(1) Vol. ii. p. 162.
(2) Sociology, p. 98.
Mr. Spencer has admitted speculation, or at least curiosity, among New Caledonians, New Guinea people, Dyaks, Samoans and Tahitians. Even where he denies its existence, as among the Amazon tribes mentioned by Mr. Bates, we happen to be able to show that Mr. Bates was misinformed. Another traveller, the American geologist, Professor Hartt of Cornell University, lived long among the tribes of the Amazon. But Professor Hartt did not, like Mr. Bates, find them at all destitute of theories of things—theories expressed in myths, and testifying to the intellectual activity and curiosity which demands an answer to its questions. Professor Hartt, when he first became acquainted with the Indians of the Amazon, knew that they were well supplied with myths, and he set to work to collect them. But he found that neither by coaxing nor by offers of money could he persuade an Indian to relate a myth. Only by accident, "while wearily paddling up the Paranamirim of the Ituki," did he hear the steersman telling stories to the oarsmen to keep them awake. Professor Hartt furtively noted down the tale, and he found that by "setting the ball rolling," and narrating a story himself, he could make the natives throw off reserve and add to his stock of tales. "After one has obtained his first myth, and has learned to recite it accurately and spiritedly, the rest is easy." The tales published by Professor Hartt are chiefly animal stories, like those current in Africa and among the Red Indians, and Hartt even believed that many of the legends had been imported by Negroes. But as the majority of the Negro myths, like those of the Australians, give a "reason why" for the existence of some phenomenon or other, the argument against early man's curiosity and vivacity of intellect is rather injured, even if the Amazonian myths were imported from Africa. Mr. Spencer based his disbelief in the intellectual curiosity of the Amazonian tribes and of Negroes on the reports of Mr. Bates and of Mungo Park. But it turns out that both Negroes and Amazonians have stories which do satisfy an unscientific curiosity, and it is even held that the Negroes lent the Amazonians these very stories.(1) The Kamschadals, according to Steller, "give themselves a reason why for everything, according to their own lively fancy, and do not leave the smallest matter uncriticised".(2) As far, then, as Mr. Spencer's objections apply to existing savages, we may consider them overweighed by the evidence, and we may believe in a naive savage curiosity about the world and desire for explanations of the causes of things. Mr. Tylor's opinion corroborates our own: "Man's craving to know the causes at work in each event he witnesses, the reasons why each state of things he surveys is such as it is and no other, is no product of high civilisation, but a characteristic of his race down to its lowest stages. Among rude savages it is already an intellectual appetite, whose satisfaction claims many of the moments not engrossed by war or sport, food or sleep. Even in the Botocudo or the Australian, scientific speculation has its germ in actual experience."(3) It will be shown later that the food of the savage intellectual appetite is offered and consumed in the shape of explanatory myths.
(1) See Amazonian Tortoise-Myth., pp. 5, 37, 40; and compare Mr. Harris's Preface to Nights with Uncle Remus.
(2) Steller, p. 267. Cf. Farrer's Primitive Manners, p. 274.
(3) Primitive Culture, i. 369.
But we must now observe that the "actual experience," properly so called, of the savage is so limited and so coloured by misconception and superstition, that his knowledge of the world varies very much from the conceptions of civilised races. He seeks an explanation, a theory of things, based on his experience. But his knowledge of physical causes and of natural laws is exceedingly scanty, and he is driven to fall back upon what we may call metaphysical, or, in many cases "supernatural" explanations. The narrower the range of man's knowledge of physical causes, the wider is the field which he has to fill up with hypothetical causes of a metaphysical or "supernatural" character. These "supernatural" causes themselves the savage believes to be matters of experience. It is to his mind a matter of experience that all nature is personal and animated; that men may change shapes with beasts; that incantations and supernatural beings can cause sunshine and storm.
A good example of this is given in Charlevoix's work on French Canada.(1) Charlevoix was a Jesuit father and missionary among the Hurons and other tribes of North America. He thus describes the philosophy of the Red Men: "The Hurons attribute the most ordinary effects to supernatural causes".(2) In the same page the good father himself attributes the welcome arrival of rainy weather and the cure of certain savage patients to the prayers of Pere Brebeuf and to the exhibition of the sacraments. Charlevoix had considerably extended the field in which natural effects are known to be produced by natural causes. He was much more scientifically minded than his savage flock, and was quite aware that an ordinary clock with a pendulum cannot bring bad luck to a whole tribe, and that a weather-cock is not a magical machine for securing unpleasant weather. The Hurons, however, knowing less of natural causes and nothing of modern machinery, were as convinced that his clock was ruining the luck of the tribe and his weather-cock spoiling the weather, as Father Charlevoix could be of the truth of his own inferences. One or two other anecdotes in the good father's history and letters help to explain the difference between the philosophies of wild and of Christian men. The Pere Brebeuf was once summoned at the instigation of a Huron wizard or "medicine-man" before a council of the tribe. His judges told the father that nothing had gone right since he appeared among them. To this Brebeuf replied by "drawing the attention of the savages to the absurdity of their principles". He admitted(3) the premise that nothing had turned out well in the tribe since his arrival. "But the reason," said he, "plainly is that God is angry with your hardness of heart." No sooner had the good father thus demonstrated the absurdity of savage principles of reasoning, than the malignant Huron wizard fell down dead at his feet! This event naturally added to the confusion of the savages.
(1) Histoire de la France-Nouvelle.
(2) Vol. i. p. 191.
(3) Vol. i. p. 192.
Coincidences of this sort have a great effect on savage minds. Catlin, the friend of the Mandan tribe, mentions a chief who consolidated his power by aid of a little arsenic, bought from the whites. The chief used to prophesy the sudden death of his opponents, which always occurred at the time indicated. The natural results of the administration of arsenic were attributed by the barbarous people to supernatural powers in the possession of the chief.(1) Thus the philosophy of savages seeks causas cognoscere rerum, like the philosophy of civilised men, but it flies hastily to a hypothesis of "supernatural" causes which are only guessed at, and are incapable of demonstration. This frame of mind prevails still in civilised countries, as the Bishop of Nantes showed when, in 1846, he attributed the floods of the Loire to "the excesses of the press and the general disregard of Sunday". That "supernatural" causes exist and may operate, it is not at all our intention to deny. But the habit of looking everywhere for such causes, and of assuming their interference at will, is the main characteristic of savage speculation. The peculiarity of the savage is that he thinks human agents can work supernaturally, whereas even the Bishop reserved his supernatural explanations for the Deity. On this belief in man's power to affect events beyond the limits of natural possibility is based the whole theory of MAGIC, the whole power of sorcerers. That theory, again, finds incessant expression in myth, and therefore deserves our attention.
(1) Catlin, Letters, ii. 117.
The theory requires for its existence an almost boundless credulity. This credulity appears to Europeans to prevail in full force among savages. Bosman is amazed by the African belief that a spider created the world. Moffat is astonished at the South African notion that the sea was accidentally created by a girl. Charlevoix says, "Les sauvages sont d'une facilite a croire ce qu'on leur dit, que les plus facheuse experiences n'ont jamais pu guerir".(1) But it is a curious fact that while savages are, as a rule, so credulous, they often laugh at the religious doctrines taught them by missionaries. Elsewhere they recognise certain essential doctrines as familiar forms of old. Dr. Moffat remarks, "To speak of the Creation, the Fall and the Resurrection, seemed more fabulous, extravagant and ludicrous to them than their own vain stories of lions and hyaenas." Again, "The Gospel appeared too preposterous for the most foolish to believe".(2) While the Zulus declared that they used to accept their own myths without inquiry,(3) it was a Zulu who suggested to Bishop Colenso his doubts about the historical character of the Noachian Deluge. Hearne(4) knew a Red Man, Matorabhee, who, "though a perfect bigot with regard to the arts and tricks of the jugglers, could yet by no means be impressed with a belief of any part of OUR religion". Lieutenant Haggard, R.N., tells the writer that during an eclipse at Lamoo he ridiculed the native notion of driving away a beast which devours the moon, and explained the real cause of the phenomenon. But his native friend protested that "he could not be expected to believe such a story". Yet other savages aver an old agreement with the belief in a moral Creator.
(1) Vol. ii. p. 378.
(2) Missionary Labours, p. 245.
(3) Callaway, Religion of Amazulus, i. 35.
(4) Journey among the Indians, 1795, p. 350.
We have already seen sufficient examples of credulity in savage doctrines about the equal relations of men and beasts, stars, clouds and plants. The same readiness of belief, which would be surprising in a Christian child, has been found to regulate the rudimentary political organisations of grey barbarians. Add to this credulity a philosophy which takes resemblance, or contiguity in space, or nearness in time as a sufficient reason for predicating the relations of cause and effect, and we have the basis of savage physical science. Yet the metaphysical theories of savages, as expressed in Maori, Polynesian, and Zuni hymns, often amaze us by their wealth of abstract ideas. Coincidence elsewhere stands for cause.
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc, is the motto of the savage philosophy of causation. The untutored reasoner speculates on the principles of the Egyptian clergy, as described by Herodotus.(1) "The Egyptians have discovered more omens and prodigies than any other men; for when aught prodigious occurs, they keep good watch, and write down what follows; and then, if anything like the prodigy be repeated, they expect the same events to follow as before." This way of looking at things is the very essence of superstition.
(1) II. p. 82.
