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  1. The Heart Of the Hunter by Van Der Post, Laurens
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There was no such piece of metal, there were no such flints, lying there yesterday, and the finder is puzzled about the origin of the objects on which he has lighted.

The kung People Juǀʼhoansi Kalahari Hunter Gatherers Documentary

As for the fairy arrows, we know that even in ancient Etruria they were looked on as magical, for we sometimes see their points set, as amulets, in the gold of Etruscan necklaces. In Perugia the arrowheads are still sold as charms. All educated people, of course, have long been aware that the metal wedge is a celt, or ancient bronze axe-head, and that it was not fairies, but the forgotten peoples of this island who used the arrows with the tips of flint.

Thunder is only so far connected with them that the heavy rains loosen the surface soil, and lay bare its long hidden secrets. There is a form of study, Folklore, which collects and compares the similar but immaterial relics of old races, the surviving superstitions and stories, the ideas which are in our time but not of it. Properly speaking, folklore is only concerned with the legends, customs, beliefs, of the Folk, of the people, of the classes which have least been altered by education, which have shared least in progress.

But the student of folklore soon finds that these unprogressive classes retain many of the beliefs and ways of savages, just as the Hebridean people use spindle-whorls of stone, and bake clay pots without the aid of the wheel, like modern South Sea Islanders, or like their own prehistoric ancestors. Lastly, he observes that a few similar customs and ideas survive in the most conservative elements of the life of educated peoples, in ritual, ceremonial, and religious traditions and myths. Not to speak, here, of our own religious traditions, the old vein of savage rite and belief is found very near the surface of ancient Greek religion.

It needs but some stress of circumstance, something answering to the storm shower that reveals the flint arrow-heads, to bring savage ritual to the surface of classical religion. The idea of the writer is that mythology cannot fruitfully be studied apart from folklore, while some knowledge of anthropology is required in both sciences. The science of Folklore, if we may call it a science, finds everywhere, close to the surface of civilised life, the remains of ideas as old as the stone elf-shots, older than the celt of bronze.

In proverbs and riddles, and nursery tales and superstitions, we detect the relics of a stage of thought, which is dying out in Europe, but which still exists in many parts of the world. Now, just as the flint arrow-heads are scattered everywhere, in all the continents and isles, and everywhere are much alike, and bear no very definite marks of the special influence of race, so it is with the habits and legends investigated by the student of folklore. The stone arrow-head buried in a Scottish cairn is like those which were interred with Algonquin chiefs.

The flints found in Egyptian soil, or beside the tumulus on the plain of Marathon, nearly resemble the stones which tip the reed arrow of the modern Samoyed. Perhaps only a skilled experience could discern, in a heap of such arrow-heads, the specimens which are found in America or Africa from those which are unearthed in Europe. Even in the products of more advanced industry, we see early pottery, for example, so closely alike everywhere that, in the British Museum, Mexican vases have, ere now, been mixed up on the same shelf with archaic vessels from Greece.

The Heart Of the Hunter by Van Der Post, Laurens

In the same way, if a superstition or a riddle were offered to a student of folklore, he would have much difficulty in guessing its provenance , and naming the race from which it was brought. In all these, and many other regions, the sneeze was welcomed as an auspicious omen. The little superstition is as widely distributed as the flint arrow-heads.

Just as the object and use of the arrow-heads became intelligible when we found similar weapons in actual use among savages, so the salutation to the sneezer becomes intelligible when we learn that the savage has a good reason for it. He thinks the sneeze expels an evil spirit. Proverbs, again, and riddles are as universally scattered, and the Wolufs puzzle over the same devinettes as the Scotch schoolboy or the Breton peasant.

A few examples, less generally known, may be given to prove that the beliefs of folklore are not peculiar to any one race or stock of men. The first case is remarkable: it occurs in Mexico and Ceylon—nor are we aware that it is found elsewhere. The narrator occupied a new house on an estate called Allagalla.

Her native servants soon asserted that the place was haunted by a Pezazi. The English visitors saw and heard nothing extraordinary till a certain night: an abridged account of what happened then may be given in the words of Mrs. Wrapped in dreams, I lay on the night in question tranquilly sleeping, but gradually roused to a perception that discordant sounds disturbed the serenity of my slumber.

Loth to stir, I still dozed on, the sounds, however, becoming, as it seemed, more determined to make themselves heard; and I awoke to the consciousness that they proceeded from a belt of adjacent jungle, and resembled the noise that would be produced by some person felling timber.

Shutting my ears to the disturbance, I made no sign, until, with an expression of impatience, E suddenly started up, when I laid a detaining grasp upon his arm, murmuring that there was no need to think of rising at present—it must be quite early, and the kitchen cooly was doubtless cutting fire-wood in good time. E responded, in a tone of slight contempt, that no one could be cutting fire-wood at that hour, and the sounds were more suggestive of felling jungle; and he then inquired how long I had been listening to them. Now thoroughly aroused, I replied that I had heard the sounds for some time, at first confusing them with my dreams, but soon sufficiently awakening to the fact that they were no mere phantoms of my imagination, but a reality.

During our conversation the noises became more distinct and loud; blow after blow resounded, as of the axe descending upon the tree, followed by the crash of the falling timber. Renewed blows announced the repetition of the operations on another tree, and continued till several were devastated. It is unnecessary to tell more of the tale. In spite of minute examinations and close search, no solution of the mystery of the noises, on this or any other occasion, was ever found.

The natives, of course, attributed the disturbance to the Pezazi , or goblin. No one, perhaps, has asserted that the Aztecs were connected by ties of race with the people of Ceylon. Yet, when the Spaniards conquered Mexico, and when Sahagun one of the earliest missionaries collected the legends of the people, he found them, like the Cingalese, strong believers in the mystic tree-felling. When so any man heareth the sound of strokes in the night, as if one were felling trees, he reckons it an evil boding.

The sound of strokes smitten was first noted by the temple-servants, called tlamacazque, at the hour when they go in the night to make their offering of reeds or of boughs of pine, for so was their custom, and this penance they did on the neighbouring hills, and that when the night was far spent.

Whenever they heard such a sound as one makes when he splits wood with an axe a noise that may be heard afar off , they drew thence an omen of evil, and were afraid, and said that the sounds were part of the witchery of Tezeatlipoca, that often thus dismayeth men who journey in the night. Now, when tidings of these things came to a certain brave man, one exercised in war, he drew near, being guided by the sound, till he came to the very cause of the hubbub.

