 161-171, who, however, does not 
even mention the general or popular view 
{publica opinio) current in the time of 
Servius, that the Golden Bough was 
the branch which a candidate for the 
priesthood of Diana had to pluck in 
the sacred grove of Nemi. I confess 
I have more respect for the general 
opinion of antiquity than to dismiss it 
thus cavalierly without a hearing. 


it with mistletoe. But this may be only a poetical device to The 
cast a mystic glamour over the humble plant. Or, more ^^^^^ 
probably, his description was based on a popular superstition seems to 
that at certain times the mistletoe blazed out into a super- ji^gioritied 
natural golden glory. The poet tells how two doves, guiding mistletoe. 
Aeneas to the gloomy vale in whose depth grew the Golden 
Bough, alighted upon a tree, " whence shone a flickering 
eleam of sold. As in the woods in winter cold the mistletoe 
— a plant not native to its tree — is green with fresh leaves 
and twines its yellow berries about the boles ; such seemed 
upon the shady holm-oak the leafy gold, so rustled in the 
gentle breeze the golden leaf" ^ Here Virgil definitely 
describes the Golden Bough as growing on a holm-oak, 
and compares it with the mistletoe. The inference is almost 
inevitable that the Golden Bough was nothing but the 
mistletoe seen through the haze of poetry or of popular 

Now grounds have been shewn for believing that the if the 
priest of the Arician grove — the King of the Wood — per- ^^^^ 
sonified the tree on which grew the Golden Bough." Hence was the 
if that tree was the oak, the King of the Wood must have [hei^ii^'of 
been a personification of the oak-spirit. It is, therefore, the Wood 
easy to understand why, before he could be slain, it was n,ay have 
necessary to break the Golden Bough. As an oak-spirit, his personated 
life or death was in the mistletoe on the oak, and so long spirit and 
as the mistletoe remained intact, he, like Balder, could not P^nshed 

. in an oak 

die. To slay him, therefore, it was necessary to break the fire, 
mistletoe, and probably, as in the case of Balder, to throw it 
at him. And to complete the parallel, it is only necessary 
to suppose that the King of the Wood was formerly burned, 
dead or alive, at the midsummer fire festival which, as we 
have seen, was annually celebrated in the Arician grove.^ 
The perpetual fire which burned in the grove, like the per- 

^ Virgil, Aen. vi. 203 sqq., compare poetical liberty, adopted for the con- 

136 yr/^. See Note I\'. "The Mistletoe venience of Aeneas's descent to the 

and the Golden Bough " at the end of infernal world. Italian tradition, as 

this volume. we learn from Servius (on Virgil, Ain. 

2 The Magic Art and the Evolution vi. 136), placed the Golden Bough in 

of Kings, i. 40 sqq., ii. 378 sqq. Virgil the grove at Nemi. 
{Aen. vi. 201 sqq.) places the Golden 

Bough in the neighbourhood of Lake ^ fjig Magic Art and the Evolution 

Avernus. But this was probably a of Kings, i. 12. 



A similar 
may have 
over the 
tive of 
Balder in 


name of the 
Bough may 
have been 
to the 
on account 
of the 
tinge v^fhich 
the plant 
assumes in 

petual fire which burned in the temple of Vesta at Rome 
and under the oak at Romove,^ was probably fed with the 
sacred oak-wood ; and thus it would be in a great fire of oak 
that the King of the Wood formerly met his end. At a 
later time, as I have suggested, his annual tenure of office 
was lengthened or shortened, as the case might be, by the 
rule which allowed him to live so long as he could prove his 
divine right by the strong hand. But he only escaped the 
fire to fall by the sword. 

Thus it seems that at a remote age in the heart of Italy, 
beside the sweet Lake of Nemi, the same fiery tragedy was 
annually enacted which Italian merchants and soldiers were 
afterwards to witness among their rude kindred, the Celts of 
Gaul, and which, if the Roman eagles had ever swooped on 
Norway, might have been found repeated with little differ- 
ence among the barbarous Aryans of the North. The rite 
was probably an essential feature in the ancient Aryan 
worship of the oak.^ 

It only remains to ask. Why was the mistletoe called 
the Golden Bough ? ^ The whitish-yellow of the mistletoe 
berries is hardly enough to account for the name, for 
Virgil says that the bough was altogether golden, stem ; 
as well as leaves."* Perhaps the name may be derived 
from the rich golden yellow which a bough of mistletoe 
assumes when it has been cut and kept for some months ; 
the bright tint is not confined to the leaves, but spreads 
to the stalks as well, so that the whole branch appears 
to be indeed a Golden Bough. Breton peasants hang up 

1 The Magic Art and the Evolution 
of Kings, ii. i86, 366 note 2. 

2 A custom of annually burning or 
otherwise sacrificing a human repre- 
sentative of the corn-spirit has been 
noted among the Egyptians, Pawnees, 
and Khonds. See Spirits of the Corn 
and of the Wild, i. 238 sq., 245 sqq., 
259 sq. We have seen that in Western 
Asia there are strong traces of a practice 
of annually burning a human god. See 
Adonis, Attis, Osiris, Second Edition, 
pp. 84 sqq., 98 sq., 1 37 sq., 1 39 sqq., 
155 sq. The Druids appear to have 
eaten portions of the human victim 
(Pliny, Nat, Hist. xxx. 13). Perhaps 

portions of the flesh of the King of the 
Wood were eaten by his worshippers 
as a sacrament. We have found traces 
of the use of sacramental bread at 
Nemi. See Spirits of the Corn and of 
the IVild, ii. 94 sqq. 

•* It has been said that in Welsh a 
name for mistletoe is " the tree of pure 
gold" {pren puraur). See J. Grimm, 
Deutsche Mythologie,^ ii. 1009, re- 
ferring to Davies. But my friend Sir 
John Rhys tells me that the statement 
is devoid of foundation. 

* Virgil, Aen. vi. 137 sq.: — 
" Latet arbore opaca 
Aureus etfoliis et lento vimine ramus.^^ 



great bunches of mistletoe in front of their cottages, and 
in the month of June these bunches are conspicuous for 
the bright golden tinge of their foliage/ In some parts of 
Brittany, especially about Morbihan, branches of mistletoe 
are hung over the doors of stables and byres to protect the 
horses and cattle,^ probably against witchcraft. 

The yellow colour of the withered bough may partly 
explain why the mistletoe has been sometimes supposed to 
possess the property of disclosing treasures in the earth ; ^ for 
on the principles of homoeopathic magic there is a natural 
affinity between a yellow bough and yellow gold. This sugges- 
tion is confirmed by the analogy of the marvellous properties 
popularly ascribed to the mythical fern-seed or fern-bloom. 
We saw that fern -seed is popularly supposed to bloom 
like gold or fire on Midsummer Eve.* Thus in Bohemia it 
is said that "on St John's Day fern -seed blooms with golden 
blossoms that gleam like fire." * Now it is a property of 
this mythical fern-seed that whoever has it, or will ascend a 
mountain holding it in his hand on Midsummer Eve, will 
discover a vein of gold or will see the treasures of the earth 
shining with a bluish flame.'* In Russia they say that if you 

great hollow oak of Saint-Denis-des- 
Puits, in the French province of Perche, 
is called "the gilded or golden oak" 
(Ch^ne - Dore) *' in memory of the 
Druidical tradition of the mistletoe cut 
with a golden sickle." See Felix 
Chapiseau, Le Folk-lore de la Beauce et 
du ArrA<f ( Paris, 1902), L 97. Perhaps 
the name may be derived from bunches 
of withered mistletoe shining like gold 
in the sunshine among the branches. 

* H. Gaidoz, " Bulletin critique de 
la Mytholc^e Gauloise," Revue de 
PHistoire des Religions, ii. (Paris, 
1880) p. 76. 

^ See below, pp. 291 sg. 

* See above, pp. 65 sq. 
^ J. V. Grohmann, Aberglauben und 

Gebrduche aus Bchmen und Aldhren 
(Prague and Leipsic, 1864), p. 97, 


8 J. V. Grohmann, op. cit. p. 97, § 
676 ; A. Wuttke, Der deutscke Volks- 
aberglaube - (Berlin, 1869), p. 94, § 
123; I. V. Zingerle, Sitten, Brauche 
und Meinungen des Tiroler Volkes^ 
(Innsbruck, 1871), p. 158, § 1350. 

^ This miggestion as to the origin of 
the name has been made to me by two 
correspondents independently. Miss 
Florence Grove, writing to me from 
10 Milton Chambers, Cheyne Walk, 
London, on May 13th, 1901, tells me 
that she regularly hangs up a bough of 
mistletoe every year and allows it to 
remain till it is replaced by the new 
branch next year, and from her observa- 
tion *' the mistletoe is actually a golden 
bough when kept a sufficiently long 
time." She was kind enough to send 
me some twigs of her old bough, which 
fully bore out her description. Again, 
Mrs. A. Stuart writes to me from 
Crear Cottage, Momingside Drive, 
Edinburgh, on June 26th, 1901 : "As 
to why the mistletoe might be called 
the Golden Bough, my sister Miss Haig 
wishes me to tell you that last June, 
when she was in Brittany, she saw 
great bunches of mistletoe hung up in 
front of the houses in the villages. 
The leaves were bright golden. You 
should hang up a branch next Christ- 
mas and keep it till June ! " The 

The yellow 
hue of 
may partly 
why the 
plant is 
thought to 
yellow gold 
in the 
fern-seed is 
thought to 
bloom like 
gold or fire 
and to re- 
veal buried 
on Mid- 



succeed in catching the wondrous bloom of the fern at mid- 
night on Midsummer Eve, you have only to throw it up into the 
air, and it will fall like a star on the very spot where a treasure 
lies hidden.^ In Brittany treasure-seekers gather fern-seed 
at midnight on Midsummer Eve, and keep it till Palm 
Sunday of the following year ; then they strew the seed on 
ground where they think a treasure is concealed.^ Tyrolese 
peasants imagine that hidden treasures can be seen glowing 
like flame on Midsummer Eve, and that fern-seed, gathered 
at this mystic season, with the usual precautions, will help to 
bring the buried gold to the surface.^ In the Swiss canton 
of Freiburg people used to watch beside a fern on St. John's 
night in the hope of winning a treasure, which the devil 
himself sometimes brought to them.^ In Bohemia they say 
that he who procures the golden bloom of the fern at this 
season has thereby the key to all hidden treasures ; and that 
if maidens will spread a cloth under the fast-fading bloom, 
red gold will drop into it.^ And in the Tyrol and Bohemia 
if you place fern-seed among money, the money will never 
decrease, however much of it you spend.® Sometimes the 

treasures are sometimes said to bloom 
or burn in the earth, or to reveal their 
presence by a bluish flame, on Mid- 
summer Eve ; in Transylvania only 
children born on a Sunday can see 
them and fetch them up. See J. Halt- 
rich, Zur Volkskiinde der Sieben burger 
Sa^hsen (Vienna, 1885), p. 287 ; I. V. 
Zingerle, Sitten, Briinchu und Mcin- 
ungen des Tiroler Volkes'^ (Innsbruck, 
1871), p. 159, §§ 1351. 1352; K. 
Bartsch, Sagen, Mdrchen und Gebriiuche 
aus Mecklenburg (Vienna, 1879- 1880), 
ii. 285, § 1431 ; E. Monseur, Folklore 
Wallon (Brussels, N.D.), p. 6, § 1789 ; 
K. Haupt, Sagenbuch der Lausitz 
(Leipsic, 1862- 1863), i. 231 sq.. No. 
275 ; A. Wuttke, Der deutsche Volks- 
aberglaube"^ (Berlin, 1869), p. 76, § 92 ; 
F. J. Wiedemann, Atis dem inneren 
und dusseren Leben der Ehsten (St. 
Petersburg, 1876), p. 363. 

t* I. V. Zingerle, op. at. p. 103, § 
882 ; id., in Z,eitschrift Jiir deutsche 
Mythologie und Sittcnkunck, i. (1853), 
p. 330 ; W. Miiller, Beitrdi^e zur Votks- 
kunde derDeutschen in Mahren (Vienna 
and OlmUtz, 1893), p. 265. At Per- 

1 C. Russwurm, " Aberglaube in 
Russland," Zeitschrift fiir deutsche 
]\I)'thologie und Sittenkuttde, iv. (1859), 
pp. 152 sq.; Angelo de Gubernatis, 
Mythologie des Plantes (Paris, 1878- 
1882), ii. 146. 

2 P. Sebillot, Traditions et Siiper- 
stitio7is de la Haute-Bretagne (Paris, 
18S2), ii. 336; id., Coutumes populaires 
de la Haute-Bretagne (Paris, 1886), p. 

3 J. E. W^aldfreund, " Volksge- 
brauche und Aberglauben in Tirol und 
dem SalzburgerGebirg," Zeitschrift fiir 
deutsche Mythologie und Sittenkunde, 
iii. (1855), p. 339. 

^ H. Runge, ' ' Volksglaube in der 
Schweiz," Zeitschrift fiir deutsche 
Mythologie und Sittenkunde, iv. (1859), 

P- 175- 

" O. Frh. von Reinsberg-Diirings- 
N.D.), pp. 311 sq. Compare Theodor 
Vernaleken, Alythen und Briiuche des 
Volkes in Oesterreich (Vienna, 1859), 
pp. 309 sq. ; M. Toppen, Aberglauben 
aus Masuren^ (Danzig, 1867), pp. 72 
sq. Even without the use of fern-seed 


fern-seed is supposed to bloom on Christmas night, and Sometimes 
whoever catches it will become very rich/ In Styria they [hTu^ht^to^ 
say that by gathering fern-seed on Christmas night you can bloom on 
force the devil to bring you a bag of money .^ In Swabia nicrhT™" 
likewise you can, by taking the proper precautions, compel 
Satan himself to fetch you a packet of fern-seed on Christmas 
night. But for four weeks previously, and during the whole 
of the Advent season, you must be very careful never to 
pray, never to go to church, and never to use holy water ; 
you must busy yourself all day long with devilish thoughts, 
and cherish an ardent wish that the devil would help you to 
get money. Thus prepared you take your stand, between 
eleven and twelve on Christmas night, at the meeting of two 
roads, over both of which corpses have been carried to the 
churchyard. Here many people meet you, some of them 
dead and buried long ago, it may be your parents or grand- 
parents, or old friends and acquaintances, and they stop and 
greet you, and ask, " What are you doing here ? " And tiny 
little goblins hop and dance about and try to make you laugh. 
But if you smile or utter a single word, the devil will tear you 
to shreds and tatters on the spot. If, however, you stand 
glum and silent and solemn, there will come, after all the 
ghostly train has passed by, a man dressed as a hunter, and 
that is the devil. He will hand you a paper cornet full of 
fern-seed, which you must keep and carry about with you as 
long as you live. It will give you the power of doing as 
much work at your trade in a day as twenty or thirty ordinary 
men could do in the same time. So you will grow very 
rich. But few people have the courage to go through with 
the ordeal. The people of Rotenburg tell of a weaver of The wicked 
their town, who lived some two hundred and fifty years R^enbi^g 
ago and performed prodigies of weaving by a simple applica- 
tion of fern-seed which he had been so fortunate as to obtain, 
no doubt from the devil, though that is not expressly alleged 

gine, in the Tyrol, it was thought that ^ I. \'. Zingerle, Sitten, Brauche 

fern-seed gathered with the dew on St. und Meinungftt des TiroUr Fb/keSj^pp. 

John's night had the power of trans- 190 sg., § 1573. 

fonning metals (into gold ?). See Ch. ^ A. Schlossar, " Volksmeinung und 

Schneller, Marc)i£n und Sagen atis Volksaberglaube aus der deutschen 

fTaAv^/jr^/ (Innsbruck, 1867), p. 237, Steiermark," Germania, N.R., xxiv. 

§23. (i89i)p. 387. 

PT. Vll. VOL. II U 


by tradition. Rich in the possession of this treasure, the lazy 
rascal worked only on Saturdays and spent all the rest of 
the week playing and drinking ; yet in one day he wove 
far more cloth than any other skilled weaver who sat at his 
loom from morning to night every day of the week. Natur- 
ally he kept his own counsel, and nobody might ever have 
known how he did it, if it had not been for what, humanly 
speaking, you might call an accident, though for my part I can- 
not but regard it as the manifest finger of Providence. One 
day — it was the octave of a festival — the fellow had woven 
a web no less than a hundred ells long, and his mistress 
resolved to deliver it to her customer the same evening. So 
she put the cloth in a basket and away she trudged with it. 
Her way led her past a church, and as she passed the 
sacred edifice, she heard the tinkle of the holy bell which 
announced the elevation of the Host. Being a good woman 
she put her basket down, knelt beside it, and there, with the 
shadows gathering round her, committed herself to the care 
of God and his good angels and received, along with the 
kneeling congregation in the lighted church, the evening 
benediction, which kept her and them from all the perils and | 
dangers of the night. Then rising refreshed she took up her 
basket. But what was her astonishment on looking into it 
to find the whole web reduced to a heap of yarn ! The 
blessed words of the priest at the altar had undone the cursed 
spell of the Enemy of Mankind.^ 
The golden Thus, on the principle of like by like, fern-seed is 

fem-Te^ed supposcd to discoycr gold because it is itself golden ; and 
appears to for a similar reason it enriches its possessor with an un- 
emanation bailing supply of gold. But while the fern-seed is described 
of the sun's as golden, it is equally described as glowing and fiery; 
Hence, when we consider that two great days for gathering 
the fabulous seed are Midsummer Eve and Christmas — that 
is, the two solstices (for Christmas is nothing but an old 
heathen celebration of the winter solstice) — we are led to 

1 Ysvi.%\.yii\&x, Deutsche Sagen,Sitten p. 97, § 675; W. R. S. Ralston, 
U7id Gedrduckeaus Sc/iwa6en{St\ittgatt, Songs of the Kttssian People, Second 
1852), pp. 242-244. Edition (London, 1872), p. 98; C. 

Russwurm, "Aberglaube in Russland," 

^ J. V. Grohmann, Aberglauben und Zeitschrift fur deutsche Mythoiogie una 
Gebrduche aus Bohmen und Mdhren, Siltenkunde, iv. (1859) p. 152. 


regard the fiery aspect of the fern-seed as primary, and its 
golden aspect as secondary and derivative. Fern-seed, in fact, 
would seem to be an emanation of the sun's fire at the two 
turning-points of its course, the summer and winter solstices. 
This view is confirmed by a German story in which a hunter 
is said to have procured fern-seed by shooting at the sun 
on Midsummer Day at noon ; three drops of blood fell down, 
which he caught in a white cloth, and these blood-drops were 
the fern-seed.^ Here the blood is clearly the blood of the 
sun, from which the fern-seed is thus directly derived. Thus 
it may be taken as probable that fern-seed is golden, because 
it is believed to be an emanation of the sun's golden fire. 

Now, like fern-seed, the mistletoe is gathered either at Like fem- 
Midsummer or Christmas^ — that is, at the summer and ^^ig^^ is 
winter solstices — and, like fern-seed, it is supposed to gathered at 
possess the power of revealing treasures in the earth. On !^"^[*. ^"^*^^ 
Midsummer Eve people in Sweden make divining-rods of summer 
mistletoe, or of four different kinds of wood one of which mas) and is 
must be mistletoe. The treasure-seeker places the rod on supposed 
the ground after sun-down, and when it rests directly over treasures in 
treasure, the rod begins to move as if it were alive.^ Now, the earth; 

1 L. Bechstein, Dentsches Sagenbuch mistletoe is probably another relic of 

(Leipsic, 1853), p. 430, No. 500; id., the same sort. See Washington Irving, 

Thiiringer Sagenhuch (Leipsic, 1885), Sketck-Book, "Christmas Eve," p. 147 

ii. pp. 17 sq.. No. 161. (Bohn's edition) ; Marie Trevelyan, 

^ For gathering it at midsummer, Folk-lore and Folk-stories of Wales 

see above, pp. 86 sq. The custom of (London, 1909), p. 88. 
gathering it at Christmas still commonly 

survives in England. At York "on ^ A. A. Afzelius, Volkssagen utid 

the eve of Christmas-day they carry Volkslieder aus Schwedeiis dlterer und 

mistletoe to the high altar of the ««/.fr^r Z(?// (Leipsic, 1842), i. 41 sq.\ 

cathedral, and proclaim a public and J- Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie,^ iii. 

universal liberty, pardon and freedom 289 ; L. Lloyd, Peasant Life in Sweden 

to all sorts of inferior and even wicked (London, 1870), pp. 2665/. See above, 

people at the gales of the city, toward p. 69. In the Tyrol they say that if 

the four quarters of heaven. ' See W. mistletoe grows on a hazel-tree, there 

Stukeley, The Medallic History of must be a treasure under the tree. See 

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Carausius, J. N. Ritter von Alpenburg, Mylhen 

Emperor in Britain (London, 1757- ww^Ja^i-w 7»o/j (Zurich, 1857), p. 398. 

1759). ii- 164; J. Brand, Popular In East Prussia a similar belief is held 

Antiquities of Great Britain (London, in regard to mistletoe that grows on a 

1882-1883),!. 525. This last custom, thorn. See C. Lemke, Volksthum- 

which is now doubtless obsolete, may liches in Ostpreussen (Mohrungen, 

have been a relic of an annual period 1 884-1 887), ii. 283. We have seen 

of license like the Saturnalia. The that the divining-rod which reveals 

traditional privilege accorded to men treasures is commonly cut from a hazel 

of kissing any woman found under (above, pp. 67 sq.). 


perhaps, if tlic mistlctoc discovcrs gold, it must be in its character of 
therefore, ^j^ Goldcfi Bough ; and if it is gathered at the solstices, must 

It too IS t> ' D 

deemed an not the Goldcn Bough, like the golden fern-seed, be an emana- 
onhe^suti's t'O" °^ ^^^ sun's fire ? The question cannot be answered with 
golden fire, a simple affirmative. We have seen that the old Aryans 
perhaps kindled the solstitial and other ceremonial fires in 
part as sun-charms, that is, with the intention of supplying the 
sun with fresh fire ; and as these fires were usually made by 
the friction or combustion of oak-wood,^ it may have appeared 
to the ancient Aryan that the sun was periodically recruited 
from the fire which resided in the sacred oak. In other words, 
the oak may have seemed to him the original storehouse or 
reservoir of the fire which was from time to time drawn out 
to feed the sun. But if the life of the oak was conceived 
to be in the mistletoe, the mistletoe must on that view have 
contained the seed or germ of the fire which was elicited by 
friction from the wood of the oak. Thus, instead of saying 
that the mistletoe was an emanation of the sun's fire, it 
might be more correct to say that the sun's fire was regarded 
as an emanation of the mistletoe. No wonder, then, that 
the mistletoe shone with a golden splendour, and was called 
the Golden Bough. Probably, however, like fern -seed, it was 
thought to assume its golden aspect only at those stated 
times, especially midsummer, when fire was drawn from the 
The bloom oak to light up the sun.^ At Pulverbatch, in Shropshire, it 
°^^Md^^ was believed within living memory that the oak-tree blooms 
summer ou Midsummcr Eve and the blossom withers before day- 
^"^^' light. A maiden who wishes to know her lot in marriage 

should spread a white cloth under the tree at night, and in 
the morning she will find a little dust, which is all that 
remains of the flower. She should place the pinch of dust 
under her pillow, and then her future husband will appear 
to her in her dreams.^ This fleeting bloom of the oak, if I 
am right, was probably the mistletoe in its character of the 
Golden Bough. The conjecture is confirmed by the obscr- 

* Above, pp. 90-92. the times when fires are ceremonially 

2 Fern-seed is supposed to bloom at kindled, perhaps to recruit the fire of 

Easter as well as at Midsummer and the sun. 

Christmas (VV, R. S. Ralston, Songs oj ^ Miss C. S. Burne and Miss G. F. 

the Russian People, pp. 98 sq.); and ]Ac\i%on, Shropshire Folk-lore (honAon, 

Easter, as we have seen, is one of 1883), p. 242. 


vation that in Wales a real sprig of mistletoe gathered on 
Midsummer Eve is similarly placed under the pillow to 
induce prophetic dreams ; ^ and further the mode of catching 
the imaginary bloom of the oak in a white cloth is exactly 
that which was employed by the Druids to catch the real 
mistletoe when it dropped from the bough of the oak, 
severed by the golden sickle.' As Shropshire borders on 
Wales, the belief that the oak blooms on Midsummer Eve 
may be Welsh in its immediate origin, though probably the 
belief is a fragment of the primitive Aryan creed. In some 
parts of Italy, as we saw,^ peasants still go out on Mid- 
summer morning to search the oak-trees for the " oil of St. 
John," which, like the mistletoe, heals all wounds, and is, 
perhaps, the mistletoe itself in its glorified aspect. Thus it 
is easy to understand how a title like the Golden Bough, so 
little descriptive of its usual appearance on the tree, should 
have been applied to the seemingly insignificant parasite. 
Further, we can perhaps see why in antiquity mistletoe was 
believed to possess the remarkable property of extinguishing 
fire,"* and why in Sweden it is still kept in houses as a safe- 
guard against conflagration.^ Its fiery nature marks it out, 
on homoeopathic principles, as the best possible cure or 
preventive of injury by fire. 

These considerations may partially explain why Virgil Aeneas and 
makes Aeneas carry a glorified bough of mistletoe with him Bough, 
on his descent into the gloomy subterranean world. The 
poet describes how at the very gates of hell there stretched 
a vast and gloomy wood, and how the hero, following the 
flight of two doves that lured him on, wandered into the 
depths of the immemorial forest till he saw afar off through 
the shadows of the trees the flickering light of the Golden 
Bough illuminating the matted boughs overhead.'* If the 
mistletoe, as a yellow withered bough in the sad autumn 
woods, was conceived to contain the seed of fire, what better 
companion could a forlorn wanderer in the nether shades 

^ Marie Trevelyan, Folk-lore and " Calx aqua accenditur et Thracius 

Folk-stoi-ies of Wales (London, 1909), lapis, idem oleorestingititur, ignis autevt 

p. 88. aceto maxime et visco et ovo." 

2 Pliny, .Vat. Hist. xvi. 251. 5 See above d 8? 

3 Above, pp. 82 sq. ^^^ ^'^'^' P- ^^• 

* Pliny, N'at. Hist, xxxiii. 94 : ^ Virgil, Aeii. vi. 179-209. 

and the 

294 THE GOLDEN BOUGH cuai'. 

take with him than a bough that would be a lamp to his 
feet as well as a rod and staff to his hands? Armed with 
it he might boldly confront the dreadful spectres that would 
cross his path on his adventurous journey. Hence when 
Aeneas, emerging from the forest, comes to the banks of 
Styx, winding slow with sluggish stream through the infernal 
marsh, and the surly ferryman refuses him passage in his 
boat, he has but to draw the Golden Bough from his bosom 
and hold it up, and straightway the blusterer quails at the 
sight and meekly receives the hero into his crazy bark, which 
sinks deep in the water under the unusual weight of the 
living man.^ Even in recent times, as we have seen, 
mistletoe has been deemed a protection against witches and 
trolls,^ and the ancients may well have credited it with the 
same magical virtue. And if the parasite can, as some 
of our peasants believe, open all locks,^ why should it 
not have served as an "open Sesame" in the hands of 
Orpheus Acncas to unlock the gates of death ? There is some reason 
to suppose that when Orpheus in like manner descended 
alive to hell to rescue the soul of his dead wife Eurydice 
from the shades, he carried with him a willow bough to 
serve as a passport on his journey to and from the land of 
the dead ; for in the great frescoes representing the nether 
world, with which the master hand of Polygnotus adorned 
the walls of a loggia at Delphi, Orpheus was depicted sitting 
pensively under a willow, holding his lyre, now silent and 
useless, in his left hand, while with his right he grasped the 
drooping boughs of the tree.* If the willow in the picture 
had indeed the significance which an ingenious scholar has 
attributed to it,^ the painter meant to represent the dead 
musician dreaming wistfully of the time when the willow had 
carried him safe back across the Stygian ferry to that bright 
world of love and music which he was now to see no more. 
Again, on an ancient sarcophagus, which exhibits in sculp- 
tured relief the parting of Adonis from Aphrodite, the 
hapless youth, reclining in the lap of his leman, holds 

' Virgil, Aen. vi. 384-416. not," Mitthciluiiiiai des kai!icrliih\ 

'' Above, pp. 86, 282. deuischen Archaeologischeu Inslitiits, 

3 Above, p. 85. Atheiiische Abtheiltaig, xix. (1894) 

■• Pausanias, x. 30. 6. pp. 338^(7. Compare my commentary i 

^ J. Six, "Die Eriphyle des Polyg- on Pausanias, vol. v. p. 3S5. 


branch, which hais been taken to signify that he, too, by the 
help of the mystic bough, might yet be brought back from 
the gates of death to hfe and love.^ 

Now, too, we can conjecture why Virbius at Xemi came Trees 
to be confounded with the sun." If Virbius was, as I have *!!°"^''' ^^' 

' the savage 

tried to shew, a tree-spirit, he must have been the spirit of to be the 
the oak on which grew the Golden Bough ; for tradition ^^^Je 
represented him as the first of the Kings of the Wood. As elicits it by 
an oak-spirit he must have been supposed periodically to from°their 
rekindle the sun's fire, and might therefore easily be con- ^^qA. 
founded with the sun itself. Similarly we can explain why 
Balder, an oak-spirit, was described as " so fair of face and 
so shining that a light went forth from him," ' and why he 
should have been so often taken to be the sun. And in 
general we may say that in primitive society, when the only 
known way of making fire is by the friction of wood, the 
savage must necessarily conceive of fire as a property stored 
away, like sap or juice, in trees, from which he has labori- 
ously to extract it. The Senal Indians of California " profess 
to believe that the whole world was once a globe of fire, 
whence that element passed up into the trees, and now 
comes out whenever two pieces of wood are rubbed 
together." ^ Similarly the Maidu Indians of California hold 
that " the earth was primarily a globe of molten matter, and 
from that the principle of fire ascended through the roots 
into the trunk and branches of trees, whence the Indians can 
extract it by means of their drill." ^ In Namoluk, one of 
the Caroline Islands, they say that the art of making fire 
was taught men by the gods. Olofaet, the cunning master 
of flames, gave fire to the bird mwi and bade him carry it to 
earth in his bill. So the bird flew from tree to tree and 
stored away the slumbering force of the fire in the wood, 
from which men can elicit it by friction." In the ancient 

^ The sarcophagus is in the Lateran Simrock* (Stuttgart, 18S2), p. 264. 

Museum at Rome. See W. Helbig, * S. Powers, Tribes of California 

Fiihrer durch die offentlichen Samm- (Washington, 1877), p. 171. 

lungen Klassischer AUertiimer in Rom * ^ S. Powers, Tribes of California, 

(Leipsic, 1899), ii. 468. p. 287. 

2 See The Magic Art and the Evoht- ^ Max Girschner, " Die Karolinen- 

tiou of Kings, i. 19 sqq. insel Namoluk und ihre Bewohner," 

2 Die Edda, tibersetzt von K. Baessler-Archiv, ii. (191 2) p. 141. 


Vcdic hymns of India the fire-god Agni " is spoken of as 
born in wood, as the embryo of plants, or as distributed in 
plants. He is also said to have entered into all plants or 
to strive after them. When he is called the embryo of trees 
or of trees as well as plants, there may be a side-glance at 
the fire produced in forests by the friction of the boughs of 
trees." ^ In some Australian languages the words for wood 
and fire are said to be the same.^ 
Trees that A tree which has been struck by lightning is naturally 

have been regarded by the savare as charged with a double or 

struck by ° / ° ° 

lightning triple portion of fire ; for has he not seen the mighty 
b'^^tSr"'^^ flash enter into the trunk with his own eyes? Hence 
savage to perhaps we may explain some of the many superstitious 
with a"^^*^ beliefs concerning trees that have been struck by lightning, 
double Thus in the opinion of the Cherokee Indians " mysterious 
firl '°" ° properties attach to the wood of a tree which has been 
struck by lightning, especially when the tree itself still 
lives, and such wood enters largely into the secret com- 
pounds of the conjurers. An ordinary person of the laity 
will not touch it, for fear of having cracks come upon his 
hands and feet, nor is it burned for fuel, for fear that lye 
made from the ashes will cause consumption. In preparing 
ballplayers for the contest, the medicine -man sometimes 
burns splinters of it to coal, which he gives to the players to 
paint themselves with, in order that they may be able to 
strike their opponents with all the force of a thunderbolt. 
Bark or wood from a tree struck by lightning, but still 
green, is beaten up and put into the water in which seeds 
are soaked before planting, to insure a good crop, but, on 
the other hand, any lightning-struck wood thrown into the 
field will cause the crop to wither, and it is believed to have 
a bad effect even to go into the field immediately after 
having been near such a tree." ^ Apparently the Cherokees 
imagine that when wood struck by lightning is soaked in: 

* A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology Race (Melbourne and London, 1886- 

(Slrasburg, 1897), pp. 91 sq., referring 1887), i. 9, 1 8. 
to Rigveda, vi. 3. 3, x. 79. 7, ii. i. 