Savages, as a rule, are not even so scientific as the Egyptians. When an untoward event occurs, they look for its cause among all the less familiar circumstances of the last few days, and select the determining cause very much at random. Thus the arrival of the French missionaries among the Hurons was coincident with certain unfortunate events; therefore it was argued that the advent of the missionaries was the cause of the misfortune. When the Bechuanas suffered from drought, they attributed the lack of rain to the arrival of Dr. Moffat, and especially to his beard, his church bell, and a bag of salt in his possession. Here there was not even the pretence of analogy between cause and effect. Some savages might have argued (it is quite in their style), that as salt causes thirst, a bag of salt causes drought; but no such case could be made out against Dr. Moffat's bell and beard. To give an example from the beliefs of English peasants. When a cottage was buried by a little avalanche in 1772, the accident was attributed to the carelessness of the cottagers, who had allowed a light to be taken out of their dwelling in Christmas-tide.(1) We see the same confusion between antecedence and consequence in time on one side, and cause and effect on the other, when the Red Indians aver that birds actually bring winds and storms or fair weather. They take literally the sense of the Rhodian swallow-song:—
The swallow hath come, Bringing fair hours, Bringing fair seasons, On black back and white breast.(2)
(1) Shropshire Folk-Lore, by Miss Burne, iii. 401.
(2) Brinton, Myths of New World, p. 107.
Again, in the Pacific the people of one island always attribute hurricanes to the machinations of the people of the nearest island to windward. The wind comes from them; therefore (as their medicine-men can notoriously influence the weather), they must have sent the wind. This unneighbourly act is a casus belli, and through the whole of a group of islands the banner of war, like the flag of freedom in Byron, flies against the wind. The chief principle, then, of savage science is that antecedence and consequence in time are the same as effect and cause.(1) Again, savage science holds that LIKE AFFECTS LIKE, that you can injure a man, for example, by injuring his effigy. On these principles the savage explains the world to himself, and on these principles he tries to subdue to himself the world. Now the putting of these principles into practice is simply the exercise of art magic, an art to which nothing seems impossible. The belief that his Shamans or medicine-men practise this art is universal among savages. It seriously affects their conduct, and is reflected in their myths.
(1) See account of Zuni metaphysics in chapter on American Divine Myths.
The one general rule which governs all magical reasoning is, that casual connection in thought is equivalent to causative connection in fact. Like suggests like to human thought by association of ideas; wherefore like influences like, or produces analogous effects in practice. Any object once in a man's possession, especially his hair or his nails, is supposed to be capable of being used against him by a sorcerer. The part suggests the whole. A lock of a man's hair was part of the man; to destroy the hair is to destroy its former owner. Again, whatever event follows another in time suggests it, and may have been caused by it. Accompanying these ideas is the belief that nature is peopled by invisible spiritual powers, over which magicians and sorcerers possess influence. The magic of the lower races chiefly turns on these two beliefs. First, "man having come to associate in thought those things which he found by experience to be connected in fact, proceeded erroneously to invert their action, and to conclude that association in thought must involve similar connection in reality. He thus attempted to discover, to foretell, and to cause events, by means of processes which we now see to have only an ideal significance."(1) Secondly, man endeavoured to make disembodied spirits of the dead, or any other spirits, obedient to his will. Savage philosophy presumes that the beliefs are correct, and that their practical application is successful. Examples of the first of the two chief magical ideas are as common in unscientific modern times or among unscientific modern people as in the savage world.
(1) Primitive Culture, i. 14.
The physicians of the age of Charles II. were wont to give their patients "mummy powder," that is, pulverised mummy. They argued that the mummy had lasted for a very long time, and that the patients ought to do so likewise. Pliny imagined that diamonds must be found in company with gold, because these are the most perfect substances in the world, and like should draw to like. Aurum potabile, or drinkable gold, was a favourite medical nostrum of the Middle Ages, because gold, being perfect, should produce perfect health. Among savages the belief that like is caused by like is exemplified in very many practices. The New Caledonians, when they wish their yam plots to be fertile, bury in them with mystic ceremonies certain stones which are naturally shaped like yams. The Melanesians have reduced this kind of magic to a system. Among them certain stones have a magical efficacy, which is determined in each case by the shape of the stone. "A stone in the shape of a pig, of a bread-fruit, of a yam, was a most valuable find. No garden was planted without the stones which were to increase the crop."(1) Stones with a rude resemblance to beasts bring the Zuni luck in the chase.
(1) Rev. R. H. Codrington, Journ. Anth. Inst., February, 1881.
The spiritual theory in some places is mixed up with the "like to like" theory, and the magical stones are found where the spirits have been heard twittering and whistling. "A large stone lying with a number of small ones under it, like a sow among her sucklings, was good for a childless woman."(1) It is the savage belief that stones reproduce their species, a belief consonant with the general theory of universal animation and personality. The ancient belief that diamonds gendered diamonds is a survival from these ideas. "A stone with little disks upon it was good to bring in money; any fanciful interpretation of a mark was enough to give a character to the stone and its associated Vui" or spirit in Melanesia. In Scotland, stones shaped like various parts of the human body are expected to cure the diseases with which these members may be afflicted. "These stones were called by the names of the limbs which they represented, as 'eye-stone,' 'head-stone'." The patient washed the affected part of the body, and rubbed it well with the stone corresponding.(2)
(1) Codrington, Journ. Anth. Soc., x. iii. 276.
(2) Gregor, Folk-Lore of North-East Counties, p. 40.
To return from European peasant-magic to that of savages, we find that when the Bushmen want wet weather they light fires, believing that the black smoke clouds will attract black rain clouds; while the Zulus sacrifice black cattle to attract black clouds of rain.(1) Though this magic has its origin in savage ignorance, it survives into civilisation. Thus the sacrifices of the Vedic age were imitations of the natural phenomena which the priests desired to produce.(2) "C'etait un moyen de faire tombre la pluie en realisant, par les representations terrestres des eaux du nuage et de l'eclair, les conditions dans lesquelles celui-ci determine dans le ciel l'epanchement de celles-la." A good example of magical science is afforded by the medical practice of the Dacotahs of North America.(3) When any one is ill, an image of his disease, a boil or what not, is carved in wood. This little image is then placed in a bowl of water and shot at with a gun. The image of the disease being destroyed, the disease itself is expected to disappear. Compare the magic of the Philistines, who made golden images of the sores which plagued them and stowed them away in the ark.(4) The custom of making a wax statuette of an enemy, and piercing it with pins or melting it before the fire, so that the detested person might waste as his semblance melted, was common in mediaeval Europe, was known to Plato, and is practised by Negroes. Some Australians take some of the hair of an enemy, mix it with grease and the feathers of the eagle, and burn it in the fire. This is "bar" or black magic. The boarding under the chair of a magistrate in Barbadoes was lifted not long ago, and the ground beneath was found covered with wax images of litigants stuck full of pins.
(1) Callaway, i. 92.
(2) Bergaigne, Religion Vedique, i. 126-138, i., vii., viii.
(3) Schoolcraft, iv. 491.
(4) 1 Samuel vi. 4, 5.
The war-magic of the Dacotahs works in a similar manner. Before a party starts on the war-trail, the chief, with various ceremonies, takes his club and stands before his tent. An old witch bowls hoops at him; each hoop represents an enemy, and for each he strikes a foeman is expected to fall. A bowl of sweetened water is also set out to entice the spirits of the enemy.(1) The war-magic of the Aryans in India does not differ much in character from that of the Dacotahs. "If any one wishes his army to be victorious, he should go beyond the battle-line, cut a stalk of grass at the top and end, and throw it against the hostile army with the words, Prasahe kas trapasyati?—O Prasaha, who sees thee? If one who has such knowledge cuts a stalk of grass and throws the parts at the hostile army, it becomes split and dissolved, just as a daughter-in-law becomes abashed and faints when seeing her father-in-law,"—an allusion, apparently, to the widespread tabu which makes fathers-in-law, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and mothers-in-law avoid each other.(2)
(1) Schoolcraft, iv. 496.
(2) Aitareya Brahmana, iii. 22.
The hunt-dances of the Red Indians and Australians are arranged like their war-magic. Effigies of the bears, deer, or kangaroos are made, or some of the hunters imitate the motions of these animals. The rest of the dancers pretend to spear them, and it is hoped that this will ensure success among the real bears and kangaroos.
Here is a singular piece of magic in which Europeans and Australian blacks agree. Boris Godunoff made his servants swear never to injure him by casting spells with the dust on which his feet or his carriage wheels had left traces.(1) Mr. Howitt finds the same magic among the Kurnai.(2) "Seeing a Tatungolung very lame, I asked him what was the matter. He said, 'Some fellow has put BOTTLE in my foot'. I found he was probably suffering from acute rheumatism. He explained that some enemy must have found his foot-track and have buried in it a piece of broken bottle. The magic influence, he believed, caused it to enter his foot." On another occasion a native told Mr. Howitt that he had seen black fellows putting poison in his foot-tracks. Bosman mentions a similar practice among the people of Guinea. In Scottish folk-lore a screw nail is fixed into the footprint of the person who is to be injured.
(1) Rambaud's History of Russia, English trans., i. 351.
(2) Kamilaroi and Kurnai, p. 250.
Just as these magical efforts to influence like by like work their way into Vedic and other religions, so they are introduced into the religion of the savage. His prayers are addresses to some sort of superior being, but the efficacy of the prayer is often eked out by a little magic, unless indeed we prefer to suppose that the words of the supplication are interpreted by gesture-speech. Sproat writes: "Set words and gestures are used according to the thing desired. For instance, in praying for salmon, the native rubs the backs of his hands, looks upwards, and mutters the words, 'Many salmon, many salmon'. If he wishes for deer, he carefully rubs both eyes; or, if it is geese, he rubs the back of his shoulder, uttering always in a sing-song way the accustomed formula.... All these practices in praying no doubt have a meaning. We may see a steady hand is needed in throwing the salmon-spear, and clear eyesight in finding deer in the forest."(1)
(1) Savage Life, p. 208.