And when he came upon it, with difficulty he caught it, for the thing was hard to catch: natheless at last he overtook that which ran before him; and behold, it was a man without a heart, and, on either side of the chest, two holes that opened and shut, and so made the noise. Then the man put his hand within the breast of the figure and grasped the breast and shook it hard, demanding some grace or gift. As a rule, the grace demanded was power to make captives in war.

But, whatever the cause of the noise, or of the beliefs connected with the noise, may be, no one would explain them as the result of community of race between Cingalese and Aztecs. Nor would this explanation be offered to account for the Aztec and English belief that the creaking of furniture is an omen of death in a house. Obviously, these opinions are the expression of a common state of superstitious fancy, not the signs of an original community of origin.

Let us take another piece of folklore. All North-country English folk know the Kernababy. The last gleanings of the last field are bound up in a rude imitation of the human shape, and dressed in some tag-rags of finery. Here it is easy to trace the natural idea at the basis of the superstitious practice which links the shores of the Pacific with our own northern coast. Just as a portion of the yule-log and of the Christmas bread were kept all the year through, a kind of nest-egg of plenteous food and fire, so the kernababy, English or Peruvian, is an earnest that corn will not fail all through the year, till next harvest comes.

This feast is made comming from the chacra or farme unto the house, saying certaine songs, and praying that the Mays maize may long continue, the which they call Mama cora. However, the days of that old school of antiquarianism are numbered. To return to the Peruvian harvest home:—. They take a certaine portion of the most fruitefull of the Mays that growes in their farmes, the which they put in a certaine granary which they do calle Pirua, with certaine ceremonies, watching three nightes; they put this Mays in the richest garments they have, and, being thus wrapped and dressed, they worship this Pirua, and hold it in great veneration, saying it is the Mother of the Mays of their inheritances, and that by this means the Mays augments and is preserved.

The idea that the maize can speak need not surprise us; the Mexican held much the same belief, according to Sahagun:—. Well, in all this affair of the Scotch kernababy, and the Peruvian Mama cora , we need no explanation beyond the common simple ideas of human nature. The connection between the colour black, and mourning for the dead, is natural and almost universal.

Examples like these might be adduced in any number. We might remark the Australian black putting sharp bits of quartz in the tracks of an enemy who has gone by, that the enemy may be lamed; and we might point to Boris Godunof forbidding the same practice among the Russians. We might watch Scotch, and Australians, and Jews, and French, and Aztecs spreading dust round the body of a dead man, that the footprints of his ghost, or of other ghosts, may be detected next morning. We might point to a similar device in a modern novel, where the presence of a ghost is suspected, as proof of the similar workings of the Australian mind and of the mind of Mrs.

We shall later turn to ancient Greece, and show how the serpent-dances, the habit of smearing the body with clay, and other odd rites of the mysteries, were common to Hellenic religion, and to the religion of African, Australian, and American tribes. Now, with regard to all these strange usages, what is the method of folklore?

The method is, when an apparently irrational and anomalous custom is found in any country, to look for a country where a similar practice is found, and where the practice is no longer irrational and anomalous, but in harmony with the manners and ideas of the people among whom it prevails. That Greeks should dance about in their mysteries with harmless serpents in their hands looks quite unintelligible. Our method, then, is to compare the seemingly meaningless customs or manners of civilised races with the similar customs and manners which exist among the uncivilised and still retain their meaning.

It is not necessary for comparison of this sort that the uncivilised and the civilised race should be of the same stock, nor need we prove that they were ever in contact with each other. Similar conditions of mind produce similar practices, apart from identity of race, or borrowing of ideas and manners. Let us return to the example of the flint arrowheads. Everywhere neolithic arrow-heads are pretty much alike. The cause of the resemblance is no more than this, that men, with the same needs, the same materials, and the same rude instruments, everywhere produced the same kind of arrow-head.

No hypothesis of interchange of ideas nor of community of race is needed to explain the resemblance of form in the missiles. Very early pottery in any region is, for the same causes, like very early pottery in any other region. The same sort of similarity was explained by the same resemblances in human nature, when we touched on the identity of magical practices and of superstitious beliefs. This method is fairly well established and orthodox when we deal with usages and superstitious beliefs; but may we apply the same method when we deal with myths?

Here a difficulty occurs. Mythologists, as a rule, are averse to the method of folklore. They think it scientific to compare only the myths of races which speak languages of the same family, and of races which have, in historic times, been actually in proved contact with each other.

Thus, most mythologists hold it correct to compare Greek, Slavonic, Celtic, and Indian stories, because Greeks, Slavs, Celts, and Hindoos all speak languages of the same family. But the same mythologists will vow that it is unscientific to compare a Maori or a Hottentot or an Eskimo myth with an Aryan story, because Maoris and Eskimo and Hottentots do not speak languages akin to that of Greece, nor can we show that the ancestors of Greeks, Maoris, Hottentots, and Eskimo were ever in contact with each other in historical times.

Now the peculiarity of the method of folklore is that it will venture to compare with due caution and due examination of evidence the myths of the most widely severed races. He will not be surprised if Greeks and Australian blacks are in the same tale. In each case, he holds, all the circumstances of the case must be examined and considered. For instance, when the Australians tell a myth about the Pleiades very like the Greek myth of the Pleiades, we must ask a number of questions. Is the Australian version authentic? Can the people who told it have heard it from a European?

If these questions are answered so as to make it apparent that the Australian Pleiad myth is of genuine native origin, we need not fly to the conclusion that the Australians are a lost and forlorn branch of the Aryan race. Two other hypotheses present themselves. First, the human species is of unknown antiquity. In the moderate allowance of , years, there is time for stories to have wandered all round the world, as the Aggry beads of Ashanti have probably crossed the continent from Egypt, as the Asiatic jade if Asiatic it be has arrived in Swiss lake-dwellings, as an African trade-cowry is said to have been found in a Cornish barrow, as an Indian Ocean shell has been discovered in a prehistoric bone-cave in Poland.

