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´╗┐Title: Modern Mythology
Author: Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1897 Longmans, Green, and Co. edition by David



Dedicated to the memory of John Fergus McLennan.


It may well be doubted whether works of controversy serve any useful
purpose.  'On an opponent,' as Mr. Matthew Arnold said, 'one never does
make any impression,' though one may hope that controversy sometimes
illuminates a topic in the eyes of impartial readers.  The pages which
follow cannot but seem wandering and desultory, for they are a reply to a
book, Mr. Max Muller's Contributions to the Science of Mythology, in
which the attack is of a skirmishing character.  Throughout more than
eight hundred pages the learned author keeps up an irregular fire at the
ideas and methods of the anthropological school of mythologists.  The
reply must follow the lines of attack.

Criticism cannot dictate to an author how he shall write his own book.
Yet anthropologists and folk-lorists, 'agriologists' and 'Hottentotic'
students, must regret that Mr. Max Muller did not state their general
theory, as he understands it, fully and once for all.  Adversaries rarely
succeed in quite understanding each other; but had Mr. Max Muller made
such a statement, we could have cleared up anything in our position which
might seem to him obscure.

Our system is but one aspect of the theory of evolution, or is but the
application of that theory to the topic of mythology.  The archaeologist
studies human life in its material remains; he tracks progress (and
occasional degeneration) from the rudely chipped flints in the ancient
gravel beds, to the polished stone weapon, and thence to the ages of
bronze and iron.  He is guided by material 'survivals'--ancient arms,
implements, and ornaments.  The student of Institutions has a similar
method.  He finds his relics of the uncivilised past in agricultural
usages, in archaic methods of allotment of land, in odd marriage customs,
things rudimentary--fossil relics, as it were, of an early social and
political condition.  The archaeologist and the student of Institutions
compare these relics, material or customary, with the weapons, pottery,
implements, or again with the habitual law and usage of existing savage
or barbaric races, and demonstrate that our weapons and tools, and our
laws and manners, have been slowly evolved out of lower conditions, even
out of savage conditions.

The anthropological method in mythology is the same.  In civilised
religion and myth we find rudimentary survivals, fossils of rite and
creed, ideas absolutely incongruous with the environing morality,
philosophy, and science of Greece and India.  Parallels to these things,
so out of keeping with civilisation, we recognise in the creeds and rites
of the lower races, even of cannibals; but _there_ the creeds and rites
are _not_ incongruous with their environment of knowledge and culture.
There they are as natural and inevitable as the flint-headed spear or
marriage by capture.  We argue, therefore, that religions and mythical
faiths and rituals which, among Greeks and Indians, are inexplicably
incongruous have lived on from an age in which they were natural and
inevitable, an age of savagery.

That is our general position, and it would have been a benefit to us if
Mr. Max Muller had stated it in his own luminous way, if he wished to
oppose us, and had shown us where and how it fails to meet the
requirements of scientific method.  In place of doing this once for all,
he often assails our evidence, yet never notices the defences of our
evidence, which our school has been offering for over a hundred years.  He
attacks the excesses of which some sweet anthropological enthusiasts have
been guilty or may be guilty, such as seeing totems wherever they find
beasts in ancient religion, myth, or art.  He asks for definitions (as of
totemism), but never, I think, alludes to the authoritative definitions
by Mr. McLennan and Mr. Frazer.  He assails the theory of fetishism as if
it stood now where De Brosses left it in a purely pioneer work--or,
rather, where he understands De Brosses to have left it.  One might as
well attack the atomic theory where Lucretius left it, or the theory of
evolution where it was left by the elder Darwin.

Thus Mr. Max Muller really never conies to grips with his opponents, and
his large volumes shine rather in erudition and style than in method and
system.  Anyone who attempts a reply must necessarily follow Mr. Max
Muller up and down, collecting his scattered remarks on this or that
point at issue.  Hence my reply, much against my will, must seem
desultory and rambling.  But I have endeavoured to answer with some kind
of method and system, and I even hope that this little book may be useful
as a kind of supplement to Mr. Max Muller's, for it contains exact
references to certain works of which he takes the reader's knowledge for

The general problem at issue is apt to be lost sight of in this guerilla
kind of warfare.  It is perhaps more distinctly stated in the preface to
Mr. Max Muller's Chips from a German Workshop, vol. iv. (Longmans, 1895),
than in his two recent volumes.  The general problem is this: Has
language--especially language in a state of 'disease,' been the great
source of the mythology of the world?  Or does mythology, on the whole,
represent the survival of an old stage of thought--not caused by
language--from which civilised men have slowly emancipated themselves?
Mr. Max Muller is of the former, anthropologists are of the latter,
opinion.  Both, of course, agree that myths are a product of thought, of
a kind of thought almost extinct in civilised races; but Mr. Max Muller
holds that language caused that kind of thought.  We, on the other hand,
think that language only gave it one means of expressing itself.

The essence of myth, as of fairy tale, we agree, is the conception of the
things in the world as all alike animated, personal, capable of endless
interchanges of form.  Men may become beasts; beasts may change into men;
gods may appear as human or bestial; stones, plants, winds, water, may
speak and act like human beings, and change shapes with them.

Anthropologists demonstrate that the belief in this universal kinship,
universal personality of things, which we find surviving only in the
myths of civilised races, is even now to some degree part of the living
creed of savages.  Civilised myths, then, they urge, are survivals from a
parallel state of belief once prevalent among the ancestors of even the
Aryan race.  But how did this mental condition, this early sort of false
metaphysics, come into existence?  We have no direct historical
information on the subject.  If I were obliged to offer an hypothesis, it
would be that early men, conscious of personality, will, and
life--conscious that force, when exerted by themselves, followed on a
determination of will within them--extended that explanation to all the
exhibitions of force which they beheld without them.  Rivers run (early
man thought), winds blow, fire burns, trees wave, as a result of their
own will, the will of personal conscious entities.  Such vitality, and
even power of motion, early man attributed even to inorganic matter, as
rocks and stones.  All these things were beings, like man himself.  This
does not appear to me an unnatural kind of nascent, half-conscious
metaphysics.  'Man never knows how much he anthropomorphises.'  He
extended the only explanation of his own action which consciousness
yielded to him, he extended it to explain every other sort of action in
the sensible world.  Early Greek philosophy recognised the stars as
living bodies; all things had once seemed living and personal.  From the
beginning, man was eager causas cognoscere rerum.  The only cause about
which self-consciousness gave him any knowledge was his own personal
will.  He therefore supposed all things to be animated with a like will
and personality.  His mythology is a philosophy of things, stated in
stories based on the belief in universal personality.

My theory of the origin of that belief is, of course, a mere guess; we
have never seen any race in the process of passing from a total lack of a
hypothesis of causes into that hypothesis of universally distributed
personality which is the basis of mythology.

But Mr. Max Muller conceives that this belief in universally distributed
personality (the word 'Animism' is not very clear) was the result of an
historical necessity--not of speculation, but of language. 'Roots were
all, or nearly all, expressive of action. . . .  Hence a river could only
be called or conceived as a runner, or a roarer, or a defender; and in
all these capacities always as something active and animated, nay, as
something masculine or feminine.'

But _why_ conceived as 'masculine or feminine'?  This necessity for
endowing inanimate though active things, such as rivers, with sex, is
obviously a necessity of a stage of thought wholly unlike our own.  _We_
know that active inanimate things are sexless, are neuter; _we_ feel no
necessity to speak of them as male or female.  How did the first speakers
of the human race come to be obliged to call lifeless things by names
connoting sex, and therefore connoting, not only activity, but also life
and personality?  We explain it by the theory that man called lifeless
things male or female--by using gender-terminations--as a result of his
habit of regarding lifeless things as personal beings; that habit, again,
being the result of his consciousness of himself as a living will.

Mr. Max Muller takes the opposite view.  Man did not call lifeless things
by names denoting sex because he regarded them as persons; he came to
regard them as persons because he had already given them names connoting
sex.  And why had he done that?  This is what Mr. Max Muller does not
explain.  He says:

'In ancient languages every one of these words' (sky, earth, sea, rain)
'had necessarily' (why necessarily?) 'a termination expressive of gender,
and this naturally produced in the mind the corresponding idea of sex, so
that these names received not only an individual but a sexual character.'

It is curious that, in proof apparently of this, Mr. Max Muller cites a
passage from the Printer's Register, in which we read that to little
children '_everything_ is _alive_. . . .  The same instinct that prompts
the child to personify everything remains unchecked in the savage, and
grows up with him to manhood.  Hence in all simple and early languages
there are but two genders, masculine and feminine.'

The Printer's Register states our theory in its own words.  First came
the childlike and savage belief in universal personality.  Thence arose
the genders, masculine and feminine, in early languages.  These ideas are
the precise reverse of Mr. Max Muller's ideas.  In his opinion, genders
in language caused the belief in the universal personality even of
inanimate things.  The Printer's Register holds that the belief in
universal personality, on the other hand, caused the genders.  Yet for
thirty years, since 1868, Mr. Max Muller has been citing his direct
adversary, in the Printer's Register, as a supporter of his opinion!  We,
then, hold that man thought all things animated, and expressed his belief
in gender-terminations.  Mr. Max Muller holds that, because man used
gender-terminations, therefore he thought all things animated, and so he
became mythopoeic.  In the passage cited, Mr. Max Muller does not say
_why_ 'in ancient languages every one of these words had _necessarily_
terminations expressive of gender.'  He merely quotes the hypothesis of
the Printer's Register.  If he accepts that hypothesis, it destroys his
own theory--that gender-terminations caused all things to be regarded as
personal; for, ex hypothesi, it was just because they were regarded as
personal that they received names with gender-terminations.  Somewhere--I
cannot find the reference--Mr. Max Muller seems to admit that
personalising thought caused gender-terminations, but these later
'reacted' on thought, an hypothesis which multiplies causes praeter

Here, then, at the very threshold of the science of mythology we find Mr.
Max Muller at once maintaining that a feature of language,
gender-terminations, caused the mythopoeic state of thought, and quoting
with approval the statement that the mythopoeic state of thought caused

Mr. Max Muller's whole system of mythology is based on reasoning
analogous to this example.  His mot d'ordre, as Professor Tiele says, is
'a disease of language.'  This theory implies universal human
degradation.  Man was once, for all we know, rational enough; but his
mysterious habit of using gender-terminations, and his perpetual
misconceptions of the meaning of old words in his own language, reduced
him to the irrational and often (as we now say) obscene and revolting
absurdities of his myths.  Here (as is later pointed out) the objection
arises, that all languages must have taken the disease in the same way.  A
Maori myth is very like a Greek myth.  If the Greek myth arose from a
disease of Greek, how did the wholly different Maori speech, and a score
of others, come to have precisely the same malady?

Mr. Max Muller alludes to a Maori parallel to the myth of Cronos. {0b}
'We can only say that there is a rusty lock in New Zealand, and a rusty
lock in Greece, and that, surely, is very small comfort.'  He does not
take the point.  The point is that, as the myth occurs in two remote and
absolutely unconnected languages, a theory of disease of language cannot
turn the wards of the rusty locks.  The myth is, in part at least, a
nature-myth--an attempt to account for the severance of Heaven and Earth
(once united) by telling a story in which natural phenomena are animated
and personal.  A disease of language has nothing to do with this myth.  It
is cited as a proof against the theory of disease of language.

The truth is, that while languages differ, men (and above all early men)
have the same kind of thoughts, desires, fancies, habits, institutions.
It is not that in which all races formally differ--their language--but
that in which all early races are astonishingly the same--their ideas,
fancies, habits, desires--that causes the amazing similarity of their

Mythologists, then, who find in early human nature the living ideas which
express themselves in myths will hardily venture to compare the analogous
myths of all peoples.  Mythologists, on the other hand, who find the
origin of myths in a necessity imposed upon thought by misunderstood
language will necessarily, and logically, compare only myths current
among races who speak languages of the same family.  Thus, throughout Mr.
Max Muller's new book we constantly find him protesting, on the whole and
as a rule, against the system which illustrates Aryan myths by savage
parallels.  Thus he maintains that it is perilous to make comparative use
of myths current in languages--say, Maori or Samoyed--which the
mythologists confessedly do not know.  To this we can only reply that we
use the works of the best accessible authorities, men who do know the
languages--say, Dr. Codrington or Bishop Callaway, or Castren or Egede.
Now it is not maintained that the myths, on the whole, are incorrectly
translated.  The danger which we incur, it seems, is ignorance of the
original sense of savage or barbaric divine or heroic names--say, Maui,
or Yehl, or Huitzilopochhtli, or Heitsi Eibib, or Pundjel.  By Mr. Max
Muller's system such names are old words, of meanings long ago generally
lost by the speakers of each language, but analysable by 'true scholars'
into their original significance.  That will usually be found by the
philologists to indicate 'the inevitable Dawn,' or Sun, or Night, or the
like, according to the taste and fancy of the student.

To all this a reply is urged in the following pages.  In agreement with
Curtius and many other scholars, we very sincerely doubt almost all
etymologies of old proper names, even in Greek or Sanskrit.  We find
among philologists, as a rule, the widest discrepancies of
interpretation.  Moreover, every name must mean _something_.  Now,
whatever the meaning of a name (supposing it to be really ascertained),
very little ingenuity is needed to make it indicate one or other aspect
of Dawn or Night, of Lightning or Storm, just as the philologist pleases.
Then he explains the divine or heroic being denoted by the name--as Dawn
or Storm, or Fire or Night, or Twilight or Wind--in accordance with his
private taste, easily accommodating the facts of the myth, whatever they
may be, to his favourite solution.  We rebel against this kind of logic,
and persist in studying the myth in itself and in comparison with
analogous myths in every accessible language.  Certainly, if divine and
heroic names--Artemis or Pundjel--_can_ be interpreted, so much is
gained.  But the myth may be older than the name.

As Mr. Hogarth points out, Alexander has inherited in the remote East the
myths of early legendary heroes.  We cannot explain these by the analysis
of the name of Alexander!  Even if the heroic or divine name can be shown
to be the original one (which is practically impossible), the meaning of
the name helps us little.  That Zeus means 'sky' cannot conceivably
explain scores of details in the very composite legend of Zeus--say, the
story of Zeus, Demeter, and the Ram.  Moreover, we decline to admit that,
if a divine name means 'swift,' its bearer must be the wind or the
sunlight.  Nor, if the name means 'white,' is it necessarily a synonym of
Dawn, or of Lightning, or of Clear Air, or what not.  But a mythologist
who makes language and names the fountain of myth will go on insisting
that myths can only be studied by people who know the language in which
they are told.  Mythologists who believe that human nature is the source
of myths will go on comparing all myths that are accessible in
translations by competent collectors.

Mr. Max Muller says, 'We seldom find mythology, as it were, in situ--as
it lived in the minds and unrestrained utterances of the people.  We
generally have to study it in the works of mythographers, or in the poems
of later generations, when it had long ceased to be living and
intelligible.'  The myths of Greece and Rome, in Hyginus or Ovid, 'are
likely to be as misleading as a hortus siccus would be to a botanist if
debarred from his rambles through meadows and hedges.' {0c}

Nothing can be more true, or more admirably stated.  These remarks are,
indeed, the charter, so to speak, of anthropological mythology and of
folklore.  The old mythologists worked at a hortus siccus, at myths dried
and pressed in thoroughly literary books, Greek and Latin.  But we now
study myths 'in the unrestrained utterances of the people,' either of
savage tribes or of the European Folk, the unprogressive peasant class.
The former, and to some extent the latter, still live in the mythopoeic
state of mind--regarding bees, for instance, as persons who must be told
of a death in the family.  Their myths are still not wholly out of
concord with their habitual view of a world in which an old woman may
become a hare.  As soon as learned Jesuits like Pere Lafitau began to
understand their savage flocks, they said, 'These men are living in
Ovid's Metamorphoses.'  They found mythology in situ!  Hence mythologists
now study mythology in situ--in savages and in peasants, who till very
recently were still in the mythopoeic stage of thought.  Mannhardt made
this idea his basis.  Mr. Max Muller says, {0d} very naturally, that I
have been 'popularising the often difficult and complicated labours of
Mannhardt and others.'  In fact (as is said later), I published all my
general conclusions before I had read Mannhardt.  Quite independently I
could not help seeing that among savages and peasants we had mythology,
not in a literary hortus siccus, but in situ.  Mannhardt, though he
appreciated Dr. Tylor, had made, I think, but few original researches
among savage myths and customs.  His province was European folklore.  What
he missed will be indicated in the chapter on 'The Fire-Walk'--one
example among many.

But this kind of mythology in situ, in 'the unrestrained utterances of
the people,' Mr. Max Muller tells us, is no province of his.  'I saw it
was hopeless for me to gain a knowledge at first hand of innumerable
local legends and customs;' and it is to be supposed that he distrusted
knowledge acquired by collectors: Grimm, Mannhardt, Campbell of Islay,
and an army of others.  'A scholarlike knowledge of Maori or Hottentot
mythology' was also beyond him.  We, on the contrary, take our Maori lore
from a host of collectors: Taylor, White, Manning ('The Pakeha Maori'),
Tregear, Polack, and many others.  From them we flatter ourselves that we
get--as from Grimm, Mannhardt, Islay, and the rest--mythology in situ.  We
compare it with the dry mythologic blossoms of the classical hortus
siccus, and with Greek ritual and temple legend, and with Marchen in the
scholiasts, and we think the comparisons very illuminating.  They have
thrown new light on Greek mythology, ritual, mysteries, and religion.
This much we think we have already done, though we do not know Maori, and
though each of us can hope to gather but few facts from the mouths of
living peasants.