In addition to these forms of symbolical magic (which might be multiplied to any extent), we find among savages the belief in the power of songs of INCANTATION. This is a feature of magic which specially deserves our attention. In myths, and still more in marchen or household tales, we shall constantly find that the most miraculous effects are caused when the hero pronounces a few lines of rhyme. In Rome, as we have all read in the Latin Delectus, it was thought that incantations could draw down the moon. In the Odyssey the kinsfolk of Odysseus sing "a song of healing" over the wound which was dealt him by the boar's tusk. Jeanne d'Arc, wounded at Orleans, refused a similar remedy. Sophocles speaks of the folly of muttering incantations over wounds that need the surgeon's knife. The song that salved wounds occurs in the Kalewala, the epic poem of the Finns. In many of Grimm's marchen, miracles are wrought by the repetition of snatches of rhyme. This belief is derived from the savage state of fancy. According to Kohl,(1) "Every sorrowful or joyful emotion that opens the Indian's mouth is at once wrapped up in the garb of a wabanonagamowin (chanson magicale). If you ask one of them to sing you a simple innocent hymn in praise of Nature, a spring or jovial hunting stave, he never gives you anything but a form of incantation, with which he says you will be able to call to you all the birds from the sky, and all the foxes and wolves from their caves and burrows."(2) The giant's daughter in the Scotch marchen, Nicht, Nought, Nothing, is thus enabled to call to her aid "all the birds of the sky". In the same way, if you ask an Indian for a love-song, he will say that a philtre is really much more efficacious. The savage, in short, is extremely practical. His arts, music and drawing, exist not pour l'art, but for a definite purpose, as methods of getting something that the artist wants. The young lover whom Kohl knew, like the lover of Bombyca in Theocritus, believed in having an image of himself and an image of the beloved. Into the heart of the female image he thrust magic powders, and he said that this was common, lovers adding songs, "partly elegiac, partly malicious, and almost criminal forms of incantation".(3)
(1) Page 395.
(2) Cf. Comparetti's Traditional Poetry of the Finns.
(3) Kitchi gami, pp. 395, 397.
Among the Indo-Aryans the masaminik or incantations of the Red Man are known as mantras.(1) These are usually texts from the Veda, and are chanted over the sick and in other circumstances where magic is believed to be efficacious. Among the New Zealanders the incantations are called karakias, and are employed in actual life. There is a special karakia to raise the wind. In Maori myths the hero is very handy with his karakia. Rocks split before him, as before girls who use incantations in Kaffir and Bushman tales. He assumes the shape of any animal at will, or flies in the air, all by virtue of the karakia or incantation.(2)
(1) Muir, Sanskrit Texts, v. 441, "Incantations from the Atharva Veda".
(2) Taylor's New Zealand; Theal's Kaffir Folk-Lore, South-African Folk-Lore Journal, passim; Shortland's Traditions of the New Zealanders, pp. 130-135.
Without multiplying examples in the savage belief that miracles can be wrought by virtue of physical CORRESPONDANCES, by like acting on like, by the part affecting the whole, and so forth, we may go on to the magical results produced by the aid of spirits. These may be either spirits of the dead or spiritual essences that never animated mortal men. Savage magic or science rests partly on the belief that the world is peopled by a "choir invisible," or rather by a choir only occasionally visible to certain gifted people, sorcerers and diviners. An enormous amount of evidence to prove the existence of these tenets has been collected by Mr. Tylor, and is accessible to all in the chapters on "Animism" in his Primitive Culture. It is not our business here to account for the universality of the belief in spirits. Mr. Tylor, following Lucretius and Homer, derives the belief from the reasonings of early men on the phenomena of dreams, fainting, shadows, visions caused by narcotics, hallucinations, and other facts which suggest the hypothesis of a separable life apart from the bodily organism. It would scarcely be fair not to add that the kind of "facts" investigated by the Psychical Society—such "facts" as the appearance of men at the moment of death in places remote from the scene of their decease, with such real or delusive experiences as the noises and visions in haunted houses—are familiar to savages. Without discussing these obscure matters, it may be said that they influence the thoughts even of some scientifically trained and civilised men. It is natural, therefore, that they should strongly sway the credulous imagination of backward races, in which they originate or confirm the belief that life can exist and manifest itself after the death of the body.(1)
(1) See the author's Making of Religion, 1898.
Some examples of savage "ghost-stories," precisely analogous to the "facts" of the Psychical Society's investigations, may be adduced. The first is curious because it offers among the Kanekas an example of a belief current in Breton folk-lore. The story is vouched for by Mr. J. J. Atkinson, late of Noumea, New Caledonia. Mr. Atkinson, we have reason to believe, was unacquainted with the Breton parallel. To him one day a Kaneka of his acquaintance paid a visit, and seemed loth to go away. He took leave, returned, and took leave again, till Mr. Atkinson asked him the reason of his behaviour. He then explained that he was about to die, and would never see his English friend again. As he seemed in perfect health, Mr. Atkinson rallied him on his hypochondria; but the poor fellow replied that his fate was sealed. He had lately met in the wood one whom he took for the Kaneka girl of his heart; but he became aware too late that she was no mortal woman, but a wood-spirit in the guise of the beloved. The result would be his death within three days, and, as a matter of fact, he died. This is the groundwork of the old Breton ballad of Le Sieur Nan, who dies after his intrigue with the forest spectre.(1) A tale more like a common modern ghost-story is vouched for by Mr. C. J. Du Ve, in Australia. In the year 1860, a Maneroo black fellow died in the service of Mr. Du Ve. "The day before he died, having been ill some time, he said that in the night his father, his father's friend, and a female spirit he could not recognise, had come to him and said that he would die next day, and that they would wait for him. Mr. Du Ye adds that, though previously the Christian belief had been explained to this man, it had entirely faded, and that he had gone back to the belief of his childhood." Mr. Fison, who prints this tale in his Kamilaroi and Kurnai,(2) adds, "I could give many similar instances which have come within my own knowledge among the Fijians, and, strange to say, the dying man in all these cases kept his appointment with the ghosts to the very day".
(1) It may, of course, be conjectured that the French introduced this belief into New Caledonia.
(2) Page 247.
In the Cruise of the Beagle is a parallel anecdote of a Fuegian, Jimmy Button, and his father's ghost.
Without entering into a discussion of ghosts, it is plain that the kind of evidence, whatever its value may be, which convinces many educated Europeans of the existence of "veridical" apparitions has also played its part in the philosophy of uncivilised races. On this belief in apparitions, then, is based the power of the savage sorcerers and necromants, of the men who converse with the dead and are aided by disembodied spirits. These men have greatly influenced the beginnings of mythology. Among certain Australian tribes the necromants are called Birraark.(1) "The Kurnai tell me," says Mr. Howitt, "that a Birraark was supposed to be initiated by the 'Mrarts (ghosts) when they met him wandering in the bush.... It was from the ghosts that he obtained replies to questions concerning events passing at a distance or yet to happen, which might be of interest or moment to his tribe." Mr. Howitt prints an account of a spiritual seance in the bush.(2) "The fires were let go down. The Birraark uttered a cry 'coo-ee' at intervals. At length a distant reply was heard, and shortly afterwards the sound as of persons jumping on the ground in succession. A voice was then heard in the gloom asking in a strange intonation, 'What is wanted?' Questions were put by the Birraark and replies given. At the termination of the seance, the spirit-voice said, 'We are going'. Finally, the Birraark was found in the top of an almost inaccessible tree, apparently asleep."(3) There was one Birraark at least to every clan. The Kurnai gave the name of "Brewin" (a powerful evil spirit) to a Birraark who was once carried away for several days by the Mrarts or spirits.(4) It is a belief with the Australians, as, according to Bosman, it was with the people of the Gold Coast, that a very powerful wizard lives far inland, and the Negroes held that to this warlock the spirits of the dead went to be judged according to the merit of their actions in life. Here we have a doctrine answering to the Greek belief in "the wizard Minos," Aeacus, and Rhadamanthus, and to the Egyptian idea of Osiris as judge of the departed.(5) The pretensions of the sorcerer to converse with the dead are attested by Mr. Brough Smyth.(6) "A sorcerer lying on his stomach spoke to the deceased, and the other sitting by his side received the precious messages which the dead man told." As a natural result of these beliefs, the Australian necromant has great power in the tribe. Mr. Howitt mentions a case in which a group of kindred, ceasing to use their old totemistic surname, called themselves the children of a famous dead Birraark, who thus became an eponymous hero, like Ion among the Ionians.(7) Among the Scotch Highlanders the position and practice of the seer were very like those of the Birraark. "A person," says Scott,(8) "was wrapped up in the skin of a newly slain bullock and deposited beside a waterfall or at the bottom of a precipice, or in some other strange, wild and unusual situation, where the scenery around him suggested nothing but objects of horror. In this situation he revolved in his mind the question proposed and whatever was impressed on him by his exalted imagination PASSED FOR THE INSPIRATION OF THE DISEMBODIED SPIRITS who haunt these desolate recesses." A number of examples are given in Martin's Description of the Western Islands.(9) In the Century magazine (July, 1882) is a very full report of Thlinkeet medicine-men and metamorphoses.
(1) Kamilaroi and Kurnai, p. 253.
(2) Page 254.
