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landed, all the people bathe together in the sca. In this ceremony the reason for striking the people with the branches is clearly to rid them of the disease-demons, which are then supposed to be transferred to the branches. Hence the haste with which the branches are deposited in the proa and towed away to sea. So in the inland districts of Ceram, when small-pox or other sickness is raging, the priest strikes all the houses with consecrated branches, which are then thrown into the river, to be carried down to the sea ;? exactly as amongst the Wotyaks of Russia the sticks which have been used for expelling the devils from the village are thrown into the river, that the current may sweep the baleful burden away. In Amboyna, for a similar purpose, the whole body of the patient is rubbed with a live white cock, which is then placed on a little proa and committed to the waves ;and in the Babar archipelago the bark which is to carry away to sea the sickness of a whole village contains a bowl of ashes taken from every kitchen in the village, and another bowl into which all the sick people have spat.* The plan of putting puppets in the boat to represent sick persons, in order to lure the demons after them, is not uncommon. In Selangor, one of the native states in the Malay Peninsula, the ship employed in the export of disease is, or used to be, a model of a special kind of Malay craft called a lanchang. This was a two-masted vessel with galleries fore and aft, armed with cannon, and used by Malay rajahs on the coast of Sumatra. So gallant a ship would be highly acceptable to the spirits, and to make it still more beautiful in their
i Riedel, op. cit. p. 25 sq.
5 Ibid. pp. 266, 304 sq., 327, 357 ; H. Ling Roth, Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo, i. 284. For other examples of sending away plague-laden boats in this region, see Riedel, op. cit. Pp. 181, 210; Van Eck, “Schetsen van het eiland Bali,” Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië, N.S., viii. (1879), p. 104; Bastian, Indonesien, i. 147 ; Hupe, “Korte verhandeling over de godsdienst, zeden, enz, der Dajakkers,"
Tijdschrift voor Nerlands Indië, 1846, di. iii. 150 ; Campen, “De godsdienst. begrippen der Halmaherasche AI. soeren," Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal. Land. en Volkenkunde, xxvii. (1882), P: 441; Journal of the Straits Branch of The Royal Asiatic Society, No. 12, pp. 229-231 ; Van Hasselt, Volksbeschrij. ving van Midden-Sumatra, p. 98; C. M. Pleyte, “Ethnographische Beschrij. ving der Kei-Eilanden,” Tijdschrift van het Nederlandsch dardrijkskundig Genootschap, Tweede Serie, x. (1893), p. 835; H. Ling Roth, “Low's natives of Sarawak,” Journal of the Anthropo. logical Institute, xxii. (1893), p. 25.
eyes it was not uncommonly stained yellow with turmeric or saffron, for among the Malays yellow is the royal colour. Some years ago a very fine model of a lanchang, with its cargo of sickness, was towed down the river to sea by the Government steam launch. A common spell uttered at the launching of one of these ships runs as follows:
"Ho, elders of the upper reaches,
shall get no food,
The practice of sending away diseases in boats is known outside the limits of the Malay region. Thus when the people of Tikopia, a small island in the Pacific, to the north of the New Hebrides, were attacked by an epidemic cough, they made a little canoe and adorned it with flowers. Four sons of the principal chiefs carried it on their shoulders all round the island, accompanied by the whole population, some of whom beat the bushes, while others uttered loud cries. On returning to the spot from which they had set out, they launched the canoe on the sea.” In the Nicobar Islands, in the Bay of Bengal, when there is much sickness in a village or no fish are caught, the blame is laid upon the spirits. They must be propitiated with offerings. All relations and
1 W. W. Skeat, Malay Magic, pp. du monde et à la recherche de La 433-435.
Pérouse, sur la corvette Astrolabe, v. J. Dumont D'Urville, Voyage autour 311.
friends are invited, a huge pig is roasted, and the best of it is eaten, but some parts are offered to the shades. The heap of offerings remains in front of the house till it is carried away by the rising tide. Then the priests, their faces reddened with paint and swine's blood, pretend to catch the demon of disease, and after a hand-to-hand tussle, force him into a model boat, made of leaves and decked with garlands, which is then towed so far to sea that neither wind nor tide is likely to drive it back to the shore. In Annam, when the population of a village has been decimated by cholera, they make a raft and lade it with offerings of money and food, such as a sucking pig, bananas, and oranges. Sticks of incense also smoke on the floating altar; and when all is ready and earnest prayers have been uttered, the raft is abandoned to the current of the river. The people hope that the demon of cholera, allured and gratified by these offerings, will float away on the raft and trouble them no more.