Examples of the results of our method will be found in the following
pages.  Thus, if the myth of the fire-stealer in Greece is explained by
misunderstood Greek or Sanskrit words in no way connected with robbery,
we shall show that the myth of the theft of fire occurs where no Greek or
Sanskrit words were ever spoken.  _There_, we shall show, the myth arose
from simple inevitable human ideas.  We shall therefore doubt whether in
Greece a common human myth had a singular cause--in a 'disease of

It is with no enthusiasm that I take the opportunity of Mr. Max Muller's
reply to me 'by name.'  Since Myth, Ritual, and Religion (now out of
print, but accessible in the French of M. Marillier) was published, ten
years ago, I have left mythology alone.  The general method there adopted
has been applied in a much more erudite work by Mr. Frazer, The Golden
Bough, by Mr. Farnell in Cults of the Greek States, by Mr. Jevons in his
Introduction to the History of Religion, by Miss Harrison in explanations
of Greek ritual, by Mr. Hartland in The Legend of Perseus, and doubtless
by many other writers.  How much they excel me in erudition may be seen
by comparing Mr. Farnell's passage on the Bear Artemis {0e} with the
section on her in this volume.

Mr. Max Muller observes that 'Mannhardt's mythological researches have
never been fashionable.'  They are now very much in fashion; they greatly
inspire Mr. Frazer and Mr. Farnell.  'They seemed to me, and still seem
to me, too exclusive,' says Mr. Max Muller. {0f}  Mannhardt in his second
period was indeed chiefly concerned with myths connected, as he held,
with agriculture and with tree-worship.  Mr. Max Muller, too, has been
thought 'exclusive'--'as teaching,' he complains, 'that the whole of
mythology is solar.'  That reproach arose, he says, because 'some of my
earliest contributions to comparative mythology were devoted exclusively
to the special subject of solar myths.' {0g}  But Mr. Max Muller also
mentions his own complaints, of 'the omnipresent sun and the inevitable
dawn appearing in ever so many disguises.'

Did they really appear?  Were the myths, say the myths of Daphne, really
solar?  That is precisely what we hesitate to accept.  In the same way
Mannhardt's preoccupation with vegetable myths has tended, I think, to
make many of his followers ascribe vegetable origins to myths and gods,
where the real origin is perhaps for ever lost.  The corn-spirit starts
up in most unexpected places.  Mr. Frazer, Mannhardt's disciple, is very
severe on solar theories of Osiris, and connects that god with the corn-
spirit.  But Mannhardt did not go so far.  Mannhardt thought that the
myth of Osiris was solar.  To my thinking, these resolutions of myths
into this or that original source--solar, nocturnal, vegetable, or what
not--are often very perilous.  A myth so extremely composite as that of
Osiris must be a stream flowing from many springs, and, as in the case of
certain rivers, it is difficult or impossible to say which is the real

One would respectfully recommend to young mythologists great reserve in
their hypotheses of origins.  All this, of course, is the familiar
thought of writers like Mr. Frazer and Mr. Farnell, but a tendency to
seek for exclusively vegetable origins of gods is to be observed in some
of the most recent speculations.  I well know that I myself am apt to
press a theory of totems too far, and in the following pages I suggest
reserves, limitations, and alternative hypotheses.  Il y a serpent et
serpent; a snake tribe may be a local tribe named from the Snake River,
not a totem kindred.  The history of mythology is the history of rash,
premature, and exclusive theories.  We are only beginning to learn
caution.  Even the prevalent anthropological theory of the ghost-origin
of religion might, I think, be advanced with caution (as Mr. Jevons
argues on other grounds) till we know a little more about ghosts and a
great deal more about psychology.  We are too apt to argue as if the
psychical condition of the earliest men were exactly like our own; while
we are just beginning to learn, from Prof. William James, that about even
our own psychical condition we are only now realising our exhaustive
ignorance.  How often we men have thought certain problems settled for
good!  How often we have been compelled humbly to return to our studies!
Philological comparative mythology seemed securely seated for a
generation.  Her throne is tottering:

   Our little systems have their day,
      They have their day and cease to be,
      They are but broken lights from Thee,
   And Thou, we trust, art more than they.

But we need not hate each other for the sake of our little systems, like
the grammarian who damned his rival's soul for his 'theory of the
irregular verbs.'  Nothing, I hope, is said here inconsistent with the
highest esteem for Mr. Max Muller's vast erudition, his enviable style,
his unequalled contributions to scholarship, and his awakening of that
interest in mythological science without which his adversaries would
probably never have existed.

Most of Chapter XII. appeared in the 'Contemporary Review,' and most of
Chapter XIII. in the 'Princeton Review.'


Mythology in 1860-1880

Between 1860 and 1880, roughly speaking, English people interested in
early myths and religions found the mythological theories of Professor
Max Muller in possession of the field.  These brilliant and attractive
theories, taking them in the widest sense, were not, of course, peculiar
to the Right Hon. Professor.  In France, in Germany, in America, in
Italy, many scholars agreed in his opinion that the science of language
is the most potent spell for opening the secret chamber of mythology.  But
while these scholars worked on the same general principle as Mr. Max
Muller, while they subjected the names of mythical beings--Zeus, Helen,
Achilles, Athene--to philological analysis, and then explained the
stories of gods and heroes by their interpretations of the meanings of
their names, they arrived at all sorts of discordant results.  Where Mr.
Max Muller found a myth of the Sun or of the Dawn, these scholars were
apt to see a myth of the wind, of the lightning, of the thunder-cloud, of
the crepuscule, of the upper air, of what each of them pleased.  But
these ideas--the ideas of Kuhn, Welcker, Curtius (when he appeared in the
discussion), of Schwartz, of Lauer, of Breal, of many others--were very
little known--if known at all--to the English public.  Captivated by the
graces of Mr. Max Muller's manner, and by a style so pellucid that it
accredited a logic perhaps not so clear, the public hardly knew of the
divisions in the philological camp.  They were unaware that, as Mannhardt
says, the philological school had won 'few sure gains,' and had
discredited their method by a 'muster-roll of variegated' and discrepant

Now, in all sciences there are differences of opinion about details.  In
comparative mythology there was, with rare exceptions, no agreement at
all about results beyond this point; Greek and Sanskrit, German and
Slavonic myths were, in the immense majority of instances, to be regarded
as mirror-pictures on earth, of celestial and meteorological phenomena.
Thus even the story of the Earth Goddess, the Harvest Goddess, Demeter,
was usually explained as a reflection in myth of one or another celestial
phenomenon--dawn, storm-cloud, or something else according to taste.

Again, Greek or German myths were usually to be interpreted by comparison
with myths in the Rig Veda.  Their origin was to be ascertained by
discovering the Aryan root and original significance of the names of gods
and heroes, such as Saranyu--Erinnys, Daphne--Dahana, Athene--Ahana.  The
etymology and meaning of such names being ascertained, the origin and
sense of the myths in which the names occur should be clear.

Clear it was not.  There were, in most cases, as many opinions as to the
etymology and meaning of each name and myth, as there were philologists
engaged in the study.  Mannhardt, who began, in 1858, as a member of the
philological school, in his last public utterance (1877) described the
method and results, including his own work of 1858, as 'mainly failures.'

But, long ere that, the English cultivated public had, most naturally,
accepted Mr. Max Muller as the representative of the school which then
held the field in comparative mythology.  His German and other foreign
brethren, with their discrepant results, were only known to the general,
in England (I am not speaking of English scholars), by the references to
them in the Oxford professor's own works.  His theories were made part of
the education of children, and found their way into a kind of popular

For these reasons, anyone in England who was daring enough to doubt, or
to deny, the validity of the philological system of mythology in general
was obliged to choose Mr. Max Muller as his adversary.  He must strike,
as it were, the shield of no Hospitaler of unsteady seat, but that of the
Templar himself.  And this is the cause of what seems to puzzle Mr. Max
Muller, namely the attacks on _his_ system and _his_ results in
particular.  An English critic, writing for English readers, had to do
with the scholar who chiefly represented the philological school of
mythology in the eyes of England.


Like other inquiring undergraduates in the sixties, I read such works on
mythology as Mr. Max Muller had then given to the world; I read them with
interest, but without conviction.  The argument, the logic, seemed to
evade one; it was purely, with me, a question of logic, for I was of
course prepared to accept all of Mr. Max Muller's dicta on questions of
etymologies.  Even now I never venture to impugn them, only, as I observe
that other scholars very frequently differ, toto caelo, from him and from
each other in essential questions, I preserve a just balance of doubt; I
wait till these gentlemen shall be at one among themselves.

After taking my degree in 1868, I had leisure to read a good deal of
mythology in the legends of all races, and found my distrust of Mr. Max
Muller's reasoning increase upon me.  The main cause was that whereas Mr.
Max Muller explained Greek myths by etymologies of words in the Aryan
languages, chiefly Greek, Latin, Slavonic, and Sanskrit, I kept finding
myths very closely resembling those of Greece among Red Indians, Kaffirs,
Eskimo, Samoyeds, Kamilaroi, Maoris, and Cahrocs.  Now if Aryan myths
arose from a 'disease' of Aryan languages, it certainly did seem an odd
thing that myths so similar to these abounded where non-Aryan languages
alone prevailed.  Did a kind of linguistic measles affect all tongues
alike, from Sanskrit to Choctaw, and everywhere produce the same ugly
scars in religion and myth?

The Ugly Scars

The ugly scars were the problem!  A civilised fancy is not puzzled for a
moment by a beautiful beneficent Sun-god, or even by his beholding the
daughters of men that they are fair.  But a civilised fancy _is_ puzzled
when the beautiful Sun-god makes love in the shape of a dog. {5}  To me,
and indeed to Mr. Max Muller, the ugly scars were the problem.

He has written--'What makes mythology mythological, in the true sense of
the word, is what is utterly unintelligible, absurd, strange, or
miraculous.'  But he explained these blots on the mythology of Greece,
for example, as the result practically of old words and popular sayings
surviving in languages after the original, harmless, symbolical meanings
of the words and sayings were lost.  What had been a poetical remark
about an aspect of nature became an obscene, or brutal, or vulgar myth, a
stumbling block to Greek piety and to Greek philosophy.

To myself, on the other hand, it seemed that the ugly scars were remains
of that kind of taste, fancy, customary law, and incoherent speculation
which everywhere, as far as we know, prevails to various degrees in
savagery and barbarism.  Attached to the 'hideous idols,' as Mr. Max
Muller calls them, of early Greece, and implicated in a ritual which
religious conservatism dared not abandon, the fables of perhaps neolithic
ancestors of the Hellenes remained in the religion and the legends known
to Plato and Socrates.  That this process of 'survival' is a vera causa,
illustrated in every phase of evolution, perhaps nobody denies.

Thus the phenomena which the philological school of mythology explains by
a disease of language we would explain by survival from a savage state of
society and from the mental peculiarities observed among savages in all
ages and countries.  Of course there is nothing new in this: I was
delighted to discover the idea in Eusebius as in Fontenelle; while, for
general application to singular institutions, it was a commonplace of the
last century. {6a}  Moreover, the idea had been widely used by Dr. E. B.
Tylor in Primitive Culture, and by Mr. McLennan in his Primitive Marriage
and essays on Totemism.

My Criticism of Mr. Max Muller

This idea I set about applying to the repulsive myths of civilised races,
and to Marchen, or popular tales, at the same time combating the theories
which held the field--the theories of the philological mythologists as
applied to the same matter.  In journalism I criticised Mr. Max Muller,
and I admit that, when comparing the mutually destructive competition of
varying etymologies, I did not abstain from the weapons of irony and
_badinage_.  The opportunity was too tempting!  But, in the most sober
seriousness, I examined Mr. Max Muller's general statement of his system,
his hypothesis of certain successive stages of language, leading up to
the mythopoeic confusion of thought.  It was not a question of denying
Mr. Max Muller's etymologies, but of asking whether he established his
historical theory by evidence, and whether his inferences from it were
logically deduced.  The results of my examination will be found in the
article 'Mythology' in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and in La
Mythologie. {6b}  It did not appear to me that Mr. Max Muller's general
theory was valid, logical, historically demonstrated, or self-consistent.
My other writings on the topic are chiefly Custom and Myth, Myth, Ritual,
and Religion (with French and Dutch translations, both much improved and
corrected by the translators), and an introduction to Mrs. Hunt's
translation of Grimm's Marchen.

Success of Anthropological Method

During fifteen years the ideas which I advocated seem to have had some
measure of success.  This is, doubtless, due not to myself, but to the
works of Mr. J. G. Frazer and of Professor Robertson Smith.  Both of
these scholars descend intellectually from a man less scholarly than
they, but, perhaps, more original and acute than any of us, my friend the
late Mr. J. F. McLennan.  To Mannhardt also much is owed, and, of course,
above all, to Dr. Tylor.  These writers, like Mr. Farnell and Mr. Jevons
recently, seek for the answer to mythological problems rather in the
habits and ideas of the folk and of savages and barbarians than in
etymologies and 'a disease of language.'  There are differences of
opinion in detail: I myself may think that 'vegetation spirits,' the
'corn spirit,' and the rest occupy too much space in the systems of
Mannhardt, and other moderns.  Mr. Frazer, again, thinks less of the
evidence for Totems among 'Aryans' than I was inclined to do. {7}  But it
is not, perhaps, an overstatement to say that explanation of myths by
analysis of names, and the lately overpowering predominance of the Dawn,
and the Sun, and the Night in mythological hypothesis, have received a
slight check.  They do not hold the field with the superiority which was
theirs in England between 1860 and 1880.  This fact--a scarcely deniable
fact--does not, of course, prove that the philological method is wrong,
or that the Dawn is not as great a factor in myth as Mr. Max Muller
believes himself to have proved it to be.  Science is inevitably subject
to shiftings of opinion, action, and reaction.

Mr. Max Muller's Reply

In this state of things Mr. Max Muller produces his Contributions to the
Science of Mythology, {8} which I propose to criticise as far as it is,
or may seem to me to be, directed against myself, or against others who
hold practically much the same views as mine.  I say that I attempt to
criticise the book 'as far as it is, or may seem to me to be, directed
against' us, because it is Mr. Max Muller's occasional habit to argue
(apparently) _around_ rather than _with_ his opponents.  He says 'we are
told this or that'--something which he does not accept--but he often does
not inform us as to _who_ tells us, or where.  Thus a reader does not
know whom Mr. Max Muller is opposing, or where he can find the
adversary's own statement in his own words.  Yet it is usual in such
cases, and it is, I think, expedient, to give chapter and verse.
Occasionally I find that Mr. Max Muller is honouring me by alluding to
observations of my own, but often no reference is given to an opponent's
name or books, and we discover the passages in question by accident or
research.  This method will be found to cause certain inconveniences.


Mr. Max Muller's Method in Controversy

As an illustration of the author's controversial methods, take his
observations on my alleged attempt to account for the metamorphosis of
Daphne into a laurel tree.  When I read these remarks (i. p. 4) I said,
'Mr. Max Muller vanquishes me _there_,' for he gave no reference to my
statement.  I had forgotten all about the matter, I was not easily able
to find the passage to which he alluded, and I supposed that I had said
just what Mr. Max Muller seemed to me to make me say--no more, and no
less.  Thus:

   'Mr. Lang, as usual, has recourse to savages, most useful when they
   are really wanted.  He quotes an illustration from the South Pacific
   that Tuna, the chief of the eels, fell in love with Ina and asked her
   to cut off his head.  When his head had been cut off and buried, two
   cocoanut trees sprang up from the brain of Tuna.  How is this, may I
   ask, to account for the story of Daphne?  Everybody knows that
   "stories of the growing of plants out of the scattered members of
   heroes may be found from ancient Egypt to the wigwams of the
   Algonquins," but these stories seem hardly applicable to Daphne, whose
   members, as far as I know, were never either severed or scattered.'

I thought, perhaps hastily, that I must have made the story of Tuna
'account for the story of Daphne.'  Mr. Max Muller does not actually say
that I did so, but I understood him in that sense, and recognised my
error.  But, some guardian genius warning me, I actually hunted up my own
observations. {10a}  Well, I had never said (as I conceived my critic to
imply) that the story of Tuna 'accounts for the story of Daphne.'  That
was what I had not said.  I had observed, 'As to interchange of shape
between men and women and _plants_, our information, so far as the lower
races are concerned, is less copious'--than in the case of stones.  I
then spoke of plant totems of one kin with human beings, of plant-souls,
{10b} of Indian and Egyptian plants animated by _human_ souls, of a tree
which became a young man and made love to a Yurucari girl, of
metamorphosis into vegetables in Samoa, {10c} of an Ottawa myth in which
a man became a plant of maize, and then of the story of Tuna. {10d}  Next
I mentioned plants said to have sprung from dismembered gods and heroes.
_All_ this, I said, _all_ of it, proves that savages mythically regard
human life as on a level with vegetable no less than with animal life.
'Turning to the mythology of Greece, we see that the same rule holds
good.  Metamorphosis into plants and flowers is extremely common,' and I,
of course, attributed the original idea of such metamorphoses to 'the
general savage habit of "levelling up,"' of regarding all things in
nature as all capable of interchanging their identities.  I gave, as
classical examples, Daphne, Myrrha, Hyacinth, Narcissus, and the sisters
of Phaethon.  Next I criticised Mr. Max Muller's theory of Daphne.  But I
never hinted that the isolated Mangaian story of Tuna, or the stories of
plants sprung from mangled men, 'accounted,' by themselves, 'for the
story of Daphne.'

