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or cheeps, the man thinks it a good sign, supposing the chicken to be afflicted with the very pain from which he hopes soon to be released, or which he would otherwise have to endure. When a Moor has a headache, he will sometimes take a lamb or a goat and beat it till it falls down, believing that the headache will thus be transferred to the animal. After an illness, a Bechuana king seated himself upon an ox which lay stretched on the ground. The native doctor next poured water on the king's head till it ran down over his body. Then the head of the ox was held in a vessel of water till the animal expired; whereupon the doctor declared, and the people believed, that the ox died of the king's disease, which had been transferred to it from the king. Amongst the Malagasy the vehicle for carrying away evils is called a faditra. “The faditra is anything selected by the sikidy [divining-board] for the purpose of taking away any hurtful evils' or diseases that might prove injurious to an individual's happiness, peace, or prosperity. The faditra may be either ashes, cut money, a sheep, a pumpkin, or anything else the sikidy may choose to direct. After the particular article is appointed, the priest counts upon it all the evils that may prove injurious to the person for whom it is made, and which he then charges the faditra to take away for ever. If the faditra be ashes, it is blown, to be carried away by the wind. If it be cut money, it is thrown to the bottom of deep water, or where it can never be found. If it be a sheep, it is carried away to a distance on the shoulders of a man, who runs with all his might, mumbling as he goes, as if in the greatest rage against the faditra for the evils it is bearing away. If it be a pumpkin, it is carried on the shoulders to a little distance, and there dashed upon the ground with every appearance of fury and indignation."A Malagasy was informed by a diviner that he was doomed to a bloody death, but that possibly he might avert his fate by
J. Smith, Trade and Travels in the Gulph of Guinea (London, 1851), p. 77.
2 Dapper, Description de l'Afrique, P. 117.
3 John Campbell, Travels in South Africa, Second Journey, ii. 207 sq.
4 W. Ellis, History of Madagascar, i. 422 sq.; cp. id., pp. 232, 435, 436 sq.; Sibree, The Great African Island, p. 303 sq. As to divination by the sikidy, see Sibree, “Divination among the Malagasy," Folk-lore, iii. (1892), pp. 193-226.
performing a certain rite. Carrying a small vessel full of blood upon his head, he was to mount upon the back of a bullock; while thus mounted, he was to spill the blood upon the bullock's head, and then send the animal away into the wilderness, whence it might never return.
The Battas of Sumatra have a ceremony which they call “making the curse to fly away.” When a woman is childless, a sacrifice is offered to the gods of three grasshoppers, representing a head of cattle, a buffalo, and a horse. Then a swallow is set free, with a prayer that the curse may fall upon the bird and fly away with it.? At the cleansing of a leper and of a house suspected of being tainted with leprosy, the Jews let a bird fly away. Among the Majhwar, a Dravidian race of South Mirzapur, if a man has died of a contagious disease, such as cholera, the village priest walks in front of the funeral procession with a chicken in his hands, which he lets loose in the direction of some other village as a scapegoat to carry the infection away. None but another very experienced priest would afterwards dare to touch or eat such a chicken." In Morocco most wealthy Moors keep a wild boar in their stables, in order that the jinn and evil spirits may be diverted from the horses and enter into the boar. Amongst the Burghers or Badagas of the Neilgherry Hills in Southern India, when a death has taken place, the sins of the deceased are laid upon a buffalo calf. A set form of confession of sins, the same for every one, is recited aloud, then the calf is set free, and is never afterwards used for common purposes.
“ The idea of this ceremony is that the sins of the deceased enter the calf, or that the task of his absolution is laid on it. They say that the calf very soon disappears, and that it is never after heard of." 6
I w. Ellis, op. cit. i. 374 ; Sibree, 4 W. Crooke, Tribes and Castes of The Great African Island, p. 304 ;
the North-Western Provinces and Oudh, Antananarivo Annual and Madagascar Magazine, iii. 263.
6 A. Leared, Morocco and the Moors Ködding, “Die Batakschen Götter," (London, 1876), p. 301. Allgemeine Missions - Zeitschrift, xii. 6 H. Harkness, Singular Aboriginal (1885), p. 478.
Race of the Neilgherry Hills, p. 133; 3 Leviticus xiv. 7, 53. For a similar Metz, The Tribes inhabiting the Neil. use in Arabia see Wellhausen, Reste gherry Hills, p. 78; Jagor, “Ueber arabischen Heident umes, p. 156; W. die Badagas im Nilgiri - Gebirge,': Robertson Smith, Religion of the Sem- Verhandl. d. Berlin, Gesell. f. Anthro. ites, p. 422.