14, iii. I. 13, X. I. 2, viii. 43. 9, i. 3 James Mooney, "Myths of the 

70. 4, ii. I. I. Compare H. Olden- Chtrdkes" Nineteenth Annual Report 

berg, Die Religion des Veda (Berlin, of the Bureau of Avierican Ethnology^ 

1894), pp. 120 sq. Part i. (Washington, 1900) p. 422, 

2 Edward M. Curr, The Australian compare p. 435. 


water the fierce heat of the slumbering fire in its veins is 
tempered to a genial warmth, which promotes the growth 
of the crops ; but that when the force of the fire has not 
been thus diluted it blasts the growing corn. When the 
Thompson Indians of British Columbia wished to set fire to 
the houses of their enemies, they shot at them arrows which 
were either made from a tree that had been struck by light- 
ning or had splinters of such wood attached to them.^ They 
seem to have thought that wood struck by lightning was so 
charged with fire that it would ignite whatever it struck, the 
mere concussion suflficing to explode it like gunpowder. Yet 
curiously enough these Indians supposed that if they burned 
the wood of trees that had been struck by lightning, the 
weather would immediately turn cold.^ Perhaps they con- 
ceived such trees as reservoirs of heat, and imagined that by 
using them up they would exhaust the supply and thus 
lower the temperature of the atmosphere.' Wendish peasants 
of Saxony similarly refuse to burn in their stoves the wood 
of trees that have been struck by lightning ; but the reason 
they give for their refusal is different They say that with such 
fuel the house would be burnt down.* No doubt they think 
that the electric flash, inherent in the wood, would send such a 
roaring flame up the chimney that nothing could stand before 
it. In like manner the Thonga of South Africa will not use 
such wood as fuel nor warm themselves at a fire which has 
been kindled with it ; but what danger they apprehend from 
the wood we are not told.^ On the contrar}', when lightning 
sets fire to a tree, the Winamwanga of Northern Rhodesia 
put out all the fires in the village and plaster the fireplaces 
afresh, while the head men convey the lightning-kindled fire 
to the chief, who prays over it. The chief then sends out 

^ James Teit, The Thompson Indians people of British Columbia," Trans- 

of Biitish Columbia, p. 346 (The Jesiip ait ions 0/ the Royal Society of Canada^ 

North Pacific Expedit on. Memoir of ix. (1891) Section ii. p. 38. 
the American Museum of Natural His- * R. Wuttke, Sdchsische Volkshinde^ 

tory, April, 1900). (Dresden, 1901), p. 369. 

- J. Teit, op. cit. p. 374. * Henri A. Junod, The Life of a 

^ The Shuswap I idians of British South African Tribe {^^wc)^7l\.^, \f)\z- 

Columbia entertain a similar belief. 19 13), ii- 291. The Thonga imagine 

It has been suggested that the fancy may that lightning is caused by a great bird, 

be based on the observation that cold which sometimes buries itself in the 

follows a thunder-storm. See G. M. ground to a depth of several feet. See 

Dawson, " Notes on the Shuswap H. A. Junod, op. cit. it 290 sq. 



that the 
of the oak 
and the 
relation of 
the tree to 
the sky-god 
were sug- 
gested by 
the fre- 
with which 
oaks are 
struck by 

the new fire to all his villages, and the villagers reward his 
messengers for the boon. This shews that they look upon 
fire kindled by lightning with reverence, and the reverence is 
intelligible, for they speak of thunder and lightning as God 
himself coming down to earth.^ Similarly the Maidu 
Indians of California believe that a Great Man created the 
world and all its inhabitants, and that lightning is nothing 
but the Great Man himself descending swiftly out of heaven 
and rending the trees with his flaming arm.^ 

It is a plausible theory that the reverence which the 
ancient peoples of Europe paid to the oak, and the con- 
nexion which they traced between the tree and their sky- 
god,^ were derived from the much greater frequency with 
which the oak appears to be struck by lightning than any 
other tree of our European forests. Some remarkable 
statistics have been adduced in support of this view by 
Mr, W. Warde Fowler."* Observations, annually made in 
the forests of Lippe-Detmold for seventeen years, yielded 
the result that while the woods were mainly stocked with 
beech and only to a small extent with oak and Scotch 
pine, yet far more oaks and Scotch pines were struck by 
lightning than beeches, the number of stricken Scotch pines 
exceeding the number of stricken beeches in the proportion 
of thirty-seven to one, and the number of stricken oaks 
exceeding the number of stricken beeches in the proportion; 

^ Dr. James A. Chisholm (of the 
Livingstonia Mission, Mwenzo, N.E. 
Rhodesia), "Notes on the Manners 
and Customs of the Winamwanga and 
V^isva." Journal of the African Society, 
No. 36 (July, 1910), p. 363. 

^ S. Powers, Tribes of California 
(Washington, 1877), p. 287. The 
dread of lightning is prominent in some 
of the customs observed in Patiko, a 
district of the Uganda Protectorate. 
If a village has suffered from lii^htning, 
ropes made of twisted grass are strung 
from peak to peak of the houses to ward 
off further strokes. And if a person 
has been struck or badly shaken, " an 
elaborate cure' is performed upon him. 
A red cock is taken, his tongue torn 
out, and his body dashed upon the 
house where the stroke fell. Then the 
scene changes to the bank of a small 

running stream, where the patient is 
made to kneel while the bird is sacri- 
ficed over the water. A raw egg is 
next given to the patient to swallow, 
and he is laid on his stomach and 
encouraged to vomit. The lightning 
is supposed to be vomited along with 
the egg, and all ill effects prevented.'' 
See Rev. A L. Kitching, On the 
Backwaters of 'he Nile (London, 1 9 1 2), 
p. 263. 

■^ See The Ricigic Art and the Erolu- 
tion of Kings, ii. 349 sqq. 

* W. Warde Fowler, "The Oak 
and the Thunder -god," Archiv fiir 
Keligtonswissenschaft, xvi. (1913) pp. 
318. ci;^. My friend Mr. Wnrde Fowler 
had previously called my altcnlion to 
the facts in a letter dated September 
17th, 1912. 


of no less than sixty to one. Similar results have bepn 
obtained from obser\-ations made in French and Bavarian 
forests.^ In short, it would seem from statistics compiled by 
scientific observers, who have no mythological theories to 
maintain, that the oak suffers from the stroke of lightning 
far oftener than any other forest tree in Europe. However 
we may explain it, whether by the easier passage of electricity 
through oakvvood than through any other timber," or in some 
other way, the fact itself may well have attracted the notice 
of our rude forefathers, who dwelt in the vast forests which 
then covered a large part of Europe ; and they might 
naturally account for it in their simple religious way by 
supposing that the great sky-god, whom they worshipped "? 
and whose awful voice they heard in the roll of thunder, 
loved the oak above all the trees of the wood and often 
descended into it from the murky cloud in a flash of Hghtning, 
leaving a token of his presence or of his passage in the riven 
and blackened trunk and the blasted foliage. Such trees 
would thenceforth be encircled by a nimbus of glor>' as 
the visible seats of the thundering sky-god. Certain it is 
that, like some savages, both Greeks and Romans identified 
their great god of the sky and of the oak with the lightning 
flash which struck the ground ; and they regularly enclosed 
such a stricken spot and treated it thereafter as sacred.^ It 

' Dr. W. Schlich's Manual of poplar and willow wood. See Dr. W. 

Forestry, vol. iv. Forest Protection, by Schlich, Manual of Forestry, vol. iv. 

W. R. Fisher, Second Edition (London, Forest Protection, Second Edition (Lon- 

1907)) PP- 662 sq. Mr. W. Warde don, 1907), p. 664. In the tropics 

Fowler was the first to call the attention lightning is said to be especially 

of mythologists to this work. attracted to coco -nut palms. See 

^ Experiments on the conductivity P. Amaury Talbot, In the Shadow of 

of electricity in wood go to shew that the Bush (London, 19 13), p. 73. 
starchy trees (oak, poplar, maples, ash, ^ As to the Greek belief and custom, 

elm, sorbus) are good conductors, that see H. Usener, Kleitte Schrifteti, iv. 

oily trees (beech, walnut, birch, lime) (Leipsic and Berlin, 1913), " Kera- 

are bad conductors, and that the coni- unos," pp. 471 sqg. ; The Magic Art 

fers are intermediate, the Scotch pine in and the Evolution of Kings, \\. 361. 

summer being as deficient in oil as the As to the Roman belief and custom, 

starchy trees, but rich in oil during see Festus, sw. Fulguritum and Pro- 

winter. It was found that a single vonum fuJgur, pp. 92, 229, ed. C. O. 

turn of Holz's electric machine sufficed Miiller (Leipsic, 1839); H. Dessau, 

to send the spark through oakvvood, Inscriptioms Latinae Selectae, vol. ii. 

but that from twelve to twenty turns pars i. (Berlin, 1902) pp. 10 sq., 

were required to send it through beech- Nos. 3048-3056 ; L. Preller, Romische 

wood. Five turns of the machine were Mythologie^ (Berlin, 1881-1883), i. 

needed to send the spark through 190-193 ; G. Wissowa, Religion und 


is not rash to suppose that the ancestors of the Celts and 

Germans in the forests of Central Europe paid a like respect 

for like reasons to a blasted oak. 

This ex- This explanation of the Aryan reverence for the oak 

of\h^"°" ^"^ ^^ ^^^ association of the tree with the great god of 

Aryan wor- the thundcr and the sky, was suggested or implied long 

oakispre^ ago by Jacob Grimm/ and has been of late powerfully 

ferabie to reinforced by Mr. W. Warde Fowler.^ It appears to be 

formerly simpler and more probable than the explanation which I 

adopted by formerly adopted, namely, that the oak was worshipped 

primarily for the many benefits which our rude forefathers 

derived from the tree, particularly for the fire which they 

drew by friction from its wood ; and that the connexion of 

the oak with the sky was an after-thought based on the 

belief that the flash of lightning was nothing but the spark 

which the sky-god up aloft elicited by rubbing two pieces 

of oak wood against each other, just as his savage worshipper 

kindled fire in the forest on earth.^ On that theory the god 

of the thunder and the sky was derived from the original 

god of the oak ; on the present theory, which I now prefer, 

the god of the sky and the thunder was the great original 

deity of our Aryan ancestors, and his association with the 

oak was merely an inference based on the frequency with 

which the oak was seen to be struck by lightning. If the 

Aryans, as some think, roamed the wide steppes of Russia 

or Central Asia with their flocks and herds before they 

plunged into the gloom of the European forests, they 

may have worshipped the god of the blue or cloudy 

firmament and the flashing thunderbolt long before they 

thought of associating him with the blasted oaks in their 

new home.^ 

Kultus der Rdmer'^ (Munich, 1912), statement is no exaggeration but rather 

pp. 121 sq. By a curious refinement the contrary. 

the Romans referred lightning which 2 w. Warde Fowler, "The Oak 

fell by day to Jupiter, but lightning .^nj the Thunder-god," ArJiiv fur 

which fell by night to a god called Kdigionsivissenschajt, xvi. (1913) pi). 

Summanus (Festus, p. 229). -517-320. 

* T. (irimm, Deutsche MythoIoi^icJ^ ,. ,„, ,, . . , ,7 t- r ,■ 

... / ... ' . . ,, ,,■ ,, • •^ 1 he Mai^tc Art and the Evolution 

111. 64, citing a statement that lightning .. -^ 

strikes twenty oaks for one beech. of Kings, x\. ^^,{3 sqq. 

The statistics adduced by Mr. W. * The suggestion is Mr. W. W.mle 

Warde Fowler seem to shew that this Fowler's {op cit. pp. 319 ,/•.). 


Perhaps the new theory has the further advantage of Thesacred- 
throuing light on the special sanctity ascribed to mistletoe J^^stietoe 
which grows on an oak. The mere rarity of such a growth was per- 
on an oak hardly suffices to explain the extent and the aMiefthat 
persistence of the superstition. A hint of its real origin is the plant 
possibly furnished by the statement of Pliny that the Druids tree°in a ^ 
worshipped the plant because they believed it to have fallen flash of 
from heaven and to be a token that the tree on which it " 
grew was chosen by the god himself.^ Can they have thought 
that the mistletoe dropped on the oak in a flash of lightning? 
The conjecture is confirmed by the name thunder-besom which 
is applied to mistletoe in the Swiss canton of Aargau," for 
the epithet clearly implies a close connexion between the 
parasite and the thunder ; indeed " thunder-besom " is a 
popular name in Germany for any bushy nest-like excrescence 
growing on a branch, because such a parasitic growth is 
actually believed by the ignorant to be a product of lightning.^ 
If there is any truth in this conjecture, the real reason why 
the Druids worshipped a mistletoe-bearing oak above all 
other trees of the forest was a belief that every such oak had 
not only been struck by lightning but bore among its branches 
a visible emanation of the celestial fire ; so that in cutting 
the mistletoe with mystic rites they were securing for them- 
selves all the magical properties of a thunderbolt. If that 
was so, we must apparently conclude that the mistletoe was 
deemed an emanation of the lightning rather than, as I have 
thus far argued, of the midsummer sun. Perhaps, indeed, we 
might combine the two seemingly divergent views by sup- 
posing that in the old Aryan creed the mistletoe descended 
from the sun on Midsummer Day in a flash of lightning. But 
uch a combination is artificial and unsupported, so far as I 
Know, by any positive evidence. Whether on mythical prin- 
ciples the two interpretations can really be reconciled with 
each other or not, I will not presume to say ; but even should 
they prove to be discrepant, the inconsistency need not have 
prevented our rude forefathers from embracing both of them 
at the same time with an equal fervour of conviction ; for 
like the great majority of mankind the savage is above being 

* Pliny, Natur. Hist. xvi. 249 ^ j Grimm, Deutsche Afytholo^ie,'^ 

* See above, p. 85. i, 153. See above, p. 85. 



Hence the 
stroke of 
that killed 
Balder may 
have been a 
stroke of 

The King 
of the 

Wood and 
the Golden 

hidebound by the trammels of a pedantic logic. In at- 
tempting to track his devious thought through the jungle 
of crass ignorance and blind fear, we must always remember 
that we are treading enchanted ground, and must beware of 
taking for solid realities the cloudy shapes that cross our 
path or hover and gibber at us through the gloom. We 
can never completely replace ourselves at the standpoint of 
primitive man, see things with his eyes, and feel our hearts 
beat with the emotions that stirred his. All our theories 
concerning him and his ways must therefore fall far short of 
certainty ; the utmost we can aspire to in such matters is a 
reasonable degree of probability. 

To conclude these enquiries we may say that if Balder 
was indeed, as I have conjectured, a personification of a., 
mistletoe-bearing oak, his death by a blow of the mistletoe 
might on the new theory be explained as a death by a 
stroke of lightning. So long as the mistletoe, in which the 
flame of the lightning smouldered, was suffered to remain 
among the boughs, so long no harm could befall the good 
and kindly god of the oak, who kept his life stowed away for 
safety between earth and heaven in the mysterious parasite ; 
but when once that seat of his life, or of his death, was 
torn from the branch and hurled at the trunk, the tree 
fell — the god died — smitten by a thunderbolt.^ 

And what we have said of Balder in the oak forests of 
Scandinavia may perhaps, with all due diffidence in a question 
so obscure and uncertain, be applied to the priest of Diana, 
the King of the Wood, at Aricia in the oak forests of Italy. 
He may have personated in flesh and blood the great Italian 
god of the sky, Jupiter,^ who had kindly come down from 
heaven in the lightning flash to dwell among men in the 
mistletoe — the thunder-besom — the Golden Bough — growing 


* This interpretation of Balder's 
death was anticipated by W. Schwartz 
{Der Ursprung der Mythologie, Berlin, 
i860, p. 176), who cut the whole 
knot by dubbing Balder ''the German 
thunder-and-lightning god "and mistle- 
toe " the wonderful thunder-and-light- 
ning flower." But as this learned writer 
nursed a fatal passion for thunder and 
lightning, which he detected lurking 

in the most unlikely places, we need 
not wonder that he occasionally found 
it in places where there were some 
slight grounds for thinking that it 
really existed. 

2 On the relation of the priest to 
Jupiter, and the equivalence of Jupiter 
and Juno to Janus (Dianus) and Diana, 
see The Magic Art and the Evolution 
of Kings, ii. 376 sqq. 


on the sacred oak beside the still waters of the lake of Nemi. 
If that was so, we need not wonder that the priest guarded 
with drawn sword the mystic bough which contained the 
god's life and his own. The goddess whom he served and 
married was herself, if I am right, no other than the Queen 
of Heaven, the true wife of the sky-god. For she, too, loved 
the solitude of the woods and the lonely hills, and sailing 
overhead on clear nights in the likeness of the silver moon 
she looked down with pleasure on her own fair image 
reflected on the calm, the burnished surface of the lake, 
Diana's Mirror. 




back at the 
end of the 


of human 
in the past 
from magic 
to rehgion. 

We are at the end of our enquiry, but as often happens 
in the search after truth, if we have answered one question, 
we have raised many more ; if we have followed one track 
home, we have had to pass by others that opened off it and 
led, or seemed to lead, to far other goals than the sacred 
grove at Nemi. Some of these paths we have followed a 
little way ; others, if fortune should be kind, the writer and 
the reader may one day pursue together. For the present 
we have journeyed far enough together, and it is time to 
part. Yet before we do so, we may well ask ourselves 
whether there is not some more general conclusion, some 
lesson, if possible, of hope and encouragement, to be drawn 
from the melancholy record of human error and folly which 
has engaged our attention in these volumes. 

If then we consider, on the one hand, the essential 
similarity of man's chief wants everywhere and at all times, 
and on the other hand, the wide difference between the 
means he has adopted to satisfy them in different ages, we 
shall perhaps be disposed to conclude that the movement of 
the higher thought, so far as we can trace it, has on the 
whole been from magic through religion to science. In 
magic man depends on his own strength to meet the 
difficulties and dangers that beset him on every side. He 
believes in a certain established order of nature on which he 
can surely count, and which he can manipulate for his ow 
ends. When he discovers his mistake, when he recognize 
sadly that both the order of nature which he had assumed 
and the control which he had believed himself to exercis 



over it were purely imaginary, he ceases to rely on his own 
intelligence and his own unaided efforts, and throws him- 
self humbly on the mercy of certain great invisible beings 
behind the veil of nature, to whom he now ascribes all those 
far-reaching powers which he once arrogated to himself. 
Thus in the acuter minds magic is gradually superseded by 
religion, which explains the succession of natural phenomena 
as regulated by the will, the passion, or the caprice of 
spiritual beings like man in kind, though vastly superior to 
him in pow'er. 

But as time goes on this explanation in its turn proves The 
to be unsatisfactory. For it assumes that the succession of "^"hT^^h' 
natural events is not determined by immutable laws, but is from 
to some extent variable and irregular, and this assumption [o's^-gnce 
is not borne out by closer observation. On the contrary, 
the more we scrutinize that succession the more we are 
struck by the rigid uniformity, the punctual precision with 
which, wherever we can follow them, the operations of nature 
are carried on. Every great advance in knowledge has 
extended the sphere of order and correspondingly restricted 
the sphere of apparent disorder in the world, till now we 
are ready to anticipate that even in regions where chance 
and confusion appear still to reign, a fuller knowledge 
would everywhere reduce the seeming chaos to cosmos. 
Thus the keener minds, still pressing forward to a deeper 
olution of the mysteries of the universe, come to reject the 
religious theory of nature as inadequate, and to revert in a 
measure to the older standpoint of magic by postulating 
xplicitly, what in magic had only been implicitly assumed, 
to wit, an inflexible regularity in the order of natural events, 
A^hich, if carefully observed, enables us to foresee their course 
tvith certainty and to act accordingly. In short, religion, 
■egarded as an explanation of nature, is displaced by science. 

But while science has this much in common with Contrast 

-nagic that both rest on a faith in order as the underlying thrvkws 

orinciple of all things, readers of this work will hardly of natural 

leed to be reminded that the order presupposed by postulated 

Tiagic differs widely from that which forms the basis of by magic 

jcience. The difference flows naturally from the different science 

■nodes in which the two orders have been reached. For respect- 

PT. Vn. VOL. II X 

3o6 FAREWELL TO NEMI chai-. 

whereas the order on which magic reckons is merely an 
extension, by false analogy, of the order in which ideas 
present themselves to our minds, the order laid down by 
science is derived from patient and exact observation of the 
phenomena themselves. The abundance, the solidity, and 
the splendour of the results already achieved by science are 
well fitted to inspire us with a cheerful confidence in the 
soundness of its method. Here at last, after groping about 
in the dark for countless ages, man has hit upon a clue to 
the labyrinth, a golden key that opens many locks in the 
treasury of nature. It is probably not too much to say that 
the hope of progress — moral and intellectual as well as 
material — in the future is bound up with the fortunes of 
science, and that every obstacle placed in the way of scientific 
discovery is a wrong to humanity. 
The scien- Yet the history of thought should warn us against 

of the^'^°'^ concluding that because the scientific theory of the world 
world not is the bcst that has yet been formulated, it is necessarily 
finaT^^"^'^ complete and final. We must remember that at bottom 
the generalizations of science or, in common parlance, 
the laws of nature are merely hypotheses devised to 
explain that ever - shifting phantasmagoria of thought 
which we dignify with the high-sounding names of the 
world and the universe. In the last analysis magic, 
religion, and science are nothing but theories of thought : 
and as science has supplanted its predecessors, so it may 
hereafter be itself superseded by some more perfect hypo- 
thesis, perhaps by some totally different way of looking at 
the phenomena — of registering the shadows on the screen — 
of which we in this generation can form no idea. The 
advance of knowledge is an infinite progression towards ;i 
goal that for ever recedes. We need not murmur at the 
endless pursuit : — 

" Fatti nonfosfe a viver come bruii 
Ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza.^'' ^ 

Great things will come of that pursuit, though we may not 
enjoy them. Brighter stars will rise on some voyager oi 
the future — some great Ulysses of the realms of thought — 
than shine on us. The dreams of magic may one day be 


he waking realities of science. But a dark shadow lies The 
ithwart the far end of this fair prospect. For however vast ^''*^°'''' 

^ ^ across the 

he increase of knowledge and of power which the future path, 
nay have in store for man, he can scarcely hope to stay 
he sweep of those great forces which seem to be making 
lilently but relentlessly for the destruction of all this starry 
miverse in which our earth swims as a speck or mote. In 
lie ages to come man may be able to predict, perhaps even 
control, the wayward courses of the winds and clouds, 
)ut hardly will his puny hands have strength to speed 
ifresh our slackening planet in its orbit or rekindle the 
lying fire of the sun.^ Yet the philosopher who trembles 
it the idea of such distant catastrophes may console himself 
)y reflecting that these gloomy apprehensions, like the 
;arth and the sun themselves, are only parts of that un- 
ubstantial world which thought has conjured up out of the 
roid, and that the phantoms which the subtle enchantress 
las evoked to-day she may ban to-morrow. They too, like 
o much that to common eyes seems solid, may melt into 
lir, into thin air." 

Without dipping so far into the future, we may illustrate The web 
;he course which thought has hitherto run by likening it to of thought. 

^ " I quite agree how humiliating planets. See (Sir) George Howard 

he slow progress of man is, but every Darwin's Presidential Address to the 

>ne has his own pet horror, and this British Association, Report of the J^th 

low progress or even personal anni- Meeting of the British Association for 

lilation sinks in my mind into insig- the Advancement of Science (South 

lificance compared with the idea or Africa, 1905), pp. 28 sq. ; F. Soddy, 

ather I presume certainty of the sun The Interpretation of Kaditim, Third 

ome day cooling and we all freezing. Edition (London, 191 2), pp. 240 sqq. ; 

To think of the progress of millions of E. Rutherford, Radio-active Substances 

ears, with every continent swarming and their Radiations (Cambridge, 

vith good and enlightened men, all 1913), pp. 653-656. At the same 

nding in this, and with probably no time it should be borne in mind that 

resh start until this our planetary even if the atomic disintegration and 

ystem has been again converted into accompanying liberation of energy, 

ed-hot gas. Sic transit gloria mundi, which characterize radium and kindred 

vith a vengeance " {More Letters of elements, should prove to be common 

"Charles Darwin, edited by Francis in different degrees to all the other 

Darwin, London, 1903, i. 2.60 sq.). elements and to form a vast and till 

* Since this passage was written the lately unsuspected store of heat to the 

lope which it expresses has been to sun, this enormous reserve of fuel 

ome extent strengthened by the dis- would only defer but could not avert 

overy of radium, which appears to that final catastrophe with which the 

)rolong indefinitely the prospect of the solar system and indeed the whole 

luration of the sun's heat, and with it universe is remorselessly threatened by 

he duration of life on its attendant the law of- the dissipation of energy.-. 


a web woven of three different threads— the black thread o 
magic, the red thread of religion, and the white thread o 
science, if under science we may include those simple truths 
drawn from observation of nature, of which men in al 
ages have possessed a store. Could we then survey th( 
web of thought from the beginning, we should probablj 
perceive it to be at first a chequer of black and white, ; 
patchwork of true and false notions, hardly tinged as yet b) 
the red thread of religion. But carry your eye furthe 
along the fabric and you will remark that, while the blacl 
and white chequer still runs through it, there rests on thi 
middle portion of the web, where religion has entered mos 
deeply into its texture, a dark crimson stain, which shade 
off insensibly into a lighter tint as the white thread o 
science is woven more and more into the tissue. To a wel 
thus chequered and stained, thus shot with threads c 
diverse hues, but gradually changing colour the farther it i 
unrolled, the state of modern thought, with all its divergen 
aims and conflicting tendencies, may be compared. Wil 
the great movement which for centuries has been slowl; 
altering the complexion of thought be continued in the nea 
future ? or will a reaction set in which may arrest progresi 
and even undo much that has been done ? To keep u 
our parable, what will be the colour of the web which th 
Fates are now weaving on the humming loom of time ? wi'j 
it be white or red ? We cannot tell. A faint glimmerin 
light illumines the backward portion of the web. Cloud 
and thick darkness hide the other end. 

Nemi Our long voyage of discovery is over and our bark ha 

the!^^"^ drooped her weary sails in port at last. Once more we tak 
MariahcW. the road to Nemi. It is evening, and as we climb the Ion; 
slope of the Appian Way up to the Alban Hills, we looi 
back and see the sky aflame with sunset, its golden glor; 
resting like the aureole of a dying saint over Rome an* 
touching with a crest of fire the dome of St. Peter's. Tb 
sight once seen can never be forgotten, but we turn from i 
and pursue our way darkling along the mountain side, til 
we come to Nemi and look down on the lake in its dee] 
hollow, now fast disappearing in the evening shadows. Thi 


ilace has changed but little since Diana received the homage 
)f her worshippers in the sacred grove. The temple of the 
;ylvan goddess, indeed, has vanished and the King of the 
yV'ood no longer stands sentinel over the Golden Bough. 
3ut Nemi's woods are still green, and as the sunset fades 
bove them in the west, there comes to us, borne on the 
iwell of the wind, the sound of the church bells of Ariccia 
inging the Angelus. Ave Maria I Sweet and solemn they 
:hime out from the distant town and die lingeringly away 
icross the wide Campagnan marshes. Le roi est inort, vive 
'e roi ! Ave Maria! 



The belief of the Scottish Highlanders as to the so-called Snake Snake 
Stones has been recorded as follows by a good authority at the end Stones 
of the nineteenth century :— Highlands. 

" A product called clach-nathrcuh, serpent stone, is found on the 
root of the long ling. It is of steel-grey colour, has the consistency 
of soft putty when new and of hard putty when old, and is as light 
as pumice-stone, which it resembles. It is of a globular form, and 
from one to three inches in diameter. There is a circular hole, 
about a quarter of an inch in width, through the centre. This 
substance is said to be produced by the serpent emitting spume 
round the root of a twig of heather. The ckuh-nathrcuh is greatly 
prized by the people, who transmit it as a talisman to their 
descendants." - 



The European belief that witches can turn themselves into cats, witches 
and that any wounds inflicted on the witch-cat will afterwards be as cats 
found on the body of the witch herself,^ has its exact parallel ^qq^*^*^ 
among the Oraons or Uraons, a primitive hill tribe of Bengal. 
■ The following is the account given of the Oraon belief by a Jesuit 
missionary, who laboured for years among these savages and was 
intimately acquainted with their superstitions : — 

1 See above, vol. i. pp. 1 5 sq. kte : orally collected in the Highlands 

- Alexander Carniichael, Camtina and Islands of Scotland ami translated 

■clica, Hymns and Incantations into English (Edinburgh, 1 900), ii. 

'd'ith Illustrative Notes on IVords, 312. 

Rites, and Customs, dying and obso- ^ Above, vol. i. pp. 315 sqq. 



" Chordeiva is a witch rather than a bhut [demon]. It is 
believed that some women have the power to change their soul 
into a black cat, who then goes about in the houses where there 
are sick people. Such a cat has a peculiar way of mewing quite 
different from its brethren, and is easily recognised. It steals 
quietly into the house, licks the lips of the sick man and eats of 
the food that has been prepared for him. The sick man soon gets 
worse and dies. They say it is very difficult to catch the cat, as it 
has all the nimbleness of its nature and the cleverness of a bhut. 
However, they sometimes succeed, and then something wonderful 
happens. The woman out of whom the cat has come remains 
insensible, as it were in a state of temporary death, until the cat 
re-enters her body. Any wound inflicted on the cat will be inflicted 
on her ; if they cut its ears or break its legs or put out its eyes 
the woman will suff'er the same mutilation. The Uraons say that 
formerly they used to burn any woman that was suspected to be a 
Chordewa." ^ 



to Balder. 


ghost in 
the cave. 

In various parts of Africa stories are told of men who could only 
be killed, like Balder, by the stroke of an apparently insignificant 
weapon ; and some at least of these men were not mythical beings 
but real men of flesh and blood who lived not long ago and whose 
memory is still comparatively fresh among their people. The 
Wadoe of German East Africa tell such a story of a great sorcerer, 
whom they now worship as a dispenser of sunshine and rain. The 
legend and the worship are reported as follows by a native African 
traveller : — 

" If drought sets in, all the chiefs meet in council and resolve : 
'This year we have had nothing but sunshine; when we plant, the 
fruits will not ripen ; therefore we must betake ourselves to our 
spirits of the dead {7/iizimii).' Then they take some woollen stuff 
dyed blue and a red cloth, and set out together on the way and go 
to the district Nguu, where their principal ghost {inzimu) resides, 
in order to lay the matter before him. The ghost dwells in a very 
spacious cave. On their coming the chiefs greet him. His answer 
consists in a humming noise, which sounds like the patter of rain. 
If one among them is a bad man, the ghost says to them, ' There 
is come with you in the caravan a rascal who wears such and such 
clothes.' If such a man there is, he is driven away. Now they 

^ The late Rev. P. Dehon, S.J., Society of Bengal, vol. i. No. 9 
"Religion and Customs of the (Calcutta, 1906), p. 141. 
Uraons," Memoirs of the Asiatic 


tell the ghost all that they wish to say, to wit : ' This year thou 
hast given us much sunshine ; the fruits in the fields do not grow 
tall, everywhere there is sickness, therefore we beg thee, give us 
rain.' Thereupon the ghost hums a second time, and all are glad, 
because he has answered them. But if the ghost is angry, he does 
not answer but holds his peace. If he has made them glad and 
given an answer, much rain will fall ; otherwise they return as they 
went in sunshine. 

" Originally this ghost was a man, a village elder {jumbe) of The man 
Ukami. He was a great sorcerer. One day people wished to ^^ho could 
conquer him, but they could do him no harm, for neither lead nor yxWgA by 
sword nor arrow could pierce his body. But he lived at strife with the stalk 
his wife. She said to his enemies, 'If you would kill my husband, of a gourd. 
I will tell you how it can be done.' They asked her, 'How can 
it be done ? ' She answered, ' My husband is a great sorcerer ; 
you all know that.' They answered, 'That is true.' Then she 
said further, ' If you would kill him so that he dies on the spot, 
seek a stalk of a gourd and smite him with it ; then he will 
die at once, for that has always been to him a forbidden thing.' ^ 
They sought the stalk of a gourd, and when they smote him with 
it, he died at once without so much as setting one foot from the 
spot. But of him and his departure there was nothing more to 
be seen, for suddenly a great storm blew, and no man knew 
whither he had gone. The storm is said to have carried him to 
that cave which is still there to this day. After some days people 
saw in the cave his weapons, clothes, and turban lying, and they 
brought word to the folk in the town, ' We have seen the clothes of 
the elder in the cave, but of himself we have perceived nothing.' 
The folk went thither to look about, and they found that it was so. 
So the news of this ghost spread, all the more because people had 
seen the marvel that a man died and nobody knew where he 
had gone. The wonderful thing in this wood is that the spirits 
dwell in the midst of the wood and that everywhere a bright white 
sand lies on the ground, as if people had gone thither for the 
purpose of keeping everything clean. On many days they hear 
a drumming and shouts of joy in this wood, as if a marriage 
feast were being held there. That is the report about the ghost of 
Kolelo.2 All village elders, who dwell in the interior, see in this 
ghost the greatest ghost of all. All the chiefs {niwene) and head- 
men {pazi) and the village elders {Jufnben) of the clan Kingaru^ 
respect that ghost." * 

^ " Every clan (/aw/7?Vwi/aww) has ^ "The place in Nguu, where the 

a definite thing which is forbidden to ghost is said to dwell." 
all the members of the clan, whether ^ «i j^ Ukami." 

it be a particular kind of meat, or a * C. Velten, Schilderu7igen der 

certain fish, or as here the stalk of a Suaheli (Gbttingen, 1901), pp. 195- 

gourd." 197. 