Mr. Max Muller is not content with giving a very elaborate and
interesting account of how the story of Tuna arose (i. 5-7).  He keeps
Tuna in hand, and, at the peroration of his vast work (ii. 831), warns us
that, before we compare myths in unrelated languages, we need 'a very
accurate knowledge of their dialects . . . to prevent accidents like that
of Tuna mentioned in the beginning.'  What accident?  That I explained
the myth of Daphne by the myth of Tuna?  But that is precisely what I did
not do.  I explained the Greek myth of Daphne (1) as a survival from the
savage mental habit of regarding men as on a level with stones, beasts,
and plants; or (2) as a tale 'moulded by poets on the same model.' {11}
The latter is the more probable case, for we find Daphne late, in
artificial or mythographic literature, in Ovid and Hyginus.  In Ovid the
river god, Pentheus, changes Daphne into a laurel.  In Hyginus she is not
changed at all; the earth swallows her, and a laurel fills her place.

Now I really did believe--perhaps any rapid reader would have
believed--when I read Mr. Max Muller, that I must have tried to account
for the story of Daphne by the story of Tuna.  I actually wrote in the
first draft of this work that I had been in the wrong.  Then I verified
the reference which my critic did not give, with the result which the
reader has perused.  Never could a reader have found out what I did
really say from my critic, for he does not usually when he deals with me
give chapter and verse.  This may avoid an air of personal bickering, but
how inconvenient it is!

Let me not be supposed to accuse Mr. Max Muller of consciously
misrepresenting me.  Of that I need not say that he is absolutely
incapable.  My argument merely took, in his consciousness, the form which
is suggested in the passage cited from him.

Tuna and Daphne

To do justice to Mr. Max Muller, I will here state fully his view of the
story of Tuna, and then go on to the story of Daphne.  For the sake of
accuracy, I take the liberty of borrowing the whole of his statement (i.

'I must dwell a little longer on this passage in order to show the real
difference between the ethnological and the philological schools of
comparative mythology.

'First of all, what has to be explained is not the growing up of a tree
from one or the other member of a god or hero, but the total change of a
human being or a heroine into a tree, and this under a certain
provocation.  These two classes of plant-legends must be carefully kept
apart.  Secondly, what does it help us to know that people in Mangaia
believed in the change of human beings into trees, if we do not know the
reason why?  This is what we want to know; and without it the mere
juxtaposition of stories apparently similar is no more than the old trick
of explaining ignotum per ignotius.  It leads us to imagine that we have
learnt something, when we really are as ignorant as before.

'If Mr. A. Lang had studied the Mangaian dialect, or consulted scholars
like the Rev. W. W. Gill--it is from his "Myths and Songs from the South
Pacific" that he quotes the story of Tuna--he would have seen that there
is no similarity whatever between the stories of Daphne and of Tuna.  The
Tuna story belongs to a very well known class of aetiological
plant-stories, which are meant to explain a no longer intelligible name
of a plant, such as Snakeshead, Stiefmutterchen, &c.; it is in fact a
clear case of what I call disease of language, cured by the ordinary
nostrum of folk-etymology.  I have often been in communication with the
Rev. W. W. Gill about these South Pacific myths and their true meaning.
The preface to his collection of Myths and Songs from the South Pacific
was written by me in 1876; and if Mr. A. Lang had only read the whole
chapter which treats of these Tree-Myths (p. 77 seq.), he would easily
have perceived the real character of the Tuna story, and would not have
placed it in the same class as the Daphne story; he would have found that
the white kernel of the cocoanut was, in Mangaia, called the "brains of
Tuna," a name like many more such names which after a time require an

'Considering that "cocoanut" was used in Mangaia in the sense of head
(testa), the kernel or flesh of it might well be called the brain.  If
then the white kernel had been called Tuna's brain, we have only to
remember that in Mangaia there are two kinds of cocoanut trees, and we
shall then have no difficulty in understanding why these twin cocoanut
trees were said to have sprung from the two halves of Tuna's brain, one
being red in stem, branches, and fruit, whilst the other was of a deep
green.  In proof of these trees being derived from the head of Tuna, we
are told that we have only to break the nut in order to see in the
sprouting germ the two eyes and the mouth of Tuna, the great eel, the
lover of Ina.  For a full understanding of this very complicated myth
more information has been supplied by Mr. Gill.  Ina means moon; Ina-mae-
aitu, the heroine of our story, means Ina-who-had-a-divine (aitu) lover,
and she was the daughter of Kui, the blind.  Tuna means eel, and in
Mangaia it was unlawful for women to eat eels, so that even now, as Mr.
Gill informs me, his converts turn away from this fish with the utmost
disgust.  From other stories about the origin of cocoanut trees, told in
the same island, it would appear that the sprouts of the cocoanut were
actually called eels' heads, while the skulls of warriors were called

'Taking all these facts together, it is not difficult to imagine how the
story of Tuna's brain grew up; and I am afraid we shall have to confess
that the legend of Tuna throws but little light on the legend of Daphne
or on the etymology of her name.  No one would have a word to say against
the general principle that much that is irrational, absurd, or barbarous
in the Veda is a survival of a more primitive mythology anterior to the
Veda.  How could it be otherwise?'

Criticism of Tuna and Daphne

Now (1), as to Daphne, we are not invariably told that hers was a case of
'the total change of a heroine into a tree.'  In Ovid {14} she is thus
changed.  In Hyginus, on the other hand, the earth swallows her, and a
tree takes her place.  All the authorities are late.  Here I cannot but
reflect on the scholarly method of Mannhardt, who would have examined and
criticised all the sources for the tale before trying to explain it.
However, Daphne was not mangled; a tree did not spring from her severed
head or scattered limbs.  She was metamorphosed, or was buried in earth,
a tree springing up from the place.

(2)  I think we do know _why_ the people of Mangaia 'believe in the
change of human beings into trees.'  It is one among many examples of the
savage sense of the intercommunity of all nature.  'Antiquity made its
division between man and the world in a very different sort than do the
moderns.' {15a}  I illustrate this mental condition fully in M. R. R. i.
46-56.  _Why_ savages adopt the major premise, 'Human life is on a level
with the life of all nature,' philosophers explain in various ways.  Hume
regards it as an extension to the universe of early man's own
consciousness of life and personality.  Dr. Tylor thinks that the opinion
rests upon 'a broad philosophy of nature.' {15b}  M. Lefebure appeals to
psychical phenomena as I show later (see 'Fetishism').  At all events,
the existence of these savage metaphysics is a demonstrated fact.  I
established it {15c} before invoking it as an explanation of savage
belief in metamorphosis.

(3)  'The Tuna story belongs to a very well known class of aetiological
plant-stories' (aetiological: assigning a cause for the plant, its
peculiarities, its name, &c.), 'which are meant to explain a no longer
intelligible name of a plant, &c.'  I also say, 'these myths are nature-
myths, so far as they attempt to account for a fact in nature--namely,
for the existence of certain plants, and for their place in ritual.' {16}

The reader has before him Mr. Max Muller's view.  The white kernel of the
cocoanut was locally styled 'the brains of Tuna.'  That name required
explanation.  Hence the story about the fate of Tuna.  Cocoanut was used
in Mangaia in the sense of 'head' (testa).  So it is now in England.

See Bell's Life, passim, as 'The Chicken got home on the cocoanut.'

The Explanation

On the whole, either cocoanut kernels were called 'brains of Tuna'
because 'cocoanut'='head,' and a head has brains--and, well, somehow I
fail to see why brains of Tuna in particular!  Or, there being a story to
the effect that the first cocoanut grew out of the head of the
metamorphosed Tuna, the kernel was called his brains.  But why was the
story told, and why of Tuna?  Tuna was an eel, and women may not eat
eels; and Ina was the moon, who, a Mangaian Selene, loved no Latmian
shepherd, but an eel.  Seriously, I fail to understand Mr. Max Muller's
explanation.  Given the problem, to explain a no longer intelligible
plant-name--brains of Tuna--(applied not to a plant but to the kernel of
a nut), this name is explained by saying that the moon, Ina, loved an
eel, cut off his head at his desire, and buried it.  Thence sprang
cocoanut trees, with a fanciful likeness to a human face--face of Tuna--on
the nut.  But still, why Tuna?  How could the moon love an eel, except on
my own general principle of savage 'levelling up' of all life in all
nature?  In my opinion, the Mangaians wanted a fable to account for the
resemblance of a cocoanut to the human head--a resemblance noted, as I
show, in our own popular slang.  The Mangaians also knew the moon, in her
mythical aspect, as Ina; and Tuna, whatever his name may mean (Mr. Max
Muller does not tell us), was an eel. {17}  Having the necessary savage
major premise in their minds, 'All life is on a level and
interchangeable,' the Mangaians thought well to say that the head-like
cocoanut sprang from the head of her lover, an eel, cut off by Ina.  The
myth accounts, I think, for the peculiarities of the cocoanut, rather
than for the name 'brains of Tuna;' for we still ask, 'Why of Tuna in
particular?  Why Tuna more than Rangoa, or anyone else?'

'We shall have to confess that the legend of Tuna throws but little light
on the legend of Daphne, or on the etymology of her name.'

I never hinted that the legend of Tuna threw light on the etymology of
the name of Daphne.  Mangaian and Greek are not allied languages.  Nor
did I give the Tuna story as an explanation of the Daphne story.  I gave
it as one in a mass of illustrations of the savage mental propensity so
copiously established by Dr. Tylor in Primitive Culture.  The two
alternative explanations which I gave of the Daphne story I have cited.
No mention of Tuna occurs in either.

Disease of Language and Folk-etymology

The Tuna story is described as 'a clear case of disease of language cured
by the ordinary nostrum of folk-etymology.'  The 'disease' showed itself,
I suppose, in the presence of the Mangaian words for 'brain of Tuna.'  But
the story of Tuna gives no folk-etymology of the name Tuna.  Now, to give
an etymology of a name of forgotten meaning is the sole object of folk-
etymology.  The plant-name, 'snake's head,' given as an example by Mr.
Max Muller, needs no etymological explanation.  A story may be told to
explain why the plant is called snake's head, but a story to give an
etymology of snake's head is superfluous.  The Tuna story explains why
the cocoanut kernel is called 'brains of Tuna,' but it offers no
etymology of Tuna's name.  On the other hand, the story that marmalade
(really marmalet) is so called because Queen Mary found comfort in
marmalade when she was sea-sick--hence Marie-malade, hence
_marmalade_--gives an etymological explanation of the origin of the
_word_ marmalade.  Here is a real folk-etymology.  We must never confuse
such myths of folk-etymology with myths arising (on the philological
hypothesis) from 'disease of language.'  Thus, Daphne is a girl pursued
by Apollo, and changed into a daphne plant or laurel, or a laurel springs
from the earth where she was buried.  On Mr. Max Muller's philological
theory Daphne=Dahana, and meant 'the burning one.'  Apollo may be derived
from a Sanskrit form, *Apa-var-yan, or *Apa-val-yan (though how Greeks
ever heard a Sanskrit word, if such a word as Apa-val-yan ever existed,
we are not told), and may mean 'one who opens the gate of the sky' (ii.
692-696). {18}  At some unknown date the ancestors of the Greeks would
say 'The opener of the gates of the sky (*Apa-val-yan, i.e. the sun)
pursues the burning one (Dahana, i.e. the dawn).'  The Greek language
would retain this poetic saying in daily use till, in the changes of
speech, *Apa-val-yan ceased to be understood, and became Apollo, while
Dahana ceased to be understood, and became Daphne.  But the verb being
still understood, the phrase ran, 'Apollo pursues Daphne.'  Now the
Greeks had a plant, laurel, called daphne.  They therefore blended plant,
daphne, and heroine's name, Daphne, and decided that the phrase 'Apollo
pursues Daphne' meant that Apollo chased a nymph, Daphne, who, to escape
his love, turned into a laurel.  I cannot give Mr. Max Muller's theory of
the Daphne story more clearly.  If I misunderstand it, that does not come
from want of pains.

In opposition to it we urge that (1) the etymological equations,
Daphne=Dahana, Apollo=*Apa-val-yan, are not generally accepted by other
scholars.  Schroder, in fact, derives Apollo 'from the Vedic Saparagenya,
"worshipful," an epithet of Agni,' who is Fire (ii. 688), and so on.
Daphne=Dahana is no less doubted.  Of course a Greek simply cannot be
'derived' from a Sanskrit word, as is stated, though both may have a
common origin, just as French is not 'derived from' Italian.

(2) If the etymologies were accepted, no proof is offered to us of the
actual existence, as a vera causa, of the process by which a saying.
'Apollo pursues Daphne,' remains in language, while the meaning of the
words is forgotten.  This process is essential, but undemonstrated.  See
the chapter here on 'The Riddle Theory.'

(3) These processes, if demonstrated, which they are not, must be
carefully discriminated from the actual demonstrable process of
folk-etymology.  The Marmalade legend gives the etymology of a word,
marmalade; the Daphne legend does not give an etymology.

(4) The theory of Daphne is of the kind protested against by Mannhardt,
where he warns us against looking in most myths for a 'mirror-picture' on
earth of celestial phenomena. {20a}  For these reasons, among others, I
am disinclined to accept Mr. Max Muller's attempt to explain the story of

Mannhardt on Daphne

Since we shall presently find Mr. Max Muller claiming the celebrated
Mannhardt as a sometime deserter of philological comparative mythology,
who 'returned to his old colours,' I observe with pleasure that Mannhardt
is on my side and against the Oxford Professor.  Mannhardt shows that the
laurel (daphne) was regarded as a plant which, like our rowan tree,
averts evil influences.  'Moreover, the laurel, like the Maibaum, was
looked on as a being with a spirit.  This is the safest result which myth
analysis can extract from the story of Daphne, a nymph pursued by Apollo
and changed into a laurel.  It is a result of the use of the laurel in
his ritual.' {20b}  In 1877, a year after Mannhardt is said by Mr. Max
Muller to have returned to his old colours, he repeats this explanation.
{21a}  In the same work (p. 20) he says that 'there is no reason for
accepting Max Muller's explanation about the Sun-god and the Dawn, wo
jeder thatliche Anhalt dafur fehlt.'  For this opinion we might also cite
the Sanskrit scholars Whitney and Bergaigne. {21b}



Mr. Max Muller protests, most justly, against the statement that he, like
St. Athanasius, stands alone, contra mundum.  If ever this phrase fell
from my pen (in what connection I know not), it is as erroneous as the
position of St. Athanasius is honourable.  Mr. Max Muller's ideas, in
various modifications, are doubtless still the most prevalent of any.  The
anthropological method has hardly touched, I think, the learned
contributors to Roscher's excellent mythological Lexicon.  Dr. Brinton,
whose American researches are so useful, seems decidedly to be a member
of the older school.  While I do not exactly remember alluding to
Athanasius, I fully and freely withdraw the phrase.  But there remain
questions of allies to be discussed.

Italian Critics

Mr. Max Muller asks, {22} 'What would Mr. Andrew Lang say if he read the
words of Signer Canizzaro, in his "Genesi ed Evoluzione del Mito" (1893),
"Lang has laid down his arms before his adversaries"?'  Mr. Lang 'would
smile.'  And what would Mr. Max Muller say if he read the words of
Professor Enrico Morselli, 'Lang gives no quarter to his adversaries,
who, for the rest, have long been reduced to silence'? {23}  The Right
Hon. Professor also smiles, no doubt.  We both smile.  Solvuntur risu

A Dutch Defender

The question of the precise attitude of Professor Tiele, the accomplished
Gifford Lecturer in the University of Edinburgh (1897), is more important
and more difficult.  His remarks were made in 1885, in an essay on the
Myth of Cronos, and were separately reprinted, in 1886, from the 'Revue
de l'Histoire des Religions,' which I shall cite.  Where they refer to
myself they deal with Custom and Myth, not with Myth, Ritual, and
Religion (1887).  It seems best to quote, ipsissimis verbis, Mr. Max
Muller's comments on Professor Tiele's remarks.  He writes (i. viii.):

'Let us proceed next to Holland.  Professor Tiele, who had actually been
claimed as an ally of the victorious army, declares:--"Je dois m'elever,
au nom de la science mythologique et de l'exactitude . . . centre une
methode qui ne fait que glisser sur des problemes de premiere
importance."  (See further on, p. 35.)

'And again:

'"Ces braves gens qui, pour peu qu'ils aient lu un ou deux livres de
mythologie et d'anthropologie, et un ou deux recits de voyages, ne
manqueront pas de se mettre a comparer a tort et a travers, et pour tout
resultat produiront la confusion."'

Again (i. 35):

'Besides Signer Canizzaro and Mr. Horatio Hale, the veteran among
comparative ethnologists, Professor Tiele, in his Le Mythe de Kronos
(1886), has very strongly protested against the downright
misrepresentations of what I and my friends have really written.

'Professor Tiele had been appealed to as an unimpeachable authority.  He
was even claimed as an ally by the ethnological students of customs and
myths, but he strongly declined that honour (1. c., p. 31):-

'"M. Lang m'a fait 1'honneur de me citer," he writes, "comme un de ses
allies, et j'ai lieu de croire que M. Gaidoz en fait en quelque mesure
autant.  Ces messieurs n'ont point entierement tort.  Cependant je dois
m'elever, au nom de la science mythologique et de 1'exactitude dont elle
ne peut pas plus se passer que les autres sciences, contre une methode
qui ne fait que glisser sur des problemes de premiere importance," &c.