This slow filtration of tales is not absolutely out of the question. Two causes would especially help to transmit myths. Slaves and captured brides would bring their native legends among alien peoples. But there is another possible way of explaining the resemblance granting that it is proved of the Greek and Australian Pleiad myth. The object of both myths is to account for the grouping and other phenomena of the constellations.

May not similar explanatory stories have occurred to the ancestors of the Australians, and to the ancestors of the Greeks, however remote their home, while they were still in the savage condition? The best way to investigate this point is to collect all known savage and civilised stellar myths, and see what points they have in common. If they all agree in character, though the Greek tales are full of grace, while those of the Australians or Brazilians are rude enough, we may plausibly account for the similarity of myths, as we accounted for the similarity of flint arrow-heads.

The myths, like the arrow-heads, resemble each other because they were originally framed to meet the same needs out of the same material. In the case of the arrow-heads, the need was for something hard, heavy, and sharp—the material was flint. In the case of the myths, the need was to explain certain phenomena—the material so to speak was an early state of the human mind, to which all objects seemed equally endowed with human personality, and to which no metamorphosis appeared impossible.

In the following essays, then, the myths and customs of various peoples will be compared, even when these peoples talk languages of alien families, and have never as far as history shows us been in actual contact. Our method throughout will be to place the usage, or myth, which is unintelligible when found among a civilised race, beside the similar myth which is intelligible enough when it is found among savages.

A mean term will be found in the folklore preserved by the non-progressive classes in a progressive people. This folklore represents, in the midst of a civilised race, the savage ideas out of which civilisation has been evolved. The conclusion will usually be that the fact which puzzles us by its presence in civilisation is a relic surviving from the time when the ancestors of a civilised race were in the state of savagery.

The hypothesis will be that the myth, or usage, is common to both races, not because of original community of stock, not because of contact and borrowing, but because the ancestors of the Greeks passed through the savage intellectual condition in which we find the Australians. The questions may be asked, Has race nothing, then, to do with myth? Do peoples never consciously borrow myths from each other? The answer is, that race has a great deal to do with the development of myth, if it be race which confers on a people its national genius, and its capacity of becoming civilised.

If race does this, then race affects, in the most powerful manner, the ultimate development of myth. No one is likely to confound a Homeric myth with a myth from the Edda, nor either with a myth from a Brahmana, though in all three cases the substance, the original set of ideas, may be much the same. In all three you have anthropomorphic gods, capable of assuming animal shapes, tricky, capricious, limited in many undivine ways, yet endowed with magical powers.

So far the mythical gods of Homer, of the Edda, of any of the Brahmanas, are on a level with each other, and not much above the gods of savage mythology. This stuff of myth is quod semper , quod ubique , quod ab omnibus , and is the original gift of the savage intellect. But the final treatment, the ultimate literary form of the myth, varies in each race. Homeric gods, like Red Indian, Thlinkeet, or Australian gods, can assume the shapes of birds. But when we read, in Homer, of the arming of Athene, the hunting of Artemis, the vision of golden Aphrodite, the apparition of Hermes, like a young man when the flower of youth is loveliest, then we recognise the effect of race upon myth, the effect of the Greek genius at work on rude material.

Between the Olympians and a Thlinkeet god there is all the difference that exists between the Demeter of Cnidos and an image from Easter Island. Again, the Scandinavian gods, when their tricks are laid aside, when Odin is neither assuming the shape of worm nor of raven, have a martial dignity, a noble enduring spirit of their own. Race comes out in that, as it does in the endless sacrifices, soma drinking, magical austerities, and puerile follies of Vedic and Brahmanic gods, the deities of a people fallen early into its sacerdotage and priestly second childhood.

Thus race declares itself in the ultimate literary form and character of mythology, while the common savage basis and stuff of myths may be clearly discerned in the horned, and cannibal, and shape-shifting, and adulterous gods of Greece, of India, of the North. As to borrowing, we have already shown that in prehistoric times there must have been much transmission of myth. The migrations of peoples, the traffic in slaves, the law of exogamy, which always keeps bringing alien women into the families—all these things favoured the migration of myth.

But the process lies behind history: we can only guess at it, we can seldom trace a popular legend on its travels. In the case of the cultivated ancient peoples, we know that they themselves believed they had borrowed their religions from each other. When the Greeks first found the Egyptians practising mysteries like their own, they leaped to the conclusion that their own rites had been imported from Egypt. We, who know that both Greek and Egyptian rites had many points in common with those of Mandans, Zunis, Bushmen, Australians—people quite unconnected with Egypt—feel less confident about the hypothesis of borrowing.

In later times, too, the Greeks, and still more the Romans, extended a free hospitality to alien gods and legends, to Serapis, Isis, the wilder Dionysiac revels, and so forth. But this habit of borrowing was regarded with disfavour by pious conservatives, and was probably, in the width of its hospitality at least, an innovation.

As the belated traveller makes his way through the monotonous plains of Australia, through the Bush, with its level expanses and clumps of grey-blue gum trees, he occasionally hears a singular sound. Beginning low, with a kind of sharp tone thrilling through a whirring noise, it grows louder and louder, till it becomes a sort of fluttering windy roar. If the traveller be a new comer, he is probably puzzled to the last degree.

The roaring noise is made to warn all women to keep out of the way. Just as Pentheus was killed with the approval of Theocritus because he profaned the rites of the women-worshippers of Dionysus, so, among the Australian blacks, men must, at their peril, keep out of the way of female, and women out of the way of male, celebrations.

The instrument which produces the sounds that warn women to remain afar is a toy familiar to English country lads. They call it the bull-roarer. The common bull-roarer is an inexpensive toy which anyone can make. I do not, however, recommend it to families, for two reasons. In the first place, it produces a most horrible and unexampled din, which endears it to the very young, but renders it detested by persons of mature age. In the second place, the character of the toy is such that it will almost infallibly break all that is fragile in the house where it is used, and will probably put out the eyes of some of the inhabitants.

Having thus, I trust, said enough to prevent all good boys from inflicting bull-roarers on their parents, pastors, and masters, I proceed in the interests of science to show how the toy is made. Nothing can be less elaborate. You take a piece of the commonest wooden board, say the lid of a packing-case, about a sixth of an inch in thickness, and about eight inches long and three broad, and you sharpen the ends. Now twist the end of the string tightly about your finger, and whirl the bull-roarer rapidly round and round. For a few moments nothing will happen.

