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llWlcHlk I 



XV ^\?)9S 






author of 
'the childhood of the world,' 'the story of creation,' etc. 








My dear Proctor — The best gifts of life are its friend- 
ships, and to you, with whom friendship has ripened into fellow- 
ship, and under whose editorial wing some of the chapters of 
this book had temporary shelter, I inscribe them in their 
enlarged and independent form. 

Yours sincerely, 



The object of this book is to present in compendious 
form the evidence which myths and dreams supply 
as to primitive man's interpretation of his own nature 
and of the external world, and more especially to 
indicate how such evidence carries within itself the 
history of the origin and growth of beliefs in the 

The examples are selected chiefly from barbaric 
races, as furnishing the nearest correspondences to 
the working of the mind in what may be called its 
" eocene " stage, but examples are also cited from 
civilised races, as witnessing to that continuity of 
ideas which is obscured by familiarity or ignored by 

Had more illustrations been drawn from sources 
alike prolific, the evidence would have been swollen 
to undue dimensions without increasing its signifi- 
cance ; as it is, repetition has been found needful 
here and there, under the difficulty of entirely de- 


taching the arguments advanced in the two parts of 
this work. 

Man's development, physical and psychical, has 
been fully treated by Mr. Herbert Spencer, Dr. 
Tylor, and other authorities, to whom students of 
the subject are permanent debtors, but that subject 
is so many-sided, so far-reaching, whether in retro- 
spect or prospect, that its subdivision is of advantage 
so long as we do not permit our sense of inter- 
relation to be dulled thereby. 

My own line of argument will be found to run 
for the most part parallel with that of the above- 
named writers ; there are divergences along the route, 
but we reach a common terminus. 

The footnotes indicate the principal works which 
have been consulted in preparing this book, but I 
desire to express my special thanks to Mr. Andrew 
Lang for his kindness in reading the proofs, and for 
suggestions which, in the main, I have been glad to 

E. C 


London, March 1885. 





I. Its Primitive Meaning .... 3 

II. Confusion of Early Thought between the 

Living and the Not Living . . ,12 

III. Personification of the Powers of Nature 19 

{a) The Sun and Moon . . . .19 

{b) The Stars ...... 29 

{c) The Earth and Sky . . , .34- 

{d.) Storm and Lightning, etc. . .41 

(<?.) Light and Darkness .... 48 

(/) The Devil 53 

IV. The Solar Theory of Myth . . .61 

V. Belief in Metamorphosis into Animals . 81- 

VI. ToTEMiSM : Belief in Descent from Animal 

OR Plant 99 

vn. Survival of Myth in History . . .114 

VIII. Myth AMONG THE Hebrews . . . .131 

IX. Conclusion . . . . . . .137 





I. Difference between Savage and Civilised 

Man 143 

II. Limitations of Barbaric Language . .148 

II L Barbaric Confusion between Names and 

Things 154 

IV. Barbaric Belief in Virtue in Inanimate 

Things .160 

V. Barbaric Belief in the Reality of Dreams 168 

VI. Barbaric Theory of Disease . . .174 

VII. Barbaric Theory of a Second Self or Soul 182 

VIII. Barbaric Philosophy in " Punchkin " and 

Allied Stories . . . . .188 

IX. Barbaric and Civilised Notions of the 

Soul's Nature . . . . .198 

X. Barbaric Belief in Souls in Brutes and 

Plants and Lifeless Things . . . 207 

XI. Barbaric and Civilised Notions about the 

Soul's Dwelling Place . . . .215 

XII. Conclusions from the Foregoing . . 222 

XIII. Dreams as Omens and Media of Communi- 
cation between Gods and Men . .236 

INDEX 245 





" Unchecked by external truth, the mind of man has a fatal 
facility for ensnaring, entrapping, and entangling itself. But, 
happily, happily for the human race, some fragment of physical 
speculation has been built into every false system. Here is 
the weak point. Its inevitable destruction leaves a breach in 
the whole fabric, and through that breach the armies of truth 
march in." 

Sir H. S. Maine. 



§ I- 


It is barely thirty years ago since the world was 
startled by the publication of Buckle's History of 
Civilisation^ with its theory that human actions are the 
effect of causes as fixed and regular as those which 
operate in the universe; climate, soil, food, and scenery 
being the chief conditions determining progress. 

That book was a tour de force, not a lasting con- 
tribution to the question of man's mental develop- 
ment. The publication of Darwin's epoch-making 
Origin of Species ^ showed wherein it fell short ; how 
the importance of the above-named causes was ex- 
aggerated and the existence of equally potent causes 
overlooked. Buckle probably had not read Herbert 
Spencer's Social Statics, and he knew nothing of 
the profound revolution in silent preparation in the 
quiet of Darwin's home ; otherwise, his book must 

1 Buckle's work appeared in 1857, Darwin's in 1859. 


have been rewritten. This would have averted the 
obHvion from which not even its charm of style can 
rescue it. Its brilliant but defective theories are 
obscured in the fuller light of that doctrine of 
descent with modifications by which we learn that 
external circumstances do not alone account for the 
widely divergent types of men, so that a superior 
race, in supplanting an inferior one, will change the 
face and destiny of a country, " making the solitary 
place to be glad, and the desert to rejoice and 
blossom as the rose." Darwin has given us the 
clue to those subtle and still obscure causes which 
bring about, stage by stage, the unseen adaptations 
to requirements varying a type and securing its 
survival, and which have resulted in the evolution 
of the manifold species of living things. The notion 
of a constant relation between man and his sur- 
roundings is therefore untenable. 

But incomplete as is Buckle's theory, and all- 
embracing as is Darwin's, so far as organic life is 
concerned, the larger issue is raised by both, and for 
most men whose judgment is worth anything it is 
settled. Either man is a part of nature or he is 
not. If he is not, there is an end of the matter, 
since the materials lie beyond human grasp, and can- 
not be examined and placed in order for compara- 
tive study. Let Christian, Brahman, Bushman, and 
South Sea Islander each hold fast his " form of sound 
words" about man's origin. One is as good as 
another where all are irrational and beyond proof 
But if he is, then the inquiry concerning him may 

myth: its birth and growth. 5 

not stop at the anatomy of his body and the assign- 
ment of his place in the succession of Hfe on the 
^lobe. His relation, materially, to the simplest, 
shapeless specks of living matter ; structurally, to the 
highest and more complex organisms, is demon- 
strated ; the natural history of him is clear. This, 
however, is physical, and for us the larger question is 
psychical. The theory of evolution must embrace 
the genesis and development of mind, and therefore 
of ideas, beliefs, and speculations about things seen 
and unseen. 

In the correction of our old definitions a wider 
meaning must be given to the word myth than that 
commonly found in the dictionaries. Opening any 
of these at random we find myth explained as fable, 
as something designedly fictitious, whether for amuse- 
ment only, or to point a moral. The larger meaning 
which it holds to-day includes much more than this 
— to wit, the whole area of intellectual products 
which lie beyond the historic horizon and overlap 
it, effacing on nearer view the lines of separation. 
For the myth, as fable only, has no place for the 
crude fancies and grotesque imaginings of barbarous 
races of the present day, and of races at low levels 
of culture in the remote past. And so long as it 
was looked upon as the vagrant of fancy, with no 
serious meaning at the heart of it, and as corre- 
sponding to no yearning of man after the truth of 
things, sober treatment of it was impossible. But 
now that myth, with its prolific offspring, legend and 
tradition, is seen to be a necessary travailing through 


which the mind of man passed in its slow progress 
towards certitude, the study and comparison of its 
manifold, yet, at the centre, allied forms, and of 
the conditions out of which they arose, takes rank 
among the serious inquiries of our time. 

Not that the inquiry is a new one. The limits 
of this book forbid detailed references to the suc- 
cessive stages of that inquiry — in other words, to 
the pre-Christian, patristic, and pseudo -scientific 
theories of myth which remained unchallenged, or 
varied only in non-essential features, till the rise of 
comparative mythology. But apology for such omis- 
sion here is the less needful, since the list of ancient 
and modern vagaries would have the monotony of a 
catalogue. However unlike on the surface, they are 
fundamentally the same, being the products of non- 
critical ages, and one and all vitiated by assumptions 
concerning gods and men which are to us as " old 
wives' fables." 

In short, between these empirical theories and 
the scientific method of inquiry into the meaning 
of myth there can be no relation. Because, for 
the assigning of its due place in the order of man's 
mental and spiritual development to myth, there 
is needed that knowledge concerning his origin, 
concerning the conditions out of which he has 
emerged, and concerning the mythologies of lower 
races and their survival in unsuspected forms in the 
higher races, which was not only beyond reach, but 
also beyond conception, until this century. 

Except, therefore, as curiosities of literature, we 


may dismiss the Lempriere of our school-days, and 
with him " Causabon "-Bryant and his symbolism 
of the ark and traces of the Flood in everything. 
Their keys, Arkite and Ophite, fit no lock, and 
with them we must, in all respect be it added, dis- 
miss Mr. Gladstone, with his visions of the Messiah 
in Apollo, and of the Logos in Athene. 

The main design of this book is to show that in 
what is for convenience called myth lie the germs of 
philosophy, theology, and science, the beginnings of 
all knowledge that man has attained or ever will 
attain, and therefore that in myth we have his serious 
endeavour to interpret the meaning of his surround- 
ings and of his own actions and feelings. In its un- 
broken sequence we have the explanation of his most 
cherished and now, for the most part, discredited 
beliefs, the persistence of which makes it essential 
and instructive not to deal with the primitive myth 
apart from its later and more complex phases. 
Myth was the product of man's emotion and imagin- 
ation, acted upon by his surroundings, and it carries 
the traces of its origin in its more developed forms, 
as the ancestral history of the higher organisms is 
embodied in their embryos. Man wondered before 
he reasoned. Awe and fear are quick to express 
themselves in rudimentary worship ; hence the myth 
was at the outset a theology, and the gradations 
from personifying to deifying are too faint to be 
traced. Thus blended, the one as inevitable out- 
come of the other, they cannot well be treated separ- 
ately, as if the myth were earth-born and the theology 


heaven-sent. And to treat them as one is to invade 
no province of religion, which is quite other than 
speculation about gods. The awe and reverence 
which the fathomless mystery of the universe awakens, 
which steal within us unbidden as the morning light, 
and unbroken on the prism of analysis ; the convic- 
tion, deepening as we peer, that there is a Power 
beyond humanity, and upon which humanity depends; 
the feeling that life is in harmony with the Divine 
order when it moves in disinterested service of our 
kind — these theology can neither create nor destroy, 
neither verify nor disprove. They can be bound 
within no formula that man or church has invented, 
but undefined 

'' Are yet the fountain life of all our day, 
Are yet a master light of all our seeing." 

At what epoch in man's history we are to place 
the development of the myth-making faculty must 
remain undetermined. It is of course coincident 
with the dawn of thought. We cannot credit the 
nameless savage of the Ancient Stone Age with it. 
If he had brains and leisure enough to make guesses 
about things, he has left us no witness of the fact. 
His relics, and those of his successors to a period 
which is but as yesterday in the history of our kind, 
are material only ; and not until we possess the 
symbols of his thought, whether in language or rude 
picture, do we get an inkling of the meaning which 
the universe had for him, in the details of his pitiless 
daily life, in the shapes and motions of surrounding 


objects, and in the majesty of the heavens above 
him. Even then the thought is more or less crys- 
talHsed, and if we would watch it in the fluent 
form we must have a keen eye for the like process 
going on among savages yet untouched by the Time- 
spirit, although higher in the scale than the Papuans 
and hill tribes of the Vindhya. Although we cannot 
so far lull our faculty of thought as to realise the 
mental vacuity of the savage, we may, from survivals 
nowadays, lead up to reasonable guesses of savage 
ways of looking at things in bygone ages, and the 
more so when we can detect relics of these among 
the ignorant and superstitious of modern times. 

What meaning, then, had man's surroundings to 
him, when eye and ear could be diverted from prior 
claims of the body, and he could repose from watch- 
ing for his prey, and from listening to the approach 
of wild beast or enemy ? He had the advantage, 
from greater demand for their exercise, in keener 
senses of sight, hearing, smell, and touch, than we 
enjoy ; nor did he fail to take in facts in plenty. 
But there was this vital defect and difference^ that in 
his brains every fact was pigeon-holed, charged with 
its own narrow meaning only, as in small minds 
among ourselves we find place given to inane 
peddling details, and no advance made to general 
and wide conception of things. In sharpest contrast 
to the poet's utterance : 

" Nothing in this world is single, 
All things by a law divine 
In one another's being mingle," 


every fact is unrelated to every other fact, and there- 
fore interpreted wrongly. 

Man, in his first outlook upon nature, was al- 
together ignorant of the character of the forces by 
which he was environed ; ignorant of that unvarying 
relation between effect and cause which it needed the 
experience of ages and the generalisations therefrom 
to apprehend, and to express as " laws of nature." 
He had not even the intellectual resource of later times 
in inventing miracle to explain where the necessary 
relation between events seemed broken or absent. 

His first attitude was that of wonder, mingled with 
fear — fear as instinctive as the dread of the brute for 
him. The sole measure of things was himself, conse- 
quently everything that moved or that had power of 
movement did so because it was alive. A personal 
life and will was attributed to sun, moon, clouds, river, 
waterfall, ocean, and tree, and the varying phenomena 
of the sky at dawn or noonday, at gray eve or black- 
clouded night, were the manifestation of the control- 
ling life that dwelt in all. In a thousand different 
forms this conception was expressed. The thunder 
was the roar of a mighty beast ; the lightning a 
serpent darting at its prey, an angry eye flashing, 
the storm demon's outshot forked tongue ; the rain- 
bow a thirsty monster ; the waterspout a long-tailed 
dragon. This was not a pretty or powerful conceit, 
not imagery, but an explanation. The men who thus 
spoke of these phenomena meant precisely what they 
said. What does the savage know about heat, light, 
sound, electricity, and the other modes of motion 

myth: its birth and growth. II 

through which the Proteus-force beyond our ken is 
manifest? How many persons who have enjoyed a 
" liberal " education can give correct answers, if asked 
off-hand, explaining how glaciers are born of the sun- 
shine, and why two sounds, travelling in opposite 
directions at equal velocities, interfere and cause 
silence ? The percentage of young men, hailing 
from schools of renown, who give the most ludicrous 
replies when asked the cause of day and night, and 
the distance of the earth from the sun, is by no 
means small. 

Whilst the primary causes determining the pro- 
duction of myths are uniform, the secondary causes, 
due in the main to different physical surround- 
ings, vary, bringing about unlikeness in subject 
and detail. Nevertheless, in grouping the several 
classes of myths, those are obviously to be placed 
prominently which embrace explanations of the 
origin of things, from sun and star to man and insect, ' 
involving ideas about the powers to whom all things 
are attributed. But in this book no exhaustive 
treatment is possible, only some indication of the 
general lines along which the myth-making faculty 
has advanced, and for this purpose a few illustrations 
of barbaric mental confusion between the living and 
the not living are chosen at the outset. They will, 
moreover, prepare us for the large element of the 
irrational present in barbaric myth, and supply a key 
to the survival of this in the mythologies of civilised 




In selecting from the literature of savage myth- 
ology the material overburdens us by its richness. 
Much of it is old, and, like refuse-heaps in our min- 
ing districts once cast aside as rubbish but now 
made to yield products of value, has, after long 
neglect, been found to contain elements of worth, 
which patience and insight have extracted from its 
travellers' tales and quaint speculations. That for 
which it was most prized in the days of our fathers 
is now of small account ; that within it which they 
passed by we secure as of lasting worth. Much of 
that literature is, however, new, for the impetus which 
has in our time been given to the rescue and preser- 
vation of archaic forms has reached this, and a host 
of accomplished collectors have secured rich speci- 
mens of relics which, in the lands of their discovery, 
have still the authority of the past, unimpaired by 
the critical exposure of the present. 

The subject itself is, moreover, so wide reaching, 
bringing the ancient and the modern into hitherto 
unsuspected relation, showing how in customs and 
beliefs, to us unmeaning and irrational, there lurk 
the degraded representations of old philosophies, and 
in what seems to us burlesque, the survivals of man's 
most serious thought. 

myth: its birth and growth. 13 

One feels this difficulty of choice and this tempta- 
tion to digress in treating of the confusion inherent 
in the savage mind between things living and not 
living, arising from superficial analogies and its attri- 
bution of life and power to lifeless things. The 
North American Indians prefer a hook that has 
caught a big fish to the handful of hooks that have 
never been tried, and they never lay two nets to- 
gether lest they should be jealous of each other. 
The Bushmen thought that the traveller Chapman's 
big waggon was the mother of his smaller ones ; and 
the natives of Tahiti sowed in the ground some iron 
nails given them by Captain Cook, expecting to 
obtain young ones. When that ill-fated discoverer's 
ship was sighted by the New Zealanders they thought 
it was a whale with wings. The king of the Coussa 
Kaffirs having broken off a piece of the anchor of a 
stranded ship soon afterwards died, upon which all 
the Kaffirs made a point of saluting the anchor very 
respectfully whenever they went near it, regarding it 
as a vindictive being. But perhaps one of the most 
striking and amusing illustrations is that quoted by 
Sir John Lubbock from the Smithsonian Reports 
concerning an Indian who had been sent by a mis- 
sionary to a colleague with four loaves of bread, 
I accompanied by a letter stating their number. The 
Indian ate some of the bread, and his theft was, of 
course, found out. He was sent on a second errand 
with a similar batch of bread and a letter, and re- 
peated the theft, but took the precaution to hide the 
letter under a stone while he was eating the loaves. 


SO that it might not see him ! As the individual is 
a type of the race, so in the child's nature we find 
analogy of the mental attitude of the savage ready 
to hand. To the child everything is alive. With 
what timidity and wonder he first touches a watch, 
with its moving hands and clicking works ; with 
what genuine anger he beats the door against which 
he has knocked his head, whips the rocking-horse 
that has thrown him, then kisses and strokes it the 
next moment in token of forgiveness and affection. 

" As children of weak age 

Lend life to the dumb stones 
Whereon to vent their rage, 

And bend their little fists, and rate 
the senseless ground." ^ 

Even among civilised adults, as Mr. Grote remarks, 
" the force of momentary passion will often suffice to 
supersede the acquired habit, and an intelligent man 
may be impelled in a moment of agonising pain to 
kick or beat the lifeless object from which he has 
suffered." The mental condition which causes the 
wild native of Brazil to bite the stone he stumbled 
over may, as Dr. Tylor has pointed out in his in- 
valuable Primitive Culttur, be traced along the course 
of history not merely in impulsive habit, but in 
formally enacted law. If among barbarous peoples 
we find, for example, the relatives of a man killed by 
a fall from a tree taking their revenge by cutting 
the tree down and scattering it in chips, we find a 
continuity of idea in the action of the court of justice 

1 Matthew Arnold, Einpedodes on Etna. 

myth: its birth and growth. 15 

held at the Prytaneum in Athens to try any inani- 
mate object, such as an axe, or a piece of wood or 
stone, which has caused the death of any one with- 
out proved human agency, and which, if condemned, 
was cast in solemn form beyond the border. " The 
spirit of this remarkable procedure reappears in the 
old English law, repealed only in the present reign, 
whereby not only a beast that kills a man, but a 
cart-wheel that runs over him, or a tree that falls on 
him and kills him, is deodand or given to God, i.e. 
forfeited and sold for the poor." Among ancient legal 
proceedings at Laon we read of animals condemned 
to the gallows for the crime of murder, and of swarms 
of caterpillars which infected certain districts being 
admonished by the Courts of Troyes in i 5 16 to take 
themselves off within a given number of days, on 
pain of being declared accursed and excommunicated.^ 
Barbaric confusion in the existence of transfer- 
able qualities in things, as when the New Zealander 
swallows his dead enemy's eye that he may see 
farther, or gives his child pebbles to make it stony 
and pitiless of heart ; and as when the Abipone eats 
tiger's flesh to increase his courage, has its survival 
in the old wives' notion that the eye-bright flower, 
which resembles the eye, is good for diseases of that 
organ, in the mediaeval remedy for curing a sword 
wound by nursing the weapon that caused it, and 
in the old adage, " Take a hair of the dog that bit 
you." As illustrating this, Dr. Dennys ^ tells a story 

^ Countess Cesar esco's Essays in the Study of Folk- Songs, p. 183. 
^ The Folk-Lore of China, p. 52. 


of a missionary in China whose big dog would now 
and again slightly bite children as he passed through 
the villages. In such a case the mother would run 
after him and beg for a hair from the dog's tail, 
which would be put to the part bitten, or when the 
missionary would say jocosely, " Oh ! take a hair 
from the dog yourself," the woman would decline, 
and ask him to spit in her hand, which itself wit- 
nesses to the widespread belief in the mystical pro- 
perties of saliva.^ Among ourselves this survives, 
degraded enough, in the cabmen's and boatmen's 
habit of spitting on the fare paid them. Treacle 
(Greek thcriake, from therioji, a name given to the 
viper) witnesses to the old-world superstition that 
viper's flesh is an antidote to the viper's bite. 
Philips, in his World of Words, defines treacle as a 
" physical compound made of vipers and other in- 
gredients," and this medicament was a favourite 
against all poisons. The word then became applied 
to any confection or sweet syrup, and finally and 
solely to the syrup of molasses. 

The practice of burning or hanging in effigy, by 
which a crowd expresses its feelings towards an un- 
popular person, is a relic of the old belief in a real 
and sympathetic connection between a man and his 
image ; a belief extant among the unlettered in by- 
places of civilised countries. When we hear of 

1 Mark vii. 33, John ix. 6. Cf. Tacitus, Hist. iv. 81 — *' A certain 
man of the Alexandrian populace afflicted with wasted eyes kept im- 
ploring the prince to deign to spatter saliva on his cheek and eyeballs." 
In Finnish myth the demon Iliisi forms a huge snake from the spittle 
of a fellow-demon. Cf. also Thomson's Mosai Land, pp. 288-290. 


North American tribes making images of their foes, 
whose lives they expect to shorten by piercing those 
images with their arrows, we remember that these 
barbarous folk have their representatives among us 
in the Devonshire peasant, who hangs in his chimney 
a pig's heart stuck all over with thorn-prickles, so 
that the heart of his enemy may likewise be pierced. 
The custom among the Dyaks of Borneo of making 
a wax figure of the foe, so that his body may waste 
away as the wax is melted, will remind the admirers 
of Dante Rossetti how he finds in a kindred mediaeval 
superstition the subject of his poem " Sister Helen," 
while they who prefer the authority of sober prose 
may turn to that storehouse of the curious. Brand's 
Popular Antiquities. Brand quotes from King James, 
who, in his Dcenionology^ book ii. chap. 5, tells us that 
" the devil teacheth how to make pictures of wax or 
clay, that by roasting thereof the persons that they 
bear the name of may be continually melted or dried 
away by continual sickness ;" and also cites Andrews, 
the author of a Coiitimiation of Henry s Great Britaiuy 
who, speaking of the death of Ferdinand, Earl of 
Derby, by poison, in the reign of Elizabeth, says, 
" The credulity of the age attributed his death to 
witchcraft. The disease was odd, and operated as a 
perpetual emetic ; and a waxen image, with hair like 
that of the unfortunate earl, found in his chamber, 
reduced every suspicion to certainty." A century 
and half before this the Duchess of Gloucester did 
penance for conspiring with certain necromancers 
against the life of Henry VI. by melting a waxen 



image of him, while, as hinging the centuries together, 
" only recently a corp ere, or clay image, stuck full 
of birds' claws, bones, pins, and similar objects, was 
found in one of the Inverness-shire rivers. It was a 
fetish which, as it dissolved away by the action of 
the stream, was supposed to involve the 'wearing 
away ' of the person it was intended to represent." ^ 
The passage from practices born of such beliefs to 
the use of charms as protectives against the evil-dis- 
posed and those in league with the devil, and as cures 
for divers diseases, is obvious. Upon this it is not 
needful to dwell ; the superstitious man is on the 
same plane as the savage, but, save in rare instances, 
without such excuse for remaining, as Bishop Hall 
puts it, with " old wives and starres as his counsellors, 
charms as his physicians, and a little hallowed wax 
as his antidote for all evils." 

But we have travelled in brief space a long way 
from our picture of man, weaving out of streams and 
breezes and the sunshine his crude philosophy of 
personal life and will controlling all, to the peasant 
of to-day, his intellectual lineal descendant, with his 
belief in signs and wonders, his forecast of fate and 
future by omens, by dreams, and by such pregnant 
occurrences as the spilling of salt, the howling of dogs, 
and changes of the moon ; in short, by the great 
mass of superstitions which yet more or less influence 
the intelligent, terrorise the ignorant, and delight the 
student of human development. 

1 Henderson's Folk-Lo7'e of the Northern Counties, p. 229; cf. 
Horace, Sat. i. 8, 30 ; Frazer's Golden Bough, i. 9 ; Scot's Discoverie 
of Witchcraft^ p, 208. 


§ III- 

(<?.) The Stm and Moon. 

A good deal hinges upon the evidences in savage 
myth-making of the personification of the powers of 
nature. Obviously, the richest and most suggestive 
material would be supplied by the striking pheno- 
mena of the heavens, chiefly in sunrise and sunset, in 
moon, star, star-group and meteor, cloud and storm, 
and, next in importance, by the strange and terrible 
among phenomena on earth, whether in the restless 
waters, the unquiet trees, the grotesquely- shaped 
rocks, and the fear inspired in man by creatures more 
powerful than himself Through the whole range of 
the lower culture, sun, moon, and constellations are 
spoken of as living creatures, often as ancestors, 
heroes, and benefactors who have departed to the 
country above, to heaven, the heaved, up-lifted land. 
The Tongans of the South Pacific say that two an- 
cestors quarrelled respecting the parentage of the 
first-born of the woman Papa, each claiming the child 
as his own. No King Solomon appears to have been 
concerned in the dispute, although at last the infant 
was cut in two. Vatea, the husband of Papa, took 
the upper part as his share, and forthwith squeezed it 
into a ball and tossed it into the heavens, where it 
became the sun. Tonga-iti sullenly allowed the 
lower half to remain a day or two on the ground, 


but, seeing the brightness of Vatea's half, he com- 
pressed his share into a ball and tossed it into the 
dark sky, during the absence of the sun in the nether 
world. Thus originated the moon, whose paleness is 
owing to the blood having all drained out of Tonga- 
iti's half as it lay upon the ground. Mr. Gill, from 
whose valuable collection of southern myth this is 
quoted, says that it seems to have its origin in the 
allegory of an alternating embrace of the fair Earth 
by Day and Night. But despite the explanations, 
more or less strained, which some schools of com- 
parative mythologists find for every myth, the savage 
is not a conscious weaver of allegories, or an embryo 
Cabalist, and we shall find ourselves more in accord 
with the laws of his intellectual growth if, instead of 
delving for recondite and subtle meanings in his 
simple-sounding explanations of things, we take the 
meaning to be that which lies on the surface. More 
on this, however, anon. Among the Red races one 
tribe thought that sun, moon, and stars were men 
and women who went into the sea every night and 
swam out by the east. The Bushmen say that the 
' sun was once a man who shed light from his body, 
but only for a short distance, until some children 
threw him into the sky while he slept, and thus he 
shines upon the wide earth. The Australians say 
that all was darkness around them till one of their 
many ancestors, who still shine from the stars, shed- 
ding good and evil, threw, in pity for them, an emu's 
Ggg into space, when it became the sun. Among 
the Manacicas of Brazil, the sun was their culture- 


hero, virgin-born, and their jugglers, who claimed 
power to fly through the air, said that his luminous 
figure, as that of a man, could be seen by them, 
although too dazzling for common mortals. 

The sun has been stayed in his course in other 
places than Gibeon, although by mechanical means 
of which Joshua appears to have been independent. 
Among the many exploits of Maui, abounding in 
Polynesian myth, are those of his capture of the sun. 
He had, like Prometheus, snatched fire from heaven 
for mortals, and his next task was to cure Ra, the 
sun-god, of his trick of setting before the day's w^ork 
was done. So Maui plaited thick ropes of cocoa-nut 
fibre, and taking them to the opening through which 
Ra climbed up from the nether world, he laid a slip- 
noose for him, placing the other ropes at intervals 
along his path. Lying in wait as Ra neared, he 
pulled the first rope, but the noose only caught Ra's 
feet. Nor could Maui stop him until he reached the 
sixth rope, when he was caught round the neck and 
pulled so tightly by Maui that he had to come to 
terms, and agree to slacken his pace for the future. 
Maui, however, took the precaution to keep the ropes 
on him, and they may still be seen hanging from the 
sun at dawn and eve. In Tahitian myth Maui is a 
priest, who, in building a house which must be 
finished by daylight, seizes the sun by its rays and 
binds it to a tree till the house is built. In North 
American myth a boy had snared the sun, and there 
was no light on the earth. So the beasts held 
council who should undertake the perilous task of 


cutting the cord, when the dormouse, then the biggest 
among them, volunteered. And it succeeded, but so 
scorched was it by the heat that it was shrivelled to 
the smallest of creatures. Such a group of myths is 
not easy of explanation ; but when we find the sun 
regarded as an ancestor, and as one bound, mill-horse 
like, to a certain course, the notion of his control and 
check would arise, and the sun-catchers take their 
place in tradition among those who have deserved 
well of their race. It is one among numberless 
aspects under which the doings of the sun and of 
other objects in nature are depicted as the doings of 
mortals, and the crude conceptions of the Ojibwas 
and the Samoans find their parallel in the mytho- 
logies of our Aryan ancestors. Only in the former 
we see the mighty one shorn of his dignity, with 
noose round his neck or chains on either side ; whilst 
in the latter we see him as Herakles, with majesty 
unimpaired, carrying out the twelve tasks imposed 
by Eurystheus, and thus winning for himself a place 
among the immortals. 

The names given to the sun in mythology are as 
manifold as his aspects and influences, and as the 
moods of the untutored minds that endowed him 
with the complex and contrary qualities which make 
up the nature of man. Hiin^ we say, not it^ thus 
preserving in our common speech a relic not only of 
the universal personification of things, but of their 
division into sex. 

The origin of gender is most obscure, but its in- 
vestment of both animate and inanimate things with 

myth: its birth and growth. 23 

sexual qualities shows it to be a product of the 
mythopoeic stage of man's progress, and demands 
some reference in these pages. The languages of 
savages are in a constant state of flux, even the most 
abiding terms, as numerals and personal pronouns, 
being replaced by others in a few years. And the 
changes undergone by civilised speech have so rubbed 
away and obscured its primitive forms that, look 
where he may, the poverty of the old materials em- 
barrasses the inquirer. If the similar endings to 
such undoubtedly early words as father, mother, 
brother, sister, in our own and other related lan- 
guages, notably Sanskrit, afford any clue, it goes 
rather to show that gender was a later feature than 
one might think. But there is no uniformity in the 
matter. It seems pretty clear that in the early forms 
of our Indo-European speech there were two genders 
only, masculine and feminine. The assignment of 
certain things conceived of as sexless to neither 
gender, neiitrius generis^ is of later origin. Some of 
the languages derived from Latin, and, to name one 
of a different family, the Hebrew, have no neuter 
gender, whilst others, as the ancient Turkish and 
Finnish, have no grammatical gender. In our own, 
under the organic changes incident to its absorption 
of Norman and other foreign elements, gender has 
practically disappeared (although ships and nations 
are still spoken of as feminine), the pronouns he^ she, 
it, being its representatives. Such a gain is apparent 
when we take up the study of the ancestral Anglo- 
Saxon, with its masculine, feminine, and neuter 


nouns, or of our allied German with its perplexities 
of sex, as, e.g.^ its masculine spoon, its feminine fork, 
and its neuter knife. Turning for a moment to such 
slight aid as barbaric speech gives, we find in the 
languages of the hill tribes of South India a curious 
distinction made ; rational beings, as gods and men, 
being grouped in a " high-caste or major gender," 
and living animals and lifeless things in a " casteless 
or minor gender." The languages of some North 
American and South African tribes make a distinc- 
tion into animate and inanimate gender ; but as 
non-living things, the sun, the thunder, the lightning, 
are regarded as persons, they are classed in the ani- 
mate gender. 

Further research into the radicals of so relatively 
fixed a language as Chinese, and into more mobile 
languages related to it, may, perhaps, enlighten the 
present ignorance ; but one thing is certain, that 
language was " once the scene of an immense per- 
sonification," and has thereby added vitality to myth. 
Analogies and conceptions apparent to barbaric 
man, and in no way occurring to us, caused him to 
attribute sexual qualities not only to dead as to living 
things, but to their several parts, as well as, in the 
course of time, to intellectual and abstract terms. 
Speaking broadly, things in which were manifest size 
and qualities, as strength, independence, governing 
or controlling power, usually attaching to the male, 
were classed as masculine ; whilst those in which the 
gentler and more subordinate features were apparent 
were classed as feminine. Of course marked excep- 


tions to this will at once occur to us, as, e.g., in 
certain savage and civilised languages, where the sun 
is feminine and the moon is masculine, but in the 
main the division holds good. The big is male and 
the small is female. The Dyaks of Borneo call a 
heavy downpour of rain a he rain ; and, if so strength- 
imparting a thing as bread is to be classed as either 
masculine or feminine, we must agree with the negro 
who, in answer to his master's question, " Sambo, 
where's the bread ?" replied, " De bread, massa ? him 
lib in de pantry." The mediaeval Persians are said 
to have distinguished between male and female even 
in such things as food and cloth, air and water, and 
prescribed their proper use accordingly ; while, as 
Dr. Tylor, from whom the above is quoted, adds, 
" even we, with our blunted mythologic sense, cannot 
give an individual name to a lifeless object, such as 
a boat or a weapon, without in the very act imagin- 
ing for it something of a personal nature." 

But we must not stay longer in these attractive 
byways of philology, however warranted the digres- 
sion may be, and must return to the many -titled 

Whilst in the more elaborate mythologies of 
classic peoples we find him addressed in exalted terms 
which are still the metaphors of poetry, we are nearer 
the rough material out of which all myth is shaped 
when among races who speak of sun, moon, and stars 
as father, mother, and children, and who mean exactly 
what they say. We may find similar relationships 
in the solar and lunar deities of Egyptian and classic 


myth, but profound moral elements have entered 
into these and dissolved the material. We are face 
to face with the awful and abiding questions personi- 
fied in Osiris and Isis, in Qldipus and Jocaste, where 
for us the sunlight pales and the storm clouds are 
dispersed before the dazzling mysteries of human life 
and destiny. 

No such matters confront us when in Indian myth 
we read that the moon is the sun's sister, an aged, 
pale-faced woman, who in kindness led to her brother 
two of the tribe who had sprung through a chasm in 
the sky to the pleasant moonlit land. Neither do 
they in Australian myth, which shows that the 
dwellers on Olympus had no monopoly of conjugal 
faithlessness. For in it Mityan, the moon, is a 
native cat, who fell in love with somebody else's 
wife, and has been driven to wander ever since. 
j Among the Bushmen, the moon has incurred the 
sun's anger, and is hacked smaller and smaller 
by him, till, begging for mercy, a respite is given. 
But as soon as he grows larger the sun hacks him 
again. In Slavonic myth the sun cleaves him 
through for loving the morning star. The Indians 
of the far west say that, when the moon is full, 
evil spirits begin nibbling at it, and eat a portion 
every night till it is all gone ; then a great spirit 
makes a new moon, and, weary with his toil, falls 
asleep, when the bad spirits renew their attack. 
Another not uncommon group of myths is that 
which speaks of sun and moon as borne across 
the heavens on the backs of ancestors, as in Greek 


myth Atlas supports the world, or as in ceaseless 
flight, dogged by some pursuer, moon-dog, or " sun- 
wolf," as parhelion is called in Swedish. The group 
of kindred myths to which eclipses gave rise, when 
the cloud-dragon or serpent tries to swallow sun or 
moon, and for a time succeeds, is too well known to 
need other than passing reference here. 

A widespread body of myth has its source in the 
patches on the moon's face. In the Samoan Islands 
these are said to be a woman, a child, and a mallet 
A woman was once hammering out paper-cloth, and 
seeing the moon rise, looking like a great bread- 
fruit, she asked it to come down and let her child 
, eat a piece of it. But the moon was very angry at 
the idea of being eaten, and gobbled up the woman, 
child, and mallet, and there they are to this day. 
The Selish Indians of North-Western America say 
that the little wolf was in love with the toad, and pur- 
sued her one moonlight night, till, as a last chance, she 
made a desperate spring on to the face of the moon, and 
there she is still. People in the East see the figure of a 
hare in the patches, and both in Buddhist Jatakas and 
Mongolian myth that animal is carried by the moon. 
In Greenland myth the moon was in love with his 
sister, and stole in the dark to caress her. She, 
wishing to find out who her lover was, blackened 'her 
hands so that the marks might be left on him, which 
accounts for the spots. The Khasias of the Himalaya 
say that the moon falls in love every month with his 
mother-in-law, who, like a well-conducted matron, 
throws ashes in his face. Grimm quotes a mediaeval 


myth that the moon is Mary Magdalene, and the 
spots her tears of repentance, whilst in Chaucer's 
Testament of Cressida the moon is Lady Cynthia. — 

" On her brest a chorl paintid ful even, 
JBering a bush of thornis on his bake^ 
Which for his theft might clime no ner the heven." 

Comparing these with more familiar myths, we 
have our own man in the moon, who is said to be 
the culprit found by Moses gathering sticks on the 
Sabbath, although his place of banishment is a 
popular addition to the Scripture narrative. Accord- 
ing to the German legend he was a scoffer who did 
the same heinous offence on a Sunday, and was given 
the alternative of being scorched in the sun or frozen 
in the moon. The Frisians say that he stole cabbages, 
the load of which he bears on his back. He does 
not appear as a member of the criminal classes in 
China, his function being that of celestial matchmaker, 
who ties together future couples with an invisible 
silken cord which breaks not during life. In Ice- 
landic myth the two children familiar to us as Jack 
and Jill were kidnapped by the moon, and there they 
stand to this day with bucket on pole across their 
shoulders, falling away one after the other as the 
moon wanes, — a phase described in the couplet : — 

" Jack fell down and broke his crown, 
And Jill came tumbling after." 

Mr. Baring Gould, whose essay on this subject in his 
Cttrioics Myths of the Middle Ages gives a convenient 
summary of current legends, contends that Jack and 


Jill are the Hjuki and Bil of the Edda^ and signify 
the waxing and waning of the moon, their bucket 
indicating the dependence of rainfall on her phases — 
a superstition extant among us yet. 

The group of customs observed amongst both 
barbaric and civilised peoples at the changes of the 
moon, customs which are meaningless except as relics 
of lunar worship, belong to the passage of mythology 
into religion, of personifying into deifying. 

(/;.) TJie Stars. 

In the great body of nature-myth the |tars are 
prominent members. In their multitude ; their sub-- 
lime repose in upper calms above rtie turmoil 5f the 
elements ; their varying brilliancy, ^.one star differ- 
ing from another star in glory"; their tremulous 
light ; their scattered positions, which lend them- 
selves to every vagary of the constellation-maker ; 
their slow procession, varied only by sweeping comet 
and meteor, or falling showers of shooting stars ; 
they lead the imagination into gentler ways than do 
the vaster bodies of the most ancient heavens. Nor, 
although we may compute their number, weigh their 
volume, in a few instances reckon their distance, 
and, capturing the light that has come beating 
through space for unnumbered years, make it reveal 
the secret of their structure, is the imagination less 
moved by the clear heavens at night, or the feeling 
of awe and reverence blunted before that '* mighty 
sum of things for ever speaking." 


In barbaric myth the stars are spoken of as 
young suns, the children of the sun and moon, but 
more often as men who have hved on the earth, 
translated without seeing death. The single stars 
are individual chiefs or heroes ; the constellations 
are groups of men or animals. To the natives of 
Australia the brilliant Jupiter is a chief among the 
others ; and the stars in Orion's belt and scabbard 
are young men dancing a corroboree, the Pleiades 
being girls playing to them. The Kasirs of Bengal 
say that the stars are men who climbed to the top 
of a tree, and were left in the branches by the trunk 
being cut away. To the Eskimos the stars in Orion 
are seal -hunters who have missed their way home. 
And in German folk-lore they are spoken of as the 
mowers, because, as Grimm says, " they stand in a 
row like mowers in a meadow." In North American 
myth two of the bright stars are twins who have 
left a home where they were harshly treated, and 
leapt into the sky, whither their parents followed 
them and ceaselessly chase them. In Greek, myth 
the faintest star of the seven Pleiades is Merope, 
whose light was dimmed because she alone among 
her sisters married a mortal. The New Zealanders 
say that those stars are seven chiefs who fell in battle, 
and of whom only one eye of each is now visible. 
In Norse myth Odin having slain a giant, plucks 
out his eyes and flings them up to the sky, where 
they become two stars. In German star- lore the 
small star just above the middle one in the shaft 
of Charles's Wain, is a waggoner who, having given 


our Saviour a lift, was offered the kingdom of heaven 
for his reward, but who said he would sooner be 
driving from east to west to all eternity, and whose 
desire was granted — a curious contrast to the wan- 
dering Jew, cursed to move unresting over the earth 
until the day of judgment, because he refused to 
let Jesus, weary with the weight of the cross, rest 
for a moment on his doorstep. The Housatonic 
Indians say that the stars in Charles's Wain are 
men hunting a bear, and that the chase lasts from 
spring to autumn, when the bear is wounded and 
its dripping blood turns the leaves of the trees red. 
With this may be cited the myth that the red clouds 
at morn and eve are the blood of the slain in battle. 
In the Northern Lights the Greenlanders see the 
spirits of the departed dancing, the brighter the 
flashes of the Aurora the greater the merriment, 
whilst the Dacotas say of the meteors that they are 
spirits flying through the air. 

Of the Milky Way — so called because Here, in- 
dignant at the bantling Herakles being put to her 
breast, spilt her milk along the sky (the solar mytho- 
logers say that the " red cow of evening passes 
during the night across the sky scattering her milk") 
— the Ottawas say that it was caused by a turtle swim- 
ming along the bottom of the sky and stirring up 
the mud. According to the Patagonians it is the 
track along which the departed tribesmen hunt 
ostriches, the clouds being their feathers ; in African 
myth it is some wood-ashes long ago thrown up 
into the sky by a girl, that her people might be 


able to see their way home at night ; in Eastern 
myth it is chaff dropped by a thief in his hurried 

The idea of a land beyond the sky — be it the 
happy hunting-ground of the Indian, or the Para- 
dise of Islam, or the new Jerusalem of the Apocalypse 
— would not fail to arise, and in both the Milky 
Way and the Rainbow barbaric fancy sees the ladders 
and bridges whereby the departed pass from earth 
to heaven. So we find in the lower and higher 
culture alike the beautiful conceptions of the chemin 
des ameSy the Red man's road of the dead to their 
home in the sun ; the ancient Roman path of, or to, 
the gods ; the road of the birds, in both Lithuanian 
and Finnish myth, because the winged spirits flit 
thither to the free and happy land. In prosaic 
contrast to all this, it is curious to find among our- 
selves the Milky Way described as Watling Street ! 
That famous road, which ran from Richborough 
through Canterbury and London to Chester, now 
gives its name to a narrow bustling street of Man- 
chester warehousemen in the City. But who the 
Wcetlingas were — whether giants, gods, or men — 
and why their name was transferred from Britain 
to the sky, we do not know,^ although the fact is 
plainly enough set down in old writers, foremost 
among whom is Chaucer. In his House of Fame"^ 
he says : — 

'' Lo, there, quod he, cast up thine eye, 
se yondir, to, the galaxie, 

1 Gnmm, T. J/., 356, 357. 'Ml. 427. 


the whiche men clepe the IMilky Way, 
for it is white, and some parfay 
ycallin it han Watlingestrete." 

To the savage the rainbow is a living monster, a 
serpent seeking whom it may devour, coming to 
earth to slake its unquenchable thirst, and preying 
on the unwary. But in more poetic myth, its mighty 
many-coloured arch touching, as it seems to do, the 
earth itself, is a road to glory. In the Edda it is 
the three-coloured bridge Bifrost, "the quivering 
track " over which the gods walk, and of which the 
red is fire, so that the Frost-giants may not cross it. 
In Persian myth it is Chinvad, the " bridge of the 
gatherer," flung across the gloomy depths between 
this world and the home of the blessed ; in Islam 
it is El-Sirat, the bridge thin as a hair and sharp as 
a scimitar, stretching from this world to the next ; 
among the Greeks it was Iris, the messenger from 
Zeus to men, charged with tidings of war and tem- 
pest ; to the Finns it was the bow of Tiernes, the 
god of thunder ; whilst to the Jew it was the mes- 
senger of grace from the Eternal, who did set '' his 
bow in the clouds " as the promise that never again 
should the world be destroyed by flood. Such 
belief in the heavens as the field of activities pro- 
foundly affecting the fortunes of mankind, and in 
the stars as influencing their destinies, has been 
persistent in the human mind. The delusions of 
the astrologer are embalmed in language, as when, 
forgetful of a belief shared not only by sober theo- 
logians, but by Tycho Brahe and Kepler, we speak 



of "disaster," and of our friends as "jovial," "satur- 
nine," or " mercurial." But the illusions . of the 
savage or semi-civilised abide as an animating part 
of many a faith, undisturbed by a science which has 
swept the skies and found no angels there, and 
whose keen analysis separates for ever the ancient 
belief in a connection between the planets and man's 
fate. For convenience' sake, we retain on our celestial 
maps and globes the men and monsters pictured 
by barbaric fancy in the star -positions and clusters, 
noting these as interesting examples of survival. 
Yet we are the willing dupes of illusions nebulous 
as these, and, charm he never so wisely, the Time- 
spirit fails to disenchant us. 

{c.) The Earth and Sky. 