'Speaking of the whole method followed by those who actually claimed to
have founded a new school of mythology, he says (p. 21):--

'"Je crains toutefois que ce qui s'y trouve de vrai ne soit connu depuis
longtemps, et que la nouvelle ecole ne peche par exclusionisme tout
autant que les ainees qu'elle combat avec tant de conviction."

'That is exactly what I have always said.  What is there new in comparing
the customs and myths of the Greeks with those of the barbarians?  Has
not even Plato done this?  Did anybody doubt that the Greeks, nay even
the Hindus, were uncivilised or savages, before they became civilised or
tamed?  Was not this common-sense view, so strongly insisted on by
Fontenelle and Vico in the eighteenth century, carried even to excess by
such men as De Brosses (1709-1771)?  And have the lessons taught to De
Brosses by his witty contemporaries been quite forgotten?  Must his
followers be told again and again that they ought to begin with a
critical examination of the evidence put before them by casual
travellers, and that mythology is as little made up of one and the same
material as the crust of the earth of granite only?'


Professor Tiele wrote in 1885.  I do not remember having claimed his
alliance, though I made one or two very brief citations from his remarks
on the dangers of etymology applied to old proper names. {25a}  To
citations made by me later in 1887 Professor Tiele cannot be referring.
{25b}  Thus I find no proof of any claim of alliance put forward by me,
but I do claim a right to quote the Professor's published words.  These I
now translate:--{25c}

'What goes before shows adequately that I am an ally, much more than an
adversary, of the new school, whether styled ethnological or
anthropological.  It is true that all the ideas advanced by its partisans
are not so new as they seem.  Some of us--I mean among those who, without
being vassals of the old school, were formed by it--had not only remarked
already the defects of the reigning method, but had perceived the
direction in which researches should be made; they had even begun to say
so.  This does not prevent the young school from enjoying the great merit
of having first formulated with precision, and with the energy of
conviction, that which had hitherto been but imperfectly pointed out.  If
henceforth mythological science marches with a firmer foot, and loses
much of its hypothetical character, it will in part owe this to the
stimulus of the new school.'

'Braves Gens'

Professor Tiele then bids us leave our cries of triumph to the servum
imitatorum pecus, braves gens, and so forth, as in the passage which Mr.
Max Muller, unless I misunderstand him, regards as referring to the 'new
school,' and, notably, to M. Gaidoz and myself, though such language
ought not to apply to M. Gaidoz, because he is a scholar.  I am left to
uncovenanted mercies.

Professor Tiele on Our Merits

The merits of the new school Professor Tiele had already stated:--{26}

'If I were reduced to choose between this method and that of comparative
philology, I would prefer the former without the slightest hesitation.
This method alone enables us to explain the fact, such a frequent cause
of surprise, that the Greeks like the Germans . . . could attribute to
their gods all manner of cruel, cowardly and dissolute actions.  This
method alone reveals the cause of all the strange metamorphoses of gods
into animals, plants, and even stones. . . .  In fact, this method
teaches us to recognise in all these oddities the survivals of an age of
barbarism long over-past, but lingering into later times, under the form
of religious legends, the most persistent of all traditions. . . .  This
method, enfin, can alone help us to account for the genesis of myths,
because it devotes itself to studying them in their rudest and most
primitive shape. . . . '

Destruction and Construction

Thus writes Professor Tiele about the constructive part of our work.  As
to the destructive--or would-be destructive--part, he condenses my
arguments against the method of comparative philology.  'To resume, the
whole house of comparative philological mythology is builded on the sand,
and her method does not deserve confidence, since it ends in such
divergent results.'  That is Professor Tiele's statement of my
destructive conclusions, and he adds, 'So far, I have not a single
objection to make.  I can still range myself on Mr. Lang's side when he'
takes certain distinctions into which it is needless to go here. {27}

Allies or Not?

These are several of the passages on which, in 1887, I relied as evidence
of the Professor's approval, which, I should have added, is only partial
It is he who, unsolicited, professes himself 'much more our ally than our
adversary.'  It is he who proclaims that Mr. Max Midler's central
hypothesis is erroneous, and who makes 'no objection' to my idea that it
is 'builded on the sand.'  It is he who assigns essential merits to our
method, and I fail to find that he 'strongly declines the honour' of our
alliance.  The passage about 'braves gens' explicitly does not refer to

Our Errors

In 1887, I was not careful to quote what Professor Tiele had said against
us.  First, as to our want of novelty.  That merit, I think, I had never
claimed.  I was proud to point out that we had been anticipated by
Eusebius of Caesarea, by Fontenelle, and doubtless by many others.  We
repose, as Professor Tiele justly says, on the researches of Dr. Tylor.
At the same time it is Professor Tiele who constantly speaks of 'the new
school,' while adding that he himself had freely opposed Mr. Max Muller's
central hypothesis, 'a disease of language,' in Dutch periodicals.  The
Professor also censures our 'exclusiveness,' our 'narrowness,' our 'songs
of triumph,' our use of parody (M. Gaidoz republished an old one, not to
my own taste; I have also been guilty of 'The Great Gladstone Myth') and
our charge that our adversaries neglect ethnological material.  On this I
explain myself later. {28a}

Uses of Philology

Our method (says Professor Tiele) 'cannot answer all the questions which
the science of mythology must solve, or, at least, must study.'  Certainly
it makes no such pretence.

Professor Tiele then criticises Sir George Cox and Mr. Robert Brown,
junior, for their etymologies of Poseidon.  Indiscreet followers are not
confined to our army alone.  Now, the use of philology, we learn, is to
discourage such etymological vagaries as those of Sir G. Cox. {28b}  _We_
also discourage them--severely.  But we are warned that philology really
has discovered 'some undeniably certain etymologies' of divine names.
Well, I also say, 'Philology alone can tell whether Zeus Asterios, or
Adonis, or Zeus Labrandeus is originally a Semitic or a Greek divine
name; here she is the Pythoness we must all consult.' {29a}  And is it my
fault that, even in this matter, the Pythonesses utter such strangely
discrepant oracles?  Is Athene from a Zend root (Benfey), a Greek root
(Curtius), or to be interpreted by Sanskrit Ahana (Max Muller)?  Meanwhile
Professor Tiele repeats that, in a search for the origin of myths, and,
above all, of obscene and brutal myths, 'philology will lead us far from
our aim.'  Now, if the school of Mr. Max Muller has a mot d'ordre, it is,
says Professor Tiele, 'to call mythology a disease of language.' {29b}
But, adds Mr. Max Muller's learned Dutch defender, mythologists, while
using philology for certain purposes, 'must shake themselves free, of
course, from the false hypothesis' (Mr. Max Muller's) 'which makes of
mythology a mere maladie du langage.'  This professor is rather a
dangerous defender of Mr. Max Muller!  He removes the very corner-stone
of his edifice, which Tiele does not object to our describing as founded
on the sand.  Mr. Max Muller does not cite (as far as I observe) these
passages in which Professor Tiele (in my view, and in fact) abandons (for
certain uses) _his_ system of mythology.  Perhaps Professor Tiele has
altered his mind, and, while keeping what Mr. Max Muller quotes, braves
gens, and so on, has withdrawn what he said about 'the false hypothesis
of a disease of language.'  But my own last book about myths was written
in 1886-1887, shortly after Professor Tiele's remarks were published
(1886) as I have cited them.

Personal Controversy

All this matter of alliances may seem, and indeed is, of a personal
character, and therefore unimportant.  Professor Tiele's position in 1885-
86 is clearly defined.  Whatever he may have published since, he then
accepted the anthropological or ethnological method, as _alone_ capable
of doing the work in which we employ it.  This method alone can discover
the origin of ancient myths, and alone can account for the barbaric
element, that old puzzle, in the myths of civilised races.  This the
philological method, useful for other purposes, cannot do, and its
central hypothesis can only mislead us.  I was not aware, I repeat, that
I ever claimed Professor Tiele's 'alliance,' as he, followed by Mr. Max
Muller, declares.  They cannot point, as a proof of an assertion made by
Professor Tiele, 1885-86, to words of mine which did not see the light
till 1887, in Myth, Ritual, and Religion, i. pp. 24, 43, 44.  Not that I
deny Professor Tiele's statement about my claim of his alliance before
1885-86.  I merely ask for a reference to this claim.  In 1887 {30} I
cited his observations (already quoted) on the inadequate and misleading
character of the philological method, when we are seeking for 'the origin
of a myth, or the physical explanation of the oldest myths, or trying to
account for the rude and obscene element in the divine legends of
civilised races.'  I added the Professor's applause of the philological
method as applied to other problems of mythology; for example, 'the
genealogical relations of myths. . . .  The philological method alone can
answer here,' aided, doubtless, by historical and archaeological
researches as to the inter-relations of races.  This approval of the
philological method, I cited; the reader will find the whole passage in
the Revue, vol. xii. p. 260.  I remarked, however, that this will seem 'a
very limited province,' though, in this province, 'Philology is the
Pythoness we must all consult; in this sphere she is supreme, when her
high priests are of one mind.'  Thus I did not omit to notice Professor
Tiele's comments on the _merits_ of the philological method.  To be sure,
he himself does not apply it when he comes to examine the Myth of Cronos.
'Are the God and his myth original or imported?  I have not approached
this question because it does not seem to me ripe in this particular
case.' {31a}  'Mr. Lang has justly rejected the opinion of Welcker and
Mr. Max Muller, that Cronos is simply formed from Zeus's epithet,
[Greek].' {31b}  This opinion, however, Mr. Max Muller still thinks the
'most likely' (ii. 507).

My other citation of Professor Tiele in 1887 says that our pretensions
'are not unacknowledged' by him, and, after a long quotation of approving
passages, I add 'the method is thus _applauded_ by a most competent
authority, and it has been _warmly accepted_' (pray note the distinction)
by M. Gaidoz. {31c}  I trust that what I have said is not unfair.
Professor Tiele's objections, not so much to our method as to our
manners, and to my own use of the method in a special case, have been
stated, or will be stated later.  Probably I should have put them forward
in 1887; I now repair my error.  My sole wish is to be fair; if Mr. Max
Muller has not wholly succeeded in giving the full drift of Professor
Tiele's remarks, I am certain that it is from no lack of candour.

The Story of Cronos

Professor Tiele now devotes fifteen pages to the story of Cronos, and to
my essay on that theme.  He admits that I was right in regarding the myth
as 'extraordinarily old,' and that in Greece it must go back to a period
when Greeks had not passed the New Zealand level of civilisation.  [Now,
the New Zealanders were cannibals!]  But 'we are the victims of a great
illusion if we think that a mere comparison of a Maori and Greek myth
explains the myth.'  I only profess to explain the savagery of the myth
by the fact (admitted) that it was composed by savages.  The Maori story
'is a myth of the creation of light.'  I, for my part, say, 'It is a myth
of the severance of heaven and earth.' {32a}  And so it is!  No Being
said, in Maori, 'Fiat lux!'  Light is not here _created_.  Heaven lay
flat on Earth, all was dark, somebody kicked Heaven up, the already
existing light came in.  Here is no creation de la lumiere.  I ask
Professor Tiele, 'Do you, sir, create light when you open your window-
shutters in the morning?  No, you let light in!'  The Maori tale is also
'un mythe primitif de l'aurore,' a primitive dawn myth.  Dawn, again!
Here I lose Professor Tiele.

'Has the myth of Cronos the same sense?'  Probably not, as the Maori
story, to my mind, has not got it either.  But Professor Tiele says, 'The
myth of Cronos has precisely the opposite sense.' {32b}  What is the myth
of Cronos?  Ouranos (Heaven) married Gaea (Earth).  Ouranos 'hid his
children from the light in the _hollows_ of Earth' (Hesiod).  So, too,
the New Zealand gods were hidden from light while Heaven (Rangi) lay flat
on Papa (Earth).  The children 'were concealed between the _hollows_ of
their parent's breasts.'  They did not like it, for they dwelt in
darkness.  So Cronos took an iron sickle and mutilated Ouranos in such a
way, enfin, as to divorce him a thoro.  'Thus,' I say, 'were Heaven and
Earth practically divorced.'  The Greek gods now came out of the hollows
where they had been, like the New Zealand gods, 'hidden from the light.'

Professor Tiele on Sunset Myths

No, says Professor Tiele, 'the story of Cronos has precisely the opposite
meaning.'  The New Zealand myth is one of dawn, the Greek myth is one of
sunset.  The mutilated part of poor Ouranos is le phallus du ciel, le
soleil, which falls into 'the Cosmic ocean,' and then, of course, all is
dark.  Professor Tiele may be right here; I am indifferent.  All that I
wanted to explain was the savage complexion of the myth, and Professor
Tiele says that I have explained that, and (xii. 264) he rejects the
etymological theory of Mr. Max Muller.

I say that, in my opinion, the second part of the Cronos myth (the child-
swallowing performances of Cronos) 'was probably a world-wide Marchen, or
tale, attracted into the cycle of which Cronos was the centre, without
any particular reason beyond the law which makes detached myths
crystallise round any celebrated name.'

Professor Tiele says he does not grasp the meaning of, or believe in, any
such law.  Well, why is the world-wide tale of the Cyclops told about
Odysseus?  It is absolutely out of keeping, and it puzzles commentators.
In fact, here was a hero and there was a tale, and the tale was attracted
into the cycle of the hero; the very last man to have behaved as Odysseus
is made to do. {34}  But Cronos was an odious ruffian.  The world-wide
tale of swallowing and disgorging the children was attracted to _his_ too
notorious name 'by grace of congruity.'  Does Professor Tiele now grasp
my meaning (saisir)?

Our Lack of Scientific Exactness

I do not here give at full length Professor Tiele's explanation of the
meaning of a myth which I do not profess to explain myself.  Thus, drops
of the blood of Ouranos falling on Earth begat the Melies, usually
rendered 'Nymphs of the Ash-trees.'  But Professor Tiele says they were
really _bees_ (Hesychius, [Greek]=[Greek])--'that is to say, stars.'
Everybody has observed that the stars rise up off the earth, like the
bees sprung from the blood of Ouranos.  In Myth, Ritual, and Religion (i.
299-315) I give the competing explanations of Mr. Max Muller, of Schwartz
(Cronos=storm god), Preller (Cronos=harvest god), of others who see the
sun, or time, in Cronos; while, with Professor Tiele, Cronos is the god
of the upper air, and also of the underworld and harvest; he 'doubles the
part.'  'Il est l'un et l'autre'--that is, 'le dieu qui fait murir le
ble' and also 'un dieu des lieux souterrains.'  'Il habite les
profondeurs sous la terre,' he is also le dieu du ciel nocturne.

It may have been remarked that I declined to add to this interesting
collection of plausible explanations of Cronos.  A selection of such
explanations I offer in tabular form:--

Cronos was God of

Time (?)--Max Muller
Midnight sky--Kuhn

Under-world }
Midnight sky}--Tiele
Harvest }

Star-swallowing sky--Canon Taylor
Sun scorching spring--Hartung

Cronos was by Race

Late Greek (?)--Max Muller
Accadian (?)--Sayce

Etymology of Cronos

[Greek]=Time (?)--Max Muller
Krana (Sanskrit)--Kuhn
Karnos (Horned)--Brown

The pleased reader will also observe that the phallus of Ouranos is the
sun (Tiele), that Cronos is the sun (Sayce), that Cronos mutilating
Ouranos is the sun (Hartung), just as the sun is the mutilated part of
Ouranos (Tiele); _Or_ is, according to others, the stone which Cronos
swallowed, and which acted as an emetic.

My Lack of Explanation of Cronos

Now, I have offered no explanation at all of who Cronos was, what he was
god of, from what race he was borrowed, from what language his name was
derived.  The fact is that I do not know the truth about these important
debated questions.  Therefore, after speaking so kindly of our method,
and rejecting the method of Mr. Max Muller, Professor Tiele now writes
thus (and _this_ Mr. Max Muller does cite, as we have seen):--

   'Mr. Lang and M. Gaidoz are not entirely wrong in claiming me as an
   ally.  But I must protest, in the name of mythological science, and of
   the exactness as necessary to her as to any of the other sciences,
   against a method which only glides over questions of the first
   importance' (name, origin, province, race of Cronos), 'and which to
   most questions can only reply, with a smile, C'est chercher raison ou
   il n'y en a pas.'

My Crime

Now, what important questions was I gliding over?  In what questions did
I not expect to find reason?  Why in this savage fatras about Cronos
swallowing his children, about blood-drops becoming bees (Mr. Max Muller
says 'Melian nymphs'), and bees being stars, and all the rest of a
prehistoric Marchen worked over again and again by the later fancy of
Greek poets and by Greek voyagers who recognised Cronos in Moloch.  In
all this I certainly saw no 'reason,' but I have given in tabular form
the general, if inharmonious, conclusions of more exact and conscientious
scholars, 'their variegated hypotheses,' as Mannhardt says in the case of
Demeter.  My error, rebuked by Professor Tiele, is the lack of that
'scientific exactitude' exhibited by the explanations arranged in my
tabular form.