In a very interesting lecture delivered at the Royal Institution, Mr. Tylor once exhibited a bull-roarer. At first it did nothing particular when it was whirled round, and the audience began to fear that the experiment was like those chemical ones often exhibited at institutes in the country, which contribute at most a disagreeable odour to the education of the populace. The bull-roarer has, of all toys, the widest diffusion, and the most extraordinary history.

To study the bull-roarer is to take a lesson in folklore. The instrument is found among the most widely severed peoples, savage and civilised, and is used in the celebration of savage and civilised mysteries. There are students who would found on this a hypothesis that the various races that use the bull-roarer all descend from the same stock. But the bull roarer is introduced here for the very purpose of showing that similar minds, working with simple means towards similar ends, might evolve the bull-roarer and its mystic uses anywhere. There is no need for a hypothesis of common origin, or of borrowing, to account for this widely diffused sacred object.

The bull-roarer has been, and is, a sacred and magical instrument in many and widely separated lands. A number of questions are naturally suggested by the bull-roarer. Is it a thing invented once for all, and carried abroad over the world by wandering races, or handed on from one people and tribe to another? Or is the bull-roarer a toy that might be accidentally hit on in any country where men can sharpen wood and twist the sinews of animals into string?

Was the thing originally a toy, and is its religious and mystical nature later; or was it originally one of the properties of the priest, or medicine-man, which in England has dwindled to a plaything? Lastly, was this mystical instrument at first employed in the rites of a civilised people like the Greeks, and was it in some way borrowed or inherited by South Africans, Australians, and New Mexicans? Or is it a mere savage invention, surviving like certain other features of the Greek mysteries from a distant stage of savagery?

In the first place, the bull-roarer is associated with mysteries and initiations. Now mysteries and initiations are things that tend to dwindle and to lose their characteristic features as civilisation advances. The rites of baptism and confirmation are not secret and hidden; they are common to both sexes, they are publicly performed, and religion and morality of the purest sort blend in these ceremonies. There are no other initiations or mysteries that civilised modern man is expected necessarily to pass through.

On the other hand, looking widely at human history, we find mystic rites and initiations numerous, stringent, severe, and magical in character, in proportion to the lack of civilisation in those who practise them. The less the civilisation, the more mysterious and the more cruel are the rites. The more cruel the rites, the less is the civilisation. The red-hot poker with which Mr. Bouncer terrified Mr. Verdant Green at the sham masonic rites would have been quite in place, a natural instrument of probationary torture, in the Freemasonry of Australians, Mandans, or Hottentots.

In the mysteries of Demeter or Bacchus, in the mysteries of a civilised people, the red-hot poker, or any other instrument of torture, would have been out of place. But in the Greek mysteries, just as in those of South Africans, Red Indians, and Australians, the disgusting practice of bedaubing the neophyte with dirt and clay was preserved. We have nothing quite like that in modern initiations.

Except at Sparta, Greeks dropped the tortures inflicted on boys and girls in the initiations superintended by the cruel Artemis. On the whole, then, and on a general view of the subject, we prefer to think that the bull-roarer in Greece was a survival from savage mysteries, not that the bull-roarer in New Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa is a relic of civilisation.

Let us next observe a remarkable peculiarity of the turndun , or Australian bull-roarer. The bull-roarer in England is a toy. Among the Kurnai, the sacred mystery of the turndun is preserved by a legend, which gives a supernatural sanction to secrecy. When boys go through the mystic ceremony of initiation they are shown turnduns, or bull-roarers, and made to listen to their hideous din. They are then told that, if ever a woman is allowed to see a turndun, the earth will open, and water will cover the globe. In Gippsland there is a tradition of the deluge.

Immediately the earth crumbled away, and it was all water, and the Kurnai were drowned.

In consequence of all this mummery the Australian women attach great sacredness to the very name of the turndun. They are much less instructed in their own theology than the men of the tribe. Turnduns carved with imitations of water-flowers are used by medicine-men in rain-making. New Zealand also has her bull-roarers; some of them, carved in relief, are in the Christy Museum, and one is engraved here.

I have no direct evidence as to the use of these Maori bull-roarers in the Maori mysteries. Their employment, however, may perhaps be provisionally inferred. The windy roaring noise made by the bull-roarer might readily be considered by savages, either as an invitation to a god who should present himself in storm, or as a proof of his being at hand.

We have seen that this view was actually taken by an Australian woman. It is a mere conjecture, and possibly enough capable of disproof, but we have a suspicion that the use of the mystica vannus Iacchi was a mode of raising a sacred wind analogous to that employed by whirlers of the turndun. Servius, the ancient commentator on Virgil, mentions, among other opinions, this—that the vannus was a sieve, and that it symbolised the purifying effect of the mysteries.

But it is clear that Servius was only guessing; and he offers other explanations, among them that the vannus was a crate to hold offerings, primitias frugum. We have studied the bull-roarer in Australia, we have caught a glimpse of it in England. Its existence on the American continent is proved by letters from New Mexico, and by a passage in Mr.

Gushing calls it—is used as a call to the ceremonial observance of the tribal ritual. Cushing writes:—. These orders were engaged in their annual ceremonials, of which little was told or shown me; but, at the end of four days, I heard one morning a deep whirring noise. Running out, I saw a procession of three priests of the bow, in plumed helmets and closely-fitting cuirasses, both of thick buckskin—gorgeous and solemn with sacred embroideries and war-paint, begirt with bows, arrows, and war-clubs, and each distinguished by his badge of degree—coming down one of the narrow streets.

The principal priest carried in his arms a wooden idol, ferocious in aspect, yet beautiful with its decorations of shell, turquoise, and brilliant paint. It was nearly hidden by symbolic slats and prayer-sticks most elaborately plumed. He was preceded by a guardian with drawn bow and arrows, while another followed, twirling the sounding slat, which had attracted alike my attention and that of hundreds of the Indians, who hurriedly flocked to the roofs of the adjacent houses, or lined the street, bowing their heads in adoration, and scattering sacred prayer-meal on the god and his attendant priests.

Slowly they wound their way down the hill, across the river, and off toward the mountain of Thunder. Soon an identical procession followed and took its way toward the western hills. Here then, in Zuni, we have the bull-roarer again, and once more we find it employed as a summons to the mysteries. We do not learn, however, that women in Zuni are forbidden to look upon the bull-roarer. Finally, the South African evidence, which is supplied by letters from a correspondent of Mr.

