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animals at the fire-festivals, pp. 320-326; the cutting of the sacred mistle-
remained uninjured he was immortal, p. 349 sq.
§ 5. Conclusion, pp. 446-457.–Balder's life being in the mistletoe, he was killed
by a blow of it, as the giant in the fairy tale is killed by a blow of the egg
13. Transference of Evil
The custom of killing the god has now been proved to have been practised by peoples in the hunting, pastoral, and agricultural stages of society, and the various reasons for observing it have been explained. One aspect of the custom still remains to be noticed. The accumulated misfortunes and sins of the whole people are sometimes laid upon the dying god, who is supposed to bear them away for ever, leaving the people innocent and happy. The notion that we can transfer our guilt and pains and griefs to some other being who will bear them in our stead is familiar to the savage mind. It arises from a very obvious confusion between the physical and the mental. Because it is possible to transfer a load of wood, stones, or what not, from our own back to the back of another, the savage fancies that it is equally possible to transfer the burden of his pains and sins and sorrows to another, who will suffer them in his stead. Upon this idea he acts, and the result is an endless number of often very unamiable devices for putting off upon some one else the trouble which a man shrinks from bearing him-, self. Such devices are amongst the most familiar facts in folk-lore; but for the benefit of readers who are not professed students of folk-lore, some illustrations may be given.
It is not necessary that the evil should be transferred from the culprit or sufferer to a person; it may equally well be transferred to an animal or a thing, though in the last case the thing is often only a vehicle to
convey the trouble to the first person who touches it. In some of the East Indian islands they think that epilepsy can be cured by striking the patient on the face with the leaves of certain trees and then throwing them away. The disease is believed to have passed into the leaves, and to have been thrown away with them.
When an Atkhan of the Aleutian Islands had committed a grave sin and desired to unburden himself of his guilt, he proceeded as follows. Having chosen a time when the sun was clear and unclouded, he picked up certain weeds and carried them about his person. Then he laid them down, and calling the sun to witness, cast his sins upon them, after which, having eased his heart of all that weighed upon it, he threw the weeds into the fire, and fancied that thus he cleansed himself of his guilt. In Vedic times a younger brother who married before his elder brother was thought to have sinned in so doing, but there was a ceremony by which he could purge himself of his sin. Fetters of reed-grass were laid on him in token of his guilt, and when they had been washed and sprinkled they were flung into a foaming torrent, which swept them away, while the evil was bidden to vanish with the foam of the stream. An Arab cure for melancholy or madness caused by love is to put a dish of water on the sufferer's head, drop melted lead into it, and then bury the lead in an open field ; thus the mischief that was in the man goes away. Amongst the Miotse of China, when the eldest son of the house attains the age of seven years, a ceremony called “driving away the devil ” takes place. The father makes a kite of straw and lets it fly away in the desert, bearing away all evil with it. Dyak priestesses expel illluck from a house by hewing and slashing the air in every corner of it with wooden swords, which they afterwards wash in the river, to let the ill-luck float away down stream. Sometimes they sweep misfortune out of the house with
J. G. F. Riedel, De sluik- en kroes 3 H. Oldenberg, Die Religion des harige rassen tusschen Selebes en Papua,
Veda, p. 322. pp. 266 sq., 305, 357 sq.; cp. id., 4 This I learned from my friend W. pp. 141, 340.
Robertson Smith, who mentioned as
his authority David of Antioch, Tasyin, 2 Petroff, Report on the Population, in the story “Orwa.” Industries, and Resources of Alaska, 6 R. Andree, Ethnographische Paral.
lele und Vergleiche, p. 29 sq.
brooms made of the leaves of certain plants and sprinkled with rice-water and blood. Having swept it clean out of every room and into a toy-house made of bamboo, they set the little house with its load of bad luck adrift on the river. The current carries it away out to sea, where it shifts its baleful cargo to a certain kettle-shaped ship, which floats in mid-ocean and receives in its capacious hold all the ills that flesh is heir to. Well would it be with mankind if the evils remained for ever tossing far away on the billows; but, alas, they are dispersed from the ship to the four winds, and settle again, and yet again, on the weary Dyak world. On Dyak rivers you may see many of the miniature houses, laden with manifold misfortunes, bobbing up and down on the current, or sticking fast in the thickets that line the banks. To cure toothache some of the Australian blacks apply a heated spear-thrower to the cheek. The spear-thrower is then cast away, and the toothache goes with it in the shape of a black stone called karriitch. Stones of this kind are found in old mounds and sandhills. They are carefully collected and thrown in the direction of enemies in order to give them toothache. In Mirzapur a mode of transferring disease is to fill a pot with flowers and rice and bury it in a pathway covered up with a flat stone. Whoever touches this is supposed to contract the disease. The practice is called chalauwa, or "passing on" the malady. This sort of thing goes on daily in Upper India. Often while walking of a morning in the bazaar you will see a little pile of earth adorned with flowers in the middle of the road. Such a pile usually contains some scabs or scales from the body of a small-pox patient, which are placed there in the hope that some one may touch them, and by catching the disease may relieve the sufferer.
In the western district of the island of Timor, when men or women are making long and tiring journeys, they fan themselves with leafy branches, which they afterwards throw
1 C. Hupe, “Korte Verhandeling für Ethnographie, v. (1892), p. 131. over de Godsdienst, Zeden enz. der 2 J. Dawson, Australian Aborigines, Dajakkers,” Tijdschrift voor Neêrlands p. 59. Indië, 1846, dl. iii. p. 149 sq.; F. 3 W. Crooke, Introduction to the Grabowsky, “Die Theogonie der Daja. Popular Religion and Folklore of ken auf Borneo,” Internationales Archiv Northern India, p. 106.