(3) In the Jesuit Relations (1637), p. 51, we read that the Red Indian sorcerer or Jossakeed was credited with power to vanish suddenly away out of sight of the men standing around him. Of him, as of Homeric gods, it might be said, "Who has power to see him come or go against his will?"
(4) Here, in the first edition, occurred the following passage: "The conception of Brewin is about as near as the Kurnai get to the idea of a God; their conferring of his name on a powerful sorcerer is therefore a point of importance and interest". Mr. Howitt's later knowledge demonstrates an error here.
(5) Bosman in Pinkerton, xvi. p. 401.
(6) Aborigines of Australia, i. 197.
(7) In Victoria, after dark the wizard goes up to the clouds and brings down a good spirit. Dawkins, p. 57. For eponymous medicine-men see Kamilaroi and Kurnai, p. 231.
(8) Lady of the Lake, note 1 to Canto iv.
(9) P. 112.
The sorcerer among the Zulus is, apparently, of a naturally hysterical and nervous constitution. "He hears the spirits who speak by whistlings speaking to him."(1) Whistling is also the language of the ghosts in New Caledonia, where Mr. Atkinson informs us that he has occasionally put an able-bodied Kaneka to ignominious flight by whistling softly in the dusk. The ghosts in Homer make a similar sound, "and even as bats flit gibbering in the secret place of a wondrous cavern,... even so the souls gibbered as they fared together" (Odyssey, xxiv. 5). "The familiar spirits make him" (that Zulu sorcerer) "acquainted with what is about to happen, and then he divines for the people." As the Birraarks learn songs and dance-music from the Mrarts, so the Zulu Inyanga or diviners learn magical couplets from the Itongo or spirits.(2)
(1) Callaway, Religious System of the Amazules, p. 265.
(2) On all this, see "Possession" in The Making of Religion.
The evidence of institutions confirms the reports about savage belief in magic. The political power of the diviners is very great, as may be observed from the fact that a hereditary chief needs their consecration to make him a chief de jure.(1) In fact, the qualities of the diviner are those which give his sacred authority to the chief. When he has obtained from the diviners all their medicines and information as to the mode of using the isitundu (a magical vessel), it is said that he often orders them to be killed. Now, the chief is so far a medicine-man that he is lord of the air. "The heaven is the chief's," say the Zulus; and when he calls out his men, "though the heaven is clear, it becomes clouded by the great wind that arises". Other Zulus explain this as the mere hyperbole of adulation. "The word of the chief gives confidence to his troops; they say, 'We are going; the chief has already seen all that will happen in his vessel'. Such then are chiefs; they use a vessel for divination."(2) The makers of rain are known in Zululand as "heaven-herds" or "sky-herds," who herd the heaven that it may not break out and do its will on the property of the people. These men are, in fact, (Greek text omitted), "cloud-gatherers," like the Homeric Zeus, the lord of the heavens. Their name of "herds of the heavens" has a Vedic sound. "The herd that herds the lightning," say the Zulus, "does the same as the herder of the cattle; he does as he does by whistling; he says, 'Tshu-i-i-i. Depart and go yonder. Do not come here.'" Here let it be observed that the Zulus conceive of the thunder-clouds and lightning as actual creatures, capable of being herded like sheep. There is no metaphor or allegory about the matter,(3) and no forgetfulness of the original meaning of words. The cloud-herd is just like the cowherd, except that not every man, but only sorcerers, and they who have eaten the "lightning-bird" (a bird shot near the place where lightning has struck the earth), can herd the clouds of heaven. The same ideas prevail among the Bushmen, where the rainmaker is asked "to milk a nice gentle female rain"; the rain-clouds are her hair. Among the Bushmen Rain is a person. Among the Red Indians no metaphor seems to be intended when it is said that "it is always birds who make the wind, except that of the east". The Dacotahs once killed a thunder-bird(4) behind Little Crow's village on the Missouri. It had a face like a man with a nose like an eagle's bill.(5)
(1) Callaway, p. 340.
(2) Callaway, Religions System of the Amazules, p. 343.
(3) Ibid., p. 385.
(4) Schoolcraft, iii. 486.
(5) Compare Callaway, p. 119.
The political and social powers which come into the hands of the sorcerers are manifest, even in the case of the Australians. Tribes and individuals can attempt few enterprises without the aid of the man who listens to the ghosts. Only he can foretell the future, and, in the case of the natural death of a member of the tribe, can direct the vengeance of the survivors against the hostile magician who has committed a murder by "bar" or magic. Among the Zulus we have seen that sorcery gives the sanction to the power of the chief. "The winds and weather are at the command" of Bosman's "great fetisher". Inland from the Gold Coast,(1) the king of Loango, according to the Abbe Proyart, "has credit to make rain fall on earth". Similar beliefs, with like political results, will be found to follow from the superstition of magic among the Red Indians of North America. The difficulty of writing about sorcerers among the Red Indians is caused by the abundance of the evidence. Charlevoix and the other early Jesuit missionaries found that the jongleurs, as Charlevoix calls the Jossakeeds or medicine-men, were their chief opponents. As among the Scotch Highlanders, the Australians and the Zulus, the Red Indian jongleur is visited by the spirits. He covers a hut with the skin of the animal which he commonly wears, retires thither, and there converses with the bodiless beings.(2) The good missionary like Mr. Moffat in Africa, was convinced that the exercises of the Jossakeeds were verily supernatural. "Ces seducteurs ont un veritable commerce avec le pere du mensonge."(3) This was denied by earlier and wiser Jesuit missionaries. Their political power was naturally great. In time of war "ils avancent et retardent les marches comme il leur plait". In our own century it was a medicine-man, Ten Squa Ta Way, who by his magical processes and superstitious rites stirred up a formidable war against the United States.(4) According to Mr. Pond,(5) the native name of the Dacotah medicine-men, "Wakan," signifies "men supernaturally gifted". Medicine-men are believed to be "wakanised" by mystic intercourse with supernatural beings. The business of the wakanised man is to discern future events, to lead and direct parties on the war-trail, "to raise the storm or calm the tempest, to converse with the lightning or thunder as with familiar friends".(6) The wakanised man, like the Australian Birraark and the Zulu diviner, "dictates chants and prayers". In battle "every Dacotah warrior looks to the Wakan man as almost his only resource". Belief in Wakan men is, Mr. Pond says, universal among the Dacotahs, except where Christianity has undermined it. "Their influence is deeply felt by every individual of the tribe, and controls all their affairs." The Wakan man's functions are absorbed by the general or war-chief of the tribe, and in Schoolcraft (iv. 495), Captain Eastman prints copies of native scrolls showing the war-chief at work as a wizard. "The war-chief who leads the party to war is always one of these medicine-men." In another passage the medicine-men are described as "having a voice in the sale of land". It must be observed that the Jossakeed, or medicine-man, pure and simple, exercises a power which is not in itself hereditary. Chieftainship, when associated with inheritance of property, is hereditary; and when the chief, as among the Zulus, absorbs supernatural power, then the same man becomes diviner and chief, and is a person of great and sacred influence. The liveliest account of the performances of the Maori "tohunga" or sorcerer is to be found in Old New Zealand,(7) by the Pakeha Maori, an English gentleman who had lived with the natives like one of themselves. The tohunga, says this author,(8) presided over "all those services and customs which had something approaching to a religious character. They also pretended to power by means of certain familiar spirits, to foretell future events, and even in some cases to control them.... The spirit 'entered into' them, and, on being questioned, gave a response in a sort of half whistling, half-articulate voice, supposed to be the proper language of spirits." In New South Wales, Mrs. Langlot Parker has witnessed a similar exhibition. The "spirits" told the truth in this case. The Pakeha Maori was present in a darkened village-hall when the spirit of a young man, a great friend of his own, was called up by a tohunga. "Suddenly, without the slightest warning, a voice came out of the darkness.... The voice all through, it is to be remembered, was not the voice of the tohunga, but a strange melancholy sound, like the sound of a wind blowing into a hollow vessel. 'It is well with me; my place is a good place.' The spirit gave an answer to a question which proved to be correct, and then 'Farewell,' cried the spirit FROM DEEP BENEATH THE GROUND. 'Farewell,' again, FROM HIGH IN AIR. 'Farewell,' once more came moaning through the distant darkness of the night." As chiefs in New Zealand no less than tohungas can exercise the mystical and magical power of tabu, that is, of imparting to any object or person an inviolable character, and can prevent or remit the mysterious punishment for infringement of tabu, it appears probable that in New Zealand, as well as among the Zulus and Red Indians, chiefs have a tendency to absorb the sacred character and powers of the tohungas. This is natural enough, for a tohunga, if he plays his cards well, is sure to acquire property and hereditary wealth, which, in combination with magical influence, are the necessary qualifications for the office of the chieftain.
(1) Pinkerton, xvi. 401.
(2) Charlevoix, i. 105. See "Savage Spiritualism" in Cock Lane and Common Sense.
(3) Ibid., iii. 362.
(4) Catlin, ii. 17.
(5) In Schoolcraft, iv. 402.
(6) Pond, in Schoolcraft, iv. 647.
(7) Auckland, 1863.
(8) Page 148.