The man 
who could 
only be 
killed by a 
splinter of 

The man 
who could 
only be 
killed by 
a copper 

confirm the 
view that 
Balder may 

Miss Alice Werner, who kindly called my attention to this 
and the following cases of African Balders, tells me that this 
worshipful ghost in the cave appears to have been in his time 
a real man. Again, she was assured by some natives that " Chik- 
umbu, a Yao chief, who at one time gave the Administration 
some trouble, was invulnerable by shot or steel ; the only thing 
that could kill him — since he had not been fortified against it 
by the proper medicine — was a sharp splinter of bamboo. This 
reminds one of Balder and the mistletoe."^ Again, a Nyanja chief 
named Chibisa, who was a great man in this part of Africa when 
Livingstone travelled in it,^ "stood firm upon his ant-heap, while 
his men fell round him, shouting his war-song, until one who knew 
the secret of a sand-bullet brought him down." ^ 

Once more the Swahili tell a story of an African Samson 
named Liongo who lived in Shanga, while it was a flourishing city. 
By reason of his great strength he oppressed the people exceedingly, 
and they sought to kill him, but all in vain. At last they bribed 
his nephew, saying, "Go and ask your father what it is that will 
kill him. When you know, come and tell us, and when he is dead 
we will give you the kingdom." So the treacherous nephew went 
to his uncle and asked him, " Father, what is it that can kill you ? " 
And his uncle said, "A copper needle. If any one stabs me in the 
navel, I die." So the nephew went to the town and said to the 
people, " It is a copper needle that will kill him." And they gave 
him a needle, and he went back to his uncle ; and while his uncle 
slept the wicked nephew stabbed him with the needle in the navel. 
So he died, and they buried him, and his grave is to be seen 
at Ozi to this day. But they seized the nephew and killed him ; 
they did not give the kingdom to that bad young man."* 

When we compare the story of Balder with these African stories, 
the heroes of which were probably all real men, and when further 
we remember the similar tale told of the Persian hero Isfendiyar, 
who may well have been an historical personage,^ we are confirmed 

^ Miss Alice Werner, The Natives 
of British Cetttral Africa (London, 
1906), p. 82. In a letter Miss 
Werner tells me that she learned these 
particulars at Blantyre in 1893, and 
that the chief lived in the neighbour- 
hood of Mlanje. 

2 Rev. Henry Rowley, Twenty 
Years in Central Africa (London, 
N.D.), pp. 36 sqq. For a reference to 
this and all the other works cited in 
this Note I am indebted to the kindness 
of Miss Alice Werner. 

3 Rev. David Clement Scott, A 
Cyclofaedic Dictionary of the Afang^anja 

Language spoken in British Central 
Africa (Edinburgh, 1 892), p. 315. 

* Edward Steere, Swahili Tales 
(London, 1870), pp. 441-453. The 
young man in the story is spoken of 
now as the nephew and now as the 
son of the man he murdered. Prob- 
ably he was what we should call a 
nephew or brother's son of his victim ; 
for under the classificator}' system of 
relationship, which seems to prevail 
among the Bantu stock, to whom the 
Swahili belong, a man regularly calls 
his paternal uncle his father. 

^ Above, vol. i. pp. 104 sq. 


in the suspicion that Balder himself may have been a real man, have been 
admired and beloved in his lifetime and deified after his death, a real man 
like the African sorcerer, who is now worshipped in a cave and deified 
bestows rain or sunshine on his votaries. On the whole I incline after death, 
to regard this solution of the Balder problem as more probable than 
the one I have advocated in the text, namely that Balder was a 
mythical personification of a mistletoe-bearing oak. The facts 
which seem to incline the balance to the side of Euhemerism 
reached me as my book was going to press and too late to be 
embodied in their proper place in the volumes. The acceptance 
of this hypothesis would not necessarily break the analogy which I 
have traced between Balder in his sacred grove on the Sogne fiord 
of Norway and the priest of Diana in the sacred grove of Nemi ; 
indeed, it might even be thought rather to strengthen the 
resemblance between the two, since there is no doubt at all that 
the priests of Diana at Nemi were men who lived real lives and 
died real deaths. 



That Virgil compares the Golden Bough to the mistletoe ^ is Two 
certain and admitted on all hands. The only doubt that can arise species 
is whether the plant to which he compares the mystic bough is the ^^^ y)^^ ' 
ordinary species of mistletoe ( Viscum album) or the species known Viscum 
to botanists as Loranthus europaeus. The common mistletoe ( Viscum "^^"f^ 
album, L.) " lives as a semi-parasite (obtaining carbon from the air, Loranthus 
but water, nitrogen, and mineral matter from the sap of its host) on europaeus. 
many conifers and broadleaved trees, and chiefly on their branches. Common 
The hosts, or trees on which it lives, are, most frequently, the apple , pr£scum 
tree, both wild and cultivated varieties ; next, the silver-fir ; /re- album), 
quently, birches, poplars (except aspen), limes, willows, Scots pine, 
mountain-ash, and hawthorn ; occasionally, robinia, maples, horse- 
chestnut, hornbeam, and aspen. It is very rarely found on oaks, 
but has been observed on pedunculate oak at Thornbur>', Glouces- 
tershire, and elsewhere in Europe, also on Quercus coccinea, ^loench., 
and Q. palustris, Moench. The alders, beech and spruce appear 
to be always free from mistletoe, and it very rarely attacks pear- 
trees. It is commoner in Southern Europe than in the North, 

' Virgil, Aeti. vi. 205 sqq. : — Et croceo fetu teretis circumdare 
*' Quale soUt silvis brumali frigore truncos : 

viscum Talis erat species auri frondentis 
Fronde virere nova, quod turn sua opaca 

seminal arbos, flice, sic leni crefitabcd bractea venio." 



and IS extremely abundant where cider is made. In the N.-W. 
Himalayan districts, it is frequently found on apricot-trees, which 
are the commonest fruit-trees there. Its white berries are eaten by 
birds, chiefly by the missel-thrush [Tiirdus viscivorus, L.), and the 
seeds are either rubbed by the beak against branches of trees, or 
voided on to them ; the seeds, owing to the viscous nature of the 
pulp surrounding them, then become attached to the branches." ^ 
The large smooth pale-green tufts of the parasite, clinging to the 
boughs of trees, are most conspicuous in winter, when they assume 
a yellowish hue.^ In Greece at the present time mistletoe grows 
most commonly on firs, especially at a considerable elevation (three 
thousand feet or more) above the level of the sea.^ Throughout 
Italy mistletoe now grows on fruit-trees, almond-trees, hawthorn, 
limes, willows, black poplars, and firs, but never, it is said, on oaks.* 
In England seven authentic cases of mistletoe growing on oaks are 
said to be reported.^ In Gloucestershire mistletoe grows on the 
Badham Court oak, Sedbury Park, Chepstow, and on the Frampton- 
on-Severn oak.*' Branches of oak with mistletoe growing on them 
were exhibited to more than one learned society in France during 
the nineteenth century ; one of the branches was cut in the forest of 
Jeugny.'^ It is a popular French superstition that mandragora or 
"the hand of glory," as it is called by the people, may be found by 
digging at the root of a mistletoe-bearing oak.^ 

^ W. Schlich, Manual of Forestry, 
vol. iv. Forest Protection, by W. R. 
Fisher, M. A., Second Edition (London, 
1907), p. 412. French peasants about 
Coulommiers think that mistletoe 
springs from birds' dung. See H. 
Gaidoz, " Bulletin critique de la Mytho- 
logie Gauloise," Revtie de VUistoire 
des Religions, ii. (1880) p. 76. The 
ancients were well aware that mistletoe 
is propagated from tree to tree by seeds 
which have been voided by birds. See 
Theophrastus, De Causis Plantarum, 
ii. 17. 5 ; Pliny, Naturalis Historia, 
xvi. 247. Pliny tells us that the birds 
which most commonly deposited the 
seeds were pigeons and tlirushes. Can 
this have been the reason why Virgil 
{Aen. vi. 1 90 sqq. ) represents Aeneas led 
to the Golden Bough by a pair of doves? 

2 James Sowerby, English Botany, 
xxi. (London, 1805) p. 1470. 

^ C. Fraas, Synopsis Plantarum 
Florae Classicae (Munich, 1845), p. 

* H. O. Lenz, Botanik der alten 
Gi-iechen iind Pomer {Goi\i^, 1859), p. 
597, quoting Pollini. 

^ J. Lindley and T. Moore, T/ie 
Treasury of Botany, New Edition 
(London, 1874), ii. 1220. A good 
authority, however, observes that 
mistletoe is "frequently to be observed 
on the branches of old apple-trees, 
hawthorns, lime-trees, oaks, etc., where 
it grows parasitical ly." See J. Sowerby, 
English Botany, xxi. (London, 1805) 
p. 1470. 

" Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ninth 
Edition, x. 689, sro. "Gloucester." 

^ IL Gaidoz, " Bulletin critique de 
la Mythologie Gauloise," Revue de 
t Histoire des Religions, ii. (1880) pp. 

75 ^Q- 

8 Angelo de Gubernatis, La Mytho- 
logie des Plantes (Paris, 1878-1882), ii. 
lid sq. As to the many curious super- 
stitions that have clustered round 
mandragora, see P. J. Veth, " De 
Mandragora," Internationales Archiv 
fUr Ethnographie, vii. (1894) pp. 199- 
205 ; C. B. Randolph, " The Mandra- 
gora of the Ancients in Folk-lore and 
Medicine," Proceedings of the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences, vol. xl. 
No. 12 (January, 1905), pp. 487-537. 


The species of mistletoe known as Loranthus europaeus resembles Loranthus 
the ordinar)' mistletoe in general appearance, but its berries are bright '"ropaeui. 
yellow instead of white. " This species attacks chiefly oaks, Quercus 
cetris, L., Q. sessiliflora, Salisb., less frequently, Q. fedunculata, Ehrh., 
and Castanea vulgaris. Lam. ; also lime. It is found throughout 
Southern Europe and as far north as Saxony, not in Britain. It 
grows chiefly on the branches of standards over coppice." The 
injury which it inflicts on its hosts is even greater than that inflicted 
by the ordinary mistletoe ; it often kills the branch on which it 
settles. The seeds are carried to the trees by birds, chiefly by 
the missel-thrush. In India many kinds of Loranthus grow on 
various species of forest trees, for example, on teak ; ^ one variety 
{Loranthus vestitus) grows on two species of oak, the Quercus 
dilaiafa, Lindl., and the Quercus incana, Roxb.- A marked distinc- 
tion between the two sorts of mistletoe is that whereas ordinary 
mistletoe ( Viscum album) is evergreen, the Loranthus is deciduous.^ 
In Greece the loranthus has been observed on many old chestnut- 
trees at Stheni, near Delphi.** In Italy it grows chiefly on the various 
species of oaks and also on chestnut-trees. So familiar is it on oaks 
that it is known as " oak mistletoe " both in popular parlance {visco 
querciiio) and in druggists' shops {viscum quernum). Bird-lime is 
made from it in Italy.^ 

Both sorts of mistletoe were known to the ancient Greeks and Both sons 
Romans, though the distinctive terms which they applied to each °^ ""^''^; 
appear not to be quite certain. Theophrastus, and Pliny after him, ^^ ^^ 
seem to distinguish three sorts of mistletoe, to which Theophrastus ancients 
gives the names of ixia, hypluar, and stelis respectively. He says ^"^ '?^'^" 
that the hypluar and the stelis grow on firs and pines, and that the drfferent'' 
ixia grows on the oak (SpC-s), the terebinth, and many other kinds words. 
of trees. He also observes that both the ixia and the hyphear grow 
on the ilex or holm-oak (Trpuos), the same tree sometimes bearing 
both species at the same time, the ixia on the north and the hyphear 
on the south. He expressly distinguishes the evergreen species of 
ixia from the deciduous, which seems to prove that he included 

* W. Schlich, Manual of Forestry, sembling a giant mistletoe. The fruit 

vol. iv. Forest Protection, Second is yellowish and fleshy, and is almost 

Edition (London, 1907), pp. 415- sessile on the stem, which it thickly 

417. studs" {ib., p. 192). The writer 

2 E. B. Stebbing, "The Loranthus shews that the parasite is very destruc- 

Parasite of the Moru and Ban Oaks," tive to oaks in India. 
Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic ^ H. O. Lenz, Botanik der alien 

Society of Bengal, New Series, v. Griechen und Ponter (Golhsi, 1 859), p. 

(Calcutta, 1910) pp. 1S9-195. The 598, notes "*i ""* ^*2. 
Loranthus vestitus '^\%z. sxaoWhxdinch- * C. Fraas, Synopsis Plantarum 

ing woody plant with dirty yellowish /7<7ra^ C"/aj«Va^( Munich, 1845), p. 152. 
green leaves which are dark shining * H. O. Lenz, Botanik der alten 

green above. It grows in great Griechen und RoHier (Gotha, 1859), 

clumps and masses on the trees, re- pp. 599 sq. 



as to the 
tion of the 
names for 

Did Virgil 


the Golden 


to common 


or to Lor- 





in favour 

of Loran- 


both the ordinary mistletoe {Viscum album) and the Loranthus under 
the general name of ixia?- 

Modern writers are not agreed as to the identification of the 
various species of mistletoe designated by the names ixia, hyphear, 
and stelis. F. Wimmer, the editor of Theophrastus in the Didot 
edition, takes hyphear to be common mistletoe {Viscutn album), 
stelis to be Loranthus europaeus, and ixia to be a general name 
which includes the two species.^ On the other hand F. Fraas, 
while he agrees as to the identification of hypJiear and stelis with 
common mistletoe and Loranthus respectively, inclines somewhat 
hesitatingly to regard ixia or ixos (as Dioscorides has it) as a 
synonym for stelis (the Loranthus)? H. O. Lenz, again, regards 
both hyphear and stelis as synonyms for common mistletoe ( Viscum 
album), while he would restrict ixia to the Loranthus.'^ But both 
these attempts to confine ixia to the single deciduous species 
Loranthus seem incompatible with the statement of Theophrastus, 
that ixia includes an evergreen as well as a deciduous species.^ 

We have now to ask. Did Virgil compare the Golden Bough to 
the common mistletoe ( Viscum alburn) or to the Loranthus europaeus ? 
Some modern enquirers decide in favour of the Loranthus. Many 
years ago Sir Francis Darwin wrote to me : ^ " I wonder whether 
Loranthus europaeus would do for your Golden Bough. It is a sort 
of mistletoe growing on oaks and chestnuts in S. Europe. In 
the autumn it produces what are described as bunches of pretty 
yellow berries. It is not evergreen like the mistletoe, but 
deciduous, and as its leaves appear at the same time as the oak 

1 Theophrastus, Hisloria Plantarum, 
iii. 7. 5, Hi. 16. \, De Causis Plan- 
tarum, ii, 17 ; Pliny, Nat. Hist. xvi. 
245-247. Compare Dioscorides, De 
materia medica, ii. 93 (103), vol. i. 
pp. 442 sq., ed. C. Sprengel (Leipsic, 
1 829- 1 830), who uses the form ixos 
instead of ixia. Both Dioscorides {I.e. ) 
and Plutarch {Coriolanus, 3) affirm that 
mistletoe (ixos) grows on the oak (5pv$) ; 
and Hesychius quotes from Sophocles's 
TpXdiY Meleager ihe expression "mistle- 
toe-bearing oaks " (l^o(p6povs dpijas, 
Hesychius, s.7j.}. 

2 Theophrastus, Opera quae super- 
sunt omnia, ed. Fr. Wimmer (Paris, 
1866), pp. 537, 545, 546, s.w. i^la, 
<XT€\ls, v<t>iap. 

^ F. Fraas, Synopsis Plantarum 
Florae Classicae (Munich, 1845), p. 

* H. O. Lenz, Botanik der alien 
Griechen und Romer (Gotha, 1859), p. 
597, notes 1*^ ""• "8- 

^ Theophrastus, De Causis Plan- 
tarum, ii. 17. 2, ^n-et t6 76 r\\v /liv 
dei^vWov eifai tCjv i^iQv {ti]v Bk <pv\- 
Xo^dXov) o{i6^v &.Toirov, kSlv ij fikv 
(if) dei<pv\\ois T] 5k iv <t>v\\o^6\oi^ 

*» His letter is undated, but the 
postmark is April 28th, 1889, Sir 
Francis Darwin has since told me that 
his authority is Kerner von Marilaun, 
Pflanzenleben (1888), vol. i. pp. 195, 
196. See Anton Kerner von Marilaun, 
The Natural History of Plants, trans- 
lated and edited by F. W. Oliver 
(London, 1894- 1895), i. 204 sqq. 
According to this writer " the mistle- 
toe's favourite tree is certainly the 
Black Poplar {Populus nigra). It 
flourishes with astonishing luxuriance 
on the branches of that tree. ... 
Mistletoe has also been found by way 
of exception upon the oak and the 
maple, and upon old vines" (op. cit. 
i, 205)/ 


leaves and drop at the same time in autumn, it must look like a 
branch of the oak, more especially as it has rough bark with lichens 
often growing on it. Loratithus is said to be a hundred years old 
sometimes." Professor P. J. Veth, after quoting the passage from 
Virgil, writes that " almost all translators (including Vondel) and 
commentators of the Mantuan bard think that the mistletoe is here 
meant, probably for the simple reason that it was better known to 
them than Loranthus europaeus. I am convinced that Virgil can 
only have thought of the latter. On the other side of the Alps the 
Loranthus is much commoner than the mistletoe; on account of its 
splendid red blossoms, sometimes twenty centimetres long, it is a 
far larger and more conspicuous ornament of the trees ; it bears 
really golden yellow fruit {Croceus fetus), whereas the berries of the 
mistletoe are almost white ; and it attaches itself by preference 
to the oak, whereas the mistletoe is very seldom found on the 
oak."^ Again, Mr. W. R. Paton writes to me from Mount 
Athos:- "The oak is here called dendron, the tree. As for the 
mistletoe there are two varieties, both called axo (ancient t^os). 
Both are used to make bird-lime. The real Golden Bough is the 
variety with yellow berries and no leaves. It is the parasite of the 
oak and rarely grows on other trees. It is very abundant, and 
now in winter the oak-trees which have adopted it seem from a 
distance to be draped in a golden tissue. The other variety is our 
own mistletoe and is strictly a parasite of the fir (a spruce fir, I don't 
know its scientific name). It is also very abundant." 

Thus in favour of identifying Virgil's mistletoe (ziscum) with Reason for 
Loranthus rather than with common mistletoe it has been urged. Preferring 
first, that the berries of Loranthus are bright yellow, whereas those mistletoe, 
of the mistletoe are of a greenish white; and, second, that the 
Loranthus comm.only grows on oaks, whereas mistletoe seldom does 
so, indeed in Italy mistletoe is said never to be found on an oak. 
Both these circumstances certainly speak strongly in favour of 
Loranthus ; since Virgil definitely describes the berries as of a 
saffron-yellow {crocetts) and says that the plant grew on a holm-oak. 
Yet on the other hand Virgil tells us that the plant put forth fresh 
leaves in the depths of winter (brumali frigore, strictly speaking, 
"the cold of the winter solstice"); and this would best apply to 
the common mistletoe, which is evergreen, whereas Loranthus is 
deciduous.^ Accordingly, if we must decide between the two species, 
this single circumstance appears to incUne the balance in favour of 

1 Prof. P. J. Veth, " De leer der - His letter is dated l8th February, 

signatuur, III. De mistel en de 1908. 

riembloem," Internationales Archiv ' But Sir Francis Darwin writes to 

Jiir Etiinographie, vii. (1 894) p. 105. me: — "I do not quite see why Lor- 

The Dutch language has separate anthus should not put out leaves in 

names for the two species : mistletoe is winter as easily as Viscum, in both 

mistel, and Loranthus is riembloem. cases it would be due to untblding 



the two 

common mistletoe. But is it not possible that Virgil, whether con- 
sciously or unconsciously, confused the two plants and combined 
traits from both in his description ? Both parasites are common 
in Italy and in appearance they are much alike except for the 
colour of the berries. As a loving observer of nature, Virgil was 
probably familiar by sight with both, but he may not have examined 
them closely ; and he might be excused if he thought that the 
parasite which he saw growing, with its clusters of bright yellow 
berries, on oaks in winter, was identical with the similar parasite 
which he saw growing, with its bunches of greenish white 
berries and its pale green leaves, on many other trees of the 
forest. The confusion would be all the more natural if the Celts 
of northern Italy, in whose country the poet was born, resembled 
the modern Celts of Brittany in attaching bunches of the common 
mistletoe to their cottages and leaving them there till the revolving 
months had tinged the pale berries, leaves, and twigs with a golden 
yellow, thereby converting the branch of mistletoe into a true 
Golden Bough. 


leaf buds ; the fact that Viscum has 
adult leaves at the time, while Lor- 
anthus has not, does not really affect 
the matter." However, Mr. Paton 
tells us, as we have just seen, that in 

winter the Loranthiis growing on the 
oaks of Mount Athos has no leaves, 
though its yellow berries are very 


Aachen, eflSgy burnt at, i. 120, iL 25 

Aargau, Swiss canton, of, Lenten fire- 
custom in, i. 119; superstition as to 
oak -mistletoe in, ii. 82 ; mistletoe 
called " thunder-besom " in, 85, 301 ; 
birth-trees in, 165 

Abeghian, Manuk, on creeping through 
cleft iiees in Armenia, ii. 172 

Abensberg in Bavaria, burning the Easter 
Man at, L 144 

Abeokuta, use of bull -roarers at, iL 
229 n. 

Aber, the Lake of, in Upi>er Austria, iL 

Aberdeenshire, custom at reaping the 
last corn in, L 12 ; need-fire in, 296 ; 
holed rock used by childless women 
in, ii. 187 

Aberfeldy, Hallowe'en fires near, i. 

Aborigines of Victoria, their custom as 
to emu fat, i. 13 

Abougit, Father X., S.J., on the cere- 
mony of the new fire at Jerusalem, L 

Abmzzi, new Easter fire in the, L 122 ; 
water consecrated at Easter in the, 
122 si/^. ; Midsummer rites of fire and 
water in the, 209 sif. 

Acacia, the heart in the flower of the, ii. 
135 ^9- 

Acamanian story of Prince Sunless. L 

Achem, St John's fires at, i. 168 

Achterneed, in Ross-shire, Beltane cakes 
at, L 153 

Acireale, in Sicily, Midsummer fires at, 
i. 210 

Adder stones, i. 15 

Addison, Joseph, on witchcraft in Switzer- 
land, ii. 42 «.' 

Adonis and Aphrodite, ii. 294 sg. 

Aelst, Peter van, painter, ii. 36 

Aeneas and the Golden Bough, ii. 285, 
293 ■fi'- 

Afiica, gurls secluded at puberty in, L 
22 s^^. ; dread and seclusion of women 
at menstruation in, 79 sgq. ; birth- 
trees in, ii. 160 sgg. ; use of bull- 
roarers in, 229 a., 232 

, British Central, the Anyanja of, i. 81 

, British East, i. 81 ; ceremony of 

new fire in, 135 si/. ; the Nandi of, ii. 
229 n. ; the .\kikuyu of, 262 sg. 

, East, ceremony of the new fire in, 

i. 135 ; the Swahili of, ii. 160 

, German East, the Wajagjga of, ii. 

160 ; the W'ashamba of, 183 ; the 
Bondeis of, 263 ; the Wadoe of, 312 

, German South- West, the Ovambo 

of. ii. 183 

. North, Midsummer fires in, i. 213 

, South, the Thonga of, ii. 297 

, West, theory of an external soul 

embodied in an animal prevalent in. 
iL 200 s^g. ; ritual of death and 
resurrection at initiation in, 251 s^g. 

African stories of the external soul, iL 
148 sgt/.; Balders, 312 sgg. 

Afterbirth buried under a tree, iL 160 
sg., 162, 163, 164, 165; of child 
animated by a ghost and sympath- 
etically connected with a banana-tree. 
162 ; r^arded as brother or sister of 
child. 162 w.*; regarded as a second 
child, 162 «.' ; regarded as a guardian 
spirit, 223 «.- ; and navel-string re- 
garded as guardian angels of the man, 
ii. 162 n.^ 

Agaric growing on birch -trees, super- 
stitions as to. L 148 

-Aglu, New year fires at, L 217 

Air thought to be poisoned at eclipses, L 
162 ft. 

Aisne, Midsummer fires in the depart- 
ment of, i. 187 

Aix, squibs at Midsummer in, i. 193 ; 
Midsummer king at, L 194, IL 25 ; 
bathing at Midsummer in, 216 




Agni, Hindoo deity, i. 99 n!^ \ the fire- 
god, ii. I, 296 

Ague, Midsummer bonfires deemed a 
cure for, i. 162 ; leaps' across the 
Midsummer bonfires thought to be a 
preventive of, 174 

Agweh, on the Slave Coast, custom of 
widows at, ii. 18 sq. 

Ahlen, in Munsterland, i. 247 

Ahriman, the devil of the Persians, i. 

Aht or Nootka Indians of Vancouver 

Island, seclusion of girls at puberty 

among the, i. 43 sq. 
Ahura Mazda, the supreme being of the 

Persians, i. 95 
Ain, Lenten fires in the department of, 

i. 114 
Ainos of Japan, their mourning caps, i. 

20 ; their use of mugwort in exorcism, 

ii. 60 ; their veneration for mistletoe, 

A-Kamba of British East Africa, seclu- 
sion of girls at puberty among the, 

i. 23 
Akikuyu of British East Africa, their 

dread of menstruous women, i. 81 ; 

ritual of the new birth among the, ii. 

262 sq. 
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, 

Roman version of, ii. 105 
Alaska, seclusion of girls at puberty 

among the Indians of, i. 45 sq. ; the 

Esquimaux of, ii. 155 
Alastir and the Bare-Stripping Hangman, 

Argyleshire story of, ii. 129 sq. 
Albania, Midsummer fires in, i. 212 ; 

tlie Yule log in, 264 
Albanian story of the external soul, ii. 

104 n.^ 
Albert Nyanza, the Wakondyo of the, 

ii. 162 sq. 
Albino head of secret society on the 

Lower Congo, ii. 251 
Alders free from mistletoe, ii. 315 
Alfoors or Toradjas of Celebes, their 

custom at the smelting of iron, ii. 154 ; 

their doctrine of the plurality of souls, 

Algeria, Midsummer fires in, i. 213 
Alice Springs in Central Australia, ii. 238 
Allan, John Hay, on the Hays of 

Errol, ii. 283 
Allandur temple, at St. Thomas's 

Mount, Madras, ii. 8 
All-healer, name applied to mistletoe, 

ii. 77, 79, 82 
All Saints' Day, omens on, i. 240 ; the 

first of November, 225 ; bonfires on, 

246 ; sheep passed through a hoop 

on, ii. 184 
All Souls, Feast of, i. 223 sq., 225 w.* 

Almond-trees, mistletoe on, ii. 316 

A-Louyi, seclusion of girls at puberty 
among the, i. 28 n.^ 

Alsace, Midsummer fires in, i. 169 ; 
cats burnt in Easter bonfires in, ii. 40 

Althenneberg, in Bavaria, Easter fires 
at, i. 143 sq. 

Altmark, Easter bonfires in, i. 140, 142 

Alum burnt at Midsummer, i. 214 

Alungu, seclusion of girls at puberty 
among the, i. 24 sq. 

Alur, a tribe of the Upper Nile, i. 64 

/Mvarado, Pedro de, Spanish general, ii. 

Amadhlozi, ancestral spirits in serpent 
form, ii. 211 n."^ 

Amambwe, seclusion of girls at puberty 
among the, i. 24 sq. 

Amatongo, plural of itongo, ii. 302 n. 

Amazon, ordeals of young men among 
the Indians of the, i. 62 sq. 

Ambamba, in West Africa, death, re- 
surrection, and the new birth in, ii. 

Amboyna, hair of criminals cut in, ii. 

Ambras, Midsummer customs at, i. 173 

America, Central, the Mosquito territory 
in, i. 86 

America, North, Indians of, not allowed 
to sit on bare ground in war, i. 5 ; 
seclusion of girls at puberty among 
the Indians of, 41 sqq. ; dread and 
seclusion of menstruous women among 
the Indians of, 87 sqq. ; stories of the 
external soul among the Indians of, 
ii. 151 sq. ; religious associations 
among the Indian tribes of, 267 sqq. 

, South, seclusion of girls at puberty 

among the Indians of, i. 56 sqq. ; 
effigies of Judas burnt at Easter in, 
128 ; Midsummer fires in, 212 sq. 

Ammerland, in Oldenburg, cart-wheel 
used as charm against witchcraft in, 

i- 345 «-^ 
.Amphitryo besieges Taphos, ii. 103 
Amulets, rings and bracelets as, i. 92 ; 

as soul-boxes, ii. 155 ; degenerate into 

ornaments, 156 n.'^ 
Ancestor, wooden image of, ii. 155 
Ancestors, worship of, in Fiji, ii. 243 sq. 
Ancestral spirits incarnate in serpents, 

ii. 211 
Anderson, Miss, of Barskimming, i. 

171 «.' 
Andes, the Peruvian, effigies of Judas 

burnt at Easter in the, i. 128 
Andjra, a district of Morocco, i. 17 ; 

Midsummer fires in the, 213 sq. ; 

Midsummer rites of water in, 216 ; 

animals bathed at Midsummer in, 

ii. 31 



Andreas, parish of, in the Isle of Man, 
i. 224, 305, 307 «.^ 

Angass, the, of Northern Nigeria, their 
belief in external human souls lodged 
in animals, ii. 210 

Angel, need-fire revealed by an, i. 287 

man, effigy of, burnt at Midsum- 
mer, i. 167 

Angelus bell, the, i. no, ii. 47 

Angoniland, British Central Africa, cus- 
toms as to girls at puberty in, i. 25 
iq. ; customs as to salt in, 27 

Angus, sufjersutious remedy for the 
" quarter-ill " in, L 296 n.^ 

Anhalt, Easter bonfires in, i. 140 

Animal, bewitched, or jjart of it, burnt to 
com{)el the witch to app>ear, i. 303, 
305, 307 iq., 321 sq. ; sickness trans- 
ferred to, ii. 18 1 ; and man, sympa- 
thetic relation between, 272 sq. 

Animal familiars of wizards and witches, 
ii. 196 j^., 201 sq. 

Animals burnt alive as a sacrifice in 
England, Wales, and Scotland, L 300 
sqq. ; witches transformed into, 315 
sqq. , ii. 31 1 ^ ; bewitched, buried alive, 
i. 324 sqq. ; live, burnt at Spring and 
Midsummer festivals, ii. 38 sqq. ; the 
animals jierhaps deemed embodiments 
of witches, 41 sq. , 43 sq. ; the language 
of, learned by means of fern -seed, 
66 n. ; external soul in, 196 sqq. ; 
magical transformation of men into 
animals, 207 ; helpful, in fairy tales. 
S^e Helpful 

Ankenmilch bohren, to make the need- 
fire, i. 270 n. 

Ankole, in Central Africa, i. 80 

Annara, dread of menstruous women in, 
i. 85 ; use of wormwood to avert 
demons in, ii. 61 «.* 

Anpu and Bata, ancient Egyptian story 
of, ii. 134 sqq. 

Anthcmis nobilis, camomile, gathered at 
Midsummer, ii. 63 

Ant-biU, insane people buried in an, i. 

Ants employed to sting girls at puberty, 
i. 61 ; to sting young men, i. 62 sq. 

Antonius Mountain, in Thuringia, 
Christmas bonfire on the, L 265 sq. 

Antwerp, wicker giants at, iL 35--r^. 

Anula tribe of Northern Australia, their 
rites of initiation, ii. 235 

Anyanja of British Central Africa, their 
dread of menstruous women, i. 81 sq. 

Apaches, i. 21 ; use of bull -roarers 
among the, ii. 230 n. 

Apala cured by Indra in the Rigveda, ii. 

Ape, a Batta totem, ii. 223 

Aphrodite and Adonis, ii. 294 sq. 

Apollo, identified with the Celtic 

Grannus, i. 112 

Soranus, ii. 14, 15 n.' 