My Reply to Professor Tiele

I would reply that I am not engaged in a study of the _Cult_ of Cronos,
but of the revolting element in his _Myth_: his swallowing of his
children, taking a stone emetic by mistake, and disgorging the swallowed
children alive; the stone being on view at Delphi long after the
Christian era.  Now, such stories of divine feats of swallowing and
disgorging are very common, I show, in savage myth and popular Marchen.
The bushmen have Kwai Hemm, who swallows the sacred Mantis insect.  He is
killed, and all the creatures whom he has swallowed return to light.  Such
stories occur among Australians, Kaffirs, Red Men, in Guiana, in
Greenland, and so on.  In some cases, among savages.  Night (conceived as
a person), or one star which obscures another star, is said to 'swallow'
it.  Therefore, I say, 'natural phenomena, explained on savage
principles, might give the data of the swallowing myth, of Cronos'
{37}--that is, the myth of Cronos may be, probably is, originally a
nature-myth.  'On this principle Cronos would be (ad hoc) the Night.'
Professor Tiele does not allude to this effort at interpretation.  But I
come round to something like the view of Kuhn.  Cronos (ad hoc) is the
midnight [sky], which Professor Tiele also regards as one of his several
aspects.  It is not impossible, I think, that if the swallowing myth was
originally a nature-myth, it was suggested by Night.  But the question I
tried to answer was, 'Why did the Greeks, of all people, tell such a
disgusting story?'  And I replied, with Professor Tiele's approval, that
they inherited it from an age to which such follies were natural, an age
when the ancestors of the Greeks were on (or under) the Maori stage of
culture.  Now, the Maoris, a noble race, with poems of great beauty and
speculative power, were cannibals, like Cronos.  To my mind, 'scientific
exactitude' is rather shown in confessing ignorance than in adding to the
list of guesses.

Conclusion as to Professor Tiele

The learned Professor's remarks on being 'much more my ally than my
opponent' were published before my Myth, Ritual, and Religion, in which
(i. 24, 25) I cited his agreement with me in the opinion that 'the
philological method' (Mr. Max Muller's) is 'inadequate and misleading,
when it is a question of discovering the origin of a myth.'  I also
quoted his unhesitating preference of ours to Mr. Max Muller's method (i.
43, 44).  I did not cite a tithe of what he actually did say to our
credit.  But I omitted to quote what it was inexcusable not to add, that
Professor Tiele thinks us 'too exclusive,' that he himself had already,
before us, combated Mr. Max Muller's method in Dutch periodicals, that he
blamed our 'songs of triumph' and our levities, that he thought we might
have ignorant camp-followers, that I glided over important questions
(bees, blood-drops, stars, Melian nymphs, the phallus of Ouranos, &c.),
and showed scientific inexactitude in declining chercher raison ou il n'y
en a pas.

None the less, in Professor Tiele's opinion, our method is new (or is
_not_ new), illuminating, successful, and _alone_ successful, for the
ends to which we apply it, and, finally, we have shown Mr. Max Muller's
method to be a house builded on the sand.  That is the gist of what
Professor Tiele said.

Mr. Max Muller, like myself, quotes part and omits part.  He quotes twice
Professor Tiele's observations on my deplorable habit of gliding over
important questions.  He twice says that we have 'actually' claimed the
Professor as 'an ally of the victorious army,' 'the ethnological students
of custom and myth,' and once adds, 'but he strongly declined that
honour.'  He twice quotes the famous braves gens passage, excepting only
M. Gaidoz, as a scholar, from a censure explicitly directed at our
possible camp-followers as distinguished from ourselves.

But if Mr. Max Muller quotes Professor Tiele's remarks proving that, in
his opinion, the 'army' _is_ really victorious; if he cites the
acquiescence in my opinion that _his_ mythological house is 'builded on
the sands,' or Professor Tiele's preference for our method over his own,
or Professor Tiele's volunteered remark that he is 'much more our ally
than our adversary,' I have not detected the passages in Contributions to
the Science of Mythology.

The reader may decide as to the relative importance of what I left out,
and of what Mr. Max Muller omitted.  He says, 'Professor Tiele and I
differ on several points, but we perfectly understand each other, and
when we have made a mistake we readily confess and correct it' (i. 37).

The two scholars, I thought, differed greatly.  Mr. Max Muller's war-cry,
slogan, mot d'ordre, is to Professor Tiele 'a false hypothesis.'  Our
method, which Mr. Max Muller combats so bravely, is all that Professor
Tiele has said of it.  But, if all this is not conspicuously apparent in
our adversary's book, it does not become me to throw the first stone.  We
are all, in fact, inclined unconsciously to overlook what makes against
our argument.  I have done it; and, to the best of my belief, Mr. Max
Muller has not avoided the same error.


Mannhardt's Attitude

Professor Tiele, it may appear, really 'fights for his own hand,' and is
not a thorough partisan of either side.  The celebrated Mannhardt, too,
doubtless the most original student of folk-lore since Grimm, might, at
different periods of his career, have been reckoned an ally, now by
philologists, now by 'the new school.'  He may be said, in fact, to have
combined what is best in the methods of both parties.  Both are anxious
to secure such support as his works can lend.

Moral Character Impeached

Mr. Max Muller avers that his moral character seems to be 'aimed at' by
critics who say that he has no right to quote Mannhardt or Oldenberg as
his supporters (1. xvi.).  Now, without making absurd imputations, I do
not reckon Mannhardt a thorough partisan of Mr. Max Muller.  I could not
put _our_ theory so well as Mannhardt puts it.  'The study of the lower
races is an invaluable instrument for the interpretation of the survivals
from earlier stages, which we meet in the full civilisation of cultivated
peoples, but which arose in the remotest fetishism and savagery.'

Like Mr. Max Muller, I do not care for the vague word 'fetishism,'
otherwise Mannhardt's remark exactly represents my own position, the
anthropological position. {42a}  Now, Mr. Max Muller does not like that
position.  That position he assails.  It was Mannhardt's, however, when
he wrote the book quoted, and, so far, Mannhardt was _not_ absolutely one
of Mr. Max Muller's 'supporters'--unless I am one.  'I have even been
accused,' says Mr. Max Muller, 'of intentionally ignoring or suppressing
Mannhardt's labours.  How charitable!' (1. xvii.)  I trust, from our
author's use of the word todtschweigen, that this uncharitable charge was
made in Germany.


Mannhardt, for a time, says Mr. Max Muller, 'expressed his mistrust in
some of the results of comparative mythology' (1. xvii.).  Indeed, I
myself quote him to that very effect. {42b}  Not only '_some_ of the
results,' but the philological method itself was distrusted by Mannhardt,
as by Curtius.  'The failure of the method in its practical working lies
in a lack of the historical sense,' says Mannhardt. {42c}  Mr. Max Muller
may have, probably has, referred to these sayings of Mannhardt; or, if he
has not, no author is obliged to mention everybody who disagrees with
him.  Mannhardt's method was mainly that of folklore, not of philology.
He examined peasant customs and rites as 'survivals' of the oldest
paganism.  Mr. Frazer applies Mannhardt's rich lore to the explanation of
Greek and other rites in The Golden Bough, that entrancing book.  Such
was Mannhardt's position (as I shall prove at large) when he was writing
his most famous works.  But he 'returned at last to his old colours' (1.
xvii.) in Die lettischen Sonnenmythen (1875).  In 1880 Mannhardt died.
Mr. Max Muller does not say whether Mannhardt, before a decease deeply
regretted, recanted his heretical views about the philological method,
and his expressed admiration of the study of the lower races as 'an
invaluable instrument.'  One would gladly read a recantation so
important.  But Mr. Max Muller does tell us that 'if I did not refer to
his work in my previous contributions to the science of mythology the
reason was simple enough.  It was not, as has been suggested, my wish to
suppress it (todtschweigen), but simply my want of knowledge of the
materials with which he dealt' (German popular customs and traditions)
'and therefore the consciousness of my incompetence to sit in judgment on
his labours.'  Again, we are told that there was no need of criticism or
praise of Mannhardt.  He had Mr. Frazer as his prophet--but not till ten
years after his death.

Mannhardt's Letters

'Mannhardt's state of mind with regard to the general principles of
comparative philology has been so exactly my own,' says Mr. Max Muller,
that he cites Mannhardt's letters to prove the fact.  But as to the
_application_ to myth of the principles of comparative philology,
Mannhardt speaks of 'the lack of the historical sense' displayed in the
practical employment of the method.  This, at least, is 'not exactly' Mr.
Max Muller's own view.  Probably he refers to the later period when
Mannhardt 'returned to his old colours.'

The letters of Mannhardt, cited in proof of his exact agreement with Mr.
Max Muller about comparative philology, do not, as far as quoted, mention
the subject of comparative philology at all (1. xviii-xx.).  Possibly
'philology' is here a slip of the pen, and 'mythology' may be meant.

Mannhardt says to Mullenhoff (May 2, 1876) that he has been uneasy 'at
the extent which sun myths threaten to assume in my comparisons.'  He is
opening 'a new point of view;' materials rush in, 'so that the sad danger
seemed inevitable of everything becoming everything.'  In Mr. Max
Muller's own words, written long ago, _he_ expressed his dread, not of
'everything becoming everything' (a truly Heraclitean state of affairs),
but of the 'omnipresent Sun and the inevitable Dawn appearing in ever so
many disguises.'  'Have we not,' he asks, 'arrived both at the same
conclusion?'  Really, I do not know!  Had Mannhardt quite cashiered 'the
corn-spirit,' who, perhaps, had previously threatened to 'become
everything'?  He is still in great vigour, in Mr. Frazer's Golden Bough,
and Mr. Frazer is Mannhardt's disciple.  But where, all this time, is
there a reference by Mannhardt to 'the general principles of comparative
philology'?  Where does he accept 'the omnipresent Sun and the inevitable
Dawn'?  Why, he says the reverse; he says in this letter that he is
immeasurably removed from accepting them at all as Mr. Max Muller accepts

'I am very far from looking upon all myths as psychical reflections of
physical phenomena, still less as of exclusively solar or meteorological
phenomena, like Kuhn, Schwartz, Max Muller and their school.'  What a
queer way of expressing his agreement with Mr. Max Muller!

The Professor expostulates with Mannhardt (1. xx.):--'Where has any one
of us ever done this?'  Well, when Mannhardt said '_all_ myths,' he wrote
colloquially.  Shall we say that he meant 'most myths,' 'a good many
myths,' 'a myth or two here and there'?  Whatever he meant, he meant that
he was 'still more than very far removed from looking upon all myths' as
Mr. Max Muller does.

Mannhardt's next passage I quote entire and textually from Mr. Max
Muller's translation:--

   'I have learnt to appreciate poetical and literary production as an
   essential element in the development of mythology, and to draw and
   utilise the consequences arising from this state of things.  [Who has
   not?]  But, on the other hand, I hold it as quite certain that a
   portion of the older myths arose from nature poetry which is no longer
   directly intelligible to us, but has to be interpreted by means of
   analogies.  Nor does it follow that these myths betray any historical
   identity; they only testify to the same kind of conception and
   tendency prevailing on similar stages of development.  Of these nature
   myths some have reference to the life and the circumstances of the
   sun, and our first steps towards an understanding of them are helped
   on by such nature poetry as the Lettish, which has not yet been
   obscured by artistic and poetical reflexion.  In that poetry mythical
   personalities confessedly belonging to a solar sphere are transferred
   to a large number of poetical representatives, of which the
   explanation must consequently be found in the same (solar) sphere of
   nature.  My method here is just the same as that applied by me to the

Mr. Max Muller asks, 'Where is there any difference between this, the
latest and final system adopted by Mannhardt, and my own system which I
put forward in 1856?' (1. xxi.)

How Mannhardt differs from Mr. Max Muller

I propose to show wherein the difference lies.  Mannhardt says, 'My
method is just the same as that applied by me to the Tree-cult.'  What
was _that_ method?

Mannhardt, in the letter quoted by Mr. Max Muller, goes on to describe
it; but Mr. Max Muller omits the description, probably not realising its
importance.  For Mannhardt's method is the reverse of that practised
under the old colours to which he is said to have returned.

Mannhardt's Method

'My method is here the same as in the Tree-cult.  I start from a given
collection of facts, of which the central idea is distinct and generally
admitted, and consequently offers a firm basis for explanation.  I
illustrate from this and from well-founded analogies.  Continuing from
these, I seek to elucidate darker things.  I search out the simplest
radical ideas and perceptions, the germ-cells from whose combined growth
mythical tales form themselves in very different ways.'

Mr. Frazer gives us a similar description of Mannhardt's method, whether
dealing with sun myths or tree myths. {46}  'Mannhardt set himself
systematically to collect, compare, and explain the living superstitions
of the peasantry.'  Now Mr. Max Muller has just confessed, as a reason
for incompetence to criticise Mannhardt's labours, 'my want of knowledge
of the materials with which he dealt--the popular customs and traditions
of Germany.'  And yet he asks where there is any difference between his
system and Mannhardt's.  Mannhardt's is the study of rural survival, the
system of folklore.  Mr. Max Muller's is the system of comparative
philology about which in this place Mannhardt does not say one single
word.  Mannhardt interprets some myths 'arising from nature poetry, no
longer intelligible to us,' by _analogies_; Mr. Max Muller interprets
them by _etymologies_.

The difference is incalculable; not that Mannhardt always abstains from

Another Claim on Mannhardt

While maintaining that 'all comparative mythology must rest on comparison
of names as its most certain basis' (a system which Mannhardt declares
explicitly to be so far 'a failure'), Mr. Max Muller says, 'It is well
known that in his last, nay posthumous essay, Mannhardt, no mean
authority, returned to the same conviction.'  I do not know which is
Mannhardt's very last essay, but I shall prove that in the posthumous
essays Mannhardt threw cold water on the whole method of philological
comparative mythology.

However, as proof of Mannhardt's return to Mr. Max Muller's convictions,
our author cites Mythologische Forschungen (pp. 86-113).

What Mannhardt said

In the passages here produced as proof of Mannhardt's conversion, he is
not investigating a myth at all, or a name which occurs in mythology.  He
is trying to discover the meaning of the practices of the Lupercalia at
Rome.  In February, says Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the Romans held a
popular festival, and lads ran round naked, save for skins of victims,
whipping the spectators.  Mannhardt, in his usual way, collects all the
facts first, and then analyses the name Luperci.  This does not make him
a philological mythologist.  To take a case in point, at Selkirk and
Queensferry the bounds are ridden, or walked, by 'Burleymen' or
'Burrymen.' {48}  After examining the facts we examine the words, and
ask, 'Why Burley or Burry men?'  At Queensferry, by a folk etymology, one
of the lads wears a coat stuck over with burrs.  But 'Borough-men' seems
the probable etymology.  As we examine the names Burley, or Burry men, so
Mannhardt examines the name Luperci; and if a true etymology can be
discovered, it will illustrate the original intention of the Lupercalia
(p. 86).

He would like to explain the Lupercalia as a popular play, representing
the spirits of vegetation opposing the spirits of infertility.  'But we
do not forget that our whole theory of the development of the rite rests
on a hypothesis which the lack of materials prevents us from
demonstrating.'  He would explain Luperci as Lupiherci--'wolf-goats.'
Over this we need not linger; but how does all this prove Mannhardt to
have returned to the method of comparing Greek with Vedic divine names,
and arriving thence at some celestial phenomenon as the basis of a
terrestrial myth?  Yet he sometimes does this.

My Relations to Mannhardt

If anything could touch and move an unawakened anthropologist it would be
the conversion of Mannhardt.  My own relations with his ideas have the
interest of illustrating mental coincidences.  His name does not occur, I
think, in the essay, 'The Method of Folklore,' in the first edition of my
Custom and Myth.  In that essay I take, as an example of the method, the
Scottish and Northumbrian Kernababy, the puppet made out of the last
gleanings of harvest.  This I compared to the Greek Demeter of the
harvest-home, with sheaves and poppies in her hands, in the immortal
Seventh Idyll of Theocritus.  Our Kernababy, I said, is a stunted
survival of our older 'Maiden,' 'a regular image of the harvest goddess,'
and I compared [Greek].  Next I gave the parallel case from ancient Peru,
and the odd accidental coincidence that _there_ the maize was styled Mama
Cora ([Greek]!).

In entire ignorance of Mannhardt's corn-spirit, or corn-mother, I was
following Mannhardt's track.  Indeed, Mr. Max Muller has somewhere
remarked that I popularise Mannhardt's ideas.  Naturally he could not
guess that the coincidence was accidental and also inevitable.  Two men,
unknown to each other, were using the same method on the same facts.

Mannhardt's Return to his old Colours

If, then, Mannhardt was re-converted, it would be a potent argument for
my conversion.  But one is reminded of the re-conversion of Prince
Charles.  In 1750 he 'deserted the errors of the Church of Rome for those
of the Church of England.'  Later he returned, or affected to return, to
the ancient faith.

A certain Cardinal seemed contented therewith, and, as the historian
remarks, 'was clearly a man not difficult to please.'  Mr. Max Muller
reminds me of the good Cardinal.  I do not feel so satisfied as he does
of Mannhardt's re-conversion.

Mannhardt's Attitude to Philology

We have heard Mannhardt, in a letter partly cited by Mr. Max Muller,
describe his own method.  He begins with what is certain and
intelligible, a mass of popular customs.  These he explains by analogies.
He passes from the known to the obscure.  Philological mythologists begin
with the unknown, the name of a god.  This they analyse, extract a
meaning, and (proceeding to the known) fit the facts of the god's legend
into the sense of his name.  The methods are each other's opposites, yet
the letter in which Mannhardt illustrates this fact is cited as a proof
of his return to his old colours.

Irritating Conduct of Mannhardt

Nothing irritates philological mythologists so much, nothing has injured
them so much in the esteem of the public which 'goes into these things a
little,' as the statement that their competing etymologies and discrepant
interpretations of mythical names are mutually destructive.  I have been
told that this is 'a mean argument.'  But if one chemical analyst found
bismuth where another found iridium, and a third found argon, the public
would begin to look on chemistry without enthusiasm; still more so if one
chemist rarely found anything but inevitable bismuth or omnipresent
iridium.  Now Mannhardt uses this 'mean argument.'