If the sun and moon are the parents of the stars, 
the heavens and the earth are the parents of all 
living things. Of this widely-found myth, one- of 
the most striking specimens occurs among the 
Maoris. From Rangi, the heaven, and Papa, the 
earth, sprang all living things ; but earth and sky 
clave together, and darkness rested on them and 
their children, who debated whether they should 
rend them asunder or slay them. Then Tane-mahuta, 
father of forests, reasoned that it was better to rend 
them, so that the heaven might become a stranger, 
and the earth remain as their nursing-mother. One 
after another they strove to do this, but in vain, 
until Tane-mahuta, with giant strength and strain. 


pressed down the earth and thrust . upward the 
heaven. But one of his brothers, father of wind 
and storm, who had not agreed to this parting of his 
parents, followed Rangi into the sky, and thence sent 
forth his progeny, " the mighty winds, the fierce 
squalls, the clouds dense and dark, wildly drifting, 
wildly hunting," himself rushing on his foe, snapping 
the huge trees that barred his path, and strewing their 
trunks and branches on the ground, while the sea 
was lashed into high -crested waves, and all the 
creatures therein affrighted. The fish darted hither 
and thither, but the reptiles fled into the forests, 
causing quarrel between Tangaroa, the ocean -god, 
and Tane-mahuta for giving them shelter. So the 
brothers fought, the ocean-god wrecking the canoes 
and sweeping houses and trees beneath the waters, 
and had not Papa hidden the gods of the tilled food 
and the wild within her bosom, they would have 
perished. Wars of revenge followed quickly one 
upon the other ; the storm -god's anger was not 
soon appeased ; so that the devastation of the earth 
was well-nigh complete. But, at last, light arose 
and quiet ensued, and the dry land appeared. Rangi 
and Papa, parted for ever, quarrelled no more, but 
helped the one the other, and " man stood erect and 
unbroken on his mother Earth." 

The myth of Cronus will at once occur to the 
reader. Heaven (Uranus) and Earth (Gaea) were 
husband and wife, and their many children all hated 
their father for concealing them between the hollows 
of their mother's breasts, so that they were shut out 


from light. Gaea sided with them and provided 
Cronus, the youngest, with an iron sickle wherewith 
he unmanned Uranus and separated him from Gaea. 
Cronus married his sister Rhea, and, at the advice 
of his parents, swallowed his children one by one as 
they were born, lest they grew up and usurped his 
place among the Immortals. But when Zeus was 
born, and Cronus asked for the child, Rhea deceived 
him by giving him a stone wrapped in swaddling 
bands. When Zeus grew up he gave his father an 
emetic, whereupon the children were all disgorged, and 
with them the stone, which became a sacred object 
at Delphi. There is no such being as Cronus in 
Sanskrit, but what may be called the Vedic variant 
of the myth is that in which Dyaus (Heaven) and 
Prithivi (Earth), were once joined and subsequently 

In China we find a legend of " a person called 
Puangku, who is said to have separated the heaven 
and the earth, they formerly being pressed down 
close together," and, as one might expect, such a 
transparent nature-myth of the rending asunder of 
the world and sky is widespread. 

The solar mythologists were perplexed at its pre- 
sence among the refined and cultured Greeks. "How 
can we imagine that a few generations before the 
time of Solon the highest notions of the Godhead 
among the Greeks were adequately expressed by the 
story of Uranus maimed by Cronus, of Cronus eat- 
ing his own children, swallowing a stone, and vomit- 
ing out alive his own progeny. Among the lowest 


tribes of Africa and America we hardly find anything 
more hideous and revolting." So the moral character 
of the Greeks and the exclusive comparative method 
of Professor Max Miiller and his adherents were 
vindicated by the discovery that as Cronus means 
time, the apparently repulsive myth simply means 
that time swallows up the days which spring from 
it ; " and," remarks Sir G. W. Cox in his Manual of 
Mythology^ " the old phrase meant simply this and 
nothing more, although before the people came to 
Greece they had forgotten its meaning."^ Cronus 
is a more than usually troublesome crux to the 

Here, as elsewhere, " the letter killeth, but the 
spirit giveth life ; " and we may turn to the funda- 
mental idea resident in the myth. The savage, in 
the presence of recurring light and darkness, of the 
clouds lifting and dispersing before the sunrise, has 
his legend of a time when this was not so, but when 
heaven and earth were closed-in one upon the other 
till some hero thrust them apart. And, to his rude 
intelligence, the conception of night as a devouring 
monster, might easily " start the notion of other 
swallowing and disgorging beings." In brief, to 
quote Mr. Andrew Lang, "just as the New Zea- 
lander had conceived of heaven and earth as at one 
time united, to the prejudice of their children, so the 
ancestors of the Greeks had believed in an ancient 
union of heaven and earth. Both by Greeks and 
Maoris, heaven and earth were thought of as living 

1 Page xvi. 


persons, with human parts and passions. Their 
union was prejudicial to their children, and so the 
children violently separated their parents." ^ 

The beliefs of the ancient Finns, as described in 
the Kalcvala, in the world as a divided egg, of which 
the white is the ocean, the yolk the sun, the arched 
shell the sky, and the darker portions the clouds ; 
and of the Polynesians that the universe is the hollow 
of a vast cocoa-nut shell, at the tapering bottom of 
which is the root of all things, are to us so grotesque 
that it is not easy to regard them as explanations 
seriously invented by the human mind. Yet these, 
tocrether with the notions of the two halves of the 


shell of Brahma's egg, and of the two calabashes 
which form the heaven and the earth in African 
myth, find their correspondences in the widespread 
conception of the over-arching firmament as a hard 
and solid thing,^ with holes (or windows ^) to let the 
rain through, with gates through which angels 
descend,* or through which prophets peer into ce- 
lestial mysteries ; ^ a firmament outside which other 
people live, as instanced by the Polynesian term for 
strangers, " papalangi," or " heaven -bursters." In 

1 Custom and Myth, pp. 49, 50. While these sheets are passing 
through the press I am glad to take occasion to commend Mr. Lang's 
scholarly and fascinating book to the reader. As an explanation of the 
survival of crude and irrational elements in the myths of civilised races, 
it is a book to be reckoned vi^ith by the advocates of the solar theoiy. 

" ' ' And said the gods, let there be a hammered plate in the midst 
of the waters, and let it be dividing between waters and waters." 
Gen. i. 6. The verb from which the substantive is derived signifies, 
among other meanings, *'to beat out into thin plates," 

3 Gen. viii. 2. ^ Gen. xxviii. 17. ^ Ezek. i. i. 


Esthonian myth Ilmarine hammers steel into a vault 
which. he strained like a tent over the earth, nailing 
thereon the silver stars and moon, and suspending 
the sun from the roof of the tent with machinery to 
lift it up and let it down. The like achievement 
is recorded of Ilmarinen in the Kalevala^ the cosmo- 
gony of which corresponds to that of the Esthonian 

These are the less refined forms of myths which 
have held their ground from pre-scientific times till 
now, and the rude analogies of which are justified by 
the appearances of things as presented by the senses. 
Man's intellectual history is the history of his escape 
from the illusions of the senses, it is the slow and 
often tardily accepted discovery that nature is quite 
other than that which it seems to be. And this 
variance between appearances and realities remained 
hidden until the intellect challenged the report about 
phenomena which the sense -perceptions brought. 
For in the ages when feeling was dominant, and the 
judgment scarce awakened, the simple explanations 
in venerable legends sung by bard or told by aged 
crone — legends to which age had given sanctity 
which finally placed them among the world's sacred 
literatures — w^ere received without doubt or question. 
But, as belief in causality spread, men were not con- 
tent to rest in the naive explanations of an uncritical 
age. What man had guessed about nature gave 
place to what nature had to say about herself, and 
with the classifying of. experience science had its 


Meanwhile, until this quite recent stage in man's 
progress was reached, the senses told their blunder- 
ing tale of an earth flat and fixed, with sun, moon, 
and stars as its ministering servants, while gods or 
beasts upbore it, and mighty pillars supported the 
massive firmament. In Hindu myth the tortoise 
which upholds the earth rests upon an elephant, 
whose legs reach all the way doivn ! In Bogota the 
culture-god Bochica punishes a lesser and ofl'ending 
deity by compelling him to sustain the part of Atlas, 
and it is in shifting his burden from shoulder to 
shoulder that earthquakes are caused. The natives 
of Celebes say that these are due to the world-sup- 
porting Hog as he rubs himself against a tree ; the 
Thascaltecs that they occur when the deities who 
hold up the world relieve one another ; the Japanese 
think that they are caused by huge dragons wriggling 
underground, an idea probably confirmed by the dis- 
covery of monster fossil bones. In Algonquin myth 
the mighty man Earthquake " can pass along under 
the ground, and make all things shake and tremble 
by his power." 

As the myths about earth-bearers prevail in the 
regions of earthquakes, so do those about subter- 
ranean beings in the neighbourhood of volcanoes. 
The superstitions which mountainous countries espe- 
cially foster are intensified when the mountains 
themselves cast forth their awful and devastating 
progeny, " red ruin " and the other children born of 
them. Man in his dread, " caring in no wise for the 
external world, except as it influenced his own 


destiny ; honouring the Hghtning because it could 
strike him, the sea because it could drown him/' ^ 
could do naught else than people them with male- 
ficent beings, and conceive of their sulphur-exhaling 
mouths as the jaws of a bottomless pit. 

{d}) Storm and Lightnings etc. 

If in freeing ourselves from the tyranny of the 
" solar " theory we shackled ourselves with some 
other, we should certainly prefer that which is known 
as the " meteorological," and which, in the person of 
Kuhn and other supporters, finds a more rational and 
persistent source of myth in phenomena which are 
fitful and startling, such as hurricane and tempest, 
earthquake and volcanic outburst. Sunrises and 
sunsets happen with a regularity which failed to 
excise any strong emotion or stimulate curiosity, and 
the remotest ancestor of the primitive Aryan soon 
shook off the habit — if, indeed, he ever acquired it — 
of going to bed in fear and trembling lest the sun 
should not come back again. Nature, in her softer 
aspects and her gracious bounties, in the spring- 
time with its promise, the summer with its glory, 
the autumn with its gifts, has moved the heart of 
man to song and festival and procession ; as, by 
contrast, the frosts that nipped the early buds and 
the fierce heat that withered the approaching harvest 
gave occasion for plaintive ditty and sombre cere- 
mony. It is in the fierce play and passionate out- 

^ Modem Painters^ iii. 154. 


bursts of the elements, in the storm, the Hghtning, 
and the thunder, that the feelings are aroused and 
that the terror-stricken fancy sees the strife of wrath- 
ful deities, or depicts their dire work amongst men. 
Hence, all the world over, the storm-god and the 
wind-god have played a mighty part. 

To the savage, the wind, blowing as- it listeth, 
its whence and whither unknown, itself invisible, 
yet the sweep and force of its power manifest and 
felt, must have ranked amongst the most striking 
phenomena. And, as will be seen hereafter, the 
correspondences between wind and breath, and the 
connection between breath and life, added their 
quota of mystery in man's effort to account for the 
impalpable element. Of this personification of the 
elements the following Ojibway folk-tale, cited by 
Dorman, gives poetic illustration : — " There were 
spirits from all parts of the country. Some came 
with crashing steps and roaring voice, who directed 
the whirlwinds which were in the habit of raging 
about the neighbouring country. Then glided in 
gently a sweet little spirit, which blew the summer 
gale. Then came in the old sand-spirit, who blew 
the sand-squalls in the sand-buttes toward the west. 
He was a great speech-maker, and shook the lodge 
with his deep-throated voice, as he addressed the 
spirits of the cataracts and waterfalls, and those of 
the islands who wore beautiful green blankets." 

In the legends of the Quiches, the mysterious 
creative power is Hurakan (whence hurricane), among 
the Choctaws the original word for Deity is Hushtoli, 


the storm-wind, and in Peru to kiss the air was the 
commonest and simplest sign of adoration of the 
collective divinities. The Guayacuans of South 
America, when a storm arose and there was much 
thunder or wind, all went out in troops, as it were to 
battle, shaking their clubs in the air, shooting flights 
of arrows in that direction whence the storm came.^ 

The Araucanians thought that gales and thunder- 
storms were the battles fought between the spirits of 
the dead and their foes. 

Turning to the literatures of higher races, we find 

in the prose Edda^ when Gangler asks whence comes 

the wind, that Ha answers him : " Thou must know 

that at the northernmost point in the heavens sits a 


" In the guise of an eagle ; 
And the winds, it is said, 
Rush down on the earth 
From his- outspreading pinions." 

In Finnish myth the north wind Pulmri, father of the 
frost, is sometimes imaged as an eagle. 

*' The Indians believe in a great bird called by 
them Wochowsen or Wtickowsen, meaning Wind- 
Blow or the Wind-Blower, who lives far to the north, 
and sits upon a great rock at the end of the sky. 
And it is because whenever he moves his wings the 
wind blows they of old times called him that." And 
in another Algonquin myth : " Ga-oh is the Spirit of 
the Winds. He moves the winds, but he is chained 
to a rock. The winds trouble him, and he tries very 

^ Dorman's Primitive Superstitions^ p. 350. 


hard to get free. When he struggles the winds are 
forced away from him, and they blow upon the earth. 
Sometimes he suffers terrible pain, and then his 
struggles are violent. This makes the winds wild, and 
they do damage on the earth. Then he feels better 
and goes to sleep, and the winds become quiet also.^ 
In the Veda the Maruts or Storm-gods, to whom 
many of the hymns are addressed, " make the rocks 
to tremble and tear asunder the kings of the forest," 
like Hermes in his violence and like Boreas in his 
rage. Whether or no they become in Scandinavian 
legend the grim and fearful Ogres swiftly sailing in 
their cloud-ships, we may see in them the "crushers" 
and "grinders,"^ as their name imports, the types of 
northern deities like Odin, long degraded into the 
Wild Huntsman and his phantom crew, whose un- 
couth yells the peasant hears in the midnight air.^ 
Among the Aztecs Cuculkan, the bird-serpent, was a 
personification of the wind, especially of the east 
wind, as bringer of the rain. It was at one of his 
shrines, to which pilgrimages were made from great 
distances, that the Spaniards first saw to their sur- 
prise a cross surmounting the temple of this god of 
the wind, whence arose a legend that the Apostle 
Thomas had evangelised America. But, in fact, the 
pagan cross of Central America and Mexico was the 
symbol of the four cardinal points. 

1 Leland's Algonquin Legends, pp. iii, 204. 

2 From Sans, mar, to "grind." Ares and iMars come from the 
same root. 

3 Merry Wives of Windsor, act iv, sc. 4. 


In his valuable book on the Myths of the Red 
Race Dr. Brinton has brought together a mass of 
evidence in support of a theory that the sanctity in 
which the number four is held by the American races 
is due to the adoration of the cardinal points, which 
are identified with the four winds, who in hero-myths 
are the four ancestors of the human race. The 
illustrations with which the argument is supported 
are numerous and valuable, but the argument itself 
is made to rest too strongly on an assumed primitive 
symbolism, whereas it suffices to show how the early 
notion of the flat world, as also square, would lead to 
the myth of the four winds blowing from the four 
corners, a myth often illustrated in ancient maps with 
an angel at each corner from whose mouth the wind 
issues. The official title of the Incas was " Lord of 
the four quarters of the earth," and the number 
appears in all sorts of combinations, but the theory 
may be pushed to extremes in compelling every fact 
to square with it.^ As the illustrations given above 
show, we are some steps nearer to the primitive myth 
when we find the wind conceived of as a mighty 
bird, which indeed is in both old and new world 
mythology a common symbol of thunder and light- 
ning also. On this matter Dr. Brinton's remarks bear 

Like the wind the bird sweeps through the aerial spaces, 
sings in the forests, and rusdes on its course; like the cloud it 
floats in mid-air, and casts its shadow on the earth ; like the 

^ In Finnish myth the dwarfs punish with pimples and ringworm 
those who enter new houses without bowing to the four corners. 


lightning it darts from heaven to earth to strike its unsuspect- 
ing prey. These tropes were truths to savage nations, and led 
on by that law of language which forced them to conceive 
everything as animate or inanimate, itself the product of a 
deeper law of thought which urges us to ascribe life to whatr 
ever has motion, they found no animal so appropriate for their 
purpose here as the bird. Therefore the' Algonquins say that 
birds always make the winds, that they create the water- 
spouts, and that the clouds are the spreading and agitation of 
their wings ; the Navajos that at each cardinal point stands a 
white swan, who is the spirit of the blasts ; so also the Dakotas 
frequently explain the thunder as the sound of the cloud-bird 
flapping his wings ; the lightning as the fire that flashes from 
his tracks, like the sparks which the buffalo scatters when he 
scours over a stony plain. 

Estimates differ much as to the size of the 
Thunder-Bird. In one tradition an Indian found its 
nest, and secured a feather which was above two 
hundred feet long, while in another tradition the 
bird is said to be no bigger than one's little finger. 
But among the Western Indians he is an immense 
eagle. " When this aerial monster flaps his wings 
loud peals of thunder roll over the prairie ; when he 
winks his eye it lightens ; when he wags his tail the 
waters of the lake which he carries on his back over- 
flow and produce rain." Mixcoatl, the Mexican 
Cloud-Serpent, as well as Jove, carries his bundle of 
arrows or thunderbolts, which in the hand of Thor 
are represented by his mighty club or hammer. The 
old and universal belief that stones were hurled by 
the Thunder-God is not so far-fetched as we, in our 
pride of science, might think, for the flints which are 
mistaken for thunderbolts, and which become objects 


of adoration as well as charms, produce a flash when 
struck by the lightning. In the lightning flash man 
would see the descent of fire from heaven for his 
needs. That he should regard it, like water, as a 
living creature, with power to hurt or help him, is in 
keeping with attribution of life to all that moved. 
Its apparent connection with the great source of heat 
would foster the feeling which expressed itself in 
fire-worship, with its curious survivals to modern 
times. No element was more calculated to excite 
awe in its seeming unrelation to the objects which 
produced it. Once secured, to guard it from ex- 
tinction or theft was a serious duty, and everything 
from which it issued, trees as its hiding-place, since 
it came from the wood when rubbed, stones also, 
since sparks shot from them when struck, were held 
sacred. In the manifold myths about its origin 
one feature is common, that its seed was stolen, 
the chief agents (probably as the messengers be- 
tween earth and sky) being birds, or men assuming 
the form of birds. The Sioux Indians say that their 
first ancestor procured his fire from the sparks which 
a panther struck from the rocks as he bounded up a 
hill. But of examples from the lower culture, fore- 
runners of the Zeus-defying Prometheus, Mr. Gill's 
Myths of the South Pacific supplies one which may 
be taken as a sample of the rest. Maui, a famous 
South Sea hero, finding some cooked food in a 
basket brought by Buataranga from the nether world, 
and relishing it more than raw food, determines to 
steal the fire, and flying to the Buataranga's realm 


frightens the fire-god by threats and blows into re- 
vealing the secret. Then wresting the fire -sticks 
from him he sets the under-world in flames, and 
returns with his prize to the upper-world ; thenceforth 
"all the dwellers there used fire-sticks, and enjoyed 
the luxuries of light and of cooked food." 

(^.) LigJit and Darkness. 

As in the conflict raging in the sky during gale 
or tempest, when the light and the darkness alter- 
nately prevail, the barbaric mind sees war waged be- 
tween the heroes of the spirit-land who have carried 
their unsettled blood feuds thither, so in many myths 
the lightning is no comrade of the thunder, but its 
foe, the battle of bird with serpent. The resemblance 
of the lightning flash to the sharp, sudden, zigzag 
movements of the serpent, a creature so mysterious 
to barbaric man in its unlikeness to the beasts of the 
field, accounts for a myth the influence of which as a 
terrorising agent on human conduct is in course of 
rapid decay. Its importance in the history of belief 
in the supernatural is too far-reaching to be passed 
over, and in tracing its course it is necessary to show 
its connection with the group of storm-myths and 
sun-myths of the Aryan race in the battles between 
Indra and Vritra, Ormuzd and Ahriman, Thor and 
Midgard, Hercules and Cacus, Apollo and Python, 
and St. George and the Dragon. 

All the Aryan nations have among their legends, 
often exalted into epic themes, the story of a battle 


between a hero and a monster. In each case the hero 
conquers, and releases treasures, or in some way renders 
succour to man, through his victory. In Hindu myth 
this battle is fought between Indra and Vritra. 

Indra, one of the Vedic gods, comes, according to 
Professor Max Mliller, from the same root as the Sans- 
krit indu, drop, sap, but the etymology is doubtful. 
What is not doubtful is that he is the god of the 
bright sky, and although, like the other gods invoked 
in the hymns of the Rig- Veda, a departmental or tribal 
deity, he is a sort of primus inter pairs, of whose many 
titles, Vritrahan or " Vritra-slayer" is the pre-eminent 
one. The benefits showered by him upon mortals 
caused the attribution of moral qualities to him, and 
he was adored as " lord of the virtues," while the 
juice of the sacred soma plant was offered in his 
honour, for which reason he is also called Somapa or 
"soma-drinker." It is his struggle with Vritra which 
is a constant theme of the Vedic hymns, the burden 
of which remind us of the praises offered in the 
Psalms to Yahweh as a man of war, as mighty in 
battle. "The gods do not reach thee, nor men, thou 
overcomest all creatures in strength. . . . Thou 
thunderer, hast shattered with thy bolt the broad and 
massive cloud into fragments, and has sent down the 
waters that were confined in it to flow at will ; verily 
thou alone possessest all power." The primitive 
physical meaning of the myth is clear. Indra is the 
sun-god, armed with spears and arrows, for such did 
the solar rays sometimes appear to barbaric fancy. 
The rain -clouds are imprisoned in dungeons or 



caverns by Vritra, the " enveloper," the thief, serpent, 
wolf, wild boar, as he is severally styled in the Rig- 
Vcda. Indra attacks him, hurls his darts at him, 
they pierce the cloud-caverns, the waters are released, 
and drop upon the earth as rain. 

This explanation, which has many parallels in 
savage myth, is self-consistent as fitting into crude 
philosophy of personal life and volition in sun and 
cloud, and is fraught with deep truth of meaning 
in regions like the Punjaub, where drought brought 
famine in its train. 

The Aryans were a pastoral people, their wealth 
being in flocks and herds.^ The cow yielded milk 
for the household ; her dung fertilised the soil ; her 
young multiplied the wealth of the family at an 
ever-increasing rate, and she naturally became the 
symbol of fruitfulness and prosperity, ultimately an 
object of veneration ; while, for the functions which 
the bull performed, he was the type of strength. The 
Aryan's enemy was he who stole or injured the 
cattle ; the Aryan's friend was he who saved them 
from the robber's clutch. 

Intellectually, the Aryan tribes were, speaking 
broadly, in the mythopoeic stage, and the personifica- 
tion of phenomena was rife among them. Their 
barbaric fancy, as kindred myths all the world over 

1 Both "pecuniary" and "fee" are, as established by Grimm's law, 
from peat. Latin pecu-a^ pi. peats ^ " cattle " ; Sanskrit papi, " cattle," 
from pac^ to fasten (that which is tied up, i.e. domestic cattle). Cf. 
Skeats' Etymol. Did. in loc. A. S. feoh is cognate with German vieh^ 
and the ideas these express occur in ktcma, the Greek word for "pro- 
perty," which Grimm derives from the verb keto^ "to feed cattle." 


testify, would find ample play in the fleeting and 
varied scenery of the cloud-flecked heavens, sugges- 
tive, as this would be, of bodies celestial and bodies 
terrestrial. To these children of the plain the heavens 
were a vast, wide expanse, over which roamed supra- 
mundane beasts, the two most prominent figures in 
their mythical zoology being the cow and the bull. 
The sun, giver of blessed light, was the bull of 
majesty and strength ; the white clouds were cows, 
from whose swelling udders dropped the milk of 
heaven — the blessed rain. But there were dark 
clouds also, clouds of night and clouds of storm, and 
within these lurked the monster-robber ; into them 
he lured the herds, and withheld both light and rain 
from the children of men. To the sun-god, therefore, 
who smote the thief-dragon, Vritra, with his shaft, 
and set free the imprisoned cows, went up the shout 
of praise, the song of gratitude. This myth survives 
in many legends of the Aryan race, and their family 
likeness is unmistakable. In its Latin guise it 
appears as Hercules ^ and Cacus, although the pre- 
ciseness of detail narrated by Virgil, Livy, and other 
writers, has given it quasi-historical rank. Hercules, 
after his victory over Geryon, stops to rest by the 
Tiber, and while he is sleeping the three -headed 
monster, Cacus, steals some of his cattle, dragging 
them by their tails into his cavern in Mons Avertinus. 

1 Not the same as the Greek Herakles. The similarity of name 
led the Romans to identify their Hercules, who was a god of boun- 
daries, like Jupiter Terminus, with the Greek hero. Cams is not 
cognate with Greek kahos, bad, but was originally CcTciiis, the "blinder " 
or " darkener." 


Their bellowing awakens Hercules, who attacks the 
cavern, from the mouth of which Cacus vomits 
flames, and roars as in thunder. But the hero slays 
him and frees the cattle, a victory which the earlier 
Romans celebrated with solemn rites at the Ara 
Maxima. In Greek myth the most familiar examples 
are the struggles between the sun-god, Apollo, and 
the storm-dragon, Python, and the deliverance of the 
Princess Andromeda by Perseus from the sea-monster 
sent by Poseidon to ravage the land. In the northern 
group we have the battle of Siegfried with the 
Niflungs, or Niblungs, and of Sigurd with the dragon 
Fafnir, who guards golden treasures ; while, in the 
Edda^ Thor goes fishing with the giant Hymir, and 
catches the demon Loki, whose foul brood are Hell, the 
wolf Fenri, and the Earth-girdling Serpent. Amongst 
ourselves, Beowulf, hero of the poem of that name, 
attacks the dragon or fire-drake Grendel, who, with 
his troll - mother, haunts a gloomy marsh - land. 
Thence he stole forth at night to seize sleeping 
champions, taking them to his dwelling-place to 
devour them, and this in such numbers that scarce a 
man was left. One pale night, Beowulf awaited the 
coming of the monster, and, gripping him tightly, 
snapped his limbs asunder, so that he died. 

These brief illustrations would hardly be com- 
plete without some reference to our national saint. 
Opinions differ as to his merits, Gibbon stigmatising 
him as a fraudulent army contractor,^ while the 
researches of ]\T. Ganneau seek to establish his 

^ Dedhie and Fall, iii. 171 ; Emerson's ^Wif/Z^^/^ Traits^ p. 123. 


relation to the Egyptian Horus and Typhon. Be 
this as it may, the stirring old legend tells how 
George of Cappadocia delivered the city of Silene 
from a dragon dwelling in a lake hard by. Nothing 
that the people could give him satisfied his insatiate 
maw, and in their despair they cast lots who among 
their dearest ones should be flung to the dread beast. 
The lot fell to the king's daughter, and she went un- 
flinchingly, like Jephthah's daughter, to her fate. But 
on the road the hero learns her sad errand, and bid- 
ding her fear not, he, making sign of the cross, bran- 
dishes his lance, attacks and transfixes the dragon, 
and leading him into Silene, beheads him in sight of 
all the people, who, with their king, are baptized to 
the glory of Him who made St. George the victor.^ 

(/) The Devil, 

While, however, the myth of Indra and Vritra 
has in its western variants remained for the most 
part a battle between heroes and dragons, the moral 
element rarely obscuring the physical features, it 
gave rise among the Iranians or ancient Persians to 
a definite theology, the strange fortunes of which have, 
as remarked above, profoundly affected Christendom. 

Although in the Vedic hymns the features of the 
primitive nature-myth reappear again and again, Indra 
himself boasting, " I slew Vritra, O Maruts, with 
might, having grown strong with my own vigour ; I 
who hold the thunderbolt in my arms, I have made 

1 See Ralston's Riissian Folk- Talcs, p. 347, for similar Bulgarian 
legend about St. George. 


these all-brilliant waters to flow freely for man," we 
find an approach in them to some conception of that 
spiritual conflict of which the physical conflict was 
so complete a symbol. Indra as victor, is an object 
of adoration and invested with purity and goodness; 
Vritra, as the enemy of men, is an object of dread, 
and invested with malice and evil. 

But while in the Zend-Avesta, the Scriptures of 
the old Iranian religion, the struggle between Thrae- 
taona and the three-headed serpent Azhi-Dahaka (in 
which names are recognisable the Traitana and Ahi of 
the Veda and the Feridun and Zohak of Persian epic) 
is narrated, the moral idea is dominant throughout. 
The theme is not the attack of the sun-god to recover 
stolen milch cows from the dragon's cave, but the 
battle between Ormuzd, the Spirit of Light, and 
Ahriman, the Spirit of Darkness. The one seeks to 
mar the earth which the other has made. Into the 
fair paradise, Airayana-Vaejo, " a delightful spot," as 
the Avesta calls it, " with good waters and trees," 
and into other smiling lands which Ormuzd has 
blessed, Ahriman sends " a mighty serpent . . . 
strong, deadly frost . . . buzzing insects, and 
poisonous plants . . . toil and poverty," and, worse 
than all, " the curse of unbelief"^ Between these two 
spiritual powers and their armies of good and bad 
angels the battle rages for supremacy in the universe, 
for possession of the citadel of Mansoul. 

Early in the history of the Asiatic Aryan tribes 
there had arisen a quarrel between the Brahmanic 

^ Hang's Essays on the Farsis, tr. Vendiddd, pp. 225 ff. 


and Iranian divisions. The latter had become a 
quiet-loving, agricultural people, while the former 
remained marauding nomads, attacking and harass- 
ing their neighbours. In their plundering inroads 
they invoked the aid of spells and sacrifices, offering 
the sacred soma-juice to their gods, and nerving 
themselves for the fray by deep draughts of the 
intoxicating stuff. Not only they, but their gods as 
well, thereby became objects of hatred to the peaceful 
Iranians, who foreswore all worship of freebooter's 
deities, and transformed these devas of the old religion 
into demons. That religion, as common to the Indo- 
European race, was polytheistic, a worship of deities 
each ruling over some department of nature, but a 
worship exalting now one, now another god, be it 
Indra, or Varuna, or Agni, according to the indications 
of the deity's supremacy, or according to the mood of 
the worshipper. As remarked by Jacob Grimm, 
*' the idea of the devil is foreign to all primitive 
religions," obviously because in all primitive thought 
evil and good are alike regarded as the work of 
deities. In the Old Testament, Yahweh is spoken 
of as the author of both ;^ the angels, whether charged 
with weal or woe, are his messengers. In the 
Iliad Zeus dispenses both : — 

*' Two urns by Jove's high throne have ever stood, 
The source of evil one, the other good ; 
From thence the cup of mortal man he fills, 
Blessings to these, to those distribute ills, 
To most, he mingles both," ^ 

1 Cf. Isaiah xlv. 7, I Kings xxii. 21-23, Amos iii. 6. 

2 Iliad, Book xxiv. dd}^ ff., and cf. Lang's tr,, p. 494. 


and 'tis a far cry from this to the loftier conception 
of Euripides : " If the gods do evil, then are they no 
gods." So there was a monotheistic — or, as Professor 
Max Miiller terms it, a henotheistic — element in the 
Vedic religion which in the Iranian religion, and this 
mainly through the teaching of the great thinker 
and reformer Zarathushtra (Zoroaster), was largely 
diffused. In his endeavour to solve the old problem 
of reconciling sin and misery with omnipotent good- 
ness, he supposes " two primeval causes," one of 
which produced the " reality," or good mind ; the 
other the " non-reality," or evil mind. Behind these 
was developed belief in a philosophical abstraction, 
" uncreate time," of which each was the product ; but 
such doctrines were too subtle for the popular grasp, 
and, wrapped in the old mythological garb, they 
appeared in concrete form as dualism. Vritra sur- 
vived in Ahriman, who, like him, is represented as a 
serpent ; and in Ormuzd we have the phonetic de- 
scendant of Ahura-mazda. 

Now, it was with this dualism, this transformed 
survival of the sun and cloud myth, that the Jews 
came into association during their memorable exile 
in Babylon. Prior to that time their theology, as 
hinted above, had no devil in it. But in that belief 
in spirits which they held in common with all semi- 
civilised races, as a heritage from barbarous ancestors, 
there were the elements out of which such a person- 
ality might be readily evolved. Their satan, or 
" accuser," as that word means, is no prince of the 
demons, like the Beelzcbul of later times; no dragon 


or old serpent, as of the Apocalypse, defying Omni- 
potence and deceiving the whole world ; but a kind 
of detective who, by direction of Yahweh, has his 
eye on suspects, and who is sent to test their fidelity. 
In all his missions he acts as the intelligent and 
loyal servant of Yahweh. But although therefore 
not regarded as bad himself, the character and 
functions ;vith which he was credited made easy the 
transition from such theories about him to theories of 
him as inherently^^vil, as the enemy of goodness, and, 
therefore, (5r^God. He who, like Vritra, was an 
object of dread, came to be regarded as the incarna- 
tion of evil, the author and abettor of things harmful 
to man. Persian dualism gave concrete form to this 
conception, and from the time of the Exile we find 
Satan as the Jewish Ahriman, the antagonist of God. 
Not he alone, for " the angels that kept not their 
first estate " were the ministers of his evil designs, 
creatures so numerous that every one has 10,000 
at his right hand and 1000 at his left hand, and 
because they rule chiefly at night no man should 
greet another lest he salute a demon. They haunt 
lonely spots, often assume the shape of beasts, and it 
is their presence in the bodies of men and women 
which is the cause of madness and other diseases.^ 

From the period when the Apocryphal books, 
especially those having traces of Persian influence, 
were written,^ this doctrine of an arch-fiend with his 

^ Vide xny Jestcs of Nazareth, p. 144. 

^ Notably Tobii and Baruch, and cf. Book of Wisdom, ii. 24, for 
earliest indications of the belief. The Asmodeus of Tobit, iii. S and 17, 
appears to be the Aeshmo daevo of the Zend-Avesta. 


army of demons received increasing impetus. It 
passed on without check into the Christian religion, 
and wherever this spread the heathen gods, like the 
dcvas of Brahmanism among the Iranians, were 
degraded into demons, and swelled the vast crowd 
of evil spirits let loose to torment and ruin man- 

This doctrine of demonology, it should be re- 
membered, was but the elaborated form of ancestral 
belief in spirits referred to above. In the Christian 
system it was associated with that belief in magic 
which has its roots in fetishism, and from the two 
arose belief in witchcraft. The universal belief in 
demons in early and mediaeval times supplied an 
easy explanation of disasters and diseases ; the 
sorcerers and charm-workers, the wizards and en- 
chanters, had passed into the service of the devil. 
For power to work their spite and malevolence they 
had bartered their souls to him, and sealed the 
bargain with their blood. It was enough for the 
ignorant and frightened sufferers to accuse some poor, 
misshapen, squinting old woman of casting on them 
the evil eye, or of appearing in the form of a cat, to 
secure her trial by torture and her condemnation to 
an unpitied death. The spread of popular terror 
led to the issue of Papal bulls and to the passing of 
statutes in England and in other countries against 
witchcraft, and it was not until late in the eighteenth 
century that the laws against that imaginary crime 
were repealed. 

There is no sadder chapter in the annals of this 


tearful world than this ghastly story of witch-finding 
and witch-burning. Sprenger computes that during 
the Christian epoch no less than nine millions of 
persons, mostly women of the poorer classes, were 
burned ; victims of the survival into relatively civil- 
ised times of an illusion which had its source in 
primitive thought. It was an illusion which had the 
authority of Scripture on its side ;^ the Church had 
no hesitation concerning it ; such men as Luther, 
Sir Thomas Browne, and Wesley never doubted it ; 
the evidence of the bewitched was supported by 
honest witnesses ; and judges disposed to mercy and 
humanity had no qualms in passing the dread sen- 
tence of the law on the condemned.^ 

And although it exists not to-day, save in by- 
places where gross darkness lurks, it was not de- 
stroyed by argument, by disproof, by direct assault, 
but only through the quiet growth and diffusion 
of the scientific spirit, before which it has dis- 
persed. It could not live in an atmosphere thus 
purified, an atmosphere charged with belief in 
unchanging causation and in a definite order un- 
broken by caprice or fitfulness, whether in the 
sweep of a planet or the pulsations of a human 

Of course the antecedents of the arch-fiend him- 
self could not fail to be the subject of curious inquiry 
in the time when his existence was no matter of 

1 Exodus xxii. 18. 

2 For details of witch trials in this island cf. Mrs. Lynn Linton's 
Witch Stories, passim. 


doubt. The old theologians scraped together enough 
material about him from the sacred books of the 
Jews and Christians to construct an elaborate bio- 
graphy of him ; but in this they would seem to have 
explained too much in certain directions and not 
enough in others, thus provoking a reaction which 
ultimately discredited their painful research. Their 
genealogy of him was carried farther back than they 
intended or desired, for the popular notions credited 
him with both a mother and grandmother. Their 
theory of his fall from heaven gave rise to the droll 
conception of his lameness and to the legends of 
which the " devil on two sticks " is a type. Their 
infusion of foreign element into his nature aided his 
pictorial presentment in motley form and garb, as 
seen in the old miracle- plays. To Vedic descrip- 
tions of Vritra's darkness may perchance be traced 
his murkiness and blackness ; to Greek satyr and 
German forest-sprite his goat-like body, his horns, 
his cloven hoofs, his tail ; to Thor his red beard ; to 
dwarfs and goblins his red cloak and nodding plume ; 
to theories of transformation of men and spirits into 
animals his manifold metamorphoses, as black cat, 
wolf, hellhound, and the like. 

But his description was his doom ; it was by a 
natural sequence that the legends of mediaeval times 
present him, not, with the Scotch theologians, as a 
scholar and a swindler, disguising himself as a parson, 
but as gullible and stupid, as over-reaching himself^ 
and as befooled by mortals. And, like the Trolls of 
Scandinavian folk-lore who burst at sunrise, it needed 


only the full light thrown upon his origin and devel- 
opment by the researches of comparative mythologists 
to dissipate this creation of man's fears and fancies 
into the vaporous atmosphere where he had his birth. 

S IV. 


The cogency of the evidence concerning the 
development of belief in Satan out of light-and-dark- 
ness myths is generally admitted, but it is of a kind 
that must not be pushed too far. For the phases of 
Nature are manifold ; manifold also is the life of 
man ; and we must not lend a too willing ear to 
theories which refer the crude explanations of an 
unscientific age, when the whole universe is Wonder- 
land, to one source. Cave hoiuhicin unites libri, says 
the adage, and we may apply it, not only to the man 
of one book, but also to the man of one idea, in 
whom the sense of proportion is lacking, and who 
sees only that for which he looks. Here such caution 
is introduced as needful of exercise against the com- 
parative mythologists who, not content with show- 
ing — as abundant evidence warrants — that myth 
has its germs in the investment of the powers of 
nature with personal life and consciousness, contend 
that the great epics of our own and kindred races 
are, from their broadest features to minutest detail, 
but nature-myths obscured and transformed. 


Certain scholars, notably Professor Max Miiller, 
Sir G. W. Cox, and Professor de Gubernatis, as inter- 
preters of the myths of the Indo-European peoples, 
and Dr. Goldziher, as an interpreter of Hebrew myth 
and cognate forms, maintain that the names given in 
the mythopoeic age to the sun, the moon, and the 
changing scenery of the heaven as the fleeting forms 
and myriad shades passed over its face, lost their 
original signification wholly or partially, and came to 
be regarded as the names of veritable deities and 
men, whose actions and adventures are the disguised 
descriptions of the sweep of the thunder- charged 
clouds and of the victory of the hero-god over their 
light-engulfing forces. But it is better to state the 
theory in the words of its exponents, and for that 
purpose a couple of extracts from Sir George Cox's 
Mythology of the Aiyan Nations will suffice. 

In the spontaneous utterances of thoughts awakened by 
outward phenomena, we have the source of myths which must 
be regarded as primary. But it is obvious that such myths 
would be produced only so long as the words employed were 
used in their original meaning. If once the meaning of the 
word were either in part or wholly forgotten, the creation of a 
new personality under this name would become inevitable, and 
the change would be rendered both more certain and more 
rapid by the very wealth of words which were lavished on the 
sights and objects which most impressed their imagination. A 
thousand phrases would be used to describe the action of a 
beneficent or consuming sun, of the gentle or awful night, of 
the playful or furious wind ; and every word or phrase become 
the germ of a new story as soon as the mind lost its hold on 
the original force of the name. Thus, in the polyonymy (by 
which term Sir George Cox means the giving of several names 


to one object), which was the result of the eadiest form of 
human thought, we have the germ of the great epics of later 
times, and of the countless legends which make up the rich 
stores of mythical tradition . . . and the legends so framed 
constitute the class oi secondaiy myths (p. 42). 

Henceforth the words which had denoted the sun and 
moon would denote not merely living things but living persons. 
. . . Every word would become an attribute, and all ideas, 
once grouped round a single object, would branch off into dis- 
tinct personifications. The sun had been the lord of light, the 
driver of the chariot of the day ; he had toiled and laboured 
for the sons of men, and sunk down to rest, after a hard battle, 
in the evening. But now the lord of light would be Phoibos 
Apollon, while Helios would remain enthroned in his fiery 
chariot, and his toils and labours and death-struggles would be 
transferred to Herakles. The violet clouds which greet his 
rising and his setting would now be represented by herds of 
cows which feed in earthly pastures. There would be other 
expressions which would still remain as floating phrases, not 
attached to any definite deities. These would gradually be 
converted into incidents in the life of heroes, and be woven at 
length into systematic variations. Finally, these gods and 
heroes, and the incidents of their mythical career, would 
receive each " a local habitation and a name." These would 
remain as genuine history when the origin and meaning of 
the words had been either wholly or in part forgotten (p. 51). 

Such is the " solar m}'th " theory. " We can 
hardly," as Mr. Matthew Arnold says, " now look up 
at the sun without having the sensations of a moth," 
and if occasion has not been given to the adversary 
to blaspheme, he has been supplied with ample 
material for banter and ridicule. Some of the 
happiest illustrations of this are made by Mr. Foster 
in his amusing and really informing essay on " Nature 
Myths in Nursery Rhymes," reprinted in Lcis7ire 


Readings} an essay which it seems the immaculate 
critics took an serienx ! With a Httle exercise of 
one's invention, given also ability to parody, it will 
be found that many noted events, as well as the lives 
of the chief actors in them, yield results comforting 
to the solar mythologists. Not only the Volsungs 
and the Iliad, but the story of the Crusades and 
of the conquest of Mexico ; not only Arthur and 
Baldr, but Caesar and Bonaparte, may be readily 
resolved, as Professor Tyndall says we all shall be, 
" like streaks of morning cloud, into the infinite 
azure of the past." Dupuis, in his researches into the 
connection between astronomy and mythology, had 
suggested that Jesus was the sun, and the twelve 
apostles the zodiacal signs ; and Goldziher, analys- 
ing the records of a remote period, maintains the 
same concerning Jacob and his twelve sons. M. 
Senart has satisfied himself that Gotama, the 
Buddha, is a sun -myth. Archbishop Whately, to 
confound the sceptics, ingeniously disproved the ex- 
istence of Bonaparte ; and a French ecclesiastic has, 
by witty etymological analogies, shown that Napoleon 
is cognate with Apollo, the sun, and his mother 
Letitia identical with Leto, the mother of Apollo ; 
that his pei^soiinel of twelve marshals were the signs 
of the zodiac ; that his retreat from Moscow was a 
fiery setting, and that his emergence from Elba, to rule 
for twelve months, and then be banished to St. Helena, 
is the sun rising out of the eastern waters to set in 
the western ocean after twelve hours' reign in the sky. 

^ Knoivlcdge Library. 


But upon this solar theory let us cite what Dr. Tylor, 
whose soberness of judgment renders him a valuable 
guide along the zigzag path of human progress, says : 
" The close and deep analogies between the life of 
nature and the life of man have been for ages dwelt 
upon by poets and philosophers, who, in simile or in 
argument, have told of light and darkness, of calm 
and tempest, of birth, growth, change, decay, dis- 
solution, renewal. But no one-sided interpretation 
can be permitted to absorb into a single theory such 
endless many-sided correspondences as these. Rash 
inferences which, on the strength of mere resem- 
blance, derive episodes of myth from episodes of 
nature, must be regarded with utter mistrust, for the 
student who has no more stringent criterion than this 
for his myths of sun and sky and dawn, will find 
them wherever it pleases him to seek them." 

The investigations of comparative mythologists, 
more particularly in this country and Germany, have 
thrown such valuable light on the history of ideas, 
that it will be instructive to learn what excited 
the inquiry. The researches of Niebuhr and his 
school into the credibility of early history made 
manifest that the only authority on which the chron- 
iclers relied w^as tradition. To them — children of an 
uncritical age — that tradition was venerable with the 
lapse of time, and binding as a revelation from the 
gods. To us the charm and interest of it lie in 
detecting within it the ancient deposit of a mytho- 
poeic period, and in deciphering from it what manner 

of men they must have been among whom such 



explanation of the beginnings had credence. And 
in such an inquiry nothing can be " common or 
unclean," nothing too trivial or puerile for analysis ; 
for where the most grotesque and impossible are 
found, there we are nearer to the conditions of which 
we would know more. 