AfxjUo's temple at Cumae, i. 99 
Apple, divination by the slic«i, i. 238 ; 

and candle, biting at, 241, 242, 243, 


Apple-tree as life-index of boy, ii. 165 

trees, torches thrown at, L 108 ; 

mistletoe on, ii. 315, 316 «.' 

Apples, dipping for, at Hallowe'en, L 
237. 239. 241, 242, 243. 245 

Apricot-trees, mistletoe on, ii 316 

April, the twenty-seventh of, in pwpular 
superstitions of Morocco, L \j sq. ; 
ceremony of the new fire in, 136 sq., 
iL 3 ; Chinese festival of fire in, 3 

Arab women in Morocco, their super- 
stitions as to plants at Midsummer, 
ii. 51 

Arabia, tree-spirits in snake form in, ii. 

Arabian, modem, story of the external 
sotil, ii. 137 sq. 

Arabian Nights, story of the external 
soul in the, ii. 137 

Arabs of Morocco, their Midsimimer 
customs, i. 214 

.\ran, in the valley of the Garonne, Mid- 
summer fires at, i. 193 

Arch, child after an illness passed under 
an, iL 192 ; young men at initiation 
{>assed under a leafy, 193 ; triumphal, 
suggested origin of the, 195 

.\rcher ( 7Vra«/) , eflSgiy of, ii. 36 

Arches, novices at initiation passed 
under arches in .\ustralia, iL 193 n.^ 

Archways, passing under, as a means of 
escaping evil spirits or sickness, iL 
179 sqq. 

.Ardennes, the Belgian, bonfires on the 
first Sunday of Lent in the, L 107 sq. ; 
the French, Lenten fires and customs 
in the, 109 sq. ; Midsummer fires in 
the, 188 ; the Yule log in the, 253 ; 
cats burnt alive in Lenten bonfires, 
ii. 40 

Argo, tree of which the ship was made, 
iL 94 «.i 

Argj-leshire stories of the external soul, 
ii. 127 sqq. 

Argyrus, temple of Hercules at, L 99 «.' 

Aricia, the priest of, and the Golden 
Bough, L I ; the priest of Diana at, 
perhaps a personified Jupita-, ii. 302 sq. 

.•Vrician grove, the Midsummer festival of 
fire in the, ii. 285; the priest of the, a 
personification of an oak-spirit, 285 

Ariminum, triumphal arch of Augustus 
at, iL 194 n.* 

Arizona and New Mexico, use of bull- 
roarers in, iL 230 n., 231 



Arks, sacred, of the Cherokees, i. ii sq. 

Armenia, were-wolves in, i. 316 ; sick 

people creep through cleft trees in, ii. 


Armenian church, bonfires at Candlemas 
in the, i. 131 

idea of the sun as a wheel, i. 

334 n.^ 

Arms of youths punctured to make them 
good hunters, i. 58 

Arnstadt, witches burnt at, i. 6 

Arran, the need-fire in, i. 293 

Arrows used as a love-charm, i. 14 

Artemis Perasia, at Castabala in Cappa- 
docia, ii. 14 

Artemisia absinthium, wormwood, ii. 
58 «.3, 61 «.i 

vulgaris, mugwort, gathered at 

Midsummer, ii. 58 sqq. 

Artois, mugwort at Midsummer in, ii. 59 

Ariinta of Central Australia, their sacred 
pole, i. 7 ; their dread of women at 
menstruation, ']^ ; legend that the 
ancestors kept their spirits in their 
churiiiga, ii. 218 «.' ; rites of initia- 
tion among the, 233 sq. ; initiation of 
medicine-men among the, 238 

Aryan god of the thunder and the oak, 
i. 265 

peoples, stories of the sxternal soul 

among, ii. 97 sqq. 

Aryans of Europe, importance of the 
Midsummer festival among the, ii. 40 ; 
the oak the chief sacred tree of the, 

Ascension Day, parasitic rowan should 
be cut on, ii. 281 

Asceticism not primitive, i. 65 

Ash Wednesday, effigy burnt on, i. 120 

Ash-trees, children passed through cleft 
ash - trees as a cure for rupture or 
rickets, ii. 168 sqq. 

Ashes in divination, i. 243, 244, 245. 
See also Sticks, Charred 

of bonfires put in fowls' nests, i. 

112, 338 ; increase fertility of fields, 
I4i> 337 ; make cattle thrive, 141, 
338 ; placed in a person's shoes, 156 ; 
administered to cattle to make them 
fat, ii. 4 

of dead, disposal of the, i. 11 

of Easter bonfire mixed with seed 

at sowing, i. 121 

of Hallowe'en fires scattered, i. 


• of holy fires a protection against 

demons, ii. 8, 17 

of Midsummer fires strewed on 

fields to fertilize them, i. 170, 190, 
203 ; a protection against conflagra- 
tion, 174, 196 ; a protection against 
lightning, 187, 188 ; a protection 

against thunder, 190 ; put by people 
in their shoes, 191 sq. \ a cure for 
consumption, 194 sq. ; rubbed by 
people on their hair or bodies, 213, 
214, 215 ; good for the eyes, 214 

Ashes of the need-fire strewn on fields to 
protect the crops against vermin, i. 
274 ; used as a medicine, 286 

of New Year's fire used to rub 

sore eyes, i. 218 

of Yule log strewed on fields, i. 

250 ; used to heal swollen glands, 

Ashur, Arab New Year's Day, i. 217, 218 
Asia Minor, the Celts in, ii. 89 ; cure 

for possession by an evil spirit in, 186 ; 

creeping through rifted rocks in, 189 
Aspen, mistletoe on, ii. 315 
Aspidium filix mas, the male fern, 

superstitions as to, ii. 66 sq. 
Ass, child passed under an, as a cure for 

whooping-cough, ii. 192 n.^ 
Assam, the Khasis of, ii. 146 ; the 

Lushais of, 185 sq. 
Assiga, tribe of South Nigeria, ii. 204 
Associations, religious, among the Indian 

tribes of North America, ii. 267 sqq. 
Assyrian ritual, use of golden axe in, ii. 

Aston, W. G. , quoted, i. 137 sq. \ on 

the fire- walk in Japan, ii. 10 «,* 
Astral spirit of a witch, i. 317 
Atai, external soul in the Mota language, 

ii. 197 sq. 
Ath, in Hainaut, procession of giants at, 

ii. 36 
Athboy, in County Meath, i. 139 
Athena, priestess of, uses a white um- 
brella, i. 20 n.^ 
Athenians offer cakes to Cronus, i. 

153 «• 

of the new fire at 

Athens, ceremony 

Easter in, i. 130 
Athis, in Normandy, Christmas bonfires 

at, i. 266 
Athos, Mount, mistletoe at, ii. 319, 

320 n. 
Atrae, city in Mesopotamia, i. 82 
Aubrey, John, on the Midsummer fir 

i. 197 
Auf kirchen in Bavaria, burning the Eastj 

Man at, i. 144 
August, procession of wicker giants 

ii. 36 
, first of, Festival of the Cross ofl 

the, i. 220 
the eighteenth, feast of Florus and 

Laurus, i. 220 
the sixth, festival of St. Estapin, 

ii. 188 
Augustus, triumphal arch of .'\ugustus at 

Ariminum, ii. 195 n.* 



Aunis, wonderful herbs gathered on St. 
John's Eve in, ii. 45 ; St. John's wort 
in, 55 ; vervain gathered at Mid- 
summer in, 62 n.^\ fotir-leaved clover 
at Midsummer in, 63 

and Saintonge, Midsummer fires 

in, i. 192 

Aurora, in the New Hebrides, tamaniu 
in, ii. 198 

Australia, dread and seclusion of women 
at menstruation in, i. 76 sqq. ; pmssing 
under an arch as a rite of initiation 
in, ii. 193 n.^ ; initiation of young 
men in, 227, 233 sqq. ; use of bull- 
roarers in, 228 «.^ 

, Central, pointing sticks or bones 

in, L 14 «.' ; its desert nature. iL 
230 «.^ 

, South-Eastem, sex totems among 

the natives of, ii. 214 sqq. 

Australian languages, words for fire and 
wood in, ii. 296 

Austria, NHdsummer fires in, i. 172 sqq. ; 
the Yule log among the Servians of, 
262 sqq. ', need-fire in Upper, 279 ; 
fern -seed at Midsummer in, ii. 65; 
mistletoe used to prevent nightmare 
in, 85 

.Autumn fires, i. 220 sqq. 

Auvergne, Lenten fires in, i. iii sq. ; 
story of a were- wolf in, 308 sq. 

Ave Maria bell, ii. 47 

.\vemus. Lake, and the Golden Bough, 
ii. 285 «.^ 

Awa-nkonde, seclusion of girls at puberty 
among the, i. 28 

" .\wasungu, the house of the," i. 28 

Awka in South Nigeria, i. 4 

Aiemmur, in Morocco, Midsummer fires 
at, i. 214 

Azores, bonfires and divination on Mid- 
summer Eve in the, i. 208 sq. ; fem- 
seed at Midsummer in the, iL 66 

Aztecs, their punishment of witches and 
wizards, ii. 159 

Baal and Beltane, L 149 n.^, 150 ».^, 

Babine Lake in British Columbia, L 


Backache at reaping, leaps over the 
Midsummer bonfire thought to be a 
preventive of, i. 165, 168, 189, 344 
sq. ; set down to witchcraft, 343 «., 
345 ; at harvest, mugwort a protection 
against, ii. 59 ; creeping through a 
holed stone to prevent backache at 
hardest, 189 

Badache, double-axe, Midstunmer King 
of the, i. 194 

Badagas of the Neilgherry Hills, their 
fire- walk, ii. 8 sq. 

Baden, Lenten fire-custom in, i. 117; 
Easter bonfires in, 145 ; Midsummer 
fires in, 167 sqq. 

Badham Court oak, in Gloucestershire, 
ii- 316 

Badnyak, Yule log, i. 259, 263 

Badnyi Dan, Christmas Eve, i. 258, 263 

Bag, souls of persons deposited in a, ii. 
142, 153, 155 

Baganda, children live apart from their 
parents among the, i. 23 «.^; seclusion 
of girls at puberty among the, 23 sq. ; 
superstition as to women who do not 
menstruate, 24 ; abstain fi-om salt in 
certain cases, 27 sq. ; their dread of 
menstruous women, 80 sq. ; their 
beliefs and customs concerning the 
afterbirth, ii. 162. See also L'ganda 

Bahaus or Kayans of Central Borneo, L 
4 sq. 

Bahima of Central Africa, their dread of 
menstruous women, L 80 

Bahr-el-Ghazal province, ceremony of 
the new fire in the, L 134 J^. 

Bakairi, the, of Bra2il, call bull-roarers 
'■ thunder and lightning," ii. 231 sq. 

Baking-forks, witches ride on, ii. 73, 74 

Bakuba or Bushongo of the Congo, i. 4 

Balder, his body burnt, i. 102 ; wor- 
shipp>ed in Norway, 104 ; camomile 
sacred to, iL 63 ; burnt at Mid- 
summer, 87 ; Midsummer sacred to, 

87 ; a tree-spirit or deity of vegetation, 

88 sq. ; interpreted as a mistletoe-bear- 
ing oak, 93 sq. ; his invulnerability, 94 ; 
why Balder was thought to shine, 293 

and the mistletoe, i. loi sq., iL 

76 sqq. , 302 ; his life or death in the 
mistletoe, 279, 283 ; perhaps a real 
man deified, 314 sq. 

, the m3rth of, L loi sqq. \ repro- 
duced in the Midsummer festival of 
Scandinavia, ii. 87 ; perhaps drama- 
tized in ritual, 88 ; Indian parallel to, 
280 ; African parallels to, 312 sqq. 

Balder's Balefires, name formerly given 
to Midsummer bonfires in Sweden, L 
172, iL 87 

Grove, i. 104, iL 315 

Balders-brd, Balder's eyelashes, a name 
for camomile, ii. 63 

B&le, Lenten fire-custom in the canton 
of, i. 119 

Balefires, Balder's, at Midsummer in 
Sweden, L 172 

Bali, filing of teeth in, L 68 «.' ; birth- 
trees in, iL 164 

Balkan Peninsula, need-fire in the, i. 281 

Ball, game of, played to determine the 
King of Summer, L 195 

Ballyvadlea, in Tipperary, woman bomt 
as a witch at, L 323 sq. 



Balnagown loch, in Lismore, i. 316 
Balong of the Cameroons, their external 

souls in animals, ii. 203 
Balquhidder, hill of the fires at, i. 149 ; 

Hallowe'en bonfires at, 232 
Balum, New Guinea word signifying 

bull-roarer, ghost, and mythical mon- 
ster, ii. 242 
Banana-tree, afterbirth of child buried 

under a, ii. 162, 163, 164 
Bancroft, H. H. , on the external souls 

of the Zapotecs, ii. 212 
Banivas of the Orinoco, their scoiu-ging 

of girls at puberty, i. 66 sqq. 
Baraka, blessed or magical virtue, i. 

216, 218, ii. 51 
Barclay, Sheriff, on Hallowe'en fires, i, 

Bardney bumpkin, on witch as hare, i. 

Bare-Stripping Hangman, Argyleshire 

story of the, ii. 129 sq. 
Barker, W. G. M. Jones, on need-fire in 

Yorkshire, i. 286 sq. 
Barley plant, external soul of prince in 

a, ii. 102 
Ba-Ronga, the, of South Africa, their 

story of a clan whose external souls 

were in a cat, ii. 150 sq. 
Barotse or Marotse of the Zambesi, 

seclusion of girls at puberty among 

the, i. 28, 29 
Barren cattle driven through fire, i. 203, 


women hope to conceive through 

fertilizing influence of vegetables, ii. 

Barricading the road against a ghostly 

pursuer, ii. 176 
Barsana, in North India, Holi bonfires 

at, ii. 2, 5 
Bartle Bay, in British New Guinea, 

festival of the wild mango tree at, i. 

7 sqq- 

Basque hunter transformed into bear, ii. 

226, 270 

story of the external soul, ii. 139 

Bastar, province of India, treatment of 

witches in, ii. 159 
Bastian, Adolph, on rites of initiation in 

West Africa, ii. 256 sq. 
Basutos, seclusion of girls at puberty 

among the, i. 31 
Bata and Anpu, ancient Egyptian story 

of, ii. 134 sqq. 
Bathing in the sea at Easter, i. 123 ; at 

Midsummer, 208, 210, 216, ii. 29 sq. ; 

thought to be dangerouson Midsummer 

Day, 26 sq. 
Bats, the lives of men in, ii. 215 sq., 

217; called men's "brothers," 215, 

216, 218 

Battas, their doctrine of the plurality of 
souls, ii. 223 ; their totemic system, 
224 sqq. 

Battel, Andrew, on the colour of negro 
children at birth, ii. 251 «.' 

Bavaria, Easter bonfires in, i. 143 sq. ; 
belief as to eclipses in, 162 ; Mid- 
summer fires in, 164 sqq. ; leaf-clad 
mummer at Midsummer in, ii. 26 ; the 
divining-rod in, 67 sq. ; creeping 
through a holed stone or narrow open- 
ing in, 188 sq. 

, Upper, use of mistletoe in, ii. 85 


Bavarian peasants, their belief as to 
hazel, ii. 69 n. 

Bavili, seclusion of girls at puberty among 
the, i. 31 

Beal-fires on Midsummer Eve in York- 
shire, i. 198 

Bean, King of the, i. 153 n} 

Beans, divination by, i. 209 

Bear, external soul of warrior in a, ii. 
151 ; Basque hunter transformed into, 
226, 270 ; simulated transformation of 
novice into a, 274 sq. 

clan, ii. 271, 272 n.^ 

dance of man who pretends to be 

a bear, ii. 274 

Bear's skin, Lapp women shoot blindfold 
at a, ii. 280 n. 

Bearers to carry royal personages, i. 3 sq. 

Beating girls at puberty, i. 61, 66 sq. ; as 
a form of purification, 61, 64 sqq. 

Beauce, festival of torches in, i, 113 ; 
story of a were- wolf in, 309 

and Perche, Midsummer fires in, 

i. 188 

Beaver clan, ii. 272 

Bechuana belief as to sympathetic relation 
of man to wounded crocodile, ii. 210 

Bee, external soul of an ogre in a, ii. 


Beech or fir used to make the Yule log, 

i. 249 
tree burnt in Lenten bonfire, i. 1 1 5 

Beeches, struck by lightning, proportion 

of, ii. 298 sq.; free from mistletoe, 315 
Bees thought to be killed by menstruous 

women, i. 96 ; ashes of bonfires used 

to cure ailments of, 142 
Beetle, external soul in a, ii. 138, 140 
Begetting novices anew at initiation, 

pretence of, ii. 248 
Behar, the fire- walk in, ii. 5 
Beifuss, German name for mugwort, ii. 

60 n.^ 
Bel, the fires of, i. 147, 157, 158 sq. 
Beleth, John, his Rationale Divinorutn 

Officiorwn quoted, i. 161 «.^ 



Belford, in Northumberland, the Yule 
log at, L 256 

Belgium, Lenten fires in, i. 107 sq. ; 
Midsummer fires in, 194 sq. ; the 
Yule log in, 249 ; bathing on Mid- 
summer Day in, ii. 30 ; divination by 
flowers on Midsummer Eve in, 53 ; 
mugwort gathered on St. John's Day 
or Eve in, 59 sq. \ vervain gathered 
on St Johns Day in, 62 ; four-leaved 
clover at Midsummer in, 63 ; the 
witches' Sabbath in, 73 

Bella Coola Indians of British Columbia, 
seclusion of girls at puberty among 
the, L 46 ; custom of mourners among 
the, ii. 174 

Belli- Paaro society in West Africa, rites 
of initiation in the, iu 257 sqq. 

Bellochroy, i. 290 

Bells worn by priest in exorcism, i. 5 ; 
on his legs, iL 8 

, church, silenced in Holy Week, i. 

123, 125 n.^ ; rung on Midsummer 
Eve, ii. 47 sq. ; nmg to drive away 
witches', 73 

Beltane, popularly derived from Baal, i. 
149 n.^, 150 «.• ; the need-fire at, 
293 ; the Yellow Day of, 293 ; sheep 
passed through a hoop at, ii. 184 

and Hallowe'en the two chief fire- 
festivals of the British Celts, ii. 40 sq. 

cakes, i. 148 sq., 150, 152, 153, 

»54. 155 

carline. i. 148, 153 

Eve (the Eve of May Day), a 

witching time, i. 295 

fire, pretence of throwing a man 

into the, i. 148, ii. 25 ; kindled by the 
friction of oak-wood, i. 148, 155, iL 91 

fires, i. 146 sqq. ; in Wales, 155 

sq. ; in Ireland, 157 sq. ; in Notting- 
hamshire, 157 

Benametapa, the king of, in Elast Africa, 

i. 13s 
Bengal, seclusion of girls at puberty in, 

i. 68 ; the Oraons of, ii. 311 
Bengalee stories of the external soul, ii. 

loi sq., I02 
Beni Ahsen. a tribe in Morocco, ii. 31 ; 

their Midsummer fires, i. 215 sq. 
Mgild, a Berber tribe of Morocco, 

their Midsummer fires, i. 215 
Snous, the, of Morocco, their Mid- 
summer rites, L 216 
Bent, J. Theodore, on passing sick 

children through a cleft oak, ii. 172 
Berber belief as to water at Midsummer, 

ii. 31 

tale, milk-tie in a, ii. 138 n.^ 

Berbers of North -Africa, their Midsummer 

customs, i. 213 i^y., 219 
Bergen, Midsummer bonfires at, i. 171 

Bering Strait, the Esquimaux of, L 91 
Berleburg, in Westphalia, the Yule log 

at, L 248 
Berlin, the divining-rod at, ii. 68 
Bern, Midsummer fires in the canton of, 

L 172 ; the Yule log in the canton of, 

249 ; witches put to death in the canton 

of, ii. 42 ».* 
Berry, Lenten fire custom in, L 115 ; 

Midsummer fires in, 189 ; the YiJe 

log in, 251 sq. ; four- leaved clover at 

Midsummer in, ii. 63 
Besoms, blazing, flung aloft to make the 

com grow high, L 340 ; used to drive 

away mtcbes, ii. 74 
Bethlehem, new Easter fire carried to, 

i. 130 n. 
" Between the two Beltane fires," i. 149 
Beul, fire of, need-fire, i. 293 
Bevan, Professor A. A., L 83 j«.^ 
Beverley, on the initiatory rites of the 

Virginian Indians, ii. 266 sq. 
Bewitched animals burnt alive, L 300 

sqq. ; buried alive, 324 sqq. 

cow, mugwort applied to, ii. 59 

things burnt to compel the witch 

to appear, i. 322 
Bhils of India, torture of witches among 

the, ii. 159 
Bhuiyars of Mirzapur, their dread of 

menstrual pollution, i. 84 
Bhuiyas, a Dravidian tribe, fire - walk 

among the, ii. 5 sq. 
Bhut, demon, ii. 312 
Bidasari and the golden fish, Malay 

story of. ii. x\j sq., 220 
Bilqula. See Bella Coola 
Binbinga tribe of Northern Australia, 

their rites of initiation, ii. 234 sq. ; 

initiayon of medicine-man in the, 239 
Binding up a cleft stick or tree a mode 

of barricading the road against a 

ghostly pursuer, ii. 176 
Bir, a tribal hero, ii. 6 
Birch used to kindle need-fire, i. 291 
and plane, fire made by the fidction 

of, i. 220 
, branches of, on Midsummer Day, 

i. 177, 196 ; a protection against 

witchcraft, ii. 185 
trees set up at Midsummer, i. 177 ; 

used to keep off witches, ii. 20 n. ; 

mistletoe on, 315 
Bird, disease transferred to, iL 187 ; 

brings first fire to earth, 295 
Bird-lime made from mistletoe, ii. 317 
Birds, external souls in. ii. 104, iii, 

119, 142, 144, 150; carry seed of 

mistletoe, 316 
Birseck, Lenten fires at, L 119 
Birth, the new, of novices at iniBation, 

iL 247, 251, 256, 257, 261 



Birth-names of Central American Indians, 

ii. 214 «.i 
trees in Africa, ii. 160 sqq. ; in 

Europe, 165 
Birthday of the Sun at tlie winter solstice, 

i. 246 
Bisection of the year, Celtic, i. 223 
Black Corrie of Ben Breck, the giant of, 

in an Argyleshire tale, ii. 129 sq. 
Forest, Midsummer fires in the, i. 


Isle, Ross-shire, i. 301 

poplars, mistletoe on, ii. 316, 

318 «.« 

spauld, a disease of cattle, cure for, 

i- 325 

three-legged horse ridden by witches, 

ii. 74 

Blackening girls at puberty, i. 41, 

Blemishes, physical, transferred to witches, 
i. 160 «.i 

Blindness of Hother, ii. 279 «.^ 

Block, the Yule, i. 247 

Blocksberg, the resort of witches, i. 171 ; 
the Mount of the Witches, ii. 74 

Blood, girls at puberty forbidden to see, 
i. 46 ; disastrous effect of seeing 
menstruous, jj ; drawn from women 
who do not menstruate, 81 

-brotherhood between men and 

animals among the Fans, ii. 201, 
226 n.^ 

covenant between men and animals, 

ii. 201, 214, 226 n.^ 

, human, used in rain-making cere- 
monies, ii. 232 sq, 

, menstruous, dread of, i. 76; deemed 

fatal to cattle, 80 ; miraculous virtue 
attributed to, 82 sq. ; medicinal appli- 
cation of, 98 n.^ 

of St. John found on St. John's 

wort and other plants at Midsummer, 

ii- 56. 57 

of sheep poured on image of god 

as a sin-offering, i. 82 

Boa -constrictors, kings at death turn 
into, ii. 212 n. 

Boas, Dr. Franz, on seclusion of Shus- 
wap girls at puberty, i. 53 ; on 
customs observed by mourners among 
the Bella Coola Indians, ii. 174 ; on 
initiation into the wolf society of the 
Nootka Indians, 270 sq. ; on the 
relation between clans and secret 
societies, 273 n.^ 

Boar's skin, shoes of, worn by a king at 
inauguration, i. 4 

Boars, familiar spirits of wizards in, ii. 
196 sq. ; lives of persons bound up 
with those of, 201, 203, 205 ; external 
human souls in, 207 

Bocage of Normandy, Midsummer fires 
in the, i. 185 ; the Yule log in the, 
252 ; torchlight processions on Christ- 
mas Eve in the, 266 

Body-without-soul in a Ligurian story, 
ii. 107 ; in a German story, 116 sq. ; 
in a Breton story, 132 sq. ; in a Basque 
story, 139 

Boeotian festival of the Great Daedala, 
ii. 77 n.^ 

Bogota, rigorous training of the heir to 
the throne of, i. 19 

Bohemia, water and fire consecrated at 
Easier in, i. 123 sq. ; bonfires on 
May Day in, 159 ; Midsummer fires 
in, 173 sqq. ; need-fire in, 278 sq. ; 
charm to make corn grow high in, 
340 ; offering to water - spirits on 
Midsummer Eve in, ii. 28 ; simples 
gathered on St. John's Night in, 49 ; 
divination by means of flowers on 
Midsummer Eve in, 52 sq. ; mugwort 
at Midsummer in, 59 ; elder-flowers 
gathered at Midsummer in, 64 ; wild 
thyme gathered on Midsummer Day 
in, 64 ; fern-seed at Midsummer in, 
66 ; " thunder besoms " in, 85 ; fern- 
seed on St. John's Day in, 287, 288 

Bohemian poachers, their use of vervain, 
ii. 62 ; their use of seeds of fir-cones, 

story of the external soul, ii. no 

Bohus, Midsummer fires in, i. 172 

Doidts, bonfires, i. in «.i 

Boiling bewitched animal or part of it to 
compel witch to appear, i. 321 sq., 


milk, omens drawn from, ii, 8 

resin, ordeal of, i. 311 

Boils, crawling under a bramble as a 

cure for, ii. 180 
Bolivia, the Chiriguanos of, i. 56 ; the 

Yuracares of, 57 sq. ; fires on St. 

John's Eve in, 213 ; La Paz in, ii. 


Boloki of the Upper Congo, birth-plants 
among the, ii. 161 sq. ; use of bull- 
roarers among the, 229 n. 

Bondeis of German East Africa, rites of 
initiation among the, ii. 263 sq. 

Bone used to point with in sorcery, i. 
14 ; incident of, in folk-tales, 73 «.* ; 
of bird (eagle or swan), women at 
menstruation obliged to drink out of, 

45. 48, 49. 5°. 73 «•'. 90. 92 
Bones burnt in the Easter bonfires, i. 
142 ; burnt in Midsummer fires, 203 

of dead husbands carried by their 

widows, i. 91 «.* 

Bonfire Day in County Leitrim, i. 203 
Bonfires supposed to protect against 
conflagrations, i. 107, 108 ; protect 



houses against lightning and confla- 
gration, 344 ; lit by the persons last 
married, 107, 109; a protection against 
witchcraft, 108, 109, 154 ; a protec- 
tion against sickness, 108, 109 ; a 
protection against sorcery, 156; quick- 
ening and fertib'zing influence of. 336 
sqq. ; omens of marriage drawn from, 
338 sq. ; protect fields against hail, 
344 ; at festivals in India, ii. i sqq. 
Set also Fires 

Bonfires, Midsummer, intended to drive 
away dragons, i. 161 ; protect cattle 
against witchcraft, 188 ; thought to 
ensure good crops, 188, 336 

Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz, i. 270 

Bonnach stone in a Celtic story, ii. 126 

Bordes, bonfires, i. in n.^, 113 

Borlase, William, on Midsiunmer fires 
in Cornwall, i. 199 

Borneo, festivals in, i. 13 ; seclusion of 
girls at puberty in, 35 sq. \ birth- 
custom m, ii. 1545^. ; trees and plants 
as life-indices in, 164 sq. ; creeping 
through a cleft stick after a funeral in, 
175 sq. ; giving the slip to an evil 
spirit in, 179 sq. 

, the Dyaks of, L 5, ii. 222 

, the Kayans of, i. 4 sq. 

Bororo of Brazil, their use of bull-roarers, 
ii. 230 n. 

Borrow, witches come to, i. 322, 323, 

ii- 73 
Bosnia, need-fire in, L 286 ; life-trees 

of children in, ii. 165 
Bossuet, Bishop, on the Midsummer 

bonfires, i. 182 
Bottesford, in Lincolnshire, mistletoe 

deemed a remedy for epilepsy at, ii. 

Bottle, external soul of queen in a, ii. 138 
Bougainville, use of bull-roarers in, ii. 

229 n. 
Bough, the Golden, ii. 279 sqq. ; and the 

priest of Aricia, i. i ; a branch of 

mistletoe, ii. 284 sqq., 315 sqq. See 

also Golden Bough 
Boulia district of Queensland, i. 14 
Bourbonnais, mistletoe a remedy for 

epilepsy in, iL 83 
Bourdif allies, bonfires, i. in n}- 
Bourke, Captain J. G. , on the bull- 
roarer, ii. 231 
Bowels, novice at initiation supphed by 

spirits with a new set of, ii. 235 sqq. 
Bowes, in Yorkshire, need-fire at, i. 287 
Box, external soul of king in a, ii. 102, 

149 ; external soul of cannibal in a, 

Boxes or arks, sacred, L xi sq. 
Box-tree, external soul of giant in a, iL 


Boxwood blessed on Palm Sunday, i. 

184, ii. 47 
Boy and girl produce need-fire by friction 

of wood, i. 281 
Boys at initiation thought to be swallowed 

by wizards, ii. 233 
Brabant, Midsummer fires in, i. 194 ; 

St. Peter's bonfires in, 195 ; wicker 

giants in. ii. 35 
Bracelets as amulets, i. 92 
Braemar Highlanders, their Hallowe'en 

fires, i. 233 sq. 
Brahman, the Hindoo creator, i. 95 
Brahman called " twice bom," ii. 276 
boys forbidden to see the sun, L 

68 «.« 
student, his observances at end of 

his studentship, i. 20 
Brah manic ritual at inauguration of a 

king, i. 4 
Bramble, crawling under a, as a cure for 

whooping-cough, etc., ii. 180 
Brand, John, on the Yule log, i. 247, 


Brandenburg, simples culled at Mid- 
summer in, ii. 48 

Brandons, the Simday of the. i. no; 
torches carried about fields and streets, 
in «.* 

Brands of Midsummer fires a protection 
agamst lightning, conflagration, and 
spells, i. 183 ; a protection against 
thunder, 191 ; lighted, carried round 
cattle, 341 

Braunrode in the Harz Moimtains, 
ILaster fires at, i. 142 

Brazier, walking through a lighted, ii. 

3 ^19- 
Brazil, the Guaranis of, i. 56 ; seclusion 

of girls at puberty among the Indians 

of, 56, 59 sq. ; the Uaupes of, 61 ; 

ordeals undergone by young men 

among the Indians of, 62 sq. ; eflSgies 

of Judas burnt at Easter in, 128 ; 

fires of St. John in, 213 ; theCaripunas 

of, ii. 230 ; the Bororo of, 230 n. \ 

the Nahuqua of, 230 ; the Bakairi of, 

Bread, reverence for, i. 13 
Breadalbane, i. 149 ; treatment of mad 

cow in, 326 
Breadfruit-tree planted over navel-string 

of child, ii. 163 
" Breath, scoring above the," cutting a 

witch on the forehead, i. 315 w.^ 
Breitenbrunn, the ' ' Charcoal Man " at, 

ii. 26 n.^ 
Brekinjska, in Slavonia, need-fire at, i. 

Bresse, Midsummer bonfires in, i. 189 
Brest. Midsummer fire-custom at, i. 




Breteuil, canton of, Midsummer fires in 

the, i. 187 
Breton belief that women can be im- 
pregnated by the moon, i. 76 

stories of the external soul, ii. 132 517. 

Brezina, in Slavonia, need-fire at, i. 282 
Briar-thorn, divination by, i. 242 
Bri-bri Indians of Costa Rica, seclusion 

of women at menstruation among the, 

i. 86 
Bride not allowed to tread the earth, 

i. 5 ; last married, made to leap over 

bonfire, ii. 22 
and bridegroom, mock, at bonfires, 

i, 109 sq. 
Bride, parish of, in the Isle of Man, i. 

306, 307 n?- 
Bridegroom not to touch the ground 

with his feet, i. 5 
Brie, Isle de France, eflfigy of giant 

burnt on Midsummer Eve at, ii. 38 
Brihaspati, Hindoo deity, i. 99 n.'^ 
Briony, wreaths of, at Midsummer, i. 

Brisbane River in Queensland, use of 

bull-roarers on the, ii. 233 sqq. 
British Columbia, seclusion of girls at 

puberty among the Indians of, i. 