The bull-roarer has not been made a subject of particular research; very probably later investigations will find it in other parts of the modern world besides America, Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. I have myself been fortunate enough to encounter the bull-roarer on the soil of ancient Greece and in connection with the Dionysiac mysteries. Clemens of Alexandria, and Arnobius, an early Christian father who follows Clemens, describe certain toys of the child Dionysus which were used in the mysteries.

No single point is omitted. This is not the end of the matter. A story was told, as usual, to explain this rite. It was said that, when the Titans attacked Dionysus and tore him to pieces, they painted themselves first with clay, or gypsum, that they might not be recognised. Nonnus shows, in several places, that down to his time the celebrants of the Bacchic mysteries retained this dirty trick. Precisely the same trick prevails in the mysteries of savage peoples. Similar daubings were performed at the mysteries by the Mandans, as described by Catlin; and the Zunis made raids on Mr. On the Congo, Mr.

Johnson found precisely the same ritual in the initiations. Here, then, not to multiply examples, we discover two singular features in common between Greek and savage mysteries. Both Greeks and savages employ the bull-roarer, both bedaub the initiated with dirt or with white paint or chalk. As to the meaning of the latter very un-Aryan practice, one has no idea. It is only certain that war parties of Australian blacks bedaub themselves with white clay to alarm their enemies in night attacks. The Phocians, according to Herodotus viii.

To prove this I will not mention the secret acts of worship, on account of the uninitiated. Now this is exactly the case in the surviving mysteries of the Bushmen. Orpen, the chief magistrate in St. He gave a good deal of information about the myths of his people, but refused to answer certain questions. In many mysteries, Qing, as a young man, was not initiated. There are thus undeniably close resemblances between the Greek mysteries and those of the lowest contemporary races.

As to the bull-roarer, its recurrence among Greeks, Zunis, Kamilaroi, Maoris, and South African races, would be regarded, by some students, as a proof that all these tribes had a common origin, or had borrowed the instrument from each other. But this theory is quite unnecessary. The bull-roarer is a very simple invention. Anyone might find out that a bit of sharpened wood, tied to a string, makes, when whirred, a roaring noise.

Supposing that discovery made, it is soon turned to practical use. All tribes have their mysteries. All want a signal to summon the right persons together and warn the wrong persons to keep out of the way. The church bell does as much for us, so did the shaken seistron for the Egyptians. People with neither bells nor seistra find the bull-roarer, with its mysterious sound, serve their turn.

The hiding of the instrument from women is natural enough. It merely makes the alarm and absence of the curious sex doubly sure. The stories of supernatural consequences to follow if a woman sees the turndun lend a sanction. This is not a random theory, without basis. In Brazil, the natives have no bull-roarer, but they have mysteries, and the presence of the women at the mysteries of the men is a terrible impiety. When the sound of the jurupari pipes is heard, as when the turndun is heard in Australia, every woman flees and hides herself.

The women are always executed if they see the pipes. Alfred Wallace bought a pair of these pipes, but he had to embark them at a distance from the village where they were procured. The seller was afraid that some unknown misfortune would occur if the women of his village set eyes on the juruparis. The conclusion from all these facts seems obvious. The bull-roarer is an instrument easily invented by savages, and easily adopted into the ritual of savage mysteries. If we find the bull-roarer used in the mysteries of the most civilised of ancient peoples, the most probable explanation is, that the Greeks retained both the mysteries, the bull-roarer, the habit of bedaubing the initiate, the torturing of boys, the sacred obscenities, the antics with serpents, the dances, and the like, from the time when their ancestors were in the savage condition.

That more refined and religious ideas were afterwards introduced into the mysteries seems certain, but the rites were, in many cases, simply savage. Unintelligible except as survivals when found among Hellenes, they become intelligible enough among savages, because they correspond to the intellectual condition and magical fancies of the lower barbarism. The same sort of comparison, the same kind of explanation, will account, as we shall see, for the savage myths as well as for the savage customs which survived among the Greeks.

They had never been separated. Between the bodies of their parents they were imprisoned, and there was no light. The names of the children were Tumatuenga, Tane Mahuta, Tutenganahau, and some others. So they all consulted as to what should be done with their parents, Rangi and Papa. Let one go upwards, and become a stranger to us; let the other remain below, and be a parent to us. Then the fruit-gods, and the war-god, and the sea-god for all the children of Papa and Rangi were gods tried to rend their parents asunder.

Last rose the forest-god, cruel Tutenganahau. He severed the sinews which united Heaven and Earth, Rangi and Papa. Then he pushed hard with his head and feet. Why this great sin? Why destroy us? Why separate us? This is the Maori story of the severing of the wedded Heaven and Earth. The cutting of them asunder was the work of Tutenganahau and his brethren, and the conduct of Tutenganahau is still held up as an example of filial impiety. Now let us turn from New Zealand to Athens, as she was in the days of Pericles.

Socrates is sitting in the porch of the King Archon, when Euthyphro comes up and enters into conversation with the philosopher. What is he accused of? One day this man, in a drunken passion, killed a slave. For this offence, Euthyphro was prosecuting his own father. For do not men regard Zeus as the best and most righteous of gods?

Yet even they admit that Zeus bound his own father Cronus, because he wickedly devoured his sons; and that Cronus, too, had punished his own father, Uranus, for a similar reason, in a nameless manner. And yet when I proceed against my father, people are angry with me. This is their inconsistent way of talking, when the gods are concerned, and when I am concerned. Here Socrates breaks in. We have here a typical example of the way in which mythology puzzled the early philosophers of Greece. Socrates was anxious to be pious, and to respect the most ancient traditions of the gods.

Yet at the very outset of sacred history he was met by tales of gods who mutilated and bound their own parents. Not only were such tales hateful to him, but they were of positively evil example to people like Euthyphro. The problem remained, how did the fathers of the Athenians ever come to tell such myths? Let us now examine the myth of Cronus, and the explanations which have been given by scholars. Near the beginning of things, according to Hesiod whose cosmogony was accepted in Greece , Earth gave birth to Heaven.