pol. (1876), p. 196 sq. For the custom
Again, men sometimes play the part of scapegoat by diverting to themselves the evils that threaten others. When a Cinghalese is dangerously ill, and the physicians can do nothing, a devil-dancer is called in, who by making offerings to the devils, and dancing in the masks appropriate to them, conjures these demons of disease, one after the other, out of the sick man's body and into his own. Having thus successfully extracted the cause of the malady, the artful dancer lies down on a bier, and shamming death, is carried to an open place outside the village. Here, being left to himself, he soon comes to life again, and hastens back to claim his reward. In 1590 a Scotch witch of the name of Agnes Sampson was convicted of curing a certain Robert Kers of a disease“ laid upon him by a westland warlock when he was at Dumfries, whilk sickness she took upon herself, and kept the same with great groaning and torment till the morn, at whilk time there was a great din heard in the house." The noise was made by the witch in her efforts to shift the disease, by means of clothes, from herself to a cat or dog. Unfortunately the attempt partly miscarried. The disease missed the animal and hit Alexander Douglas of Dalkeith, who dwined and died of it, while the original patient, Robert Kers, was made whole. The Dyaks believe that certain men possess in themselves the power of neutralising bad omens. So, when evil omens have alarmed a farmer for the safety of his crops, he takes a small portion of his farm produce to one of these wise men, who eats it raw for a small consideration, "and thereby appropriates to himself the evil omen, which in him becomes innocuous, and thus delivers the other from the ban of the pemali or taboo." 3
In Travancore, when a rajah is near his end, they seek out a holy Brahman, who consents to take upon himself the of letting a bullock go loose after a 1 A. Grünwedel, “ Sinhalesische death, compare also Grierson, Bihar Masken,” Internationales Archiv für Peasant Life, p. 409; Ibbetson, Settle Ethnographie, vi. (1893), p. 85 sq. ment Report of the Panipat, Tahsil,
2 Dalyell, Darker Superstitions of and Karnal Parganah of the Karnal
Scotland, p. 104 sq. I have modernDistrict (Allahabad, 1883), p. 137. In
ised the spelling. the latter case it is said that the animal is let loose “to become a pest.” Per. 3 J. Perham, “Sea Dyak Religion,” haps the older idea was that the animal Journ. Straits Branch Royal Asiatic carried away death from the survivors. Society, No. 10 (December 1882), p. The idea of sin is not primitive.
sins of the dying man in consideration of the sum of ten thousand rupees. Thus prepared to immolate himself on the altar of duty as a vicarious sacrifice for sin, the saint is introduced into the chamber of death, and closely embraces the dying rajah, saying to him, “O King, I undertake to bear all your sins and diseases. May your Highness live long and reign happily.” Having thus, with a noble devotion, taken to himself the sins of the sufferer, and likewise the rupees, he is sent away from the country and never more allowed to return. Closely akin to this is the old Welsh custom known as “sin-eating.” According to Aubrey, “In the County of Hereford was an old Custome at funeralls to hire poor people, who were to take upon them all the sinnes of the party deceased. One of them, I remember, lived in a cottage on Rosse-high way (he was a long, leane, ugly, lamentable poor raskal). The manner was that when the Corps was brought out of the house and layd on the Biere; a Loafe of bread was brought out, and delivered to the Sinne-eater over the corps, as also a Mazar-bowle of maple (Gossips bowle) full of beer, which he was to drinke up, and sixpence in money, in consideration whereof he took upon him (ipso facto) all the Sinnes of the Defunct, and freed him (or her) from walking after they were dead. ... I believe this custom was heretofore used over all Wales. . . . In North Wales the Sinne-eaters are frequently made use of; but there, instead of a Bowle of Beere, they have a bowle of Milke." 2 According to a letter dated February 1, 1714-15, " within the memory of our fathers, in Shropshire, in those villages adjoyning to Wales, when a person dyed, there was notice given to an old sire (for so they called him), who presently repaired to the place where the deceased lay, and stood before the door of the house, when some of the family came out and furnished him with a cricket, on which he sat down facing the door. Then they gave him a groat, which he put in his pocket; a crust of bread, which he eat; and a full bowle of ale, which he drank off at a draught. After this he got up from the cricket and pronounced, with a com
Aubrey, Remains of Gentilisme and Judaisme (Folk-lore Society, 1881), p. 35 sq.
1 S. Mateer, Native Life in Travan. core, p. 136.
posed gesture, the ease and rest of the soul departed for which he would pawn his own soul. This I had from the ingenious John Aubrey, Esq.”i In recent years some doubt has been thrown on Aubrey's account of the custom.? Thc practice, however, is reported to have prevailed in a valley not far from Llandebie to a recent period. An instance was şaid to have occurred about fifty years ago.3
Aubrey's statement is moreover supported by the analogy of similar customs in India. When the Rajah of Tanjore died in 1801, some of his bones and the bones of the two wives, who were burned with his corpse, were ground to powder and eaten, mixed with boiled rice, by twelve Brahmans. It was believed that the sins of the deceased passed into the bodies of the Brahmans, who were paid for the service. A Brahman, resident in a village near Raipur, stated that he had eaten food (rice and milk) out of the hand of the dead Rajah of Bilaspur, and that in consequence he had been placed on the throne for the space of a year. At the end of the year he had been given presents and then turned out of the territory and forbidden apparently to return. He was an outcast among his fellows for having eaten out of a dead man's hand. A similar custom is believed to obtain in the hill states about Kangra, and to have given rise to a caste of “outcaste Brahmans. At the funeral of a Rani of Chamba rice and ghee were caten out of the hands of the corpse by a Brahman paid for the purpose. Afterwards a stranger, who had been caught outside the Chamba territory, was given the costly wrappings of the corpse, then told to depart and never show his face in the
1 Bagford's letter in Leland's Col. speak from personal knowledge, and as lectanea, i. 76, quoted by Brand, he appears to have taken it for granted Popular Antiquities, ii. 246 sq., Bohn's that the practice of placing bread and
salt upon the breast of a corpse was a 2 In the Academy, 13th Nov. 1875, survival of the custom of "sin-eating," p. 505, Mr. D. Silvan Evans stated his evidence must be received with that he knew of no such custom any- caution. He repeated his statement, in where in Wales; and Miss Burne somewhat vaguer terms, at a meeting knows no example of it in Shropshire of the Anthropological Institute, 14th (Burne and Jackson, Shropshire Folk. December 1875. See Journ. Anthrop. lore, p. 307 sq.).
Inst. v. (1876), p. 423 sq. 3 The authority for the statement is 4 Dubois, Mæurs des Peuples de a Mr. Moggridge, reporteil in Archae. l'Inde, ii. 32. ologi.. Cambrensis, second series, ji. 6 R. Richardson, in Panjab Notes 330. But Mr. Moggridge did not and Queries, i. p. 84, § 674.