46 sqq. ; dread and seclusion of 

menstruous women among the Indians 

of, 89 sq. ; the Kwakiutl of, ii. 186 ; 

Koskimo Indians of, 229 ; rites of 

initiation among the Indians of, 270 

sqq. ; the Thompson Indians of, 297 ; 

the Shuswap Indians of, 297 n.'^ 
Brittany, Midsummer fires in, i. 183 sqq. ; 

stones thrown into the Midsummer 

fires in, 240 ; the Yule log in, 253 ; 

mistletoe hung over doors of stables 

and byres in, ii. 287 ; fern-seed used 

by treasure-seekers in, 288 
Brocks, prehistoric ruins, i. 291 
Brocken, in the Harz mountains, asso- 
ciated with witches, i. 160 n.^, 171 w.' 
Broom, a protective against witchcraft, 

i. 210 
" Brother" and " sister," titles given by 

men and women to their sex totems, 

ii. 215, 216, 218 
Brotherhood of the Green Wolf at Jumieges 

in Normandy, i. 185 sq. 
Brothers, ancient Egyptian story of the 

Two, ii. 134 sqq. 
Brown, Dr. George, quoted, i. 32 sqq. ; 

on external soul in Melanesia, ii. 199 
Brughe, John, his cure for bewitched 

cattle, i. 324 sq. 
Brund (or brand), the Christmas, the 

Yule log, i. 257 
Brunswick, belief as to menstruous women 

in, i. 96 ; Easter bonfires in, 140 ; 

need-fire in, 277 sq. 

Buchan, Hallowe'en fires in, i. 232 sq. 

BUchc de Noel, the Yule log, i. 249 

Buddha and the crocodile, Indian story, 
ii. 102 71.'^ 

Buffalo, external souls of a clan in a, ii. 
151 ; a Batta totem, 223 

clan in Uganda, i. 3 

Buffaloes, external human souls in, ii, 
207, 208 

Biihl, St. John's fires at, i. 168 

Bukaua, the, of New Guinea, girls at 
puberty secluded among the, i. 35 ; 
their rites of initiation, ii. 239 sqq. 

Bu-ku-ril, ceremonial uncleanness, i. 65 
«.i, 86 

Bul6on, Mgr. , quoted by Father H. 
Trilles, ii. 202 n,^ 

Bulgaria, the Yule log in, i. 264 n.^ ; 
need-fire in, 281, 285 ; simples and 
flowers culled on St. John's Day in, ii. 
50 ; creeping through an arch of vines 
as a cure in, 180 ; creeping under the 
root of a willow as a cure for whooping- 
cough in, 180 sq. 

, Simeon, prince of, ii. 156 sq. 

Bullet blessed by St. Plubert used to 
shoot witches with, i. 315 sq. 

Bullock, bewitched, bvirnt to cause the 
witch to appear, i. 303 

Bull-roarers swung, i. 133 ; sounded at 
initiation of lads, ii. 227, 228 sqq., 
233 sqq., 240, 241 ; used as magical 
instruments to make rain, 230 sqq. ; 
sounded at festivals of the dead, 230 
n. ; made from trees struck by light- 
ning, 231 ; sounded to make the wind 
blow, 232; called "thunder and 
lightning," 232 ; sounded to promote 
the growth of the crops, 232 ; origin- 
ally magical instruments for making 
thunder, wind, and rain, 233 ; not to 
be seen by women, 234, 235, 242 ; 
called by name which means a ghost 
or spirit of the dead, 242 ; called by 
the same name as the monster who 
swallows lads at initiation, 242 ; kept 
in men's club-house, 242 ; named after 
dead men, 242 n.^ 

, sound of, thought to resemble 

thunder, ii. 228 sqq. ; supposed to 
increase the food supply, 230 ; sup- 
posed to be the voice of a spirit, 233, 

234. 235 

Burchard, Bishop of Worms, his con- 
demnation of a heathen practice, ii. 

Bures, bonfires, i. no «.', in n.^ 

Burford, in Oxfordshire, Midsummer 
giant and dragon at, ii. 37 

Burghead, the burning of the Clavie at, 
i. 266 sq. ; the old rampart at, 267 




Burgundy, Firebrand Sunday in, i. 114; 
the Yule log in, 254 

Burma, the Karens of, ii. 157 

Burne, Miss F. C. , and Jackson, Miss 
G. F., on the fear of witchcraft in 
Shropshire, i. 342 «.* 

Burning the witches on May Day, i. 157, 
159, 160; of effigies in the Midsummer 
fires, 195; of the witches in the 
Hallowe'en fires, 232 sq. ; of the Clavie 
at Burghead, 266 sq. ; of a bewitched 
animal or part of it to cause the witch 
to appear, 303, 305, 307 sq., 321 sq.; 
of human beings in the fires, ii. 21 
sqq. ; of live animals at spring and 
Midsummer festivals, 38 sqq. ; the 
animals perhaps deemed embodiments 
of witches, 41 sq., 43 sq.\ of human 
victims annually, 286 n.^ 

discs thrown into the air, i. 116 sq., 

119, 143, 165, 166, 168 sq., 172 

the Easter Man, i. 144 

'■ the Old Wife (Old Woman)," 

i. n6, r2o 

" the Witches," i. 116, 118 sq., 

154 ; a popular name for the fires of 
the festivals, ii. 43 

wheels rolled down hill, i. 116, 117 
sq., 119, 141, 143, 161, 162 j^. , 163 
sq., 166, 173, 174, 201, 328, 334, 
337 ^1- ; rolled over fields at Mid- 
summer to fertilize them, 191, 340 
sq. ; perhaps intended to biu"n witches, 

Burns, Robert, i. 207 ; on Hallowe'en, 

Burnt sacrifices to stay cattle-plague in 

England, Wales, and Scotland, i. 300 

Burs, a preservative against witchcraft, i. 

Burying bewitched animals alive, i. 324 

girls at puberty in the ground, i. 

38 sqq. 
Bushmen, their dread of menstruous 

women, i. 79 ; their way of warming 

up the star Sirius, 332 sq. 
Bushongo, royal persons among the, not 

allowed to set foot on the ground, i. 

4 ; use of bull-roarers among the, ii. 

229 ; rites of initiation among the, 

264 sqq. 
Butter thought to be improved by the 

Midsummer fires, i. 180 ; bewitched, 

burnt at a cross-road, 322 
" churning," Swiss expression for 

kindling a need-fire, i. 279 
Byron, Lord, and the oak, ii. 166 

Cabbages, divination by, at Hallowe'en, 
i. 242. See also Kail 

Caesar on the fortification walls of the 
Gauls, i. 267 ; on human sacrifices 
among the Celts of Gaul, ii. 32 

Caesarea. See Everek 

Caffre villages, women's tracks at, i. 80 

Caffres of South Africa, seclusion of girls 
at puberty among the, i. 30 ; use of 
bull-roarers among the, ii. 229 n. , 232 

Cages, girls at puberty confined in, i. 
32 sqq. , 44, 45 

Cailleach beal-tme, the Beltane carline, 
i. 148 

Cairnshee, in Kincardineshire, Mid- 
summer fires on, i. 206 

Caithness, need-fire in, i. 290 sqq. 

Cake, St. Michael's, i. 149, 154 «.* ; 
salt, divination by, 238 sq. ; the Yule 
or Christmas, 257, 259, 261 

Cakes, Hallowe'en, i. 238, 241, 245 ; 
Beltane, 148 sq., 150, 152, 153, 154, 
155 ; divination by, 242, 243 

Calabar, soul of chief in sacred grove 
at, ii. 16 r ; negroes of, their belief 
in external or bush souls lodged in 
animals, 204 sqq., 220, 222 k.' ; the 
fattening-house for girls in, 259 

Calabria, holy water at Easter in, i. 123 

Calamities, almost all, set down to witch- 
craft, ii. 19 sq. 

Calendar, change in the Chinese, i. 137 ; 
Mohammedan, 216 sq., 218 sq. ; the 
Julian, used by Mohammedans, 218 
sq. ; the reform of, in relation to 
floral superstitions, ii. 55 n.^ 

Calendars, conflict of, i. 218 

Calendeau, calignau, the Yule-log, i. 250 

Calf burnt alive to stop a murrain, i. 
300 sq. 

California, seclusion of girls at puberty 
among the Indians of, i. 41 sqq. ; 
ordeals among the Indians of, 64 ; 
the Senal Indians of, ii. 295 ; the 
Maidu Indians of, 295, 298 

Callander, the parish of. Beltane fires 
in, i. 150 sqq. ; Hallowe'en fires in, 

Calves burnt to stop disease in the herds, 
i. 301, 306 

Calymnos, a Greek island, superstition 
as to menstruous women in, i. 96 sq. \ 
Midsummer fires in, 212 

Cambodia, seclusion of girls at puberty 
in, i. 70 ; ritual at cutting a parasitic 
orchid in, ii. 81 

Cambodian or Siamese story of the 
external soul, ii. 102 

Cambridgeshire, witch as cat in, i. 317 

Canibus o' May, near Ballater, holed 
stone at, ii. 187 

Cameroons, life of person bound up with 
tree in the, ii. 161 ; theory of the ex- 
ternal soul in, 200, 202 sq. 



Camomile {Anthemis nohilis) burnt in 
Midsummer fire, i. 213 ; sacred to 
Balder, ii. 63; gathered at Midsummer, 


Campbell, Rev. J. G. , on deiseal, i. 
151 n. 

Campbell, Rev. John, on Coranna cus- 
toms, ii. 192, 192 n.^ 

Campo di Giove, in the Abruzzi, Easter 
candles at, i. 122 

Candle, the Easter or Paschal, i. 121, 
122, 125 ; divination by the flame of 
a, 229 ; the Yule or Christmas, 255, 
256, 260 ; external soul in a, ii. 125 

and apple, biting at, i. 241, 242, 

243. 245 

Candlemas in the Armenian church, bon- 
fires at, i. 131 ; the Yule log at, 256 

candles, i. 264 «.* 

Candles used to keep off witches, i. 

Canopus and Sirius in Bushman lore, i. 

Capart, Jean, on palettes found in 

Egyptian tombs, ii. 155 n.^ 
Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, i. 

37. 38 
Caper-spurge [Euphorbia lathyris) identi- 
fied with mythical springwort, ii. 69 
Capital of column, external soul in, ii. 

156 sq. 
Capitol at Rome, the oak of Jupiter on 

the, ii. 89 
Cappadocia, the fire-walk at Castabala 

in, ii. 14 
Capri, feast of the Nativity of the Virgin 

in, i. 220 sq. 
Capricorn, time when the sun enters the 

tropic of, ii. i 
Caps worn in mourning, i. 20 
Cardiganshire, Hallowe'en in, i. 226 
Caribs, their theory of the plurality of 

souls, ii. 221 
Carinthia, new fire at Easter in, i. 124 
Caripunas Indians of Brazil, use of bull- 
roarers among the, ii. 230 n. 
Carmichael, Alexander, on need-fire, i. 

293 sqq. ; on snake stones, ii. 311 
Cam Brea, in Cornwall, Midsummer 

fires on, i. 199 
Carnarvonshire, the cutty black sow in, 

i. 240 
Carnival, effigy burnt at end of, i. 120 ; 

wicker giants at the, ii. 35 
Carnmoor, in Mull, need-fire kindled on, 

i. 289 sq. 
Carnwarth, in Cornwall, Midsummer 

fires at, i. 199 
Caroline Islands, traditionary origin of 

fire in the, ii. 295 

Carpathian Mountains, Midsummer fires 

on the, i. 175 ; need-fire in the, 281 ; 

the Huzuls of the, ii. 49 
Carrier Indians of North - Western 

America, funeral custom of the, i. 11 ; 

their dread and seclusion of menstruous 

women, 91 sqq. ; their honorific totems, 

ii. 273 sqq. 
Carver, Captain Jonathan, his description 

of the rite of death and resurrection, 

ii. 267 sq. 
Casablanca, Midsummer fires at, i. 214 
Cashmeer stories of the external soul, ii. 

100 sq., 138 n.^ 
Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior, the 

Three Holy Kings, ii. 68 
Cassel, in France, wicker giants on 

Shrove Tuesday at, ii. 35 
Cassowaries, men disguised as, in Duk- 

duk ceremonies, ii. 247 
Castabala, in Cappadocia, the fire-walk 

at, ii. 14 
Castiglione a Casauria, Midsummer 

customs at, i. 210 
Castle Ditches, in the Vale of Glamorgan, 

bonfires at, i. 156 
Castres, in Southern France, ii. 187 
Cat, a representative of the devil, ii. 40 ; 

story of a clan whose souls were all 

in one, 150 sq. ; a Batta totem, 223. 

See also Cats 
Caterpillars, bonfires as a protection 

against, i. 114 
Catholic Church, its consecration of 

the Midsummer festival to St. John 

the Baptist, i. 181 
Cato on a Roman cure for dislocation, 

ii. 177 
Cats burnt m bonfires, i. 109, ii. 39 

sq, ; perhaps burnt as witches, 41 ; 

witches changed into, i. 315 n.^, 317, 

318, 319 sq., ii. 311 sq. 
Cattle sacrificed at holy oak, i. 181 ; 

protected against sorcery by sprigs of 

mullein, 190 ; fire carried roimd, 201, 

206 ; driven out to pasture in spring 

and back in autumn, 223 ; acquire 

the gift of speech on Christmas Eve, 

254 ; driven through the need-fire, 

270 sqq. ; killed by fairy darts, 303 ; 

lighted brands carried round, 341 ; 

thought to benefit by festivals of fire, 

ii. 4, 7 ; fumigated with smoke of 

Midsummer herbs, 53 
and sheep driven through, round, 

or between bonfires, i. 108, 109, 141, 

154. 157. 158. 159. 165, 175, 176, 

179, 185, 188, 192, 202, 203, 204, 

301, ii. 8, 9, II sq., 13 
disease, the Midsummer fires a 

protection against, i. 176 ; attributed 

to witchcraft, 302 j^., 343 



Cattle -plague, need -fire kindled as a 
remedy for, i. 270 sqq. ; sacrifice of 
an animal to stay a, 300 sqq. 

-rearing tribes of South Africa, 

their dread of menstruous women, i. 

79 S4- 
Cave, initiation of medicine - men by 

spirits in a, ii. 237 sqq. 
of Cruachan, the "Hell-gate of 

Ireland," i. 226 
Cedar-bark, red, used in ceremonies of 

a secret society, ii. 271 
Celebes, Macassar in, i. 14 ; souls of 

persons removed for safety from their 

bodies in, ii. 153 sq. 
, Central, the Toradjas of, i. 311 


, Southern, birth-trees in, ii. 164 

Celibacy of the Vestal Virgins, i. 138 «.' 
Celtic bisection of the year, i. 223 
population, their superstition as to 

Snake Stones, i. 15 
stories of the external soul, ii. 

126 sqq'. 
Celts, their two great fire-festivals on the 

Eve of May Day and Hallowe'en, i. 

222, 224 ; the oak worshipped by the, 

ii. 89 
, the British, their chief fire-festivals. 

Beltane and Hallowe'en, ii. 40 sq. 
of Brittany, their use of mistletoe, 

ii. 320 
of Gaul, their human sacrifices, ii. 

32 sq. ; the victims perhaps witches 

and wizards, ^x sq. ; W. Mannhardt's 

theory, 43 
of Ireland, their new fire on 

Hallowe'en, i. 139 

of northern Italy, iL 320 

Celts (prehistoric implements) called 

" thunderbolts," i. 14 sq. 
Central Provinces of India, cure for 

fever in the, ii. 190 
Ceos, Greek island of, sick children 

passed through a cleft oak in, ii. 172 
Ceram, seclusion of girls at puberty in, 

i. 36 ; belief that strength of young 

people is in their hair in, ii. 158 ; 

rites of initiation to the Kakian associa- 
tion in, 249 sqq. 
Ceremony, magical, to ensure fertility of 

women, i. 23 sq., 31 
Cetraro in Calabria, Easter custom at, 

i. 123 
Ceylon, the king of, and his external 

soul, ii. 102 
Chaco, the Gran, i. 58 ; marriage cus- 
tom of Indians of the, i. 75 ; Indians 
of the, i. 98 «.^ 

, the Paraguayan, i. 56 

Chadwick, Professor H. M., i. 103 n. 
Chaka, Zulu king, ii. 212 n. 

Chalk, white, bodies of newly initiated 
lads coated with, ii. 241 

Chambers, E. K., on the Celtic bisec- 
tion of the year, i. 223 

"Charcoal Man" at Midsummer, ii. 
26 n."^ 

Charente Inf^rieure, department of, 
St. John's fires in the, i. 192 

Chariot, patient drawn through the 
yoke of a, ii. 192 

Chariots used by sacred persons, i. 4 

Charlemagne, i. 270 

Chaste young men kindle need-fire, i. 

Chastity associated with abstinence from 

salt, i. 27 sq. 
Chiteau-Tierry, Midsiunmer fires at, i. 

187 sq. 
Chatham Islands, birth-trees in the, iL 

Chavandes , bonfires, i. 109 w.' 
Cheadle, in Staffordshire, the Yule log 

at, i. 256 
Cheese, the Beltane, kept as a charm 

against the bewitching of milk-produce, 

i- 154 
Chene-Dori, "the gilded oak, "in Perche, 

ii. 287 «.* 
Chepstow oak, in Gloucestershire, ii. 316 
Cheremiss of the Volga, their Midsummer 

festival, i. 181 
Cherokees, their sacred arks, i. ii sq. ; 

their ideas as to trees struck by light- 
ning, ii. 296 sq. 
Cherry-tree wood used for Yule log, L 


trees, torches thrown at, i. 108 

Chervil-seed burnt in Midsummer fire, 

i. 213 
Chesnitsa, Christmas cake, i. 261 
Chester, Midsummer giants at, ii. 37 
Chevannes, bonfires, i. iii «.^ 
Cheyenne Indians, seclusion of girls at 

puberty among the, i. 54 sq. 
women secluded at menstruation, 

i. 89 
Chiaromonte, Midsummer custom at, i. 

Chibisa, an African chief, ii. 314 
Chicha, a native into.xicant, i. 57, 58 
Chicory, the white flower of, opens all 

locks, ii. 71 
Chiefs daughter, ceremonies observed 

by her at puberty, i. 30, 43 
Chikumbu, a Yao chief, ii. 314 
Chilblains, the Yule log a preventive of, 

i. 250 
Childbirth, customs observed by women 

after, i. 20 
Childless couples leap over bonfires to 
procure offspring, i. 214, 338 



Childless women creep through a holed 
stone, ii. 187 

Children live apart from their parents 
among the Baganda, i. 23 «.^ ; born 
feet foremost, curative power attributed 
to, 295 ; passed across the Midsummer 
fires, 182, 189 sq., 192, 203 ; passed 
through holes in ground or turf to 
cure them, ii. 190 sq. 

Chillingworth, Thomas, passed through 
a cleft ash-tree for rupture, ii. 168 sq. 

Chimney, witches fly up the, ii. 74 

-piece, divination by names on, i. 


China, were -wolves in, i. 3105^. ; annual 
ceremony of the new fire in, 136 sq., 
ii. 3 ; use of fire to bar ghosts in, 
17 sq. \ spirits of plants in snake 
form in, 44 «.i ; use of mugwort in, 60 

Chinese festival of fire, ii. 3 sqq. ; story of 
the external soul, 145 sq. ; theories as 
to the human soul, 221 

Chinook Indians, seclusion of girls at 
puberty among the, i. 43 

Chippeway Indians, their dread and 
seclusion of menstruous women, i. 
90 sq. 

Chiquites Indians of Paraguay, their 
theory of sickness, ii. 226 n.^ 

Chirbury, in Shropshire, the Yule log at, 
»• 257 

Chiriguanos of Bolivia, seclusion of girls 
at puberty among the, i. 56 

Choctaw women secluded at menstrua- 
tion, i. 88 

Chopping-knife, soul of woman in child- 
birth transferred for safety to a, ii. 

153 ^Q- 
Chota Nagpur, the fire-walk in, ii. 5 
Chouquet, in Normandy, the Green Wolf 

at, i. 185 
Christbrand, the Yule log, i. 248 
Christenburg Crags, in Northumberland, 

Midsummer fires at, i. 198 
Christian Church, its treatment of witches, 

ii. 42 
Christklotz, the Yule log, i. 248 
Christmas, an old pagan festival of the 

sun, i. 246, 331 sq. ; new fire made 

by the friction of wood at, 264 ; 

mistletoe gathered at, ii. 291 

■ cake, i. 257, 259, 261 

candle, the, i. 255, 256, 260 

Eve, cattle acquire the gift of 

speech on, i. 254 ; trees fumigated 

with wild thyme on, ii. 64 ; the fern 

blooms at, 66 ; witches dreaded on, 73 ; 

sick children passed through cleft trees 

on, 172 

night, fern-seed blooms on, ii. 289 

pig, i. 259 

visiter, the, i. 261 sq., 263, 264 

Church, the Christian, its treatment of 
witches, ii. 42 

bells on Midsummer Eve, custom 

as to ringing, ii. 47 sq. ; rung to drive 
away witches, 73 

Churches used as places of divination at 
Hallowe'en, i. 229 

Churinga, sacred sticks and stones of 
the Arunta, ii. 218 n.^, 234 

Chu-Tu-shi, a Chinese were-tiger, i. 
310 sq. 

Ciotat, Midsummer rites of fire and water 
at, i. 194 

Circumambulating fields with lighted 
torches, i. 233 sq. 

Circumcision, custom at, among the 
Washamba, ii. 183 ; of lads at initia- 
tion in Australia, 227 sq., 233, 234, 
235 ; in New Guinea, 240 sq. ; in 
Fiji, 243 sq. ; in Rook, 246 ; custom 
of, on the Lower Congo, 251, 255 n.^ 

Clach-7iaihrach, serpent stone, ii. 311 

Clam shell, sacred, of the Omahas, i. ii 

Clan of the Cat, ii. 150 sq. 

Clappers, used instead of church bells in 
Holy Week, i. 125 ; wooden, used in 
China, 137 

Classificatory system of relationship, ii. 

234 «•^ 314 «•* 

Claudius, the emperor, i. 15 

Clavie, the burning of the, at Burghead, 
i. 266 sq. 

Clay plastered on girls at puberty, i. 31 ; 
white, bodies of novices at initiation 
smeared with, ii. 255 n.^, 259 

Cleary, Bridget, burnt as a witch in 
Tipperary, i. 323 j^. ; 

, Michael, burns his wife as a witch, ' 

i. 323 sq. 

Clee, in Lincolnshire, the Yule log at, 
i- 257 

Hills, in Shropshire, fear of witch- 
craft in the, i. 342 «.* 

Cleft stick, passage through a, in con-; 
nexion with puberty and circumcision, 
ii. 183 sq. 

Climacteris scandens, women's "sister" 
among the Kulin, ii. 216 

Clodd, Edward, on the external soul, 
ii. 96 «.^ 

Clog, the Yule, i. 247 

Clonmel, trial for witch-burning at, i. 324 

Clover, four-leaved, a counter-charm for 
witchcraft, i. 316 ; found at Mid- 
summer, ii. 62 sq. 

Clue of yarn, divination by a, i. 235, 
240, 241, 243 

Coal, magical, that turns to gold at 
Midsummer, ii. 60 sq. 

Coast Murring tril>e of New South Wales, 
the drama of resurrection exhibited to 
novices at initiation in the, ii. 235 sqq. 



Cobern, effigy burnt at, i. I20 

Coblentz, i. 248 

Coccus Polonica and St John's blood, iL 

Cock, effigy of, in bonfire, i. iii ; a 
black, used as counter-charm to witch- 
craft, 321 ; white, burnt in Midsummer 
bonfire, ii. 40 ; external soul of ogre 
in a, 100 ; killed on har\est-field, 
280 «. ; red, killed to cure person 
struck by lightning, 298 n." 

or hen, striking blindfold at a, ii. 

279 n* 

Cock's blood poured on divining-rod, IL 

Cockchafer, external soul in a golden, 
ii. 140 

Cockchafers, witches as. i. 322 

Coco-nut, soul of child deposited in a, 
i. 154 sq. 

palm planted over navel-string and 

afterbirth of child, ii. 161, 163, com- 
pare 164 ; attracts lightning, 299 n."^ 

Codrington, Dr. R. H. , on the Melanesian 
conception of the external soul, ii. 
197 sq. 

Coel Coeth, Hallowe'en bonfire, i. 239 

Cohen, S. S. , i. 128 n?- 

Coil, sick children passed through a, ii. 
185 sq. 

Cold food, festival of the, in China, i. 137 

Cole, Lieut. -Colonel H. W. G., on a 
custom of the Lushais, ii. 185 sq. 

Colic, fKjpular remedies for, i. 17 ; leap- 
ing over bonfires as a preventive of, 
107, 195 J^., 344; attributed to witch- 
craft. 344 

Coll, the Hole Stone in the island of, 
ii. 187 

CoUeda, an old Servian goddess, i. 259 

Cologne, St. John's foiu-teen Midsummer 
victims at, ii. 27 

Colombia, the Goajiras of, i. 34 «.^; 
Guacheta in, 74 

Combe d'.\in, i. 114 

Comminges, Midsummer fires in, i. 192 

Community, welfiue of, bound up with 
the life of the divine king, i. i sq. ; 
piu-ified in the persons of its repre- 
sentatives, ii. 24 

Cond^, in Normandy, i. 266 

Conductivity, electric, of various kinds 
of wood, ii. 299 «."^ 

Conflagrations, bonfires supposed to 
protect against, i. 107, 108, 140, 142, 
344 ; brands of Midsummer bonfires 
thought to be a protection against, 165, 
174, 183, 188, 196 ; the Yule log a 
protection against, 248 sq., 250, 255, 
256, 258 ; Midsummer flowers a pro- 
tection against, ii. 48 ; mountain arnica 

a protection against, 58; oak-mistletoe 

a protection against, 85 
Conflict of calendars, solar and limar, 

i. 218 
Congo, seclusion of girls at puberty on 

the Lower, i. 31 ; birth-trees on the, 

161 sq.\ theory of the external soul on 

the, iL 200 ; use of bull-roarers on the, 


, the French, the Fans of, ii. 161 

, the Lower, rites of initiation on 

the, ii. 251 sqq. 
Connaught, Midsummer fires in, i. 203 ; 

cave of Cruachan in, 226; palace of 

the kings of, ii. 127 
Connemara, Midsummer fires in, I 203 
Constance, the Lake of, ii. 26 
Constantinople, column at, ii. 157 
Consumption, ashes of the Midsummer 

fires a cure for, L 194 sq. ; transferred 

to bird, ii. 187 
Consumptive patients passed through 

holes in stones or rocks, ii. 186 sq. 
Continence as preparation for walking 

through fire, ii. 3 
Conty, Lenten fires at, i. 113 
Conway, Professor R. S., on the ety- 

mologj- of Soranus. ii. 15 «.^ 
Cook, ~K. B., on the oak of Ejrol, ii. 

284 «.i 
Cook, menstruous women not allowed to, 

L 80, 82, 84, 90 
Copp)er needle, story of man who could 

only be killed by a, iL 314 
Corannas, a Hottentot people, children 

after an illness passed under an arch 

among the, ii. 192 
Cords tied tightly round the bodies of 

girls at puberty, i. 92 «.* 
Corea, custom observed after childbirth 

by women in, i. 20 ; use of torches to 

ensure good crops in, 340 
Cormac, on Beltane fires, L 157 
Cor-mass. procession of wicker giants at 

Dunkirk, iL 34 
Com, charm to make the com grow 

tall, L 18 ; thrown on the man who 

brings in the Yule log, 260, 262, 264 ; 

blazing besoms tiung aloft to make 

the com grow high, 340 
spirit in last standing com, i. 12 ; 

human representatives of, put to death, 

ii. 25 ; in animal shape, 43 
Cornel-tree wood used to kindle need- 
fire, i. 286 
Cornweill, Snake Stones in, L 15, 16 n.^\ 

Midsummer fires in, 199 sq.; burnt 

sacrifices to stay Ciittle-disease in, 300 

sq. ; holed stone through which people 

lised to creep in, ii. 187 
Corpse, priest of Earth forbidden to see 

a, L 4 



Corpus Christ! Day, processions on, i. 

Corr^ze and Creuse, departments of, St. 

John's fires in the, i. 190 
Corsica, Midsummer fires in, i. 209 
Cos, effigies of Judas burnt at Easter in, 

1. 130 ; Midsummer fires in, 212 
Cosquin, E. , on helpful animals and 

external souls in folk-tales, ii. 133 n.^ 
Cosse de Nau, the Yule log, i. 251 
Costa Rica, Indians of, their customs in 

fasts, i. 20 ; ceremonial uncleanness 

among the, 65 n.^ \ the Bri-bri Indians 

of, 86 ; the Guatusos of, ii. 230 n. 
Coudreau, H. , quoted, i. 63 sg. 
Coulommiers, in France, notion as to 

mistletoe at, ii. 316 n.^ 
Counter-charm for witchcraft, ' ' scoring 

above the breath," i. 316 n."^ 
Couples married within the year obliged 

to dance by torchlight, i. 115, 339 
Coventry, Midsummer giants at, ii. 37 
Cows, witches steal milk from, i. 343 ; 

mistletoe given to, ii. 86 ; milked 

through a hole in a branch or a 

" witch's nest," 185 
Crackers burnt to frighten ghosts, ii. 17, 

Cracow, Midsummer fires in the district 

of, i. 17s 
Cream, ceremony for thickening, i. 

Creek Indians, their dread of menstruous 

women, i. 88 
Creeping through a tunnel as a remedy 

for an epidemic, i. 283 sq. ; through 

cleft trees as cure for various maladies, 

ii. 170 sgq.; through narrow openings 

in order to escape ghostly pursuers, 

177 sqq. 
Creuse and Correze, departments of, St. 

John's fires in the, i. 190 
Criminals shorn to make them confess, 

ii. 158 sq. 
Croatia, Midsummer fires in, i. 178 
Croats of Istria, their belief as to the 

activity of witches on Midsummer Eve, 

ii- 75 
Crocodile, a Batta totem, ii. 223 
Crocodiles, fat of, i. 14 ; lives of persons 

bound up with those of, ii. 201, 202, 

206, 209 ; external human souls in, 

207, 209 

Cronus, cakes offered to, i. 153 «.' 
Crops supposed to be spoiled by men- 
struous women, i. 79, 96; leaping over 
bonfires to ensure good, 107 ; Mid- 
summer fires thought to ensure good, 
188, 336; torches swung by eunuchs 
to ensure good, 340 ; bull -roarers 
sounded to promote the growth of the, 
ii. 232 

Cross River natives, their lives bound up 
with those of certain animals, ii. 202 
sq. , 204 

roads, ceremonies at, i. 24 ; witches 

at, 160 n.^ ; Midsummer fires lighted 
at, 172, 191 ; divination at, 229 ; 
bewitched things burnt at, 322 

Crosses chalked up to protect houses 
and cattle -stalls against witches, i. 
160 n.^, ii. 74 

Crow, hooded, sacrifice to, i. 152 

Crowdie, a dish of milk and meal, i. 237 

Crown or garland of flowers in Mid- 
summer bonfire, i. 184, 185, 188, 
192 ; of Roses, festival of the, 195. 
See also Flowers 

Cruachan, the herdsman or king of, 
Argyleshire story of, ii. 127 sqq. ; in 
Connaught, the cave of, i. 226 

Cryptocerus atratus, F. , stinging ants, i. 

Cuissard, Ch. , on Midsummer fires, L 
182 sq. 

Cumae, the Sibyl at, i. 99 

Cumanus, inquisitor, ii. 158 

Cumberland, Midsummer fires in, i. 197 

Cups, special, used by girls at puberty, 

i- 50. S3 
Curative powers ascribed to persons born 

feet foremost, i. 295 
Cures, popular, prescribed by Marcellus 

of Bordeaux, i. 17 
Cursing a mist in Switzerland, i. 280 
Cuzco, ceremony of the new fire in, i. 

Cycle of thirty years (Druidical), ii. ■]^ 
Cycles of sixty years (Boeotian, Indian, 

and Tibetan), ii. 'j'] n.^ 
Cythnos, Greek island, sickly children 

pushed through a hole in a rock in, 

ii. 189 
Czechs cull simples at Midsummer, ii. 


Dacotas or Sioux, ritual of death and 
resurrection among the, ii. 268 sq. 

Daedala, Boeotian festival of the Great, 
ii. T] n.^ 

Dairy, mistletoe used to make the dairj' 
thrive, ii. 86 

Daizan, king of Atrae, i. 83 

Dalhousie Castle, the Edgewell Tree at, 
ii. 166 

Dalmatia, the Yule log in, i. 263 

Dalyell, J. G. , on Beltane, i. 149 n.^ 

Damun, in German New Guinea, cere- 
mony of initiation at, ii. 193 

Danae, the story of, i. 73 sq. 