Here is the place to mention a fact which, though at first sight it may appear to have only a social interest, yet bears on the development of mythology. Property and rank seem to have been essential to each other in the making of social rank, and where one is absent among contemporary savages, there we do not find the other. As an example of this, we might take the case of two peoples who, like the Homeric Ethiopians, are the outermost of men, and dwell far apart at the ends of the world. The Eskimos and the Fuegians, at the extreme north and south of the American continent, agree in having little or no private property and no chiefs. Yet magic is providing a kind of basis of rank. The bleak plains of ice and rock are, like Attica, "the mother of men without master or lord". Among the "house-mates" of the smaller settlements there is no head-man, and in the larger gatherings Dr. Rink says that "still less than among the house-mates was any one belonging to such a place to be considered a chief". The songs and stories of the Eskimo contain the praises of men who have risen up and killed any usurper who tried to be a ruler over his "place-mates". No one could possibly establish any authority on the basis of property, because "superfluous property, implements, etc., rarely existed". If there are three boats in one household, one of the boats is "borrowed" by the community, and reverts to the general fund. If we look at the account of the Fuegians described in Admiral Fitzroy's cruise, we find a similar absence of rank produced by similar causes. "The perfect equality among the individuals composing the tribes must for a long time retard their civilisation.... At present even a piece of cloth is torn in shreds and distributed, and no one individual becomes richer than another. On the other hand, it is difficult to understand how a chief can arise till there is property of some sort by which he might manifest and still increase his authority." In the same book, however, we get a glimpse of one means by which authority can be exercised. "The doctor-wizard of each party has much influence over his companions." Among the Eskimos this element in the growth of authority also exists. A class of wizards called Angakut have power to cause fine weather, and, by the gift of second-sight and magical practices, can detect crimes, so that they necessarily become a kind of civil magistrates. These Angekkok or Angakut have familiar spirits called Torngak, a word connected with the name of their chief spiritual being, Torngarsak. The Torngak is commonly the ghost of a deceased parent of the sorcerer. "These men," says Egede, "are held in great honour and esteem among this stupid and ignorant nation, insomuch that nobody dare ever refuse the strictest obedience when they command him in the name of Torngarsak." The importance and actual existence of belief in magic has thus been attested by the evidence of institutions, even among Australians, Fuegians and Eskimos.
It is now necessary to pass from examples of tribes who have superstitious respect for certain individuals, but who have no property and no chiefs, to peoples who exhibit the phenomenon of superstitious reverence attached to wealthy rulers or to judges. To take the example of Ireland, as described in the Senchus Mor, we learn that the chiefs, just like the Angakut of the Eskimos, had "power to make fair or foul weather" in the literal sense of the words.(1) In Africa, in the same way, as Bosman, the old traveller, says, "As to what difference there is between one negro and another, the richest man is the most honoured," yet the most honoured man has the same magical power as the poor Angakuts of the Eskimos.
(1) Early History of Institutions, p. 195.
"In the Solomon Islands," says Dr. Codrington, "there is nothing to prevent a common man from becoming a chief, if he can show that he has the mana (supernatural power) for it."(1)
(1) Journ. Anth. Inst., x. iii. 287, 300, 309.
Though it is anticipating a later stage of this inquiry, we must here observe that the sacredness, and even the magical virtues of barbarous chiefs seem to have descended to the early leaders of European races. The children of Odin and of Zeus were "sacred kings". The Homeric chiefs, like those of the Zulus and the Red Men, and of the early Irish and Swedes, exercised an influence over the physical universe. Homer(1) speaks of "a blameless king, one that fears the gods, and reigns among many men and mighty, and the black earth bears wheat and barley, and the sheep bring forth and fail not, and the sea gives store of fish, and all out of his good sovereignty".
(1) Od., xix. 109.
The attributes usually assigned by barbarous peoples to their medicine-men have not yet been exhausted. We have found that they can foresee and declare the future; that they control the weather and the sensible world; that they can converse with, visit and employ about their own business the souls of the dead. It would be easy to show at even greater length that the medicine-man has everywhere the power of metamorphosis. He can assume the shapes of all beasts, birds, fishes, insects and inorganic matters, and he can subdue other people to the same enchantment. This belief obviously rests on the lack of recognised distinction between man and the rest of the world, which we have so frequently insisted on as a characteristic of savage and barbarous thought. Examples of accredited metamorphosis are so common everywhere, and so well known, that it would be waste of space to give a long account of them. In Primitive Culture(1) a cloud of witnesses to the belief in human tigers, hyaenas, leopards and wolves is collected.(2) Mr. Lane(3) found metamorphosis by wizards as accredited a working belief at Cairo as it is among Abipones, Eskimo, or the people of Ashangoland. In various parts of Scotland there is a tale of a witch who was shot at when in the guise of a hare. In this shape she was wounded, and the same wound was found on her when she resumed her human appearance. Lafitau, early in the last century, found precisely the same tale, except that the wizards took the form of birds, not of hares, among the Red Indians. The birds were wounded by the magical arrows of an old medicine-man, Shonnoh Koui Eretsi, and these bolts were found in the bodies of the human culprits. In Japan, as we learn from several stories in Mr. Mitford's Tales of Old Japan, people chiefly metamorphose themselves into foxes and badgers. The sorcerers of Honduras(4) "possess the power of transforming men into wild beasts, and were much feared accordingly". Among the Cakchiquels, a cultivated people of Guatemala, the very name of the clergy, haleb, was derived from their power of assuming animal shapes, which they took on as easily as the Homeric gods.(5) Regnard, the French dramatist, who travelled among the Lapps at the end of the seventeenth century (1681), says: "They believe witches can turn men into cats;" and again, "Under the figures of swans, crows, falcons and geese, they call up tempests and destroy ships".(6) Among the Bushmen "sorcerers assume the forms of beasts and jackals".(7) Dobrizhoffer (1717-91), a missionary in Paraguay, found that "sorcerers arrogate to themselves the power of transforming themselves into tigers".(8) He was present when the Abipones believed that a conversion of this sort was actually taking place: "Alas," cried the people, "his whole body is beginning to be covered with tiger-spots; his nails are growing". Near Loanda, Livingstone found that a "chief may metamorphose himself into a lion, kill any one he choses, and then resume his proper form".(9) Among the Barotse and Balonda, "while persons are still alive they may enter into lions and alligators".(10) Among the Mayas of Central America "sorcerers could transform themselves into dogs, pigs and other animals; their glance was death to a victim".(11) The Thlinkeets think that their Shamans can metamorphose themselves into animals at pleasure; and a very old raven was pointed out to Mr. C. E. S. Wood as an incarnation of the soul of a Shaman.(12) Sir A. C. Lyall finds a similar belief in flourishing existence in India. The European superstition of the were-wolf is too well known to need description. Perhaps the most curious legend is that told by Giraldus Cambrensis about a man and his wife metamorphosed into wolves by an abbot. They retained human speech, made exemplary professions of Christian faith, and sent for priests when they found their last hours approaching. In an old Norman ballad a girl is transformed into a white doe, and hunted and slain by her brother's hounds. The "aboriginal" peoples of India retain similar convictions. Among the Hos,(13) an old sorcerer called Pusa was known to turn himself habitually into a tiger, and to eat his neighbour's goats, and even their wives. Examples of the power of sorcerers to turn, as with the Gorgon's head, their enemies into stone, are peculiarly common in America.(14) Hearne found that the Indians believed they descended from a dog, who could turn himself into a handsome young man.(15)
(1) Vol. i. pp. 309-315.
(2) See also M'Lennan on Lykanthropy in Encyclopedia Britannica.
(3) Arabian Nights, i. 51.
(4) Bancroft, Races of Pacific Coast, i. 740.
(5) Brinton, Annals of the Cakchiquels, p. 46.
(6) Pinkerton, i. 471.
(7) Bleek, Brief Account of Bushman Folk-Lore, pp. 15, 40.
(8) English translation of Dobrizhoffer's Abipones, i. 163.
(9) Missionary Travels, p. 615.
(10) Livingstone, p. 642.
(11) Bancroft, ii.
(12) Century Magazine, July, 1882.
(13) Dalton's Ethnology of Bengal, p. 200.
(14) Dorman, pp. 130, 134; Report of Ethnological Bureau, Washington, 1880-81.
(15) A Journey, etc., p. 342.
Let us recapitulate the powers attributed all over the world, by the lower people, to medicine-men. The medicine-man has all miracles at his command. He rules the sky, he flies into the air, he becomes visible or invisible at will, he can take or confer any form at pleasure, and resume his human shape. He can control spirits, can converse with the dead, and can descend to their abodes.
When we begin to examine the gods of MYTHOLOGY, savage or civilised, as distinct from deities contemplated, in devotion, as moral and creative guardians of ethics, we shall find that, with the general, though not invariable addition of immortality, they possess the very same accomplishments as the medicine-man, peay, tohunga, jossakeed, birraark, or whatever name for sorcerer we may choose. Among the Greeks, Zeus, mythically envisaged, enjoys in heaven all the attributes of the medicine-man; among the Iroquois, as Pere le Jeune, the old Jesuit missionary, observed,(1) the medicine-man enjoys on earth all the attributes of Zeus. Briefly, the miraculous and supernatural endowments of the gods of MYTH, whether these gods be zoomorphic or anthropomorphic, are exactly the magical properties with which the medicine-man is credited by his tribe. It does not at all follow, as Euemerus and Mr. Herbert Spencer might argue, that the god was once a real living medicine-man. But myth-making man confers on the deities of myth the magical powers which he claims for himself.
(1) Relations (1636), p. 114.
CHAPTER V. NATURE MYTHS.
Savage fancy, curiosity and credulity illustrated in nature myths—In these all phenomena are explained by belief in the general animation of everything, combined with belief in metamorphosis—Sun myths, Asian, Australian, African, Melanesian, Indian, Californian, Brazilian, Maori, Samoan—Moon myths, Australian, Muysca, Mexican, Zulu, Macassar, Greenland, Piute, Malay—Thunder myths—Greek and Aryan sun and moon myths—Star myths—Myths, savage and civilised, of animals, accounting for their marks and habits—Examples of custom of claiming blood kinship with lower animals—Myths of various plants and trees—Myths of stones, and of metamorphosis into stones, Greek, Australian and American—The whole natural philosophy of savages expressed in myths, and survives in folk-lore and classical poetry; and legends of metamorphosis.