Mannhardt on Demeter Erinnys

In a posthumous work, Mythologische Forschungen (1884), the work from
which Mr. Max Muller cites the letter to Mullenhoff, Mannhardt discusses
Demeter Erinnys.  She is the Arcadian goddess, who, in the form of a
mare, became mother of Despoina and the horse Arion, by Poseidon. {51a}
Her anger at the unhandsome behaviour of Poseidon caused Demeter to be
called Erinnys--'to be angry' being [Greek] in Arcadian--a
folk-etymology, clearly.  Mannhardt first dives deep into the sources for
this fable. {51b}  Arion, he decides, is no mythological personification,
but a poetical ideal (Bezeichnung) of the war-horse.  Legend is ransacked
for proof of this.  Poseidon is the lord of wind and wave.  Now, there
are waves of corn, under the wind, as well as waves of the sea.  When the
Suabian rustic sees the wave running over the corn, he says, Da lauft das
Pferd, and Greeks before Homer would say, in face of the billowing corn,
[Greek], There run horses!  And Homer himself {51c} says that the horses
of Erichthonius, children of Boreas, ran over cornfield and sea.  We
ourselves speak of sea-waves as 'white horses.'  So, to be brief,
Mannhardt explains the myth of Demeter Erinnys becoming, as a mare, a
mother by Poseidon as a horse, thus, 'Poseidon Hippies, or Poseidon in
horse's form, rushes through the growing grain and weds Demeter,' and he
cites peasant proverbs, such as Das Korn heirathet; das Korn feiert
Hochzeit (p. 264).  'This is the germ of the Arcadian Saga.'

   'The Arcadian myth of Demeter Erinnys is undeniably a blending of the
   epic tradition [of the ideal war-horse] with the local cult of
   Demeter. . . .  It is a probable hypothesis that the belief in the
   wedding of Demeter and Poseidon comes from the sight of the waves
   passing over the cornfield. . . .' {52}

It is very neat!  But a certain myth of Loki in horse-form comes into
memory, and makes me wonder how Mannhardt would have dealt with that too
liberal narrative.

Loki, as a mare (he being a male god), became, by the horse of a giant,
the father of Sleipnir, Odin's eight-footed steed.  Mr. W. A. Craigie
supplies this note on Loki's analogy with Poseidon, as a horse, in the
waves of corn:--

   'In North Jutland, when the vapours are seen going with a wavy motion
   along the earth in the heat of summer, they say, "Loki is sowing oats
   today," or "Loki is driving his goats."

   'N.B.--Oats in Danish are havre, which suggests O.N. hafrar, goats.
   Modern Icelandic has hafrar=oats, but the word is not found in the old

Is Loki a corn-spirit?

Mannhardt's 'Mean Argument'

Mannhardt now examines the explanations of Demeter Erinnys, and her
legend, given by Preller, E. Curtius, O. Muller, A. Kuhn, W. Sonne, Max
Muller, E. Burnouf, de Gubernatis, Schwartz, and H. D. Muller.  'Here,'
he cries, 'is a variegated list of hypotheses!'  Demeter is

   Sun Goddess
   Earth and Moon Goddess

Poseidon is

   Storm God
   Cloud-hidden Sun
   Rain God.

Despoina is


Arion, the horse, is


Erinnys is

   Red Dawn.

Mannhardt decides, after this exhibition of guesses, that the Demeter
legends cannot be explained as refractions of any natural phenomena in
the heavens (p. 275).  He concludes that the myth of Demeter Erinnys, and
the parallel Vedic story of Saranyu (who also had an amour as a mare),
are 'incongruous,' and that neither sheds any light on the other.  He
protests against the whole tendency to find prototypes of all Aryan myths
in the Veda, and to think that, with a few exceptions, all mythology is a
terrestrial reflection of celestial phenomena (p. 280).  He then goes
into the contending etymologies of Demeter, and decides ('for the man was
mortal and had been a' philologer) in favour of his own guess,
[Greek]+[Greek]='Corn-mother' (p. 294).

This essay on Demeter was written by Mannhardt in the summer of 1877, a
year after the letter which is given as evidence that he had 'returned to
his old colours.'  The essay shows him using the philological string of
'variegated hypotheses' as anything but an argument in favour of the
philological method.  On the other hand, he warns us against the habit,
so common in the philological school, of looking for prototypes of all
Aryan myths in the Veda, and of finding in most myths a reflection on
earth of phenomena in the heavens, Erinnys being either Storm-cloud or
Dawn, according to the taste and fancy of the inquirer.  We also find
Mannhardt, in 1877, starting from the known--legend and rural survival in
phrase and custom--and so advancing to the unknown--the name Demeter.  The
philologists commence with the unknown, the old name, Demeter Erinnys,
explain it to taste, and bring the legend into harmony with their
explanation.  I cannot say, then, that I share Mr. Max Muller's
impression.  I do not feel sure that Mannhardt did return to his old

Why Mannhardt is Thought to have been Converted

Mannhardt's friend, Mullenhoff, had an aversion to solar myths.  He said:
{54} 'I deeply mistrust all these combinations of the new so-called
comparative mythology.'  Mannhardt was preparing to study Lithuanian
solar myths, based on Lithuanian and Lettish marriage songs.  Mullenhoff
and Scherer seem to have thought this work too solar for their taste.
Mannhardt therefore replied to their objections in the letter quoted in
part by Mr. Max Muller.  Mannhardt was not the man to neglect or suppress
solar myths when he found them, merely because he did not believe that a
great many other myths which had been claimed as celestial were solar.
Like every sensible person, he knew that there are numerous real,
obvious, confessed solar myths _not_ derived from a disease of language.
These arise from (1) the impulse to account for the doings of the Sun by
telling a story about him as if he were a person; (2) from the natural
poetry of the human mind. {55}  What we think they are _not_ shown to
arise from is forgetfulness of meanings of old words, which, ex
hypothesi, have become proper names.

That is the theory of the philological school, and to that theory, to
these colours, I see no proof (in the evidence given) that Mannhardt had
returned.  But 'the scalded child dreads cold water,' and Mullenhoff
apparently dreaded even real solar myths.  Mr. Max Muller, on the other
hand (if I do not misinterpret him), supposes that Mannhardt had returned
to the philological method, partly because he was interested in _real_
solar myths and in the natural poetry of illiterate races.

Mannhardt's Final Confession

Mannhardt's last work published in his life days was Antike Wald- und
Feldkulte (1877).  In the preface, dated November 1, 1876 (_after_ the
famous letter of May 1876), he explains the growth of his views and
criticises his predecessors.  After doing justice to Kuhn and his
comparisons of European with Indian myths, he says that, in his opinion,
comparative Indo-Germanic mythology has not yet borne the expected
fruits.  'The _assured_ gains shrink into very few divine names, such as
Dyaus--Zeus--Tius, Parjany--Perkunas, Bhaga--Bug, Varuna--Uranus, &c.'  I
wish he had completed the list included in &c.  Other equations, as
Sarameya=Hermeias, Saranyu=Demeter Erinnys, he fears will not stand close
criticism.  He dreads that jeux d'esprit (geistvolle Spiele des Witzes)
may once more encroach on science.  Then, after a lucid statement of Mr.
Max Muller's position, he says, 'Ich vermag dem von M. Muller
aufgestellten Principe, wenn uberhaupt eine, so doch nur eine sehr
beschrankte Geltung zuzugestehen.'

   'To the principle of Max Muller I can only assign a very limited
   value, if any value at all.' {56}

   'Taken all in all, I consider the greater part of the results hitherto
   obtained in the field of Indo-Germanic comparative mythology to be, as
   yet, a failure, premature or incomplete, my own efforts in German
   Myths (1858) included.  That I do not, however, "throw out the babe
   with the bath," as the proverb goes, my essay on Lettish sun myths in
   Bastian-Hartmann's Ethnological Journal will bear witness.'

Such is Mannhardt's conclusion.  Taken in connection with his still later
essay on Demeter, it really leaves no room for doubt.  There, I think, he
does 'throw out the child with the bath,' throw the knife after the
handle.  I do not suppose that Mr. Max Muller ever did quote Mannhardt as
one of his supporters, but such a claim, if really made, would obviously
give room for criticism.

Mannhardt on Solar Myths

What the attitude of Mannhardt was, in 1877 and later, we have seen.  He
disbelieves in the philological system of explaining myths by
etymological conjectures.  He disbelieves in the habit of finding, in
myths of terrestrial occurrences, reflections of celestial phenomena.  But
earlier, in his long essay Die lettischen Sonnenmythen (in Zeitschrift
fur Ethnologie, 1875), he examines the Lettish popular songs about the
Sun, the Sun's daughters, the god-sons, and so forth.  Here, of course,
he is dealing with popular songs explicitly devoted to solar phenomena,
in their poetical aspect.  In the Lettish Sun-songs and Sun-myths of the
peasants we see, he says, a myth-world 'in process of becoming,' in an
early state of development, as in the Veda (p. 325).  But, we may reply,
in the Veda, myths are already full-grown, or even decadent.  Already
there are unbelievers in the myths.  Thus we would say, in the Veda we
have (1) myths of nature, formed in the remote past, and (2) poetical
phrases about heavenly phenomena, which resemble the nature-poetry of the
Letts, but which do not become full-grown myths.  The Lett songs, also,
have not developed into myths, of which (as in the Apollo and Daphne
story, by Mr. Max Muller's hypothesis) _the original meaning is lost_.

In the Lett songs we have a mass of nature-pictures--the boat and the
apples of the Sun, the red cloak hung on the oak-tree, and so on;
pictures by which it is sought to make elemental phenomena intelligible,
by comparison with familiar things.  Behind the phenomena are, in popular
belief, personages--mythical personages--the Sun as 'a magnified
non-natural man,' or woman; the Sun's mother, daughters, and other
heavenly people.  Their conduct is 'motived' in a human way.  Stories are
told about them: the Sun kills the Moon, who revives.

All this is perfectly familiar everywhere.  Savages, in their fables,
account for solar, lunar, and similar elemental processes, on the theory
that the heavenly bodies are, and act like, human beings.  The Eskimo
myth of the spots on the Moon, marks of ashes thrown by the Sun in a love-
quarrel, is an excellent example.  But in all this there is no 'disease
of language.'  These are frank nature-myths, 'aetiological,' giving a
fabulous reason for facts of nature.

Mannhardt on Marchen.

But Mannhardt goes farther.  He not only recognises, as everyone must do,
the Sun, as explicitly named, when he plays his part in myth, or popular
tale (Marchen).  He thinks that even when the Sun is not named, his
presence, and reference to him, and derivation of the incidents in
Marchen from solar myth, may sometimes be detected with great probability
(pp. 326, 327).  But he adds, 'not that every Marchen contains a
reference to Nature; that I am far from asserting' (p. 327).

Now perhaps nobody will deny that some incidents in Marchen may have been
originally suggested by nature-myths.  The all-swallowing and
all-disgorging beast, wolf, or ogre, may have been derived from a view of
Night as the all-swallower.  But to disengage natural phenomena,
mythically stated, from the human tangle of Marchen, to find natural
phenomena in such a palimpsest as Perrault's courtly and artificial
version of a French popular tale, is a delicate and dangerous task.  In
many stories a girl has three balls--one of silver, one of gold, one of
diamond--which she offers, in succession, as bribes.  This is a perfectly
natural invention.  It is perilous to connect these balls, gifts of
ascending value, with the solar apple of iron, silver, and gold (p. 103
and note 5).  It is perilous, and it is quite unnecessary.  Some
one--Gubernatis, I think--has explained the naked sword of Aladdin, laid
between him and the Sultan's daughter in bed, as the silver sickle of the
Moon.  Really the sword has an obvious purpose and meaning, and is used
as a symbol in proxy-marriages.  The blood shed by Achilles in his latest
victories is elsewhere explained as red clouds round the setting Sun,
which is conspicuously childish.  Mannhardt leans, at least, in this

'The Two Brothers'

Mannhardt takes the old Egyptian tale of 'The Two Brothers,' Bitiou and
Anepou.  This fable, as old, in actual written literature, as Moses, is a
complex of half the Marchen plots and incidents in the world.  It opens
with the formula of Potiphar's Wife.  The falsely accused brother flies,
and secretes his life, or separable soul, in a flower of the mystic Vale
of Acacias.  This affair of the separable soul may be studied in Mr.
Hartland's Perseus, and it animates, as we shall see, Mr. Frazer's theory
of the Origin of Totemism.  A golden lock of the wicked wife's hair is
then borne by the Nile to the king's palace in Egypt.  He will insist on
marrying the lady of the lock.  Here we are in the Cinderella formula, en
plein, which may be studied, in African and Santhal shapes, in Miss
Coxe's valuable Cinderella. {60}  Pharaoh's wise men decide that the
owner of the lock of hair is (like Egyptian royalty at large) a daughter
of the Sun-god (p. 239).  Here is the Sun, in all his glory; but here we
are dealing with a literary version of the Marchen, accommodated to royal
tastes and Egyptian ideas of royalty by a royal scribe, the courtly
Perrault of the Egyptian Roi-Soleil.  Who can say what he
introduced?--while we _can_ say that the Sun-god is absent in South
African and Santhal and other variants.  The Sun may have slipped out
here, may have been slipped in there; the faintest glimmer of the
historical sense prevents us from dogmatising.

Wedded to Pharaoh, the wicked wife, pursuing her vengeance on Bitiou,
cuts down his life-tree.  Anepou, his brother, however, recovers his
concealed heart (life), and puts it in water.  Bitiou revives.  He
changes himself into the sacred Bull, Apis--a feature in the story which
is practically possible in Egypt alone.  The Bull tells the king his
story, but the wicked wife has the Bull slain, as by Cambyses in
Herodotus.  Two of his blood-drops become two persea trees.  One of them
confesses the fact to the wicked wife.  She has them cut down; a chip
flies into her mouth, she becomes a mother by the chip, the boy (Bitiou)
again becomes king, and slays his mother, the wicked wife.

In the tree, any tree, acacia or persea, Mannhardt wishes to recognise
the Sun-tree of the Lett songs.  The red blossoms of the persea tree are
a symbol of the Sun-tree: of Horus.  He compares features, not always
very closely analogous, in European Marchen.  For example, a girl hides
in a tree, like Charles II. at Boscobel.  That is not really analogous
with Bitiou's separable life in the acacia!  'Anepou' is like 'Anapu,'
Anubis.  The Bull is the Sun, is Osiris--dead in winter.  Mr. Frazer,
Mannhardt's disciple, protests a grands cris against these
identifications when made by others than Mannhardt, who says, 'The
Marchen is an old obscure solar myth' (p. 242).  To others the story of
Bitiou seems an Egyptian literary complex, based on a popular set of
tales illustrating furens quid femina possit, and illustrating the world-
wide theory of the separable life, dragging in formulas from other
Marchen, and giving to all a thoroughly classical Egyptian colouring.
{61a}  Solar myths, we think, have not necessarily anything to make in
the matter.

The Golden Fleece

Mannhardt reasons in much the same way about the Golden Fleece.  This is
a peculiarly Greek feature, interwoven with the world-wide Marchen of the
Lad, the Giant's helpful daughter, her aid in accomplishing feats
otherwise impossible, and the pursuit of the pair by the father.  I have
studied the story--as it occurs in Samoa, among Red Indian tribes, and
elsewhere--in 'A Far-travelled Tale.' {61b}  In our late Greek versions
the Quest of the Fleece of Gold occurs, but in no other variants known to
me.  There is a lamb (a boy changed into a lamb) in Romaic.  His fleece
is of no interest to anybody.  Out of his body grows a tree with a golden
apple.  Sun-yarns occur in popular songs.  Mannhardt (pp. 282, 283)
abounds in solar explanations of the Fleece of Gold, hanging on the oak-
tree in the dark AEaean forest.  Idyia, wife of the Colchian king, 'is
clearly the Dawn.'  Aia is the isle of the Sun.  Helle=Surya, a Sanskrit
Sun-goddess; the golden ram off whose back she falls, while her brother
keeps his seat, is the Sun.  Her brother, Phrixus, may be the Daylight.
The oak-tree in Colchis is the Sun-tree of the Lettish songs.  Perseus is
a hero of Light, born in the Dark Tower (Night) from the shower of gold

'We can but say "it may be so,"' but who could explain all the complex
Perseus-saga as a statement about elemental phenomena?  Or how can the
Far-travelled Tale of the Lad and the Giant's Daughter be interpreted to
the same effect, above all in the countless examples where no Fleece of
Gold occurs?  The Greek tale of Jason is made up of several Marchen, as
is the Odyssey, by epic poets.  These Marchen have no necessary
connection with each other; they are tagged on to each other, and
localised in Greece and on the Euxine. {62a}  A poetic popular view of
the Sun may have lent the peculiar, and elsewhere absent, incident of the
quest of the Fleece of Gold on the shores of the Black Sea.  The old epic
poets may have borrowed from popular songs like the Lettish chants (p.
328).  A similar dubious adhesion may be given by us in the case of
Castor and Polydeuces (Morning and Evening Stars?), and Helen (Dawn),
{62b} and the Hesperides (p. 234).  The germs of the myths _may_ be
popular poetical views of elemental phenomena.  But to insist on
elemental allegories through all the legends of the Dioskouroi, and of
the Trojan war, would be to strain a hypothesis beyond the
breaking-point.  Much, very much, is epic invention, unverkennbar das
werk der Dichter (p. 328).