Dance at Sipi in Northern India, i. 12 ; 
of young women at puberty, ii. 183 ; 
in the grave at initiation, 237 ; in 
honour of the big or grey wolf, 276 «.'^ 




ces of fasting men and women at 
,.iti\'al, i. 8 sq. ; of Duk-duk society, 
II ; of girls at puberty, 28, 29, 30, 
37, 42, 50, 58, 59 ; round bonfires, 
108, 109, 110, III, 114. 116, 120, 
131, 142, 145. 148. 153 sq., 159, 166, 
172, 173. 175, 178. 182, 183, 185. 
187, 188, 189, 191, 193, 194, 195, 
198, 246, ii. 2, 39 ; masked, buil- 
roarers used at, 230 n. ; of novices at 
initiation, 258, 259' 

Dancing with the fairies at Hallowe'en, 
i. 227 

Dandelions gathered at Midsummer, ii. 

Danger apprehended from the sexual 

relation, ii. 277 sq. 
Dangers thought to attend women at 

menstruation, i. 94 
Danish stories of the external soul, ii. 

120 sqq. 
story of a girl who was forbidden 

to see the, sun, i. 70 sqq. 
Danserosse or danseresse, a stone, L no 
Danube, worship of Grannus on the, i. 

Danzig, the immortal lady of, i. 100 
Daphne gnidium gathered at Midsvunmer, 

ii. 51 
Dapper, O., on ritual of death and 

resurrection at initiation in the Belli- 

Paaro society, ii. 257 sqq. 
Daramulun, a mythical being who insti- 
tuted and suf)erintends the initiation 

of lads in Australia, ii. 228, 233, 237 ; 

his voice heard in the sound of the 

bull-roarer, 228. See also Thrumalun 

and Thuremlin 
" Darding Knife," pretence of death and 

resurrection at initiation to the, ii. 274 

Darling River, the Ualaroi of the, iL 

Darma Rajah, Hindoo god. ii. 6 
Darowen, in Wales, Midsummer fires at, 

i. 201 
Darwin, Charles, on the cooling of the 

sun, ii. 307 
Darwin, Sir Francis, on the Golden 

Bough, ii. 318, 319 ».* 
Dashers of chums, witches ride on, IL 

Date of Chinese festival changed, i. 137 
Dathi, king of Ireland, and his Druid, 

L 228 sq. 
Davies, J. Ceredig, as to witches in 

Wales, i. 321 n.'^ 
Dawn of the Day, prayers to the, L 50 

■*?• • 53 ; prayer of adolescent girl to 

the, 98 «.i 
Dawson, James, on sex totems in Victoria, 

ii. 216 


Dead, festival of the, i. 223 sq., 225 sq. ; 
souls of the. sit round the Midsummer 
fire, 183, 184 ; sacrifice of reindeer to 
the, ii. 178 ; incarnate in serpents, 
211 sq. ; bull -roarers sounded at 
festivals of the, 230 n. ; first-fruits 
ofiered to the souls of the, 243 

"Death, carrying out," i. 119; "the 
burying of," 119 ; eflBgies of, burnt in 
spring fires, ii. 21 sq. ; omens of, 54, 
64 ; customs observed by mourners 
after a death in order to escape from 
the ghost, 174 sqq. \ identified with 
the sun, 174 n.^ 

Death and resurrection, ritual of, iL 225 
sqq. ; in Australia, 227 sqq. ; in New 
Guinea, 239 sqq. ; in Fiji, 243 sqq. ; 
in Rook, 246 ; in New Britain, 246 
sq. ; in Ceram, 249 sqq. ; in .Africa, 
251 sqq. ; in North .\merica, 266 sqq. ; 
traces of it elsewhere, 276 sq. 

Debregeasia velutina, used to kindle fire 
by friction, ii. 8 

December, the last day of, Hogmanay, 
L 266 ; the twenty-first, St. Thomas's 
Day, 266 

Decle, L., quoted, i. 4 n.^ 

Dee. holed stone used by childless women 
in the Aberdeenshire, ii. 187 

Deer and the family of Lachlin, super- 
stition concerning, ii. 284 

DeflBngin, in Swabia, Midsummer bon- 
fires at, i. 166 sq. 

Dehon, P. , on witches as cats among the 
Oraons, ii. 312 

Deiseal, deisheal, dessil, the right-hand 
turn, in the Highlands of Scotland, i. 
150 a.i, 154 

Delagoa Bay, the Thonga of, i. 29 

Delaware Indians, seclusion of girls at 
puberty among the, i. 54 

Deliver)-, charms to ensure women an 
easy, i. 49, 50 sq., 52 ; women creep 
through a rifted rock to obtain an 
easy, ii. 189 

Delmenhorst, in Oldenburg, Easter fires 
at, L 142 

Delos, new fire Ix-ought from, i. 136 

Delphi, perpetual fire at, ii. 91 «.' ; the 
picture of Orpheus at, 294 ; Stheni, 
near, 317 

Demeter, the torches of, L 340 n.^ ; 
serpents in the worship of, ii. 44 n. 

Demnat, in the Atlas, New Year rites 
at. L 217, 218 

Demon supposed to attack girls at 
puberty, i. 67 sq. ; festival of fire 
instituted to ban a, ii. 3 

Demons attack women at puberty and 
childbirth, i. 24 «.' ; expelled at the 
New Year, 134 sq. ; abroad on Mid- 
summer Eve, 172 ; ashes of holy 



fires a protection against, ii. 8, 17 ; 
vervain a protection against, 62 ; 
guard treasures, 65. See also Evil 

D6n6 or Tinneh Indians, their dread and 
seclusion of nienstruous women, i. 
91 sqq. ; the Western, tattooing among 
the, 98 n.^ See also Tinneh 

Denham Tracts, on need-fire in York- 
shire, i. 287 sq. 

Denmark, fires on St. John's Eve in, i. 
171 ; passing sick children through 
a hole in the ground in, 190, 191 ; 
children passed through a cleft oak as 
a cure for rupture or rickets in, ii. 
170, 172 

Dessil. See Deiseal 

Deux-Sevres, department of, Midsummer 
fires in the, i. 191 ; fires on All 
Saints' Day in the, 245 sq. 

Devil, the, seen on Midsummer Eve, i. 

Devil's bit, St. John's wort, ii. 55 n."^ 

Devils, ghosts, and hobgoblins abroad 
on Midsummer Eve, i. 202 

Devonshire, need-fire in, i. 288 ; animals 
burnt alive as a sacrifice in, 302 ; 
belief in witchcraft in, 302 ; crawling 
under a bramble as a cure for whoop- 
ing-cough in, ii. 180 

Dew, rolling in the, at Midsummer, i. 
208, with «.*; at Midsummer a 
protection against witchcraft, ii. 74 

Diana and Juno, ii. 302 w.^ 

Diana, priest of, at Nemi, ii. 315 

Diana's Mirror, the Lake of Nemi, ii. 303 

Dieri of Central Australia, their dread of 
women at menstruation, i. "^j ; use of 
bull-roarers among the, ii. 229 sq. , 
232 ; bleed themselves to make rain, 

Dijon, Lenten fires at, i, 114 

Dingle, church of St. Brandon near, ii. 

Diodorus Siculus, on the human sacrifices 
of the Celts, ii. 32 

Dioscorides on mistletoe, ii. 318 n.^ 

Dipping for apples at Hallowe'en, i. 
237, 239, 241, 242, 24s 

Discs, burning, thrown into the air, i. 
wd sq., 119, 143, 165, 166, 168 J(7., 
172, 328, 334 ; burning, perhaps 
directed at witches, 345 

Disease, walking through fire as a remedy 
for, ii. 7 ; conceived as something 
physical that can be stripped off the 
patient and left behind, 172 

Diseases of cattle ascribed to witchcraft, 

'• 343 
Dish, external soul of warlock in a, ii. 141 
Dishes, special, used by girls at puberty, 

i. 47, 49 

Dislocation, Roman cure for, ii. 177 
Divination on St. John's Night (Mid- 
summer Eve), i. 173, ii. 46 n.^, 50, 
52 sqq., 61, 64, 67 sqq. ; at Mid- 
summer in Spain and the Azores, i. 
7.0^ sq. ; at Hallowe'en, 225, 228 sqq. \ 
by stones at Hallowe'en fires, 230 sq. , 
239, 240; by stolen kail, 234 sq., 

241 ; by clue of yarn, 235, 240, 241, 

243 ; by hemp seed, 235, 241, 245 ; 
by winnowing-basket, 236 ; by thrown 
shoe, 236 ; by wet shirt, 236, 241 ; 
by white of eggs, 236 sq., 238 ; by 
apples in water, 237 ; by a ring, 237 ; 
by names on chimney-piece, 237 ; by 
three plates or basins, 237 sq., 240, 

244 ; by nuts in fire, 237, 239, 241, 
242, 245 ; by salt cake, or salt her- 
ring, 238 sq. ; by the sliced apple, 
238 ; by eavesdropping, 238, 243, 
244 ; by knife, 241 ; by briar-thorn, 
242; bymeltedlead, 242; bycabbages, 

242 ; by cake at Hallowe'en, 242, 243; 
by ashes, 243, 244, 245 ; by salt, 
244 ; by raking a rick, 247; magic 
dwindles into, 336. See also Divining- 

Divine personages not allowed to touch 
the ground with their feet, i. 2 sqq. ; 
not allowed to see the sun, 18 sqq. ; 
suspended for safety between heaven 
and earth, 98 sq. 

Divining-rod cut on Midsummer Eve, ii. 
67 sqq. ; made of hazel, 67 sq., 291 
«.* ; made of mistletoe in Sweden, 
69, 291 ; made of four sorts of wood, 
69 ; made of willow, 69 «. ; made out 
of a parasitic rowan, 281 sq. 

Divisibility of life, doctrine of the, ii. 

Dobischwald, in Silesia, need-fire at, i. 

Dodona, Zeus and his sacred oak at, ii. 
49 j^. 

Dog not allowed to enter priest's house, 
i. 4 ; beaten to ensure woman's 
fertility, 69 ; charm against the bite 
of a mad, ii. 56 ; a Batta totem, 223 

Star, or Sirius, supposed by the 

ancients to cause the heat of summer, 

i- 332 
Dolac, need-fire at, i. 286 
Dolmen, sick children passed through a 

hole in a, ii. 188 
Dommartin, Lenten fires at, i. 109 
Door, separate, for girls at puberty, L 

43. 44 
Doorie, hill of, at Burghead, i. 267 
Doors, separate, used by menstruous 

women, i. 84 
Doorway, creeping through narrow open- 
ing in, as a cure, ii. 181 sq. 



Dosadhs, an Indian caste, the fire-walk 

among the, ii. 5 
Dosuma, king of, not allowed to touch 

the ground, i. 3 
Douay, procession of the giants at, ii 

33 ^l- 
Double-axe, Midsummer king of the, L 


Dourgne, in Southern France, crawling 
through holed stones near, iL 187 sq. 

Dove, the ceremony of the fiery, at 
Easter in Florence, L 126 ; a Batta 
totem, ii. 223 

Doves, external soul of magicians in, 
ii. 104 ; Aeneas led by doves to the 
Golden Bough, 285, 316 «.' 

Dragon at Midsimimer, effigy of, ii. 37 ; 
external soul of a queen in a, 105 ; 
of the water-mill, Servian story of the, 
III sqq. 

Dragons driven away by smoke of Mid- 
summer bonfires, i. 161 ; St. Peter's 
fires lighted to drive away, 195 

Draguignan, in the department of Var, 
Midsummer fires at, i. 193 

Draupadi, the heroine of the Maha- 
bharata, ii. 7 

Dread and seclusion of menstruous 
women, i. 76 sqq. ; dread of witch- 
craft in Europe, 342 

Dream, guardian spirit or animal ac- 
quired in a, ii. 256 sq. 

Dreaming on flowers on Midsummer 
Eve, i. 175 

Dreams, oracular, i. 238, 242 ; of love 
on Midsummer Eve, ii. 52, 54 ; pro- 
phetic, on the bloom of the oak, 292 ; 
prophetic, on mistletoe, 293 

Driving away the witches on Walpurgis 
Night, i. 160 ; at Midsummer, 170, 

Drobede (Draupadi), the heroine of the 
epic Makabharata, ii. 7 

Dromling district, in Hanover, need-fire 
in, i. 277 

Drought attributed to misconduct of 
young girls, i. 31 

Druid, etymology of the word, L 

Druidical custom of burning live animals, 
ii. 38 ; the animals perhaps deemed 
embodiments of witches, 41 sq., 43 
sq. ; festivals, so-called, of the Scotch 
Highlanders, i. 147, 206 
— sacrifices, W. Mannhardt's theory 
of the, ii. 43 

Druidism, so-called, remains of, i. 233, 
241 ; and the Christian Church in 
relation to witchcraft, ii. 42 

Druid's Glass, the, i. 16 ; prediction, the, 

Druids' Hill, the, i. 229 

Druids, their superstition as to " ser- 
pents' eggs," L 15 ; their human 
sacrifices, ii. 32 sq. ; in relation to the 
Midsvunmer festival, 33 sqq. , 45 ; their 
worship of the mistletoe and the oak, 
76 sq. , 301 ; their cycle of thirty years, 
77 ; catch the mistletoe in a white 
cloth, 293 

of Ireland, i. 157 

Dryneraetum, "the temple of the oak,** 
ii. 89 

Duck baked alive as a sacrifice in Suffolk, 

»• 304 

Duck's egg, external soul in a, ii. 109 j^., 
wt, sq., n6, 119 i^., 120, 126, 130, 

Duk-duk, secret society of New Britain, 
i. II, ii. 246 sq. 

Duke of York Island, ii. 199 «.' ; Duk- 
duk society in, 247 ; exogamous classes 
in, 248 n. 

Duke Town, on the Calabar River, ii. 

Dukkala, New Year customs in, i. 218 

Dumbartonshire, Hallowe'en in, L 237 

Dunbeath, in Caithness, L 291 

Dimkeld, i. 232 

Dunkirk, procession of giants on Mid- 
summer Day at, ii. 34 sq. 

Durandus, G. (W. Duranlis), his Ration- 
ale EHvinarum Officiorum, L 161 

Durham, Easter candle in the cathedral 
of, i. 122 n. 

Durris, parish of, Kincardineshire, Mid- 
summer fires in the, i. 206 sq. 

Dusk of the Evening, prayers to the, 

>- 53 

Diisseldorf, Shrove Tuesday custom in 
the district of, i. 120 

Dutch names for mistletoe, ii. 319 n.^ 

Dwarf-elder at Midsummer detects witch- 
craft, ii. 64 

Dyaks of Borneo, trees and plants as 
Ufe indices among the, ii. 164 sq. ; 
their doctrine of the plurality of souls, 
222 ; of Landak and Tajan, marriage 
custom of the, i. 5 ; birth-trees among 
the, ii. 164 ; of Pinoeh, their custom 
at a birth, ii. 154 sq. 

Elagle, sacrifice to, L 152 

bone, used to drink out of, L 45 

clan, ii. 271, 272 «.^ 

hawk, external soul of medicine- 
man in, ii. 199 

spirits and buried treasures, i. 218 

Earth, taboos observed by the priest of, 
in Southern Nigeria, L 4 ; prayers to, 
50 ; and heaven, between, i sqq. 

Easter, fern-seed blooms at, ii. 292 n.* 

candle, L 121, 122, 125 



Easter ceremonies in the New World, i. 
127 sq. 

eggs, i. 108, 143, 144 

Eve, new fire on, i. 121, 124, 

126, 158 ; the fern blooms at, ii. 66 

fires, i. 120 sqq. 

Man, burning the, i. 144 

Monday, fire-custom on, i. 143 

Mountains, bonfires on, i. 140, 141 

Saturday, new fire on, i. 121, 122, 

124, 127, 128, 130 ; the divining-rod 
baptized on, ii. 69 

Sunday, red eggs on, i. 122 

Eavesdropping, divination by, i. 238, 
243, 244 

Echternach in Luxemburg, Lenten fire- 
custom at, i. 116 

Eclipses attributed to monster biting the 
sun or moon, i. 70 ; air thought to be 
poisoned at, 162 71. ; thought to be 
caused by a monster attacking the 
luminary, 162 n. 

Edda, the prose, story of Balder in, i. 
loi ; the poetic, story of Balder in, 

Eddesse, in Hanover, need-fire at,i. 2j^sq. 

Edersleben, Midsummer fire-custom at, 
i. 169 

Edgewell Tree, oak at castle of Dalhousie, 
ii. 166, 284 

Effect, supposed, of killing a totem 
animal, ii. 220 

Effigies burnt in bonfires, i. 106, 107, 
116, 118 sq., 119 sq., 121, 122, 159, 
167 ; of Judas burnt at Easter, 121, 
127 sq., 130 sq.; burnt in the Mid- 
summer fires, 172 sq., 195 ; of witches 
burnt in the fires, 342, ii. 19, 43 ; of 
human beings burnt in the fires, 21 
sqq. ; of giants burnt in the summer 
fires, 38 

Effigy of absent friend cut in a tree, ii. 
159 sq. 

Efik, a tribe of Calabar, their belief in 
external or bush souls, ii. 206 

Egede, Hans, on impregnation by the 
moon, i. 76 

Egg broken in water, divination by means 
of, i. 208 sq. 

Eggs, charm to ensure plenty of, i. 112, 
338 ; begged for at Midsummer, 169; 
divination by white of, 236 sq. , 238 ; 
external souls of fairy beings in, ii. 
106 sqq., no, 125, 132 sq., 140 sq. 

, Easter, i. 108, 122, 143, 144 

Egypt, the Flight into, ii. 69 n. ; deified 
kings of, their souls deposited during 
life in portrait statues, 157 
v/ Egyptian, ancient, story of the external 
soul, ii. 134 sqq. 

doctrine of the ka or external soul, 

ii. 157 «.2 

Egyptian tombs, plaques or palettes < 

schist in, ii. 155 
Egyptians, human sacrifices among thi 

ii. 286 n.^ 
Eifel Mountains, Lenten fires in the, 

115 sq., 336 sq.; Cobern in the, 120 

St. John's fires in the, 169 ; the Yu 

log in the, 248 ; Midsummer flowei 

in the, ii. 48 
Eighty-one (nine times nine), men mat 

need-fire, i. 289, 294, 295 
Eket, in North Calabar, ii. 209 
Ekoi, a tribe of Calabar, their belief i 

external or bush souls, ii. 206 sqq. 
Elangda, external soul in Fan language 

ii. 201, 226 n.^ 
Elbe, the river, dangerous on Midsummt 

Day, ii. 26 
Elder-flowers gathered at Midsummei 

ii. 64 
Elecampane in a popular remedy, 1. 17 
Electric conductivity of various kinds c 

wood, ii. 299 «.2 
Elephant hunters, custom of, i. 5 
Elephants, lives of persons bound 

with those of, ii. 202, 203 ; extern£ 

human souls in, 207 
Elgin, medical use of mistletoe in, ii. 8^; 
Elk clan of the Omaha Indians, i. 
Elm wood used to kindle need-fire, i 

Embers of bonfires planted in fields, i 

117, 121 ; stuck in cabbage gardens 

174, 175 ; promote growth of crops 

337. See also Ashes and Sticks 

of Midsummer fires a protectioi 

against conflagration, i. 188 ; a pro 

tection against lightning, 190 
Emily plain of Central Australia 

Emmenthal, in Switzerland, superstitior 

as to Midsummer Day in the, ii. 27 

use of orpine at Midsummer in the 

62 n. 
Emu fat not allowed to touch the ground 

'• 13 

wren, called men's " brother 

among the Kurnai, ii. 215 «.', 216 

Encounter Bay tribe in South Australia, 
their dread of women at menstruation, 
i. 76 

Energy, sanctity and uncleanness, dif- 
ferent forms of the same mysterious, i. 

97 sq- 
England, belief as to menstruous women 
in, i. 96 n.^ ; Midsummer fires in, 
196 sqq.; the Yule log in, 255 sqq.; 
the need-fire in, 286 sqq. ; Midsummer 
giants in, ii. 36 sqq.; divination by 
orpine at Midsummer in, 61 ; fern- 



-;ed at Midsummer in, 65 ; the north 
f, mistletoe used to make the dairy 

thrive in, 85 sq. ; birth-trees in, 165 ; 

children passed through cleft ash-trees 

as a cure for rupture or rickets in, 168 

sqq. ; oak-mistletoe in, 316 
English cure for whooping-cough, rheu- 
matism, and boils, ii. 180 
uisival, bonfires at, i. 108 
^ £n trails, external soul in, ii. 146 sq., 

'^pic of Kings, Firdusi's, i. 104 
iipidemic, creeping through a tunnel as 

a remedy for an, i. 283 sq. 
Epilepsy, yellow mullein a protection 

against, ii. 63 ; mistletoe a cure for, 

78, 83, 84 

,pinal, Lenten fires at, i. 109 
riskay, fairies at Hallowe'en in, i. 

226 ; salt cake at Hallowe'en in, 

238 sq. 
Errol, the Hays of, their fate bound up 

with oak-mistletoe, ii. 283 sq. 
Escouvion or Scouvion, the Great and 

the Little, i. 108 
Eisquimaux, their superstition as to various 

meats, i. 13 sq. ; seclusion of girls at 

puberty among the, 55 ; ceremony of 

the new fire among the, 134 ; their 

custom at eclipses, 162 n. 
of Alaska, child's soul deposited in 

a bag among the, ii. 155 
of Bering Strait, their belief as to 

menstruous women, i. 91 
E^thonia, bathing at Midsummer in, ii. 

29 ; flowers gathered for divination 

and magic at Midsummer in, 53 sq. 
E^thonians, Midsummer fires among the, 

i. 179 sq. ; of Oesel cull St. John's 

herbs on St. John's Day, ii. 49 
Eteobutads as umbrella-bearers at the 

festival of Scira, i. 20 n.^ 
Eton, Midsummer fires at, i. 197 
Eunuchs fjerform a ceremony for the 

fertility of the fields, i. 340 
Euphorbia lathyris, caper-spurge, ii. 69 
Euripides, his play on Meleager, ii. 103 

Europe, superstitions as to menstruous 
women in, i. 96 sq. ; the fire-festivals 
of, 106 sqq. ; gfreat dread of witch- 
craft in, 342 ; birth-trees in, ii. 165 ; 
belief in, that strength of witches and 
wizards is in their hair, 158 
Eurydice, Orpheus and, ii. 294 
Eve of Samhain (Hallowe'en) in Ireland, 

»• 139 
Everek (Caesarea), in Asia Minor, creep- 
ing through a rifted rock at, ii. 189 
Evil eye, protection against, i. 17 

spirit, mode of cure for f)ossession 

by an, ii. 186 

Evil spirits driven away at the New 
Year, i. 134 sq. ; kept off by fire, 282, 
285 sq. ; St. John's herbs a protection 
against, ii. 49 ; kept off by flowers 
gathered at Midsummer, 53 sq. ; creep- 
ing through cleft trees to escape the 
pursuit of, 173 sqq. See also Demons 

Ewe negroes, their dread of menstruous 
women, i. 82 

Exogamous classes in Duke of York 
island, ii. 248 n. 

Exorcizing vermin with torches, i. 340 

Exorcism of evil spirits, i. 5 ; and 
ordeals, 66 ; at Easter, 123 ; use of 
St. John's wort in, ii. 55 ; use of 
mugwort in, 60 ; by vervain, 62 «.* 

Expulsion of demons, annual, i. 135 

External soul in folk-tales, ii. 95 sqq. ; 
in folk-custom, 153 sqq. ; in inanimate 
things, 153 sqq. ; in plants, 159 sqq. \ 
in animals, 196 sqq. ; kept in totem, 
220 sqq. See also Souls, External 

Elxtinction of common fires before the 
kindling of the need-fire, i. 271, 272, 
273. 274. 275. 276, 277 sq., 279, 283, 
285, 288, 289, 289 sq., 291, 291 sq., 
292, 294, 297, 298 sq. ; ceremonial, 
of fires, ii. 297 sq. 

Eye, the evil, cast on cattle, i. 302, 303 ; 
oleander a protection against the, ii. 51 

Eyes, looking through flowers at the 
Midsummer fire, thought to be good 
for the, i. 162, 163, 165 sq.. 171, 174 
sq. , 344 ; ashes or smoke of Mid- 
summer fire supposed to benefit the, 
214 sq. ; sore, attributed to witchcraft, 
344 ; mugwort a protection against 
sore, ii. 59 ; of newly initiated lads 
closed, 241 

Eyre, E. J., on menstruous women in 
Australia, i. 77 

"Faery dairts " thought to kill cattle, 

'• 303 
Failles, bonfires, i. iii n.^ 
Fair, great, at Uisnech in County Meath, 

i. 158 
Fairies let loose at Hallowe'en, i. 224 

sqq. ; carry off men's wives, 227 ; at 

Hallowe'en, dancing with the, 227 ; 

thought to kill cattle by their darts, 

303 ; active on Hallowe'en and May 

Day, ii. 184 «.*, 185 
Fairy changelings, i. 151 «. ; mistletoe 

a protection against, ii. 283 
Falcon stone, at Enrol, in Perthshire, ii. 

Falkenstein chapel of St. Wolfgang, 

creeping through a rifted rock near 

the, ii. 189 
Falling sickness, mistletoe a remedy for, 

ii. 83. 84 



Famenne in Namur, Lenten fires in, i. 

Familiar spirits of wizards in boars, ii. 

196 sq. 
Fans of the French Congo, birth-trees 

among the, ii. 161 
of the Gaboon, their theory of the 

external soul, ii. 200 sqq.y 226 «.^ ; 

guardian spirits acquired in dreams 

among the, 257 
of West Africa, custom at end of 

mourning among the, ii. 18 
Fast at puberty, ii. 222 «." 
Fasting of girls at puberty, i. 56, 57, 58, 

59, 60, 61, 66 ; of women at men- 
struation, 93, 94 ; as preparation for 

gathering magical plants, ii. 45, SS 

n.\ 58 
men and women at a dancing 

festival, i. 8 sqq. 
Fasts imposed on heirs to thrones in 

South America, i. 19 ; rules observed 

in, 20 
Fat of emu not allowed to touch the 

ground, i. 13 ; of crocodiles and 

snakes as unguent, 14 
Fattening-house for girls in Calabar, ii. 


Feast of Florus and Laurus on August 
i8th, i. 220 ; of the Nativity of the 
Virgin, 220 sq. ; of All Souls, 223 sq., 
225 n.^ 

Fechenots, feckenntfes, Valentines, i. no 

Feet foremost, children born, curative 
power attributed to, i, 295 

Fen-hall, i. 102 

Ferintosh district, in Scotland, i. 227 

Fern in a popular remedy, i. 17 ; the 
male [Aspidium Jllix mas), supersti- 
tions as to, ii. 66 sq. 

owl or goatsucker, sex totem of 

women, ii. 217 

seed gathered on Midsummer Eve, 

magical properties ascribed to, ii. 65 
sq^. ; blooms on Midsummer Eve, 
287 ; blooms on Christmas Night, 288 
sq. ; reveals treasures in the earth, 287 
sqq. ; brought by Satan on Christmas 
night, 289 ; gathered at the solstices, 
Midsummer Eve and Christmas, 290 
sq. ; procured by shooting at the sun 
on Midsummer Day, 291 ; blooms at 
Easter, 292 n.^ 

Feronia, Italian goddess, ii. 14 

Ferrara, synod of, denounces practice of 
gathering fern-seed, ii. 66 «. 

Fertility of women, magical ceremony to 
ensure, i. 23 sq., 31 ; of fields, pro- 
cessions with lighted torches to ensure 
the, 233 sq. ; of the land supposed to 
depend on the number of human 
beings sacrificed, ii. 32, 33, 42 sq. 

Fertilization of mango trees, ceremon; 
for the, i. 10 

Fertilizing fields with ashes of Midsumme 
fires, i. 170 

Festival of the cold food in China, 
137 ; Chinese, shifted in the calendar 
137 ; of the Cross on August ist^ 
220 ; of the Dead, 223 sq. , 225 sq. 

Fetish, the great, in West Africa, ii. 25^ 

Fever, leaping over the Midsummer bon- 
fires as a preventive of, i. 166, 173, 
194 ; Midsummer fires a protection 
against, 190 ; need-fire kindled to pre- 
vent, 297 ; cure for, in India, ii. 190 

Fey, devoted, i. 231 

Fez, Midsummer custom at, i. 216, ii. 31 

Field-mice, burning torches as a pro- 
tection against, i. 114, 11 5 

and moles driven away by torches, 

ii. 340 

Fields, cultivated, menstruous women 
not allowed to enter, i. 79 ; protected 
against insects by menstruous women, 
98 n.^ ; processions with torches 
through, 107 sq., no sqq., 113 sqq. 
179, 339 sq.; protected against witches, 
121 ; made fruitful by bonfires, 140; 
fertilized by ashes of Midsummer fires, 
170 ; fertilized by burning wheel rolled 
over them, 191, 340 sq. ; protected 
against hail by bonfires, 344 

Fig-trees, charm to benefit, i. 18 ; sacred 
among the Fans, ii. i6i 

Fights between men and women about 
their se.x totems, ii. 215, 217 

Figo, bonfire, i. in 

Fiji, brides tattooed in, i. 34 n.^ ; the 
fire-walk in, ii. 10 sq. ; birth-trees in, 
163 ; the drama of death and resur- 
rection exhibited to novices at initia- 
tion in, 243 sqq. 

Filey, in Yorkshire, the Yule log and 
candle at, i. 256 

Finchra, mountain in Rum, ii. 284 

Fingan Eve in the Isle of Man, i. 266 

Finist^re, bonfires on St. John's Day in, 
i. 183 

Finland, Midsummer fires in, i. 180 sq. ; 
fir-tree as life-index in, ii. 165 sq. 

Finsch Harbour in German New Guinea, 
ii. 239 

Fir-branches, prayers to, i. 51 ; at M 
summer, 177 ; Midsummer muninu 
clad in, ii. 25 sq. 

cones, seeds of, gathered on St. 

John's Day, ii. 64 

-tree as life-index, ii. 165 sq. ; 

mistletoe on fir-trees, 315, 316 

-wood used to kindle need-fire, i. 

278, 282 

or beech used to make the Yule 

log, i. 249 



Firdusi's Epic of Kings, i. 104 

Fire, girls at puberty forbidden to see or 
go near, i. 29, 45, 46 ; menstruous 
women not allowed to touch or see, 
84, 85 ; exting^iished at menstruation, 
87 ; in fire-festivals, different possible 
explanations of its use, 112 ^^. ; made 
by flints or by flint and steel, 121, 124, 
126, 127, 145, 146, 159 ; made by a 
burning-glass, 121, 127 ; made by a 
metal mirror, 132, 137, 138 «.' ; made 
by the friction of wood, 132, 133, 135, 

136. 137. 138. 144 ^?-. 148. 155. i^ 
sq., 175, 177, 179, 220, 264, z-josqq., 
335 ^'!- • "• 8. 90, 295 ; not to be blown 
up with breath, i. 133 ; year called a fire, 
137 ; thought to grow weak with age, 
137 ; pretence of throwing a man into, 
148, 186, ii. 25 ; carried round houses, 
com, cattle, and women after chUd- 
bearing, 151 n. ; used to drive away 
witches and demons at Midsummer, 
170 ; as a protection against evil 
spirits, 282, 285 sq. \ made by means 
of a wheel, 335 sq., ii. 91 ; as a de- 
structive and purificatory agent, i. 
341 ; used as a charm to produce sun- 
shine, 341 sq. ; employed as a barrier 
against ghosts, ii. 17 sqq. ; as a puri- 
ficatory agency, 19 ; used to burn or 
ban witches, 19 sq. ; extinguished by 
mistletoe, 78, 84 sq., 293; of oak- 
wood used to detect a murderer, 92 
«.■* ; life of man bound up with a, 
157 ; f>erpetual, of oak-wood, 2855^. ; 
conceived by savages as a property 
stored like sap in trees, 295 ; primitive 
ideas as to the origin of, 295 sq. 