As in New Zealand, some of these children were gods of the various elements. Thereupon Earth produced iron, and bade her children avenge their wrongs. Cronus determined to end the embraces of Heaven and Earth. But, while the Maori myth conceives of Heaven and Earth as of two beings which have never been separated before, Hesiod makes Heaven amorously approach his wife from a distance.

Then Cronus stretched out his hand, armed with a sickle of iron, or steel, and mutilated Uranus. Thus were Heaven and Earth practically divorced. But as in the Maori myth one of the children of Heaven clave to his sire, so, in Greek, Oceanus remained faithful to his father. This is the first portion of the Myth of Cronus. Can it be denied that the story is well illustrated and explained by the New Zealand parallel, the myth of the cruelty of Tutenganahau? By means of this comparison, the meaning of the myth is made clear enough.

Just as the New Zealanders had conceived of Heaven and Earth as at one time united, to the prejudice of their children, so the ancestors of the Greeks had believed in an ancient union of Heaven and Earth. Both by Greeks and Maoris, Heaven and Earth were thought of as living persons, with human parts and passions.

Their union was prejudicial to their children, and so the children violently separated the parents. This conduct is regarded as impious, and as an awful example to be avoided, in Maori pahs. In Naxos, on the other hand, Euthyphro deemed that the conduct of Cronus deserved imitation. If ever the Maoris had reached a high civilisation, they would probably have been revolted, like Socrates, by the myth which survived from their period of savagery.

That this view of Heaven and Earth is natural to early minds, Mr. Tylor proves by the presence of the myth of the union and violent divorce of the pair in China. This, then, is our interpretation of the exploit of Cronus. It is an old surviving nature-myth of the severance of Heaven and Earth, a myth found in China, India, New Zealand, as well as in Greece.

Of course it is not pretended that Chinese and Maoris borrowed from Indians and Greeks, or came originally of the same stock. Similar phenomena, presenting themselves to be explained by human minds in a similar stage of fancy and of ignorance, will account for the parallel myths. The second part of the myth of Cronus was, like the first, a stumbling-block to the orthodox in Greece. Of the second part we offer no explanation beyond the fact that the incidents in the myth are almost universally found among savages, and that, therefore, in Greece they are probably survivals from savagery.

The sequel of the myth appears to account for nothing, as the first part accounts for the severance of Heaven and Earth. It was a case of Friedrich Wilhelm and Friedrich. But Cronus acting in a way natural in a story perhaps first invented by cannibals swallowed his children instead of merely imprisoning them. Heaven and Earth had warned him to beware of his heirs, and he could think of no safer plan than that which he adopted.

When Rhea was about to become the mother of Zeus, she fled to Crete. Here Zeus was born, and when Cronus in pursuit of his usual policy asked for the baby, he was presented with a stone wrapped up in swaddling bands. After swallowing the stone, Cronus was easy in his mind; but Zeus grew up, administered a dose to his father, and compelled him to disgorge. Zeus fixed the stone at Delphi, where, long after the Christian era, Pausanias saw it. All Greek temples had their fetich-stones, and each stone had its legend. This was the story of the Delphian stone, and of the fetichism which survived the early years of Christianity.

A very pretty story it is. This anecdote about Cronus was the stumbling-block of the orthodox Greek, the jest of the sceptic, and the butt of the early Christian controversialists. Found among Bushmen or Australians the narrative might seem rather wild, but it astonishes us still more when it occurs in the holy legends of Greece. Our explanation of its presence there is simple enough. Like the erratic blocks in a modern plain, like the flint-heads in a meadow, the story is a relic of a very distant past. The glacial age left the boulders on the plain, the savage tribes of long ago left the arrowheads, the period of savage fancy left the story of Cronus and the rites of the fetich-stone.

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And by savages similar tales are still told. The chief divine character in Bushman myth is the Mantis insect. As Zeus made his own wife change herself into an insect, for the convenience of swallowing her, there is not much difference between Bushman and early Greek mythology. Kwai Hemm is killed by a stratagem, and all the animals whom he has got outside of, in a long and voracious career, troop forth from him alive and well, like the swallowed gods from the maw of Cronus. But the Bushman story is just the sort of story we expect from Bushmen, whereas the Hesiodic story is not at all the kind of tale we look for from Greeks.

The explanation is, that the Greeks had advanced out of a savage state of mind and society, but had retained their old myths, myths evolved in the savage stage, and in harmony with that condition of fancy. The Moon was a mischievous being, who walked about the world, doing what evil he could. One day he swallowed the eagle-god. The wives of the eagle came up, and the Moon asked them where he might find a well.

They pointed out a well, and, as he drank, they hit the Moon with a stone tomahawk, and out flew the eagle. The wolf went to the well to drink, the weight of the stones pulled him in, and he was drowned. Similar stories are common among the Red Indians, and Mr. Im Thurn has found them in Guiana. How savages all over the world got the idea that men and beasts could be swallowed and disgorged alive, and why they fashioned the idea into a divine myth, it is hard to say.

It has been suggested that night, covering up the world, gave the first idea of the swallowing myth. Now in some of the stories the night is obviously conceived of as a big beast which swallows all things.

The Heart Of the Hunter

The notion that night is an animal is entirely in harmony with savage metaphysics. In the opinion of the savage speculator, all things are men and animals. Kui a very respectable Bushman, whose name seems a little hard to pronounce , once saw the wind-person at Haarfontein. Savages, then, are persuaded that night, sky, cloud, fire, and so forth, are only the schein , or sensuous appearance, of things that, in essence, are men or animals.

At first it was always day, and people tired of it. Qat heard that Night was at the Torres Islands, and he set forth to get some. Qong Night received Qat well, blackened his eyebrows, showed him Sleep, and sent him off with fowls to bring Dawn after the arrival of Night should make Dawn a necessary. Night is more or less personal in this tale, and solid enough to be cut, so as to let the Dawn out.

This savage conception of night, as the swallower and disgorger, might start the notion of other swallowing and disgorging beings. On this principle Cronus would be the Night, and so would the wolf in Grimm. For our purposes it is enough that the feat of Cronus is a feat congenial to the savage fancy and repugnant to the civilised Greeks who found themselves in possession of the myth.