Often the vehicle which carries away the collected demons or ills of a whole community is an animal or scapegoat. In the Central Provinces of India, when cholera breaks out in a village, every one retires after sunset to his house. The priests then parade the streets, taking from the roof of each house a straw, which is burnt with an offering of rice, ghee, and turmeric, at some shrine to the cast of the village. Chickens daubed with vermilion are driven away in the direction of the smoke, and are believed to carry the disease with them. If they fail, goats are tried, and last of all pigs. When cholera is very bad among the Bhars, Mallans, and Kurmis of India, they take a goat or a buffalo-in either case the animal must be a female, and as black as possible—then having tied some grain, cloves, and red lead in a yellow cloth on its back they turn it out of the village. The animal is con
ducted beyond the boundary and not allowed to return.' Sometimes the buffalo is marked with a red pigment and driven to the next village, where he carries the plague with him. The people of the city and cantonments of Sagar being afflicted with a violent influenza, “ I had an application from the old Queen Dowager of Sagar to allow of a noisy religious procession for the purpose of imploring deliverance from this great calamity. Men, women, and children in this procession were to do their utmost to add to the noise by 'raising their voices in psalmody,' beating upon their brass pots and pans with all their might, and discharging firearms where they could get them. Before the noisy crowd was to be driven a buffalo, which had been purchased by general subscription, in order that every family might participate in the merit. They were to follow it out eight miles, where it was to be turned loose for any man who would take it. If the animal returned, the disease must return with it, and the ceremony be performed over again. . . . It was, however, subsequently determined that the animal should be a goat; and he was driven before the crowd accordingly. I have on several occasions been requested to allow of such noisy ceremonies in cases of epidemics.": Once, when influenza was raging in Pithuria, a man had a small carriage made, after a plan of his own, for a pair of scapegoats, which were harnessed to it and driven to a wood at some distance, where they were let loose. From that hour the disease entirely ceased in the town. The goats never returned ; had they done so, “the disease must have come back with them.' The idea of the scapegoat is not uncommon in the hills of the Eastern Ghats. In 1886, during a severe outbreak of small-pox, the people of Jeypur made puja to a goat, marched it to the Ghats, and let it loose on the plains. In Southern Konkan, on the appearance of cholera, the villagers went in procession from the temple to the extreme boundaries of the
i Id., iii. p. 81, $ 373.
2 W. Crooke, Introduction to the Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India, p. 91.
Bulls are used as scapegoals for cholera in Cashmeer (H. G. M. Murray-Aynsley, in Folk-lore, iv. (1893), p. 398 sq.).
3 Panjab Notes and Queries, ii. p. 215 59., § 1127.
· Id., ii. p. 215, § 1123.
6 F. Fawcelt, “On the Saoras (or Savaras)," Journal of the Anthrop. Soc. of Bombay, i. 213, note.
village, carrying a basket of cooked rice covered with red powder, a wooden doll representing the pestilence, and a cock. The head of the cock was cut off at the village boundary, and the body was thrown away. When cholera had thus been transferred from one village to another, the second village observed the same ceremony and passed on the scourge to its neighbours, and so on through a number of villages. Among the Korwas of Mirzapur, when cholera has broken out, the priest offers a black cock or, if the disease is very malignant, a black goat at the shrine of the local deity, and then drives the animal away in the direction of some other village. But it has not gone far before he overtakes it, kills it, and eats it; which he may do with perfect safety in virtue of his sacred office. Again, when cholera is raging among the Pataris, an aboriginal Dravidian race of South Mirzapur, the wizard and the village elders feed a black cock with grain and drive it beyond the boundaries, ordering the fowl to take the disease away with it. A little oil, red lead, and a spangle worn by a woman on her forehead are usually fastened to the bird's head before it is let loose. The cost of purchasing the cock is defrayed by public subscription. When such a bird of ill-omen appears in a village, the priest takes it to the shrine of the local deity and sacrifices it there ; but sometimes he merely bows before it at the shrine and passes it on to some other village. If disease attacks their cattle, the Kharwars of Northern India take a black cock and put red lead on its head, antimony on its eyes, a spangle on its forehead, and a pewter bangle on its leg; thus arrayed they let it loose, calling out to the disease, “ Mount on the fowl and go elsewhere into the ravines and thickets; destroy the sin." Perhaps, as has been suggested, this tricking out of the bird with women's ornaments may be a relic of some grosser form of expiation in which a human being was sacrificed or banished. Charms of this sort in India no doubt date from a remote antiquity. They were known in the Vedic ages; for a ritual text describes the ceremony
Journ. Anthrop. Soc. Bombay, i. 37. Northern India, p. 109 sq. ; id., Tribes
: W. Crooke, Introduction to the and Castes of the North-Western Pro. Popular Religion and Folklore of vinces and Oudh, iii. 445.