The serious endeavour to get at the fact under- 
lying the fabulous was extended to the great 
body of mythology which had not been incorporated 
into history, and the interpretations of which satisfied 
only those who suggested them. As hinted already, 
the Greeks had sought out the meaning of their 
myths, with here and there a glimpse of the truth 
gained ; but this was confined to the philosophers 
and poets. Euhemeros degraded them into dull 
chronicle, making Herakles a thief who carried off 
a crop of oranges ; Jove a king crushing rebellion ; 
Atlas an astronomer ; Python a freebooter ; ^olus 
a weather-wise seaman, and so on. Plutarch tried to 
"restore" them, but only defaced them, and after 
centuries of neglect they were discovered by Lord 
Bacon to be allegories with a moral. Then Banier 
and Lempriere emptied out of them what little life 
Euhemeros had left, and the believers in Hebrew as 
the original speech of mankind saw in them the 
fragments of a universal primitive revelation ! Even 
Professor Max M tiller is so upset by the many loath- 
some and revolting stories in a mythology current 
in the land of Lykurgos and Solon, such as the 
marriage of his mother Jocasta by CEdipus, and the 
swallowing of his own children by Cronus, that he 


inquires (as if he half believed it possible) whether 
there was not "a period of temporary insanity through 
which the human mind had to pass," and a degrada- 
tion from lovely metaphor to coarse fact which only 
a " disease of language," or the confusion arising from 
the forgotten meanings of words, explains. There is 
no need, however, for assumptions of this or of any 
other kind. This is best shown by a summary of 
facts which led, more or less directly, to the formula- 
tion of the solar theory. 

Some fifty years ago a good many idle specu- 
lations, products of a reverent and uncurbed fancy 
concerning Hebrew as the primitive speech of man- 
kind, were laid to rest when the sober guess of 
Schlegel as to the connection of the leading lan- 
guages of Europe and those of India and Persia, 
was converted into certainty by Bopp, Jacob Grimm, 
Schleicher, and later scholars. 

By the application of the comparative method to 
philology, i.e. the interpretation of any set of facts 
by comparison with corresponding facts, due allow- 
ance being made for differences which Grimm's law 
(see infra) explains, the relation of Greek, Latin, 
Slavonic, Teutonic, and Keltic to one another and 
to Indian and Persian, and their consequent descent 
from a common parent language, was proved. To 
this group the term Aryan (from a Sanskrit word 
cognate with the root ar^ our English word ear., to 
plough), is given, a term which ancient records show 
was applied by the Asiatic Aryans to themselves as 
the lords of the soil, the dominant race. The names 


Indo-Germanic, and, more appropriately as roughly 
defining the peoples included thereunder, Indo-Euro- 
pean, have been suggested in its stead, but Aryan, as 
the more convenient term, has come into general use. 

The survival of grammatical forms common to 
the Aryan ancestors, and the likeness between words 
necessary for daily use, evidenced to one parent 
primitive speech, and, passing from words to the 
ideas and things which they connoted, philologists 
were able to infer what manner of men these Aryans 
were, and under what conditions they dwelt. In the 
enthusiasm excited by so brilliant a discovery the 
soberest scholars were apt to over-colour their accu- 
rately-outlined picture of old Aryan life ; to read 
modern meanings into the ancient words. But, 
making good allowance for this, the sketch which 
was presented in Max Miiller's famous paper on Coin- 
parative Mythology^ remains a credit to scholarship in 
its vivid generalisations from immaterial data. 

Professor Max Miiller, in agreement with Pictet 
and others, placed the original settlement of the 
Aryans as probably in the region between the 
Hindu Kush Mountains and the Caspian Sea. 
But the opinion of later scholars of cooler judg- 
ment leans to Europe rather than to Asia as 
the primitive home of the Aryan tribes. The 
scanty hints which survive point to a larger 
acquaintance with European flora and fauna than 
with Asiatic ; to a southward course, whilst silent 
about westward migration ; the movement of races 

^ Vide Chips^ ii. I -146. 


inclines from less genial to more genial zones ; the 
traditions of certain branches, as the Greeks, tell of 
them as autochthones, or born on the soil where 
they are found ; and the judgment of experts is 
decisive as to the greater nearness of the European 
languages to the original speech as contrasted with 
Sanskrit and Iranian. These are the principal 
reasons adduced in support of the theory of a 
European origin. Benfey places the old Aryan 
home in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea, 
Schrader and Geiger in Middle Germany, Karl 
Penka in Scandinavia. But in speculating on the 
exact habitation of congeries of tribes requiring vast 
tracts of country for support, no rigid boundaries can 
be fixed, and there is room for the play of both 
theories, the more so as theories they must remain.^ 

At the back of this unsettled question lies the 
interesting subject of the civilisation of pre-Aryan 
races on the European -Asiatic Continent. In the 
Newer Stone Age this continent was inhabited 
by races of short stature, with long and narrow 
skulls, and probably dark complexions, races whom 
the Aryans, a tall, round-skulled, fair-complexioned 
race, conquered, and with whom they so largely 
intermingled that the varieties of fair and dark 
people in Europe at this day, speaking an Aryan 
language, are past finding out. Indeed, there are 
probably no unmixed races throughout Europe and 
Asia ; the conquering race imposed its language on 

1 Cf. Professor Keane's Appendix to Sir A. C. Ramsay's Europe, 
P- 557- 


the conquered, and thus is explained the community 
of speech without community of race which must be 
recognised in the composite European peoples. 

With this qualification the kinship of the Aryan- 
language -speaking peoples is demonstrated, and the 
like kind of evidence by which this is proved has been 
applied to establish the identity of their mythologies, 
legends, and folk-tales. The meaning of the proper 
names of these once determined, the key to the 
meaning of the myth or tale was clear ; because, it is 
contended, the names contain the germs or oldest 
surviving part. This is to make the last first ; but 
the result, as already shown in the Aryan light-and 
darkness myths, has been to bring out a few striking 
correspondences in Greek and Vedic names, although 
by no means so intimate and frequent as the solar 
mythologists assume. The uniform behaviour of the 
untutored mind before like phenomena to which bar- 
baric myth witnesses prepares us for general corre- 
spondences, but not in such details as we find in the 
Aryan group. On what theory these, notably in 
the case of the folk-tales, are to be accounted for, 
it is not easy to say, for the mode of their diffusion 
from India to Iceland is obscure. But the fact 
abides that nursery stories told in Norway and 
Tyrol, in Scotland and the Deccan, are identical. 
After allowing for local colouring and for changes 
incident to the lapse of time, they are the variants 
of stories presumably related in the Aryan father- 
land at a period historically remote, and, moreover, 
are told in words which are phonetically akin. Their 


resemblances in minor incident and detail are not 
easily explained by theories of borrowing, for ap- 
parently no trace of intercourse between the Asiatic 
Aryans and the Aryans of extreme Western Europe 
occurs until after the domiciling of the stories where 
we find them. Nor did they with such close resem- 
blances as appear between the German Faithful 
John and the Hindu Rama and Luxman; between 
our own Cinderella, the German Aschenputtel and 
the Hindu Sodewa Bai, spring native from their 
respective soils.^ And there is just that unlikeness 
in certain details which might be expected from the 
different positions and products of the several Aryan 
lands. They explain, for example, the absence from 
Scandinavian folk-tale of creatures like the elephant, 
the giant, ape, and turtle, which figure in the Brah- 

When we turn to the great Aryan epics, the 
Iliad 2A\A the Odyssey ; X^o^ Volsungs; \\\q Nib dungs; 
King Aj'tJinr and Jus Round Table ; the Ramdyand 
and the MaJid Bhdratd ; the Shah Nanieh, and so 
forth, we find similarities of incident and episode 
which point to a common derivation from old 
Aryan myth. That common synonyms occur in 
cognate languages is to be expected, but so far 
as the names and the characteristics of the heroes 
and heroines are concerned, the phonetic identity 
is proven in a far less number of cases than the 
solar mythologists, working on their too exclu- 

1 Cf. "Little Saddlehurst " in Mr. Geldart's Folk-lore of Modern 
Greece, p. 27. 


sive method, argue. The key which for them un- 
locks the meaning- of every Aryan myth is Sanskrit. 
In tracing the history of the Indo-European family 
of speech, it served as the starting-point, because it 
has more than any other member preserved the 
roots and suffixes, if not in their oldest, still in their 
most accessible form. And in tracing the course of 
Indo-European mythology, it is in the Vedic texts, 
chiefly the most ancient, the Rig- Veda, that we 
find the materials for comparative study, since in 
these venerable hymns of a Bible older than our 
own are preserved the earliest recorded forms of 
that mythology. That is to say, we have not in 
any European branch of Aryan speech any docu- 
mentary relic of the age of the Rig- Veda, other- 
wise we might find ourselves in possession of more 
ancient relics of that speech. So that although the 
value of Sanskrit as the guide without which know- 
ledge of the Aryan mother- tongue would have 
remained vague, indeed have been beyond reach, 
cannot be over-estimated, we must not accept as 
of universal worth what is local and special in it.^ 

The phonetic kinship and actual identity which 
comparative philologists have sought to establish be- 
tween the proper names of gods and heroes of the 
Greek and Vedic mythologies (for the inquiry has 
been chiefly restricted to these two), is based on the 
collection of rules by which we can at once tell what 
sounds in one language correspond to those of its 

^ Cf. on this matter Whitney's Oriental and Linguistic Studies, 
p. 203. 


kindred tongues, called, after its discoverer, ''Grimm's 
Law." This law gave the quietus to theories of 
common origin and variation of words based on 
specious resemblances (theories satirised by Dean 
Swift in his derivation of ostler from oatstealcr), and 
introduced a scientific method into etymological 

The varying pronunciation of certain words among 
the Aryan-speaking peoples which were common to 
them was discovered by Grimm to be constant ; for 
example, a Greek th answers to an English d, and, 
vice versa, a German s or z to an English /, and so 
forth, so that by comparing these altered forms the 
common form from which they spring is reached. 

At vaiat fluent period in the history of the Aryan 
languages these changes of one sound into another 
were induced is unknown, nor are their precise 
causes easy of ascertainment, being referable to 
physical influences, climatal and local, which in the 
course of time brought about changes in the organs 
of speech, such, for example, as make our tk so 
difficult of pronunciation to a German, in whose 
language d takes its place, as drci for three, diirstig 
for t Jar sty, dein for tJdne, etc. We may note tend- 
encies to variation in children of the same household, 
their prattle often affording striking illustration of 
Grimm's law, and it is easy to see that among semi- 
civilised and isolated tribes, where no check upon 
the variations is imposed, they would tend to become 
fixed and give rise to new dialects. 

Tracing the operation of that law in the changes 


in proper names in Greek and Vcdic mythology, 
their correlation is proved in a few important in- 
stances. The Greek Zeus, the Latin Deics (whence 
French Dicic and our deity, and also deuce), the Lithu- 
anian Diewas, and the Sanskrit DyaiLS all come from 
an old Aryan root, div or dyti, meaning " to shine." 
The Sanskrit dyit as a noun means "sky" or "day," 
and in the Veda Dyaiis is the bright sky or heaven. 
Varuna, the noblest figure in the Vedic religion, the 
"enveloper" or all-surrounding heaven, is cognate 
with the Greek Ouranos or Uranus, the common root 
being var, ''to veil" or "cover." Agni, the fire-god, 
to whom the larger number of hymns occur in the 
Veda, is related to the Latin ignis, fire, and so forth. 
The heavens and the earth and all that in them 
is are the raw material on which man works, and the 
comparative philologists have established exactly 
what might have been predicated, the nature-origin 
of the Greek, Vedic, and other Aryan myths. They 
might well have rested content with this confirma- 
tion which their method gives to results arrived at 
by other methods, and not weakened or discredited it 
by applying it all round to every leading name in 
Aryan myth. For this has only revealed the funda- 
mental differences among themselves as to the ety- 
mologies and meanings of such names. But not 
satisfied with the demonstration that the majestic 
epics have their germs in the phenomena of the 
natural world, and the course of the day and year, 
they strain the evidence by contending that " there 
is absolutely nothing left for further analysis in the 


stories;" that their "resemblances in detail defy the 
influences of climate and scenery;"^ that every 
incident has its birth in the journey of the sun, the 
death of the dawn, the theft of the twilight by the 
powers of darkness, evidence which, in Sir George 
Cox's words, " not long hence will probably be re- 
garded as excessive." 

They are nature -myths ; but, and in this is the 
secret of their enduring life, they are much more 
than that. The impetus that has shaped them as 
we now know them came from other forces than 
clouds and storms. 

Without such caution as these remarks are de- 
signed to supply, any reader of the Mythology of the 
Aryan Nations would conclude that the philological 
method had proved the meteorological origin of 
every epic and folk-tale among the Indo-European 
peoples. He would learn that, in a way rudely 
analogous to the supernatural guidance of the 
Christian Church, the several Aryan tribes had re- 
ceived from the fathers of the race an unvarying 
canon of interpretation of the primitive myths, a 
canon seemingly preserved with the jealous venera- 
tion with which the Jew regarded the TJioraJi, and 
the Brahman the Veda. He would also learn that 
the details of Norse and classic myth can be traced 
to the Vcda^ that these details, not of incident alone, 
but of thought and expression, survived unimpaired 
by time and untouched by circumstance, whilst, 
strange to say, the more prominent names and the 

^ Mythology of the Aryan Nations, i. loS. 


leading characters became obscured in their meaning. 
Strange indeed, and not true. For what are the 
facts ? 

Long before the hymns of the Rig- Veda existed 
as we know them (and they have remained an in- 
violate sacred text since 600 B.C., when every verse, 
word, and syllable were counted) the Aryan tribes 
had swarmed from their parent hive across boundless 
steppes and over winding mountain passes, some to 
the westward limits of Europe, others southward into 
Hindustan. Among the slender intellectual capital 
of which they stood possessed was the common 
mythology of their savage ancestors, in which, as we 
have seen, sun and moon, storm and thunder-cloud, 
and all other natural phenomena, were credited with 
personal life and will. But that mythology had 
certainly advanced beyond the crude primitive form 
and entered the heroic stage, wherein the powers of 
nature were half human, half divine. Their language 
had passed into the inflective or highest stage, and 
had undergone such changes that the relationship 
between its several groups and their origin from one 
mother-tongue was obscured, and remained so until 
laid bare in our day. In short, the Aryan tribes 
had attained no mean state of civilisation, some being 
more advanced than the others, according as external 
circumstances helped or hindered, and one by one 
they passed from the condition of semi -civilised 
nomads to become fathers and founders of nations 
that abide to this day. 

These being the facts to which language itself 

myth: its birth and growth. 77 

bears witness, how was it possible for their myth- 
ologies, i.e. their stock of notions about things, to 
remain unaffected and secure of transmission without 
organic change ? The myths, unfixed in literary 
form, yielded themselves with ease as vehicles of new 
ideas ; their ancient meaning, already faded, paled 
before the all-absorbing significance of present facts. 
These were more potent realities than the kisses of 
the dawn ; the human and the personal, in its strug- 
gles, of mightier interest than the battle of rosy morn 
or purple eve with the sons of thunder ; and Homer's 
music would long since have died away were Achilles' 
"baneful wrath" but a passively-told tale of the sun's 
grief for the loss of the morning. 

In brief, the complex and varying influences which 
have transformed the primitive myth are the im- 
portant factors which the solar theorists have omitted 
in their attempted solution of the problem. They 
have forgotten the part which, to borrow a term from 
astronomy, "personal equation" has played. They 
have not examined myth in the light of the long 
history of the race ; and the new elements which it 
took into itself, while never wholly ridding itself of 
the old, have escaped them. They have secured a 
mechanical unity, whereas, by combination of the 
historical with their own method, they might have 
secured a vital unity. 

To all which classic myth itself bears record. 
The Greeks were of Aryan stock, but the time of 
their settlement is unknown. The period between 
this and the Homeric age was, however, long enough 


to admit of their advance to the state of a nation 
rejoicing in the fuhiess of intellectual life. They 
remembered not from what rock they were hewn, 
from what pit they were digged. The nature-gods 
of their remote ancestors had long since changed 
their meteorological character, and appeared in the 
likeness of men, or, at least, played very human 
pranks on Olympus. In the Veda the primitive' 
nature -myth, although exalted and purified, is per- 
sistent ; under one name or another it is still the 
ceaseless battle between the darkness and the light ; 
Dyaus was still the bright sky, the cattle of Siva 
were still the clouds. But the Greek of Homer's 
time, and his congener in the far north, had forgotten 
all that ; the war in heaven was transferred to the 
strife of gods and men on the shores of the Helles- 
pont and by the bleak seaboard of the Baltic. Their 
gods and goddesses, improved by age and experience, 
put off their physical and put on the ethical ; the 
heaven-father became king of gods and men, source 
of order, law, and justice ; the sun and the dawn, 
Apollo and Athene, became wisdom, skill, and 
guardianship incarnate. And the story of human 
vicissitudes found in solar myth that " pattern of 
things in the heavens" which conformed to its design. 
Thus Homer, in whose day the old nature-myth 
had become confused with the vague traditions of 
veritable deeds of kings and heroes but dimly re- 
membered, touched it as with heavenly fire un- 
quenchable. The siege of Troy, so say the solar 
mythologists, " is a repetition of the daily siege of the 


east by the solar powers that every evening are 
robbed of their highest treasures in the west." It is 
surely a truer instinct which, recognising the physical 
framework of the great epics, feels that the vitality 
which inheres in them is due to whatever of human 
experience, joy, and sorrow is the burden of their 
immortal song. As to the repulsive features of 
Greek myth, one can neither share the distress of 
the solar theorists nor feel their difficulties. Both 
are self-created, and are aggravated by suggestions, 
serious or otherwise, of " periods of temporary in- 
sanity through which the human mind had to pass," 
as the rude health of childhood is checked by whoop- 
ing-cough and measles. They are explained by the 
persistence with which the lower out of which man 
has emerged asserts itself, as primary rocks pierce 
through and overlap later strata. 

The ancestors of the Aryans were savages in the 
remote past, and the " old Adam " was never entirely 
cast out ; indeed it is with us still. There are super- 
stitions and credulities in our midst, in drawing- 
rooms as well as gipsy camps, quite as gross in 
nature, if less coarse in guise, as those extant among 
the Greeks. The future historian of our time, as 
he turns over the piles of our newspapers, will find 
contrasts of ignorance and culture as startling as 
any existing in the land of Homer, of Archimedes, 
and Aristotle. Spirit-rapping and belief in the " evil 
eye " have their cult among us, although Professor 
Huxley's Hmne can be bought for two shillings, 
and knowledge has free course. And it certainly 


accords best with all that we have learnt as to the 
mode of human progress to believe that the old 
lived into the new, than that the old had been cast 
out, but had gained re-entry, making the last state of 
the Greeks to be worse than the first. 

In this matter the Vedic hymns do not help us 
much. The conditions under which they took the 
form that insured their transmission are ipso facto as 
of yesterday, compared with the period during which 
man's endeavour was made to get at that meaning of 
his surroundings wherein is found the germ of myth 
throughout the world. They are the products of 
a relatively highly-civilised time ; the conception of 
sky and dawn as living persons has passed out of its 
primitive simplicity ; these heavenly powers have 
become complex deities ; there is much confounding 
of persons, the same god called by one or many 
names. The thought is that of an age when moral 
problems have presented themselves for solution, and 
the references to social matters indicate a settled 
state of things far removed from the fisher and the 
hunter stage. Nevertheless there lurk within these 
sacred writings survivals of the lower culture, traces 
of coarse rites, bloody sacrifices, of repulsive myths 
of the gods, and of cosmogonies familiar to the 
student of barbaric myth and legend. 

Enough has been said to show that the extreme 
and one-sided interpretations of the solar mythologists 
are due to a one-sided method. The philological has 
yielded splendid results ; this the solar theorists have 
done ; the historical yields results equally rich and 


fertile ; this they have left undone. Language has 
given us the key to the kinship between the several 
members of the great body of Aryan myths ; the study 
of the historical evolution of myths, the comparison of 
these, without regard to affinity of speech, will give 
us the key to the kinship between savage interpreta- 
tion of phenomena all the world over. The mytho- 
logy of Greek and Bushman, of Kaffir and Scandi- 
navian, of the Red man and the Hindu, springs from 
the like mental condition. It is the uniform and 
necessary product of the human mind in the child- 
hood of the race. 

§ V. 


The belief that human beings could change them- 
selves into animals has been already alluded to, but 
in view of its large place in the history of illusions, 
some further reference is needful. 

Superstitions which now excite a smile, or which 
seem beneath notice, were no sudden phenomena, 
appearing now and again at the beck and call of 
wilful deceivers of their kind. That they survive at 
all, like organisms, atrophied or degenerate, which 
have seen " better days," is evidence of remote anti- 
quity and persistence. Every seeming vagary of the 
mind had serious importance, and answered to some 
real need of man as a sober attempt to read the 
riddle of the earth, and get at its inmost secret. 



So with this belief. It is the outcome of that 
j early thought of man which conceived a common 
i nature and fellowship between himself and brutes, a 
conception based on rude analogies between his own 
and other forms of life, as also between himself and 
things without life, but having motion, be they water- 
spouts or rivers, trees or clouds, especially these last, 
when the wind, in violent surging and with howling 
voice, drove them across the sky. Where he blindly, 
timidly groped, we walk as in the light, and with 
love that casts out fear. Where rough resemblances 
suggested to him like mental states and actions in 
man and brute, the science of our time has, under the 
comparative method, converted the guess into a 
certainty ; not to the confirmation of his conclusions, 
but to the proof of identity of structure and function, 
to the demonstrating of a common origin, however 
now impassable the chasm that separates us from the 
lower animals. 

The belief in man's power to change his form and 
nature is obviously nearly connected with the wide- 
spread doctrine of metempsychosis, or the passing of 
the soul at death into one or a series of animals, 
generally types of the dead man's character, as where 
the timid enter the body of a hare, the gluttonous 
that of a swine or vulture. 

" Fills with fresh energy another form, 
And towers an elephant or glides a worm ; 
Swims as an eagle in the eye of noon, 
Or wails a screech-owl to the deaf, cold moon. 
Or haunts the brakes where serpents hiss and glare, 
Or hmiis, a glittering insect, in the air." 

myth: its birth and growth 83 

But while in transmigration the soul returns not 
to the body which it had left, transformation was 
only for a time, occurring at stated periods, and 
effected by the will of the transformed, or by the 
aid of sorcery or magic, or sometimes imposed by the 
gods as a punishment for impious defiance and sin. 

Other causes, less remote, aided the spread of a 
belief to which the mind was already inclined. 
Among these were the hallucinations of men who 
believed themselves changed into beasts, and who, 
retreating to caves and forests, issued thence howling 
and foaming, ravening for blood and slaughter ; hallu- 
cinations which afflicted not only single persons, as 
in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, whose milder mono- 
mania (he, himself, saying in the famous prize 
poem : — 

"As he ate the unwonted food, 
' It may be wholesome, but it is not good ' "), 

rather resembled that of the daughters of Prsetus, 
who believed themselves cows, but which also spread 
as virulent epidemic among whole classes. It is 
related that, in 1600, multitudes were attacked by 
the disease known as lycanthropy, or wolf-madness 
(from Greek, hikos^ a wolf, and anthropos^ a man), and 
that they herded and hunted in packs, destroying 
and eating children, and keeping in their mountain 
fastnesses a cannibal or devil's sabbath, like the 
nocturnal meetings of witches and demons known 
as the Witches' Sabbath. Hundreds of them 
were executed on their own confession, but some 


time elapsed before the frightful epidemic, and the 
panic which it caused, passed away. Besides such 
delusions, history down to our own time records 
instances where a morbid innate craving for 
blood, leading sometimes to cannibalism, has shown 
itself. Mr. Baring-Gould, in his Book of Were- 
wolves^ cites a case from Gall of a Dutch priest who 
had such a desire to kill and to see killed that he 
became chaplain to a regiment for the sake of wit- 
nessing the slaughter in battle. But still more 
ghastly are the notorious cases of Elizabeth, a 
Hungarian lady of title, who inveigled girls into her 
castle and murdered them, that she might bathe her 
body in human blood to enhance her beauty ; and 
of the Marechal de Retz who, cursed with the 
abnormal desire to murder children, allured them 
with promises of dainties into his kitchen, and killed 
them, inhaling the odour of their blood with delight, 
and then burned their bodies in the huge fireplace 
in the room devoted to these horrors. When the 
deed was done the Marechal would lie prostrate 
with grief, " would toss weeping and praying on a 
bed, or recite fervent prayers and litanies on his 
knees, only to rise with irresistible craving to repeat 
the crime." 

Such instances as the foregoing, whether of delu- 
sion or morbid desire to destroy, are among second- 
ary causes ; they may contribute, but they do not 
create, being inadequate to account for the world- 
wide existence of transformation myths. The animals 
which are the supposed subject of these vary with 


the habitat, but are always those which have inspired 
most dread from their ferocity. In Abyssinia we 
find the man-hysena ; in South Africa, the man-Hon ; 
in India, the man-tiger ; in Northern Europe, the 
man-bear ; and in other parts of Europe the man- 
wolf, or werewolf (from A.-S. wcr^ a man). 

Among the many survivals of primitive thought 
in the Greek mythology, which are the only key to 
its coarser features, this of belief in transformation 
occurs, and, indeed, along the whole line of human 
development it appears and re-appears in forms more 
or less vivid and tragic. The gods of the south, as 
of the north, came down in the likeness of beasts 
and birds, as well as of men, and among the refer- 
ences to these myths in classic writers, Ovid, in the 
Metamorphoses, tells the story of Zeus visiting Lykaon, 
king of Arcadia, who placed a dish of human flesh 
before the god to test thereby his omniscience. Zeus 
detected the trick, and punished the king by chang- 
ing him into a wolf, so that his desire might be 
towards the food which he had impiously offered to 
his god. 

" In vain he attempted to speak ; from that very instant 
His jaws were bespluttered with foam, and only he thirsted 
For blood, as he raged amongst flocks and panted for 

His vesture was changed into hair, his limbs became crooked. 
A wolf — he retains yet large traces of his ancient expression, 
Hoary he is as afore, his countenance rabid, 
His eyes glitter savagely still, the picture of fury." 

But we may pass from this and such-like tales of 


the ancients to the grim reaHties of the belief in 
mediaeval times. 

If wolves abounded, much more did the werewolf 
abound. According to Olaus Magnus, the sufferings 
which the inhabitants of Prussia and neighbouring 
nations endured from wolves were trivial compared 
with the ravages wrought by men turned into wolves. 
On the feast of the Nativity, these monsters were 
said to assemble and then disperse in companies to 
kill and plunder. Attacking lonely houses, they 
devoured all the human beings and every other 
animal found therein. " They burst into the beer- 
cellars and there they empty the tuns of beer or 
mead, and pile up the empty casks one above an- 
other in the middle of the cellar, thus showing their 
difference from natural wolves." In Scandinavia it 
was believed that some men had a second skin out 
of which they could slip and appear in the shape 
of a beast. Perhaps the phrase " to jump out of 
one's skin " is a relic of this notion. The Romans 
believed that the werewolf simply effected the change 
by turning his skin inside out, hence the term " ver- 
sipellis," or " skin-changer." So in mediaeval times 
it was said that the wolf's skin was under the human, 
and the unhappy suspects were hacked and tortureel 
for signs of such hairy growth. Sometimes the 
change was induced, it is said, by putting on a girdle 
of human skin round the waist ; sometimes by the 
use of magical ointment. Whatever the animal 
whose shape a man took could do, that he could do, 
plus such power as he possessed in virtue of his 


manhood or acquired by sorcery, his eyes remaining 
as the only features by which he could be recognised 
If he was not changed himself, some charm was 
wrought on the eyes of onlookers whereby they 
could see him only in the shape which he was sup- 
posed to assume. The genuine monomaniacs aided 
such an illusion. The poor demented one who con- 
ceived himself a dog or a wolf, who barked, and 
snapped, and foamed at the mouth, and bit savagely 
at the flesh of others, was soon clothed by a terror- 
stricken fancy in the skin of either brute, and be- 
lieved to have the canine or lupine appetite in 
addition to his human cunning. The imagination 
thus projects in visible form the spectres of its crea- 
tion ; the eye in this, as in so much else, sees the 
thing for which it looks. Some solid foundation for 
the belief would, however, exist in the custom among 
warriors of dressing themselves in the skins of beasts 
to add to their ferocious appearance. And it was 
amidst such that the remarkable form of mania in 
Northern Europe known as the Berscrkr rage (" bear- 
sark " or " bear-skin " wearer) arose. Working them- 
selves by the aid of strong drink or drugs and con- 
tagious excitement into a frenzy, these freebooters of 
the Northland sallied forth to break the backbones 
and cleave the skulls of quiet folk and unwary 
travellers. As with flashing eyes and foaming 
mouth they yelled and danced, seemingly endowed 
with magic power to resist assault by sword or club, 
they aroused in the hysterically disposed a like mad- 
ness, which led to terrible crimes, and which died 


away only as the killing of one's fellows became less 
the business of life. History supplies many examples 
of strange mental epidemics which sped through towns 
and provinces in mediaeval times. They were induced 
by religious enthusiasm and other extreme and harm- 
ful forms of mental stimulation, the most notorious 
being the great St. Vitus' dance, and the procession 
of Flagellants, to which in their mad orgies the 
hysterical ceremonies of barbarous tribes correspond. 
Of that tendency towards imitation which these 
freaks of erratic and unbalanced minds foster Dr. 
Carpenter^ quotes an illustration from Zimmerman. 
A nun in a large convent in France began to mew like 
a cat, and shortly afterwards other nuns also mewed. 
At last all the nuns mewed every day at a given 
time and for several hours together. And this cat's 
concert was only stopped by the military arriving 
and threatening to whip the nuns. 

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the 
belief in men-beasts reached its maximum, and met 
with no tender treatment at the hands of a church 
whose founder had manifested such soothing pity 
towards the " possessed " of Galilee and Jud?ea. 
That church had a cut-and-dried explanation of the 
whole thing, and applied a sharp and pitiless remedy. 
If the devil, with countless myrmidons at his com- 
mand, was " going to and fro in the earth, and walk- 
ing up and down in it," what limit could be put to 
his ingenuity and arts ? Could he not as easily 
change a man into a wolf or a bear as a woman into 

^ Mental Physiology, p. 315. 


a cat ? and had not each secured this by a compact 
with him, the foe of God and His Church ? The 
evidence in support of the one was as clear and 
cogent as in support of the other ; hence werewolf 
hunting and burning became as Christian a duty and 
as paying a profession as witch-smelling and tortur- 
ing. Any cruelty was justified by its perpetrators 
when the object in view was the vindication of the 
majesty of God ; and not until the advancing in- 
telligence of men recoiled against the popular ex- 
planations of witchcraft and lycanthropy were the 
laws against both repealed. 

Those explanations were survivals of savage 
mental philosophy blended with a crude theology. 
To the savage, all diseases are the work of evil spirits. 
If a man hurts himself against a stone, the demon in 
the stone is the cause. If the man falls suddenly 
ill, writhes or shrieks in his pain, the spirit which has 
smuggled itself in with the food or the drink or the 
breath is twisting or tearing him ; if he has a fit, the 
spirit has flung him ; if he is in the frenzy of hysteria, 
the spirit within him is laughing in fiendish glee. And 
when the man suddenly loses his reason, goes, as 
people say, " out of his mind," acts and looks no 
longer like his former self, still more does this seem 
the work of an evil agent within him. It is kindred 
with the old belief that the sickly and ugly infant 
had been left in the cradle by the witch in place of 
the child stolen by her before its baptism.^ And the 

^ Spenser says — 
** Such, men do changelings call, so changed by fairies' theft." 


thing to do is to find some mode of conjuring or 
frightening or forcing the demon out of the man, 
just as it became a sacred duty to watch over the 
newly- born until the sign of the cross had been 
made on its forehead, and the regenerating water 
sprinkled over it. 

" Presbyter is but old priest writ large." And the 
theory of demoniacal agency was but the savage 
theory in a more elaborate guise. To theologians 
and jurists it was a sufficing explanation ; it fitted in 
with the current notions of the government of the 
universe, and there was no need to frame any other. 
Body and mind were to them as separate entities as 
they are to the savage and the ignorant. Each re- 
garded the soul as independent of the body, and framed 
his theories of occasional absence therefrom accord- 
ingly. But science has taught us to know ourselves 
not as dual, but as one. She lays her finger on the 
subtle, intricate framework of man's nervous system, 
and finds in the derangement of this the secret of 
those delusions and illusions which have been so 
prolific in agony and suffering. She makes clear 
how the yielding to morbid tendencies can still 
foster delusions, which, if no longer the subject of 
pains and penalties in the body politic, are them- 
selves ministers of vengeance in the body where 
they arise. And in the recognition of a fundamental 
unity between the physical and the mental, in the 
healthy working of the one as dependent on the 
wholesome care of the other, she finds not only the 
remedy against mental derangement and all forms of 


harmful excitement, but also the prevention which is 
better than cure. 

Traditions of transformation of men into beasts 
are not confined to the Old world. -^ In Dr. Rink's 
Tales of the Eskimo there are numerous stories 
both of men and women who have assumed animal 
form at will, as also incidental references to the belief 
in stories such as that telling how an Eskimo got 
inside a walrus skin, so that he might lead the life of 
that creature. And among the Red races, that rough 
analogy which led to the animal being credited with 
life and consciousness akin to the human, still 
expresses itself in thought and act. If even now it 
is matter of popular belief in the wilds of Norway 
that Finns and Lapps, who from remote times have 
passed as skilful witches and wizards, can at pleasure 
assume the shape of bears, the common saying, accord- 
ing to Sir George Dasent, about an unusually daring 
and savage beast being, " that can be no Christian 
bear," we may not be surprised that lower races still 
ascribe power of interchange to man and brute. 
The werewolf superstition is extant among the 
North- Western Indians, but free from those diaboli- 
cal features which characterised it in mediaeval times 
among ourselves. It takes its place in barbaric 
myth generally, and although it may have repellent 
or cruel elements, it was never blended with belief 
in the demoniacal. The Ahts say that men go into 

1 An Algonquin legend begins : " In old times, in the beginning 
of things, men were as animals and animals as men ; how this was, no 
one knows." — Leland's Algotiqimi Legends, p. 31. 


the mountains to seek their manitou (that is, the 
personal deity, generally the first animal seen by a 
native in the dream produced by his fasting on 
reaching manhood), and, mixing with wolves, are 
after a time changed into these creatures. Al- 
though the illustration bears more upon what has 
to be said concerning the barbaric belief in animal- 
ancestors, it has some reference to the matter in 
hand to cite the custom amonsf the Tonkanavs, a 
wild and unruly tribe in Texas, of celebrating their 
origin by a grand annual dance. One of them, 
naked as he was born, is buried in the earth, then 
the others, clothed in wolf-skins, walk over him, sniff 
around him, howl in wolfish style, and then dig him 
up with their nails.^ The leading wolf solemnly 
places a bow and arrow in his hands, and, to his 
inquiry as to what he must do for a living, advises 
him " to do as the wolves do — rob, kill, and rove 
from place to place, never cultivating the soil." Dr. 
Brinton, in quoting the above from Schoolcraft, refers 
to a similar custom among the ancient dwellers on 
Mount Soracte. 

As in past times among ourselves, so in times 
present among races such as the foregoing, their 
wizards and shamans are believed to have power to 
turn themselves as they choose into beasts, birds, or 
reptiles. By whatever name these professional im- 
postors are known, whether as medicine-men, or, as 
in Cherokee, by the high-sounding title of " possessors 
of the divine fire," they have traded, and wherever 

1 And cf. IJouikc's Snake Dance of /lie AToqiiis^ passim. 


credulity or darkest ignorance abide, still trade on 
the fears and fancies of their fellows by disguising 
themselves in voice and gait and covering of the 
animal which they pretend to be. Among races 
believing in transformation such tricks have free 
course, and the more dexterous the sorcerer who 
could play bear's antics in a bear's skin proved him- 
self in throwing off the disguise and appearing 
suddenly as a man, the greater his success, and the 
more firmly grounded the belief 

The whole subject, although presented here only 
in the barest outline, would not be fitly dismissed 
without some reference to the survival of the primi- 
tive belief in men-animals in the world-wide stories 
known as beast -fables, in which animals act and 
talk like human beings. When to us all nature was 
Wonderland, and the four-footed, the birds, and the 
fishes, among our play-fellows ; when in fireside tale 
and rhyme they spoke our language and lived that 
free life which we then shared and can never share 
again, the feeling of kinship to which the old fables 
gave expression may have checked many a wanton 
act, and, if we learned it not fully then, we may have 
taken the lesson to heart since — 

" Never to blend our pleasure or our pride 
With sorrow of the meanest thing that lives." 

And then those Fables of yEsop, even with the- 
tedious drawback of the " moral," as powder beneath 
the jam, did they not lighten for us in school- 
days the dark passages through our Valpy (for the 


omniscient Dr. William Smith was not then the 
tyro's dread), and again give us communion with the 
fowl of the air and the beast of the field ? Now 
our mature thought may interest itself in follow- 
ing the beast-myths to the source whence Babrius 
and Phaedrus, knowing not its springhead and 
antiquity, drew their vivid presentments of the 
living world, and find in the storied East the well- 
spring that fed the imagination of youngsters thou- 
sands of years ago. Such tales have not fallen in 
the East to the low level which they have reached 
here, because they yet accord in some degree with 
extant superstitions in India, whereas in Europe 
they find little or nothing to which they correspond. 
With some authorities the Egyptians have the credit 
of first inventing the beast-fable, but among them, as 
among every other advanced race, such stories are 
the remains of an earlier deposit ; relics of a primi- 
tive philosophy in which wisdom and skill and cun- 
ning are no monopoly of man's. The fondness of 
the negro races, whose traditions are not limited to 
South and Central Africa, for such fables is well 
known, as witness the tales of which " Uncle Remus " 
is a type, and it is strikingly illustrated in the history 
of the Vai tribe, who having, partly through contact 
with whites, elaborated a system of writing, made 
the beast-fable their earliest essay in composition.^ 

The evidence in support of the common ancestry 
of the languages spoken by the leading peoples 
in Europe, and by such" important historical races 

1 Cf. Maliaffy's Prolegomena to Ancient History, p. 392. 


in Asia as the Hindu and the Persian, has been 
already summarised. That evidence, it was re- 
marked, is considered corroborative not only of the 
common origin of the myths on which the frame- 
work of the great Indo-European epics rests, but 
also of the possession by the several clans of a com- 
mon stock of folk-lore and folk-tale, in which, of 
course, the beast-fables are included, these being the 
relics in didactic or humorous guise of that serious 
philosophy concerning the community of life in man 
and brute amongst the barbaric ancestors of the Indo- 
Europeans, upon which stress enough has been laid. 
Even if the common origin be disproved, the 
evidence would be shifted merely from local to 
general foundations, because the uniform attitude of 
mind before the same phenomena would have further 
confirmation ; but the resemblances are too minute 
in detail to be explained by a theory of independent 
creation of the tales where we now find them. The 
likenesses are many, the unlikenesses are few, being 
the result of local colouring, historical fact blended 
with the fiction, popular belief, and superstition, all 
affected by the skill of the professional story-teller. 
As in the numerous variants of the familiar Cinder- 
ella, Beauty and the Beast, Punchkin, and the like, 
the same fairy prince or princess, the same wicked 
magician and clever versatile Boots, peep through, 
disclosing the near relationship of Hindu nursery 
tales to the folk-tales of Norway and the Highlands, 
of Iceland and Ceylon, of Persia and Serbia, of Russia 
and the lands washed by the Mediterranean. 


In the venerable collection of BuddJust Birth 
Stories^ now in course of translation by Dr. Rhys 
Davids,^ and to which is prefaced an interesting intro- 
duction on the source and migration of folk-tales, we 
are face to face with many a fable familiar to us in the 
yEsop of our school-days. There is the story of the 
Ass in the Lion's Skin, not in which, as ^sop has 
it, the beast dressed himself, but which the hawker 
put on him to frighten the thieves who would steal 
his goods. Left one day to browse in a field whilst 
his master refreshed himself at an inn, some watch- 
men saw him, and, raising hue and cry, brought out 
the villagers, armed with their rude implements. 
The ass, fearing death, made a noise like an ass, 
and was killed. Long might he, adds the ancient 
moral — 

" Clad in a lion's skin 
Have fed on the barley green ; 
But he brayed ! 
And that moment he came to ruin." 

The variants of this old fable are found in mediae- 
val, in French, German, Indian, and Turkish folk-lore, 
as are also those of the tortoise who lost his life 
through " much speaking." Desiring to emigrate, 
two ducks agreed to carry him, he seizing hold of a 
stick which they held between their beaks. As they 
passed over a village the people shouted and jeered, 

^ Vol. i., Triibner and Co. See for some valuable illustrations 
from early English and other sources an article by Rev. Dr. Morris, 
in Contemp. Rev.^ May 1881, and the Folk-Lore Journal^ 1884-85, for 
translations of Jatakas, also by Dr. Morris. 


whereupon the irate tortoise called out: "What busi- 
ness is it of yours ? " and, of course, thereby let go the 
stick and, falling down, split in two. Therefore — 

" Speak wise words not out of season ; 
You see how, by talking overmuch, 
The tortoise fell." 

In j^sop the tortoise asks an eagle to teach him 
to fly ; in Chinese folk-lore he is carried by geese. 

Jacob Grimm's researches concerning the famous 
mediaeval fable of " Reynard the Fox " revealed the 
ancient and scattered materials out of which that 
wonderful satire was woven, and there is no feature 
of the story which reappears more often in Eastern 
and Western folk-lore than that cunning of the 
animal which has been for the lampooner and the 
satirist the type of self-seeking monk and ecclesiastic. 
When Chanticleer proudly takes an airing with his 
family, he meets master Reynard, who tells him he 
has become a " religious," and shows him his beads, 
and his missal, and his hair shirt, adding, in a voice 
" that was childlike and bland," that he had vowed 
never to eat flesh. Then he went off singing his 
Credo, and slunk behind a hawthorn. Chanticleer, 
thus thrown off his guard, continues his airing, and 
the astute hypocrite, darting from his ambush, seizes 
the plump hen Coppel. So in Indian folk-tale a 
wolf living near the Ganges is cut off from food by 
the surrounding water. He decides to keep holy 
day, and the god Sakka, knowing his lupine weak- 
ness, resolves to have some fun with him, and turns 



himself into a wild goat. " Aha ! " says the wolf, 
" I'll keep the fast another day," and springing up he 
tried to seize the goat, who skipped about so that he 
could not be taken. So Lupus gives it up, and says 
as his solatium : " After all, I've not broken my 


The Chinese have a story of a tiger who desired 
to eat a fox, but the latter claimed exemption as 
being superior to the other animals, adding that if 
the tiger dcubted his word he could easily judge for 
himself So the two set forth, and, of course, every 
animal fled at sight of the tiger, who, too stupid to 
see how he had been gulled, conceived high respect 
for the fox, and spared his life. 

Sometimes the tables are turned. Chanticleer 
gets his head out of Reynard's mouth by making 
him answer the farmer, and in the valuable collec- 
tion of Hottentot tales which the late Dr. Bleek, 
with some warrant, called Reynai'd in South Africa^ 
the cock makes the jackal say his prayers, and flies 
off while the outwitted beast folds his hands and 
shuts his eyes. 

But further quotations must be resisted ; enough 
if it is made clearer that the beast -fable is the 
lineal descendant of barbaric conceptions of a life 
shared in common by man and brute, and another 
link thus added to the lengthening chain of the 
continuity of human history. 





In addition to the beliefs in the transformation of 
men into animals and in the transmigration of souls 
into the bodies of animals, we find among barbarous 
peoples a belief which is probably the parent of one 
and certainly nearly related to both, namely, in 
descent from the animal or plant, more often the 
former, whose name they bear. Its connection with 
transmigration is seen in the belief of the Moquis 
of Arizona, that after death they live in the form 
of their totemic animal, those of the deer family 
becoming deer, and so on through the several gentes. 
The belief survives in its most primitive and vivid 
forms among two races, the aborigines of Australia 
and the North American Indians. The word "totem- 
ism," given to it both in its religious and social 
aspects, is derived from the Algonquin " dodaim " 
or "dodhaim," meaning " clanmark." Among the 
Australians the word " kobong," meaning *' friend " 
or "protector," is the generic term for the animal or 
plant by which they are known. It is somewhat akin 
in significance to the Indian words " manitou," " oki," 
etc., comprehending " the manifestations of the 
unseen world, yet conveying no sense of personal 
unity," which are commonly translated by the mis- 
leading word " medicine ;" hence " medicine-men." 


The family name, or second name borne by all 
the tribes in lineal descent, and which corresponds to 
our surname, i.e. super noinen^ or " over-name," is 
derived from names of beasts, birds, plants, etc., 
around which traditions of their transformation into 
men linger. Sir George Grey ^ says that there is 
a mysterious connection between a native and his 
kobong. It is his protecting angel, like the 
" daimon " of Socrates, like the " genius " of the 
early Italian. " If it is an animal, he will not kill 
one of the species to which it belongs, should he 
find it asleep, and he always kills it reluctantly and 
never without affording it a chance of escape. The 
family belief is that some one individual of the 
species is their dearest friend, to kill whom would be 
a great crime," as, in Hindu belief, when a Rajah 
was said to have entered at death into the body of a 
fish, a " close time " was at once decreed. Among the 
Indian tribes we find well-nigh the whole fauna and 
flora represented, their totems being the Bear, Turtle, 
Deer, Snake, Eagle, Pike, Corn, Tobacco, etc. Like 
the Australians, these tribes regarded themselves as 
being of the breed of their particular animal-totem, 
and avoided hunting, slaying, and eating (of which 
more presently) the creature under whose form the 
ancestor was thought to be manifest. The Chippe- 
ways carried their respect even farther. Deriving 
their origin from the dog, they at one time refrained 
from employing their supposed canine ancestors in 
dragging their sledges. The Bechuana and other 

^ Travels in N. W. and W. Anstralia^ ii. 229. 


people of South Africa will avoid eating their tribe- 
animal or wearing its s"kin. The same prohibitions 
are found among tribes in Northern Asia, and the 
Vogulitzi of Siberia, when they have killed a bear, 
address it formally, maintaining " that the blame is 
to be laid on the arrows and iron, which were made 
and forged by the Russians ! " Among the Dela- 
wares the Tortoise gens claimed supremacy over 
the others, because their ancestor, who had become 
a fabled monster in their mythology, bore their 
world on his back. The California Indians are in 
interesting agreement with Lord Monboddo when, 
in claiming descent from the prairie wolf, they 
account for the loss of their tails by the habit of 
sitting, which, in course of time, wore them down to 
the stump ! The Kickapoos say their ancestors had 
tails, and that when they lost them the " impudent 
fox sent every morning to ask how their tails were, 
and the bear shook his fat sides at the joke." The 
Patagonians are said to have a number of animal 
deities, creators of the several tribes, some being of 
the caste of the guanaco and others of the ostrich. 
In short, the group of beliefs and practices found 
among races in the lower stages of culture point to 
a widespread common attitude towards the mystery 
of life around them. In speaking of totemism 
among the Red races Dr. Brinton thinks that the 
free use of animate symbols to express abstract 
ideas, which he finds so frequent, is the source of a 
confusion which has led to their claiming literal 
descent from wild beasts. But the barbaric mind 


bristles with contradictions and mutually destructive 
conceptions ; nothing is too wonderful, too bizarre^ 
for its acceptance, and the belief in actual animal 
descent is not the most remarkable or far-fetched 
among the articles of its creed. 