Mannhardt's Approach to Mr. Max Muller

In this essay on Lettish Sun-songs (1875) Mannhardt comes nearest to Mr.
Max Muller.  He cites passages from him with approval (cf. pp. 314, 322).
His explanations, by aid of Sun-songs, of certain features in Greek
mythology are plausible, and may be correct.  But we turn to Mannhardt's
explicit later statement of his own position in 1877, and to his
posthumous essays, published in 1884; and, on the whole, we find, in my
opinion, much more difference from than agreement with the Oxford
Professor, whose Dawn-Daphne and other equations Mannhardt dismisses, and
to whose general results (in mythology) he assigns a value so restricted.
It is a popular delusion that the anthropological mythologists deny the
existence of solar myths, or of nature-myths in general.  These are
extremely common.  What we demur to is the explanation of divine and
heroic myths at large as solar or elemental, when the original sense has
been lost by the ancient narrators, and when the elemental explanation
rests on conjectural and conflicting etymologies and interpretations of
old proper names--Athene, Hera, Artemis, and the rest.  Nevertheless,
while Mannhardt, in his works on Tree-cult, and on Field and Wood Cult,
and on the 'Corn Demon,' has wandered far from 'his old colours'--while
in his posthumous essays he is even more of a deserter, his essay on
Lettish Sun-myths shows an undeniable tendency to return to Mr. Max
Muller's camp.  This was what made his friends so anxious.  It is
probably wisest to form our opinion of his final attitude on his preface
to his last book published in his life-time.  In that the old colours are
not exactly his chosen banner; nor can the flag of the philological
school be inscribed tandem triumphans.

In brief, Mannhardt's return to his old colours (1875-76) seems to have
been made in a mood from which he again later passed away.  But either
modern school of mythology may cite him as an ally in one or other of his
phases of opinion.


Mr. Max Muller on Demeter Erinnys.

Like Mannhardt, our author in his new treatise discusses the strange old
Arcadian myth of the horse-Demeter Erinnys (ii. 537).  He tells the
unseemly tale, and asks why the Earth goddess became a mare?  Then he
gives the analogous myth from the Rig-Veda, {65} which, as it stands, is
'quite unintelligible.'  But Yaska explains that Saranyu, daughter of
Tvashtri, in the form of a mare, had twins by Vivasvat, in the shape of a
stallion.  Their offspring were the Asvins, who are more or less
analogous in their helpful character to Castor and Pollux.  Now, can it
be by accident that Saranyu in the Veda is Erinnys in Greek?  To this
'equation,' as we saw, Mannhardt demurred in 1877.  Who was Saranyu?
Yaska says 'the Night;' that was Yaska's idea.  Mr. Max Muller adds, 'I
think he is right,' and that Saranyu is 'the grey dawn' (ii. 541).

'But,' the bewildered reader exclaims, 'Dawn is one thing and Night is
quite another.'  So Yaska himself was intelligent enough to observe,
'Night is the wife of Aditya; she vanishes at sunrise.'  However, Night
in Mr. Max Muller's system 'has just got to be' Dawn, a position proved
thus: 'Yaska makes this clear by saying that the time of the Asvins, sons
of Saranyu, is after midnight,' but that 'when darkness prevails over
light, that is Madhyama; when light prevails over darkness, that is
Aditya,' both being Asvins.  They (the Asvins) are, in fact, darkness and
light; and _therefore_, I understand, Saranyu, who is Night, and not an
Asvin at all, is Dawn!  To make this perfectly clear, remember that the
husband of Saranyu, whom she leaves at sunrise, is--I give you three
guesses--is the Sun!  The Sun's wife leaves the Sun at sunrise. {66}  This
is proved, for Aditya is Vivasvat=the Sun, and is the husband of Saranyu
(ii. 541).  These methods of proving Night to be Dawn, while the
substitute for both in the bed of the Sun 'may have been meant for the
gloaming' (ii. 542), do seem to be geistvolle Spiele des Witzes,
ingenious jeux d'esprit, as Mannhardt says, rather than logical

But we still do not know how the horse and mare came in, or why the
statue of Demeter had a horse's head.  'This seems simply to be due to
the fact that, quite apart from this myth, the sun had, in India at
least, often been conceived as a horse . . . . and the dawn had been
likened to a mare.'  But how does this explain the problem?  The Vedic
poets cited (ii. 542) either referred to the myth which we have to
explain, or they used a poetical expression, knowing perfectly well what
they meant.  As long as they knew what they meant, they could not make an
unseemly fable out of a poetical phrase.  Not till after the meaning was
forgotten could the myth arise.  But the myth existed already in the
Veda!  And the unseemliness is precisely what we have to account for;
that is our enigma.

Once more, Demeter is a goddess of Earth, not of Dawn.  How, then, does
the explanation of a hypothetical Dawn-myth apply to the Earth?  Well,
perhaps the story, the unseemly story, was first told of Erinnys (who
also is 'the inevitable Dawn') or of Deo, 'and this name of Deo, or
Dyava, was mixed up with a hypokoristic form of Demeter, Deo, and thus
led to the transference of her story to Demeter.  I know this will sound
very unlikely to Greek scholars, yet I see no other way out of our
difficulties' (ii. 545).  Phonetic explanations follow.

'To my mind,' says our author, 'there is no chapter in mythology in which
we can so clearly read the transition of an auroral myth of the Veda into
an epic chapter of Greece as in the chapter of Saranyu (or Surama) and
the Asvins, ending in the chapter of Helena and her brothers, the
[Greek]' (ii. 642).  Here, as regards the Asvins and the Dioskouroi,
Mannhardt may be regarded as Mr. Max Muller's ally; but compare his note,
A. F. u. W. K. p. xx.

My Theory of the Horse Demeter

Mannhardt, I think, ought to have tried at an explanation of myths so
closely analogous as those two, one Indian, one Greek, in which a
goddess, in the shape of a mare, becomes mother of twins by a god in the
form of a stallion.  As Mr. Max Muller well says, 'If we look about for
analogies we find nothing, as far as I know, corresponding to the well-
marked features of this barbarous myth among any of the uncivilised
tribes of the earth.  If we did, how we should rejoice!  Why, then,
should we not rejoice when we find the allusion in Rig Veda?' (x 17, 1).

I do rejoice!  The 'song of triumph,' as Professor Tiele says, will be
found in M. R. R. ii. 266 (note), where I give the Vedic and other
references.  I even asked why Mr. Max Muller did not produce this proof
of the identity of Saranyu and Demeter Erinnys in his Selected Essays
(pp. 401, 492).

I cannot explain why this tale was told both of Erinnys and of Saranyu.
Granting the certainty of the etymological equation, Saranyu=Erinnys
(which Mannhardt doubted), the chances against fortuitous coincidence may
be reckoned by algebra, and Mr. Edgeworth's trillions of trillions feebly
express it.  Two goddesses, Indian and Greek, have, ex hypothesi, the
same name, and both, as mares, are mothers of twins.  Though the twins
(in India the Asvins, in Greek an ideal war-horse and a girl) differ in
character, still the coincidence is evidential.  Explain it I cannot,
and, clearly as the confession may prove my lack of scientific exactness,
I make it candidly.

If I must offer a guess, it is that Greeks, and Indians of India,
inherited a very ordinary savage idea.  The gods in savage myths are
usually beasts.  As beasts they beget anthropomorphic offspring.  This is
the regular rule in totemism.  In savage myths we are not told 'a god'
(Apollo, or Zeus, or Poseidon) 'put on beast shape and begat human sons
and daughters' (Helen, the Telmisseis, and so on).  The god in savage
myths was a beast already, though he could, of course, shift shapes like
any 'medicine-man,' or modern witch who becomes a hare.  This is not the
exception but the rule in savage mythology.  Anyone can consult my Myth,
Ritual, and Religion, or Mr. Frazer's work Totemism, for abundance of
evidence.  To Loki, a male god, prosecuting his amours as a female horse,
I have already alluded, and in M. R. R. give cases from the Satapatha

The Saranyu-Erinnys myth dates, I presume, from this savage state of
fancy; but why the story occurred both in Greece and India, I protest
that I cannot pretend to explain, except on the hypothesis that the
ancestors of Greek and Vedic peoples once dwelt together, had a common
stock of savage fables, and a common or kindred language.  After their
dispersion, the fables admitted discrepancies, as stories in oral
circulation occasionally do.  This is the only conjecture which I feel
justified in suggesting to account for the resemblances and incongruities
between the myths of the mare Demeter-Erinnys and the mare Saranyu.



To the strange and widely diffused institution of 'Totemism' our author
often returns.  I shall deal here with his collected remarks on the
theme, the more gladly as the treatment shows how very far Mr. Max Muller
is from acting with a shadow of unfairness when he does not refer to
special passages in his opponent's books.  He treats himself and his own
earlier works in the same fashion, thereby, perhaps, weakening his
argument, but also demonstrating his candour, were any such demonstration

On totems he opens (i. 7)--

'When we come to special cases we must not imagine that much can be
gained by using such general terms as Animism, Totemism, Fetishism, &c.,
as solvents of mythological problems.  To my mind, all such general
terms, not excluding even Darwinism or Puseyism, seem most objectionable,
because they encourage vague thought, vague praise, or vague blame.

'It is, for instance, quite possible to place all worship of animal gods,
all avoidance of certain kinds of animal food, all adoption of animal
names as the names of men and families, under the wide and capacious
cover of totemism.  All theriolatry would thus be traced back to
totemism.  I am not aware, however, that any Egyptologists have adopted
such a view to account for the animal forms of the Egyptian gods.
Sanskrit scholars would certainly hesitate before seeing in Indra a totem
because he is called vrishabha, or bull, or before attempting to explain
on this ground the abstaining from beef on the part of orthodox Hindus
[i. 7].'

Totemism Defined

I think I have defined totemism, {71} and the reader may consult Mr.
Frazer's work on the subject, or Mr. MacLennan's essays, or 'Totemism' in
the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  However, I shall define totemism once
more.  It is a state of society and cult, found most fully developed in
Australia and North America, in which sets of persons, believing
themselves to be akin by blood, call each such set by the name of some
plant, beast, or other class of objects in nature.  One kin may be
wolves, another bears, another cranes, and so on.  Each kin derives its
kin-name from its beast, plant, or what not; pays to it more or less
respect, usually abstains from killing, eating, or using it (except in
occasional sacrifices); is apt to claim descent from or relationship with
it, and sometimes uses its effigy on memorial pillars, carved pillars
outside huts, tattooed on the skin, and perhaps in other ways not known
to me.  In Australia and North America, where rules are strict, a man may
not marry a woman of his own totem; and kinship is counted through
mothers in many, but not in all, cases.  Where all these notes are
combined we have totemism.  It is plain that two or three notes of it may
survive where the others have perished; may survive in ritual and
sacrifice, {72a} and in bestial or semi-bestial gods of certain nomes, or
districts, in ancient Egypt; {72b} in Pictish names; {72c} in claims of
descent from beasts, or gods in the shape of beasts; in the animals
sacred to gods, as Apollo or Artemis, and so on.  Such survivals are
possible enough in evolution, but the evidence needs careful examination.
Animal attributes and symbols and names in religion are not necessarily
totemistic.  Mr. Max Muller asks if 'any Egyptologists have adopted' the
totem theory.  He is apparently oblivious of Professor Sayce's reference
to a prehistoric age, 'when the religious creed of Egypt was still

Dr. Codrington is next cited for the apparent absence of totemism in the
Solomon Islands and Polynesia, and Professor Oldenberg as denying that
'animal names of persons and clans [necessarily?] imply totemism.'  Who
says that they do?  'Clan Chattan,' with its cat crest, may be based, not
on a totem, but on a popular etymology.  Animal names of _individuals_
have nothing to do with totems.  A man has no business to write on
totemism if he does not know these facts.

What a Totem is

Though our adversary now abandons totems, he returns to them elsewhere
(i. 198-202).  'Totem is the corruption of a term used by North American
Indians in the sense of clan-mark or sign-board ("ododam").'  The totem
was originally a rude emblem of an animal or other object 'placed by
North American Indians in front of their settlements.'

The Evidence for Sign-boards

Our author's evidence for sign-boards is from an Ottawa Indian, and is
published from his MS. by Mr. Hoskyns Abrahall. {73}  The testimony is of
the greatest merit, for it appears to have first seen the light in a
Canadian paper of 1858.  Now in 1858 totems were only spoken of in
Lafitau, Long, and such old writers, and in Cooper's novels.  They had
not become subjects of scientific dispute, so the evidence is
uncontaminated by theory.  The Indians were, we learn, divided into
[local?] tribes, and these 'into sections or families according to their
ododams'--devices, signs, in modern usage 'coats of arms.'  [Perhaps
'crests' would be a better word.]  All people of one ododam (apparently
under male kinship) lived together in a special section of each village.
At the entrance to the enclosure was the figure of an animal, or some
other sign, set up on the top of one of the posts.  Thus everybody knew
what family dwelt in what section of the village.  Some of the families
were called after their ododam.  But the family with the bear ododam were
called Big Feet, not Bears.  Sometimes parts of different animals were
'quartered' [my suggestion], and one ododam was a small hawk and the fins
of a sturgeon.

We cannot tell, of course, on the evidence here, whether 'Big Feet'
suggested 'Bear,' or vice versa, or neither.  But Mr. Frazer has remarked
that periphrases for sacred beasts, like 'Big Feet' for Bear, are not
uncommon.  Nor can we tell 'what couple of ancestors' a small hawk and a
sturgeon's fins represent, unless, perhaps, a hawk and a sturgeon. {74a}

For all this, Mr. Max Muller suggests the explanation that people who
marked their abode with crow or wolf might come to be called Wolves or
Crows. {74b}  Again, people might borrow beast names from the prevalent
beast of their district, as Arkades, [Greek], Bears, and so evolve the
myth of descent from Callisto as a she-bear.  'All this, however, is only
guesswork.'  The Snake Indians worship no snake.  [The Snake Indians are
not a totem group, but a local tribe named from the Snake River, as we
say, 'An Ettrick man.']  Once more, the name-giving beast, say, 'Great
Hare,' is explained by Dr. Brinton as 'the inevitable Dawn.' {74c}  'Hasty
writers,' remarks Dr. Brinton, 'say that the Indians claim descent from
different wild beasts.'  For evidence I refer to that hasty writer, Mr.
Frazer, and his book, Totemism.  For a newly sprung up modern totem our
author alludes to a boat, among the Mandans, 'their totem, or tutelary
object of worship.'  An object of worship, of course, is not necessarily
a totem!  Nor is a totem by the definition (as a rule one of a _class_ of
objects) anything but a _natural_ object.  Mr. Max Muller wishes that
'those who write about totems and totemism would tell us exactly what
they mean by these words.'  I have told him, and indicated better
sources.  I apply the word totemism to the widely diffused savage
institution which I have defined.

More about Totems

The origin of totemism is unknown to me, as to Mr. McLennan and Dr.
Robertson Smith, but Mr. Max Muller knows this origin.  'A totem is a
clan-mark, then a clan-name, then the name of the ancestor of a clan, and
lastly the name of something worshipped by a clan' (i. 201).  'All this
applies in the first instance to Red Indians only.'  Yes, and 'clan'
applies in the first instance to the Scottish clans only!  When Mr. Max
Muller speaks of 'clans' among the Red Indians, he uses a word whose
connotation differs from anything known to exist in America.  But the
analogy between a Scottish clan and an American totem-kin is close enough
to justify Mr. Max Muller in speaking of Red Indian 'clans.'  By parity
of reasoning, the analogy between the Australian Kobong and the American
totem is so complete that we may speak of 'Totemism' in Australia.  It
would be childish to talk of 'Totemism' in North America, 'Kobongism' in
Australia, 'Pacarissaism' in the realm of the Incas: totems, kobongs, and
pacarissas all amounting to the same thing, except in one point.  I am
not aware that Australian blacks erect, or that the subjects of the
Incas, or that African and Indian and Asiatic totemists, erected 'sign-
boards' anywhere, as the Ottawa writer assures us that the Ottawas do, or
used to do.  And, if they don't, how do we know that kobongs and
pacarissas were developed out of sign-boards?

Heraldry and Totems

The Ottawas are armigeri, are heraldic; so are the natives of Vancouver's
Island, who have wooden pillars with elaborate quarterings.  Examples are
in South Kensington Museum.  But this savage heraldry is not nearly so
common as the institution of totemism.  Thus it is difficult to prove
that the heraldry is the origin of totemism, which is just as likely, or
more likely, to have been the origin of savage heraldic crests and
quarterings.  Mr. Max Muller allows that there may be other origins.

Gods and Totems

Our author refers to unnamed writers who call Indra or Ammon a totem (i.

This is a foolish liberty with language.  'Why should not all the gods of
Egypt with their heads of bulls and apes and cats be survivals of
totemisms?'  Why not, indeed?  Professor Sayce remarks, 'They were the
sacred animals of the clans,' survivals from an age 'when the religion of
Egypt was totemism.'  'In Egypt the gods themselves are totem-deities,
i.e. personifications or individual representations of the sacred
character and attributes which in the purely totem stage of religion were
ascribed without distinction to all animals of the holy kind.'  So says
Dr. Robertson Smith.  He and Mr. Sayce are 'scholars,' not mere
unscholarly anthropologists. {76}

An Objection

Lastly (ii. 403), when totems infected 'even those who ought to have been
proof against this infantile complaint' (which is not even a 'disease of
language' of a respectable type), then 'the objection that a totem meant
originally a clan-mark was treated as scholastic pedantry.'  Alas, I fear
with justice!  For if I call Mr. Arthur Balfour a Tory will Mr. Max
Muller refute my opinion by urging that 'a Tory meant originally an Irish
rapparee,' or whatever the word _did_ originally mean?