Beyond this, and beyond the inference that the Cronus myth was first evolved by people to whom it seemed quite natural, that is, by savages, we do not pretend to go in our interpretation. To end our examination of the Myth of Cronus, we may compare the solutions offered by scholars. As a rule, these solutions are based on the philological analysis of the names in the story. It will be seen that very various and absolutely inconsistent etymologies and meanings of Cronus are suggested by philologists of the highest authority.

These contradictions are, unfortunately, rather the rule than the exception in the etymological interpretation of myths. The opinion of Mr. Kronos did not exist till long after Zeus in Greece. This is a very simple and very common form of mythological expression. This may be a very old myth in Greece; but the misunderstanding which gave rise to it could have happened in Greece only. Among the lowest tribes of Africa and America, we hardly find anything more hideous and revolting.

One objection to Mr. But why did they tell such savage and revolting stories about the god they had invented? That is the problem; and, while Mr. This theory, therefore, is of no practical service. In Cronus, Mr. But in place of Zeus that is, according to Kuhn, of the daylight sky he swallows a stone, that is, the sun. When he disgorges the stone the sun , he also disgorges the gods of light whom he had swallowed. I confess that I cannot understand these distinctions between the father and lord of light and dark Cronus and the beings he swallowed.

Nor do I find it easy to believe that myth-making man took all those distinctions, or held those views of the Creator. However, the chief thing to note is that Mr. The next etymological theory is the daring speculation of Mr. Brown would like to behorn them. Let us now turn to Preller. Preller illustrates the mutilation of Uranus by the Maori tale of Tutenganahau. Sayce sees points in common between the legend of Moloch, or of Baal under the name of Moloch, and the myth of Cronus. Isaac Taylor, again, explains Cronus as the sky which swallows and reproduces the stars.

He who adopts any one of them, knows all about it. A not less adequate interpretation assigns him ultimately to Accadia. While the inquirer who can choose a system and stick to it knows the exact nationality of Cronus, he is also well acquainted with his character as a nature-god. He may be Time, or perhaps he is the Summer Heat, and a horned god; or he is the harvest-god, or the god of storm and darkness, or the midnight sky,—the choice is wide; or he is the lord of dark and light, and his children are the stars, the clouds, the summer months, the light-powers, or what you will.

The mythologist has only to make his selection.

Steven Rinella

The system according to which we tried to interpret the myth is less ondoyant et divers. We do not even pretend to explain everything. We do not guess at the meaning and root of the word Cronus. We only find parallels to the myth among savages, whose mental condition is fertile in such legends. And we only infer that the myth of Cronus was originally evolved by persons also in the savage intellectual condition.

The survival we explain as, in a previous essay, we explained the survival of the bull-roarer by the conservatism of the religious instinct. Sometimes the pair are re-united, after long searchings and wanderings; sometimes they are severed for ever. Such are the central situations in tales like that of Cupid and Psyche. In the attempt to discover how the ideas on which this myth is based came into existence, we may choose one of two methods.

We may confine our investigations to the Aryan peoples, among whom the story occurs both in the form of myth and of household tale. If among savages we find both narratives like Cupid and Psyche, and also customs and laws out of which the myth might have arisen, we may provisionally conclude that similar customs once existed among the civilised races who possess the tale, and that from these sprang the early forms of the myth.

In accordance with the method hitherto adopted, we shall prefer the second plan, and pursue our quest beyond the limits of the Aryan peoples. The oldest literary shape of the tale of Psyche and her lover is found in the Rig Veda x. The characters of a singular and cynical dialogue in that poem are named Urvasi and Pururavas. Of the dialogue in the Rig Veda it may be said, in the words of Mr. In the Rig Veda, then, we dimly discern a parting between a mortal man and an immortal bride, and a promise of reconciliation. The story, of which this Vedic poem is a partial dramatisation, is given in the Brahmana of the Yajur Veda. They therefore plotted some way of parting her from Pururavas. Her covenant with her lord declared that she was never to see him naked. If that compact were broken she would be compelled to leave him. She vanished. An empty ostrich egg is used to collect the water. Water is sucked into the straw from the sand, into the mouth, and then travels down another straw into the ostrich egg. Traditionally, the San were an egalitarian society. The San made decisions among themselves by consensus , [39] with women treated as relative equals.

Most San are monogamous , but if a hunter is skilled enough to get a lot of food, he can afford to have a second wife as well. Villages range in sturdiness from nightly rain shelters in the warm spring when people move constantly in search of budding greens , to formalised rings, wherein people congregate in the dry season around permanent waterholes. Early spring is the hardest season: a hot dry period following the cool, dry winter. Most plants still are dead or dormant, and supplies of autumn nuts are exhausted.

Meat is particularly important in the dry months when wildlife can not range far from the receding waters. Women gather fruit, berries, tubers, bush onions, and other plant materials for the band's consumption. Ostrich eggs are gathered, and the empty shells are used as water containers. Women's traditional gathering gear is simple and effective: a hide sling, a blanket, a cloak called a kaross to carry foodstuffs, firewood, smaller bags, a digging stick, and perhaps, a smaller version of the kaross to carry a baby.

Men hunt in long, laborious tracking excursions. They kill their game using arrows and spears tipped in diamphotoxin , a slow-acting arrow poison produced by beetle larvae of the genus Diamphidia. Historical evidence shows that certain San communities have always lived in the desert regions of the Kalahari; however, eventually nearly all other San communities in southern Africa were forced into this region. The Kalahari San remained in poverty where their richer neighbours denied them rights to the land. Before long, in both Botswana and Namibia, they found their territory drastically reduced.

Various Y chromosome studies show that the San carry some of the most divergent oldest human Y-chromosome haplogroups. These haplogroups are specific sub-groups of haplogroups A and B , the two earliest branches on the human Y-chromosome tree. Mitochondrial DNA studies also provide evidence that the San carry high frequencies of the earliest haplogroup branches in the human mitochondrial DNA tree. This DNA is inherited only from one's mother. The most divergent oldest mitochondrial haplogroup, L0d , has been identified at its highest frequencies in the southern African San groups.

This high degree of genetic diversity hints at the origin of anatomically modern humans. A study suggested that the San may have been isolated from other original ancestral groups for as much as , years and later rejoined, re-integrating the human gene pool. A DNA study of fully sequenced genomes, published in September , showed that the ancestors of today's San hunter-gatherers began to diverge from other human populations in Africa about , years ago and were fully isolated by , years ago, well before the first archaeological evidence of modern behaviour in humans.