The subject of totemism is full of interest both 
on its religious and social side : — 

On its religious side it has given rise, or, if this 
be not conceded, impetus, to that worship of animals 
which assuredly had its source in the attribution of 
mysterious power through some spirit within them, 
making them deity incarnate. 

On its social side it has led to prohibitions which 
are inwoven among the customs and prejudices of 
civilised communities. But, before speaking of these 
prohibitions, the barbaric mode of reckoning descent 
should be noticed. 

The family name borne by most Australian tribes 
is perpetuated by the children, whether boys or girls, 
taking their mother's name. Precisely the same 
custom is found among some American Indians, the 
children of both sexes being of the mother's clan. 
Among the Moquis of Arizona all the members of 
each gens trace descent from a common ancestor ; 
they are regarded as brothers and sisters.^ Now, 
the family, as we define it, does not exist in savage 
communities, nor, as Mr. McLennan says in his very 
remarkable work on Primitive Marriage^ had " the 
earliest human groups any idea of kinship, . . . the 
physical root of which could be discerned only 

1 Bourke's Snake Dance of the Moquis, p. 136. 


through observation and reflection." Where the 
relations of the sexes were confused and pro- 
miscuous, the oldest system in which the idea of 
blood -ties was expressed was a system of kinship 
through the mother. The habits of the " much- 
married " primitive men made mistake about any 
one's mother less likely than mistake about his 
father ; and, if in civilised times it is, as the saying 
goes, a wise child that knows its own father, he was, 
in barbarous times, a wise father who knew his own 
child. Examples tracing the kinship through 
females, father and offspring being never of the 
same clan, abound in both ancient and modern 
authorities, and perhaps the most amusing one that 
can be given is found in Dr. Morgan's Systems of 
Consanguinity. He says that the " natives of the 
province of Keang-se are celebrated among the 
natives of the other Chinese provinces for the mode 
or form used by them in address, namely, ' Laon 
peaon,' which, freely translated, means, ' Oh, you old 
fellow, brother mine by some of the ramifications of 
female relationship !"'^ 

The prohibitions arising out of or confirmed by 
totemism are two : i. Against intermarriage between 
those of the same name or crest. 2. Against the 
eating of the totem by any member of the tribe 
called after it. 

I. Among both Australians and Indians a man is 
forbidden to marry in his own clan, i.e. any woman of 
his own surname or badge, no matter where she was 

^ Cf. Art. " Family," Encyclopcedia Bi'itaiinica. 


born or however distantly related to him. The Nava- 
joes of Arizona say that if they married in their own 
clan " their bones would dry up and they would die." 

Were this practice of " Exogamy," as marriage 
outside the totem-kin is called, limited to one or two 
places, it might be classed among exceptional local 
customs based on a tradition, say, of some heated 
blood-feud between the tribes. But its prevalence 
among savage or semi-savage races all the world 
over points to reasons the nature of which is still a 
crux to the anthropologists. The late Mr. McLennan, 
whose opinion on such a matter is entitled to the most 
weight, connects it with the custom of female infanti- 
cide, which, rendering women scarce, led at once to 
polyandry, or one female to several males, within the 
tribe, and to the capturing of women from other 
tribes. This last-named practice strengthens Mr. 
McLennan's theory. He cites numerous instances 
from past and present barbarous races, and traces its 
embodiment in formal code until we come to the 
mock relics of the custom in modern times, as, for 
example, the harmless "survival" in bride -lifting, 
that is, stealing, as in the word " cattle-lifting." 

Connected with this custom is the equally pre- 
vailing one which forbids intercourse between rela- 
tions, as especially between a couple and their 
fathers and mothers-in-law, and which also forbids 
mentioning their names. So far as the aversion 
which the savage has to telling his own name, or 
uttering that of any person (especially of the dead) or 
thing feared by him is concerned, the reason is not 


far to seek. It lies in that confusion between names 
and things which marks all primitive thinking. The 
ravage, who shrinks from having his likeness taken 
in the fear that a part of himself is being carried 
away thereby, regards his name as something through 
which he may be harmed. So he will use all sorts 
of roundabout phrases to avoid saying it, and even 
change it that he may elude his foes, and puzzle or 
cheat Death when he comes to look for him. But 
why a son-in-law should not see the face of his 
mother-in-law, for so it is among the Navajoes, 
(where the offender would, they say, go blind), 
the Aranaks of South America, the Caribs and 
other tribes of more northern regions, the Fijians, 
Sumatrans, Dyaks, the natives of Australia, the 
Zulus, in brief, along the range of the lower culture, 
is a question to which no satisfactory answer has 
been given, and to which reference is here made 
because of its connection with totemism. 

2. That the animal which is the totem of the 
tribe should not be eaten, even where men did not 
hesitate to eat men of another totem, is a custom for 
which it is less hard to account. The division of flesh 
into two classes of forbidden and permitted, of clean 
and unclean, with the resulting artificial liking or 
repulsion for food which custom arising out of that 
division has brought about, is probably referable to 
old beliefs in the inherent sacrednees of certain 
animals. The Indians of Charlotte Island never eat 
crows, because they believe in crow-ancestors, and 
they smear themselves with black paint in memory 


of that tradition ; the Dacotahs would neither kill 
nor eat their totems, and if necessity compels these 
and like barbarians to break the law, the meal is 
preceded by profuse apologies and religious cere- 
monies over the slain. Although the aborigines of 
Victoria, who are to be ranked among the lowest 
savages extant, devour the most loathsome things, 
worms, slugs, and vermin, they have a classification 
of meats to be eaten or avoided. A Kumite is 
deeply grieved when hunger compels him to eat 
anything which bears his name, but he may satisfy 
his hunger with anything that is Krokee. The 
abstention of the Brahmans from meat, the pseudo- 
revealed injunction to the Hebrews against certain 
flesh-foods (has that against pork its origin in the 
forgotten tradition of descent from a boar?), need 
no detailing here. But, as parallels, some restric- 
tions amongst the ancient dwellers in these islands 
are of value. It was, according to Caesar,^ a crime 
to eat the domestic fowl, or goose, or hare, and 
to this day the last-named is an object of disgust 
in certain parts of Russia and Brittany. The 
oldest Welsh laws contain several allusions to the 
magical character of the hare, which was thought to 
change its sex every month or year, and to be the 
companion of the witches, who often assumed its 
shape.^ The revulsion against horse-flesh as food 
may have its origin in the sacredness of the white 
horses, which, as Tacitus remarks,^ were kept by the 

1 De Bell. Gall., v. c. I2. 
2 Elton's Origins of English History, p. 297, ^ Germania, ix. 10. 


Germans at the public cost in groves holy to the 
gods, whose secrets they knew, and whose decrees 
regarding mortals their neighings interpreted. That 
this animal was a clan-totem among our forefathers 
there can be no doubt, and the proofs are with us in 
the white horses carved in outline on the chalk hills 
of Berkshire and the west, as in the names and 
crests of clan descendants. 

The totem is not only the clan-name indicating 
descent from a common ancestor. It is also the 
clan -symbol, badge, or crest. Where the tribes 
among whom it is found are still in the picture- 
writing stage, i.e. when the idea is expressed by a 
portrait of the thing itself instead of by some sound- 
sign — a stage in writing corresponding to the 
primitive stage in language, when words were imita- 
tive — there we find the rude hieroglyphic of the 
totem a means of intercourse between different tribes, 
as well as with whites. A striking example of the 
use of such totemic symbols occurs in a petition sent 
by some Western Indian tribes to the United States 
Congress for the right to fish in certain small lakes 
near Lake Superior. 

The leading clan is represented by a picture of the 
crane ; then follow three martens, as totems of three 
tribes ; then the bear, the man-fish, and the cat-fish, 
also totems. From the eye and heart of each of the 
animals runs a line connecting them with the eye 
and heart of the crane, to show that they are all of 
one mind, and the eye of the crane has also a line 
connecting it with the lakes on which the tribes 


have their eyes, and another line running towards 

In the barbaric custom of painting or carving the 
totem on oars, on the bows and sides of canoes, on 
weapons, on pillars in the front of houses, and on 
the houses themselves ; in tattooing it on various 
parts of the body (in the latter case, in some in- 
stances, together with pictures of exploits ; so that 
the man carries on his person an illustrated history 
of his own life) we have the remote and forgotten 
origin of heraldic emblems. The symbols of 
civilised nations, as, e.g. the Imperial eagle, which 
so many states of ancient and modern renown have 
chosen ; the crests of families of rank, with their 
fabulous monsters, as the cherub, the Greek gryps, 
surviving in the griffin, the dragon, the unicorn, 
which, born of rude fancy or terrified imagination, 
are now carved on the entrance-gates to the houses 
of the great ; the armorial bearings on carriages ; 
the crest engraven on ring or embossed on writing- 
paper, these are the lineal descendants of the totem ; 
and the Indians, who could see no difference between 
their system of manitous and those of the white 
people, with their spread-eagle or their lion-rampant, 
made a shrewd guess that would not occur to many 
a parvenu applying at the Heralds' College for a 
crest. The continuity is traceable in the custom of 
the Mexicans and other civilised nations of painting 
the totemic animals on their banners, flags, crests, 
and other insignia ; and it would seem that we have 
in the totem the key to the mystery of those huge 


animal-shaped mounds which abound on the North 
American continent. 

The arbitrary selection in the " ages of chivalry " 
of such arms as pleased the knightly fancy or 
ministered to its pride, or, as was often the case, 
resembled the name in sound, together with the 
ignorance then and till recently existing as to the 
origin of crests, and also the discredit into which a 
seemingly meaningless vanity had fallen, have made 
it difficult to trace the survival of the totem in the 
crests even of that numerous company of the Upper 
Ten who claim descent from warriors who came over 
with the Conqueror. But there is no doubt that an 
inquiry conducted on the lines suggested above, and 
not led into by-paths by false analogies, would yield 
matter of interest and value. It would add to the 
evidence of that common semi-civilised stage out of 
which we have risen. Such names as the Horsings, 
the Wylfings, the Derings, the Ravens, the Griffins, 
perhaps hold within themselves traces of the totem 
name of the horse, wolf, deer, raven, and that 
'' animal fantasticall," the griffin. In Scotland we 
find the clan Chattan, or the wild cat ; in Ireland 
" the men of Osory were called by a name signifying 
the wild red deer." On the other hand such names 
may have been given merely as nicknames {i,e. 
ekename or the added name, from eke^ " also," 
or ** to augment "), suggested by the physical or 
mental likeness to the thing after which they are 

But it is time to turn to the religious significance 


of the totem, as shown among races worshipping the 
animal which is their supposed ancestor. 

At first glance this seems strong argument in 
support of Mr. Herbert Spencer's theory that all 
forms of religion, and all myth, have their origin in 
ancestor worship. The mysterious power of stimu- 
lation, of excitation to frenzy, or of healing and 
soothing, or of poisoning, which certain plants 
possess, has been attributed to indwelling spirits, 
which, as Mr. Spencer contends, are regarded as 
human and ancestral. Very many illustrations of 
this occur, as, e.g. the worship of the Soma plant, 
and its promotion as a deity among the Aryans ; 
the use of tobacco in religious ceremonies among 
the tribes of both Americas ; whilst now and again 
we find trees and plants as totems. The Moquis 
have a totem-kin called the tobacco-plant, and also 
one called the seed -grass. One of the Peruvian 
Incas was called after the native name of the tobacco- 
plant ; and among the Ojibways the buffalo grass 
was carried as a charm, and its god said to cause 

In Algonquin myth '■ there is a spirit for the 
corn, another for beans, another for squashes. They 
are sisters, and are very kind to each other. There 
are spirits in the water, in fire, in all the trees and 
berries, in herbs and in tobacco, in the grass." 

The worship of animals is on Mr. Spencer's theory 
explained as due to the giving of a nickname of some 
beast or bird to a remote ancestor, the belief arising 
in course of time that such animal was the actual 

myth: its birth and growth. Ill 

progenitor, hence its worship. We call a man a 
bear, a pig, or a vampire, in symbolic phrase, and 
the figure of speech remains a figure of speech with 
us. But the savage loses the metaphor, and it 
crystallises into hard matter-of-fact. So the tradi- 
tions have grown, and Black Eagle, Strong Buffalo, 
Big Owl, Tortoise, etc., take the shape of actual 
forefathers of the tribe bearing their name and crest. 
According to the same theory the adoration of sun, 
moon, and mountains, etc., is due to a like source. 
Some famous chief was called the Sun ; the meta- 
phor was forgotten ; the personal and concrete, as 
the more easily apprehended, remained ; hence 
worship of the powers of nature " is a form of 
ancestor-worship, which has lost in a still greater 
degree the character of the original."^ 

The objection raised in these pages to the ex- 
treme application of the solar theory applies with 
equal force to Mr. Spencer's limitation of the origin 
of myth and religion to one source. Having cleared 
Scylla, we must not dash against Charybdis. 
Religion has its origin neither in fear of ghosts, 
as Mr. Spencer's theory assumes, nor in a perception 
of the Infinite inherent in man, as Professor Max 
Miiller holds. Rather does it lie in man's sense of 
vague wonder in the presence of powers whose force 
he cannot measure, and his expressions towards 
which are manifold. There is underlying unity, but 
there are, to quote St. Paul, " diversities of operation." 
There is just that surface unlikeness which one 

^ Principles of Sociology, p. 413. 


might expect from the different physical conditions 
and their resulting variety of subtle influences sur- 
rounding various races ; influences shaping for them 
their gods, their upper and nether worlds ; influences 
of climate and soil which made the hell of volcanic 
countries an abyss of sulphurous stifling smoke and 
everlasting fire, and the hell of cold climates a place 
of deathly frost ; which gave to the giant-gods of 
northern zones their rugged awfulness, and to the 
goddesses of the sunny south their soft and stately 
grace. The theory of ancestor-worship as the basis 
of every form of religion does not allow sufficient 
play for the vagaries in which the same thing will 
be dressed by the barbaric fear and fancy, nor for 
the imagination as a creative force in the primitive 
mind even at the lowest at which we know it. 
And, of course, beneath that lowest lies a lower 
never to be fathomed. We are apt to talk of 
primitive man as if his representatives were with us 
in the black fellows who are at the bottom of the 
scale, forgetting that during unnumbered ages he 
was a brute in everything but the capacity by which 
at last the ape and tiger were subdued within him. 
Of the beginnings of his thoiigJit we can know 
nothing, but the fantastic forms in which it is first 
manifest compel us to regard him as a being whose 
feelings were uncurbed by reason. That ancestor- 
worship is one mode among others of man's attitude 
towards the awe-begetting, mystery-inspiring universe, 
none can deny. That his earliest temples, as defined 
sacred spots, were tombs ; that he prayed to his 


dead dear ones, or his dead feared ones, as the case 

may be, is admitted. From its strong personal 

character, ancestor-worship was, without doubt, one 

of the earhest expressions of man's attitude before 

the world which his fancy filled with spirits. It 

flourishes among barbarous races to-day ; it was the 

prominent feature of the old Aryan religion ; it has 

entered into Christian practice in the worship of 

saints, and perhaps the only feature of religion 

which the modern Frenchman has retained is the 

ciilte des inorts. That it was a part of the belief of 

the Emperor Napoleon III. the following extract 

from his will shows : — " We must remember that 

those we love look down upon us from heaven and 

protect us. It is the soul of my great Uncle which 

has always guided and supported me. Thus will it 

be with my son also if he proves worthy of his 


But the worship of ancestors is not primal. The 

comparatively late recognition of kinship by savages, 

among whom some rude form of religion existed, 

tells against it as the earliest mode of worship. 

Moreover, Nature is bigger than man, and this he 

was not slow to feel. Even if it be conceded that 

sun-myth and sun-worship once arose through the 

nicknaming of an ancestor as the Sun, we must 

take into account the force of that imagination which 

enabled the unconscious myth -maker, or creed - 

maker, to credit the moving orbs of heaven with 

personal life and will. The faculty which could do 

that might well express itself in awe-struck forms 



without intruding the ancestral ghost. Further, 
the records of the classic religions, themselves pre- 
serving many traces of a primitive nature-worship, 
point to an adoration of the great and bountiful, 
as well as to a sense of the maleficent and fateful, 
in earth and heaven which seem prior to the more 
concrete worship of forefathers and chieftains. 

If for the worship of these last we substitute a 
general worship of spirits, there seems little left on 
which to differ. As aids to the explanation of the 
belief in animal ancestors and their subsequent dei- 
fication and worship, as of the lion, the bull, the 
serpent, etc., we have always present in the barbaric 
mind the tendency to credit living things, and indeed 
lifeless, but moving ones, with a passion, a will, and 
a power to help or harm immeasurably greater than 
man's. This is part and parcel of that belief in 
spirits everywhere which is the key to savage philo- 
sophy, and the growth of which is fostered by such 
secondary causes as the worship of ancestors. 

§ VII. 


For proofs of the emergence of the higher out of 
the lower in philosophy and religion, to say nothing 
of less exalted matters, whether the beast-fable or 
the nursery rhyme, as holding barbaric thought in 
solution, examples have necessarily been drawn from 


the mythology of past and present savage races. 
But these are too remote in time or standpoint to 
stir other than a languid interest in the reader's 
mind ; their purpose is served when they are cited 
and classified as specimens. Not thus is it with 
examples drawn nearer home from sources at which 
our young thirst for the stirring and romantic was 
slaked. When we learn that famous names and 
striking episodes are in some rare instances only 
transformed and personified natural phenomena, or 
as occurring everywhere, possibly variants of a com- 
mon legend, the far-reaching influence of primitive 
thought comes to us in more vivid and exciting form. 
And although one takes in hand this work of dis- 
enchantment in no eager fashion, the loss is more 
seeming than real. Whether the particular tale of 
bravery, of selflessness, of faithfulness, has truth of 
detail, matters little compared with the fact that its 
reception the wide world over witnesses to human 
belief, even at low levels, in the qualities which have 
given man empire over himself and ever raised the 
moral standard of the race. Moreover, in times like 
these, when criticism is testing without fear or favour 
the trustworthiness of records of the past, whether of 
Jew or Gentile, the knowledge of the legendary origin 
of events woven into sober history prepares us to 
recognise how the imagination has fed the stream of 
tradition, itself no mean tributary of that larger stream 
of history, the purity of which is now subject of 
analysis. As a familiar and interesting example let 
us take the story of William Tell. 


Everybody has heard how, in the year 1307 (or, 
as some say, 1296) Gessler, Vogt (or Governor) of the 
Emperor Albert of Hapsburg, set a hat on a pole as 
symbol of the Imperial power, and ordered every 
one who passed by to do obeisance to it ; and how 
a mountaineer named Wilhelm Tell, who hated 
Gessler and the tyranny which the symbol expressed, 
passed by without saluting the hat, and was at once 
seized and brought before Gessler, who ordered that 
as punishment Tell should shoot an apple off the 
head of his own son. As resistance was vain, the 
apple was placed on the boy's head, when Tell bent 
his bow, and the arrow, piercing the apple, fell with 
it to the ground. Gessler saw that Tell, before 
shooting, had stuck a second arrow in his belt, and, 
asking the reason, received this for answer : " It was 
for you ; had I shot my child, know that this would 
have pierced your heart." 

Now, this story first occurs in the chronicle of 
Melchior Russ, who wrote at the end of the fifteenth 
century, i.e. about one hundred and seventy years 
after its reputed occurrence. The absence of any 
reference to it in contemporary records caused doubt 
to be thrown upon it three centuries ago. Guilli- 
mann, the author of a work on Swiss antiquities, 
published in 1598, calls it a fable, but subscribes to 
the current belief in it because the tale is so popular ! 
The race to which he belonged is not yet extinct. 
A century and a half later a more fearless sceptic, 
who said that the story was of Danish origin, was 
condemned by the Canton of Uri to be burnt alive, 


and in the well-timed absence of the offender his 
book was ordered to be burnt by the common hang- 
man. But the truth is great, and prevails. G. von 
Wyss, the Swiss historian, has pointed out that the 
name of Wilhelm Tell does not occur even once in 
the history of the three cantons, neither is there any 
trace that a Vogt named Gessler ever served the 
house of Hapsburg there. Moreover, the legend 
does not correspond to any fact of a period of 
oppression of the Swiss at the hands of their Aus- 
trian rulers. 

" There exist in contemporary records no in- 
stances of wanton outrage and insolence on the 
Hapsburg side. It was the object of that power to 
obtain political ascendancy, not to indulge its repre- 
sentatives in lust or wanton insult," and, where 
records of disputes between particular persons occur, 
"the symptoms of violence, as is natural enough, 
appear rather on the side of the Swiss than on that 
of the aggrandising Imperial house." ^ 

Candour, however, requires that the " evidence " 
in support of the legend should be stated. There is 
the fountain on the supposed site of the lime-tree in 
the market-place at Altdorf by which young Tell 
stood, as well as the colossal plaster statue of the 
hero himself which confronts us as we enter the 
quaint village. But more than this, the veritable 
cross-bow itself is preserved in the arsenal at Zurich ! 

However, although the little Tell's chapel, as 

''Edinburgh Revinv, Jan. 1869, p. 134. Article on Rilliet's 
** Origines de la Confederation Suisse : Histoire et Legende." 


restored, was opened with a national fite^ in the 
presence of two members of the Federal Council, in 
June 1883,^ the Swiss now admit in their school- 
teaching that the story of the ApfelscJmsz is 

Freudenberger, who earned his death-sentence for 
affirming that the story came from Denmark, was on 
the right track, for the following variant of it is 
given by Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish writer of the 
twelfth century, who puts it as happening in the 
year 950 : — 

Nor ought what follows to be enveloped in silence. Pal- 
natoki, for some time in the body-guard of King Harold (Harold 
Gormson, or Bluetooth), had made his bravery odious to many 
of his fellow-soldiers by the zeal with which he surpassed them. 
One day, when he had drunk too much, he boasted that he 
was so skilled a bowman that he could hit the smallest apple, set 
on the top of a stick some way off, at the first shot, which boast 
reached the ears of the king. This monarch's wickedness soon 
turned the confidence of the father to the peril of the son, for 
he commanded that this dearest pledge of his life should stand 
in place of the stick, adding a threat that if Palnatoki did not 
at his first shot strike off the apple, he should with his head 
pay the penalty of making an empty boast. This command 
forced him to attempt more than he had promised, and what 
he had said, reported by slanderous tongues, bound him to 
accomplish what he had not said. Yet did not his sterling 
courage, though caught in the snare of slander, suffer him to 
lay aside his firmness of heart. As soon as the boy was led 
forth Palnatoki warned him to await the speeding of the arrow 
with calm ears and unbent head, lest by any slight movement 
of the body he should frustrate the archer's well-tried skill. 
He then made him stand with his back towards him, lest he 

1 Times' telegram from Geneva, June 25, 1883. 

myth: its birth and growth. 119 

should be scared at the sight of the arrow. Then he drew 
three arrows from his quiver, and with the first that he fitted 
to the string he struck the apple. When the king asked him 
why he had taken more than one arrow from his quiver, when 
he was to be allowed to make but one trial with his bow, he 
made answer, " That I might avenge on thee the swerving of 
the first by the points of the others, lest perchance my inno- 
cence might have been punished, while your violence escaped 
scot-free." ^ 

Going farther northward we find tales corre- 
sponding in their main features to the above, in the 
Icelandic Saga, the Vilkina ; in the Norse Saga of 
Saint Olaf or Thidrik ; and in the story of Harold, 
son of Sigurd. In the Olaf Saga it is said that the 
saint or king, desiring the conversion of a brave 
heathen named Eindridi, competed with him in 
various athletic sports, swam with him, wrestled with 
him, and then shot with him. Olaf then dared 
Eindridi to strike a writing-tablet from off his son's 
head with an arrow, and bade two men bind the 
eyes of the child and hold the napkin so that the 
boy might not move when he heard the whizz of the 
arrow. Olaf aimed first, and the arrow grazed the 
lad's head. Eindridi then prepared to shoot, but the 
mother of the boy interfered and persuaded the king 
to abandon this dangerous test of skill. The story 
adds that had the boy been injured Eindridi would 
have revenged himself on the king.^ 

Somewhat like this, as from the locality might be 

1 Book X. p. 166. Cf. Baring Gould's Curious Myths, t^. 117, and 
Fiske's Myths and Myth-tnakers, p. 4. 

2 Baring Gould, p. 119. 


expected, is the Faroe Isles variant. King Harold 
challenges Geyti, son of Aslak, and, vexed at being 
beaten in a swimming match, bids Geyti shoot a 
hazel-nut from off his brother's head. He consents, 
and the king witnesses the feat, when Geyti 

" Shot the little nut away, 
Nor hurt the lad a hair." 

Next day Harold sends for the archer, and says : — 

" List thee, Geyti, Aslak's son, 
And truly tell to me, 
Wherefore hadst thou arrows twain 
In the wood yestreen with thee ?" 

To which Geyti answers : — 

" Therefore had I arrows twain 
Yestreen in the w^ood with me, 
Had I but hurt my brother dear 
The other had pierced thee." 

With ourselves it is the burden of the ballad of 
William of Cloudeslee, where the brave archer says : — 

" I have a sonne seven years old ; 
Hee is to me full deere ; 
I will tye him to a stake — 
All shall see him that bee here — 
And lay an apple upon his head, 
And goe six paces him froe ; 
And I myself with a broad arroe 
Shall cleave the apple in towe." 

In the Malleus Maleficaritm Puncher, a magician 
on the Upper Rhine, is required to shoot a coin from 
off a lad's head ; while, travelling eastwards as far as 


Persia, we find the Tell myth as an incident in the 
poem Mantic Ultra'ir, a work of the twelfth century. 
Thus far the variants of the legend found among 
Aryan peoples have been summarised, and it is 
tempting to base upon this diffusion of a common 
incident a theory of its origin among the ancestors 
of the Swiss and the Norseman, the Persian and 
the Icelander. But it is found among non -Aryans 
also. The ethnologist, Castren, whose researches in 
Finland have secured a valuable mass of fast-perish- 
ing materials, obtained this tale in the village of 
Ultuwa. " A fight took place between some free- 
booters and the inhabitants of the village of Alajarai. 
The robbers plundered every house, and carried off 
amongst their captives an old man. As they pro- 
ceeded with their spoils along the strand of the lake 
a lad of twelve years old appeared from among the 
reeds on the opposite bank, armed with a bow and 
amply provided with arrows ; he threatened to shoot 
down the captors unless the old man, his father, was 
restored to him. The robbers mockingly replied that 
the aged man would be given to him if he could 
shoot an apple off his head. The boy accepted the 
challenge, pierced the apple and freed his father." 
Among a people in close contact with an Aryan race 
as the Finns are in contact with both Swedes and Rus- 
sians, the main incident of the Tell story may easily 
have been woven into their native tales. But in refer- 
ence to other non-Aryan races Sir George Dasent, who 
has treated of the diffusion of the Tell story very fully 
in the Introduction to his Popular Tales from the 


Norse (a reprint of which would be a boon to students 
of folk-lore), says that it is common to the Turks and 
Mongolians, and a legend of the wild Samoyedes, 
who never heard of Tell or saw a book in their lives, 
relates it, chapter and verse, of one of their marks- 
men. What shall we say, then, but that the story 
of this bold mastershot was prominent amongst many 
tribes and races, and that it only crystallised itself 
round the great name of Tell by that proc^^of 
attraction which invariably leads a grateful people to 
throw such mythic wreaths, such garlands of bold 
deeds of precious memory, around the brow of its 
darling champion. Of course the solar mythologists 
see in Tell the sun or cloud deity ; in his bow the 
storm-cloud or the iris ; and in his arrows the sun- 
rays or lightning darts. 

This is a question which we may leave to the 
champions concerned to settle. Apart from the evi- 
dence of the survival of legend in history, and the 
lesson of caution in accepting any ancient record as 
gospel which we should learn therefrom, it is the 
human element in the venerable tale which interests 
us most. 

Remote in time, far away in place, as is its origin, 
it moves us yet. The ennobling qualities incarnated 
in some hero (whether he be real or ideal matters 
not) meet with admiring response in the primitive 
listeners to the story, else it would have been speedily 
forgotten. Thus does it retain for us witness to the 
underlying oneness of the human heart beneath all 
surface differences. 


Widespread as a myth may be, it takes depth of 
root according to the more or less congenial soil where 
it is dropped. That about Tell found favourable 
home in the uplands and the free air of Switzerland ; 
with us S. George, falling on times of chivalry, had 
abiding place, as also, less rugged of type than the 
Swiss marksman, had Arthur, the " Blameless King," 
who, if he ever existed, is smothered in overgrowth of 
legends both native and imported. 

For such cycle of tales as gathered round the 
name of Arthur, and on which our youthhood was 
nourished, is as mythical as the wolf that suckled 
Romulus and Remus. Modern criticism and research 
have thoroughly sifted the legendary from the true, 
and if the past remains vague and shadowy, we at 
least know how far the horizon of certainty extends. 
The criticism has made short work of the romancing 
chronicles which so long did duty for sober history, 
and has shown that no accurate knowledge of the 
sequence of events is obtainable until late in the 
period of the English invasions. Save in scattered 
hints here and there, we are quite in the dark as 
to the condition of this island during the Roman 
occupation, whilst for anything that is known of 
times prior to this, called for convenience " pre- 
historic," we are dependent upon unwritten records 
preserved in tombs and mounds. The information 
gathered from these has given us some clue to what 
manner of men they were who confronted the first 
Aryan immigrants, and, enriched by researches of 
the ethnologist and philologist, enabled us to trace 


the movements of races westwards, until we find 
old and new commingled as one English-speaking 

All or any of which could not be known to the 
earlier chroniclers. When Geoffry of Monmouth set 
forth the glory and renown of Arthur and his Court 
he recorded and embellished traditions six hundred 
years old, without thought of weighing the evidence 
or questioning the credibility of the transmitters. 
Whether there was a king of that name who ruled 
over the Silures, and around whom the remnant of 
brave Kelts rallied in their final struggle against the 
invading hordes, and who, wounded in battle, died at 
Glastonbury, and was buried, or rather sleeps, as the 
legend has it, in the Vale of Avilion, " hath been," as 
Milton says, " doubted heretofore, and may again, 
with good reason, for the Monk of Malmesbury and 
others, whose credit hath swayed most v/ith the 
learned sort, we may well perceive to have known no 
more of this Arthur nor of his doings than we now 

In the group of legends both of the Old and New 
World, which, the solar theorists tell us, symbolise the 
long sleep of winter before the sweet awakening of 
the spring, Arthur of course has place. " Men said 
he was not dead, but by the will of our Lord Jesus 
Christ was in another place, and men say that he will 
come again . . . that there is written on his tomb 
this verse : 

' Hie jacet Arthurus rex quondam, Rexque futurus.' " 
^ Cf. Prof. Rhys's Arthurian Legend, passim. 

myth: its birth and growth. 125 

So Charlemagne reposes beneath the Unters- 
berg, waiting for the appointed time to rise and 
do battle with anti - Christ ; Tell slumbers ready- 
panoplied to save Switzerland when danger threatens ; 
the hero-deity of the Algonquins, when he left the 
earth, promised to return, but has not, wherefore 
he is called Glooskap, or the Liar ; St. John sleeps 
at Ephesus till the last days are at hand ; and the 
Church militant awaits the return of her Lord at the 
Second Advent. 

The comparative mythologists say that Arthur is 
a myth, pure and simple, a variant of Sigurd and 
Perseus ; the winning of his famous sword but a 
repetition of the story of the Teutonic and Greek 
heroes ; the gift of Guinevere as fatal to him as 
Helen to Menelaus ; his knights but reproductions of 
the Achaian hosts — much of which may be true ; but 
the romance corresponded to some probable event ; 
it fitted in with the national traditions. There were 
struggles between the Kelts and subsequent invaders 
— Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes. There were brave 
chieftains who led forlorn hopes or fought to the 
death in their fastnesses. There were, in the numer- 
ous tribal divisions, petty kings and queens ruling 
over mimic courts, with retinues of knights bent on 
chivalrous, unselfish service. These were the nuclei 
of stories which were the early annals of the tribe, 
the glad theme of bards and minstrels, and from 
which a long line of poets to the latest singer of the 
Idylls of the King have drawn the materials of their 
epics. The fascination which such a cycle of tales 


had for the people, especially in days when the ballad 
was history and poetry and all literature rolled into 
one, was so strong, that the Church wisely imported 
an element which gave loftier meaning to the knightly 
life, and infused religious ardour into the camp and 
court. To the stories of Tristram and Gawayne, 
already woven into the old romance, she added the 
half-Christian, half-pagan, legend of the knights who 
left the feast at the Round Table to travel across 
land and sea that they might free the enslaved, re- 
move the spell from the enchanted, and deliver fair 
women from the monsters of tyranny and lust, set- 
ting forth on what in her eyes was a nobler quest — to 
seek and look upon the San Graal, or Holy Vessel 
used by Jesus at the Last Supper, and into which 
Joseph of Arimathea collected the blood and water 
that streamed from the side of the crucified Jesus. 
This mystic cup, in which we have probably a sacri- 
ficial relic of the old British religion imported into 
the Christian incident with which it blended so well, 
floated, according to Arthurian legend, suddenly into 
the presence of the King and his Round Table 
knights at Camelot as they sat at supper, and was as 
suddenly borne away, to be henceforth the coveted 
object of knightly endeavour. Only the baptized 
could hope to behold it ; to the unchaste it was veiled : 
hence only they among the knights who were pure 
in heart and life vowed to go in quest of the San 
Graal, and return not until they had seen it. So to 
Sir. Galahad, the "just and faithful," Tennyson sings 
how the sacred cup appeared — 

myth: its birth and growth. 127 

*' Sometimes on lonely mountain meres 

I find a magic bark ; 
I leap on board : no helmsman steers : 

I float till all is dark. 
A gentle sound, an awful light ! 

Three angels bear the holy Grail : 
With folded feet, in stoles of white, 

On sleeping wings they sail. 
Ah, blessed vision ! blood of God ! 

My spirit beats her mortal bars, 
As down dark tides the glory slides. 

And, star-like, mingles with the stars." 

Whilst In such legends as the Arthurian group the 
grain of truth, if it exists, is so embedded as to be 
out of reach, there are others concerning actual per- 
sonages, notably Cyrus and Charlemagne, not to 
quote other names from both " profane " and sacred 
history, in which the fable can be separated from the 
fact without difficulty. Enough is known of the life 
and times of such men to detach the certain from the 
doubtful, as, e.g.^ when Charlemagne is spoken of as 
a Frenchman and as a Crusader before there was a 
French nation, or the idea of Crusades had entered 
the heads of most Christian kings ; and as in the 
legends of the infancy of Cyrus, which are of a type 
related to like legends of the wonderful round the 
early years of the famous. 

This, however, by the way. Leaving illustration 
of the fabulous in heroic story, it will be interesting 
to trace it through such a tale of pathos and domestic 
life as the well-known one of Llewellyn and his faith- 
ful hound, Gellert. 


Whose emotions have not been stirred by the 
story of Llewellyn the Great going out hunting, and 
missing his favourite dog ; of his return, to be greeted 
by the creature with more than usual pleasure in his 
eye, but with jaws besmeared with blood ; of the 
anxiety with which Llewellyn rushed into the house, 
to find the cradle where had lain his beautiful boy 
upset, and the ground around it soaked with blood ; 
of his thereupon killing the dog, and then seeing the 
child lying unharmed beneath the cradle, and sleeping 
by the side of a dead wolf, from whose ravenous maw 
the faithful Gellert had delivered it ? Most of us, in 
our visits to North Wales, have stood by Gellert's 
grave at Beddgelert, little suspecting that the affect- 
ing story occurs in the folk-lore of nearly every Aryan 
people, and of several non-Aryan races, as the Egyp- 
tians and Chinese. 

Probably it comes to us as many other tales have 
come, through collections like the well-known Gesta 
Roinanoriim^ compiled by mediaeval monks for popular 
entertainment. In the version given in that book 
the knight who corresponds to Llewellyn, after slay- 
ing his dog, discovers that it had saved his child from 
a serpent, and thereupon breaks his sword and de- 
parts on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. But the 
monks were no inventors of such tales ; they recorded 
those that came to them through the pilgrims, 
students, traders, and warriors who travelled from 
west to east and from east to west in the Middle 
Ages, and it is in the native home of fable and 
imagery the storied Orient, that we must seek for the 


earliest forms of the Gellert legend. In the Pancha- 
tantra, the oldest and most celebrated Sanskrit fable- 
book, the story takes this form : — An infirm child is 
left by its mother while she goes to fetch water, and 
she charges the father, who is a Brahman, to watch 
over it. But he leaves the house to collect alms, and 
soon after this a snake crawls towards the child. In 
the house was an ichneumon, a creature often cherished 
as a house pet, who sprang at the snake and throttled 
it. When the mother came back, the ichneumon 
went gladly to meet her, his jaws and face smeared 
with the snake's blood. The horrified mother, think- 
ing it had killed her child, threw her water-jar at it, 
and killed it ; then seeing the child safe beside the 
mangled body of the snake, she beat her breast and 
face with grief, and scolded her husband for leaving 
the house. 

We find the same story, with the slight difference 
that the animal is an otter, in a later Sanskrit col- 
lection, the Hitopadesa^ but we can track it to that 
fertile source of classic and mediaeval fable, the 
Buddhist Jdtakas, or Birth Stories^ a very ancient 
collection of fables, which, professing to have been 
told by the Buddha, narrates his exploits in the 
550 births through which he passed before attaining 
Buddhahood. In the Vinaya Pitaka of the Chinese 
Buddhist collection, which, according to Mr. Beal, 
dates from the fifth century A.D., and is translated 
from original scriptures supposed to have existed 
near the time of Asoka's council in the third cen- 
tury B.C., we have the earliest extant form of the 



tale. That in the Panchatantra is obviously bor- 
rowed from it, the differences being in unimportant 
detail, as, for example, the nakula, or mongoose, is 
killed by the Brahman on his return home, the wife 
having neglected to take the child with her as bidden 
by him. He is filled with sorrow, and then a Deva 
continues the strain : — 

'* Let there be due thought and consideration, 
Give not way to hasty impulse, 
By forgetting the claims of true friendship 
You may heedlessly injure a kind heart (person) 
As the Brahman killed the nakula." 

The several versions of the story which could be 
cited from German, Russian, Persian, and other 
Aryan folk-lore, would merely present certain varia- 
tions due to local colouring and to the inventiveness 
of the narrators or transcribers ; and, omitting these, 
it will suffice to give the Egyptian variant or corre- 
sponding form, in which the tragical has given place 
to the amusing, save, perhaps, in the opinion of the 
Wali. This luckless person " once smashed a pot 
full of herbs which a cook had prepared. The ex- 
asperated cook thrashed the well-intentioned but 
unfortunate Wali within an inch of his life, and when 
he returned, exhausted with his efforts at belabour- 
ing the man, he discovered among the herbs a 
poisonous snake." 

In pointing to the venerable Buddhist Birth 
Stories as the earliest extant source of Aryan fables, 
it should be added that these were with the Buddha 
and his disciples the favourite vehicle of carrying to 


the hearts of men those lessons of gentleness and 
tenderness towards all living things which are a dis- 
tinctive feature of that non-persecuting religion. 

§ VIII. 

With the important exception of reference to the 
change effected in the Jewish doctrine of spirits, 
and its resulting influence on Christian theology, by 
the transformation of the mythical Ahriman of the 
old Persian religion into the archfiend Satan, but 
slight allusion has been made in these pages to the 
myths and legends of the Semitic race. Under this 
term, borrowed from the current belief in their de- 
scent from Shem, are included extant and extinct 
people, the Assyrians, Chaldeans or Babylonians, 
Phoenicians, Arabs, Syrians, Jews, and Ethiopians. 

The mythology of the Aryan nations has had 
the advantage of the most scholarly criticism, and 
the light which this has thrown upon the racial con- 
nection of peoples between whom all superficial like- 
ness had long disappeared, as well as upon the early 
condition of their common ancestors, is of the greatest 
value as aid to our knowledge of the mode of 
man's intellectual and spiritual growth. And the 
comparisons made between the older and cruder 
forms underlying the elaborated myth and the myths 
of semi-barbarous races have supported conclusions 


concerning man's primitive state identical with those 
deduced from the material rehcs of the Ancient and 
Newer Stone Ages, namely, that the savage races of 
to-day represent not a degradation to which man has 
sunk, but a condition out of which all races above 
the savage have, through much tribulation, emerged. 
An important exception to this has, however, been 
claimed on behalf of at least one branch of the Semitic 
race — namely, the Hebrews or Jews. This claim has 
rested on their assumed selection by the Deity for 
a definite purpose in the ordering and directing of 
human affairs ; but no assumption of supernatural 
origin can screen the documents of disputed author- 
ship and uncertain meaning on which that claim is 
based from the investigation applied to all ancient 
records ; nor can the materials elude dissection be- 
cause hitherto regarded as organic parts of revelation. 
The real difficulties are in the structure of the lan- 
guage and in the scantiness of the material as con- 
trasted with the flexile and copious mythology of 
the Aryan race. And the investigation has been 
in some degree checked by the mistaken dicta of 
authorities such as M. Renan and the late Baron 
Bunsen ; the former contending that " the Semites 
never had a mythology," and the latter (although 
any statement of his carries far less weight) that " it 
is the grand, momentous, and fortunate self-denial 
of Judaism to possess none." 

But, independently of the refusal of the student 
of history to admit that exceptional place has been 
accorded of direct Divine purpose to any particular 


race, the discoveries of literatures much older than 
the Hebrew, and in which legends akin to those in 
the earlier books of the Old Testament are found, 
together with the proofs of historical connection be- 
tween the peoples having these common legends, 
have given the refutation to the distinctive character 
of the Semitic race claimed by M. Renan. That a 
people dwelling for centuries, as the Hebrews did, in 
a land which was the common highway between the 
great nations of antiquity ; a people subject to vicis- 
situdes bringing them, as the pipkin between iron 
pots, into collision and subject relations to Egyptians, 
Persians, and other powerful folk, should remain un- 
influenced in their intellectual speculations and re- 
ligious beliefs, would indeed be a greater miracle 
than that which makes their literature inspired in 
every word and vowel -point. The remarkable col- 
lection of cuneiform inscriptions (so called from their 
wedge-like shape : Latin, cuneiis, a wedge) on the 
baked clay cylinders and tablets of the vast libraries 
of Babylon and Nineveh, has brought out one strik- 
ing fact, namely, that the Semitic civilisation, vener- 
able as that is, was the product of, or at least, greatly 
influenced by, the culture of a non-Semitic people 
called the Akkadians, from a word meaning "high- 
landers." These more ancient dwellers in the Euph- 
rates valley and uplands were not only non- Semitic 
but non -Aryan, and probably racially connected 
with the complex group of peoples embracing the 
Tatar- Mongolians, the distinguishing features of 
whose religion are Shamanistic, with belief in magic 


in its manifold forms. " In Babylonia, under the non- 
Semitic Akkadian rule, the dominant creed was the 
fetish worship, with all its ritual of magic and witch- 
craft ; and when the Semites conquered the country, 
the old learning of the land became the property of 
the priests and astrologers, and the Akkadian lan- 
guage the Latin of the Empire."^ 

It was during the memorable period of the Exile 
that the historical records of the Jews underwent 
revision, and from that time dates the incorporation 
into them of legends and traditions which, invested 
with a purity and majesty distinctively Hebrew, were 
borrowed from the Babylonians, although primarily 
Akkadian. They are here, as elsewhere, the product 
of the childhood of the race, when it speculates and 
invents, framing its theory of the beginnings, their 
when and how ; when it prattles of the Golden Age, 
which seems to lie behind, in the fond and not ex- 
tinct delusion that "the old is better;" when it 
frames its fairy tales, weird or winsome, in explana- 
tion of the uncommon, the unknown, and the be- 

The Babylonian origin of the early biblical stories 
is now generally admitted, although the dogmas 
based upon certain of them still retard the accept- 
ance of this result of modern inquiry in some quar- 
ters. That reluctance is suggestively illustrated in 
Dr. Wm. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, where, 
turning to the heading "Deluge," the reader is 
referred to " Flood " and thence to " Noah !" 

^ Academy, Nov. 17, 1 877, p. 472. 