The intellectual condition of savages which has been presented and established by the evidence both of observers and of institutions, may now be studied in savage myths. These myths, indeed, would of themselves demonstrate that the ideas which the lower races entertain about the world correspond with our statement. If any one were to ask himself, from what mental conditions do the following savage stories arise? he would naturally answer that the minds which conceived the tales were curious, indolent, credulous of magic and witchcraft, capable of drawing no line between things and persons, capable of crediting all things with human passions and resolutions. But, as myths analogous to those of savages, when found among civilised peoples, have been ascribed to a psychological condition produced by a disease of language acting after civilisation had made considerable advances, we cannot take the savage myths as proof of what savages think, believe and practice in the course of daily life. To do so would be, perhaps, to argue in a circle. We must therefore study the myths of the undeveloped races in themselves.
These myths form a composite whole, so complex and so nebulous that it is hard indeed to array them in classes and categories. For example, if we look at myths concerning the origin of various phenomena, we find that some introduce the action of gods or extra-natural beings, while others rest on a rude theory of capricious evolution; others, again, invoke the aid of the magic of mortals, and most regard the great natural forces, the heavenly bodies, and the animals, as so many personal characters capable of voluntarily modifying themselves or of being modified by the most trivial accidents. Some sort of arrangement, however, must be attempted, only the student is to understand that the lines are never drawn with definite fixity, that any category may glide into any other category of myth.
We shall begin by considering some nature myths—myths, that is to say, which explain the facts of the visible universe. These range from tales about heaven, day, night, the sun and the stars, to tales accounting for the red breast of the ousel, the habits of the quail, the spots and stripes of wild beasts, the formation of rocks and stones, the foliage of trees, the shapes of plants. In a sense these myths are the science of savages; in a sense they are their sacred history; in a sense they are their fiction and romance. Beginning with the sun, we find, as Mr. Tylor says, that "in early philosophy throughout the world the sun and moon are alive, and, as it were, human in their nature".(1) The mass of these solar myths is so enormous that only a few examples can be given, chosen almost at random out of the heap. The sun is regarded as a personal being, capable not only of being affected by charms and incantations, but of being trapped and beaten, of appearing on earth, of taking a wife of the daughters of men. Garcilasso de la Vega has a story of an Inca prince, a speculative thinker, who was puzzled by the sun-worship of his ancestors. If the sun be thus all-powerful, the Inca inquired, why is he plainly subject to laws? why does he go his daily round, instead of wandering at large up and down the fields of heaven? The prince concluded that there was a will superior to the sun's will, and he raised a temple to the Unknown Power. Now the phenomena which put the Inca on the path of monotheistic religion, a path already traditional, according to Garcilasso, have also struck the fancy of savages. Why, they ask, does the sun run his course like a tamed beast? A reply suited to a mind which holds that all things are personal is given in myths. Some one caught and tamed the sun by physical force or by art magic.
(1) Primitive Culture, i. 288.
In Australia the myth says that there was a time when the sun did not set. "It was at all times day, and the blacks grew weary." Norralie considered and decided that the sun should disappear at intervals. He addressed the sun in an incantation (couched like the Finnish Kalewala in the metre of Longfellow's Hiawatha); and the incantation is thus interpreted: "Sun, sun, burn your wood, burn your internal substance, and go down". The sun therefore now burns out his fuel in a day, and goes below for fresh firewood.(1)
(1) Brough Smyth, Aborigines of Victoria, i. 430.
In New Zealand the taming of the sun is attributed to the great hero Maui, the Prometheus of the Maoris. He set snares to catch the sun, but in vain, for the sun's rays bit them through. According to another account, while Norralie wished to hasten the sun's setting, Maui wanted to delay it, for the sun used to speed through the heavens at a racing pace. Maui therefore snared the sun, and beat him so unmercifully that he has been lame ever since, and travels slowly, giving longer days. "The sun, when beaten, cried out and revealed his second great name, Taura-mis-te-ra."(1) It will be remembered that Indra, in his abject terror when he fled after the slaying of Vrittra, also revealed his mystic name. In North America the same story of the trapping and laming of the sun is told, and attributed to a hero named Tcha-ka-betch. In Samoa the sun had a child by a Samoan woman. He trapped the sun with a rope made of a vine and extorted presents. Another Samoan lassoed the sun and made him promise to move more slowly.(2) These Samoan and Australian fancies are nearly as dignified as the tale in the Aitareya Brahmana. The gods, afraid "that the sun would fall out of heaven, pulled him up and tied him with five ropes". These ropes are recognised as verses in the ritual, but probably the ritual is later than the ropes. In Mexico we find that the sun himself (like the stars in most myths) was once a human or pre-human devotee, Nanahuatzin, who leapt into a fire to propitiate the gods.(3) Translated to heaven as the sun, Nanahuatzin burned so very fiercely that he threatened to reduce the world to a cinder. Arrows were therefore shot at him, and this punishment had as happy an effect as the beatings administered by Maui and Tcha-ka-betch. Among the Bushmen of South Africa the sun was once a man, from whose armpit a limited amount of light was radiated round his hut. Some children threw him up into the sky, and there he stuck, and there he shines.(4) In the Homeric hymn to Helios, as Mr. Max Muller observes, "the poet looks on Helios as a half god, almost a hero, who had once lived on earth," which is precisely the view of the Bushmen.(5) Among the Aztecs the sun is said to have been attacked by a hunter and grievously wounded by his arrows.(6) The Gallinomeros, in Central California, seem at least to know that the sun is material and impersonal. They say that when all was dark in the beginning, the animals were constantly jostling each other. After a painful encounter, the hawk and the coyote collected two balls of inflammable substance; the hawk (Indra was occasionally a hawk) flew up with them into heaven, and lighted them with sparks from a flint. There they gave light as sun and moon. This is an exception to the general rule that the heavenly bodies are regarded as persons. The Melanesian tale of the bringing of night is a curious contrast to the Mexican, Maori, Australian and American Indian stories which we have quoted. In Melanesia, as in Australia, the days were long, indeed endless, and people grew tired; but instead of sending the sun down below by an incantation when night would follow in course of nature, the Melanesian hero went to Night (conceived of as a person) and begged his assistance. Night (Qong) received Qat (the hero) kindly, darkened his eyes, gave him sleep, and, in twelve hours or so, crept up from the horizon and sent the sun crawling to the west.(7) In the same spirit Paracelsus is said to have attributed night, not to the absence of the sun, but to the apparition of certain stars which radiate darkness. It is extraordinary that a myth like the Melanesian should occur in Brazil. There was endless day till some one married a girl whose father "the great serpent," was the owner of night. The father sent night bottled up in a gourd. The gourd was not to be uncorked till the messengers reached the bride, but they, in their curiosity, opened the gourd, and let night out prematurely.(8)
(1) Taylor, New Zealand, p. 131.
(2) Turner, Samoa, p. 20.
(3) Sahagun, French trans., vii. ii.
(4) Bleck, Hottentot Fables, p. 67; Bushman Folk-Lore, pp. 9, 11.
(5) Compare a Californian solar myth: Bancroft, iii. pp. 85, 86.
(6) Bancroft, iii. 73, quoting Burgoa, i. 128, 196.
(7) Codrington, Journ. Anthrop. Inst., February, 1881.
(8) Contes Indiens du Bresil, pp. 1-9, by Couto de Magalhaes. Rio de Janeiro, 1883. M. Henri Gaidoz kindly presented the author with this work.
The myths which have been reported deal mainly with the sun as a person who shines, and at fixed intervals disappears. His relations with the moon are much more complicated, and are the subject of endless stories, all explaining in a romantic fashion why the moon waxes and wanes, whence come her spots, why she is eclipsed, all starting from the premise that sun and moon are persons with human parts and passions. Sometimes the moon is a man, sometimes a woman and the sex of the sun varies according to the fancy of the narrators. Different tribes of the same race, as among the Australians, have different views of the sex of moon and sun. Among the aborigines of Victoria, the moon, like the sun among the Bushmen, was a black fellow before he went up into the sky. After an unusually savage career, he was killed with a stone hatchet by the wives of the eagle, and now he shines in the heavens.(1) Another myth explanatory of the moon's phases was found by Mr. Meyer in 1846 among the natives of Encounter Bay. According to them the moon is a woman, and a bad woman to boot. She lives a life of dissipation among men, which makes her consumptive, and she wastes away till they drive her from their company. While she is in retreat, she lives on nourishing roots, becomes quite plump, resumes her gay career, and again wastes away. The same tribe, strangely enough, think that the sun also is a woman. Every night she descends among the dead, who stand in double lines to greet her and let her pass. She has a lover among the dead, who has presented her with a red kangaroo skin, and in this she appears at her rising. Such is the view of rosy-fingered Dawn entertained by the blacks of Encounter Bay. In South America, among the Muyscas of Bogota, the moon, Huythaca, is the malevolent wife of the child of the sun; she was a woman before her husband banished her to the fields of space.(2) The moon is a man among the Khasias of the Himalaya, and he was guilty of the unpardonable offence of admiring his mother-in-law. As a general rule, the mother-in-law is not even to be spoken to by the savage son-in-law. The lady threw ashes in his face to discourage his passion, hence the moon's spots. The waning of the moon suggested the most beautiful and best known of savage myths, that in which the moon sends a beast to tell mortals that, though they die like her, like her they shall be born again.(3) Because the spots in the moon were thought to resemble a hare they were accounted for in Mexico by the hypothesis that a god smote the moon in the face with a rabbit;(4) in Zululand and Thibet by a fancied translation of a good or bad hare to the moon.