, living, made by friction of wood, L 


, new, kindled on Easter Saturday, 

i. 121 sqq. ; festivals of new, 131 sqq.; 
made by the friction of wood at Christ- 
mas, 264 

" of heaven," term applied to Mid- 
summer bonfire, i. 334, 335 

drill used to kindle need-fire, L 


Fire-festivals of Europe, i. 106 sqq. ; in- 
terpretation of the, 328 sqq., ii. 15 
sqq. ; at the solstices, i. 331 sq. ; solar 
theory of the, 331 sqq. ; purificatory 
theory of the, 341 sqq. ; regarded as 
a protection against witchcraft, 342 ; 
the purificatory theory of the, more 
probable than the solar theory, 346 ; 
elsewhere than in Europe, ii. i sqq. ; 
in India, i sqq. , 5 sqq. ; in China, 3 
sqq. ; in Japan, 9 sq. ; in Fiji, 10 sq. ; 
in Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, and 
Trinidad, 11 ; in Africa, 11 sqq. ; in 
classical antiquity in Cappadocia and 

Italy, 14 J^. ; their relation to Druidism, 

33 ^99- . 45 

Fire-god, Armenian, i. 131 w.'; of the 
Iroquois, prayers to the, 299 sq. 

walk, the, ii. i sqq. ; a remedy for 

disease, 7 ; the meaning of the, 15 

Firebrand, external soul of Meleager in 
a, ii. 103 

Firebrands, the Sunday of the, i. no, 

Fires extinguished as preliminary to ob- 
taining new fire, i. 5 ; annually extin- 
guished and relit, 132 sqq. ; to burn 
the witches on the Eve of May Day 
(Walpurgis Night), 159 sq. ; autumn, 
220 sqq. ; the need-fire, 269 sqq. ; ex- 
tinguished before the lighting of the 
need-fire, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 
275, 276, 277 sq., 279, 283, 285, 288, 
289 sq., 291. 291 sq., 292, 294, 297, 
298 sq. ; of the fire-festivals explained 
as sun -charms, 329, 331 sqq.; ex- 
plained as purificatory, 329 sq., 341 
sqq. ; the burning of human beings in 
the, ii. 21 sqq. ; perpetual, fed with 
oak-wood, 91 ; with pinewood, 91 n.'' ; 
the solstitial, p>erhap>s sun-charms, 292; 
extinguished and relighted from a flame 
kindled by lightning, 297 sq. See also 
Fire, Bonfires 

, the Beltane, i. 146 sqq. 

, the Easter, i. 120 sqq. 

, Hallowe'en, i. 222 sq. , 230 sqq. 

, the Lenten, i. 106 sqq. 

, Midsummer, L 160 sqq. ; a pro- 
tection against witches, 180; sup]x>sed 
to stop rain, 188, 336 ; supposed to 
be a preventive of backache in reap- 
ing, 189, 344 sq. ; a protection against 
fever, 190 

, Midwinter, i. 246 sqq. 

of St John in France, L 183, 188, 

189, 190, 192, 193 

on the Eve of Twelfth Day,.i. 107 

First-born lamb, wool of, used as cure 
for colic, i. 17 

sons make need-fire, i. 294 ; special 

magical^virtue attributed to, 295 

First-fruits offered to the souls of the 
dead, ii. 243 

Fish frightened or killed by proximity of 
menstruous women, i. 77, 93 ; external 
soul in a, ii. 99 sq., 122 sq. ; golden, 
external soul of girl in a, 147 sq. ; lives 
of p>eople bound up with, 200, 202, 
204, 209 

Fisheries supposed to be spoiled by 
menstruous women, i. 77, 78, 90 sq., 

Fison, Rev. Lorimer, on Fijian religion, 
ii. 244 «.^*', 246 n.^ 



Fittleworth, in Sussex, cleft ash -trees 

used for the cure of rupture at, ii. 

169 sq. 
Flames of bonfires, omens drawn from, 

i. 159, 165, 336 
Flanders, Midsummer fires in, i. 194 ; 

the Yule log in, 249 ; wicker giants in, 

"• 35 
Flax, leaping over bonfires to make the 
fiax grow tall, i. 119 ; charms to make 
flax grow tall, 165, 166, 173, 174, 
176, 180 

crop, omens of the, drawn from 

Midsummer bonfires, i. 165 

seed sown in direction of flames of 

bonfire, i. 140, 337 
Fleabane as a cure for headache, i. 17 
Fleas, leaping over Midsummer fires to 

get rid of, i. 211, 212, 217 
Flight into Egypt, the, ii. 69 n. 
Flints, fire kindled by, i. 121, 124, 126, 

127, 145, 146, 159 
Floor, sitting on the, at Christmas, i. 

Florence, ceremony of the new fire at 

Easter in, i. 126 sq. 
Florus and Laurus, feast of, on August 

18th, i. 220 
Flowers thrown on bonfire, ii. 8 ; ex- 
ternal souls in, 117 sq. See also 

and herbs cast into the Midsummer 

bonfires, i. 162, 163, 172, 173 

at Midsummer thrown on roofs 

as a protection against lightning, i. 
169 ; festival of, 177 sq. ; as talis- 
mans, 183 ; in fires, 184, 188, 190 ; 
wreaths of, hung over doors and 
windows, 201 ; placed on mouths of 
wells, ii. 28 ; divination from, 50 

on Midsummer Eve, blessed by St. 

John, i. 171 ; the magic flowers of 

Midsummer Eve, ii. 45 sqq. ; used in 

divination, 52 sq. ; used to dream 

upon, 52, 54 
Flutes, sacred, played at initiation, ii. 

Fly River, in British New Guinea, ii. 232 
" Flying - rowan " (parasitic rowan), 

superstitions in regard to, ii. 281 ; 

used to make a divining-rod, 281 sq. 
Foam of the sea, the demon Namuci 

killed by the, ii. 280 ; the totem of a 

clan in India, 281 
Fo-Kien, province of China, festival of 

fire in, ii. 3 sqq. 
Folgareit, in the Tyrol, Midsummer 

custom at, ii. 47 
Folk-custom, external soul in, ii. 153 

tales, the external soul in, ii. 95 


Follies of Dunkirk, ii. 34 sq. 

Food, sacred, not allowed to touch the 
ground, i. 13 sq. ; girls at puberty not 
allowed to handle, 23, 28, 36, 40 sq., 

Foods, forbidden, i. 4, 7, 19, 36 sq., 38, 
40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 
54. 56. 57. 58. 68, 77, 78, 94 

" Fool's Stone " in ashes of Midsummer 
fire, i. 195 

Forbidden thing of clan, ii. 313 

Forchheim, in Bavaria, the burning of 
Judas at Easter in, i. 143 

Foreskins of young men offered to 
ancestral spirits in Fiji, ii. 243 sq. 

Forespeaking men and cattle, i. 303 

Forgetfulness of the past after initia- 
tion, ii. 238, 254, 256, 258, 259, 
266 sq. 

Forked shape of divining-rod, ii. 67 «.* 

" Forlorn fire," need-fire, i. 292 

Foulires, bonfires, i. in «.^ 

Foulkes, Captain, quoted, ii. 210 

Four kinds of wood used to make the 
divining-rod, ii. 69, 291 

Fourdin, E. , on the procession of the 
giants at Ath, ii. 36 n."^ 

Four-leaved clover, a counter-charm for 
witchcraft, i. 316 ; at Midsummer 
useful for magic, ii. 62 sq. 

Fowler, W. Warde, on Midsummer 
custom, i. 206 «.2; on sexta luna, ii. 
77 n.^ \ on the ceremony of passing 
under the yoke, 195 n.^ ; on the oak 
and the thunder-god, 298, 299 «.-, 300 

Fowls' nests, ashes of bonfires put in, i. 
112, 338 

Fox prayed to spare lambs, i. 152 

Foxes burnt in Midsummer fires, ii. 39, 
41 ; witches turn into, 41 

Foxwell, Ernest, on the fire -walk in 
Japan, ii. 10 n.^ 

Fraas, F. , on the various sorts of mistle- 
toe known to the ancients, ii. 318 

Frampton-on-Severn in Gloucestershire, 
ii. 316 

France, Lenten fires in, i. 109 sqq. ; 
Midsummer fires in, 181 sqq. ; fires 
on All Saints' Day in, 245 sq. ; the 
Yule log in, 249 sqq. ; wonderful 
herbs gathered on St. John's Eve 
(Midsummer Eve) in, ii. 45 sqq. ; 
mugwort (herb of St. John) at Mid- 
summer in, 58 sq. ; fern-seed at Mid- 
summer in, 65 ; judicial treatment of 
sorcerers in, 158 ; birth-trees in, 165 ; 
children passed through a cleft oak as 
a cure for rupture or rickets in, 170. 
See also French 

Franche-Comt6, Lenten fires in, i. no 
sq. ; fires of St. John in, 189 ; the 
Yule log in, 254 



Franken, Middle, fire custom at Easter 
in, i. 143 

Frankenstein, precautions against witches 
in, ii. 20 n. 

Fraser Lake in British Columbia, i. 47 

Freiburg, in Switzerland, Lenten fires in, 
i. 119 ; fern and treasure on St. John's 
Night in, ii. 288 

Freising, in Bavaria, creeping through a 
narrow opening in the cathedral of, ii. 

French cure for whooping - cough, ii. 
192 n?- 

• Islands, use of bull-roarers in, ii. 

229 n. 

peasants, their superstition as to a 

virgin and a flame, i. 137 «. 

Friction of wood, fire made by the, i. 
132, 133, 13s, 136, 137, 138, 144 
sq., 148, 155, i6gsq., 175, 177, 179, 
220, 264, 270 sqq. , 335 sq. , ii. 8 ; the 
most primitive mode of making fire, 
90, 295 

" Friendly Society of the Spirit" among 
the Naudowessies, ii. 267 

Frigg or Frigga, the goddess, and Balder, 
i. loi, 102 

Fringes worn over the eyes by girls at 
puberty, i. 47, 48 

Fruit-trees threatened, i. 114; Midsum- 
mer fires lit under, 215 ; shaken at 
Christmas to make them bear fruit, 
248 ; fumigated with smoke of need- 
fire, 280 ; fertilized by burning torches, 

Fu^a daemonum, St. John's wort, ii. 

Fulda, the Lord of the Wells at, ii. 28 
Fumigating crops with smoke of bonfires, 

i. 201, 337 

sheep and cattle, ii. 12, 13 

Fumigation of pastures at Midsummer 

to drive away witches and demons, i. 

170 ; of fruit-trees, nets, and cattle with 

smoke of need-fire, 280 ; of byres with 

juniper, 296 ; of trees with wild thyme 

on Christmas Eve, ii. 64 
Funen, in Denmark, cure for childish 

ailments at, ii. 191 
Funeral, customs observed by mourners 

after a funeral in order to escape from 

the ghost, ii. 174 sqq. 

ceremony among the Michemis, i. 5 

Furnace, walking through a fiery, ii. 

3 m- 

urness, W. H., on passing under an 
archway, ii. ijgsq., 180 n.^ 

"labb, W. M. , on ceremonial unclean- 

ness, i. 65 n.^ 
uablonz, in Bohemia, Midsummer bed 

of flowers at, ii. 57 

Gaboon, birth -trees in the, ii. 160; 

theor}- of the external soul in, 200 sq. 
Gacko, need-fire at, i. 286 
Gaidoz, H., on the custom of passing 

sick people through cleft trees, ii. 171 
Gage, Thomas, on naguah among the 

Indians of Guatemala, ii. 213 
Gaj, in Slavonia, need-fire at, i. 282 
Galatian senate met in Drynemetum, 

" the temple of the oak," ii. 89 
Galatians kept their old Celtic speech, 

ii. 89 n.^ 
Galela, dread of women at menstruation 

in, i. 79 
Galelareese of Halmahera, their rites of 

initiation, ii. 248 
Gallic Councils, their prohibition of 

carrying torches, i. 199 
Gallows Hill, magical plants gathered 

on the, ii. 57 
rope used to kindle need -fire, i. 

Gandersheim, in Brunswick, need -fire 

at, i. 277 
Gap, in the High Alps, cats roasted alive 

in the Midsummer fire at, ii. 39 sq 
Gardner, Mrs. E. A., i. 131 «.^ 
Garlands of flowers placed on wells at 

Midsummer, ii. 28 ; thrown on trees, 

a form of divination, 53 
Garlic roasted at Midsummer fires, i. 

Garonne, Midsimimer fires in the valley 

of the, i. 193 
Gatschet, A. S., on the Toukawe 

Indians, ii. 276 «.' 
Gaul, " serpents' eggs " in ancient, i. 15; 

human sacrifices in ancient, ii. 32 sq. 
Gauls, their fortification walls, i. 267 sq. 
Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, the 

Ingniet society in the, ii. 156 
Gem, external soul of magician in a, ii. 

105 sq. ; e.Kternal soul of giant in a, 

Geneva, Midsummer fires in the canton 

of, i. 172 
Genius, the Roman, ii. 212 «. 
Geranium burnt in Midsummer fire, i. 

Gerhausen, i. 166 
German stories of the e.xternal soul, ii. 

116 sqq. 
Germans, human sacrifices offered by 

the ancient, ii. 28 «.* ; the oak sacred 

among the, 89 
Germany, Lenten fires in, i. 115 sq. ; 

Easter bonfires in, 140 sqq. ; custom 

at eclipses in, 162 «. ; the Nlidsummer 

fires in, 163 sqq. ; the Yule log in, 

247 sqq. ; belief in the transformation 

of witches into animals in, 321 «.* ; 

colic, sore eyes, and stiffness of the 



back attributed to witchcraft in, 344 
sq. ; mugvvort at Midsummer in, ii. 
59 ; orpine gathered at Midsummer 
in, 62 n. ; fern-seed at Midsummer 
in, 65 ; mistletoe a remedy for epilepsy 
in, 83 ; the need-fire kindled by the 
friction of oak in, 91 ; oak-wood used 
to make up cottage fires on Mid- 
summer Day in, 91 sq. ; birth-trees in, 
165 ; children passed through a cleft 
oak as a cure for rupture in, xjo sqq. 

Gestr and the spae-wives, Icelandic story 
of, ii. 125 sq. 

Gewar, King of Norway, i. 103 

Ghost, oracular, in a cave, ii. 312 sq. 

Ghosts extracted from wooden posts, i. 
8 ; fire used to get rid of, ii. 17 sqq. ; 
mugwort a protection against, 59 ; 
kept off by thorn bushes, 174 sq. ; 
creeping through cleft sticks to escape 
from, 174 sqq. 

Giant who had no heart in his body, 
stories of the, ii. 96 sqq., 119 sq. ; 
mythical, supposed to kill and resus- 
citate lads at initiation, 243 

Giant-fennel burnt in Midsummer fire, i. 

Giants of wicker-work at popular festivals 
in Europe, ii. 33 sqq. ; burnt in the 
summer bonfires, 38 

Giggenhausen, in Bavaria, burning the 
Easter Man at, i. 144 

Gion shrine in Japan, i. 138 

Gippsland, the Kurnai of, ii. 216 

Giraldus Cambrensis on transformation 
of witches into hares, i. 315 n.^ 

Girdle of wolf's hide worn by were- 
wolves, i. 310 «.^ ; of St. John, mug- 
wort, ii. 59 

Girdles of mugwort worn on St. John's 
Day or Eve as preservative against 
backache, sore eyes, ghosts, magic, 
and sickness, ii. 59 

Girkshausen, in Westphalia, the Yule 
log at, i. 248 

Girl at puberty said to be wounded by a 
snake, i. 56 ; to be swallowed by a 
serpent, 57 

and boy produce need-fire by fric- 
tion of wood, 281 

Girls at puberty, secluded, i. 22 sqq. ; 
not allowed to touch the ground, 22, 
33- 3Si 36, 60; not allowed to see the 
sun, 22, 35, 36, 37, 41, 44, 46, 47, 
68 ; not allowed to handle food, 23, 
28, 36, 40 sq., 42 ; half buried in 
ground, 38 sqq. ; not allowed to scratch 
themselves with their fingers, 38, 39, 
41, 42, 44, 47, 50, 53, 92 ; not allowed 
to lie down, 44 ; gashed on back, 
breast, and belly, 60 ; stung by ants, 
61 ; beaten severely, 61, 66 j^. ; sup- 

posed to be attacked by a demon, 67 
sq. ; not to see the sky, 69 ; forbidden 
to break bones of hares, 73 n.'^ 

Gisors, crawling through a holed stone 
near, ii. 188 

Crivoy agon, living fire, made by the 
friction of wood, i. 220 

Glamorgan, the Vale of. Beltane and 
Midsummer fires in the, i. 154 ; Mid- 
summer fires in, 201, 338 

Glands, ashes of Yule log used to cure 
swollen, i. 251 

Glanvil, Joseph, on a witch in the form 
of a cat, i. 317 

Glass, the Magician's or Druid's, i. 16 

Glatz, precautions against witches on 
Walpurgis Night in, ii. 20 n. 

Glawi, in the Atlas, New Year fires at, 
i. 217 

Qlencuaich, the hawk of, in a Celtic 
tale, ii. 127 sqq. 

Glenorchy, the Beltane cake in, i. 149 

"Glory, the Hand of," mandragora, ii. 

Gloucestershire, mistletoe growing on 
oaks in, ii. 316 

Gnabaia, a spirit who swallows and dis- 
gorges lads at initiation, ii. 235 

Gnid-eld, need-fire, i. 280 

Goajiras of Colombia, their seclusion of 
girls at puberty, i. 34 n.^ 

Goatsucker or fern owl, sex totem of 
women, ii. 217 

God, Aryan, of the thunder and the oak, 
i. 265 

on Earth, title of supreme chief of 

the Bushongo, ii. 264 

Godolphin, in Cornwall, Midsummer 
fires on, i. 199 

Gold, the flower of chicory to be cut 
with, ii. 71 ; root of marsh mallow to be 
dug with, 80 n,^ ; buried, revealed by 
mistletoe and fern-seed, 287 sqq. , 291 

coin, magic plant to be dug up 

with a, ii. 57. See also Golden 

Golden axe, sacred tamarisk touched 
with, ii. 80 «.* 

Golden Bough, the, ii. 279 sqq. ; and 
the priest of Aricia, i. i ; a branch 
of mistletoe, ii. 284 sqq., 315 sqq. ; 
Virgil's account of the, 284 sq., 286, 
293 sq., 315 sqq. ; origin of the name, 
286 sqq. 

fish, girl's external soul in a, ii. 

147 sq., 220 

knife, horse slain in sacrifice with 

a, ii. 80 «.* 
ring, half a hero's strength in a, 

ii. 143 

sickle, mistletoe cut by Druids 

with a, ii. 'jj, 88 ; sacred olive at 
Olympia cut with a, 80 «.* 



Golden sword and golden arrow, external 

soul of a hero in a, ii. 145 
Goldie, Rev. Hugh, on the ukpong or 

external soul in Calabar, ii. 206 
Goliath, effig}' of, ii. 36 
Goluan, Midsummer, i. 199 
Good Friday, Judas driven out of church 

on, i. 146 ; the divining-rod cut on, 

ii. 68 «.•• ; sick children passed through 

cleft trees on, 172 
Goodrich-Freer, A., quoted, L 154 k.^ 
Googe, Barnabe, i. 124 
Gooseberry bushes, wild, custom as to, 

ii. 48 
Gorillas, lives of persons bound up with 

those of, ii. 202 
Gorz, belief as to witches at Midsummer 

about, ii. 75 
Grain Coast, West Africa, initiation of 

girls on the, ii. 259 
Grammont, in Belgium, festival of the 

"Crown of Roses" at, i. 195; the 

Yule log at, 249 
Granada (South America), youthful 

rulers secluded in, i. 19 
Grand Halleux, bonfires at, i. 107 
Grannas-mias, torches, i. in 
Granno, invocation of, i. in sq. 
Granno-mio, a torch, i. in 
Grannus, a Celtic deity, identified with 

Apollo, i. Ill sq. 
Grant, the great laird of, not exempt 

from witchcraft, i. 342 «.* 
Grass, ceremony to make grass plentiful, 

i. 136 
Gratz, puppet burned on St. John's Eve 

at, i. 173 
Grave, dance at initiation in, ii. 237 
Great Man, who created the world and 

comes down in the form of lightning, 

ii. 298 
Greece, Midsummer fires in, i. 211 sq. ; 

mistletoe in, ii. 316, 317 
Greek beUef as to menstruous women, i. 

98 «.i 
Church, ritual of the new fire at 

Elaster in the, i. 128 sq. 
stories of g^rls who were forbidden 

to see the sun, i. 72 sqq. ; of the ex- 
ternal soul, ii. 103 sqq. 
Greeks deemed sacred the places which 

were struck by lightning, ii. 299 
Green Wolf, Brotherhood of the, ii. 

15 n. \ at Juniieges in Normandy, i. 

185 sq., ii. 25, 88 
Greenlanders, their notion that women 

can conceive by the moon, i. 75 sq. 
Gregor, Rev. Walter, ii. 284 «.*; on 

virtue of children born feet foremost, 

i. 295 n.' ; on the " quarter- ill," 

296 n.^ \ on the bewitching of cattle, 


Greig, James S. , ii. 187 «.' 

Greta, river in Yorkshire, i. 287 

Grey, Sir George, on the kobong or 
totem, ii. 219 sq. 

Grimm, J., on need -fire, i. 270 «. , 
272 sq. ; on the relation of the Mid- 
summer fires to Balder, ii. 87 n.* ; on 
the sanctity of the oak, 89 ; on the 
oak and lightning, 300 

Grisons, threatening a mist in the, i. 280 

Grizzly Bear clan, ii. 274 

Groot, J. J. M. de, on mug^vort in 
China, ii. 60 

Grottkau, precautions against witches 
in, ii. 20 n. 

Ground, sacred {persons not allowed to 
set foot on, i. 2 sqq. ; not to sit on 
bare, 4, 5, 12 ; girls at puberty not 
allowed to touch the, 22, 33, 35, 36, 
60 ; magical plants not to touch the, 
ii. 51 ; mistletoe not allowed to touch 
the, 280 

Grouse clan, ii. 273 

Grove, Miss Florence, on withered 
mistletoe, ii. 287 n.^ 

Grove, Balder's, i. 104, ii. 315 ; sacred 
grove of Nemi, 315 ; soul of chief in 
sacred, 161. See also Arician 

Grubb, Rev. W. B.. L 57 «.i 

Griin, in Bohemia, mountain arnica 
gathered at Midsummer at, ii. 58 n.^ 

Guacheta in Colombia, i. 74 

Guaranis of Brazil, their seclusion of girls 
at puberty, i. 56 

Guaraunos of the Orinoco, uncleanness 
of menstruous women among the, i. 

Guardian angels, afterbirth and navel- 
string regarded as a man's, ii. 162 «.* 

spirit, afterbirth and seed regarded 

as, ii. 223 n.^ ; acquired in a dream, 
256 sq. 

Guatemala, the nagual or external soul 
among the Indians of, ii. 212 sq. 

Guatusos of Costa Rica, use of bull- 
roarers among the, ii. 230 n. 

Guayquiries of the Orinoco, their beliefs 
as to menstruous women, i. 85 

Guelphs, the oak of the, ii. 166 

Guiana, British, the Macusis of, i. 60 ; 
ordeals undergone by young men 
among the Indians of, 63 sq. 

, French, the ^^'ayanas of, i. 63 

GuizingaX Christmas in Lerwick, i.268^^. 

Guleesh and the fairies at Hallowe'en, i. 
277 sq. 

Gunn, David, kindles need-fire, i. 291 

Guns fired to drive away witches, ii. 74 

Gwalior, Holi fires in, ii. 2 

Hadji Mohammad shoots a were-wolf, i. 
312 sq. 



Haida Indians of Queen Charlotte Islands, 
girls at puberty secluded among the, i. 

Hail, bonfires thought to protect fields 
against, i. 344 ; ceremonies to avert, 
144, 145 ; Midsummer fires a protec- 
tion against, 176 ; mountain arnica a 
protection against, ii. 57 sq. 

and thunderstorms caused by 

witches, i. 344 

Hainan, island, i. 137 

Hainaut, province of Belgium, fire cus- 
toms in, i. 108 ; procession of giants 
in, ii. 36 

Hair, unguent for, i. 14 ; prohibition to 
cut, 28 ; of girls at puberty shaved, 31, 
56, 57, 59 ; Hindoo ritual of cutting a 
child's, 99 «.2; of the Virgin or St. 
John looked for in ashes of Midsummer 
fire, 182 sq., 190, 191 ; external soul 
in, ii. 103 sq., 148 ; strength of people 
bound up with their, 158 sq.\ of 
criminals, witches, and wizards shorn 
to make them confess, 158 sq. ; of 
children tied to trees, 165 ; of novices 
cut at initiation, 245, 251 

and nails of child buried under a 

tree, ii. 161 

Hairy Stone, the, at Midsummer, i. 212 

Halberstadt district, need-fire in the, i. 

Hall, C. F. , among the Esquimaux, i. 13, 


Rev. G. R. , quoted, i. 198 

Hallowe'en, new fire at, in Ireland, i. 

139 ; an old Celtic festival of New 

Year, 224 sqq. ; divination at, 225, 228 

sqq. ; witches, hobgoblins, and fairies 

let loose at, 226 sqq. , 245 ; witches 

and fairies active on, ii. 184 «.*, 185 
and Beltane, the two chief fire 

festivals of the British Celts, ii. 40 sq, 

cakes, i. 238, 241, 245 

• fires, i. 222 sq,, 230 sqq. ; in Wales, 

Hahnahera, rites of initiation in, ii. 248 
Haltwhistle, in Northumberland, burnt 

sacrifice at, i. 301 
Hamilton, Gavin, quoted, i. 47 sq. 
Hammocks, girls at puberty hung up in, 

i. 56, 59, 60, 61, 66 
"Hand of Glory," mandragora, ii. 316 
Hannibal despoils the shrine on Soracte, 

ii. 15 
Hanover, the need-fire in, i. 275 ; Easter 

bonfires in, 140 ; custom on St. John's 

Day about, ii. 56 
Hare, pastern bone of a, in a popular 

remedy, i. 17 
Hares, witches in the form of, i. 157 ; 

witches changed into, 315 «.', 316 

sqq., ii. 41 

Hares and witches in Yorkshire, ii. 197 
Hareskin Tinneh, seclusion of girls at 

puberty among the, i. 48 
Harris, Slope of Big Stones in, i. 227 
Hartland, E. S., on the life-token, ii. 

119 n. 
Haruvarus, degenerate Brahmans, their 

fire- walk, ii. 9 
Harz district, Easter bonfires in the, i. 

140 ; Midsummer fires in the, 169 
Mountains, Easter fires in the, i. 

142 ; need-fire in the, 276 ; springwort 

in the, ii. 69 sqq. 
Hats, special, worn by girls at puberty, 

i. 45, 46, 47, 92. See also Hoods 
Hausa story of the external soul, ii. 148 

Hawaiians, the New Year of the, ii. 244 
Hawkweedgathered at Midsummer, ii. 57 
Hawthorn, mistletoe on, ii. 315, 316 
Haxthausen, A. von, i. 181 
Hays of Errol, their fate bound up with 

an oak-tree and the mistletoe growing 

on it, ii. 283 sq. 
Hazebrouch, in France, wicker giants on 

Shrove Tuesday at, ii. 35 
Hazel, the divining-rod made of, ii. 67 

sq. ; never struck by lightning, 69 «. 

rods to drive cattle with, i. 204 

Headache, cure for, i. 17 ; mugwort a 

protection against, ii. 59 
Headdress, special, worn by girls at first 

menstruation, i. 92 
Headless Hugh, Highland story of, ii. 

130 sq. 

horsemen in India, ii. 131 «.* 

Heads or faces of menstruous women 

covered, i. 22, 24, 25, 29, 31, 44 sq., 

48 sq., 55, 90 
Hearne, Samuel, quoted, i. 90 sq. 
Heart of bewitched animal burnt or 

boiled to compel the witch to appear, 

i. 321 sq. 
Hearts of diseased cattle cut out and 

hung up as a remedy, i. 269 n.^, 325 
Heaven, the Queen of, ii. 303 
and earth, between, i. i sqq., 98 

Hector, first chief of Lochbuy, ii. 131 «.^ 
Heiberg, Sigurd K., i. 171 «.* 
Heifer sacrificed at kindling need-fire, i. 

Helensburgh, in Dumbartonshire, Hal- 
lowe'en at, i. 237 n.^ 
" Hell-gate of Ireland," i. 226 
Helmsdale, in Sutherland, need-fire at, 

i- 295 
Helpful animals in fairy tales, ii. 107, 

117, 120, 127 sqq., 130, 132, 133, 

139 «.2, 140 sq., 149 
Hemlock branch, external soul of ogress 

in a, ii. 152 



Hemlock branches, passing through a 
ring of, in time of sickness, ii. i86 

stone in Nottinghamshire, i. 157 

Hemorrhoids, root of orpine a ctire for, 
ii. 62 «. 

Hemp, how to make hemp grow tall, L 
109 ; leaping over the Midsummer bon- 
fire to make the hemp grow tall, 166, 

seed, divination bv, i. 235, 241, 245 

Hen and chickens imitated by a woman ' 
and her children at Christmas, i. 260 

Henderson, William, on need -fire, i. 
288 sq. ; on a remedy for cattle-dis- 
ease, 296 «.^ ; on burnt sacrifice of ox, 

Hen's egg, external soul of giant in a, 
ii. 140 sq. 

Henshaw, Richard, on external or bush 
souls in Calabar, ii. 205 sq. 

Hephaestus worshipped in Lemnos, i. 
138 . 

Herb, si magic, gathered at Hallowe'en, 
i. 228 

of St. John, mugwort, ii. 58 

Herbs thrown across the Midsummer 
fires, i. 182, 201; wonderful, gathered 
on St. John's Eve or Day, ii. 45 sqq. \ 
of St. John, wonderful virtues ascribed 
to, 46 

and flowers cast into the Mid- 
summer bonfires, i. 162, 163, 172, 

Hercules at Argyrus, temple of, i. 99 «.' 
Herdsmen dread witches and wolves, i. 

Herefordshire, Midsummer fires in, L 

199 ; the Yule log in, 257 sq. 
Hemdon, \V. L. , quoted, i. 62 «.' 
Hernia, cure for, i. 98 n} 
Herodias, cursed by Slavonian peasants, 

»• 345 
Herrera, A. de, on naguals among the 

Indians of Honduras, ii. 213 sq. 
Herrick, Robert, on the Yule log, i. 255 
Herring, salt, divination by, i. 239 
Herzegovina, the Yule log in, i. 263 ; 

need-fire in, 288 
Hesse, Lenten fire-custom in, i. 118 ; 
Easter fires in. 140 ; wells decked 
with flowers on Midsummer Day in, 
ii. 28 
Hewitt, J. N. B. , on need-fire of the 

Iroquois, i. 299 sq. 
Hiaina district of Morocco, ii. 51 
Hidatsa Indians, their theory of the 

phu-ality of souls, ii. 221 sq. 
Hieracium pilosella, mouse-ear hawk- 
weed, gathered at Midsummer, ii. 57 
Higgins, Rev. J. C. , i. 207 n.^ 
High Alps, department of the. Mid- 
summer fires in the, ii. 39 sq. 

High Priest, the Fijian, ii. 245 
Highland story of Headless Hugh, iu 

130 sq. 
Highlanders of Scotland, their medicinal 
applications of menstruous blood, i. 
98 «.' ; their belief in the power of 
witches to destroy cattle, 343 n.^ \ 
their belief concerning snake stones, iL 


Highlands of Scotland, snake stones in 
the, i. 16 ; Beltane fires in the, 146 
sqq. ; divination at Hallowe'en in the, 
229, 234 sqq. ; need-fire and Beltane 
fire kindled by the friction of oak in 
the, ii. 91 

Hildesheim, Eiaster rites of fire and 
water at, L 124 ; Easter bonfires at, 
141 ; the need-fire at, 272 sq. ; hawk- 
weed gathered on Midsummer Day at, 
ii- 57 

Hill of the Fires in the Highlands of 
Scotland, i. 149 

of Ward, in County Meath, i. 139 

Himalayan districts, mistletoe in the, 
ii. 316 

Hindoo maidens secluded at puberty, i. 68 

marriage custom, i. 75 

ritual, abstinence from salt in, L 

27 ; as to cutting a child's hair, 99 «.' 

stories of the external soul, ii. 97 


use of menstruous fluid, i. 98 n.^ 

women, their restrictions at men- 
struation, i. 84 

Hindoos of Southern India, their Pongol 
festival, ii. i ; of the Punjaub, their 
custom of p>assing unlucky children 
through narrow of>enings, 190 

Hippopotamus, external soul of chief in, 
ii. 200 ; lives of persons bound up 
with those of hippopotamuses, 201, 
202, 205, 209 

Hirpi Sorani, their fire-walk, ii. 14 sq. 

Hlubi chief, his external soul in a pair of 
ox-horns, ii. 156 

Hoare, Sir Richard Colt, on Halloween 
in W'ales, i. 239 

Hogg, .Alexander, L 206 

Hogmanay, the last day of the year, 
i. 224, 266 

Hohenstaufen Mountains in Wurtera- 
berg. Midsummer fires in the, i. i66 

Hole in tongue of medicine-man, ii. 238, 


Holed stones which people creep through 
as a cure, ii. 187 sqq. 

Holes in rocks or stones, sick people 
passed through, ii. 186 sqq. 

Holi, a festival of Northern India, ii. "zsq. 

Holiness or taboo conceived as a danger- 
ous physical substance which needs to 
be insulated, i. 6 sq. 