So much for the legendary ; but the analysis of 
the more strictly mythical, the names of culture- 
ancestors and heroes, sons of Anak and of God, 
scattered over the Pentateuch, is not so easy a 
matter. The most important work in this direction 
has been attempted by Dr. Goldziher,^ but even his 
scholarship has failed to convince sympathetic readers 
that Abraham and Isaac are sun-myths, and that the 
twelve sons of Jacob are the zodiacal signs ! Under 
the Professor's etymological solvent the personality 
of the -patriarchs disappears, and the charming idylls 
and pastorals of old Eastern life become but phases 
of the sun and the weather. The Hebrew, like the 
Aryan myth-maker, speaks of the relations of day 
and night, of gray morning and sunrise, of red sun- 
set and the darkness of night, as of love and union, 
or strife and pursuit, or gloomy desire and coy 
evasion. Abh-ram is the High or Heaven -Father 
(from ram, '' to be high ") with his numberless host 
of descendants. Yis-chak, commonly called Isaac, 
denotes " he who laughs," and so the Laughing one, 
whom the High Father intends to slay, is the smiling 
day or the smiling sunset, which gets the worst of 
the contest with the night sky, and disappears. Sarah 
signifies princess, or the moon, the queen who rules 
over the great army glittering amidst the darkness. 
The expulsion of Hagar (derived from a root hajara, 
meaning "to fly," and yielding the word hijra or 
" flight," whence the Mohammadan Hegira) is the 

1 Mythology among the Hebrews, and its Historical Developjuetit 
(London: Longmans), 1877. 


Semitic variant of that inexhaustible theme of all 
mythology, the battle of Day and Night ; Hagar 
flying before the inconstant sun and the jealous 
moon. And so on through the whole range of 
leading characters in Hebrew history ; Cain and 
Abel, in which Dr. Goldzihcr, to whom they are 
the sun and dark sky, overlooks the more likely 
explanation of the story as a quarrel between no- 
mads and tillers of the soil ; Jephthah, in which the 
sun-god kills at mid-day the dawn, his own offspring ; 
Samson, or more correctly Shimshon, from the 
Hebrew word for sun, the incidents of whose life, 
as expounded by Professor Steinthal,^ are more 
clearly typical of the labours of the sun ; Jonah and 
the fish, a story long ago connected with the myth 
of Herakles and Hesione ; " as on occasion of the 
storm the dragon or serpent swallows the sun, so 
when he sets he is swallowed by a mighty fish, wait- 
ing for him at the bottom of the sea. Then when 
he appears again on the horizon, he is spat out on 
the shore by the sea-monster." ^ 

These bare references must suffice to show that 
there is in Hebrew literature a large body of material 
which must undergo the sifting and the criticism 
already applied with success to Indo-European and 
non-Aryan myth. This done, the Semitic race will 
contribute its share of evidence in support of those 
conditions under which it has been the main purpose 
of this book to show that myth has its birth and 


^ Goldziher, p. 392 ff. 2 /^/^/^ p_ J03. 


§ IX. 


. The multitude of subjects traversed in the fore- 
going sections has compelled presentment in so con- 
cise a form that any attempt to gather into a few 
sentences the sum of things said would be as a 
digest of a digest, and it is, therefore, better to briefly 
emphasise the conclusions to which the gathered 
evidence points. It was remarked at the outset,! 
when insisting on the serious meaning which liesl 
at the heart of myths, that th^y have their origin •, 
in the endeavour of barbaric man to explain his 
surroundings. The mass of fact brought together 
illustrates and confirms this view, and has thereby 
tended to raise what was once looked upon as 
fantastic, curious, and lawless, to the level of a 
subject demanding sober treatment and examination 
on strictly scientific methods. 

Archbishop Trench, in his Study of Words, quotes 
Emerson's happy characterisation of language as fossil 
poetry and fossil history: "Just as in some fossil, 
.curious and beautiful shapes of vegetable or animal 
life, the graceful fern, or the finely-vertebrated lizard, 
such as have been extinct for thousands of years, 
are permanently bound up with the stone, so in 
words are beautiful thoughts and images, the im- 
agination and the feeling of past ages, of men long 
since in their graves, of men whose veiy names have 


perished, preserved and made safe for ever." In 
like manner we may speak of myths as fossil ethics 
and fossil theology, but, with more appositeness, as 
embryonic ethics and theology, since they contain 
potentially all the philosophies and theologies "that 
man did ever find." 

And to the student of the history of humanity 
who rejoices in the sure foundation on which, tested 
in manifold ways, the convictions of the highest and 
noblest of the race rest, the value of myth is in- 
creased in its being a natural outgrowth of the mind 
when, having advanced to the point at which curiosity 
concerning the causes of surrounding things arises, 
it frames its crude explanations. For not that which 
man claims to have received as a message from the 
gods, as a revelation from heaven, but that which he 
has learned by experience often painful and bitter, 
and which succeeding generations have either verified 
or improved upon, or disproved altogether, is, in the 
long run, of any worth. Through it alone, as we 
follow the changes wrought in the process from 
guess to certainty, can we determine what was the 
intellectual stage of man in his mental infancy, and 
how far it finds correspondences in the intellectual 
stage of existing barbaric races. 

Thus, the study of myth is nothing less than the 
study of the mental and spiritual history of mankind. 
It is a branch of that larger, vaster science of evolu- 
tion which so occupies our thoughts to-day, and 
with it the philosopher and the theologian must 
reckon. The evidence which it brings from the 


living and dead mythologies of every race is in 
accord with that furnished by their more tangible 
relics, that the history of mankind is a history of 
slow but sure advance from a lower to a higher ; of 
ascent, although with oft backslidings. It confirms 
a momentous canon of modern science, that the laws 
of evolution in the spiritual world are as determinable 
as they are in the physical. To this we, for the en- 
richment of our life and helpful service of our kind, 
do well to give heed. Wherever we now turn eye 
or ear the unity of things is manifest, and their un- 
broken harmony heard. With the theory of evolu- 
tion in our hands as the master-key, the immense 
array of facts that seemed to lie unrelated and dis- 
crete are seen to be interrelated and in necessary 
dependence — " a mighty sum of things for ever 
speaking." That undisturbed relation of cause and 
effect which science has revealed and confirmed 
extends backwards as well as reaches forwards ; its 
continuity involves the inclusion of man as a part 
of nature, and the study of his development as one 
in which both the biologist and the mythologist en- 
gage towards a common end. 




" The physical world is made up of atoms and ether, and 
there is no room for ghosts." 

W. K. Clifford. 

" If ghos'es want me to believe in 'em, let 'em leave off 
skulking i' the dark and i' lone places — let 'em come where 
there's company and candles." 

George Eliot. 



§ I. 


The evidence as to pre -historic man's material 
furniture and surroundings, which was first gathered 
from and restricted to ancient river valleys and bone 
caverns of Great Britain, France, and Belgium, is no 
longer isolated. It is supported by evidence which has 
been collected from every part of the globe inhabited 
in past or present times, and its uniform character 
has enabled us to determine what lies beyond an 
horizon which within the last half century was 
bounded by the hazy line of myth and tradition. 
So rigid seemed the limit defining man's knowledge 
of his past that some forty years ago even the 
Geological Society of London recorded with barest 
reference the unearthing of relics witnessing to his 
presence in Britain hundreds of thousands of years 
ago. The canon was closed, and no one ventured 


to add to the sayings of the book. But the dis- 
coveries which had disproved belief in the earth's 
supremacy in the universe, and in its creation in six 
days, led the way to researches into the history of 
the life upon its surface, and especially of that w^hich, 
in the language of ancient wTit, was " made in the 
image of God." When the long- forbidding line, 
imaginary as the equator and lacking its convenience, 
was crossed, there was found the evidence of the 
conditions under which man emerged from a state 
quite other than that which had formed the burden 
of legends sacred with the hoariness of time. Those 
conditions, it is well-nigh needless to remind the 
reader, accord with that theory which holds man to 
be no specially-created being, started on this earth, 
fully equipped, Minerva -like, with all ripeness of 
wisdom and loftiness of soul, but the last and long 
result of an ever-ascending series of organisms rang- 
ing from the lowest, shapeless, nerveless specks to 
homo sapiens^ " the foremost in the files of time." 
Evolution is advance from the simple to the complex. 
The most primitive forms reach maturity in a shorter 
time than the higher forms, and fulfil their purpose 
quicker, and this doctrine applies not only in relation 
to man and the inferior creatures, but as between the 
several races of man himself Herein the differences, 
which are determined by size, still more by increase 
in complexity, of brain-stuff, are greater than between 
the lowest man and the highest animals — that is to 
say, the savage and civilised man are farther apart 
than the savage and the anthropoid ape. The cranial 


capacity of the modern Englishman surpasses that of 
the non-Aryan inhabitant of India by a difference of 
sixty-eight cubic inches, while between this non- 
Aryan skull and the skull of the gorilla the difference 
in capacity is but eleven inches/ and if we were to take 
into account the differences in structural complexity, 
as indicated by the creasing and furrowing of the 
brain surface, the contrast would be still more striking. 
The brains of the earliest known races, the men 
of the Ancient Stone Age, ape -like savages who 
fought with woolly-haired elephants, cave-lions, and 
cave-bears, amidst the forests and on the slopes of 
the valleys and hills where London now stands, and 
who in the dawn of human intelligence, applying 
means to ends, came off victorious, were doubtless 
much nearer to the chimpanzee with his thirty-five 
cubic inches than to the Papuan with his fifty-five 
cubic inches. Indeed, we need not travel beyond this 

1 The following paragraph from Professor Huxley's Observations on 
the Human Skulls of Engis and Neanderthal is extracted from Lyell's 
Antiquity of Ma7i, p. 89 (4th edition). 

"The most capacious healthy European skull yet measured had a 
capacity of 114 cubic inches, the smallest (as estimated by weight of 
brain) about 55 cubic inches, while, according to Professor Schaaff- 
hausen, some Hindu skulls have as small a capacity as about 46 cubic 
inches (27 oz. of water). The largest cranium of any gorilla yet 
measured contained 34*5 cubic inches." 

Commenting on this paper Sir Charles Lyell remarks that "it is 
admitted that the differences in character between the brain of the 
highest races of man and that of the lowest, though less in degree, are 
of the same order as those which separate the human from the Simian 
brain," and that the statements of both Professor Huxley and Dr. 
Morton show "that the range of size or capacity between the highest 
and lowest human brain is greater than that between the highest Simian 
and the lowest human brain," 



age or island ; it suffices to compare the brain quality 
of the rustic, thinking of " maistly nowt," with that 
of the highest minds amongst us, as evidence of the 
enormous diversity between wild and cultivated 
stocks of mankind. 

Unless we are so enchained to fond delusions as 
to place man in a kingdom by himself, and deny in 
the sympathetic, moral, and intellectual faculties in 
'brutes the germs of those capacities which, existing 
in a pre-human ancestry, have flowered in the noblest 
and wisest of our race, we may find in such differ- 
ences as are shown to occur between civilised and 
primitive man further evidence of the enormous time 
since the latter appeared. For unnumbered ages 
man — then physically hardly distinguishable from 
apes — may have remained stationary. Certainly 
the relics from the Drift show no advance : given no 
change in the conditions, the species do not vary, 
and man, once adapted to his surroundings, changed 
only as these changed. But, obscure as are the 
causes, there came a period when conditions arose 
inducing some variation, no matter how slight, in 
brain development, which was of more need than any 
variation in the rest of the body, and when an impetus 
was given which, leaving the latter but slightly 
affected, quickened the former, so that man passed 
from the highest animality to the lowest humanity. 
Slowly, in the course of a struggle not yet ended, 
" the ape and tiger" were subdued within him, and 
those social conditions induced to which are due that 
progress which ever draws him nearer to the angels. 


The discussion of this in detail lies outside the 
limits of these pages. Here, after briefly noting on 
what lines it must run, we are concerned with man 
at that far later stage in his development when the 
physical and material evidence respecting his bodily 
development gives place to the psychical and imma- 
terial evidence respecting his mental development. 
Chipped flints, flakes, and scrapers of the Drift are 
indispensable witnesses to his primitive state, but 
during the long ages that he was making shift with 
them he remains within the boundaries of the 
zoological ; he is more geological than human. 
Gleams of the soul within that will one day be 
responsive to grace of form and harmony of colour 
appear in the rude portraits of mammoth, reindeer, 
urus, whale, and man himself, scratched on ivory and 
horn. Indications of germinal ideas about an after- 
life are present in the contents of tumuli with the 
skeletons in defined positions, and with weapons pre- 
sumably for the use of the departed in the happy 
hunting-grounds. In these last we are nearing the 
historic period, for a vast interval exists between the 
tomb-building races and the men of the Reindeer 
Period, yet even then the ages are many before man 
had so advanced as to bequeath the intangible relics 
of his thought, disclosing what answer he had beat 
out for himself to the riddle of the earth and the 
mysteries of life and death. Although the story of 
his intellectual and spiritual development is a broken 
one, of the earlier chapters of which we have no 
record, enough survives to induce and strengthen the 


conviction that in this, as in aught else, there is no 
real disconnection. In the shaping of the rudest 
pointed flint-tool and weapon there are the germs of 
the highest mechanical art ; in the discordant war- 
whoop of the savage the latent strains of the " Mar- 
seillaise," as, quoting Tennyson, in the eggs of the 
nightingale sleeps the music of the moon. If we 
cannot get so near to the elemental forms of thought 
as we could wish, we must lay hold of the lowest 
extant, and trace in these the connection to be 
sought between the barbaric and civilised mind. We 
must have understanding of the mental condition of 
races, still on low levels of culture, and if the result 
is to show that many highly-elaborated beliefs among 
advanced peoples are but barbaric philosophies " writ 
large," the conception of an underlying unity between 
all nations of men that do dwell, or have dwelt, on 
the face of the earth, will receive additional proof 


Illustrations of the low intellectual stage of some 
extant races not quite at the bottom of the scale, 
drawn from simple matters, will make clearer how 
they will interpret matters of a more complex order, 
and interpret them only in one way. 

Of the beginning of thought we can know no- 
thing. For numberless ages man was marked out 


from the animals most nearly allied to him by that 
power of more readily adapting means to ends which 
gave him mastery over nature. Through that dim 
and dateless time he thought without knowing that 
he thought. " His senses made him conversant only 
with things externally existing and with his own 
body, and he transcended his senses only far enough 
to draw concrete inferences respecting the action of 
these things." ^ He is human only when the thought 
reaches us through articulate speech. Language, as 
a means of communication between him and his 
fellows, denotes the existence of the social state, the 
play of the social evolution which gives the impetus 
to ideas. Language is the outcome of man's social 
needs and nature ; he speaks not so much because 
he thinks and feels as because he must perforce tell 
his thoughts and feelings to others. And by the 
richness or poverty of his speech we may assess the 
richness or poverty of his ideas, since language can- 
not transcend the thought of which it is the vehicle. 
By what tones and gestures, by what signs and 
grimaces, the beginnings of speech were made, we 
know not. Countless processions of races appeared 
and vanished before language had reached a stage 
when the elements of which words are built up could 
be separated, and the reason which governed the 
choice of this and that sound or symbol discovered. 
Now and again, when a correspondence is found 
between the roots of terms in use amongst the higher 
races and the names given by lower races to the 

^ Spencer's Principles of Sociology^ p. 147. 


same thing, we get nearer primitive thought, the cor- 
respondence being not always in sound or spelHng, 
which may be delusive, but in physical or sensible 
meaning. It would be a wholesome corrective of 
theories concerning the origin of languages to which 
many are yet wedded to show that terms not only 
for things material and concrete, but also for things 
immaterial and abstract, are of purely physical origin, 
ix. have been chosen from their analogy to some- 
thing real. But the consideration of such matters 
lies outside the purpose of this work. 

Language proves the limited range of ideas 
among barbaric peoples in the absence of their 
capacity to generalise. They have a word for every 
familiar thing, sound, and colour, but no word for 
animal, plant, sound, or colour as abstract terms. It 
is the concrete, the special shape and feature and 
action of a thing, which strike the senses at the out- 
set ; to strip it of these accidents, as we call them, 
and merge it in the general, and realise its relation 
to what is common to the class to which it belongs, 
is an effort of which the untutored mind is incapable. 
Many of the northern non-Aryan tribes, as among 
the Mongols, have names for the smallest rivulet, but 
no word for river ; names for each finger, but no 
word for finger. The Society Islanders have a 
separate name for the tails of various animals, but 
no name for tail. The Mohicans have verbs for 
every kind of cutting, but no verb " to cut." The 
Australians and other southern aborigines have no 
generic term for tree, neither have the Malays, yet 


they have words for the several parts, the root, 
stem, twig, etc. When the Tasmanians wished to 
express quahties of things, as hard, soft, warm, long, 
round, they would say for hard, " like a stone " ; for 
tall, " long legs " ; for round, " like the moon," and 
so on. Certain hill-tribes of India give names to 
sunshine, candle, and flames of fire, but " light " is a 
high abstraction which they are unable to grasp. 
Some of the Red Race languages have separate verbs 
for " I wish to eat meat," or " I wish to eat soup," 
but no verb for " I wish." Of course, the verb " to 
be," which, as Adam Smith remarked long ago, is 
the most abstract and metaphysical of all words, and 
therefore of no early coinage, is absent from a large 
number of barbaric languages. Abstract though it be, 
it is, as Professor Whitney points out, made up of the 
relics of several verbs which once had, like all ele- 
ments and parts of speech, a distinct physical mean- 
ing. As in " be " and " been " the idea of " growing " 
is contained, so in " am," " art," " is," and " are," the 
idea of " sitting " (or, as some think, of " breathing ") 
is embodied. As an example of its absence, the 
Abipones cannot say " I am an Abipone," only " I 
Abipone." Turning to another class of illustration, 
we have proof what a far cry it is from the savage 
to the Senior Wrangler in the powerlessness of the 
former to count beyond his fingers ; indeed, he can- 
not always count as far as that, any number beyond 
two bewildering him. One of the best stories to the 
point is given in Mr. Galton's Tropical South Africa. 
" When the Dammaras wish to express four they 


take to their fingers, which are to them as formidable 
instruments of calculation as a sliding rule is to an 
English schoolboy. They puzzle very much after 
five, because no spare hand remains to grasp and 
secure the fingers that are required for units. Yet 
they seldom lose oxen ; the way in which they dis- 
cover the loss of one is not by the number of the 
herd being diminished, but by the absence of a face 
they know. When bartering is going on, each sheep 
must be paid for separately. Thus, suppose two 
sticks of tobacco to be the rate of exchange for one 
sheep, it would sorely puzzle a Dammara to take 
two sheep and give him four sticks. I have done 
so, and seen a man put two of the sticks apart, and 
take a sight over them at one of the sheep he was 
about to sell. Having satisfied himself that that one 
was honestly paid for, and finding to his surprise 
that exactly two sticks remained in hand to settle 
the account for the other sheep, he would be afflicted 
with doubts ; the transaction seemed to come out 
too " pat " to be correct, and he would refer back to 
the first couple of sticks ; and then his mind got 
hazy and confused, and wandered from one sheep 
to the other, and he broke off the transaction until 
two sticks were put into his hand and one sheep 
driven away, and then the other two sticks given him 
and the second sheep driven away. Once while I 
watched a Dammara floundering hopelessly in a 
calculation on one side of me, I observed Dinah, my 
spaniel, equally embarrassed on the other. She was 
overlooking half a dozen of her new-born puppies, 


which had been removed two or three times from 
her, and her anxiety was excessive, as she tried to 
find out if they were all present, or if any were still 
missing. She kept puzzling and running her eyes 
over them, backwards and forwards, but could not 
satisfy herself. She evidently had a vague notion of 
counting, but the figure was too large for her brain. 
Taking the two as they stood, dog and Dammara, the 
comparison reflected no great honour on the man." 

Dr. Rae says that if an Eskimo is asked the 
number of his children he is generally puzzled. 
After counting some time on his fingers he will 
probably consult his wife, and the two often differ, 
even though they may not have more than four or 
five in family. Of the languages of the Australian 
savages, who are the lowest extant, examined by 
Mr. Crawfurd, thirty were found to have no number 
beyond four, all beyond this being spoken of as 
" many," whilst the Brazilian Indians got confused in 
trying to reckon beyond three. The list of such cases 
might be largely extended, and although exceptions 
occur where savages are found with a fairly wide 
range of numbers, notably where barter prevails, the 
larger proportion of uncivilised people are bewildered 
at any effort to count beyond three or five. The 
fingers have, in most cases, determined the limits, 
for men counted on these before they gave words to 
the numbers, the words being at last borrowed from 
the fingers, as in our " five," which is cognate with 
the Greek " pente," and the Persian " pendji " (said 
to be derived from the word for " hand "), and 


" digits," from Latin " digitus," a finger. This lim- 
ited power of numeration thus shown to be possessed 
by the savage justifies the statement that he is 
nearer to the ape than to the average civilised man, 
nearer, as the extract from Mr. Galton shows, to 
the spaniel than to the mathematician. What 
conception of the succession of time, still less of it 
as a confluence of the eternities, can he have whose 
feeble brain cannot grasp a to-morrow ! And yet 
the difference is not one of kind, but of degree, 
which separates the aborigines of Victoria or Papua 
from the astronomer who is led by certain irre- 
gularities in the motion of a planet to calculate 
the position of the disturbing cause, and thereby to 
discover it nearly a thousand million miles beyond 
in the planet Neptune. 

§ III. 



Races which have names for different kinds of 
oaks, but none for an oak, still less for a tree, and 
who cannot count beyond their fingers, may be ex- 
pected to have hazy notions concerning the objective 
and subjective ; or, to put these in terms less tech- 
nical, concerning that which belongs to the object of 
thought, and that which is to be referred to the 
thinking subject. Although primitive religion and 


philosophy are too nearly allied to admit of sharp 
definitions, the former may be said, if the slang is 
allowed, to be one of funk, and the latter one of fog. 
There are those amongst us who say that the ter- 
rorism which lies at the base of the one and the 
mist which is an element of the other, linger yet in 
extant belief and metaphysics. What man cannot 
understand he fears ; and in all primary beliefs the 
powers around which seem to him so wayward are 
baleful, to be appeased by sacrifice or foiled by 
sorcery. And the confusion which reigns in his 
cosmos extends to his notion of what is in the mind 
and what is out of it. He cannot distinguish between 
an illusion and a reality, between a substance and 
its image or shadow ; and it needs only some bodily 
ailment, as indigestion through gorging, or delirium 
through starving, to give to spectres of diseased or 
morbid origin, airy nothings, a substantive existence, 
a local habitation, and a name. 

The tangle between things and their symbols is 
well illustrated in the barbaric notion that the name 
of a man is an integral part of himself, and that to 
reveal it is to put the owner in the power of another. 
An Indian asked Kane whether his wish to know 
his name arose from a desire to steal it ; the Arau- 
canians would not allow their names to be told to 
strangers, lest these should be used in sorcery. So 
with the Indians of British Columbia ; and among 
the Ojibways husbands and wives never told each 
other's names, the children being warned against 
repeating their own names lest they stop growing. 


Dobrizhoffer says that the Abipones of Paraguay 
had the Hke superstition. They would knock at his 
door at night, and when asked who was there, no 
answer would come, through dread of uttering their 
names. Mr. im Thurn tells us that, although the 
Indians of British Guiana have an intricate system 
of names, it is " of little use, in that owners have a 
very strong objection to telling or using them, appar- 
ently on the ground that the name is part of the 
man, and that he who knows it has part of the 
owner of that name in his power." In Borneo the 
name of a sickly child is changed, to deceive the evil 
spirits that have tormented it ; the Lapps change the 
baptismal name of a child for the same reason ; and 
among the Abipones, the Fuegians, the Lenguas of 
Brazil, the North-West Indians, and other tribes at 
corresponding low levels, when any member died the 
relatives would change their names to elude Death 
when he should come to look for them, as well as 
give their children horrid names to frighten the bad 
spirits away. All over the barbaric world we find a 
great horror of naming the dead, lest the ghost 
appear. An aged Indian of Lake Michigan explained 
why tales of the spirits were told only in winter, by 
saying that when the deep snow is on the ground 
the voices of those repeating their names are muffled ; 
but that in summer the slightest mention of them 
must be avoided, lest the spirits be offended. Among 
the Californian tribes the name of the departed 
spoken inadvertently caused a shudder to pass over 
all those present. Among the Iroquois the name of 


a dead man could not be used again in the lifetime 
of his oldest surviving son without the consent of the 
latter, and the Australians believe that a dead man's 
ghost creeps into the liver of the impious wretch who 
has dared to utter his name. Dr. Lang tried to get 
the name of a relative who had been killed from an 
Australian. " He told me who the lad's father was, 
who was his brother, what he was like, how he 
walked, how he held his tomahawk in his left hand 
instead of his right, and who were his companions ; 
but the dreaded name never escaped his lips, and I 
believe no promises or threats could have induced 
him to utter it" Dorman gives a pathetic illustra- 
tion of this superstition in the Shawnee myth of 
Yellow Sky. " She was a daughter of the tribe, and 
had dreams which told her she was created for an 
unheard-of mission. There was a mystery about her 
being, and none could comprehend the meaning of 
her evening songs. The paths leading to her father's 
lodge were more beaten than those to any other. 
On one condition alone at last she consented to 
become a wife, namely, that he who wedded her 
should never mention her name. If he did, she 
warned him that a sad calamity would befall him, 
and he would for ever thereafter regret his thought- 
lessness. After a time Yellow Sky sickened and 
died, and her last words were that her husband 
might never breathe her name. For five summers he 
lived in solitude, but, alas, one day as he was by the 
grave of his dead wife, an Indian asked him whose 
it was, and in forgetfulness he uttered the forbidden 


name. He fell to the earth in great pain, and as 
darkness settled round about him a change came 
over him. Next morning, near the grave of Yellow 
Sky a large buck was quietly feeding. It was the 
unhappy husband." 

The original meaning has dropped out of the 
current saying, " Talk of the devil and you'll see his 
horns," but savage philosophy recovers it for us. 
And the shrinking from naming persons is still more 
marked as we ascend the scale of principalities and 
powers. In the South Sea Islands not only are the 
names of chiefs tabooed, but also words and sylla- 
bles resembling those n^mes in sound. The Tahi- 
tians have a custom called Te pi, which consists in 
avoiding in daily language those words which form 
a part or the whole of the names of the king and 
royal family, and in inventing new terms in their 
place. The king's name being Tu fetu^ " star," had 
to be changed into fetia^ and ttii, " to strike," became 
tiai. In New Zealand knives were called nekra^ 
because a chief's name was Maripi, or " knife." It 
is. Professor Max M tiller aptly remarks, as if with 
the accession of Queen Victoria either the word 
victory had been tabooed altogether, or only part 
of it, as tori, so as to make it high treason to speak 
of Tories during her reign. The secret name of 
Pocahontas was Matokas, which was concealed from 
the English through superstitious fear ; and in the 
mythical story of " Hiawatha " the same metonymic 
practice occurs, his real name being Tarenyawagon. 
A survival of the dislike to calling exalted temporal, 


and also spiritual, beings by their names, probably 
lies at the root of the Jews' unwillingness to use 
the name of Yahweh (commonly and incorrectly 
spelt Jehovah ^), and in the name '' Allah," which is 
an epithet or title of the Mohammadan deity, and 
not the " great name " ; whilst the concealment by 
the Romans of the name of the tutelary deity of 
their city was fostered by their practice, when be- 
sieging any place, to invoke the treacherous aid of 
its protecting god by offering him a high place in 
their Pantheon. And in the title of Eumenides, or 
the " gracious ones," given to the Furies by the Greeks, 
may be noted a survival of the verbal bribes by which 
the thing feared was " squared." For example, the 
Finnish hunters called the bear ''the apple of the 
forest," " the beautiful honey-claw," " the pride of the 
thicket"; the Laplander speaks of it as "the old 
man with the fur coat " ; in Annam the natives call 
the tiger " grandfather," or "lord"; and the Dyaks 
of Borneo speak of the small-pox as " the chief," or 
"jungle leaves." 

The confusion between ideas and objects which 
these examples illustrate is shared by us, although 

1 The peculiar feature of the Semitic languages is that the con- 
sonants are everything and the vowels nothing, every word consisting, 
in the first instance, merely of three consonants, which form, so to 
speak, the soul of the idea to be expressed by that word. And as in 
ancient times the consonants only were written, the name Jehovah 
appeared as JHVH. Its exact pronunciation is utterly lost, and such 
veneration gathered round it, that when the Jews came to it they sub- 
stituted some other name — usually Adonai. Afterwards, when vowels 
were added to the Hebrew text, those in Adonai, or its phonetic form 
Edona, were inserted between the letters of the sacred name, and thus 
JHVH was written Jehovah. 


in a remote degree. If the initials of any well-known 
name are transposed, for example, let W. E. Glad- 
stone be printed E. W. Gladstone ; or if some familiar 
name is altered, for example, let John Bright be 
misprinted James Bright, it is curious to note how 
for a moment the identity is obscured in one's mind. 
Another personality, indistinct and bewildering, rises 
before us, showing how we have come to link to- 
gether a man and his name even to the details of 
his initials. That which we feel momentarily the 
uncivilised feels constantly. He cannot think of 
himself, of his squaw, of his children, or of his fellow- 
tribesmen, apart from names which are more signifi- 
cant to him than ours are to us. With us the reason 
which governed selection is forgotten or obscured, 
the physical features and conditions no longer cor- 
respond to ancestral names ; but with barbarous 
peoples those features and conditions are more ap- 
parent. Besides which, children are often named 
by the medicine-man, and the name is thus endowed 
with a charm which may roughly be analogous to 
the halo round a name confirmed by baptism to 
one simply recorded in the office of a Registrar of 

§ IV. 

The artificial divisions which man in his pride 
of birth made between the several classes of pheno- 
mena in the inorganic world, and also between the 


inoiganic and the organic, are being swept away 
before the larger knowledge and insight of our time. 
Indeed, it would seem that the surest test we can apply 
to the worth of any kind of knowledge is whether it 
adds to or takes from our growing conception of unity. 
If it does the former, we cannot overthrow it ; if it 
does the latter, then is it science " falsely so called." 

That notable doctrine known as the correlation of 
physical forces, or the convertibility into one another 
of heat, light, electricity, chemical affinity, etc., each 
being a mode of manifestation of an unknown energy 
which " lives through all life, extends through all 
extent," has its counterpart in the correlation of 
spiritual forces. Varied as are the modes of ex- 
pression of these, that variety is on the surface only. 
Deep down lies the one source that feeds them, the 
one heart to whose existence their pulsations witness. 
All primitive philosophies, all religions " that man 
did ever find," are but as the refractions of the 
same light dispersed through different media ; are 
the result of the speculations of the same subject, 
allowances being made for local and non-essential 
differences upon like objects. And, therefore, in 
treating of the nature and limitations of man's 
early thought concerning his surroundings, whether 
these be the broad earth bathed in the sunshine 
or swathed in the darkness, or the sounds that 
come from unseen agents, the sight of spectral 
visitants of whom he cannot have touch, and out of 
which are built up his theories of the invisible world, 
the reader may find reference to the same conditions 



which were shown in former pages to give birth and 
sustenance to primitive myth. The same fantastic 
conclusions, drawn from rude analyses and associa- 
tions, and from seeming connections of cause and 
effect, the same bewildering entanglement between 
things which we know can have nothing in common, 
meet us ; and the same scientific method by which 
we determine the necessary place of each in the ad- 
vance of man to truth through illusion is applied. 

The illustrations of the vital connection which the 
savage assumes between himself and his name show 
how easy is the passage from belief in life inhering 
in everything to belief in it as capable of power for 
good or evil. This can be shown by illustrations 
from more tangible things than names. The savage 
who is afraid to utter these also shrinks from having 
his likeness taken, in the feeling that some part of him 
is transferred, and at the mercy of the sorcerer and 
enemy. The Malemutes of North America refused to 
risk their lives before a photographic apparatus. 
They said that those who had their likenesses had 
their spirit, and they would not let these pass into 
the keeping of those who might use them as instru- 
ments of torment. Catlin relates that he caused 
great commotion among the Sioux by drawing 
one of their chiefs in profile. " Why was half his 
face left out ? " they asked ; " Mahtochecga was never 
ashamed to look a white man in the face." The 
chief himself did not take offence, but Shouka the 
Dog taunted him, saying : " The Englishman knows 
that you are but half a man ; he has painted but one- 


half of your face, and knows that the rest is good for 
nothing." This led to a quarrel, and in the end 
Mahtocheega was shot, the fatal bullet tearing away 
just that part of the face which Catlin had not 
drawn ! He had to make his escape, and the matter 
was not settled till both Shouka and his brother had 
been killed in revenge for Mahtocheega's death. 
The Yanktons accused Catlin of causing a scarcity 
of buffaloes by putting a great many of them in his 
book, and refused to let him take their portraits. 
So with the Araucanians, who ran away if any 
attempt was made to sketch them. Among such 
races we find great care exercised lest cuttings of 
hair, parings of nails, saliva, refuse of food, water in 
which they had washed, etc., should fall into unfriendly 
or mistrusted hands. The South Sea Island chiefs 
had servants following them with spittoons, that the 
saliva might be buried in some hidden place. Among 
the Polynesians any one who fell ill attributed it to 
some sorcerer, who had got hold of refuse from the 
sick and was burning it, and the quiet of the night 
was often broken by the blowing of shell-trumpets, 
as signals for the sorcerer to stop until the gifts on 
their way to appease him could arrive. The idea is 
common both to Eskimo and Indian that so longf as 
a fragment of a body remains unburnt, the being, 
man or beast, may, by magic, be revived from it. 
As with the name or the portrait, whoever possessed 
a part of the material substance possessed a part of 
the spiritual, and in this world-wide belief in a 
symoathetic connection between things living and 


not living lies the whole philosophy of sorcery, of 
charms, amulets, spells, and the general doctrine of 
luck surviving through the successive stages of 
culture to this day. And he who would prevent 
anything from his person getting into hostile hands, 
naturally sought after things in which coveted 
qualities were believed to dwell, and avoided those 
of a reverse nature. So we find tiger's flesh eaten to 
give courage, and the eyes of owls swallowed to give 
good sight in the dark. The Kaffirs prepare a powder 
made of the dried flesh of various wild beasts, the 
leopard, tiger, elephant, snake, etc., so as to absorb 
the several virtues of these creatures. The Tyrolese 
hunter wears his tuft of eagle's down to gain long 
sight and daring, and the Red Indian strings bears 
claws round his neck to get Bruin's savage courage. 
The customs of scalping and, in some measure, of 
cannibalism, may be referred to the same notion, for 
the Red man will risk his life to prevent a tribesman's 
scalp being captured by the foe, and the New 
Zealander will swallow the eyes of his slain enemy 
to improve his sight. In Greenland " a slain man 
is said to have power to avenge himself upon the 
murderer by msJiing into hiui, which can only be 
prevented by eating a piece of his liver." ^ When a 
whaler died the Eskimos distributed portions of his 
dried body among his friends, and rubbed the points 
of their lances with them, it being held that a weapon 
thus charmed would pierce a vital part in a whale, 
where another would fail. Sometimes the body was 

^ Rink's Talcs and Traditions of the Eskimo, p. 45. 


laid in a cave, and, before starting for the chase, the 
whalers would assemble, and, carrying it to a stream, 
plunge it in, and then drink the water. When the 
heroic Jesuit Brebeuf was tortured by the Iroquois, 
they were so astonished at his endurance that they 
laid open his breast and came in a crowd to drink 
the blood of so valiant a foe, thinking to imbibe with 
it some portion of his courage, while a chief tore out 
his heart and devoured it. 

Cannibalism, it may be remarked, en passant, is 
also found to have a religious significance, on the 
supposition, which has unsuspected survival among 
advanced races, that eating the body and drinking 
the blood communicates the spirit of the victim to 
the consumer. It is not always the most savage 
races who practise it ; for example, the Australians, 
despite the scarcity of large animals for food supply, 
rarely ate the flesh of man, whilst the New Zea-. 
landers, who rank far above them, and had not the 
like excuse, were systematic feeders on human flesh. 

As examples of a reverse kind, but witnessing to 
the play of like beliefs in qualities passing from 
brutes and lifeless things, we find some races avoid- 
ing oil, lest the game slip through their fingers, 
abstaining from the flesh of deer, lest it engenders 
timidity, and from that of pigs and of tortoises lest 
the eater has very small eyes. Dr. Tylor gives an 
apposite illustration of a kindred superstition in the 
Hessian lad who thinks that he may escape the con- 
scription by carrying a baby-girl's cap in his pocket 
as a symbolical way of repudiating manhood. So 


the thief of our London slums hopes to evade the 
pohce by carrying a piece of coal or slate in his 
pocket for luck. Among ourselves there was an old 
medical saw, " Hare-flesh engendereth melancholy 
bloude," and in Swift's Polite Conversation we have 
this reason assigned by Lady Answerall when asked 
to eat it ; whilst faith is not yet extinct in the 
" Doctrine of Signatures," or the notion that the 
appearance of a plant indicates the disease for which 
it is a remedy, as the " eye-bright," the black purple 
spot on the corolla of which was said to show that it 
was good for weak eyes. In referring to the man- 
drake superstition (a plant whose roots are said to 
rudely resemble the human form) as illustration of 
the " recognised principles in magic that things like 
each other, however superficially, affect each other in 
a mystic way and possess identical properties," 
Mr. Andrew Lang quotes a Melanesian belief that a 
stone in the shape of a pig, of a bread-fruit, of a 
yam, was a most valuable find, because it made pigs 
prolific and fertilised bread-fruit trees and yam-plots.^ 
Brand remarks ^ that the custom of giving infants 
coral to help in cutting the teeth is said to be a survival 
of an old belief in it as an amulet ; and in English, 
Sicilian, and West Indian folk-lore, we find the belief 
that it changes colour in sympathy with the pale or 
healthy look of the wearer. An old Latin author says,^ 
"It putteth of lightenynge, whirle-wynde, tempeste, 
and storms fro shyppes and houses that it is in." 

1 Vide CiistojH and Myth ; Art. " Moly and Mandragora," p. 146. 

2 Popular Ant iquiiies^ ii. 85. ^ T)ytxs> Folk- Lore, p. 179. 


We are each of us hundreds of thousands of years 
old, and although our customs and beliefs have a far less 
venerable antiquity, their sources lie not less in primi- 
tive thought. Like the survival of the ancient Roman 
workman's " casula " or " little house " or " shelter " in 
the chasuble of the priest ; like the use of stone knives 
in circumcision long after the discovery of metals ; the 
general tends to become special ; the common, its 
primitive need or service forgotten, to become sacred. 
Sometimes the early idea abides ; the Crees, who carry 
about the bones of the dead carefully wrapped up as 
a fetish ; the Caribs, who think such relics can answer 
questions ; the Xomanes, who drink the powdered 
bones in water, that they may receive the spirit ; the 
Algonquins, whose god Manobozho turned bits of his 
own flesh or his wife's into raccoons for food ; the Iro- 
quois cited above; represent the barbarous ancestry of 
higher races, whether of the Bacchanalians described 
by Arnobius,^ who thought that the fulness of the 
divine majesty was imparted to them when they tore 
and ate the struggling rams with mouths dripping 
with gore, or of the faithful who receive nutriment 
through the symbols of the Cross. And the prayers 
of savage and civilised have this in common, that 
some advantage is thereby sought by the utterer ; 
their sacrifices are alike the giving up of one's goods 
or one's self to a deity who may be appeased or 
bribed thereby ; their fastings are cultivated as in- 
ducing the abnormal states in which their old men 
dream dreams and their young men see visions of 

^ Arnobius adv. Gentes.^ v. 19. 


spirits appearing as angels ascending and descending 
between earth and the abode of the blest. Baptisms 
ai;e the ancient lustrations, which water, as the cleans- 
ing element, suggested ; and the eastward position, 
over which priests and ecclesiastics have fought, is 
the undoubted relic of worship of the rising sun. 

In short, there is no rite or ceremony yet practised 
and revered amongst us which is not the lineal 
descendant of barbaric thought and usage, expressing 
a need which, were men less the slaves of custom and 
indolence, would long since have found loftier form 
than in genuflexion before shrine and reliquary. By 
an exercise of imagination not possible but for these 
being a felicitous " gesture language " of the cries of 
human souls, a mass of heathen and pagan rites have 
been transformed into those of the Christian faith. 
That they have come to be mistaken for the ideas 
symbolised, that with the loftiest spiritual teaching 
there should remain commingled belief in miraculous 
power in fragments (mostly spurious) of dead men 
and their clothes ; only shows the persistency of that 
notion of a vital connection between the lifeless and 
the living which this section has sought to illustrate. 


The confusion in the barbaric mind between the 
objective and the subjective, and between the name 


and the person or thing, which has been illustrated 
in the foregoing pages, will enable us to see more 
clearly how the like confusion must enter into the 
interpretation of such occult and compound pheno- 
mena as dreams, and all their kind. 

They supply the conditions for exciting and 
sustaining that feeling of mystery which attends 
man's endeavour to get at the meaning of his sur- 
roundings. The phantasies which have defiled 
through the brain in coherent order, or danced in 
mazy whirl about its sinuous passages when complete 
sleep was lacking, leave their footprints on the 
memory, and they are strong of head and heart, true 
pepticians, like the countryman cited by Carlyle, 
who, " for his part, had no system," whose composure 
on awaking is not affected by the harmonious or 
discordant, the pleasant or disagreeable, illusions 
which have made up their dreams. In the felicitous 
words of Lucretius, " When sleep has chained down 
our limbs in sweet slumber, and the whole body is 
sunk in profound repose, yet then we seem to our- 
selves to be awake and to be moving our limbs, and 
amid the thick darkness of night we think we see 
the sun and the daylight ; and though in a confined 
room, we seem to be passing to new climates, seas, 
rivers, mountains, and to be crossing plains on foot, 
and to hear voices, though the austere silence of 
night prevails all round, and to be uttering speech, 
though quite silent. Many are the other things of 
this marvellous sort we see, which all seek to shake, 
as it were, the credit of the senses : quite in vain, 


since the greatest part of these cases cheat us on 
account of the mental suppositions which we add of 
ourselves, taking those things as seen which have not 
been seen by the senses. For nothing is harder 
than to separate manifest facts from doubtful, which 
the mind without hesitation adds on of itself" ^ 

While for us dreams fill an empty moment in the 
telling, albeit now and again nurturing such remains 
of superstition as cling to the majority of people, 
they are to the untrained intelligence, unable to dis- 
tinguish fact from fiction, or to follow any sequence 
of ideas, as solid as the experiences of waking 
moments. As a Zulu, well expressing the limits of 
savage thought, said to Bishop Callaway, " Our know- 
ledge does not urge us to search out the roots of it, 
we do not try to see them, if any one thinks ever so 
little, he soon gives it up, and passes on to what he 
sees with his eyes ; and he does not understand the real 
state of even what he sees." Nor does his language 
clear the confusion within when he tells what he 
has seen and heard and felt, where he has been and 
what he has done, for the speech cannot transcend 
the thought, and therefore can represent neither to 
himself nor to his hearers the difference between the 
illusions of the night and the realities of the day. 
The dead relatives and friends who appear in dreams 
and live their old life, with whom he joins in the 
battle, the chase, and the feast, the foes with whom 
he struggles, the wild beasts from whom he flees, or 
in whose clutches he feels himself, and with shrieks 

^ De rcriun N'alnra, Book iv. 453-468. 


awakens his squaw, the long distances he travels to 
sunnier climes lit by a light that never was on land 
or sea, are all real, and no " baseless fabric of a 
vision." That now and again he should have walked 
in his sleep would confirm the seeming reality; still 
more so would the intensified form of dreaming; 
called " nightmare," ^ when hideous spectres sit upon 
the breast, stopping breath and paralysing motion, 
and to which is largely due the creation of the vast 
army of nocturnal demons that fill the folk-lore of 
the world, and that, under infinite variety of repellent 
form, have had place in the hierarchy of religions. 

Dreams are in the main referred by the savage 
either to the entrance into him of some outside 
spirit, as among the Fijians, who believe that the 
spirit of a living man will leave the body to trouble 
sleeping folk, or to the real doings of himself 

When the Greenlander dreams of hunting, or 
fishing, or courting, he believes that the soul quits 
the body ; the Dyaks of Borneo think that during 
sleep the soul sometimes remains in the body or 
travels far away, being endowed, whether present or 
absent, with conditions which in waking moments 
are lacking. Wherever we find a low state of mental 
development the like belief exists. In Mr. im 
Thurn's elaborate work on the Indians of Gniana we 
have corroborative evidence, the more valuable be- 
cause of its freshness. He tells us that the dreams 
which come to the Indian are to him as real as any 

^ According to Professor Skeat, from A.S, niJit, night ; mara, lit. 
"a crusher," from Aryan root, MAR, to crush. Cf. Etynwl. Diet. 


of the events of his waking life. To him dream-acts 
and waking-acts differ only in one respect — namely, 
that the former are done only by the spirit, the latter 
are done by the spirit in its body. Seeing other 
men asleep, and afterwards hearing from them the 
things which they suppose themselves to have done 
when asleep, the Indian has no difficulty in reconcil- 
ing that which he hears with the fact that the bodies 
of the sleepers were in his sight and motionless 
throughout the time of supposed action, because he 
never questions that the spirits, leaving the sleepers, 
played their part in dream -adventures. Mr. im 
Thurn illustrates the complete belief of the Indian 
in the unbroken continuity of his dream -life and 
waking-life by incidents which came under his own 
notice, and which are quoted as serving the present 
argument better than any theorising. 