Much aboriginal people 's land in Botswana, including land occupied by the San people or Basarwa , was stolen during colonisation, and the pattern of loss of land and access to natural resources continued after Botswana's independence. Government policies from the s transferred a significant area of traditionally San land to White settlers and majority agro-pastoralist tribes. Harassment of residents, dismantling of infrastructure, and bans on hunting appear to have been used to induce residents to leave. A licence was granted to Phytopharm , for development of the active ingredient in the Hoodia plant, p57 glycoside , to be used as a pharmaceutical drug for dieting.

Once this patent was brought to the attention of the San, a benefit-sharing agreement was reached between them and the CSIR in This would award royalties to the San for the benefits of their indigenous knowledge. This benefit-sharing agreement is one of the first to give royalties to the holders of traditional knowledge used for drug sales.

The San of the Kalahari were first brought to the globalized world's attention in the s by South African author Laurens van der Post. Van der Post grew up in South Africa, and had a respectful lifelong fascination with native African cultures. In , he was commissioned by the BBC to go to the Kalahari desert with a film crew in search of the San.

The filmed material was turned into a very popular six-part television documentary a year later. Driven by a lifelong fascination with this "vanished tribe", Van der Post published a book about this expedition, entitled The Lost World of the Kalahari. It was to be his most famous book. In , he published The Heart of the Hunter , a narrative which he admits in the introduction uses two previous works of stories and mythology as "a sort of Stone Age Bible", namely Specimens of Bushman Folklore ' , collected by Wilhelm H.

Bleek and Lucy C. Van der Post's work brought indigenous African cultures to millions of people around the world for the first time, but some people disparaged it as part of the subjective view of a European in the s and s, stating that he branded the San as simple "children of Nature" or even "mystical ecologists". In by John Perrot and team published the book "Bush for the Bushman" - a "desperate plea" on behalf of the aboriginal San addressing the international community and calling on the governments throughout Southern Africa to respect and reconstitute the ancestral land-rights of all San.

John Marshall , the son of Harvard anthropologist Lorna Marshall , documented the lives of San in the Nyae Nyae region of Namibia over a more than year period. His early film The Hunters , released in , shows a giraffe hunt. Marshall was a vocal proponent of the San cause throughout his life. John Marshall and Adrienne Miesmer documented the lives of the! This film, the account of a woman who grew up while the San lived as autonomous hunter-gatherers, but who later was forced into a dependent life in the government-created community at Tsumkwe, shows how the lives of the!

Kung people , who lived for millennia as hunter gatherers, were forever changed when they were forced onto a reservation too small to support them. This was reveiewed by Lawrence Van Gelder for the New York Times , who said that the film "constitutes an act of preservation and a requiem".

Spencer Wells 's book The Journey of Man —in connection with National Geographic 's Genographic Project —discusses a genetic analysis of the San and asserts their genetic markers were the first ones to split from those of the ancestors of the bulk of other Homo sapiens sapiens. The PBS documentary based on the book follows these markers throughout the world, demonstrating that all of humankind can be traced back to the African continent see Recent African origin of modern humans , the so-called "out of Africa" hypothesis.

The BBC's The Life of Mammals series includes video footage of an indigenous San of the Kalahari desert undertaking a persistence hunt of a kudu through harsh desert conditions. Lewis-Williams draws parallels with prehistoric art around the world, linking in shamanic ritual and trance states. For Paul, they were years of physical and spiritual immersion into a way of life of which only an echo remains in living memory.

It is a true story of exodus, the inevitable journey of the last of the First People, as they leave the Great Sand Face and head for the modern world and cultural oblivion. A film, Lost in the Desert , features a small boy, stranded in the desert, who encounters a group of wandering San. They help him and then abandon him as a result of a misunderstanding created by the lack of a common language and culture. This comedy portrays a Kalahari San group's first encounter with an artifact from the outside world a Coca-Cola bottle. In a story told to the Radio City audience an edited version of which appears on the DVD version of Live at Radio City , Matthews recalls hearing the music of the San and, upon asking his guide what the words to their songs were, being told that "there are no words to these songs, because these songs, we've been singing since before people had words".

He goes on to describe the song as his "homage to meeting His title comes from the San's belief that a solar eclipse occurs when a crocodile eats the sun. Laurens van der Post 's two novels, A Story Like The Wind and its sequel, A Far Off Place , made into a film , are about a white boy encountering a wandering San and his wife, and how the San's life and survival skills save the white teenagers' lives in a journey across the desert.

James A. Michener 's The Covenant , is a work of historical fiction centered on South Africa. The first section of the book concerns a San community's journey set roughly in 13, BC.

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In Wilbur Smith 's novel The Burning Shore an installment in the Courtneys of Africa book series , the San people are portrayed through two major characters, O'wa and H'ani; Smith describes the San's struggles, history, and beliefs in great detail. Norman Rush 's novel Mating features an encampment of Basarwa near the imaginary Botswana town where the main action is set.

In the novel, Williams invokes aspects of San mythology and culture. Alexander McCall Smith has written a series of episodic novels set in Gaborone , the capital of Botswana. The protagonist of The No. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Members of various indigenous hunter-gatherer people of Southern Africa. For other uses, see Bushman. Not to be confused with Sand People. Further information: San healing practices and San rock art. Main article: Ancestral land conflict in Botswana. This section contains content that is written like an advertisement.

Please help improve it by removing promotional content and inappropriate external links , and by adding encyclopedic content written from a neutral point of view. July Learn how and when to remove this template message. I continued to use Bushman, and I was publicly corrected several times by the righteous. Retrieved 12 January The Mountain Bushmen of Basutoland. Pretoria : J. Van Schaik Ltd. Anthropology and the Bushman. Oxford: Berg. Worlds Oldest Ritual Discovered. Worshipped the Python 70, Years Ago Report. Apollon Research Magazine.

United Nations Human Rights Council. The Independent. Retrieved 19 January BBC World News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 1 July Retrieved 3 September United States Department of State. Cape Town: New Africa Books. In Smith, Claire; Wobst, H. Martin eds. Indigenous Archaeologies: Decolonizing Theory and Practice.

Archived from the original on 17 January Retrieved 11 January The Witness. Archived from the original on 14 October