Holland, Easter fires in, i. 145 
HoUantide Eve (Hallowe'en) in the Isle 

of Man, i. 244 
HoUertau, Bavaria, Easter fires in the, 

i. 122 
Hollis, A. C. , ii. 262 n."^ 
Holly-tree, children passed through a 

cleft, ii. 169 n.'^ 
Holm-oak, the Golden Bough growing 

on a, ii. 285 
Holy Apostles, church of the, at Florence, 

i. 126 
Land, fire flints brought from the, 

i. 126 

of Holies, the Fijian, ii. 244, 245 

Sepulchre, church of the, at Jeru- 
salem, ceremony of the new fire in 

the, i. 128 sq. 
Homesteads protected by bonfires against 

lightning and conflagration, i. 344 
Homoeopathic or imitative magic, i. 49, 

133, ii. 287 
Homoeopathy, magical, ii. 177 
Homolje mountains in Servia, i. 282 
Honduras, the nagual or external soul 

among the Indians of, ii. 213 sq. , 

226 n?- 
Honorific totems of the Carrier Indians, 

ii. 273 sqq. 
Hoods worn by women after childbirth, 

i. 20 ; worn lay girls at puberty, 44 sq. , 

48 sq. , 55 ; worn by women at mens- 
truation, 90. See also Hats 
Hoop, crawling through a, as a cure 

or preventive of disease, ii. 184 ; of 

rowan-tree, sheep forced through a, 1 84 
Hoopoe brings the mythical springwort, 

ii. 70 «.2 
Horatius purified for the murder of his 

sister, ii. 194 
Hornbeam, mistletoe on, ii. 315 
Horse, the White, effigy carried through 

Midsummer fire, i. 203 sq. ; witch in 

the shape of a, 319 

sacrifice in ancient India, ii. 80 n.^ 

Horse's head thrown into Midsummer 

fire, ii. 40 
Horse-che.stnut, mistletoe on, ii. 315 
Horses used by sacred persons, i. 4 «.^; 

not to be touched or ridden by men- 

struous women, 88 sq., 96; driven 

through the need-fire, 276, 297 
Hos, the, of Togoland (West Africa), 

their dread of menstruous women, i. 82 
Hose, Dr. Charles, on creeping through 

a cleft stick after a funeral, ii. 175 sq. 
• and W. McDougall, on the ngarong 

or secret helper of the Ibans, ii. 224 n.^ 
Hother, Hodr, or Hod, the blind god, 

and Balder, i. loi sqq., ii. 279 «.* 
Hottentots drive their sheep through fire, 

ii. II sqq. 

House - communities of the Servians, 
i. 259 n} 

Houses protected by bonfires against 
lightning and conflagration, i. 344 ; 
made fast against witches on Mid- 
summer Eve, ii. 73 

" of the soul " in Isaiah, ii. 155 n.'^ 

Housman, Professor A. E. , on the feast 
of the Nativity of the Virgin, i. 210 sq. 

Houstry, in Caithness, need-fire at, i. 
291 sq. 

Howitt, A. W. , on seclusion of men- 
struous women, i. 78 ; on killing a 
totem animal, ii. 220 «.^; on secrecy 
of totem names, 225 n. ; on the drama 
of resurrection at initiation, 235 sqq. 

Howitt, Miss E. B. , ii. 226 n.^ 

Howth, the western promontory of. Mid- 
summer fire on, i. 204 

Castle, life-tree of the St. Lawrence 

family at, ii. 166 

Huahine, one of the Tahitian islands, 
ii. II «.^ 

Hudson Bay Territory, the Chippeways 
of, i. 90 

Hughes, Miss E. P. , on the fire-walk in 
Japan, ii. 10 «.i 

Human beings burnt in the fires, ii. 21 

divinities put to death, i. i sq. 

sacrifices at fire-festivals, i. 106 ; 

traces of, 146, 148, 150 sqq., 186, 
ii. 31 ; offered by the ancient Germans, 
ii. 28 «.^ ; among the Celts of Gaul, 
32 sq. ; the victims perhaps witches 
and wizards, 41 sqq. ; Mannhardt's 
theory, 43 

victims annually burnt, ii. 286 71."^ 

Hungarian story of the external soul, 
ii. 140 

Hungary, Midsummer fires in, i. 178 sq. 

Hunt, Holman, his picture of the new 
fire at Jerusalem, i. 130 n. 

Hunt, Robert, on burnt sacrifices, i. 303 

Hunters avoid girls at puberty, i. 44, 46 ; 
luck of, spoiled by menstruous women, 
87, 89, 90, 91, 94 

Huon Gulf in German New Guinea, ii. 239 

Hupa Indians of California, seclusion of 
girls among the, i. 42 

Hurons of Canada, custom of their 
women at menstruation, i. 88 n.^ 

Huskanaiv, initiatory ceremony of the 
Virginian Indians, ii. 266 

Hut burnt at Midsummer, i. 215 sq. 

Hutchinson, W. , quoted, i. 197 «.* 

Huts, special, for menstruous women, 
i. 79, 82, 85 sqq. 

Huzuls of the Carpathians kindle new 
fire at Christmas, i. 264 ; gather 
simples on St. John's Night, ii. 49 

Hyaenas, men turned into, i. 313 



^. J.: .zfum, St. John's wort, 

gathered at Midsummer, ii. 54 sqq. 
See also St. John's Wort 

Hyphear, a kind of mistletoe, ii. 317, 318 

HjTTOckin, a gpantess, i. 102 

I bans of Borneo, their ngarong or secret 
helpyr, ii. 224 n.^ 

Ibos of the Niger delta, their belief in 
external human souls lodged in ani- 
mals, ii. 203 sq. 

Ibrahim Pasha, i. 129 

Icelandic stories of the external soul, 
ii. 123 sqq. 

Icolmkill, the hill of the fires in, i. 149 

Ideler, L. , on the Arab year before 
Mohammed, i. 217 n.^ 

Idhloxi, ancestral spirit in serpent form, 
ii. 211 

Iglulik, Esquimaux of, i. 134 

Ilmenau, witches burnt at, i. 6 

Iluvans of Malabar, marriage custom of, 

'■ 5 

Image of god carried through fire, ii. 4 ; 
reason for carrying over a fire, 24 

Images, colossal, filled with human vic- 
tims and burnt, ii. 32 sq. 

Imitative magic, i. 329, ii. 231 

Immortality, the burdensome gift of, 
i. 99 sq. ; of the soul, experimental 
demonstration of the, iL 276 
iimortelles, wreaths of, on Midsummer 
Day, i. 177 

Implements, magical, not allowed to 
touch the ground, i. 14 sq. 

Impregnation of women by the sun, 
i. 74 sq. ; by the moon, 75 sq. 

" rite " at Hindoo marriages, i. 75 

Inauguration of a king in Brahmanic 
ritual, i. 4 

Inca, fast of the future, i. 19 

Incas of Peru, their ceremony of the 
new fire, i. 132 

Incantation recited at kindling need- fire, 
i. 290 

Inconsistency and vagueness of primi- 
tive thought, ii. 301 sq. 

India, seclusion of girls at puberty in, 
i. 68 sqq. ; fire-festivals in, ii. i sqq. ; 
sixty years' cycle in, 77 «.^ ; the 
horse-sacrifice in ancient, 80 «.' ; tor- 
ture of susjjected witches in, 159 ; 
ancient, traditional cure of skin dis- 
ease in, 192 ; Loranthus in, 317 

Indian Archipelago, birth-custom in the, 

ii- 155 

legend parallel to Balder myth, 

ii. 280 

Indians of Costa Rica, their customs in 
fasts, i. 20 

of Granada seclude their future 

rulers, i. 19 

Indians of North America, not allowed 
to sit on bare ground in war, i. 5 ; se- 
clusion of girls among the, 41 sqq. ; 
imitate lightning by torches, 340 n.^ ; 
rites of initiation into religioxis associa- 
tions among the, ii. 267 sqq. 

" Index of Superstitions," i. 270 

Indra and Apala, in the Rigveda, ii. 192 

and the demon Namuci, Indian 

legend of, ii. 280 

Indrapoora, story of the daughter of a 
merchant of, ii. 147 

Infants tabooed, i. 5, 20 

Ingleborough in Yorkshire, i. 288 

Ingleton, in Yorkshire, need -fire at, 
i. 288 

Ingniet or Ingiet, a secret society of 
New Britain, ii. 156 

Initiation, rites in German New Guinea, 
ii. 193 ; at puberty, pretence of kill- 
ing the novice and bringing him to 
life again during, 225 sqq. ; in Aus- 
tralia, 227, 233 sqq. ; in S'ew Guinea, 
239 sqq. ; in Fiji, 243 sqq. ; in Rook, 
246 ; in New Britain. 246 sq. ; in 
Halmahera, 248 ; in Fiji apparently 
intended to introduce the novices to 
the worshipful spirits of the dead, 
246 ; in Ceram, 249 sqq. ; in Africa, 
251 sqq. ; in North America, 266 

of young men, bull-roarers sounded 

at the, ii. 227 sqq. , 233 sqq. ; of a 
medicine-man in Australia, 237 sqq. 

Inn, efiigies burnt at Midsummer in the 
valley of the river, i. 172 sq. 

Innerste, river, i. 124 

Innuits (Esquimaux), i. 14 

Insanity, burying in an ant-hill as a cure 
for, i. 64 

Inspired men walk through fire un- 
harmed, ii. 5 sq. 

Insulation of women at menstruation, 
i. 97 

Interpretation of the fire-festivals, i. 328 
sqq.. ii. 15 sqq. 

Inverness-shire, Beltane cakes in, i. 153 

Invulnerability conferred by a species of 
mistletoe, ii. 79 sq. ; conferred by 
decoction of a parasitic orchid, 81 ; of 
Balder, 94 ; attained through blood- 
brotherhood with animal, 201 ; thought 
to be attained through initiation, 275 
sq., 276 n.^ 

Invulnerable warlock or giant, stories of 
the, ii. 97 sqq. 

Ipswich witches, i. 304 sq. 

Iran, marriage custom in, i. 75 

Ireland, the Druid's Glass in, i. 16 ; 
new fire at Hallowe'en in, 139, 225 ; 
Beltane fires in, 157 sq. ; Midsummer 
fires in, 201 sqq. ; fairies at Hallow- 



e'en in, 226 sq. ; Hallowe'en customs 
in, 241 sq. ; witches as hares in, 315 
n?- ; bathing at Midsummer in, ii. 29 ; 
cure for whooping-cough in, 192 «. ^ 

Irish story of the external soul, ii. 132 

Iron not to be used in digging fern root, 
ii. 65 ; mistletoe gathered without the 
use of, 78 ; not to be used in cutting 
certain plants, 8i n. ; custom ob- 
served by the Toradjas at the working 
of, 154 

Iron -wort, bunches of, held in the 
smoke of the Midsummer fires, i. 179 

Iroquois, ceremony of the new fire 
among the, i. 133 sq. ; need-fire 
among the, 299 sq. 

Isaiah, "houses of the soul" in, ii. 155 

Isfendiyar and Rustem, i. 104 sq., 314 
Island, need-fire kindled in an, i. 290 

sq., 291 sq. 
Isle de France, Midsummer giant burnt 

in, ii. 38 
of Man, Beltane fires in the, i. 

157. See Man, Isle of 
Istria, the Croats of, ii. 75 
Italian stories of the external soul, ii. 

105, sqq.; ancient practice of passing 

conquered enemies under a yoke, 193 

Italians, the oak the chief sacred tree 

among the ancient, ii. 89 
Italy, birth-trees in, ii. 165 ; mistletoe 

in, 316, 317 
Itongo, plural amatongo, ii. 202 n. 
Ivory Coast, totemism among the Siena 

of the, ii. 220 «.^ 
Ivy to dream on, i. 242 
Ixia, a kind of mistletoe, ii. 317, 318 

Jablanica, need-fire at, i. 286 

Jack-in-the-Green, ii. 37 

Jaffa, new Easter fire carried to, i. 

130 n. 
Jakkaneri, in the Neilgherry Hills, the 

fire-walk at, ii. 9 
James, M. R. , on the Sibyl's Wish, 

i. 100 n. 
James and Philip, the Apostles, feast of, 

i. 158 
Jamieson, J., on the "quarter-ill," i. 

296 n.^ 
January, the Holi festival in, ii. i ; the 

fire- walk in, 8 
the sixth, the nativity of Christ on, 

i. 246 
Janus and Jupiter, ii. 302 «.^ 
Japan, the -Ainos of, i. 20, ii. 60 ; the 

fire-walk in, g !:q. 
Japanese ceremony of new fire, i. 137 

Java, birth-trees in, ii. 161 n.^ 

Jebel Bela mountain, in the Sudan, i. 

Jerusalem, ceremony of the new fire, at 

Easter in, i. 128 sq. 
Jeugny, the forest of, ii. 316 
Jevons, Dr. F. B. , on the Roman ^<«zMi, 

ii. 212 n. 
Jewitt, John R., on ritual of mimic 

death among the Nootka Indians, ii. 

Jvhanniswurzel, the male fern, ii. 66 
Johnstone, Rev. A., quoted, i. 233 
Jonee, Joanne, jouanne, the Midsummer 

fire (the fire of St. John), i. 189 
Joyce, P. W., on driving cattle through 

fires, i. 159 «.^; on the bisection of 

the Celtic year, 223 n.^ 
Judas, effigies of, burnt in Easter fires, 

i. 121, 127 sq., 130 sq., 143, 146, ii. 

23 ; driven out of church on Good 

Friday, i. 146 

candle, i. 122 n. 

fire at Easter, i. 123, 144 

Julian calendar used by Mohammedans, 

i. 218 sq. 
July, procession of giants at Douay in, 

ii- 33 
the twenty-fifth, St. James's Day, 

flower of chicory cut on, ii. 71 
Jumi^ges, in Normandy, Brotherhood 

of the Green Wolf at, i. 185 sq., ii. 25 
Jumping over a wife, significance of, i. 

June, the fifteenth of, St. Vitus's Day, 

i- 335 

the fire- walk in, ii. 6 

Juniper burnt in need-fire, i. 288 ; used 

to fumigate byres, 296 
Juno and Diana, ii. 302 n.^ 
Jupiter represented by an oak-tree on the 

Capitol, ii. 89 ; perhaps personified 

by the King of the Wood, the priest 

of Diana at Nemi, 302 sq. ; Jupiter 

and Janus, 302 n."^ 
, cycle of sixty years based on the 

sidereal revolution of the planet, ii. 

Jura, fire-custom at Lent in the, i. 114 
Mountains, Midsummer bonfires 

in the, i. 188 sq. ; the Yule log in the, 

Jurby, parish of, in the Isle of Man, i. 

Jutland, sick children and cattle passed 
through holes in turf in, ii. 191 ; 
superstitions about a parasitic rowan 
in, 281 

Ka, external soul or double in ancient 

Egypt, ii. 157 n.- 
Kabadi, a district of British New 

Guinea, i. 35 



Kabenau river, in German New Guinea, 

ii. 193 
Kabyle tale, milk-de in a, ii. 138 n.^; 

the external soul in a, 139 
Kahma, in Burma, annual extinction of 

fires in, i. 136 
Kai of Xew Guinea, their seclusion of 

women at menstruation, i. 79 ; their 

use of a cleft stick as a cure, ii. 182 ; 

their rites of initiation, 239 sqq. 
Kail, divination by stolen, i. 234 sq. 
Kakian association in Ceram, rites of 

initiation in the, ii. 249 sqq. 
Kalmuck story of the external soul, iL 

Kamenagora in Croatia, Midsummer 
fires at, i. 178 

Kamtcbatkans, their purification after a 
death, ii. 178 

Kanna district. Northern Nigeria, ii. 

Kappiliyans of Madura, their seclusion 
of girls at puberty, i. 69 

Karens of Burma, their custom at child- 
birth, ii. 157 

Kasai River, ii. 264 

Katajalina, a spirit who eats up boys at 
initiation and restores them to life, iL 

234 sq- 

Katrine, Loch, i. 231 
Kauflftnann, Professor F., i. 102 ».*, 
103 n.\ on the external soul, ii. 97 n. 
Kaupole, a Midsummer f)ole in Eastern 

Prussia, ii. 49 
Kawars, of India, their cure few fever, ii. 

Kaya-Kajra or Tugeri of Dutch New 
Guinea, their use of bull-roarers, ii 
242 sq. 
Kayans or Bahaus of Central Borneo, i. 
4 sq. ; custom observed by them after 
funeral, ii. 175 sq. \ their way of 
ving the slip to a demon, 179 sq. 
".ing,GeofiFrey, Irish historian, quoted, 
139 ; on the Beltane fires, 158 sq. 
•.ing, W. H. , quoted, i. 89 
: Islands, birth-custom in the, ii. 155 
1 Keitele, Lake, in Finland, ii. 165 
[ Kemble, J. M. , on need-fire, i. 288 
' Kerry, Midsummer fires in, i. 203 
\ Kersavondblok, the Yule log, L 249 
! Kersmismot, the Yule log, i. 249 

Khambu caste in Sikkhim, their custom 
after a funeral, ii. 18 
rwars of Mirzapur, their dread of 
enstruous women, i. 84 
-sis of -Assam, story of the external 
ul told by the, i. 146 sq. 
iN.:mumu, Egyptian god, fashions a wife 

for Bata, ii. 135 
Khonds, human sacrifices among the, ii. 

-lb «.2 


Kia blacks of Queensland, their treat- 
ment of girls at puberty, i. 39 

Kidd, Dudley, on external souls of 
chiefs, ii. 156 «.* 

KQdare, Midsummer fires in, L 203 

Kilkenny, Midsummer fires in, L 203 

Killin, the hill of the fires at, i. 149 

Killing a totem animal, ii. 220 

the novice and bringing him to life 

again at initiation, pretence of, ii. 225 

King, nominal, chosen at Midsummer, 
i. 194, iL 25 ; presides at summer 
bonfire, 38 

and Queen of Roses, i. 195 

of the Bean, L 153 ».' 

of Summer chosen on Sl Peter's 

Day, L 195 

of the Wood at Nemi put to death, 

L 2 ; in the .^rician grove a personifi- 
cation of an oak -spirit, ii. 285 ; the 
priest of Diana at Aricia, perhaps per- 
sonified Jupiter, 302 sq. See also 

Kingaru, clan of the Wadoe, ii. 313 

Kings, sacred or di\-ine, put to death, 
i. I sq. ; subject to taboos, 2 

and priests, their sanctity analogous 

to the unclean ness of women at men- 
struation, i. 97 sq. 

of Uganda, their life bound up with 

barkcloth trees, ii. 160 

Kings, The Epic of, i. 104 

Kingsley, Miss Mary H., on external or 
bush souls, ii. 204 sq. ; on rites of 
initiation in West Afirica, 259 

Kingussie, in Inverness-shire, Beltane 
cakes at, L 153 

Kinship created by the milk-tie, ii. 138 

Kirchmeyer, Thomas, author of Regnum 
Papisticum, L 124, 125 n.^ ; his 
accoimt of Midsummer customs, 162 


Kirghiz story of girl who might not see 
the sun, L 74 

Kirk .\ndreas, in the Isle of Man, L 

Kirkmichael, in Perthshire, Beltane fires 
and cakes at, L 153 

Kirton Lindsey, in Lincolnshire, i. 318 ; 
medical use of mistletoe at, iL 84 

Kitching, Rev. A. L. , on cure for light- 
ning stroke, ii. 298 «.* 

Kiwai, island off New Guinea, use of bull- 
roarers in, iL 232 

Kiziba, to the west of Victoria Nyanza, 
theory of the afterbirth in, ii. 162 n.^ 

KIoo, in the Queen Charlotte Islands, L 

Knawel, St. John's blood on root of, iL 

2 A 



Knife, divination by, i. 241 ; soul of 
child bound up with, ii. 157 ; " Dard- 
ing Knife," honorific totem of the 
Carrier Indians, 273, 274 sq. 

Kohong, totem, in Western Australia, ii. 
219 sq. 

Kohler, Joh. , lights need-fire and burnt 
as a witch, i. 270 sq. 

Kohler, Reinhold, on the external soul in 
folk-tales, ii. 97 n. 

Kolelo, in East Africa, ii. 313 

Konz on the Moselle, custom of rolling 
a burning wheel down hill at, i. 118, 

163 -f?-- 337 sq- 
Kooboos of Sumatra, their theory of the 

afterbirth and navel-string, ii. 162 «.^ 
Koppenwal, church of St. Corona at, ii. 

188 sq. 
Koran, passage of, used as a charm, i, 

Koryaks, their festivals of the dead and 

subsequent purification, ii. 178 ; their 

custom in time of pestilence, 179 
Koshchei the Deathless, Russian story 

of, ii. 108 sqq. 
Koskimo Indians of British Columbia, 

use of bull-roarers among the, ii. 229 

Kreemer, J. , on the Looboos of Sumatra, 

ii. 182 sq. 
Kroeber, A. L. , quoted, i. 41 sq. 
Kruijt, A. C. , on Toradja custom as to 

the working of iron, ii. 154 n.^ 
Kuga, an evil spirit, i. 282 
Kuhn, Adalbert, on need-fire, i. 273 ; on 

Midsummer fire, 335 ; on the divining- 
rod, ii. 67 
Kiihnau, R., on precautions against 

witches in Silesia, ii. 20 n. 
Kukunjevac, in Slavonia, need-fire at, i. 

Kulin nation of South-Eastern Australia, 

sex totems in the, ii. 216 

tribe of Victoria, ii. 226 «.^ 

Kumaon, in North-West India, the Holi 

festival in, ii. 2 
Kupalo, image of, burnt or thrown into 

stream on St. John's Night, i. 176 ; 

effigy of, carried across fire and thrown 

into water, ii. 5, 23 
Kupalo's Night, Midsummer Eve, i. 

175, 176 
Kurnai, a tribe of Gippsland, sex totems 

and fights concerning them among 

the, ii. 215 «.', 216 
Kiistendil, in Bulgaria, need-fire at, i. 

Kwakiutl, Indians of British Columbia, 

their story of an ogress whose life was 

in a hemlock branch, ii. 152 ; pass 

through a hemlock ring in time of 

epidemic, 186 

Kylenagranagh, the hill of, in Ireland, i. 

La Manche, in Normandy, Lenten fire- 
custom in, i. 115 
La Paz, in Bolivia, Midsummer fires at, 

i. 213 ; Midsummer flowers at, ii. 

Lacaune, belief as to mistletoe at, ii. 83 
Lachlan River, in Australia, ii. 233 
Lachlins of Rum and deer, superstition 

concerning, ii. 284 
Ladyday, ii. 282 
Lahn, the Yule log in the valley of the, 

i. 248 
Lamb burnt alive to save the rest of the 

flock, i. 301 
Lammas, thefirst of August, superstitious 

practice at, i. 98 n.^ 
Latnoa, gods in Poso, ii. 154 
Lancashire, Hallowe'en customs in, i. 

244 sq. 
Landiik, district of Dutch Borneo, i. 5, 

ii. 164 
Lanercost, Chronicle of, i. 286 
Lang, Andrew, on the fire-walk, ii. 2 «.^; 

on the bull-roarer, 228 n.'^ 
Language of animals learned by means 

of fern-seed, ii. 66 «. 
L 'dnsdra [El Ansarah), Midsummer 

Day in North Africa, i. 213, 214 «. 
Lanyon, in Cornwall, holed stone near, 

ii. 187 
Laon, Midsummer fires near, 1. 187 
Laos, custom of elephant hunters in, i. 5 ; 

the natives of, their doctrine of the 

plurality of souls, ii. 222 
Lapps, their rule as to menstruous women, 

i. 91 ; their story of the external soul, 

ii. 140 sq. ; their custom of shooting 

arrows at skin of dead bear, 280 n. 
Larkspur, looking at Midsummer bonfires 

through bunches of, i. 163, 165 sq. 
Larrakeeyah tribe of South Australia, 

their treatment of girls at puberty, i. 38 
Laurus and Floras, feast of, on August 

i8th, i. 220 
Lftusitz, Midsummer fires in, i. 170; 

marriage oaks in, ii. 165 
Lawgivers, ancient, on the uncleanness 

of women at menstruation, i. 95 sq. 
Lead, melted, divination by, i. 242 
Leaf-clad mummer on Midsummer Day, 

ii. 25 sq. 
Leaping over bonfires to ensure good 

crops, i. 107 ; as a preventive of colic, 

107, 195 sq., 344; to make the flax 

grow tall, 119, 165, 166, 166 sq., 168, 

173, 174, 337 ; to ensure a happy 

marriage, 107, io8 ; to ensure a 

plentiful harvest, 155, 156 ; to be free 

from backache at reaping, 165, 168 ; 



ii5 ii i^reventive of fever, i66, 173. 194; 
for luck, 171, 189 ; in order to be free 
from ague, 174 ; in order to marry and 
have many children, 204, 338 sq. ; as 
cure of sickness, 214 ; to procure ofif- 
spring, 214. 338 ; over ashes of fire 
as remedy for skin diseases, iL 2 ; 
after a burial to escape the ghost, 
18 ; a panacea for almost all ills, 20 ; 
as a protection against witchcraft, 40 

Leaping of women over the Midsummer 
bonfires to ensure an easy delivery, i. 
194. 339 

Leaps of lovers over the Midsummer 
bonfires, i. 165, 166, 168, 174 

Leather, Mrs. Ella Mary, on the Yule 
log, i. 257 sq. 

Lebanon, peasants of the, their dread of 
menstruous women, i. 83 sq. 

Lech, Midsummer fires in the valley of 
the, i. 166 

Lechrain. the divining rod in, ii. 68 

Lecky, W. E. H., on the treatment of 
magic and witchcraft by the Christian 
Church, ii. 42 «.' 

Lee, the laird of, his "cureing stane," 

i- 325 
Leeling the witches, i. 245 
Legends of persons who could not die. 

J. 99 sq. 
Legs and thighs of diseased cattle cut off 

and hung up as a remedy, i. 296 «.', 

Leine, river, i. 124 
Leinster, Midsummer fires in, i. 203 
Leitrim, Midsummer fires in County, L 

203 ; divination at Hallowe'en in, 242 ; 

need-fire in, 297 ; witch as hare in, 

Lemnos, worship of Hephaestus in, L 

Lemon, external souls of ogres in a, ii. 

Lengua Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco, 

*• 75 "■' ; seclusion of girls at puberty 

among the, 56 ; masquerade of boys 

among, 57 n.^ 
Lent, the first Sunday in, fire-festival on, 

i. 107 sqq. ; bonfires on, 107 sqq. 
Lenten fires, i. 106 sqq. 
Lenz, H. O. , on ancient names for 

mistletoe, ii. 318 
Leobschutz, in Silesia, Midsummer fires 

at, i. 170 
Leonard, Major A. G., on souls of people 

in animals, ii. 206 «.' 
Leopard the commonest familiar of Fan 

wizards, ii. 202 
Leopards, lives of persons bound up 

with those of, ii. 201, 202, 203, 204, 

""-. 206; external bimaan souls in. 

Lenivick, Chnsimas guisingM, i. 268 j^. ; 

procession with lighted tar-barrels on 

Christmas Eve at, 268 ; celebration of 

Up-heliy-a' at, 269 n.^ 

Lesachthal (Carinthia), new fire at 

Easter in the, i. 124 
Lesbos, fires on St. John's Eve in, L 

211 sq. 
Leslie, David, on Cafifre belief as to spirits 
of the dead incarnate in serpents, iL 
211 n.-, 212 71. 
L'Etoile, Lenten fires at, L 113 
Lettermore Island, Midsununer fires in, 

i. 203 
Letts of Russia, Midsummer fires among 
the, i. it; sq. ; gather aromatic plants 
on Midsummer Day, ii. 50 
Lewis, Professor W. J., i. 127 ».* 
Lewis, island of, custom of fiery circle in 

the, i. 151 ft. ; need-fire in the, 293 
Lexicon Mylhologicum, author of, on the 

Golden Bough, ii. 284 «.' 
Lhwyd, Edward, on snake stones, i. 

16 «.i 
License, annual period of, i. 135 ; at 

Midsummer festival, i8o, 339 
Liege, Lenten fires near, i. 108 
Lierre, in Belgium, the witches' Sabbath 

at. ii. 73 
Life of community bound up with life of 
divine king, \. t. sq. \ the water of, ii. 
\\\ sq. ; of woman bound up with 
ornament, 156 ; of a man bound up 
with the capital of a column, 156 jy. ; 
of a man bound up with fire in hut, 
157 ; of child bound up with knife, 
157 ; of children bound up with trees, 
xdosqq.; the divisibility of, 221. See 
also Soul 

indices, trees and plants as. iL 

160 sqq. 

tokens in fairy tales, ii. 118 «.* 

-tree of the Manchu dynasty at 

Peking, ii. 167 sq. 

trees of kings of Uganda, ii. 160 

Ligho, a heathen deity of the Letts, L 

177, 178 n.^ 
Light, girls at puberty not allowed to 
see the, i. 57 ; external soul of witch 
in a. iL 116 
Lightning, charred sticks of Easter fire 
used as a talisman against, L 121. 
124. 140 sq., 145, 146; the Easter 
candle a talisman against, 122 ; brands 
of the Midsummer bonfires a protec- 
tion against, 166 «.*, 183 ; flowers 
thrbwn on roofs at Midsummer as a 
protection against, 169 ; charred sticks 
of bonfires a protection against, 174, 
187, 188, 190 ; ashes of Midsummer 
fires a protection against, 187, 188, 
190 ; torches interpreted as imitations 



of, 340 «.^ ; bonfires a protection 
against, 344 ; a magical coal a pro- 
tection against, ii. 61; pine-tree 
struck by, used to make bull-roarer, 
231 ; superstitions about trees struck 
by, 296 sqq. ; thought to be caused 
by a great bird, 297 ; strikes oaks 
oftener than any other tree of the 
European forests, 298 sq. ; regarded 
as a god descending out of heaven, 
298 ; mode of treating persons who 
have been struck by, 298 np- \ places 
struck by lightning enclosed and 
deemed sacred, 299. See also 

Lightning and thunder, the Yule log a 
protection against, i. 248, 249, 250, 
252, 253, 254, 258, 264 ; mountain 
arnica a protection against, ii. 57 sq. 

Lillooet Indians of British Columbia, 
seclusion of girls at puberty among 
the, i. 52 sq. 

Limburg, processions, with torches in, 
i. 107 sq. ; Midsummer fires in, 194 ; 
the Yule log in, 249 

Lime-kiln in divination, i. 235, 243 

tree, the bloom of the, gathered 

at Midsummer, ii. 49 ; mistletoe on 
limes, 315, 316 

wood used to kindle need-fire, i. 

281, 283, 286 

Lincolnshire, the Yule log in, i. 257 ; 
witches as cats and hares in, 318 ; 
calf buried to stop a murrain in, 326 ; 
mistletoe a remedy for epilepsy and 
St. Vitus's dance in, ii. 83 sq. 

Lindenbrog, on need-fire, i. 335 n.^ 

Lint seed, divination by, i. 235 

Liongo, an African Samson, ii. 314 

Lion, the sun in the sign of the, ii. 
66 sq. 

Lismore, witch as hare in, i. 316 sq. 

Lithuania, Midsummer fires in, i. 176 ; 
sanctuary at Remove in, ii. 91 

Lithuanians, their custom before first 
ploughing in spring, i. 18 ; their wor- 
ship of the oak, ii. 89 , their story of 
the external soul, 113 sqq. 

Lives of a family bound up with a fish, 
ii. 200 ; with a cat, 150 sq. 

Living fire made by friction of wood, i. 
220 ; the need-fire, 281, 286 

Livonia, story of a were-wolf in, i. 308 

Livonians cull simples on Midsummer 
Day, ii. 49 sq. 

Lizard, external soul in, ii. 199 «.^ ; sex 
totem in the Port Lincoln tribe of 
South Australia, 216 ; said to have 
divided the sexes in the human species, 

Loaf thrown into river Neckar on St. 
John's Day, ii. 28 

Loango, rule as to infants in, i. 5 ; girl: 

secluded at puberty in, 22 
Loch Katrine, i. 231 

Tay, i. 232 

Lock and key in a charm, i. 283 
Locks opened by springwort, ii. 70 ; and 

by the white flower of chicory, 71 ; 

mistletoe a master-key to open all, 85 
Locust, a Batta totem, ii. 223 
Log, the Yule, i. 247 sqq. 
Logierait, in Perthshire, Beltane festival 

in, i. 152 sq. ; Hallowe'en fires in, 

231 sq. 
Loiret, Lenten fires in the department 

of, i. 114 
Loki and Balder, i. loi sq. 
Lokoja on the Niger, ii. 209 
Lombardy, belief as to the ' ' oil of St. 

John" on St. John's Morning in, ii. 

82 sq. 
London, the immortal girl of, i. 99 ; 

Midsummer fires in, 196 sq. 
Longridge Fell, leeting the witches at, i. 


Looboos of Sumatra creep through a 
cleft rattan to escape a demon, ii. 
182 sq. 

Looking at bonfires through mugwort a 
protection against headache and sore 
eyes, ii. 59 

Loranihus europaeus , a species of mistle- 
toe, ii. 315, 317 sqq. \ called "oak 
mistletoe " (visco quercino) in Italy, 


vestitus, in India, ii. 317 

Lord of the Wells at Midsummer, ii. 28 
Lome, the Beltane cake in, i. 149 
Lorraine, Midsummer fires in, i