One morning when it was important to me to get away 
from a camp on the Essequibo River, at which I had been 
detained for some days by the ilhiess of some of my Indian 
companions, I found that one of the invalids, a young Macusi, 
though better in health, was so enraged against me that he 
refused to stir, for he declared that, with great want of con- 
sideration for his weak health, I had taken him out during the 
night and had made him haul the canoe up a series of difficult 
cataracts. Nothing could persuade him that this was but a 
dream, and it was some time before he was so far pacified as 
to throw himself sulkily into the bottom of the canoe. At that 
time we were all suffering from a great scarcity of food, and, 
hunger having its usual effect in producing vivid dreams, 
similar events frequently occurred. More than once the men 
declared in the morning that some absent man, whom they 
named, had come during the night, and had beaten, or other- 


wise maltreated them; and they insisted on much rubbing of 
the bruised parts of their bodies. Another instance was amus- 
ing. In the middle of one night I was awakened by an 
Arawak named Sam, the captain or head-man of the Indians 
who were with me, only to be told the bewildering words, 
" George speak me very bad, boss; you cut his bits !" It was 
some time before I could collect my senses sufficiently to re- 
member that " bits," or fourpenny-pieces, are the units in which, 
among Creoles and semi-civilised Indians, calculation of money, 
and consequently of wages, is made; that to cut bits means to 
reduce the number of bits or wages given ; and to understand 
that Captain Sam, having dreamed that his subordinate George 
had spoken insolently to him, the former, with a fine sense of 
the dignity of his office, now insisted that the culprit should be 
punished in real life. One more incident, of which the same 
Sam was the hero, may be told for the sake of the humour, 
though it did not happen within my personal experience, but 
was told me by a friend. This friend, in whose employ Sam 
was at the time, told his man, as they sat round the fire one 
night, of the Zulu or some other African war which was then in 
progress, and in so doing inadvertently made frequent use of 
the expression, " to punish the niggers." That night, after all 
in camp had been asleep for some time, they were raised by 
loud cries for help. Sam, who was one of the most powerful 
Indians I ever saw, was "punishing a nigger" who happened to 
be one of the party ; with one hand he had firmly grasped the 
back of the breeches-band of the black man, and had twisted 
this round so tightly that the poor wretch was almost cut in 
two. Sam sturdily maintained that he had received orders from 
his master for this outrageous conduct, and on inquiry it turned 
out that he had dreamed this. 1 

Taking an illustration from nearer home, although 
from a more remote time, we have in the Scan- 
dinavian VatnsdcBla Saga a curious account of three 
Finns who were shut up in a hut for three nights, 

' Among the Indians of Guiana, pp. 344-346. 


and ordered by Ingimund, a Norwegian chief, to 
visit Iceland, and inform him of the line of the 
country where he was to settle. Their bodies be- 
came rigid, and they sent their souls on their errand, 
and, on their awaking at the end of three days, gave 
an accurate account of the Vatnsd^el, in which Ingi- 
mund ultimately dwelt. No wonder that in mediaeval 
times, when witches swept the air and harried the 
cattle, swooning and other forms of insensibility were 
adduced in support of the theory of soul-absence, or 
that we find among savages — as the Tajals of the 
Luzon islands — objections to waking a sleeper lest 
the soul happens to be out of the body. As a corol- 
lary to this belief in soul-absence, fear arises lest it 
be prolonged to the peril of the owner, and hence a 
rough and ready theory of the cause of disease is 
framed, for savages rarely die in their beds. 

§ VI. 

That disease is a derangement of functions inter- 
rupting their natural action, and carrying attendant 
pain as its indication, could not enter the head of 
the uncivilised: and, indeed, among ourselves a cold 
or a fever is commonly thought of as an entity in 
the body which has stolen in, and, having been 
caught, must be somehow expelled. With the uni- 
versal primitive belief in spiritual agencies everywhere 


inhaled with the breath or swallowed with the food 
or drink, all diseases were regarded as their work, 
whether, as remarked above, through absence of the 
rightful spirit or subtle entrance of some hostile one. 
If these be the causes to which sicknesses are due, 
obviously the only cure is to get rid of them, and 
hence the sorcerer and the medicine-man find their 
services in request in casting out the demon by 
force, or enticing him by cajolery, or in bringing 
back the truant soul. 

To the savage mind no other explanation of ill- 
ness is possible than that it is due to the exit of 
one's own spirit or to the intrusion of a stronger 
one, whether of revengeful man or animal. An old 
Dakota, whose son had sore eyes, said that nearly 
thirty years before, when the latter was a boy, he 
fastened a pin to a stick and speared a minnow with 
it, and it was strange that after so long a time the 
fish should come to seek revenge. When an Indian 
is attacked by any wild beast he believes that the 
avenging Kenaima has transferred his spirit to the 
animal which seizes him, and if he has even a tooth- 
ache, of which more presently, then the Kenaima 
has insinuated himself in the shape of a worm. The 
tribal chief among the Brazilian natives acts as 
doctor, and when he visits the sick he asks what 
animal the patient has offended, and if no cure is . 
effected, the convenient explanation is at hand that 
the right animal has not been found. At the death 
of Iron Arms, a noted North American Indian 
warrior, it was said that he died because the doctor 


made a mistake, thinking that a prairie-dog had 
entered him, when it was a mud-hen. In the weird 
mythology of the Finns the third daughter of the 
ruler of Tuonela, the underworld, sits on a rock rising 
from hell-river, beneath which the spirits of all diseases 
are shut up. As she whirls the rock round like a 
millstone the spirits escape and go on their torturing 
errand to mortals. The more abnormal and strikincf 
phases of disease manifest when a man is writhing 
under intense agony, as if torn and twisted by some 
fiendish living thing, or when in delirium he raves 
and starts, or when thrown down in epilepsy he 
struggles convulsively, or when he shivers in an 
ague, or when in more violent forms of madness he 
seems endowed with superhuman strength ; the 
various symptoms attending hysteria ; each and all 
support that theory of spirit-influence which survives 
among advanced races in referring disease to super- 
natural causes. For the ancient theories of a divine 
government under which disease is the expression of 
the anger of the gods, and medicine the token of 
their healing mercy, and the current notions that 
any epidemic or pestilence is a visitation of God, are 
identical in character, however improved in feature, 
with the barbaric belief illustrated above ; and in the 
ages when belief in the devil as one walking to and 
fro upon the earth was rampant, he especially was 
regarded as bringer of both bane and antidote. '' He 
may," says an old writer, "inflict diseases, which is 
an effect he may occasion applicando a diva passivis 
(by applying actives to passives), and by the same 


means he may likewise cure . . . and not only may 
he cure diseases laid on by himself, as Wierus ob- 
serves, but even natural diseases, since he knows the 
natural causes and the origin of even those better 
than the physicians can, who are not present when 
diseases are contracted, and who, being younger tJian 
he, must have less experience." ^ In Lancashire folk- 
lore " casting out the ague " was but another name 
for " casting out the devil " ; in the Arabic language 
the words for epilepsy and possession by demons are 
the same ; and in such phrases as a man being " beside 
himself," " transported," " out of his mind," or in the 
converse, as when it is said in the parable of the 
prodigal son, " he cam.^ to himself"; in the words 
" ecstasy," which means a displacement or removal of 
the soul, and " catalepsy," a seizing of the body by 
some external power, we have language preserving 
the primitive ideas of an intruding or departing 
spirit. Such minor actions as gaping and sneezing 
confirm the belief. The philosophy of the latter, as 
Mr. Gill remarks in his Myths and Songs of the 
South Pacific^ is that the spirit having gone travelling 
about, its return to the body is naturally attended 
with some difficulty and excitement, occasioning a 
tingling and enlivening sensation all over the body. 
And the like explanation lies at the root of the mass 
of customs attendant on sneezing, and of the 
superstitions generated by it, which extend through 
the world. 

Williams tells us that among the Fijians, when 

1 W. G. Black : Folk- Medicine, p. 1 3. 



any one faints or dies, their spirit, it is said, may 
sometimes be brought back by calling after it, and 
occasionally the ludicrous scene is witnessed of a stout 
man lying at full length and bawling out lustily for 
the return of his soul. So in China, when a child is 
lying dangerously ill, its mother will go outside into 
the garden and call its name, in the hope of bringing 
back the wandering spirit. But for all the ills that 
flesh is heir to, from hiccupping to madness, from 
toothache to broken limbs, the patient seldom dares 
to doctor himself ; neither the etiquette of the ordained 
medicine-man nor the orthodox therapeutics favour 
that show of independence. The methods adopted 
by the faculty vary in detail, but they are ruled by a 
single assumption. When a Chinaman is dying, and 
the soul is believed to be already out of the body, a 
relative holds up his coat on a bamboo stick, and a 
Taoist priest seeks by incantations to bring back the 
truant soul so that it may re-enter the sick man. 
Among the Six Nations the Indians sought to dis- 
cover the intruder by gathering a quantity of ashes 
and scattering them in the cabin where the sick per- 
son was lying. A similar recipe for tracking demons 
is given in the Taliiuid ; but, as more nearly bearing 
on the Indian practice, a Polish custom mentioned 
by Grimm^ may be quoted. When the white folk 
torment a sick man a friend walks round him carry- 
ing a sleveful of ashes on his back, and lets the ashes 
run out till the floor round the bed is covered with 
them. The next morning all the lines in the ashes 

1 TetU. MytJwL, 1165. 


are counted, and the result told to a wise woman, who 
prescribes accordingly. 

A favourite mode of treatment is blowing upon 
or sucking the diseased organ, and deception is no 
infrequent resort when the sorcerer secretes thorns 
or fishbones, beetles or worms, in his mouth, and then 
pretends that he has extracted them. Cranz says 
that the Eskimo old women appear to suck from a 
swollen leg scraps of leather or a parcel of hair 
which they have previously crammed into their 
mouths, and in Australia the same dodge is practised, 
when the sorcerer makes believe that he has drawn 
out a piece of bone from the affected part. That 
toothache is due to a worm is a belief which exists 
throughout Europe and Asia, and from the Orkneys 
to New Zealand. Shakspere refers to it in Mitch 
Ado about Nothings Act III. Scene ii. — 

Don Pedro. What ! sigh for the toothache ? 
Leonata. Where is but a humour or a worm ; 

and instances are current of this superstition being 
acted upon in rural districts, whilst in China the 
itinerant dentist conceals a worm in the stick which 
he applies to the aching tooth, and on the stick being 
gently tapped, the worm wriggles out to the satisfac- 
tion of the sufferer. But among barbaric races the 
treatment of disease is ordinarily the reverse of soothing. 
Here and there the virtues of some plant have been 
discovered by accident, and, whilst exalted into a deity 
in its native home, it has become, like cinchona, a 
priceless boon to the fever-stricken all over the world ; 


but, speaking broadly, the medicine-man is no Me- 
lampus, winning the secret of their healing balm from 
herb and tree. Nor has he much faith in magic or 
charm compared to his faith in noise, in incantations, 
with their accompanying hideous grimaces and ges- 
tures, and their deafening yells with clang of instru- 
ment to drown the sufferer's groans and chase away 
the demon. Not unfrequently, when the patient is 
kept without food so as to starve out the indwelling 
enemy, or when the body is pommelled and squeezed 
to force him out, the remedy helps the disease ! An 
illustration or two from a great mass at command 
must suffice. Among the Mapuches the sorcerer 
adopts the canonical howls and grimaces. Making 
himself as horrible-looking as he can, he begins beat- 
ing a drum and working himself into a frenzy until 
he falls to the ground with his breast working con- 
vulsively. As soon as he falls, a number of young 
men outside the hut, who are there to help him in 
frightening the disease -bringing spirit out of the 
patient, add their defiant yells, and dash at full speed, 
with lighted torches, against the hut. If this does 
not succeed, and the patient dies, the result is attri- 
buted to witchcraft. When a Pawnee chief had some 
ribs and an arm broken, the medicine-men danced 
round him, and raised their voices from murmurous 
chants to howls, accompanying the music by blows 
upon the wounded man's breast to banish the bad 
spirit. In olden time this rough-and-tumble business 
of blows, to which immersion was added, was applied 
to lunatics in these islands. And, in fact, until some 


local paper narrates a current superstition, we seldom 
awaken to the fact how widely the theological ex- 
planation of diseases and the empirical choice of 
remedies still obtains, each being survivals of barbaric 
theory and practice. 

The savage who has more faith, as a curative, in 
plants that grow on burial-places, and the Christian, 
who ascribed special healing power to turf and dew 
from a saint's grave,^ differ no whit in kind ; and so 
ingrained was the medicinal belief in virtue inhering 
in fragments of the dead, that not even the satire of 
" Reynard the Fox," telling how the wolf was cured 
of his earache, and the hare of his fever, the moment 
that they lay down on the grave of the martyred hen, 
could give quietus to the notion that grated skulls 
and sacramental shillings were specifics for the heal- 
ing of the faithful. 

This reference to like practices reminds us how 
belief in the action of invisible agencies has passed 
into the practice of confession among advanced races 
outside Christendom, as in Mexico and Peru. The 
Roman Catholic priests were not less astonished at 
finding this in vogue on their arrival in South 
America than the good Father Hue when, on reaching 
Tibet, he found shaven monks wearing rosaries, 
worshipping relics, using holy water, and a grand 
Lama decked in mitre, cope, and cross.^ But, as the 
Italian proverb has it, the world is one country, and 

^ Cf. Grimm, Tent. Mythol. iiTT. 

2 " Voila autant de rapports que les Bouddhistes ont avec nous," 
adds the traveller, for hinting at which analogies between I'uddhists 
and Catholics the Pope put his book on the Index. 


" we have all one human heart," so that the confes- 
sional has the like explanation in east as in west. 
If the disease be the work of an offended deity or of 
an avenging spirit, let the wrong-doer admit his fault, 
and trust to him who is credited with influence with 
the unseen to exorcise the intruder. 

§ VII. 

In thus far illustrating the confusion inherent in the 
barbaric mind between what is and what is not external 
to itself, the explanation given of matters still dividing 
philosophers into opposite camps has been hardly 
indicated. The uniformity of this confusion among 
the lower intelligence in every zone and age might 
surprise us, and we should be in bondage to the theory 
which explains it by assumption of primal intuitions 
of the race, were we not rejoicing in the freedom of 
the truth of the doctrine of the descent, or ascent, of 
man from an ape-like ancestry, and the resulting slow 
development of his psychical faculties, involving his 
accounting for motion in things around by the like 
personal life and will of which he is conscious in him- 
self, and for his regarding the world of great and 
small alike as the home and haunt of spirits. 

For the assumption underlying the savage ex- 
planation of such things as dreams and diseases 
involves a larger assumption — namely, that the spirit 


which acts thus arbitrarily, playing this game of hide- 
and-seek, now, as it were, caught up into Paradise, 
and now dodging its owner and worrying its enemy 
on earth — is, to quote Mr. Spencer's appropriate 
term, a man's otJier self. It is, at least, what the 
scientists call a working hypothesis ; it is the only 
possible explanation which the uncultivated mind can 
give of what it has not the power to see is a subjec- 
tive phenomenon. Odd and out-of-the-way events 
have happened to the dreamer ; he has been to 
strange places and seen strange doings, but waking 
up, he knows that he is in the same wigwam where 
he laid down to sleep, and can be convinced by his 
squaw that he has not moved therefrom all night. 
Therefore it is the other self, this phantom-soul, 
which has been away for a time, seeing and taking 
part in things both new and old. We civilised folk, 
as Dr. Wendell Holmes remarks, not rarely find our 
personality doubled in our dreams, and do battle 
with ourselves, unconscious that we are our own an- 
tagonists. Dr. Johnson dreamed that he had a con- 
test with an opponent and got the worst of it ; of 
course, he found the argument for both ! Tartini 
heard the devil play a wonderful sonata, and lay en- 
tranced by the arch-fiend's execution. On waking he 
seized his violin, and although he could not reproduce 
the actual succession of notes, he recovered sufficient 
impressions to compose his celebrated " Devil's Son- 
ata." Obviously the devil was no other than Tartini. 
Thus the philosopher, to w^hom dreaming merely 
indicates a certain amount of uncontrolled mental 


activity, may satisfy himself; not thus can the savage, 
who cannot even think that he thinks, and to whom 
the phenomena of shadows, reflection, and echoes 
bring confirming evidence of the existence of his 
mysterious double. What else than a veritable entity 
can his shadow be to him ? Its^ intangibility feeds 
his awe -and wonder, and increases his bewilderment ; 
its actions, ever corresponding with his own, make it, 
even more than its outline, a part of himself, the loss 
of which may be serious. Only when the light is 
withdrawn or intercepted does the shadow cease to 
accompany, precede, or follow him, and to lengthen, 
shorten, or distort itself ; whilst not he alone, but all 
things above and around, have this phantom attendant. 
The Choctaws believed that each man has an outside 
shadow, shiloDibisJi^ and an inside shadow, sJiihip^ both 
of which survive his decease. Among the Fijians a 
man's shadow is called the dark spirit, which goes to 
the unseen world, while the other spirit, which is his 
likeness reflected in water or a mirror, stays near the 
place where he dies. The Basutos are careful, when 
walking by a river, not to let their shadow fall on the 
water, lest a crocodile seize it, and harm the owner. 
Among the Algonquin Indians sickness is accounted 
for by the patient's shadow being unsettled or de- 
tached from the body ; the Zulus say that a corpse 
cannot cast a shadow, and in the barbaric belief that 
its loss is baleful, we have the germ of the mediai^val 
legends of shadowless men and of tales of which 
Chamisso's story of Peter Schlemihl is a type. The 
New England tribes called the soul chcminig^ the 


shadow, and in the Quiche and Eskimo languages, 
as also in the several dialects of Costa Rica, the same 
word expresses both ideas ; while civilised speech 
indicates community of thought in the skia of the 
Greeks, the manes or nnibra of the Romans, and the 
s/iade of our own tongue. Still more complete in 
the mimicry is the reflection of the body in water or 
mirror, the image repeating every gesture and adopt- 
ing every colour, whilst in the echoes which forest 
and hillside fling back, the savage hears confirmation 
of his belief in the other self, as well as in the near- 
ness of the spirits of the dead. The Sonora Indians 
say that departed souls dwell among the caves and 
nooks of the cliffs, and that the echoes are their 
voices, and in South Pacific myth echo is the first 
and parent fairy, to whom at Marquesas divine hon- 
ours are still paid as the giver of food, and as she 
who " speaks to the worshippers out of the rocks." 
In Greek myth she is punished by Juno for diverting 
her attention whilst Jupiter flirts with the nymphs, 
and at last, pining in grief at her unrequited love for 
Narcissus, there remains nothing but her voice. 

But what, in primitive conception, is the more 
specific nature of the other self, and how does it 
make the passage from within to without, and vice 
versa ? Very early in man's history he must have 
wondered at the difference between a waking and 
a sleeping person, a living and a dead one, and 
sought wherein this consisted. There lay the body 
in the repose, more or less broken, of sleep, or in the 
undisturbed repose of the unawakening sleep ; in the 


latter case, with nothing tangible or visible gone, but 
that which was once " quick " and warm, which had 
spoken, moved, smiled, or frowned but a little while 
before, and which still came in dream or vision, was 
now cold and still. 

It should here be remarked, in passing, that many 
savage races do not believe in death as a natural 
event, but regard it as differing from sleep only in 
the length of time that the spirit is absent from the 
body. No matter what any one's age may be, if his 
death is not caused by wounds, it is attributed to 
magic, and the search for the sorcerer becomes a 
family duty, like the vendetta for other injuries. 
The widespread myths which account for death have 
as their underlying idea the infraction of some law 
or custom, for which the offender pays the extreme 
penalty. And that personification of it which per- 
vades barbaric thought, whilst undergoing many 
changes of form, yet retains its hold in popular 
conception as well as in poetry. Pictured as the 
messenger of Deity, as the awful angel who sought the 
rebellious and impious, or who, in mission of tender- 
ness, bore the soul to its home in the bosom of the 
Eternal, it was transformed and degraded by the 
grotesque fancy of a later time into a grim and 
dancing skeleton whetting his sickle for ingathering 
of the young and fair to their doom, or into the 
grinning skull and crossbones of Christian head- 
stones. So when the maiden Proses-pine is plucking 
the spring flowers, " crocuses and roses and fair 
violets," in the Elysian fields, Hades, regent of hell, 


regardless of her cries, carries her off to his invisible 

But to resume. Whilst shadows, reflections, and 
echoes, one and all, seemed to satisfy the uncivilised 
mind as to the existence of the other self, they gave 
no key to its nature, to what it is like. Obviously 
the difference between death and life lay in some 
unsubstantial or semi -substantial thing. Perhaps, 
thought some races, it lies in the blood, with the 
unchecked outflow of which death ensues, and the 
idea of this connection has not been confined to 
barbaric peoples. Perhaps, thought other races, it 
lies in the heart, which, say the Basutos, has gone 
out of any one dead, but has returned when the sick 
have recovered. Among the Greeks some philo- 
sophers held that it was fire, which was extinct when 
the fuel of life was burnt out, or water, which would 
evaporate away. But, as language shows, it is with 
the breath that the other self of the savage and the 
vital principle of the philosopher has been most 
widely identified. For it is the cessation of breath- 
ing which would in the long-run be noted as the 
unfailing accompaniment of death ; and the con- 
densing vapour, as it was exhaled, would confirm 
the existing theories of a shadowy and gaseous-like 
soul. In this, as the illustrations to be adduced 
from various languages will evidence, the continuity 
of idea which travels along the whole line of barbaric 
and learned speculation is unbroken. 





As bearing upon the barbaric belief in the soul 
leaving the body at pleasure, there is a remarkable 
group of stories, the central idea of which is the 
dwelling apart of the soul or heart, as the seat of life, 
in some secret place, in an ^^^^ or a necklace, or a 
flower, the good or evil fortunes of the soul involving 
those of the body. To this group the name of 
" Punchkin," the title of one of the older specimens, 
may conveniently be given. In Miss Frere's Old 
Deccaii Days it takes the following form. 

A Rajah has seven daughters, and his wife dying 
when they were quite children, he marries the widow 
of his prime minister. Her cruelty to his children 
made them run off to a jungle, where seven neigh- 
bouring princes, who were out hunting, found them, 
and each took one of them to wife. After a time 
they again went hunting, and did not come back. 
So when the son of the youngest princess, who had 
also been enchanted away, grew up, he set out in 
search of his mother and father and uncles, and at 
last discovered that the seven princes had been 
turned into stone by the magician Punchkin, who 
had shut up the princess in a tower because she 
would not marry him. Recognising her son, she 
plotted with him to feign agreement to marry 


Punchkin if he would tell her where the secret of 
his life was hidden. Overjoyed at her yielding to 
his wish, the magician told her that it was true that 
he was not as others. 

" Far, far away, hundreds of thousands 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. But," he added, 
" this was not possible, because thousands of genii surround 
the palm-trees, and kill all who approach the place." 

The princess told her son this, and he set forth 
on his journey. On the way he rescued some young 
eagles from a serpent, and the grateful birds carried 
him until they reached the jungle, where, the genii 
being overcome with sleep by the heat, the eaglets 
swooped down. " Down jumped the prince ; in an 
instant he had overthrown the chattees full of water 
and seized the parrot, which he rolled up in his 
cloak," then mounted again into the air and was 
carried back to Punchkin's palace. Punchkin was 
dismayed to see the parrot in the prince's hands, and 
asked him to name any price he willed for it, where- 
upon the prince demanded the restoration of his 
father and his uncles to life. This was done ; then 
he insisted on Punchkin doing the like to " all whom 
he had thus imprisoned," when, at the waving of the 
magician's wand, the whole garden became suddenly 

" 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. He thea pulled off the parrot's second 
wing, and Punchkin's left arm fell off; then he 
pulled off the bird's legs, and down fell the magi- 
cian's right leg and left leg. Nothing remained of 
him save the limbless body 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 fearful groan, he died. Of course, 
all the rest " lived very happily ever afterwards," as 
they do in the plays and the novels. 

In the stories of CJinndiim Rajak, and of Sodciva 
Bai, the Hindu Cinderella, the heroine's soul is 
contained in a string of golden beads. When the 
Ranee, jealous of her husband's love for Sodewa 
Bai, asked her why she always wore the same beads, 
she replies : " I was born with them round my neck, 
and the wise men told my father and mother that 
they contained my soul, and that if any one else 
wore them I should die." Whereupon the Ranee 
instructed her servant to steal the beads from the 
princess when she slept ; then she died, but her 
body did not decay, and in the end she was restored 
to life by the recovery of her necklace. In the 
Bengali tale. Life's Secret, a Rajah's favourite wife 
gives birth miraculously to a boy, whose soul is 
bound up in a necklace in the stomach of a boal- 
fish. In both instances the ornaments are stolen. 


and while they are worn by the thieves, prince and 
princess alike are lifeless, whilst with the recovery of 
the beads life returned to each. A not unlike idea 
occurs in the story, TriitJis Triumph. The children 
of a village beauty, whom the Rajah had married, 
are changed into mango trees, to save them from 
the fury of the jealous Ranee, until the time of 
danger was past. 

In Miss Stokes' collection of Lidian Fairy 
TaieSy we have variants corresponding more closely 
to PiincJikin. In Brave Hirdldlbdsd, a Rakshas 
(the common name for demon) is induced to reveal 
the secret of his life. He says, " Sixteen miles from 
here is a tree, round it are tigers and bears and 
other animals, on the top of it is a large flat snake, 
on the head of which is a bird in a cage, and my 
soul is in that bird." By enchantment Hiralalbasa 
reached the tree and secured the cage. He pulled 
the bird's limbs off, and the Rakshas' arms and legs 
fell off; then he wrung its neck, and the Rakshas 
fell dead. And in the tale of The Demon and the 
King's So?i, from the same collection, the prince 
falls in love with the monster's daughter, who is 
dead during the day and alive in the night. The 
prince asks what she would do, if whilst she is dead, 
her father were to be killed ? She tells him it is 
impossible for any one to kill her father, for his life 
is in a inaind (starling), which is in a nest in a tree 
on the other side of the sea, and if, she adds, any 
one in killing the bird spilt the blood on the ground, 
a hundred demons would be born from it. The 


prince reached the other side, and taking the inaind, 
proceeded to kill it, but first wrapt it in his handker- 
chief, that no blood might be spilt. The demon, 
who was far away, knew that the bird was caught, 
and he set out at once to avert his doom. The 
story ends, like the preceding one, with the dis- 
memberment of the bird, and the consequent death 
of the demon. 

The nearest approach to tales similar to these in 
the Buddhist Birth-stories, is in one or two isolated 
cases, when the Karma of a human being is spoken 
of as immediately transferred to an animal. 

In Tales front the Norse the one in most striking 
correspondence with the Punchkin group is that of 
The giant zvho had no heart in his body. The 
monster turns six princes and their wives into stone, 
whereupon the seventh and only surviving son, 
Boots, sets out to avenge their fate. On his journey 
he saves the lives of a raven, a salmon, and a wolf, 
and the wolf, having eaten his horse, compensates 
Boots by carrying him to the giant's castle, where 
the lovely princess who is to be his bride is confined. 
She promises to find out where the giant keeps his 
heart, and by blandishments and divers arts known 
to the fair sex both before and since the time of 
Delilah, she worms out the secret. He tells her 
that " far, far away in a lake lies an island ; on that 
island stands a church ; in that church is a well ; 
in that well swims a duck ; in that duck is an 
Qgg ; and in that Qgg lies my heart, you darling ! " 
Boots, taking fond farewell of the princess, rides on 


the wolf's back to the island. Then the raven he 
had befriended flies to the steeple and fetches the 
key of the church ; the salmon, in like return for 
kindness, brings him the egg from the well where 
the duck had dropped it. 

Then the wolf told him to squeeze the egg, and as soon as 
ever he did so, the giant screamed out. " Squeeze it again," 
said the wolf; and when the prince did so, the giant screamed 
still more piteously, and begged and prayed so prettily to be 
spared, saying he would do all that the prince wished if he 
would only not squeeze his heart in two. " Tell him if he 
will restore to life again your six brothers and their brides, you 
will spare his life," said the wolf. Yes, the giant was ready 
to do that, and he turned the six brothers into kings' sons 
again, and their brides into kings' daughters. " Now squeeze 
the ^g% in two," said the wolf. With questionable morality, 
doing evil that good might come. Boots squeezed the ^gg to 
pieces, and the giant burst at once. 

Asbjornsen's New Series gives a variant in which 
a Troll who has seized a princess tells her that he 
and all his companions will burst, as did the heart- 
less giant, when there passes above them " the grain 
of sand that lies under the ninth tongue in the ninth 
head " of a certain dragon. The grain of sand is 
found and passed over them, when the Troll and all 
his brood are destroyed. In the Gaelic stories, for 
which we are indebted to the skill of an early 
worker in this field, the late Mr. J. F. Campbell, that 
of the Young King of Easaidh Ruadh locates the 
secret thus : " There is a great flagstone underneath 
the threshold. There is a wether under the flae- 
stone. There is a duck in the wether's belly, and 



an egg in the duck, in the oigg is my soul." In 
the Sca-Maiden there is a " great beast with three 
heads, which cannot be killed until an ^^^ is broken 
which is in the mouth of a trout, which springs out 
of a crow, which flies out of a hind, which lives on 
an island in the middle of the loch." 

In his valuable collection oi Russian Folk-Tales^ 
which is enriched by comparative notes, Mr. Ralston 
supplies some interesting variants of Punchkin. 
Koshchei, called " the immortal or deathless," is 
merely one of the many incarnations of the dark 
spirit which takes so many monstrous shapes in folk- 
tales. Sometimes his death, that is, the object with 
which his life is indissolubly connected, does exist 
within his body. In one story he carries off a queen, 
for whom her three sons, one after another, go in 
search. Prince Ivan, the youngest, at last discovers 
where his mother dwells, and she at the approach of 
Koshchei hides her son away. The monster sniffs 
the blood of a Russian, and inquires if her son has 
not been with her. She assures him it is only the 
Russian air in his nostrils. Then after talking to 
him affectionately on one thing and another, she 
asks where his death is, and he tells her that, " under 
an oak is a casket, in the casket is a hare, in the hare 
is a duck, in the duck an ^gg, in the ^g^ is my death." 
Prince Ivan found the ^gg, and reached his mother's 
house with it. Presently Koshchei flew in and said, 
" Phoo, phoo ; no Russian bone can the ear hear or 
the eye see, but there's a smell of Russia here." 
Then Prince Ivan came out from his hiding place, 


and, holding up the &gg, said, " There is your death, 
oh Koshchei!" then he smashed it, and Koshchei 
fell dead. In another story Koshchei is killed by 
a blow on the forehead from the mysterious ^gg. 
Mr. Ralston also quotes a Transylvanian Saxon story 
concerning a witch's life, which is a light burning in 
an ^g^ inside a duck that swims on a pond inside a 
mountain, and she dies when the light is put out. 
In the Bohemian story of the Sun-horse a warlock's 
strength lies in an ^gg in a duck, which is within 
a stag under a tree. A seer finds the ^gg and sucks 
it. Then the warlock becomes as weak as a child, 
" for all his strength had passed into the seer." 

In Servian folk -tale the strength of a baleful 
being who had stolen a princess lies in a bird which 
is inside the heart of a fox, and when the bird was 
taken out of the heart and set on fire, that moment 
the wife -stealer falls down dead, and the prince 
regains his bride. From the same source we have 
the tale of the Golden-haired Tivins^ with an inci- 
dent akin to that* in Punchkin. When the king's 
stepmother buries the twins whom she had stolen, 
there spring from the spot where they lie trees with 
golden leaves and blossoms. The king's admiration 
of them aroused her jealousy, and she had them cut 
down, but eventually his golden-haired princes are 
restored to him. 

Thus far the illustrations have been drawn solely 
from the folk-tales of the widespread Indo-European 
races, but they are not confined to these. From 
non-Aryan sources we have the Tatar story of the 


demon-giant who kept his soul in a twelve-headed 
snake carried in a bag on his horse's back. The 
hero finds out the secret, kills the snake, and the 
giant dies. In one of the Samoyed tales a man had 
no heart in his body, and could recover it only on 
restoring to life a woman whom he had killed. 
Then the man said to his wife, " Go to the place 
where the dead lies ; there you will find a purse, 
in that purse is her soul ; shake the purse over 
her bones, and she will come to life." The wife 
did as she was ordered, and the woman revived, 
whereupon her son dashed the heart to the ground, 
and the man died.^ 

More elaborate than these are the tales from 
The Thousand and One Nights. In Seyf-el-Mnlook 
the jinnee's soul is enclosed in the crop of a sparrow, 
and the sparrow is imprisoned in a small box, and 
this is in seven other boxes which are put into seven 
chests ; these are enclosed in a coffer of marble that 
is sunk in the ocean surrounding the world. By the 
aid of Suleyman's seal-ring Seyf-el-Mulook raises 
the coffer, and extricating the sparrow, strangles it, 
whereupon the jinnee's body is converted into a heap 
of black ashes. In some tales not included by 
Galland or Lane, which Mr. Kirby has translated 
and edited under the title of the New Arabian Nights, 
we have a variant of the above under the title of 

1 In a Finnish legend, which is the subject of Southey's *< Donica," 
a maiden of that name moves about seemingly alive after her death in 
virtue of a parchment as magic spell, which is fastened to her wrist, 
until a sorcerer finds out the secret of the connection and unfastens the 
parchment, when the counterfeit life departs. 


Joadar of Cairo and MaJimood of Tunis. Joadar 
is bent on releasing his enchanted betrothed, which 
he does by also strangling a sparrow, the ogre being 
simultaneously dissolved into a heap of ashes. 

The most venerable illustration of the leading idea 
in the Punchkin group is however found, though in 
more subtle form, in the Egyptian tale of the Two 
Brothers. This is of great value on account of its high 
antiquity, and, moreover, specially interesting as re- 
cording an incident similar to that narrated in the life 
of Joseph. It is contained in the D'Orbiney papyrus 
preserved in the Bibliotheque Imperiale, the date being 
about the fourteenth or fifteenth century B.C. 

There were two brothers, Anepou and Satou, joined 
as one in love and labour. One day Satou was sent 
to fetch seed-corn from Anepou's house, where he 
found his brother's wife adorning her hair. She urged 
him to stay with her, but he refused, promising, how- 
ever, to keep her wickedness secret. When Anepou 
returned at even, she, being afraid, " made herself to 
seem as a woman that had suffered violence," and 
told him exactly the reverse of what had happened. 
Anepou's wrath was kindled against Satou, and he 
went out to slay him ; but Satou called on Phra to save 
him, and the god placed a river between the brothers, 
so that when day dawned Anepou might hear the 
truth. At sunrise Satou tells his story, and, mutilat- 
ing himself, he says that he will leave Anepou and go 
to the valley of the cedar, in the cones of which he 
will deposit his heart, " so that if the tree be cut his 
heart will fall to the earth, and he must die." 


For US the value of these folk-tales lies in the 
relics of barbaric notions concerning the nature of 
man and his relation to external things which they 
preserve. They have amused our youth-hood ; they 
may instruct our manhood. But if we go to the 
solar mythologists for their interpretation, we shall 
learn from Sir G. W. Cox that the " magician Punch- 
kin and the heartless giant are only other forms of 
the Panis who steal bright treasures from the gleam- 
ing west," that " Balna herself is Helen shut up in 
Ilion . . . the eagles the bright clouds," ^ and from 
Professor de Gubernatis that the duck is the dawn 
and the ^g% the sun. 

These venerable tales have a larger, richer mean- 
ing than this, expressive of the wonder deep-seated 
in the heart of man. Like the "drusy" cavity in 
granite rock which, when broken open, reveals beau- 
tiful prisms of topaz and beryl, the folk-tales disclose 
under analysis that thought, now crystallised, which 
confuses ideas and objects, illusions and realities, sub- 
stances and shadows. 


barbaric and civilised notions of the 

soul's nature. 

In proof of the closing remarks in § VIL, that 
the breath has given the chief name to the soul, 
we find the Western Australians using the same 

1 Mythology of the Aryan Nations ^ i. 140. 


word, ivaiig, for " breath, spirit, soul " ; in Java the 
word nazva is used for " health, life, soul " ; in the 
Dakota tongue niya is literally "breath," figuratively 
"life"; in Netela //?//^ is " breath " and " soul "; in 
Eskimo silla means " air " and " wind," and is also 
the word that conveys the highest idea of the world 
as a whole, and of the reasoning faculty. The 
supreme existence they call Sillaui Innua^ Owner of 
the Air, or of the All ; in the Yakama tongue of 
Oregon wkrisha signifies " there is wind," wkrishivit^ 
"life"; with the Aztecs checatl expressed "air, life, 
and the soul," and, personified in their myths, it was 
said to have been born of the breath of Tezcatlipoca, 
their highest divinity, who himself is often called 
Yoalliehecatl, the Wind of Night.^ This identity of 
wind with breath, of breath with spirit, and thence 
of spirit with the Great Spirit, which 

" Sees God in clouds, and hears Him in the wind," 

has further illustration in the legends of the Quiches, 
in which the unknown creative power is Hurakan, a 
name familiar to us under the form hurricane, and in 
our own sacred records, where the advent of the 
Holy Spirit is described " as of a rushing mighty 
wind." In the Mohawk language atonritz, the " soul," 
is from atonrion, " to breathe "; whilst, as showing the 
analogy between the effects of restricted sense and 
restricted civilisation. Dr. Tylor quotes the case of a 
girl who was a deaf-mute as well as blind, and who, 
when telling a dream in gesture language, said : " I 

1 Brinton's Myths of the New Woj'ld, p. 51 (second edition). 


thought God took away my breath to heaven." 
Among the higher languages the same evidence 

" The spirit doth but mean the breath." 

That word spirit is derived from a verb spirare, 
which means " to draw breath." Animus^ " the mind," 
is cognate with ajiima, " air " ; in Irish, w^hich belongs 
to the same family of speech as Latin, namely, the 
Aryan or Indo-European, we have anal, "breath," 
and anain, " life," or " soul " ; and in Sanskrit we 
find the root a/i, to " blow " or " breathe," whence 
a/ii/a, " wind," and in Greek anenios, wath the like 
meaning. In Hampole's Aycnbite of I?nuyt, i.e. 
" Prick or Remorse of Conscience," a poem of the 
fourteenth century, we find a?ide or " breath " used as 
" soul." 

" Thus sail ilka saul other se {i.e. in the other world) 
For nan of tham may feled be 
Na mar than here a man, ande may 
When it passes fra his mouthe away."l 

The Greek psyche, pneitma, and thymos, each meaning 
" soul " and " spirit," are from roots expressing the 
wind or breath. In Slavonic the root die has devel- 
oped the meaning of breath into that of soul or 
spirit, and the dialect of the gipsies has duk with the 
meanings of breath, spirit, ghost. That word ghost, 
the German geist, the Dutch geest, from a root mean- 
ing " to blow with viblence," is connected with gust, 
gas, geyser ; in Scandinavian, gl'dsor, " to pour forth." 

^ I am indebted to the Rev. Richard Morris for this reference. 


In non-Aryan languages, as the Finnish, far means 
" soul, breath, spirit, wind " ; henki^ " spirit, person, 
breath, air"; the Hebrew ncphcsh, "breath," has also 
the meanings of " life, soul, mind " ; and riiach and 
neshainah, to which the Arabic 7iefs and riiJi corre- 
spond, pass from meaning " breath " to " spirit." The 
legend of man's creation records that he became a 
living soul through God breathing into his nostrils 
"the breath of life," and concerning this the Psalmist 
says of all that live, " Thou takest away their breath, 
they die, and return unto the dust." As a final 
illustration, the Egyptian kncpJi has the alternative 
meanings of " life " and " breath." ^ 

When we pass from names to descriptions, we 
find the same underlying idea of the ethereal nature 
of spirit. The natives of Nicaragua, California, and 
other countries remote from these, agree in describ- 
ing the other self as air or breeze, which passes in 
and out through the mouth and nostrils. The Ton- 
gans conceived it as the aeriform part of the body, 
related to it as the perfume to the flower. The 
Greenlanders describe it as pale and soft, as without 
flesh and bone, so that he who tries to seize it grasps 
nothing. The Lapps say that the ghosts are in- 

^ Jacob Grimm remarks that whilst the more palpable breath, as 
spirit, is masculine, the living, life-giving soul is treated as a delicate 
feminine essence. Soul is the Icelandic sdla^ German seele^ Gothic 
sahvala, akin to saivs, which means "the sea." Saivs is from a root, 
si, or siv, the Greek seio, to shake, and this choice of the word saivala 
may indicate that the ancient Teutons conceived of the soul " as a sea 
within, heaving up and down with every breath, and reflecting heaven 
and earth on the mirror of the deep." — T, M. p. 826. 


visible to all but the Shamans. The Congo negroes 
leave the house of the dead unswept for a year, lest 
the dust should injure the delicate substance of the 
ghost ; and the German peasants have a saying that 
a door should not be slammed, lest a soul gets 
pinched in it. In some parts of Northern Europe, 
when the wind -god, Odin, rides the sky with his 
furious spectral host, the peasants open the windows 
of every sick-room that the soul of the dying may 
have free exit to join the wild chase ; whilst both 
here and in France it is still no uncommon practice 
to open doors and windows that the soul may de- 
part quickly. Dr. Tylor^ cites a passage from Ham- 
pole, in which the author speaks of the intenser 
suffering which the soul undergoes in purgatory by 
reason of its delicate organisation. 

" The soul is more tendre and nesche (soft) 
Than the bodi that hath bones and fleysche ; 
Thanne the soul that is so tendere of kinde, 
Mote nedis hure penaunce hardere-y-finde, 
Than eni bodi that evere on hve was," 

a doctrine clearly due to Patristic theories of incor- 
poreal souls. And a modern poet, Dante Rossetti, 
in his Blessed Davwzel^ when he describes her as 
leaning out from the gold bar of heaven and look- 
ing down towards the earth, that " spins like a fretful 
midge," whence she awaits the coming of her lover, 
depicts the souls mounting up to God as passing by 
her " like thin flames." The Greeks and, following 

^ PrifH. Ctdtiire, i. 412. 


them, the Romans, conceived the soul as of thin, 
impalpable texture, as exhaled with the dying breath, 
or, as in Homer, rushing out through the wound 
that causes the warrior's death. In the metaphysical 
Arabian romance of Yokdhan, the hero seeks the 
source of life and thought, and discovers in one of 
the cavities of the heart a bluish vapour, which was 
the living soul. Among the Hebrews it was of 
shadowy nature, with echoless motion, haunting a 
ghostly realm : 

" It is a land of shadows ; yea, the land 
Itself is but a shadow, and the race 
That dwell therein are voices, forms of forms." 

Such conceptions are but little varied ; and, to this 
day, the intelligence of the major number of people 
who think about the thing at all presents the de- 
parting soul as something vaporous, as a little white 

In keeping with such ideas, the belief in transfer 
of spirit expresses itself. Algonquin women who 
desired to become mothers flocked to the couch of 
those about to die, in hope that the vital principle 
as it passed from the body would enter theirs. 
Among the Seminoles of Florida, when a woman 
died in childbirth, the infant was held over her 
face to receive her parting spirit, and thus acquire 
strength and knowledge for its future use. So 
among the Takahlis, the priest is accustomed to lay 
his hand on the head of the nearest relative of the 
deceased, and to blow into him the soul of the de- 


parted, which is supposed to come to Hfe in his next 

In Harland and Wilkinson's Lancashire Folk-lore 
it is related that while a well-known witch lay dying, 
" she must needs, before she could ' shuffle off this 
mortal coil,' transfer her familiar spirit to some 
trusty successor. An intimate acquaintance from a 
neighbouring township was consequently sent for in 
all haste, and on her arrival was immediately closeted 
with her dying friend. What passed between them 
has never fully transpired, but it is asserted that at 
the close of the interview this associate received tJie 
witch's last breath into her month, and ivith it Jier 
familiar spirit. The powers for good or evil of the 
dreaded woman were thus transferred to her com- 
panion, and on passing along the road from Burnley 
to Blackburn we can point out a farmhouse at no 
great distance, with whose thrifty matron no neigh- 
bouring farmer will yet dare to quarrel." When 
a Roman lay at the point of death, his nearest 
relative inhaled the last breath ; in New Testament 
story, the risen Jesus breathes on His disciples, that 
they may receive the Holy Spirit, and the form thus 
adopted in conferring supernatural grace is still 
used in the rites and ceremonies of the Catholic 

Speculation about the other self could not, how- 
ever, stop at identifying it with a man's breath or 
shadow, or with regarding it as absolutely im- 
palpable. These nebulous and gaseous theories 

1 Brinton^ p. 271. 


necessarily condensed, as it were, into theories of 
semi -substantiality still charged with ethereal con- 
ceptions, but giving embodiment to the soul to 
account for the appearances of both dead and living 
in dreams, when their persons were clasped, their 
forms and features seen, and their voices heard. 

Such theories involve a kind of continuity of 
identity, and often take the form of belief in the 
soul as a replica of the body, and as suffering corre- 
sponding mutilation. When the native Australian 
has slain his foe, he cuts off his right thumb, so as 
to prevent him from throwing a shadowy spear ; 
the Chinese dread of decapitation, lest their spirits 
are headless, is well known ; but a more telling 
illustration is that cited by Dr. Tylor, from Waitz, 
of the West Indian planter, whose slaves sought 
refuge from the lash and toil in suicide. But he 
was too cunning for them ; he cut off the heads 
and hands of the corpses, that the survivors might 
see that not even death could save them from a 
taskmaster who could maim their souls in the next 
world. Among advanced nations the same con- 
ceptions survived. Achilles, resting by the shore, 
sees the dead Patroclus in a dream. " Ay me, there 
remaineth then, even in the house of Hades, a spirit 
and phantom of the dead, albeit the life be not any- 
wise therein ; for all night long hath the ghost of hap- 
less Patroclus stood over me, wailing and making moan, 
and wondrous like his living self it seemed."^ Virgil 
portrays ^neas, and Homer describes Ulysses, as 

^ Iliad, xxiii. 103 (trans. Lang and others). 


recognising their old comrades when they enter the 
" viewless shades," where the dwellers continue the 
tasks of their earthly life. In Hebrew legend Saul 
recognises the shade of Samuel when the magic 
spell of the Witch of Endor evokes it, although 
the grave of the old "judge" was sixty miles away. 
The monarch-shades of " Sheol " hail with derision 
the entrance of the King of Babylon among them. 
In New Testament narrative the risen Jesus is alter- 
nately material and spiritual, now passing through 
closed doors, and now submitting his wound -prints 
to the touch of the doubter. In Hamlet the ghost 
is as " the air, invulnerable," yet " like a king "... 