(1) Brough Smyth, Aborigines of Victoria, i. 432.
(2) Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 353.
(3) Bleek, Reynard in South Africa, pp. 69-74.
(4) Sahagun, viii. 2.
The Eskimos have a peculiar myth to account for the moon's spots. Sun and moon were human brother and sister. In the darkness the moon once attempted the virtue of the sun. She smeared his face over with ashes, that she might detect him when a light was brought. She did discover who her assailant had been, fled to the sky, and became the sun. The moon still pursues her, and his face is still blackened with the marks of ashes.(1) Gervaise(2) says that in Macassar the moon was held to be with child by the sun, and that when he pursued her and wished to beat her, she was delivered of the earth. They are now reconciled. About the alternate appearance of sun and moon a beautifully complete and adequate tale is told by the Piute Indians of California. No more adequate and scientific explanation could possibly be offered, granting the hypothesis that sun and moon are human persons and savage persons. The myth is printed as it was taken down by Mr. De Quille from the lips of Tooroop Eenah (Desert Father), a chief of the Piutes, and published in a San Francisco newspaper.
(1) Crantz's History of Greenland, i. 212.
(2) Royaume de Macacar, 1688.
"The sun is the father and ruler of the heavens. He is the big chief. The moon is his wife and the stars are their children. The sun eats his children whenever he can catch them. They flee before him, and are all the time afraid when he is passing through the heavens. When he (their father) appears in the morning, you see all the stars, his children, fly out of sight—go away back into the blue of the above—and they do not wake to be seen again until he, their father, is about going to his bed.
"Down deep under the ground—deep, deep, under all the ground—is a great hole. At night, when he has passed over the world, looked down on everything and finished his work, he, the sun, goes into his hole, and he crawls and creeps along it till he comes to his bed in the middle part of the earth. So then he, the sun, sleeps there in his bed all night.
"This hole is so little, and he, the sun, is so big, that he cannot turn round in it; and so he must, when he has had all his sleep, pass on through, and in the morning we see him come out in the east. When he, the sun, has so come out, he begins to hunt up through the sky to catch and eat any that he can of the stars, his children, for if he does not so catch and eat he cannot live. He, the sun, is not all seen. The shape of him is like a snake or a lizard. It is not his head that we can see, but his belly, filled up with the stars that times and times he has swallowed.
"The moon is the mother of the heavens and is the wife of the sun. She, the moon, goes into the same hole as her husband to sleep her naps. But always she has great fear of the sun, her husband, and when he comes through the hole to the nobee (tent) deep in the ground to sleep, she gets out and comes away if he be cross.
"She, the moon, has great love for her children, the stars, and is happy to travel among them in the above; and they, her children, feel safe, and sing and dance as she passes along. But the mother, she cannot help that some of her children must be swallowed by the father every month. It is ordered that way by the Pah-ah (Great Spirit), who lives above the place of all.
"Every month that father, the sun, does swallow some of the stars, his children, and then that mother, the moon, feels sorrow. She must mourn; so she must put the black on her face for to mourn the dead. You see the Piute women put black on their faces when a child is gone. But the dark will wear away from the face of that mother, the moon, a little and a little every day, and after a time again we see all bright the face of her. But soon more of her children are gone, and again she must put on her face the pitch and the black."
Here all the phenomena are accounted for, and the explanation is as advanced as the Egyptian doctrine of the hole under the earth where the sun goes when he passes from our view. And still the Great Spirit is over all: Religion comes athwart Myth.
Mr. Tylor quotes(1) a nature myth about sun, moon and stars which remarkably corresponds to the speculation of the Piutes. The Mintira of the Malayan Peninsula say that both sun and moon are women. The stars are the moon's children; once the sun had as many. They each agreed (like the women of Jerusalem in the famine), to eat their own children; but the sun swallowed her whole family, while the moon concealed hers. When the sun saw this she was exceedingly angry, and pursued the moon to kill her. Occasionally she gets a bite out of the moon, and that is an eclipse. The Hos of North-East India tell the same tale, but say that the sun cleft the moon in twain for her treachery, and that she continues to be cut in two and grow again every month. With these sun and moon legends sometimes coexists the RELIGIOUS belief in a Creator of these and of all things.
(1) Primitive Culture, i. 356.
In harmony with the general hypothesis that all objects in nature are personal, and human or bestial, in real shape, and in passion and habits, are the myths which account for eclipses. These have so frequently been published and commented on(1) that a long statement would be tedious and superfluous. To the savage mind, and even to the Chinese and the peasants of some European countries, the need of an explanation is satisfied by the myth that an evil beast is devouring the sun or the moon. The people even try by firing off guns, shrieking, and clashing cymbals, to frighten the beast (wolf, pig, dragon, or what not) from his prey. What the hungry monster in the sky is doing when he is not biting the sun or moon we are not informed. Probably he herds with the big bird whose wings, among the Dacotahs of America and the Zulus of Africa, make thunder; or he may associate with the dragons, serpents, cows and other aerial cattle which supply the rain, and show themselves in the waterspout. Chinese, Greenland, Hindoo, Finnish, Lithunian and Moorish examples of the myth about the moon-devouring beasts are vouched for by Grimm.(2) A Mongolian legend has it that the gods wished to punish the maleficent Arakho for his misdeeds, but Arakho hid so cleverly that their limited omnipotence could not find him. The sun, when asked to turn spy, gave an evasive answer. The moon told the truth. Arakho was punished, and ever since he chases sun and moon. When he nearly catches either of them, there is an eclipse, and the people try to drive him off by making a hideous uproar with musical and other instruments.(3) Captain Beeckman in 1704 was in Borneo, when the natives declared that the devil "was eating the moon".
(1) Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i.; Lefebure, Les Yeux d'Horus.
(2) Teutonic Mythology, English trans., ii. 706.
(3) Moon-Lore by Rev. T. Harley, p. 167.
Dr. Brinton in his Myths and Myth-Makers gives examples from Peruvians, Tupis, Creeks, Iroquois and Algonkins. It would be easy, and is perhaps superfluous, to go on multiplying proofs of the belief that sun and moon are, or have been, persons. In the Hervey Isles these two luminaries are thought to have been made out of the body of a child cut in twain by his parents. The blood escaped from the half which is the moon, hence her pallor.(1) This tale is an exception to the general rule, but reminds us of the many myths which represent the things in the world as having been made out of a mutilated man, like the Vedic Purusha. It is hardly necessary, except by way of record, to point out that the Greek myths of sun and moon, like the myths of savages, start from the conception of the solar and lunar bodies as persons with parts and passions, human loves and human sorrows. As in the Mongolian myth of Arakho, the sun "sees all and hears all," and, less honourable than the Mongolian sun, he plays the spy for Hephaestus on the loves of Ares and Aphrodite. He has mistresses and human children, such as Circe and Aeetes.(2)
(1) Gill, Myths and Songs, p. 45.
(2) See chapter on Greek Divine Myths.
The sun is all-seeing and all-penetrating. In a Greek song of to-day a mother sends a message to an absent daughter by the sun; it is but an unconscious repetition of the request of the dying Ajax that the heavenly body will tell his fate to his old father and his sorrowing spouse.(1)
(1) Sophocles, Ajax, 846.
Selene, the moon, like Helios, the sun, was a person, and amorous. Beloved by Zeus, she gave birth to Pandia, and Pan gained her affection by the simple rustic gift of a fleece.(1) The Australian Dawn, with her present of a red kangaroo skin, was not more lightly won than the chaste Selene. Her affection for Endymion is well known, and her cold white glance shines through the crevices of his mountain grave, hewn in a rocky wall, like the tombs of Phrygia.(2) She is the sister of the sun in Hesiod, the daughter (by his sister) of Hyperion in the Homeric hymns to Helios.
(1) Virgil, Georgics, iii. 391.
(2) Preller, Griech. Myth., i. 163.
In Greece the aspects of sun and moon take the most ideal human forms, and show themselves in the most gracious myths. But, after all, these retain in their anthropomorphism the marks of the earliest fancy, the fancy of Eskimos and Australians. It seems to be commonly thought that the existence of solar myths is denied by anthropologists. This is a vulgar error. There is an enormous mass of solar myths, but they are not caused by "a disease of language," and—all myths are not solar!
There is no occasion to dwell long on myths of the same character in which the stars are accounted for as transformed human adventurers. It has often been shown that this opinion is practically of world-wide distribution.(1) We find it in Australia, Persia, Greece, among the Bushmen, in North and South America, among the Eskimos, in ancient Egypt, in New Zealand, in ancient India—briefly, wherever we look. The Sanskrit forms of these myths have been said to arise from confusion as to the meaning of words. But is it credible that, in all languages, however different, the same kind of unconscious puns should have led to the same mistaken beliefs? As the savage, barbarous and Greek star-myths (such as that of Callisto, first changed into a bear and then into a constellation) are familiar to most readers, a few examples of Sanskrit star-stories are offered here from the Satapatha Brahmana.(2) Fires are not, according to the Brahmana ritual, to be lighted under the stars called Krittikas, the Pleiades. The reason is that the stars were the wives of the bears (Riksha), for the group known in Brahmanic times as the Rishis (sages) were originally called the Rikshas (bears). But the wives of the bears were excluded from the society of their husbands, for the bears rise in the north and their wives in the east. Therefore the worshipper should not set up his fires under the Pleiades, lest he should thereby be separated from the company of his wife. The Brahmanas(3) also tell us that Prajapati had an unholy passion for his daughter, who was in the form of a doe. The gods made Rudra fire an arrow at Prajapati to punish him; he was wounded, and leaped into the sky, where he became one constellation and his daughter another, and the arrow a third group of stars. In general, according to the Brahmanas, "the stars are the lights of virtuous men who go to the heavenly world".(4)
(1) Custom and Myth, "Star-Myths"; Primitive Culture, i. 288, 291; J. G. Muller, Amerikanischen Urreligionen, pp. 52, 53.
