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plete retirement in a temple, where he might not see the sun nor eat salt nor converse with a woman." So, too, the heir to the kingdom of Sogamoso, before succeeding to the crown, had to fast for seven years in the temple, being shut up
in the dark and not allowed to see the sun or light.? The prince who was to become Inca of Peru had to fast for a month without seeing light. Acarnanian peasants tell of a handsome prince called Sunless, who would die if he saw the sun.
So he lived in an underground palace on the site of the ancient Deniadae, but at night he came forth and crossed the river to visit a famous enchantress who dwelt in a castle on the further bank. She was loth to part with him every night long before the sun was up, and as he turned a deaf ear to all her entreaties to linger, she hit upon the device of cutting the throats of all the cocks in the neighbourhood. So the prince, whose ear had learned to expect the shrill clarion of the birds as the signal of the growing light, tarried too long, and hardly had he reached the ford when the sun rose over the Aetolian mountains, and its fatal beams fell on him before he could regain his dark abode.4
Now it is remarkable that these two rules-not to touch the ground and not to see the sun-are observed either separately or conjointly by girls at puberty in many parts of the world. Thus amongst the negroes of Loango girls at puberty are confined in separate huts, and they may not touch the ground with any part of their bare body. Amongst the Zulus and kindred tribes of South Africa, when the first signs of puberty show themselves “ while a girl is walking, gathering wood, or working in the field, she runs to the river and hides herself among the reeds for the day, so as not to bc scen by men. She covers her head carefully with her blanket that the sun may not shinc on it and shrivel her up
3 Cieza de Leon, Sirond Part of the Chronicle of Peru (Ilahluyt Soc. 1883),
· Waitz, .1nthropologie der Natur. zölker, iv. 359.
? Alonzo de Zurita, • Rapport sur les differentes classes de chefs de la Nouvelle-Espagne," p. 3o, in Ternaux. Compans's Voyages, Relations Ilmoires originaux (Paris, 1840); Waitz, 1.6.; Bastian, Die Culturländer des alten Amerika, ii. 204.
* L. lleuzey, Le Mont Olympe et l'Acarnanie (Paris, 1860), p. 458 sq.
5 l'echuel-Loesche, “ Indiscretes aus Luango,” Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie, x. (1878), p. 23.
into a withered skeleton, as would result from exposure to the sun's beams. After dark she returns to her home and is secluded” in a hut for some time. With the Awa-nkonde, a tribe at the north end of Lake Nyasa, it is a rule that after her first menstruation a girl must be kept apart, with a few companions of her own sex, in a darkened house. The floor is covered with dry banana leaves, but no fire may be lit in the house, which is called “the house of the Awasungu,” that is, “of maidens who have hearts.”” When a girl reaches puberty, the Wafiomi of Eastern Africa hold a festival at which they make a noise with a peculiar kind of rattle. After that the girl remains for a year in the large common hut, where she occupies a special compartment screened off from the men's quarters. She may not cut her hair or touch food, but is fed by other women. At night, however, she quits the hut and dances with young men."
In New Ireland girls are confined for four or five years in small cages, being kept in the dark and not allowed to set foot on the ground. The custom has been thus described by an eye-witness. “I heard from a teacher about some strange custom connected with some of the young girls here, so I asked the chief to take me to the house where they were. The house was about twenty-five feet in length, and stood in a reed and bamboo enclosure, across the entrance to which a bundle of dried grass was suspended to show that it was strictly 'tabu.' Inside the house were three conical structures about seven or eight feet in height, and about ten or twelve feet in circumference at the bottom, and for about four feet from the ground, at which point they tapered off to a point at the top. These cages were made of the broad leaves of the pandanus-tree, sewn quite close together so that no light and little or no air could enter. On one side of each is an opening which is closed by a double door of plaited cocoa-nut tree and pandanus-tree leaves. About three feet from the ground there is a stage of bamboos which forms the floor. In each of thcsc cages we were told there
1 J. Macdonald, “ Manners, customs, tral Africa (London, 1897), p. 411. superstitions, and religions of South 30. Baumann, Durch Massailand African tribes,"Journal of the Anthropo. iur Nilquelle (Berlin, 1894), p. 178. As logical Institute, xx. (1891), p. 118. to the rule not to touch food with the * Sir H. H. Johnston, British Cen. hands, see above, vol. i. pp. 323, 326 sq.
was a young woman confined, each of whom had to remain for at least four or five years, without ever being allowed to go outside the house. I could scarcely credit the story when I heard it; the whole thing seemed too horrible to be true. I spoke to the chief, and told him that I wished to see the inside of the cages, and also to see the girls that I might make them a present of a few beads.