^^ , . . that fair and warlike form 
In which the majesty of buried Denmark 
Did sometimes march," 

Notions of material punishments and rewards in- 
volved notions of a material soul, even pending its 
reunion with the body at the general resurrection. 
The angels are depicted as weighing souls in a 
literal balance, while devils clinging to the scales 
endeavour to disturb the equilibrium.^ In some 
frescoes of the fourteenth century, on the walls of 
the Campo Santo, at Pisa, illustrations of these 
notions abound ; the soul is portrayed as a sexless 
child rising out of the mouth of the corpse, and 
eagerly awaited as the crown of rejoicing of the 
angels, or as the lawful prey of the demons. After 
this it is amusing to learn that extreme tests of the 

^ Cf Lecky's Histoiy of Rationalism, i. 340. 


weight of ghosts are now and then forthcoming,^ 
from the assertion of a Basuto divine that the late 
queen had been bestriding his shoulders, and he 
never felt such a weight in his life, to the alleged 
modern spiritualistic reckoning of the weight of a 
human soul at from three to four ounces ! And 
do not spirit-photographs adorn the albums of the 
credulous ? 



More graceful is the conception which makes the 
soul spring up as a flower or cleave the air as a 
bird. It is, of course, the purified survival of the 
primitive thought which did not limit its belief in an 
indwelling spirit to man, but extended it to brutes 
and plants, and even to lifeless things. For the 
lower creatures manifested the phenomena from 
which the belief in spirits in higher creatures was 
inferred. They moved and breathed, their life 
ceased with their breath ; they cast shadows and 
reflections ; their cries, which to the savage seemed 
so like human speech,^ awakened echoes ; and they 
appeared in dreams. Among the western tribes of 
North America the phantoms of all animals are 

^ Prim. Cultio'e, \. 411. See Soul Shapes (Fisher Unwin, 1890), 
^ " To the ear of the savage, animals certainly seem even to talk. 

This fact is universally evident, and ought to be fully realised," — Im 

Thurn's Guiana, p. 351. 


supposed to go to the happy beasts' grounds, and 
in Assam the ghosts of those slain become the 
property of the hunter who kills them ; whilst the 
custom of begging pardon of the animal before or 
after despatching it, as among the Red Indians, who 
even put the pipe of peace in the dead creature's 
mouth, further evidences to barbarian belief in beast- 
souls. Although the belief in the immortality of brutes 
has now no place in serious philosophy, it has been 
a favourite doctrine from the Kamchadales, who be- 
lieve in the after-life of flies and bugs, to the eminent 
naturalist Agassiz, who advocates the doctrine in his 
Essay on Classification ; and in a list of 4977 books 
on the nature and future of the soul given in Mr. 
Alger's elaborate critical history of the subject, nearly 
200 deal with the after-life of animals. The advo- 
cates have often felt the difficulty of granting this 
after-life to man and denying it to creatures to which 
he stands so closely related in ultimate community 
of origin ; but science, while it finds links of sym- 
pathy with the ideas of rude races respecting the 
common life of all that moves, and presents evidence 
in support of the common destiny, lends no support 
to the doctrine of the immortality of oysters. The 
custom of apologising to doomed brutes is practised 
in regard to plants. If they exhibit the phenomena 
of life in a lesser degree, enough are shown to justify 
the accrediting of them with souls. Besides flinging 
wavy shadows and reflections (and it cannot be 
too often enforced that to the barbaric intelli- 
gence motion is a prime sign of life), they are not 


voiceless. Murmurs are heard in their leaves ; 
sounds echo from their hollow trunks, or tremble, 
^olian-like, through their branches ; and in their 
juices are the sources of repose or frenzy. 

" The Ojibways believed that trees had souls, and 
in pagan times they seldom cut down green or 
living trees, for they thought it put them to pain. 
They pretended to hear the wailing of the trees when 
they suffered in this way. On account of these 
noises, real or imaginary, trees have had spirits 
assigned them, and worship offered to them. A 
mountain-ash, in the vicinity of South Ste. Marie, 
which made a noise, had offerings piled up around 
it. If a tree should emit from its hollow trunk or 
branches a sound during a calm state of the atmo- 
sphere, or should any one fancy such sounds, the 
tree would be at once reported, and soon come to be 
regarded as the residence of some local god."^ As 
expressed in Greek myth, purified in this case from 
grosser elements, we have the Dryades, who were 
believed to die together with the trees in which their 
life had begun to be, and in which they had dwelt. 
As expressed in folk-lore and its poetic forms, it 
is in the growth or blossoming of flowers, or the 
intertwining of branches, that the idea survives. In 
the ballad of " Fair Margaret and Sweet William " — 

" Out of her brest there sprang a rose^ 
And out of his a briar; 

They grew till they grew unto the church-top, 
And there they tyed in a true lover's knot ;"'^ 

^ Dorman, pp. 287, 288. ^ Grimm's Teutonic Mytiiology, p, 827. 



in the story of " Tristram and Ysonde," " from his 
erave there erew an ec^lantine which twined about 
the statue, a marvel for all men to see ; and, though 
three times they cut it down, it grew again, and ever 
wound its arms about the image of the fair Ysonde ;"^ 
while the conception often lends itself to the poet's 
thoughts, from Laertes' words over Ophelia : — 

" Lay her i' the earth. 
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh 
May violets spring," 

to Tennyson's 

" And from his ashes may be made 
The violet of his native land." 

In Grimm's Teittonic Mythology a number of illustra- 
tions are supplied of the vagaries of popular imagina- 
tion, which picture the soul as a bird flying out of a 
dead person's mouth, and, as a cognate example 
from rude culture, we find a belief among the Pow- 
hatans that " a certain small wood bird received the 
souls of their princes at death, and they religiously 
refrained from doing it harm ; while the Aztecs and 
various other nations thought that all good people, 
as a reward of merit, were metamorphosed at the 
close of life into feathered songsters of the grove, 
and in this form passed a certain term in the um- 
brageous bowers of Paradise."^ But many pages 
might be filled with examples of varying conceptions 
of the soul, the major number of which (for the idea 

^ Cox and Jones, Popular Roniaiices, p. 139. 
^ Br into ti, p. 107. 


of it as a mouse, snake, etc., must not be forgotten) 
have as their nucleus its ethereal nature and freedom 
from the limitations of solid earth, although round 
that nucleus gather some more concrete ideas for the 
mind, desiring something more substantial than 
symbols, to grasp. The belief that inanimate things 
as well as animals and plants have a dual being is not 
so obvious at first sight, and yet, given the reasons 
for the latter, there are as good grounds, because 
like in kind, for the former. The Algonquins told 
Father Charlevoix that " since hatchets and kettles 
have shadows, as well as men and women, it follows 
that these shadows must pass along with human 
shadows into the spirit-land." When the tools or 
weapons are injured or done with, their souls must 
cross the water to the Great Village, where the sun 
sets. Besides, spears and pots and pans, as well as 
men and dogs, appear in dreams ; they throw shadows 
and images in the water, they give forth a sound 
when struck, and, as the Fijians also argue, " if an 
animal or plant die, its soul goes to Bolotoo ; if a 
stone or anything else is broken, it has its reward 
there ; nay, has equal good luck with men and hogs 
and yams. If an axe or a chisel is worn out or 
broken up, away flies its soul for the service of the 
gods." Logically, the savage who believes that in 
the other world 

" The hunter still the deer pursues, 
The hunter and the deer a shade," 

must put in the hands of the one a shadow spear. 


So when an Ojibway chief, after a four days' trance, 
gave an account of his visit to the land of shadows, 
he told of the hosts whom he had met travelling 
there laden with pipes and kettles and weapons. 
These primitive ideas explain, once and for all, matters 
which have too often been explained by fanciful 
theories, or cited as evidences of the benighted con- 
dition of those places which on missionary maps of 
the world are painted black. They disclose the 
reason why food and utensils and weapons were 
broken and buried with the dead ; why fires were 
lighted round the grave ; why animals were slain on 
the death of a chief ; why the Greenlanders, when a 
child dies, bury a dog with him, because the dog, 
they say, is able to find his way anywhere; why 
North American Indian mothers in pathetic custom 
drop their milk on the lips of the dead child ; and 
why, what seemed so inexplicable to the early mission- 
aries to the East, ignorant of the practice of widow- 
sacrifice among the ancient peoples of the West, as 
the Gauls, Teutons, and others, wives and slaves were 
burned on the funeral pyre. Among the Mexicans 
sometimes a very rich man would even have his 
chaplain slaughtered, that he might not be deprived 
of his support in the other world. 

In their initial stage all these gifts are made, all 
these rites performed, for the supposed need of the 
dead. Every one had his vianes, which followed 
him into the next world, and, lacking which, he 
would be as poor as if in this world he had lacked 
it. The spiritual counterpart of the offerings was 


consumed by his spirit, just as the old deities were 
thought to enjoy the sweet -smelHng savour of the 
burnt sacrifices ; the fires were kindled that the soul 
might not grope about in darkness. So the obolus 
was put into the mouth of the dead, that its manes 
might be payment to Charon for the ferry of the 
Styx, as money is put in the corpse's hand or mouth 
among the German and Irish peasants to this day ; 
so the warrior's horse was slain at his tomb and the 
armour laid therein, that he might enter Valhalla 
riding, and clothed with the tokens of his right to 
the abode reserved for those who had fallen in battle. 

Any explanation of customs like the foregoing, 
persistent as they are in kind, however varying in 
expression, is defective which does not take into 
account what large part the emotions play in all 
that is connected with death, and how they infuse 
such customs with vitality. The bereaved refuse to 
believe that those whom they have lost have no more 
concern in the interests of life once common and dear 
to both. As among the Dakotas, when a mother 
feels a pain at her breast, they say that her dead 
child is thinking of her. The place where the body 
lies becomes the connecting link between it and the 
soul which is still the solicitude and care, or, it may 
be, the dread of the living ; succouring and protect- 
ing, or, on the other hand, avenging. 

The element of dread undoubtedly comes into 
play early. The awe which we feel in the presence 
of death, or in passing in the dark through a church- 
yard, takes in the savage the form of terror. The 


behaviour of the ghost in dreams, its abihty to do 
what men still in the flesh cannot do, quicken the 
belief in occult power, and the desire to propitiate it. 
Among the Lapps red-hot stones are cast behind the 
coffins of the dead, and their graves fenced round to 
prevent their return to earth. The articles placed in 
the grave as gifts for the dead become sacrifices laid 
on the altar to appease malignant spirits; the mound 
or tomb becomes a temple, and awe passes by easy 
degrees into worship. The prevalence in one form 
or another of ancestor -worship has, as remarked 
already, led Mr. Spencer to the conclusion that it is 
the rudimentary form of all religions ; even sun, 
moon, volcano, river, etc., being feared and adored 
because they were believed to be the dwelling-places 
of ancestral ghosts.- The facts are against this 
theory. It is to the larger, the more impressive 
phenomena of the natural world, the sun in noontide 
strength and splendour, the lightning and the thunder, 
that we must look for the primary causes which 
av/akened the fear, the wonder, and the adoration in 
which lie the germs of the highest religions. Such 
causes are not only sufficient, but more operative on 
the undeveloped intelligence than the belief in ances- 
tral spirits of the mountain and the sea, which 
involves a more complex mental action.-^ The one 
is contributory, but subordinate, to the other. It is, 
as M. Reville remarks, " the phenomena of nature 
regarded as animated and conscious that wake and 
stimulate the religious sentiments, and become the 

^ Cf. Aiile^ pp. no- 1 14. 


objects of the adoration of man. ... If nature- 
worship, with the animism that it engenders,^ shapes 
the first law to which nascent reh'gion submits in the 
human race, anthropomorphism furnishes the second, 
disengaging itself ever more and more completely 
from the zoomorphism which generally serves as an 
intermediary. This is so everyw/icre" ^ 


barbaric and civilised notions about the 
soul's dwelling-place. 

The existence of the ghost-soul or other self being 
unquestioned, the inquiry follows, where does it 
dwell ? Like the trolls of Norse myth, who burst 
at sunrise, the flitting spirit vanishes in the light and 
comes with the darkness ; but what places does it 
haunt when the quiet of the night is unbroken by its 
intrusion, and where are they ? 

The answers to these are as varied as the vagaries 
of rude imagination permit. We must not expect 
to find any theories of the soul's prolonged after- 
existence among races who have but a dim remem- 
brance of yesterday, and but a hazy conception of a 
to-morrow. Neither, among such, any theories of the 
soul abiding in a place of reward or punishment, as 
the result of things done in the body. Speaking of 

^ More correctly, *'that engenders it." 
2 Hibbert Lechires^ 1884, pp. 39, 40. 


the heaven of the Red man, Dr. Brlnton remarks that 
" nowhere was any well-defined doctrine that moral 
turpitude was judged and punished in the next world. 
No contrast is discoverable between a place of 
torment and a realm of joy ; at the worst but a 
negative castigation awaited the liar, the coward, 
or the niggard." Ideas of a devil and a hell are 
altogether absent from the barbaric mind, since it is 
obvious that any theory of retribution could arise 
only when man's moral nature had so developed 
as to awaken questions about the government of the 
universe, and to call another world into existence 
to redress the wrongs and balance the injustices of 
this. His earliest queries were concerned with the 
whereabouts of the soul more than with its destiny, 
and it was, and still is, among the lower races, thought 
of as haunting its old abode or the burial-place of its 
body, and as acting very much as it had acted when 
in the flesh. The shade of the Algonquin hunter chases 
the spirits of the beaver and the elk with the spirits 
of his bow and arrow, and stalks on the spirits of his 
snow-shoes over the spirit of the snow. Among the 
Costa Ricans the spirits of the dead are supposed to 
remain near their bodies for a year, and the explorer 
Swan relates that when he was with the North- 
western Indians he was not allowed to attend a 
funeral, lest he offended the spirits hovering round ; 
whilst the Indians of North America often destroy 
or abandon the dwellings of the dead, the object 
being to prevent the ghost from returning, or to 
leave it free so to do. But it is needless to multiply 


illustrations of a belief which has been persistent in 
the human mind from the dawn of speculation about 
the future of the soul to the present day. The bar- 
barians who think that the spirits of the dead move 
and have their being near the living, join them on 
their journeys, and sit down, unseen visitants, at their 
feasts (to be driven off, as among the Eskimos, by 
blowing the breath), are one with the multitudes of 
folks in Europe and America who, sorrowing over 
their dead, think of them as ministering with unfelt 
hands, and as keenly interested in their concerns. 

" We meet them at the doorway, on the stair, 
Along the passages they come and go, 
Impalpable impressions on the air, 
A sense of something moving to and fro." 

The Ojibway, who detects their tiny voices in the 
insect's hum, and thinks of them as sheltering them- 
selves from the rain by thousands in a flower, as 
sporting by myriads on a sunbeam, is one with the 
Schoolmen who speculated on the number of angels 
that could dance on a needle's point, and with 
Milton in his poetic rendering of the belief of his 
time, that 

" Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth 
Unseen, both when we wake and w^hen we sleep." 

The Hottentot who avoids a dead man's hut lest 
the ghost be within, is one with the believers in 
haunted houses, in banshees, wraiths, and spectres. 
Such as he should not be excluded as " corresponding 
members " of the Society for Psychical Research in 


the invitations ^ which its committee issues to folks 
who have seen apparitions, and slept, or tried to 
sleep, in the dreaded chamber of some moated hall 
of mystery. 

If we look in vain for any consistency of idea or 
logical relation in barbaric notions, our wonder 
ceases at the absence of these when we note the 
conflicting conceptions entertained among intelligent 
people. But the underlying thought is identical. 
The examples given in a foregoing section on the 
belief in the passage of the soul into other human 
bodies, into animals and stones, strengthened as this 
is by the likeness in mind and body between 
children and dead relatives, by the human expres- 
sion noted on many a brute, by the human shape of 
many a stone, show how the theory of the soul as 
nigh at hand finds many-sided support. In this 
belief, too, lie the germs of theories of successive 
transmigrations elaborated in the faiths of advanced 
races, when the defects of body and character were 
explained as the effects of sin committed in a former 

1 The Society's advertisement is as follows : — 

" Thought-Transference, Apparitions, etc. — The Society for 
Psychical Research will be grateful for any good evidence bearing on 
such phenomena as thought-reading, clairvoyance, presentiments, and 
dreams, noted at the time of occurrence and afterwards confirmed ; un- 
explained disturbances in places supposed to be haunted ; apparitions 
at the moment of death or otherwise ; and of such other abnormal 
events as may seem to fall under somewhat the same categories. Com- 
munications to be addressed to E. Gurney, 14 Dean's Yard, S.W. ; or 
to F. W. H. Myers, Leckhampton House, Cambridge. Applications 
for information or for membership to be addressed to the Secretary, 
at the Society's Offices, 14 Dean's Yard, S.W." 


Next in order of conception appears to be that 
of the soul as Hving an independent existence, an 
improved edition of the present, in an under or 
upper world, into which the dead pass without dis- 
tinction of caste or worth. 

The things dreamed about respecting the land of 
spirits and their occupations are woven of the 
materials of daily life. Whether to the sleeping 
barbarian in his wigwam, or to the seer banished in 
Patmos ; whether to the Indian travelling in his 
dreams to the happy hunting-ground, or to the 
apostle caught up in trance into paradise ; earth, 
and earth alone, supplies the materials out of which 
man everywhere has shaped his heaven. Her 
dinted and furrowed surface ; valleys and mountain- 
tops ; islands sleeping in summer seas, or fretted by 
winter storms ; cities walled and battlemented ; 
glories of sunrise and sunset ; gave variety enough 
for play of the cherished hopes and imaginings of 
men. If we collect any group of barbaric fancies, 
we find, speaking broadly, that a large proportion 
have pictured the home of souls as in the west, 
towards the land of the setting sun. Seen from 
many a standpoint to sink beneath river, lake, or 
ocean, which for untutored man enclosed his world, 
it led to the myth of waters of death dividing earth 
from heaven, which the soul, often at perilous risk, 
must cross. Such was the Ginnunga-gap of the 
Vikings ; the nine seas and a half across which 
travellers to Manala, the under-world of the Finns, 
must voyage ; the great water of the Red Indians ; 


the Vaitarani of the Brahmans ; the Stygian stream 
of the Greeks ; and the Jordan of the Christians, 
that flows between us and the Celestial City, "where 
the surges cease to roll." The sinking of the sun 
below the horizon obviously led to belief in an 
under- world, whither the ghosts went. Barbaric 
notions are full of this, and the lower culture out of 
which their beliefs arose is evidenced in the Orcus 
of the Romans, the Hades of the Greeks, the 
Helheim of the Norsemen, the Sheol of the Hebrews, 
and the Amenti of the Egyptians, the solar features 
of which last are clearly traceable in their doctrine. 
Among the Hebrews, Sheol (translated, curiously 
enough, thirty-one times as " grave," and thirty-one 
times as " hell," in our Authorised Version) was a 
vast cavernous space in which the shades of good 
and bad alike wandered — " the small and great are 
there, and the servant is free from his master." It 
is akin in character to the Greek Hades, where they 
" wander mid shadows and shade, and wail by im- 
passable streams." As ideas of a Divine rule of the 
world grew, its manifestations in justice were looked 
for, and the mystery of iniquity, the wicked 
" flourishing like a green bay tree," led to the 
conception of a future state, in which Lazarus and 
Dives would change places. Sheol thus became, 
on the one hand, a land of delight and repose for 
the faithful, and, on the other hand, one of punish- 
ment for the wicked. 

Persian, and still older, influences had largely 
leavened Hebrew conceptions, and local conditions 


in Judea added pungent elements. The Valley of 
Hinnom, or Gehenna, " the place where lie the 
corpses of those who have sinned against Jehovah, 
where their worm shall not die, neither their fire be 
quenched ;" the dreary volcanic region around the 
Dead Sea, with its legend of doomed cities, supplied 
their imagery of hell with its lake of fire and brim- 
stone. And, as the belief travelled westward, it fell 
into congenial soil. The sulphurous stench around 
Lacus Avernus, the smoke of Vesuvius, Stromboli, 
and Etna, wreathed themselves round the hell of 
Christianity and the under-world of barbaric myth ; 
and from Talmudic writer to classic poet, to Dante 
and to Milton, the imagination exhausted the 
material of the horrible to describe the several tor- 
tures of the damned. The hell of our northern 
forefathers remained below the fiat earth, but the 
cold, misty Niflheim melted away before the fiery 
perdition of Christian dogma. And, in the region 
bordering thereon, the liinbns pafruin^ the limbiis 
infantum, etc., we have the survival of belief in 
separate hells characteristic of the Oriental religions, 
and of the sub-divisions of the lower world in more 
rudimentary religions. 

Beyond the narrow horizon which bounded the 
world of the ancients, lay the imaginary land of the 
immortals, the Blessed, the Happy, the Fortunate 
Isles. But as that horizon enlarged, the Elysian 
Fields and Banquet Plalls were transferred to an 
upper sphere. In the wonder aroused by the firma- 
ment above, with its solid-looking vault across which 


sun, stars, and clouds traversed ; in the place it 
plays in dreams of barbarian and patriarch, when 
the sleeper is carried thither ; in its brightness of 
noonday glory as contrasted with the dark sun-set 
under-world, we may find some of the materials of 
which the theory of an upper world, a heaven (" the 
heaved ") is made up. There the barbarian places 
his paradise to which the rainbow and the Milky 
Way are roads ; there he meets his kindred, and 
lives where cold, disease, and age are not, but ever- 
lasting summer and summer fruits. There, too, for 
the conceptions of advanced races are drawn from 
the same sources, the civilised peoples of Europe 
and America have placed their heaven. And, save 
in refinement of detail incident to intellectual growth, 
there is nothing to choose between the earlier and 
the later ; the same gross delights, the same earth- 
born ideas are there, whether we enter the Norse- 
man's Valhalla, the Moslem's Paradise, or the 
Christian's New Jerusalem. 


It would exceed the limits and purport of this 
book to follow the extension of the belief in spirits 
to its extreme range ; in other words, to belief in 
controlling spirits in inanimate objects, which were 
advanced pari passu with man's advancing concep- 


tions to place and rank as the higher gods of poly-- 
theism. Such behef, as ah'eady indicated, is the 
outcome of that primitive philosophy which invests 
the elements above and the earth beneath with 
departmental deities, until, through successive stages 
of dualism, the idea of a Supreme Deity is reached, 
and the approach is thus made towards a conception 
of the unity and unvarying order of nature. De- 
ferring reference to the part played by dreams as 
media of communication between heaven and earth, 
and as warnings of coming events, let us summarise 
the evidence which has been gathered, and ask 
whether it warrants the conclusions drawn from it 
in the present work. 

It has been shown that races have existed, and 
exist still, at so low a level that their scanty stock 
of words has to be supplemented by gestures, 
rendering converse in the dark next to impossible. 
Such people are bewildered by any effort to count 
beyond their fingers ; they have no idea of the 
relation of things, or of their differences ; they have 
no power of generalisation by w^hich to merge the 
accidental in the essential. They believe that their 
names and likenesses are integral parts of them- 
selves, and that they can be bewitched or harmed 
through them at the hands of any one who knows 
the one or has obtained the other. As an important 
result of their confusion between the objective and 
the subjective, we find a vivid and remarkable belief 
in the reality of their dreams. The events which 
make up these are explained only on the theory 


that if the body did not move from its sleeping 
place, something related to it did, and that the people, 
both living and dead, who appeared in dream and 
vision, did in very presence come. The puzzle is 
solved by the theory of a second self which can 
leave the body and return to it. For the savage 
knows nothing of viind. The belief in this other 
self is strengthened (possibly more or less created) 
by its appearance in shadow or reflection, in mocking 
echo, in various diseases, especially fits, when the 
sufferer is torn by an indwelling foe, and writhes as 
if in his merciless grasp. The belief in such a ghost- 
soul, as to the form and ethereal nature of which all 
kinds of theories are started, is extended to animals 
and lifeless things, since like evidence of its existence 
is supplied by them. The fire that destroys his hut, 
the wind that blows it down, the lightning that darts 
from the clouds and strikes his fellow-man dead 
beside him, the rain-storm that floods his fields, the 
swollen river that sweeps away his store of food — 
these and every other force manifest in nature add 
their weight to the inferences which rude man has 
drawn. The phenomena which have accounted for 
the vigour of life and the prostration of disease 
account for the motion of things in heaven above 
and the earth beneath, and the barbaric mind thus 
enlarges its belief in a twofold existence in man to a 
far-reaching doctrine of spirits everywhere. Step by 
step, from ghost-soul flitting round the wigwam to 
the great spirits indwelling in the powers of nature, 
the belief in supernatural beings with physical 


qualities arises, until the moral element comes in, 
and they appear as good and evil gods contending 
for the mastery of the universe. Passing by details 
as to the whereabouts of the other self and its doings 
and destiny in the other world which the dream 
involves, and following the order of ideas on scientific 
lines, two queries arise : — 

I. Does the evidence before us suffice to warrant 
the conclusions drawn from it as to the serious and 
permanent part which dreams have played in the 
origin and growth of primitive belief in spirits ; in 
short, of belief in supernatural agencies from past to 
present times ? In this place the answer is brief 
Of course the antecedent conditions of man's 
developed emotional nature, and of the universe 
of great and small, which is the field of its exercise, 
are taken for granted. 

The general animistic interpretation which man 
gives to phenomena at the outset expressed itself in 
the particular conceptions of souls everywhere, of 
which dreams and such-like things supplied the raw 
material. If they did not, what did ? Denying 
this, we must fall back on a theory of intuition or 
on revelation. As to the former, it begs the whole 
question ; as to the latter, can that which is itself 
the subject of periodical revision be an infallible 
authority on anything ? 

If dreams, apparitions, shadows, and the like, are 
sufficing causes, then, in obedience to the Law of 
Parsimony (as it is termed in logic), we need not 
invoke the play of higher causes when lower ones 



are found competent to account for the effects. If 
it seems to some that the base is too narrow, the 
foundation too weak for the superstructure, and that 
our metaphysics and our beliefs regarding the in- 
visible rest upon something wider and stronger than 
the illusions of a remote savage ancestry, the facts 
of man's history may be adduced as witness to his 
continuous passage into truth through illusions ; to 
the vast revolutions and readjustments made in his 
correction of the first impressions of the senses. 
There is not a belief of the past, from the notions of 
savages about their dreams and ghost-world to those 
of more advanced races about their spirit-realms and 
its occupants, to which this does not apply. In the 
more delicate observations of the astronomer he 
must, when estimating the position of any celestial 
body, take into account its apparent displacement 
through the refractive properties of the atmosphere, 
and must also allow for defects of perception in 
himself due to what is called " personal equation." 
And in ascertaining our place in the scale of being, 
as well as in seeking for the grounds of belief con- 
cerning our own nature, we have to take into account 
the refracting media of dense ignorance and pre- 
judice through which these beliefs have come, and 
to allow for the confirming error due to personal 
equation — fond desire. The result will be the 
vanishing of illusions involving momentous changes 
in psychology, ethics, and theology. Instead of 
groping among mental phenomena for explanations 
of themselves, they will be analysed by the methods 


already indicated. Instead of resting the authority for 
moral injunctions on innate ideas of right and wrong, 
and on inspired statutes and standards, it will rest on 
the accredited, because verifiable, experience of man. 
Instead of finding incentives to, or restraints on, con- 
duct by operating on men's hope of future reward, or 
fear of hell as " hangman's whip to keep the wretch 
in order," they will be supplied by an ever-widening 
sense of duty, quickened by love and loyalty to a sup- 
reme order, in obedience to which the ultimate happi- 
ness of humanity in the life that is will be secured. 

In this, and not in theories of an hereafter whose 
origin and persistence are explained, will man find his 
satisfaction, and the springs of motive to whatever is 
ennobling, lovely, and of good report. With the 
poet, who, laying bare the sources of the unrest of 
his time, has led us to the secret of its peace, he 
will ask — 

"Is it so small a thing 
To have enjoyed the sun, 
To have lived light in the spring, 
To have loved, to have thought, to have done, 
To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes — 
That we should feign a bliss 
Of doubtful future date, 
And while we dream on this, 
Lose all our present state, 
And relegate to worlds yet distant our repose ?' ^ 

2. Does the theory of evolution in its application 
to the development of the spiritual nature of man, 
and to the origin and growth of ideas, find any 

1 Matthew Arnold, Ejiipedodes on Etna. 


breach of continuity? In its inclusion of him as a 
part of nature, in accounting for his derivation from 
pre-human ancestry by a process of natural selection, 
and in its proofs of his unbroken development from 
the embryo to adult life, it embraces the growth and 
development of mind and all that mind connotes. 
In the words of Professor Huxley, " As there is an 
anatomy of the body, so there is an anatomy of the 
mind ; the psychologist dissects mental phenomena 
into elementary states of consciousness, as the anato- 
mist resolves limbs into tissues, and tissues into 
cells. The one traces the development of complex 
organs from simple rudiments ; the other follows the 
building up of complex conceptions out of simpler 
constituents of thought. As the physiologist in- 
quires into the way in which the so-called ' functions ' 
of the body are performed, so the psychologist studies 
the so-called 'faculties' of the mind. Even a 
cursory attention to the ways and works of the 
lower animals suggests a comparative anatomy and 
physiology of the mind ; and the doctrine of evolu- 
tion presses for application as much in the one field 
as in the other." ^ 

Any coherent explanation of the operations of 
nature was impossible while man had no conception 
or knowledge of the interplay of its several parts. 
Now, by the doctrine of continuity, not only are 
present changes referred to unvarying causes, but the 
past is interpreted by the processes going on under 
our eyes. We can as easily calculate eclipses back- 

- Hiime^ p. 50. 


ward as forward ; we can learn in present formations 
of the earth's crust the history of the deposition of 
the most ancient strata ; we read in a rounded granite 
pebble the story of epochs, the fire that fused its 
organic or inorganic particles, the water that rubbed 
and rolled it ; we reconstruct from a few bones the 
ancestry of obscure forms, and find in the fragments 
the missing links that connect species now so varied. 
And the like method is applied to man in his tout 
ensemble. His development is not arbitrary ; what 
he is is the expansion of germs of what he was. 

Till these latter days he has, on the warrant of 
legends now of worth only as witnesses to his crude 
ideas, presumed on an isolated place in creation, and 
excepted his race from an inquiry made concerning 
every creature beneath him. The pride of birth has 
hindered his admission of lineal connection between 
the beliefs of cultured races and the beliefs of savages, 
and pseudo-scientific writers still confuse issues by 
assuming distinctions between races to whom spiritual 
truths have been revealed and races from whom these 
truths have been withheld. But the only tenable 
distinction to be drawn nowadays is between the 
scientific and pre-scientific age in the history of any 
given race. 

In these times, when many run to and fro, and 
knowledge is increased, we forget how recent are the 
tremendous changes wrought by the science that — 

" Reaches forth her arms 
,vorld to world, and cha 
Her secret from the latest moon." 

To feel from world to world, and charms 


Dulled by familiarity, we forget how operative these 
changes are upon opinions which have been — save 
now and again by voices speedily silenced — unques- 
tioned during centuries. It is, in truth, another world 
to that in which our forefathers lived. Even in 
science itself the revolution wrought by discoveries 
within the last fifty years is enormous. Our old 
standard authorities, especially in astronomy and 
geology, are now of value only as historical indices 
to the progress of those sciences, while in the domain 
of life itself the distinctions between plant and animal, 
assumed under the terms Botany and Zoology, are 
effaced and made one under the term Biology. Sir 
James Paget, in a profoundly interesting address on 
Science and Theology^ has pointed out that it was once 
thought profane to speak of life as in any kind of 
relation or alliance with chemical affinities manifest 
in lifeless matter ; now, the correlation of all the 
forces of matter is a doctrine which investigation 
more and more confirms. It was believed — many 
believe it still — that an impassable chasm separates 
the inorganic from the organic, the latter being 
attained only through operations of a "vital force" 
external to matter. That chasm is imaginary. Even 
the supposed difference between plants and animals 
in the existence in the latter of a stomach by which 
to digest and change nutritive substances, vanishes 
before the experiments on carnivorous plants. And 
not only do the observations of Mr. Darwin go far to 
show the existence of a nervous system in plants, but 
examination of crystals shows that a "truly elemental 


pathology must be studied in them after mechanical 
injuries or other disturbing forces." And is man, 
" the roof and crown of things," to witness to diversity 
amidst this unity ? 

If we hesitate to believe that our metaphysics 
have been evolved from savage philosophy, that our 
accepted opinions concerning man's nature and des- 
tiny are but the improved and purified speculations 
of the past, we must remember what long years had 
elapsed before the spirit of science arose and breathed 
its air of freedom on the human mind. The Chris- 
tian religion wrought no change in the attitude of man 
towards the natural world ; it remained as full of 
mystery and miracle to the pagan after his conver- 
sion as before it. When that religion was planted in 
foreign soil it had, as the condition of its thriving, 
to be nourished by the alien juices. It had to take 
into itself what it found there, and it found very much 
in common. Although it displaced and degraded 
the Dii majorcs of other faiths, it had its own elabo- 
rated order of principalities and powers ; it had as 
real a belief in demons and goblins as any pagan ; 
and it was, therefore, simply a question of baptizing 
and rechristening the ghost-world of heathendom, 
substituting angels for swan-maidens and elves, devils 
for demons, and retaining unchanged the army of 
evil agencies, who as witches and wraiths swarmed in 
the night and wrought havoc on soul and body. 

The doctrine of continuity admits no exceptions ; 
it has no " favoured nation " clause for man. Its 
teaching is of order, not confusion ; of gradual de- 


velopment, not spasmodic advance ; of banishment of 
all catastrophic theories in the interpretation of the 
history of man as of nature. In its exposition 
nothing is " common or unclean ; " nothing too trivial 
for notice in study of the growth of language, of law, 
of social customs and institutions, of religion, or of 
aught else comprised in the story of our race. The 
nursery rhyme and the "wise saw" embody the 
serious belief of past times ; ceremonial rites and 
priestly vestments preserve the significance and sacred- 
ness gathering round the common when it becomes 
specialised. And in this belief in spiritual powers 
and agencies within and without, the line uniting the 
lower and the higher culture is unbroken. Nor can 
it be otherwise, if it be conceded that the sources of 
man's knowledge do not transcend his experience, 
and that within the limits of this we have to look for 
the origin of all beliefs, from the crudest animism to 
the most ennobling conceptions of the Eternal. 

" This world is the nurse of all we know, 
This world is the mother of all we feel." 

And yet we find this denied by professed scientists, 
whose minds are built, as it were, in water-tight com- 
partments. The theistic philosopher, trembling at 
the bogey of human automatism, creates an Ego, 
"an entity wherein man's nobility essentially consists, 
which does not depend for its existence on any play 
of physical or vital forces, but which makes these 
forces subservient to its determinations."^ The bio- 

^ Dr. Carpenter's Mental Physiology^ p. 27. 


legist, shrinking from the application of the theory 
of evolution to the descent of man, argues that " his 
animality is distinct in nature from his rationality, 
though inseparably joined during life in one common 
personality." His body "was derived from pre- 
existing materials, and therefore, only derivatively 
created ; that is, by the operation of secondary laws." 
His soul, on the other hand, was created in quite a 
different way, not by any pre-existing means external 
to God Himself, but by the direct action of the Al- 
mighty symbolised by the term "breathing."^ As 
this compound nature of man is defended in a scien- 
tific treatise, the question that leaps to the lips is, 
When did the inoculating action take place ? — in the 
embryonic stage, or at birth, or at the first awaken- 
ings of the moral sense ? 

Readers of that eccentric book, TJie Unseen Uni- 
verse, published some eight years ago, may remember 
that the authors built up a spiritual body whose home 
lay beyond the visible cosmos.^ Their argument was 
to the following effect : — Just as light is held to 
result from vibrations of the ether set in motion by 
self-luminous or light-reflecting bodies, so every 
thought occasions molecular action in the brain, 
which gives rise to vibrations of the ether. While 
the effect of a portion of our mental activity is to 

^ St. Geo. Mivart's Genesis of Species, p. 325. In the second edition 
of this work Professor Mivart cites with satisfaction the authority of 
S. Thomas Aquinas and of Cardinal Newman on the matter ! 

2 For criticism of this pseudo-scientific theory see Professor Clifford's 
brilliant paper in Lectures and Essays, i. 228, fif. ; and a review of " The 
Unseen Universe" by the present writer, Erase)-'' s Mag,., Jan. 1876. 


leave a permanent record on the matter of the brain, 
and thus constitute an organ of memory, the effect 
of the remaining portion is to set up thought-waves 
across the ether, and to construct by these means, in 
some part of the unseen universe, what may be called 
our '' spiritual body." By this process there is being 
gradually built up, as the resultant of our present 
activities, our future selves ; and when we die our 
consciousness is in some mysterious way transferred 
to the spiritual body, and thus the continuity of 
identity is secured. 

" Eternal form shall still divide 
Th' eternal soul from all beside." 

We may well quote the ancient words : " If they 
do these things in a green tree, what shall be done 
in the dry?" The physicists, who thus locate the 
soul in limitless space, and call it vibrations ; the 
mathematician, who said it must be extension ; and 
the musician, who said, like Aristoxenus, that it was 
harmony ; the Cartesian philosopher, who locates it 
in the pineal gland ; the Costa Rican, who places it 
in the liver ; the Tongans, who make it co-extensive 
with the body ; and the Swedenborgians, who assume 
an underlying, inner self pervading the whole frame 
— these have met together, the lower and the higher 
culture have kissed each other. 

The tripartite division of man by the Rabbis, the 
Platonists, the Paulinists, the Chinese, the mediaeval 
theories of vegetal, sensitive, and rational souls ; 
what are these but the "other self" of savage philo- 


sophy writ large ? Plato's number is found among 
the Sioux : of their three souls one goes to a cold 
place, another to a warm place, and the third stays 
to guard the body. Washington Matthews, in his 
EtJinology and Philology of the Hidatsa Indians, 
says: — "It is believed by some of the Hidatsa that 
every human being has four souls in one. They 
account for the phenomena of gradual death, when 
the extremities are apparently dead while conscious- 
ness remains, by supposing the four souls to depart, 
one after another, at different times. When dis- 
solution is complete, they say that all the souls are 
gone, and have joined together again outside the 
body. I have heard a Minsutaree quietly discussing 
this doctrine with an Assinneboine, who believed in 
only one soul to each body." 

Let it not be thought that because science ex- 
plains the earth-born origin of some of man's loftiest 
hopes, she makes claim to have spoken the last word, 
and forbids utterance from any other quarter. The 
theologian is not less free to assume such miraculous 
intervention in man's development as marks him 
nearer to the angel than to the ape, only his 
assumptions lie beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. 
And it should be noted that whilst science takes 
away, she gives with no niggard hand, so that the 
loss is more seeming than real. 

When belief in the earth's central and supreme 
place in the universe was surrendered at the bidding 
of astronomy, there was compensation in the revela- 
tion of a universe to which thought can fix no limits. 


And if man is bidden to surrender belief in his differ- 
ence in kind from other hving creatures, he will be 
given the conception of a collective humanity whose 
duties and destiny he shares. That conception will 
not be the destruction, but the enlargement, of the 
field of the emotions, and, in contrasting the evan- 
escence of the individual with the permanence of the 
race, he may find a profounder meaning in the 
familiar words — 

" We are such stuff as dreams are made on, 
And our little life is rounded with a sleep." 


Reference has now to be made to the part played 
by dreams as supposed channels of communication 
between heaven and earth ; as portents, omens, etc. 
The common belief among the nations of antiquity 
that they were sent by the gods, and the like belief 
lurking in the minds of the superstitious to this day, 
are the scarcely -altered survivals of barbaric con- 
fusion respecting them. 

When man had advanced from the earlier stages 
of undefined wonder and bewilderment concerning 
the powers around and above him to anthropomorphic 
conceptions of them, i.e. to making them in his own 
image, the events of his dreams were striking con- 


firmatlon of his notions about the constant inter- 
vention of spiritual beings, gods, chiefs, and ancestors, 
in the affairs of life. That personal life and will 
with which the rude intelligence invests the objects 
of its awe ; waving trees, swirling waters, drifting 
clouds, whirling winds, stately march of sun and star, 
seemed especially manifest in dreams and visions. In 
their unrelated and bewildering, or, on the other 
hand, their surpassingly clear, incidents, the powers 
indwelling in all things seemed to come nearer than 
in the less sensational occurrences of the day, utter- 
ing their monitions, or making known their will. 
They were the media by which this and that thing 
was commanded or forbidden, or by which guidance 
and counsel and knowledge of the future were given. 
To induce them, therefore, became a constant effort. 
The discovery that fasting is a certain method of 
procuring them is one reason of its prevalence in the 
lower culture. Amongst all the indigenous races of 
North America abstinence has been practised as a 
chief means of securing supernatural inspiration. 
The Redskin, to become a sorcerer or to secure a 
revelation from his totem^ or the Eskimo, to become 
Angekoky will endure the most severe privations. 

It is believed that whatever is seen in the first 
dream thus produced by fasting becomes the manitou, 
or guardian spirit of life, corresponding to the 
" daimon " of Socrates. And whoever by much fast- 
ing is favoured with dreams, and cultivates the art of 
explaining them as bearing on the future, becomes the 
feared and consulted " medicine man " of his tribe. 


His kee-kee-ivins,or records, are finally shown to the old 
people, who meet together and consult upon them. 
They in the end give their approval, and declare that 
he is gifted as a prophet, is inspired with wisdom, and 
is fit to lead in the councils of the people.^ 

Very slender data were needed for the conclusions 
first drawn from dreams ; let the death of a friend 
or foe be the incident, and the event happen ; let a 
hunting-path fill the half-torpid fancy, and a day's 
fasting follow ; let the mother of a young sportsman 
dream that she saw a bear in a certain place, and 
the son, guided by her account, find the bear where 
indicated, and kill it ; the arbitrary relation is set 
up forthwith. As Lord Bacon says, " Men mark 
the hits, but not the misses," and a thousand dreams 
unfulfilled count as nothing against one dream ful- 
filled. Out of that is shaped, as dream-lore shows, 
a canon of interpretation by which whole races will 
explain their dreams, never staying, when experience 
happens to confirm it, to wonder that the corre- 
spondences are not more frequent than they are. 
Where the arbitrary act was wrought, the isolated or 
conflicting influences manifest, there deity or demon 
was working. So the passage from the crude 

^ The following Mohammadan recipe for summoning spirits is 
given in Klunzinger's Upper Egypt. " Fast seven days in a lonely 
place, and take incense with you, such as benzoin, aloeswood, mastic, 
and odoriferous wood from Soudan, and read the chapter looi times 
(from the Koran) in the seven days — a certain number of readings, 
namely, for every day one of the five daily prayers. That is the 
secret, and you will see indescribable wonders ; drums will be beaten 
beside you, and flags hoisted over your head, and you will see spirits 
full of light and of beautiful and benign aspect." — (P. 386). 


interpretation of his dreams by the barbarian to the 
formal elaboration of the dream-oracle is obvious. 
It was only one of many modes by which the gods 
were thought to hold converse with man, and by 
which their will was divined. It was one phase of 
that many-sided belief in power for good or evil 
inhering in everything, and which led man to 
see omens in the common events of life, in births, 
in the objects any one met in a journey or saw in 
the sky ; to divine the future by numbers, by the 
lines in the hand, by the song and flight of birds 
(lurking in the word augury)^ by the entrails of 
sacrificed men and animals.^ Sometimes the god 
sends the message through a spiritual being, an 
angel (literally " messenger ") ; sometimes he, himself, 
speaks in vision, but more often through the symbol- 
ism of both familiar and unfamiliar things. To 
interpret this is a serious science, and skill and 
shrewdness applied therein with success were pass- 
ports to high place and royal favour. In this we 
have the familiar illustrations of Joseph and Daniel, 
and, indeed, we need not travel beyond the books 
of the Old Testament for abundant and varied 
examples of the importance attached to dreams and 
visions, and of the place accorded to dreams,^ an 
importance undiminished until we come to the litera- 
ture of the centuries just before Christ. For example, 
in the Book of Jesus the Son of Sirac, we read — 

1 In Roget's Thesaunts, sect. 511, a curious and instructive list of 
terms expressive of the different forms of divination is given, 
^ Numb. xii. 6 ; I Sam. xxviii. 6, 15, etc. 


" Vain and deceitful hopes befit the senseless man, 
And dreams make fools rejoice, 

Like one who grasps at a shadow and chases the wind, 
Is he who puts trust in dreams." ^ 

In the belief that through dreams and oracles 
Yahweh made known his will, the influence of older 
beliefs and their literature is apparent Among the 
Accadians, a pre-Semitic race in Babylonia, there 
existed a mass of treatises on magic and divination 
by dreams and visions, and both from this and from 
Egyptian sources, blended with survivals from their 
barbaric past, the Hebrews largely drew. 

In this, too, " there is nothing new under the 
sun." Homer, painting the vividness and agonising 
incompleteness of the passing visions, affirms that 
dreams from Jove proceed, although sometimes to 
deceive men ; Plato assigns prophetic character to 
the images seen in them ; Aristotle sees a divination 
concerning some things in dreams which is not in- 
credible ; the answer to oracles was sought in them, 
as when the worshipper slept in a temple on the 
skin of a sacrificed ram, and learned his destiny 
through the dream that came. The Stoics argued 
that if the gods love and care for men and are all- 
knowing, they will tell their purposes to men in 
sleep. Cicero attaches high importance to the 
faculty of interpreting them ; their phenomena, like 
those of oracles and predictions, should, he contends, 
be explained just as the grammarians and the com- 
mentators explain the poets.^ 

1 Chap, xxxiv. 2 ^f^ Ency. Brit., Art. "Dreams." 


With the influence of these beliefs in the air, 
and with the legend-visions of Scripture as authority, 
the divine origin of dreams became a doctrine of 
the Christian Church. Tertullian says that " we 
receive dreams from God, there being no man so 
foolish as never to have known any dreams come 
true," and in his De Anwia reference is made to a 
host of writers of dream treatises. For the most part 
they are but names ; their treatises have perished, 
but enough remains for the perusal of the curious 
regarding ancient rules of interpretation and the par- 
ticular significance of certain dreams. The current 
views of dreams in classic antiquity are believed to 
be partly embodied in the 'OvetpoKpiTLKa of Arte- 
midorus of Ephesus, who flourished about the middle 
of the second century, and who reduces dream inter- 
pretation to a body of elaborate rules, while amongst 
Christian writers Synesius of Cyrene, who lived two 
centuries later, holds a corresponding place. 