(2) Sacred Books of the East, i. 283-286.
(3) Aitareya Bramana, iii. 33.
(4) Satapatha Brahmana, vi. 5, 4, 8. For Greek examples, Hesiod, Ovid, and the Catasterismoi, attributed to Eratosthenes, are useful authorities. Probably many of the tales in Eratosthenes are late fictions consciously moulded on traditional data.
Passing from savage myths explanatory of the nature of celestial bodies to myths accounting for the formation and colour and habits of beasts, birds and fishes, we find ourselves, as an old Jesuit missionary says, in the midst of a barbarous version of Ovid's Metamorphoses. It has been shown that the possibility of interchange of form between man and beast is part of the working belief of everyday existence among the lower peoples. They regard all things as on one level, or, to use an old political phrase, they "level up" everything to equality with the human status. Thus Mr. Im Thurn, a very good observer, found that to the Indians of Guiana "all objects, animate or inaminate, seem exactly of the same nature, except that they differ by the accident of bodily form". Clearly to grasp this entirely natural conception of primitive man, the civilised student must make a great effort to forget for a time all that science has taught him of the differences between the objects which fill the world.(1) "To the ear of the savage, animals certainly seem to talk." "As far as the Indians of Guiana are concerned, I do not believe that they distinguish such beings as sun and moon, or such other natural phenomena as winds and storms, from men and other animals, from plants and other inanimate objects, or from any other objects whatsoever." Bancroft says about North American myths, "Beasts and birds and fishes fetch and carry, talk and act, in a way that leaves even Aesop's heroes quite in the shade".(2)
(1) Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xi. 366-369. A very large and rich collection of testimonies as to metamorphosis will be found in J. G. Muller's Amerikanischen Urreligionen, p. 62 et seq.; while, for European superstitions, Bodin on La Demonomanie des Sorciers, Lyon, 1598, may be consulted.
(2) Vol. iii. p. 127.
The savage tendency is to see in inanimate things animals, and in animals disguised men. M. Reville quotes in his Religions des Peuples Non-Civilise's, i. 64, the story of some Negroes, who, the first time they were shown a cornemuse, took the instrument for a beast, the two holes for its eyes. The Highlander who looted a watch at Prestonpans, and observing, "She's teed," sold it cheap when it ran down, was in the same psychological condition. A queer bit of savage science is displayed on a black stone tobacco-pipe from the Pacific Coast.(1) The savage artist has carved the pipe in the likeness of a steamer, as a steamer is conceived by him. "Unable to account for the motive power, he imagines the paddle to be linked round the tongue of a coiled serpent, fastened to the tail of the vessel," and so he represents it on the black stone pipe. Nay, a savage's belief that beasts are on his own level is so literal, that he actually makes blood-covenants with the lower animals, as he does with men, mingling his gore with theirs, or smearing both together on a stone;(2) while to bury dead animals with sacred rites is as usual among the Bedouins and Malagasies to-day as in ancient Egypt or Attica. In the same way the Ainos of Japan, who regard the bear as a kinsman, sacrifice a bear once a year. But, to propitiate the animal and his connections, they appoint him a "mother," an Aino girl, who looks after his comforts, and behaves in a way as maternal as possible. The bear is now a kinsman, (Greek text omitted), and cannot avenge himself within the kin. This, at least, seems to be the humour of it. In Lagarde's Reliquiae Juris Ecclesiastici Antiquissimae a similar Syrian covenant of kinship with insects is described. About 700 A. D., when a Syrian garden was infested by caterpillars, the maidens were assembled, and one caterpillar was caught. Then one of the virgins was "made its mother," and the creature was buried with due lamentations. The "mother" was then brought to the spot where the pests were, her companions bewailed her, and the caterpillars perished like their chosen kinsman, but without extorting revenge.(3) Revenge was out of their reach. They had been brought within the kin of their foes, and there were no Erinnyes, "avengers of kindred blood," to help them. People in this condition of belief naturally tell hundreds of tales, in which men, stones, trees, beasts, shift shapes, and in which the modifications of animal forms are caused by accident, or by human agency, or by magic, or by metamorphosis. Such tales survive in our modern folk-lore. To make our meaning clear, we may give the European nursery-myth of the origin of the donkey's long ears, and, among other illustrations, the Australian myth of the origin of the black and white plumage of the pelican. Mr. Ralston has published the Russian version of the myth of the donkey's ears. The Spanish form, which is identical with the Russian, is given by Fernan Caballero in La Gaviota.
(1) Magazine of Art, January, 1883.
(2) "Malagasy Folk-Tales," Folk-Lore Journal, October, 1883.
(3) We are indebted to Professor Robertson Smith for this example, and to Miss Bird's Journal, pp. 90, 97, for the Aino parallel.
"Listen! do you know why your ears are so big?" (the story is told to a stupid little boy with big ears). "When Father Adam found himself in Paradise with the animals, he gave each its name; those of THY species, my child, he named 'donkeys'. One day, not long after, he called the beasts together, and asked each to tell him its name. They all answered right except the animals of THY sort, and they had forgotten their name! Then Father Adam was very angry, and, taking that forgetful donkey by the ears, he pulled them out, screaming 'You are called DONKEY!' And the donkey's ears have been long ever since." This, to a child, is a credible explanation. So, perhaps, is another survival of this form of science—the Scotch explanation of the black marks on the haddock; they were impressed by St. Peter's finger and thumb when he took the piece of money for Caesar's tax out of the fish's mouth.
Turning from folk-lore to savage beliefs, we learn that from one end of Africa to another the honey-bird, schneter, is said to be an old woman whose son was lost, and who pursued him till she was turned into a bird, which still shrieks his name, "Schneter, Schneter".(1) In the same way the manners of most of the birds known to the Greeks were accounted for by the myth that they had been men and women. Zeus, for example, turned Ceyx and Halcyon into sea-fowls because they were too proud in their married happiness.(2) To these myths of the origin of various animals we shall return, but we must not forget the black and white Australian pelican. Why is the pelican parti-coloured?(3) For this reason: After the Flood (the origin of which is variously explained by the Murri), the pelican (who had been a black fellow) made a canoe, and went about like a kind of Noah, trying to save the drowning. In the course of his benevolent mission he fell in love with a woman, but she and her friends played him a trick and escaped from him. The pelican at once prepared to go on the war-path. The first thing to do was to daub himself white, as is the custom of the blacks before a battle. They think the white pipe-clay strikes terror and inspires respect among the enemy. But when the pelican was only half pipe-clayed, another pelican came past, and, "not knowing what such a queer black and white thing was, struck the first pelican with his beak and killed him. Before that pelicans were all black; now they are black and white. That is the reason."(4)
(1) Barth, iii. 358.
(2) Apollodorus, i. 7 (13, 12).
(3) Sahagun, viii. 2, accounts for colours of eagle and tiger. A number of races explain the habits and marks of animals as the result of a curse or blessing of a god or hero. The Hottentots, the Huarochiri of Peru, the New Zealanders (Shortland, Traditions, p. 57), are among the peoples which use this myth.
(4) Brough Symth, Aborigines of Australia, i. 477, 478.
"That is the reason." Therewith native philosopy is satisfied, and does not examine in Mr. Darwin's laborious manner the slow evolution of the colour of the pelican's plumage. The mythological stories about animals are rather difficult to treat, because they are so much mixed up with the topic of totemism. Here we only examine myths which account by means of a legend for certain peculiarities in the habits, cries, or colours and shapes of animals. The Ojibbeways told Kohl they had a story for every creature, accounting for its ways and appearance. Among the Greeks, as among Australians and Bushmen, we find that nearly every notable bird or beast had its tradition. The nightingale and the swallow have a story of the most savage description, a story reported by Apollodorus, though Homer(1) refers to another, and, as usual, to a gentler and more refined form of the myth. Here is the version of Apollodorus. "Pandion" (an early king of Athens) "married Zeuxippe, his mother's sister, by whom he had two daughters, Procne and Philomela, and two sons, Erechtheus and Butes. A war broke out with Labdas about some debatable land, and Erechtheus invited the alliance of Tereus of Thrace, the son of Ares. Having brought the war, with the aid of Tereus, to a happy end, he gave him his daughter Procne to wife. By Procne, Tereus had a son, Itys, and thereafter fell in love with Philomela, whom he seduced, pretending that Procne was dead, whereas he had really concealed her somewhere in his lands. Thereon he married Philomela, and cut out her tongue. But she wove into a robe characters that told the whole story, and by means of these acquainted Procne with her sufferings. Thereon Procne found her sister, and slew Itys, her own son, whose body she cooked, and served up to Tereus in a banquet. Thereafter Procne and her sister fled together, and Tereus seized an axe and followed after them. They were overtaken at Daulia in Phocis, and prayed to the gods that they might be turned into birds. So Procne became the nightingale, and Philomela the swallow, while Tereus was changed into a hoopoe."(2) Pausanias has a different legend; Procne and Philomela died of excessive grief.