He told me that it was 'tabu,' forbidden for any men but their own relations to look at them; but I suppose the promised beads acted as an inducement, and so he sent away for some old lady who had charge, and who alone is allowed to open the doors. While we were waiting we could hear the girls talking to the chief in a querulous way as if objecting to something or expressing their fears. The old woman came at length and certainly she did not seem a very pleasant jailor or guardian; nor did she seem to favour the request of the chief to allow us to see the girls, as she regarded us with anything but plcasant looks. However, she had to undo the door when the chief told her to do so, and then the girls peeped out at us, and when told to do so, they held out their hands for the beads. I, however, purposely sat at some distance away and merely held out the beads to them, as I wished to draw them quite outside, that I might inspect the inside of the cages. This desire of mine gave rise to another difficulty, as these girls were not allowed to put their feet to the ground all the time they were confined in these places. However, they wished to get the beads, and so the old lady had to go outside and collect a lot of pieces of wood and bamboo, which she placed on the ground, and then going to one of the girls, she helped her down and held her hand as she stepped from one piece of wood to another until she came ncar enough to get the beads I held out to her. I then went to inspect the inside of the cage out of which she had come, but could scarcely put my head inside of it, the atmosphere was so hot and stilling It was clean and contained nothing but a few short lengths of bamboo for holding water.
There was only room for the girl to sit or lie down in a crouched position on the bamboo platform, and when the doors are shut it must be nearly or quite dark inside. The girls are never allowed to come out except once a day to bathe in a dish or wooden
bowl placed close to each cage. They say that they perspire profusely. They are placed in these stilling cages when quite young, and must remain there until they are young women, when they are taken out and have each a great marriage feast provided for them.” 1
In the island of Mabuiag, Torres Straits, when the signs of puberty appear on a girl, a circle of bushes is made in a dark corner of the house. Here, decked with shoulder-belts, armlets, leglets just below the knees, and anklets, wearing a chaplet on her head, and shell ornaments in her ears, on her chest, and on her back, she squats in the midst of the bushes, which are piled so high round about her that only her head is visible. In this state of seclusion she must remain for three months. All this time the sun may not shine upon her, but at night she is allowed to slip out of the hut, and the bushes that hedge her in are then changed. She may not feed herself or handle food, but is fed by one or two old women, her maternal aunts, who are especially appointed to look after her. One of these women cooks food for her at a special fire in the forest. The girl is forbidden to eat turtle or turtle eggs during the scason when the turtles are breeding ; but no vegetable food is refused her. No man, not even her own father, may come into the house while her seclusion lasts; for if her father saw her at this time he would certainly have bad luck in his fishing, and would probably smash his
i The Rev. G. Brown, quoted by the Rev. B. Danks, Marriage Customs of the New Britain Group,” Journ. An. throp. Loist. xviii. (1889), p. 284 sq.; cp. Rev. G. Brown, “ Notes on the Duke of York Group, New Britain, and New Irelanci,” Jouri. Royal Geogr. Soc. xlvii. (1877), p. 142 sq. Powell's de. scription of the New Ireland custom is similar (IVanderings in a Wild Country, p. 249). According to him, the girls wear wreaths of scented herbs round the waist and neck; an old woman or a little child occupies the lower floor of the cage ; and the confinement lasts only a month. Probably the long period mentioned by Mr. Brown is that prescribed for chiel's daughters. Poor people could not afford to keep their children so long idle. This distinction
is sometimes expressly stated ; for example, among the Goajiras of Colombia rich people keep their daughters shut up in separate huts at puberty for periods varying from one to four years, but poor people cannot afford to do so for more than a fortnight or a month. See F. A. Simons, “ An exploration of The Goajira Peninsula," Proceed. Royal Geogr. Soc. X.S., vii. (1885), p. 791. In Fiji, brides who were being tattooed were kept from the sun (Williams, Fiji and the Fijians, i. 170). This was perhaps a modification of the Melanesian custom of secluding girls at puberty. The reason mentioned by Mr. Williams, “to improve her complexion,” can hardly have been the original one.
canoe the very next time he went out in it. At the end of the three months she is carried down to a fresh-water creek by her attendants, hanging on to their shoulders in such a way that her feet do not touch the ground, while the women of the tribe form a ring round her, and thus escort her to the beach. Arrived at the shore, she is stripped of her ornaments, and the bearers stagger with her into the creek, where they immerse her, and all the other women join in splashing water over both the girl and her bearers. When they come out of the water one of the two attendants makes a heap of grass for her charge to squat upon. The other runs to the reef, catches a small crab, tears off its claws, and hastens back with them to the creek. Here in the meantime a fire has been kindled, and the claws are roasted at it. The girl is then fed by her attendants with the roasted claws. After that she is freshly decorated, and the whole party marches back to the village in a single rank, the girl walking in the centre between her two old aunts, who hold her by the wrists. The husbands of her aunts now receive her and lead her into the house of one of them, where all partake of food, and the girl is allowed once more to feed herself in the usual manner. A dance follows, in which the girl takes a prominent part, dancing between the husbands of the two aunts who had charge of her in her retirement.
Among the Yaraibanna tribe of Cape York Peninsula, in Northern Queensland, a girl at puberty is said to live by herself for a month or six weeks; no man may see her, though any woman may. She stays in a hut or shelter specially made for her, on the floor of which she lies supine. She may not see the sun, and towards sunset she must keep her eyes shut until the sun has gone down, otherwise it is thought that her nose will be discased. During her scclusion she may cat nothing that lives in salt water, or a snake would kill her. An old woman waits upon her and supplies her with roots, yams, and water. Some tribes are wont to bury their girls at such seasons more or less deeply in the
British Association for 1899, and in Journal of the Anthropological Institute, xxix. (1899), p. 212 54.
2 From the notes of Dr. C. G. Seligmann.