Both classic and patristic writers supply copious 
details concerning the classes into which dreams 
were divided, and which have some curious corre- 
spondences among the Oriental nations, as well as in 
our dream-lore, e.g:, when Artemidorus says that he 
who dreams he hath lost a tooth shall lose a friend, 
we may compare with this a quotation which Brand 
gives from the Sapho and Phao of Lily, a playwright 
of the time of Elizabeth. " Dreams have their 
trueth. Dreams are but dotings, which come either 
by things we see in the day or meates that we eat, and 

so the common-sense preferring it to be the imagina- 


tive. ' I dreamed,' says Ismena, ' mine eyetooth was 
loose, and that I thrust it out with my tongue.' ' It 
foretelleth,' repHes Mileta, * the loss of a friend ; and 
I ever thought thee so full of prattle that thou 
wouldst thrust out the best friend with thy tatling.' " 
It is, however, needless to quote from Artemidorus 
and others of their kin. They do but furnish samples 
of the ingenuity applied to profitless speculations on 
matters which were fundamental then, and around 
which the mind played unchecked and unchallenged. 
Moreover, the subtle distinctions made between 
dreams in former times were slowly effaced, or sank 
to their proper level in .the gossip of chap books — 
our European kee-kee-wins. But the belief in the 
dream as having a serious meaning, and in the 
spectral appearances in visions as real existences, 
remained as strong as in any barbarian or pagan. 
In an atmosphere charged with the supernatural, 
apparitions and the like were matters of course, the 
particular form of the illusion to which the senses 
testified being in harmony with the ideas of the age. 
The devil does not appear to Greek or Roman, but 
he sorely troubled the saints, unless their nerves were, 
like Luther's, strong enough to overmaster him. 
Luther speaks of him as coming into his cell, and 
making a great noise behind the stove, and of his 
walking in the cloister above his cell at night ; " but 
as I knew it was the devil," he says, " I paid no 
attention to him, and went to sleep." Sceptics now 
and again arose protesting against the current be- 
lief, but they were as a voice crying in the desert. 


One Henry Cornelius Agrippa, in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, a man born out of due time, says, " To this 
delusion not a few great philosophers have given not 
a little credit, especially Democritus, Aristotle, Sinc- 
sius, etc., so far building on examples of dreams, 
which some accident hath made to be true, that 
thence they endeavour to persuade men that there 
are no dreams but what are real." 

His words have not yet lost their purport. For 
the- credulity of man, the persistence with which 
he clings to the shadow of the supernatural after 
having surrendered the substance, seem almost a con- 
stant quantity, varying only in form. Unteachable 
by experience, fools still pay their guineas to mediums 
to rap out inane messages from the departed, and 
send postage stamps to the Astronomer Royal, ask- 
ing him to " work the planets " for them, and secure 
them luck in love and law-suits. Nor is there any 
cure for this but in wise culture of the mind, wise 
correction, and wholesome control of the emotions. 
"By faithfully intending the mind to the realities 
of nature," as Bacon has it, and by living and work- 
ing among men in a healthy, sympathetic way, 
exaggeration of a particular line of thought or feel- 
ing is prevented, and the balance of the faculties 
best preserved. For, adds Dr. Maudsley, in pregnant 
and well-chosen words, " there are not two worlds — 
a world of nature and a world of human nature — 
standing over against one another in a sort of 
antagonism, but one world of nature, in the orderly 
evolution of which human nature has its subordinate 


part. Delusions and hallucinations may be described 
as discordant notes in the grand harmony. It should, 
then, be every man's steadfast aim, as a part of 
nature — his patient work — to cultivate such entire 
sincerity of relations with it ; so to think, feel, and 
act always in intimate unison with it ; to be so 
completely one with it in life, that when the 
summons comes to surrender his mortal part to ab- 
sorption into it, he does so, not fearfully, as to an 
enemy who has vanquished him, but trustfully, as to 
a mother who, when the day's task is done, bids him 
lie down to sleep." 


Abipone, 15, 151, 156. 

Abraham, 135. 

Accadians, 134, 240. 

^sop, 96. 

Agassiz, 208. 

Agni, 74. 

Agrippa, Cornelius, 243. 

Ahrimarij 54. 

Alger, 208, 

Algonquins, 40, 43, 46, 91, 99, 

no, 125, 167, 184, 203, 211, 

Allah, 159. 
Ancestors, sun and moon as, 19. 

worship of, no, 112, 
Ancient Stone Age, 8. 
Animal, descent from, 99. 

worship, no. 
Animals, transformation into, Si. 
virtue in flesh of, 164. 
souls in, 207. 
Apollo, 52. 
Arabian folk-tales, 196. 

notion of soul, 202. 
Araucanians, 43, 163. 
Arnobius, 167. 
Arnold, Matthew, 14, 227. 
Art, primitive, 147. 
Artemidorus, 241, 
Arthur, King, 123. 
Aryan epics, 71. 

Aryan folk-tales, 70, 95. 

languages, 67. 

myths, 51, 76. 
Aryans, primitive home of, 69. 
Astrology, 33. 
Australians, 20, 26, 30, 99, 103, 

I50»I53. 157, 165, 179, 198,205. 
Aztecs, 44, 199, 210. 

Barbaric belief in dreams, i68- 


belief in souls in brutes, 
etc., 207-213. 

belief in virtue in life- 
less things, 12, 160- 
168, 181. 

confusion about names, 

cures for disease, 179. 

dread ofportrait- taking, 

language, 150. 
notions of soul's abode, 

theory of disease, 174, 

theory of a soul, 182- 

theory of soul's nature, 

Baring Gould, 28, 84. 
Basutos, 184. 



Beast-fables, 94, 98. 
Beowulf, 52. 
Berserkr, 87. 
Bifrost, 33. 
Bird, soul as, 210. 

wind as, 43-45 
Body, soul apart from, 188. 

soul as replica of, 205. 
Bohemian folk-tale, 195. 
Bonaparte, 64. 
Brain of man and ape, 144. 
Brand, 17, 166, 241. 
Brazilian Indians, 153, 156, 175. 
Breath, soul as, 187, 198 ff. 
Brebeuf, 165. 

Brinton, 45, 92, loi, 210. 
Brutes, souls in, 207. 
Bryant, 7- 
Buckle, 3. 
Buddha, 64. 

Buddhist fables {see Jatakas). 
Bunsen, 132. 
Bushmen, 13, 20, 26. 

C^SAR, 106. 
Callaway, Bishop, 170, 
Campbell, J. F., 193. 
Cannibalism, 165, 
Cardinal points, symbol of, 44. 
Caribs, 167. 

Carpenter, Dr., ^^, 232. 
Catlin, 162. 
Charlemagne, 125. 
Charles's Wain, 30. 
Charms, philosophy of, 164. 
Chasuble, 167. 
Chaucer, 28, 32. 
Child and savage, 14. 
Chimpanzee, brain of, 145. 
Chinese myth, 16, 36. 
Choctaws, 42, 184. 
Christian heaven, 220. 
religion, 231. 
Cicero, 240. 

Civilised theories of soul's nature, 

198, 203. 
Clan-totems, 107, 109. 
Cloud-serpent, 46. 
Clouds as cows, 51. 
Confession, 181. 
Congo Negroes, 202. 
Continuity, doctrine of, 228, 231. 
Coral, 166. 

Costa Ricans, 216, 234. 
Counting, savage, 153. 
Cox, Sir G. W., 37, 62, 75, 198. 
Crest, totem as, 108. 
Cronus, 35, 37. 
Cross as wind symbol, 44. 
Custom and Myth, 38. 

Dakotas, 31, 46, 106, 175, 199, 

Dammaras, 151. 
Darwin, 3, 230. 
Dasent, 91, 121. 
Dead, burial of food with, 212. 

road of the, 32. 
Death, savage notion of, 1S6. 
Demons, 58, 178. 
Dennys, 15. 
Deodand, 15. 
Devil, 53, 56, 60. 

as disease-bringer, 176. 
Disease, savage theory of, 89, 

174 ff- 
savage remedies for, 1 79. 
Doctrine of signatures, 166. 
Dorman, 42, 157, 209. 
Dragons, battles with, 52. 
Dreams as source of belief in soul, 

183, 225. 
Dreams, duality in, 183. 

savage belief in reality of, 

omens from, 236-242. 
Dyaks, 17, 25, 159, 171. 
Dyaus, 36, 74. 



Earth as source of heaven-theories, 

Earth-bearers, 40. 
Echo, soul as, 185, 
Edda, 15, 29, 33, 43, 52. 
Effigy, burning in, 16. 
Egg, world as, 38. 
Ego, the, 232. 
Egyptian folk-tale, 197. 
Epics, Aryan, 71. 
Epidemic delusions, 88. 
Eskimos, 30, 91, 153, 163, 179, 199, 

217, 237. 
Esthonian myth, 39. 
Euhemeros, 66. 
Eumenides, 159. 
Evolution, 144. 

of mind, 5j 228. 
Exile, Jewish, 134. 
Exogamy, 104. 
Eye-bright, 15, 166. 

Fasting, 237. 
Fijians, 171, 177, 184, 211. 
Fingers in counting, 153. 
Finnish myth, 16, 32, 38, 43, 45, 

121, 176, 196, 219. 
Finns, 159, 173. 
Fire myths, 47. 
Food, forbidden, 105. 
Foster, Thomas, 63. 
Frisian n\oon myth, 28. 

Gaea, 35. 

Gallon, 151. 

Gellert myth, 128. 

Gender, origin of, 22. 

Gesta Romanorutn^ 1 28. 

Giant with no heart in his body, 192. 

Gill, W. W., 20, 47, 177- 

Gladstone, W. E., 7. 

Gods, revelation from, through 

dreams, 239. 
Goldziher, 62, 64, 135. 

Greek myth, 33, 77. 

notion of soul, 202, 
Greenlanders, 27, 164, 171, 201,212. 
Grimm, 27, 30, 32, 55, 97, 178, 

181, 201, 209, 210. 
Grimm's Law, 73- 
Grote, 14. 

Hades, 220. 
Hall, Bishop, 18. " 
Heaven, 19. 

imageiy of, 221. 

and earth, myths of, 34. 
Hebrew myth, 33, 39, 64, 131- 136. 

notion of soul, 206. 
Hell, 220. 

Herakles, 22, 31, 51, (>% 136. 
Here, 31. 
Hiawatha, 158. 
Hidatsa Indians, 235. 
History, myth in, 114. 
Hitopadesa, 129. 
Holmes, 183. 
Homer, 240. 
Hottentot, 217. 
Hue, Father, iSi. 
Hurricane, 199. 
Huxley, 145, 228. 

Icelandic moon myth, 28. 
Iliad, 55, 64, 205. 
Ilmarine, 39. 
Im Thurn, 156, 171, 207. 
Inanimate things, criminality of, 15. 
sex in, 24. 
souls in, 211. 
Incas, 45. 

Indian Eairy Tales, 191. 
Indians, Columbian, 155. 
Housatonic, 31. 
North American, 13, 17, 
21, 26, 30, 151, 156, 
162, 164, 175, 199, 207, 
212,216, 219, 235,237. 



Indians of Guiana, 156, 171. 

Selish, 27. 

Western, 46, 107. 
Indra, 49, 53. 
Iroquois, 156, 165, 167. 
Isaac, 135. 
Islam, 33. 

Jack and Jill, 28. 
Japanese myth, 40, 
Jatakas, 27, 96, 129, 192. 
Jehovah, 159. 
Johnson, Dr., 1S3. 
Jonah, 136. 

Kaffirs, 13, 164. 
Kalevala, 38. 
Kalevipoeg, 39. 
Kane, Dr., 155. 
Kasns, 30. 
Kenaima, 175. 
Khasias moon myth, 27. 
Kinship, primitive, 102, 
Kirby, 196. 
Kuhn, 41. 

Lancashire folk-lore, 177, 204. 
Lang, Andrew, yj, 166, 205. 
Lang, Dr., 157. 
Language, personification of, 24. 

physical base of, 150. 

primitive, 149. 
Languages, savage, 23. 

limitations of, 

Lapps, 156, 159, 201. 

Leland, 44. 
Lightning myths, 47. 
Lithuanian, 32, 

Living and not living, savage con- 
fusion between, 12, 160-168, 181, 
Llewellyn myth, 128. 
Lucretius, 169. 
Luther, 242. 

Lycanthropy, 83. 
Lyell, 145. 

Malays, 150. 

Man, mental development of, 147, 

primitive interpretation of 
nature by, 10. 

relation of, to nature, 4, 228. 

savage and civilised, 144. 
Manacicas, 20. 
Maties, 212. 
Maoris, 34. 
Mapuches, 180. 
Marriage, primitive, 103. 
Maruts, 44, 53. 
Matthews, Washington, 235. 
Maudsley, Dr., 243. 
Maui, sun-catcher, 21. 

fire-bringer, 47. 
M'Lennan, 102, 104. 
Medicine-men, 92, 99, 237. 
Melanesian, 166. 
Men-beasts, 86. 
Metamorphosis, 81. 
Metempsychosis, 82. 
Mexicans, 212. 
Milky Way, 31, 222. 
Mind, evolution of, 5, 228. 
Mivart, 233. 
Mohawk, 199. 
Mohicans, 150. 
Mongolian moon myth, 27, 
Mongols, 150. 
Moon, as mother, 25. 

as sun's sister, 26. 
man in the, 28. 

myths, 10, 19, 20. 
patches, 27. 
Moquis, 99, 102, no. 
Miiller, Max, 37, 49, 56, 62, 66, 

68, III, 158. 
Multiple souls, 234. 
Myth in history, 114. 




Myth, origin of, 17. 

primitive meaning of, 3, 10. 
serious meaning in, 7. 
solar theory of, 61-81. 
value of study of, 138. 
Myths of Creation, 38. 

earth-bearers, 40, 
fire-stealers, 47. 
heaven and earth, 34. 
lightning, 47. 
Milky Way, 31. 
moon, 20, 27. 
Northern Lights, 31. 
rainbow, 32, 33. 
stars, 30. 
sun, 19, 21. 
swallowing, 36. 
wind, 42-45. 

Names, savage dread of, 104. 

confusion about, 

Napoleon III., will of, 113. 

NewZealanders, 13,15,30,158,164. 

Niebuhr, 65. 

Nightmare, 171. 

Non- Aryan, brain of, 144. 

races, languages of, 
Norse, Tales from the, 192. 
Northern Lights, 31. 

Odin, 30, 44, 202. 

Ogres, 44. 

Ojibways, 42, no, 155, 209, 212, 

Old Deccan Days, 188. 
Omens, dreams as, 236-242. 
Oracles, 240. 
Origin of gender, 22. 

moon, 20. 

myth, 7. 

religion, in. 

sun, 19. 

Orion, 30. 

Ormuzd, 54. 

Other self, barbaric theory of, 183. 

conceived as breath, 
187, 199. 

passage from within to 
\vithout, 185. 
Ottawas, 31. 
Ouranos, 74. 
Ovid, 85. 

Paget, Sir J. , 230. 

Panchatantra, 129. 

Papa, 19, 34. 

Papuan, brain of, 145. 

Patagonians, 31. 

Persians, 25, t,t,, 57. 

Picture-writing, 107. 

Plant, descent from, 99. 

Plants, souls in, 208. 

Pleiades, 30. 

Pocahontas, 158. 

Polynesians, 38, 163. 

Prithivi, 36. 

Prytaneum, 15. 

Psychical Research, Society of, 217. 

Punchkin, 188 ff. 

Quiches, 42, 199. 

Ra, 21, 

Rae, Dr., 153. 

Rain, gender in, 25. 

Rainbow, 32. 

Ralston, 194. 

Rangi, 34. 

Religion, origin of, in. 

Reiian, 132. 

Reville, 214. 

Reynard the fox, 97, iSi. 

Rig- Veda, 44, 49, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80. 

Rink, Dr., 165. 

Road of the dead, 32. 

Roman notion of soul, 202. 



Rossetti, 17, 202. 
Russian Folk- Tales, 194. 

St, George, 53. 

Saliva, virtue in, 16, 163. 

Samoan moon myth, 27. 

Samoyed folk-tale, 196. 

Samson, myth of, 137. 

San Graal, 126. 

Sanskrit, 72. 

Satan, 57. 

Savage and civilised man, 144. 

belief in dreams, 168-174. 

confusion between living and 
not living, 13, 160-168. 

confusion between names 
and things, 105, 155. 

cures for disease, 179. 

interpretation of nature, 10. 

languages, 23, 150. 

mode of counting, 152. 

theory of disease, 89, 174- 

theory of soul, 182-187. 

theory of soul's abode, 215- 

theory of soul's nature, 198- 
Science, progress of, 230. 
Seminoles, 203. 
Semitic languages, 159. 

myth, 132. 
Senses, illusions of the, 39, 226. 
Servian folk-tale, 195. 
Shadow, soul as, 184. 
Shawnee name myth, 157. 
Sheol, 206, 220. 
Sioux, 47, 162. 
Skulls, capacity of, 145. 
vSlavonic sun myth, 26. 
Sleeping heroes, 124. 
Smith, Adam, 151. 
Sneezing, 177. 
Society Islanders, 150. 

Solar theory of myth, 6 1 -8 1. 
Sonora Indians, 185. 
Sorcerers, 163. 

Soul, absence in disease, 178. 
dreams, 171. 
as breath, 187, 199 ff. 
as shadow, etc., 184. 
barbaric theory of, 182-187, 

225, 234. 
dwelling-place of, 215-222. 
in brutes, plants, etc., 207. 
occupation of, 216. 
tales of, apart from body, 

188 ff. 
theories of nature of, 198- 

207, 234. 
transfer of, 203. 
weight of, 207. 
South Sea Islanders, 158, 163, 185. 
Spencer, Herbert, 110,149,183,214. 
Spirit as breath, 200. 
Spirits, offerings to, 213 [see also 

Star myths, 30. 
Stars as persons, 20, 25. 
Storm-gods, 44. 
Sun as ancestor, 19, 20. 
father, 25. 
capture of, 21. 
myths, 10, 19, 51. 
Swedenborgians, 234. 
Swift, Dean, "JZ^ 166. 

Taboo of names, 158. 
Tacitus, 16, 106. 
Tahitians, 158. 
Takahlis, 203. 
Tah?iiid, 178. 
Tasmanians, 150. 
Tatar folk-tale, 196. 
Tell myth, 116 ff. 
Tertullian, 241. 
Thor, 46, 52, 60. 
Thunder-bird, 46. 



To be, the verb, 151. 
Tools, primitive, 147. 
Toothache, 175, 179. 
Totemism, 99, 102, 237. 
Totems as badge, 107. 
crest, 108. 
Red Indian, 100. 
worship of, no. 
Tongans, 19, 201, 234. 
Tonkanays, 92. 
Transformation, 85, 91. 
Treacle, 16. 

Tree, criminality of, 15. 
Trees, soul in, 209, 
Trench, Archbishop, 137. 
Troyes, Courts of, 15. 
Tylor, 14, 25, 65, 165, 199, 202, 

205, 207. 
Tyrolese, 164. 

Underworld, 220. 
Unseen Universe, 233. 
Uranus, 35. 

Varuna, 74. 
Vatea, 19. 
Vatnsdala Saga, 173. 

Veda (see Rig- Veda). 
Vinaya Pitaka, 129. 
Vritra, 49, 53, 60. 

Waitz, 205. 

Wandering Jew, 31. 

Water between earth and heaven, 

Watling Street, 32, 
Werewolves, 84, 86, 91. 
West, soul abode in, 219. 
Whitney, 151. 
Wind, myths of, 42-45. 

soul as, 199. 
Witchcraft, 58. 
Witches, 83, 91. 
World as egg, 38. 
Worship of ancestors, no, 214. 

XoMANES, 167. 

Yahweh, 55, 57, 159. 

Zend-Avesta, 54. 
Zeus, z^, 36, 55, 74, 85. 
Zoroaster, 56. 
Zulu, 170, 184. 


Printed by R. & R. Clark, EdmburgJt. 

iMarch 1S98. 




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You Play me False. 


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Diana Earringtca. 
Proper Pride. 
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Pretty Miss Neville. 
A Bird of Passage. 
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Mr. Sadler's Daughters. 


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Our Lady of Tears. | Circe's Lovers. 

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Old Corcoran 3 Money. 

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Witness to the Deed. | The White Vir^'in. 

Fatal Zero. 


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Jack Doyle s Daughter. 

One by One 

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A Real Queen. 

Seth's Brother's Wife. | The Lawton Girl. 

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Robin Gray. I Of High Degree. 

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Red Spider. | Eve. ■t 


Corinthia-Marazion. * ^ 


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Under the Greenwood Tree. 


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A Ward of tlie Qoldec 
Qata. [Springs. 

A Sappho of Oreen 
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Susy. I Sally Dows. 
Bell Ringer of Angel's. 

A Protegee of Jack 

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Devil 8 Ford, fcelsior.' 
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Beatrix Randolph. 

David Poiudexter B Dis- 

The Spectre of the 


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Sebastian Strome 


Fortune's Fool. 

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Ivan de Biron. 

Agatha Page. 

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Dorothy 8 Double. | 

The Common Ancestor. 

7wlxt Love and Duty. 

lady 'Vemer's Flight. 
The Red-House Mystery 
The Three Graces. 
Professor's Experiment. 
A Point of Conscience. 

The Leaden Casket. I Self-Condemned. 
That Other Person. | Mrs. Juliet. 


Honour of Thieves. 


Madame Sans Gene. 


Rboda Roberts. 

Gideon Flevce. 


Nora Creina. 
An Anxious Moment. 
April 8 Lady. 
Peter 3 Wife. 

Patricia Kemball. 
IJnder which Lord 7 
' My Love I ■ | lone. 
Paston Carew. 
Sowing the Wind. 

A Fair Saxon. 
Liuley Rochford. 
Dear Lady Disdain. 

Waterdale Neighbours. 
My Enemy s Daughter. 
Miss Misanthrope. 

A London Legend. 


The Atonement of Learn 

The World Well Lost. 
The One Too Many. 
Dulcie Everton. 


Donna Quixote. 

Maid of Athens. 

The Comet of a Season. 

The Dictator. 

Red Diamonds. 

The Riddle Ring. 

The Three Disgraces. 

. McCarthy. 

I The Royal Christopher. 

Heather and Snow. | Phantastes. 


The Disaster 

By L. T. MEADE. 
A Soldier of Fortune. I The Voice of the 
In an Iron Grip. I Charmer. 

Pr. Rumsey's Patient. 


This Stage of Fools. 


The Gun Runner. 
The Luck of Qerard 


The King s Assegai. 
Renshaw Fanning s 


Maid Marian and Robin Hood. 
Basile the Jester. | Young Lochinvar. 


A Life's Atonement. 

Joseph's Coat. 

Coals of Fire. 

Old Blazer 8 Hero. 

Val Strange. | Hearts. 

A Model Father. 

By the Gate of the Sea. 

A Bit of Human Nature. 

First Person Singular. 


The Bishops' Bible. j 

One Traveller Returns. | 


' Bail Up I ' 


Saint Anns. | Billy Bellew. 

A Weird Gift. 


Cynic Fortune. 
The Way of the World. 
BobMartin's Little QirL 
Time's Revenges. 
A Wasted Crime. 
In Direst Peril. 
Mount Despair. 
A Capful o Nai's. 
Tales and Poems. 

and HERMAN. 

Paul Jones 8 Alias. 


The Sorceress. 

Held in Bondage. 
Under Two Flags. 
Idalia. iOage. 

Cecil Castlemaine s 
Tricotrin. | Puck. 
FoUe Farine. 
A Dog of Flanders. 
Pascarel. | Signa. 
Princess Napraxine. 


Two Little Woodaa 

In a Winter City. Shoes 


Moths. I Ruffino. 


A Village Commune. 

Bimbi. | Wanda. 

Frescoes. | Othmar. 

In Maremma. 

Syrlln. | Guilder 07. 

Santa Barbara. 

Two Offenders. 


Gentle and Simple. 


Lost Sir Massingberd. 
Less Black than We're 

A Confidential Agent. 
A Grape from a Thorn. 
In Peril and Privation. 
The Mystery of Mir- 
Bv Proxy. [bridge. 
The Canon's Ward. 
Walter a Word. 

High Spirits. 
Under One Roof. 
Glow-worm Taies. 
The Talk of the Town. 
Holiday Tasks. 
For Cash Only. 
The Burnt Million. 
The Word and the Will. 
Sunny Stories. 
A Trying Patient. 



Jerry the Dreamer. 


Outlaw and Lawmaker. I Mrs. Tregaskiss. 
Christina Chard. | 

By E. C. PRICE. 
Valentina. | Foreigners. | Mrs. Lancaster s Rival, 

Miss Maxwell's Affections. 


Peg WofBngton ; and 
Christie Johnstone. 

Hard Cash. 

Cloister A the Hearth. 

Never Too Late to Mend 

The Course of True 
Love Never Did Run 
Smooth ; and Single- 
heart andDoubleface. 

Autobiography of a 
Thief; Jack of all 
Trades ; A Hero and 
a Martyr ; and The 
Wandering Heir. 

Griffith Gaunt. 

Love Me Little, Love 

Me Long. 
The Double Marriage. 
Foul Play. 
Put Yourself in Hia 

A Terrible Temptation. 
A Simpleton. 
A Woman Hater. 
The Jilt, & otherStories ; 
& Good Stories of Man 
and other Animals. 
A Perilous Secret. 
Readiana ; and BibI* 


By Mrs. J. H. RIDDELL. 

Weird Stories. 


Barbara Dering. 


The Hands of Justice. | Woman in the Dark. 

CHATtO &. WINDU5, in St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C. 


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Round the Galley-Fire. 
In the Middle Watch. 
On the Fo k sle Head. 
A Voyajje to the Cape. 
Book for the Hammock. 
Mygteryof 'Ocean Star' 
Tbe Romance of Jenny 

An Ocean Tragedy. 

A Country Sweetheart 

TiUe Blue. 

A Levantine Family. 

Dr. Endicott s Experiment. 

Without Love or Licence. The Outsider. 
The Master of Rathkelly. Beatrice & Benedick 
Long Odds. A Racing Rubber. 


My Shipmate Louise. 
Alone onWideWide Sea. 
The Phantom Death. 
Is He the Mao ? 
Good Ship Mohock.' 
The Convict Ship. 
Heart of Oak. 
The Tale of the Ten. 
The Last Entry. 
The Drift of Fate. 


Stories from Foreign Novelists. 


Mark Twain's Choice 

Mark Twain's Library 

of Humour. 
The Innocents Abroad. 
Roughing It ; and The 

Innocents at Home. 
A Tramp Abroad. 
TheAmerican Claimant. 
Tom Sawyer Abroad. 

By C. C. 

Mistress Judith. 

Tom Sawyer. Detective. 
Pudd nhead Wilson. 
The Gilded Age. 
Prince and the Pauper. 
Life on the Mississippi. 
The Adventures of 

Huckleberry Finn. 
A Yankee at the Court 

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Stolen White Elephant. 
£1.000,000 Banknote. 



The Macdonald Lass. 
The Witch- Wife. 

A Minion of the Moon. 
The Secret of Wyvern 
In Face of the World. 
Orchard Damerel. 
The Tremlett Diamonds. 

A Secret of the Sea. 

The Grey Monk. 

The Master of Trenance 

A Fellow of Trinity. 
The Junior Dean. 
Master of St. Benedict's, 
To his Own Master. 

Doris and I. 


The Cruciform Mark. 


The Afghan Knife. 

The Suicide Club. 

Proud Maisie. | The Violin-Player. 


The Way we Live Now. 
Frau Frobmann. 


Like Ships upon the 

Scarborough's Family. 
The Land Leaguers 


Anne Fumess. 
Mabel's Progress. 

Lady Bell. 
Buried Diamonds. 
The Blackball Ghosts. 


The Queen against Owen I The Prince of Balkistan. 


The Scorpion : A Romance of Spain. 


The Express Messenger, 


Sons of Belial. 


The Shadow of Hilton Fernbrook. 

By C. J. WILLS. 
An Easy-going Fellow. 


Cavalry Life and Regimental Legends. 
A Soldier's Children. 

My Flii-tations. 

By E. ZOLA. 
The Fortune of the Rougons. 
The Abbe Mouret's Transi^ression. 
The Downfall, The Fat and the Thin. 

The Dream. His Excellency. 

Dr. Pascal. The Dram-Shop. 

Money. | Loardes. Rome. I Paris. 

By 'Z Z.' 
A Nineteenth Century Miracle. 


Post 8vo, illustrated boards, -zs. each. 


ArtemUB Ward Complete. 


The Fellah. 


Carr of Carrlyon. | Confidences. 



Grantley Grange. 

By Sir W. BESANT and J. RICE. 

Maid, Wife, or Widow ? 
Blind Fate. 
■Valerie s Fate. 


Philistia. I Babylon. 
Strange Stories. 
For Maimie's Sake. 
In all Shades. 
The Beckoning Hand. 
The Devil's Die. 
The Tents of Shem. 
The Great Taboo. 


Fhra the Phoenician. 


Fettered for Life. 
Litt^ Lady Linton. 
Between Life & Death. 
Bin of Qlga Zassdulich. 
Folly Morrison. 
Lieut. Barnabas, 
Honest Davie. 

A Life Interest. 
Mona'B Choice. 
By Woman's Wit. 


Dumaresq s Daughter. 
Duchess of Powysland. 
Blood Royal. [piece- 
Ivan Greet's Master. 
The Scall3rwag. 
This Mortal Coil. 
At Market Value. 
Under Sealed Orders. 



A Prodigal's Progress. 
Found Guilty. 
A Recoiling Vengeance. 
For Love and Honour. 
John Ford, &.c. 
Woman of Iron Brace 'ts 
The Harding Scandal. 

Ready- Money Mortiboy 
My Little Girl. 
With Harp and Crown. 
This Son of Vulcan. 
The Golden Butterfly. 
The Monks of Thelema. 

By Oelia's Arbour. 
Chaplain of the Fleet 
The Seamy Side. 
The Case of Mr. Lucraft. 
In Trafalgar's Bay. 
The Ten Years Tenant. 


All Sorts and Condi- 
tions of Men. 

The Captains' Room. 

All in a Gai'den Fair. 

Dorothy Forster. 

Uncle Jack. 

The World Went Very 
Well Then. 

Children of Gibeon. 

Herr Paulus. 

For Faith and Freedom. 

To Call Her Mine. 


In tbe Midst of Life. 


Camp Notes. I Chronicles of No man's 

Savage Life. | Land. 


The Bell of St. Paul's. 
Tbe Holy Rose. 
Armorelof Lyonesse. 
S.Katherine s by Tower. 
Verbena Camellia Ste- 

The Ivory Gate. 
The Rebel Queen. 
Beyond tbe Dreams of 

The Revolt of Man. 
In Deacon s Orders. 

Californian Stories. 
Gabriel Conroy. 
Luck of Roaring Camp. 
An Heiress of Red Dog. 

Flip. I Maruja. 

A Phyllis of the Sierras. 
A Waif of the Plains. 
Ward of Golden Gate. 


CHATTO & WINDUS, tii St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C. 

Two-Shilling Novei^s— continued . 



The Martyrdom of Ma- 
The Kew Abelard. 
The Heir of Liane. 
Woman and the Man. 
Rachel Dene. I Matt. 
Lady Kilpatrick. 

and MURRAY. 


Uncle Sam at Home. 


Shadow of the Sword. 
A Child of Nature. 
God and the Man. 
Love Me for Ever. 
Tozglove Manor. 
The Master of the Mine. 
Annan Water. 


The Charlatan. 


The Shadow of a Crime. I The Deemster. 
a. Son of Hagar. | 

By Commander CAAIERON. 
The Cruise of the ' Black Prince." 

The Adventures of Jones. 


For the Love of a Lass. 


Paul FerrcU. 

Wliy Paul Ferroll Killed his Wife. 


The Cure of Souls. | The Red Sultan. 


The Bar Sinister. 


Sweet Anne Page 
From Midnight to Mid 

A Fight with Fortune. 


Armadale. | AfterDark. 

No Name. 



Hide and Seek. 

The Dead Secret. 

Queen of Hearts. 

Miss or Mrs.? 

?he New Magdalen. 

The Frozen Deep. 

The Law and the Lady 

The Two Destinies. 

The Haunted Hotel, 

A Rogue's Life 

Sweet and Twenty. 
The Village Comedy. 
You Play sue False. 
Blacksmith and Scholar 


My Miscellanies. 
The Woman in White. 
The Moonstone. 
Man and Wife. 
Poor Miss Finch. 
The Fallen Leaves. 
Jezebel's Daughter. 
The Black E.obe. 
Heart and Science. 
' I Say No ! ' 
The Evil Genius. 
Little Novels. 
Legacy of Cain. 
Blind Love. 


Every Inch a Soldier. 


Leo. I Faul Foster s Daughter. 


The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains. 


The Adventures of a Fair Rebel. 


Pretty Miss Neville. Village Tales and Jungle 

Two Masters. 
Mr. Jervis. 
The Real Lady Hilda. 
Married or Single ? 


Diana Barrington. 

•To Let.' 

A Bird of Passage. 

Proper Pride. 

A Family Likeness. 

By W. 

Hearts of Gold. 


The Evangelist; or, Port Salvation. 


The Fountain of Youth. 


A Castle in Spain. 


Our Lady of Tears. | Circe's Lovers, 


In the Grip of the Law 
From Information Re- 
Tracked to Doom. 
Link by Link 
Suspicion Aroused. 
Dark Deeds. 
Riddles Read. 


The Man-Hunter. 
Tracked and Taken. 
Caught at Last 1 
Wanted I 
W^ho Poisoned Hetty 

Man from Manchester. 
A Detective's Triumphs 
The Mystery of Jamaica Terrace. 
The Chronicles of Michael Danevitch. 


A Point of Honour. | Archie Lovell. 


Felicia. | Kitty. 



The New Mistress. I The Tiger Lily. 

Witness to the Deed. | The White Virgin. 


Bella Donna. 
Never Forgotten, 
Fatal Zero. 


Second Mrs. Tillotson. 
Seventy - five Brooke 

The Lady of Brantome 

By P. FITZGERALD and others. 

strange Secrets. 


Filthy Lucre. 

By R. E. 

One by One. 
A Real Queen. 
Queen Cophetua. 


Seth's Brother's Wife. | 

Prefaced by Sir BARTLE FRERE. 

Pandurang Hari. 


The Capel Girls, 


A Strange Manuscript. 



King or Knave? 
Romances of the Law. 
Ropes of Sand. 
A Dog and his Shadow. 


The Lawton Girl. 

Robin Gray, 

Fancy Free. 

For Lack of Gold. 

What will World Say ? 

In Love and War, 

For the King. 

In Pastures Green. 

Queen of the Meadow. 

A Heart's Problem, 

The Dead Heart. 

In Honour Bound. 
Flower of the Forest. 
The Braes of Yarrow, 
The Golden Shaft. 
Of High Degree. 
By Mead and Stream, 
Loving a Dream. 
A Hard Knot. 
Heart's Delight. 


Dr. Austin's Guests, I The Wizard of the 
James Duke. | Mountain, 


The Lost Heiress, 1 The Fossicker. 

A, Fair Colonist, | 


lied Spider. | Eve. 


A Noble V/oman. | Nikanor. 


Corinthia Marazion. i 


The Days of his Vanity. 


Brueton's Bayou. | Country Luck. 


Everyday Papers. 


Under the Greenwood Tree. — 

CHATTO & WINDUS, in St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C. 

Two-Shilling '!^ovels— continued. 

Beatrix Randolph, 
Love— or a Name. 
David Poindextei'3 Dis 

The Spectre of 



Ellice Quentin. 

Fortune's Fool, 

Miss Cadogna. 

Sebastian Strome 


Ivan de Biron. 

By G. A. HENTY. 

Eujub the Juggler. 

A Leading Lady. 

Zambra the Detective. 

Treason Felony. 

The Lover 3 Creed. 

The House of Raby. 



The Three Graces 
Unsatisfactory Lorer. 
Lady Patty. 
Nora Creina. 
The Processor '3 Experi- 

A Maiden all Forlorn. 

In Durance Vile. 


A Mental Struggle. 

A Modern Circe. 

Lady Verners Flight 

The Ked House Mysteiy ) 


Thornicrofts I.Iortel. I Self-Condemned. 
Tiiat Other Person. | The Leaden Casket. 


Hy Dead Self. 


The Dark Colleen. | Queen of Connaught 


Colonial Facts and Fictions. 


Passion s Slave. 
Bell Bairy. 

By R. AS 

A Drawn Game. 
' Tn3 Wearing of the 


Madame Sans Gene. 


Che Lindsays. 


Patricia Kemball 

The World Well Lost, 

V nder which Lord ? 

Paston Carew, 

• My Love J ' 


With a Silken Thread. 




Dear Lady Disdain. 
Waterdale Neighbours. 
J:i-' Enemy's Daughter. 
A Fair Saxon. 
Linlev Rochford. 
Miss Misanthrope. 

Mr. Strangers Sealed Packet. 


Esather and Snow. 


Cuaker Cousins. 

The Evil Eye. 1 Lost Rose. 


A Romance of the Nine- I The New Republic, 
teenth Century, 1 

The Atonement of Leam 

Rebel of the Family. 
Sowing the Wind. 
The One Too Many. 
Dulcie Everton. 



Donna Quixote. 

Maid of Athens. 

The Comet of a Season. 

The Dictator. 

Ked Diamonds. 

The Riddle Ring. 



Half-a-dozen Daughters. 


A Secret of the Sea. 

By L. T. MEADE. 

A Soldier of Fortune. 


The Man who was Good. 


Touch and Go. | Mr. DoriUion. 


Eathercourt Rectory. 


Stories Weird and Won- j From the Bosom of tha 

derful. Deep. 

The Dead Man's Secret. | 


A Bit of Human Nature. 
Fir.5t Person i^in;u!. r. 
Bob Martin's Litl le Girl 
Times Revenges. 
A Wf.sted Crime. 
Jn Peril. 
Mount Despair 
A Capful o Kails. 

and HERMAN. 

. I The Bishoi 3 Eible. 

A Model Father 

Joseph's Coat. 

Coals of Fire. 

Va'. Strange. | Hearts. 

Old Blazer s Hero. 

The Way of the World. 

Cynic Fortune. 

A Life's Atonement. 

By the Gate of the Sea. 


One Traveller Returns 
Paul Jones s Alias. 


A Game of Bluff. | A Song of Sixpence. 


' Bail Up ! ' I Dr.Bernard •ifc.Vincsat. 

By W. E. N0RRI5. 

Saint Anns, 


The Unforeseen. | Ch.ance? or Fate ? 


Dr. R.imeau. I A Weird Gift. 

A Last Love. | 


Whlto'adies. I The Greatest Heirrss ia 

TtiC Primrose Path. | England. 


Pho3be s Fortunes. 


Held in Bondage, 




Under Two Flags. 

Cecil Castlemaine .^Gage 


Folie Fa,rine. 

A D03 of Flanders. 



Princess Napraxine. 

In a Winter City. 




Two Lit. Wooden Ehoes. 
A Village Commune. 
In Maremma, 

Santa Barbara. 
Two OJIenders. 
Ouidas V^^isdora, Wit, 
aud Pathos. 


Gentle and Simple. 


The Mystery of Marie Roget. 


The Romance of a Station. 
The Soul of Countess Adrian. 
Out- aw and Lawmaker. 
Christina Chard. 

By E. C 
Valentina. I 

The Foreigners. ] 


Miss Maxwell's Afiectious, 


Mi-s. Lancaster s Sival, 



CHATTO & WINDUS, ni St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C 

Two-Shilling Novki^s— continued. 

Bentlnck'B Tutor 

Murphy 8 Master. 

A County Family. 

At Her Mercy. 

Cecil 8 Tryst. 

The Clyffards of Clyffe 

The Foster Brothers. 

Found Dead. 

The Best of Husbands. 

Walter's Word 


Fallen Fortunes. 

Humorous Stories, 

£200 Reward. 

A Marine Residence. 

Mirk Abbey 

By Proxy. 

Under One Roof. 

High Spirits. 

Carlyon's Year. 

From Exile. 

For Cash Only. 


The Canon's Ward. 

The Talk of the Towti. 
Holiday Tasks. 
A Perfect Treasure. 
What He Cost Her. 
A Confidential Agent. 
Glow-worm Tales. 
The Burnt Million. 
Sunny Stories. 
Lost Sir Massmgberd. 
A Woman's 'Vengeance. 
The Family Scapegrace. 
Gwendoline s Harvest. 
Like Father, Like Son. 
Married Beneath Him. 
Not Wooed, but Won. 
Less Black than We re 

Some Private Views. 
A Grape from a Thorn. 
The Mystery of Mir- 

The Word and the Will. 
A Prince of the Blood. 
A Trying Patient. 



A Terrible Temptation. 
Foul Play. 

The Wandering Heir. 
Hard Cash. 
Singleheart and Double- 

Good Stories of Man and 

other Animals. 
Peg Wofhngton. 
Grif&th Gaunt. 
A Perilous Secret. 
A Simpleton. 
A Woman-Hater. 


The Uninhabited House. 
The Mystery in Palace 

The Nun's Curse. 
Idle Tales. 

It is Never Too Late 

Christie Johnstone. 
The Double Marriage. 
Pnt Youiself in His 

Love Me Little, Love 

Me Long. 
The Cloister and the 

The Course of True 

The Jilt. 
The Autobiography of 

a Thief. 

By Mr4. J. 
Weird Stories. 
Fairv Wat^r. 
Her Mother s Darling. 
The Prince of Wales s 

Garden Party. 

Barbara Dering. 

Women are Strange. I The Woman in the Dark 
The Hands of Justice. | 

Skippers and Shellbacks. | Schools and Scholars. 
Grace Balmaign s Sweetheart. 


Round the Galley Fire. 

On the Fok'sle Head. 

In the Middle Watch. 

A 'Voyage to the Cape. 

A Book for the Ham- 

The Mystery of the 
' Ocean Star.' 

The Romance of Jenny 


A Country Sweetheart. 

Gaslight and Daylight. 


An Ocean Tragedy. 
My Shipmate Louise. 
Alone on Wide Wide Sea. 
The Good Ship ' Mo- 
The Phantom Death. 
Is He the Man. 
Heart of Oak. 
The Convict Ship. 

The Ring o Bells. 
Mary Jane's Memoirs. 
Mary Jane Married. 
Tales of To day. 
Dramas of Life. 
Tinkletop 8 Crime. 
My Two Wives. 

A Match in the Dark. 



Memoirs of a Landlady. 
Scenes from the Show. 
The 10 Commandments. 
Dagonet Abroad. 
Rogues and 'Vagabonds. 

Without Love or Licence. 
Beatrice and Benedick, 
ahe Master of Rath kelly. 

The P'unger. 
Long Odds. 

Back to Life. 

The LoudwaterTragedy, 

Burgo s Romance. 

Quittance in Full. 

A Husband from the Sea 


Orchard Damerel. 

In the Face of theWorld. 

The Tremlett Diamond!. 


The Mysteries of Heron 

The Golden Hoop. 
By De'ihous Ways. 


A Fellow of Trinity. 
The Junior Dean. 
Mafiter of St.Benedlct's 
To His Own Master. 


The Afghan Knife. 

New Arabian Nights. 

Cressida. I The Violin Player. 

Proud Maisie. | 

Tales for the Marines. 1 Old Stories Retold. 

Diamond Cut Diamond. 

Like Ships upon the I Anne Furness. 
Sea. I Mabel's Progress. 



The Land-Leaguers. 
The American Senator. 
Mr. Scarboroughs 

GoldenLion of Granpere 

Frau Frohmann 
Marion Fay. 
Kept in the Dark. 
John Caldigate. 
The Way We Live Now 


Famell's Folly. 


Stories from Foreign Novelists. 


Life on the Mississippi. 
The Prince and the 

A Yankee at the Court 

of King Arthur. 
The £1,000,000 Bank- 



The Huguenot Family. 
The Blackhall Ghosts. 
What SheCameThrough 
Beauty and the Beas', 
Citoyenne Jaqueline. 


Prince of Balkistan. 

A Pleasure Trip on the 

The Gilded Age. 
Huckleberry Finn. 
MarkTwain 8 Sketches. 
Tom Sawyer. 
A Tramp Abroad. 
Stolen White Elephant. 


Mistress Judith. 


The Bride s Pass. 
Buried Diamonds. 
St. Mungo 8 City. 
Lady Bell. 
Noblesse Oblige. 


The Queen against Owen. 

' God Save the Queen 1 ' 



The Marquis of Carabas. 


A Child Widow. 

Cavalry Life. I Regimental Legends. 

By H. F. WOOD. 

The Passenger from Scotland Yard. 
The Englishman of the Rue Cain. 

Rachel Armstrong ; or, Love and 1 lieoloyy. 

The Forlorn Hope. I Castaway. 

Land at Last. I _.,,.. . 


Ghetto Tragedies. 


Date Due 

L. B. Cat. No. 1 137 



3 5002 00151 3766 

Clodd, Edward 
Myths and dreams / 








Mv-hhs and dreams.