Mr. Max Muller decides that 'we never find a religion consisting
exclusively of a belief in fetishes, or totems, or ancestral spirits.'
Here, at last, we are in absolute agreement.  So much for totems and sign-
boards.  Only a weak fanatic will find a totem in every animal connected
with gods, sacred names, and religious symbols.  But totemism is a fact,
whether 'totem' originally meant a clan-mark or sign-board in America or
not.  And, like Mr. Sayce, Mr. Frazer, Mr. Rhys, Dr. Robertson Smith, I
believe that totemism has left marks in civilised myth, ritual, and
religion, and that these survivals, not a 'disease of language,' explain
certain odd elements in the old civilisations.

A Weak Brother

Our author's habit of omitting references to his opponents has here
caused me infinite inconvenience.  He speaks of some eccentric person who
has averred that a 'fetish' is a 'totem,' inhabited by 'an ancestral
spirit.'  To myself it seems that you might as well say 'Abracadabra is
gas and gaiters.'  As no reference was offered, I invented 'a wild
surmise' that Mr. Max Muller had conceivably misapprehended Mr. Frazer's
theory of the origin of totems.  Had our author only treated himself
fairly, he would have referred to his own Anthropological Religion (pp.
126 and 407), where the name of the eccentric definer is given as that of
Herr Lippert. {78}  Then came into my mind the words of Professor Tiele,
'Beware of weak brethren'--such as Herr Lippert seems, as far as this
definition is concerned, to be.

Nobody knows the origin of totemism.  We find no race on its way to
becoming totemistic, though we find several in the way of ceasing to be
so.  They are abandoning female kinship for paternity; their rules of
marriage and taboo are breaking down; perhaps various totem kindreds of
different crests and names are blending into one local tribe, under the
name, perhaps, of the most prosperous totem-kin.  But we see no race on
its way to becoming totemistic, so we have no historical evidence as to
the origin of the institution.  Mr. McLennan offered no conjecture,
Professor Robertson Smith offered none, nor have I displayed the spirit
of scientific exactitude by a guess in the dark.  To gratify Mr. Max
Muller by defining totemism as Mr. McLennan first used the term is all
that I dare do.  Here one may remark that if Mr. Max Muller really wants
'an accurate definition' of totemism, the works of McLennan, Frazer,
Robertson Smith, and myself are accessible, and contain our definitions.
He does not produce these definitions, and criticise them; he produces
Dr. Lippert's and criticises that.  An argument should be met in its
strongest and most authoritative form.  'Define what you mean by a
totem,' says Professor Max Muller in his Gifford Lectures of 1891 (p.
123).  He had to look no further for a definition, an authoritative
definition, than to 'totem' in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or to
McLennan.  Yet his large and intelligent Glasgow audience, and his
readers, may very well be under the impression that a definition of
'totem' is 'still to seek,' like Prince Charlie's religion.  Controversy
simply cannot be profitably conducted on these terms.

'The best representatives of anthropology are now engaged not so much in
comparing as in discriminating.' {79}  Why not refer, then, to the
results of their discriminating efforts?  'To treat all animal worship as
due to totemism is a mistake.'  Do we make it?

Mr. Frazer and Myself

There is, or was, a difference of opinion between Mr. Frazer and myself
as to the causes of the appearance of certain sacred animals in Greek
religion.  My notions were published in Myth, Ritual, and Religion
(1887), Mr. Frazer's in The Golden Bough (1890).  Necessarily I was
unaware in 1887 of Mr. Frazer's still unpublished theory.  Now that I
have read it, he seems to me to have the better logic on his side; and if
I do not as yet wholly agree with him, it is because I am not yet certain
that both of our theories may not have their proper place in Greek

Greek Totemism

In C. and M. (p. 106) I describe the social aspects of totemism.  I ask
if there are traces of it in Greece.  Suppose, for argument's sake, that
in prehistoric Greece the mouse had been a totem, as it is among the
Oraons of Bengal. {80}  In that case (1) places might be named from a
mouse tribe; (2) mice might be held sacred per se; (3) the mouse name
might be given locally to a god who superseded the mouse in pride of
place; (4) images of the mouse might be associated with that of the god,
(5) and used as a local badge or mark; (6) myths might be invented to
explain the forgotten cause of this prominence of the mouse.  If all
these notes occur, they would raise a presumption in favour of totemism
in the past of Greece.  I then give evidence in detail, proving that all
these six facts do occur among Greeks of the Troads and sporadically
elsewhere.  I add that, granting for the sake of argument that these
traces may point to totemism in the remote past, the mouse, though
originally a totem, '_need not have been an Aryan totem_' (p. 116).

I offer a list of other animals closely connected with Apollo, giving him
a beast's name (wolf, ram, dolphin), and associated with him in myth and
art.  In M. R. R. I apply similar arguments in the case of Artemis and
the Bear, of Dionysus and the Bull, Demeter and the Pig, and so forth.
Moreover, I account for the myths of descent of Greek human families from
gods disguised as dogs, ants, serpents, bulls, and swans, on the
hypothesis that kindreds who originally, in totemistic fashion, traced to
beasts sans phrase, later explained their own myth to themselves by
saying that the paternal beast was only a god in disguise and en bonne

This hypothesis at least 'colligates the facts,' and brings them into
intelligible relationship with widely-diffused savage institutions and

The Greek Mouse-totem?

My theory connecting Apollo Smintheus and the place-names derived from
mice with a possible prehistoric mouse-totem gave me, I confess,
considerable satisfaction.  But in Mr. Frazer's Golden Bough (ii. 129-
132) is published a group of cases in which mice and other vermin are
worshipped for prudential reasons--to get them to go away.  In the
Classical Review (vol. vi. 1892) Mr. Ward Fowler quotes Aristotle and
AElian on plagues of mice, like the recent invasion of voles on the
Border sheep-farms.  He adopts the theory that the sacred mice were
adored by way of propitiating them.  Thus Apollo may be connected with
mice, not as a god who superseded a mouse-totem, but as an expeller of
mice, like the worm-killing Heracles, and the Locust-Heracles, and the
Locust-Apollo. {81a}  The locust is still painted red, salaamed to, and
set free in India, by way of propitiating his companions. {81b}  Thus the
Mouse-Apollo (Smintheus) would be merely a god noted for his usefulness
in getting rid of mice, and any worship given to mice (feeding them,
placing their images on altars, their stamp on coins, naming places after
them, and so on) would be mere acts of propitiation.

There would be no mouse-totem in the background.  I do not feel quite
convinced--the mouse being a totem, and a sacred or tabooed animal, in
India and Egypt. {82a}  But I am content to remain in a balance of
opinion.  That the Mouse is the Night (Gubernatis), or the Lightning
(Grohmann), I am disinclined to believe.  Philologists are very apt to
jump at contending meteorological explanations of mice and such small
deer without real necessity, and an anthropologist is very apt to jump at
an equally unnecessary and perhaps equally undemonstrated totem.

Philological Theory

Philological mythologists prefer to believe that the forgotten meaning of
words produced the results; that the wolf-born Apollo ([Greek])
originally meant 'Light-born Apollo,' {82b} and that the wolf came in
from a confusion between [Greek], 'Light,' and [Greek], a wolf.  I make
no doubt that philologists can explain Sminthian Apollo, the Dog-Apollo,
and all the rest in the same way, and account for all the other
peculiarities of place-names, myths, works of art, local badges, and so
forth.  We must then, I suppose, infer that these six traits of the
mouse, already enumerated, tally with the traces which actual totemism
would or might leave surviving behind it, or which propitiation of mice
might leave behind it, by a chance coincidence, determined by forgotten
meanings of words.  The Greek analogy to totemistic facts would be
explained, (1) either by asking for a definition of totemism, and not
listening when it is given; or (2) by maintaining that savage totemism is
also a result of a world-wide malady of language, which, in a hundred
tongues, produced the same confusions of thought, and consequently the
same practices and institutions.  Nor do I for one moment doubt that the
ingenuity of philologists could prove the name of every beast and plant,
in every language under heaven, to be a name for the 'inevitable dawn'
(Max Muller), or for the inevitable thunder, or storm, or lightning (Kuhn-
Schwartz).  But as names appear to yield storm, lightning, night, or dawn
with equal ease and certainty, according as the scholar prefers dawn or
storm, I confess that this demonstration would leave me sceptical.  It
lacks scientific exactitude.

Mr. Frazer on  Animals in Greek Religion

In The Golden Bough (ii. 37) Mr. Frazer, whose superior knowledge and
acuteness I am pleased to confess, has a theory different from that which
I (following McLennan) propounded before The Golden Bough appeared.
Greece had a bull-shaped Dionysus. {83a}  'There is left no room to doubt
that in rending and devouring a live bull at his festival, his
worshippers believed that they were killing the god, eating his flesh,
and drinking his blood.' {83b}  Mr. Frazer concludes that there are two
possible explanations of Dionysus in his bull aspect. (1)  This was an
expression of his character as a deity of vegetation, 'especially as the
bull is a common embodiment of the corn-spirit in Northern Europe.' {84a}
(2)  The other possible explanation 'appears to be the view taken by Mr.
Lang, who suggests that the bull-formed Dionysus "had either been
developed out of, or had succeeded to, the worship of a bull-totem."'

Now, anthropologists are generally agreed, I think, that occasional
sacrifices of and communion in the flesh of the totem or other sacred
animals do occur among totemists. {84c}  But Mr. Frazer and I both admit,
and indeed are eager to state publicly, that the evidence for sacrifice
of the totem, and communion in eating him, is very scanty.  The fact is
rather inferred from rites among peoples just emerging from totemism (see
the case of the Californian buzzard, in Bancroft) than derived from
actual observation.  On this head too much has been taken for granted by
anthropologists.  But I learn that direct evidence has been obtained, and
is on the point of publication.  The facts I may not anticipate here, but
the evidence will be properly sifted, and bias of theory discounted.

To return to my theory of the development of Dionysus into a totem, or of
his inheritance of the rites of a totem, Mr. Frazer says, 'Of course this
is possible, but it is not yet certain that Aryans ever had totemism.'
{84d}  Now, in writing of the mouse, I had taken care to observe that, in
origin, the mouse as a totem need not have been Aryan, but adopted.
People who think that the Aryans did not pass through a stage of
totemism, female kin, and so forth, can always fall back (to account for
apparent survivals of such things among Aryans) on 'Pre-Aryan conquered
peoples,' such as the Picts.  Aryans may be enticed by these bad races
and become Pictis ipsis Pictiores.

Aryan Totems (?)

Generally speaking (and how delightfully characteristic of us all is
this!), I see totems in Greek sacred beasts, where Mr. Frazer sees the
corn-spirit embodied in a beast, and where Mr. Max Muller sees (in the
case of Indra, called the bull) 'words meaning simply male, manly,
strong,' an 'animal simile.' {85a}  Here, of course, Mr. Max Muller is
wholly in the right, when a Vedic poet calls Indra 'strong bull,' or the
like.  Such poetic epithets do not afford the shadow of a presumption for
Vedic totemism, even as a survival.  Mr. Frazer agrees with me and Mr.
Max Muller in this certainty.  I myself say, 'If in the shape of Indra
there be traces of fur and feather, they are not very numerous nor very
distinct, but we give them for what they may be worth.'  I then give
them. {85b}  To prove that I do not force the evidence, I take the Vedic
text. {85c}  'His mother, a cow, bore Indra, an unlicked calf.'  I then
give Sayana's explanation.  Indra entered into the body of Dakshina, and
was reborn of her.  She also bore a cow.  But this legend, I say, 'has
rather the air of being an invention, apres coup, to account for the
Vedic text of calf Indra, born from a cow, than of being a genuine
ancient myth.'  The Vedic myth of Indra's amours in shape of a ram, I say
'will doubtless be explained away as metaphorical.'  Nay, I will go
further.  It is perfectly conceivable to me that in certain cases a
poetic epithet applied by a poet to a god (say bull, ram, or snake)
_might_ be misconceived, and _might_ give rise to the worship of a god as
a bull, or snake, or ram.  Further, if civilised ideas perished, and if a
race retained a bull-god, born of their degradation and confusion of
mind, they might eat him in a ritual sacrifice.  But that _all_
totemistic races are totemistic, because they all first metaphorically
applied animal names to gods, and then forgot what they had meant, and
worshipped these animals, sans phrase, appears to me to be, if not
incredible, still greatly in want of evidence.

Mr. Frazer and I

It is plain that where a people claim no connection by descent and blood
from a sacred animal, are neither of his name nor kin, the essential
feature of totemism is absent.  I do not see that eaters of the bull
Dionysus or cultivators of the pig Demeter {86} made any claim to kindred
with either god.  Their towns were not allied in name with pig or bull.
If traces of such a belief existed, they have been sloughed off.  Thus
Mr. Frazer's explanation of Greek pigs and bulls and all their odd rites,
as connected with the beast in which the corn-spirit is incarnate, holds
its ground better than my totemistic suggestion.  But I am not sure that
the corn-spirit accounts for the Sminthian mouse in all his aspects, nor
for the Arcadian and Attic bear-rites and myths of Artemis.  Mouse and
bear do appear in Mr. Frazer's catalogue of forms of the corn-spirits,
taken from Mannhardt. {87}  But the Arcadians, as we shall see, _claimed
descent_ from a bear, and the mouse place-names and badges of the Troad
yield a hint of the same idea.  The many Greek family claims to descent
from gods as dogs, bulls, ants, serpents, and so on, _may_ spring from
gratitude to the corn-spirit.  Does Mr. Frazer think so?  Nobody knows so
well as he that similar claims of descent from dogs and snakes are made
by many savage kindreds who have no agriculture, no corn, and, of course,
no corn-spirits.  These remarks, I trust, are not undiscriminating, and
naturally I yield the bull Dionysus and the pig Demeter to the
corn-spirit, vice totem, superseded.  But I do hanker after the Arcadian
bear as, at least, a possible survival of totemism.  The Scottish school
inspector removed a picture of Behemoth, as a fabulous animal, from the
wall of a school room.  But, not being sure of the natural history of the
unicorn, 'he just let him bide, and gave the puir beast the benefit o'
the doubt.'

Will Mr. Frazer give the Arcadian bear 'the benefit of the doubt'?

I am not at all bigoted in the opinion that the Greeks may have once been
totemists.  The strongest presumption in favour of the hypothesis is the
many claims of descent from a god disguised as a beast.  But the
institution, if ever it did exist among the ancestors of the Greeks, had
died out very long before Homer.  We cannot expect to find traces of the
prohibition to marry a woman of the same totem.  In Rome we do find
traces of exogamy, as among totemists.  'Formerly they did not marry
women connected with them by blood.' {88a}  But we do not find, and would
not expect to find, that the 'blood' was indicated by the common totem.

Mr. Frazer on Origin of Totemism

Mr. Frazer has introduced the term 'sex-totems,' in application to
Australia.  This is connected with his theory of the Origin of Totemism.
I cannot quite approve of the term sex-totems.

If in Australia each sex has a protecting animal--the men a bat, the
women an owl--if the slaying of a bat by a woman menaces the death of a
man, if the slaying of an owl by a woman may cause the decease of a man,
all that is very unlike totemism in other countries.  Therefore, I ask
Mr. Frazer whether, in the interests of definite terminology, he had not
better give some other name than 'totem' to his Australian sex protecting
animals?  He might take for a _local_ fact, a _local_ name, and say 'Sex-

Once more, for even we anthropologists have our bickerings, I would
'hesitate dislike' of this passage in Mr. Frazer's work: {88b}

'When a savage _names himself_ after an animal, calls it his brother, and
refuses to kill it, the animal is said to be his totem.'  Distinguo!  A
savage does not name _himself_ after his totem, any more than Mr. Frazer
named himself by his clan-name, originally Norman.  It was not as when
Miss Betty Amory named herself 'Blanche,' by her own will and fantasy.  A
savage _inherits_ his totem name, usually through the mother's side.  The
special animal which protects an individual savage (Zapotec, tona;
Guatemalan, nagual; North America, Manitou, 'medicine') is _not_ that
savage's totem. {89a}  The nagual, tona, or manitou is selected for each
particular savage, at birth or puberty, in various ways: in America,
North and Central, by a dream in a fast, or after a dream.
('Post-hypnotic suggestion.')  But a savage is born to his kin-totem.  A
man is born a wolf of the Delawares, his totem is the wolf, he cannot
help himself.  But after, or in, his medicine fast and sleep, he may
choose a dormouse or a squirrel for his manitou (tona, nagual) or
_private_ protecting animal.  These are quite separate from totems, as
Mr. Max Muller also points out.

Of totems, I, for one, must always write in the sense of Mr. McLennan,
who introduced totemism to science.  Thus, to speak of 'sex-totems,' or
to call the protecting animal of each individual a 'totem,' is, I fear,
to bring in confusion, and to justify Mr. Max Muller's hard opinion that
'totemism' is ill-defined.  For myself, I use the term in the strict
sense which I have given, and in no other.

Mr. McLennan did not profess, as we saw, to know the origin of totems.  He
once made a guess in conversation with me, but he abandoned it.  Professor
Robertson Smith did not know the origin of totems.  'The origin of totems
is as much a problem as the origin of local gods.' {89b}  Mr. Max Muller
knows the origin: sign-boards are the origin, or one origin.  But what
was the origin of sign-boards?  'We carry the pictures of saints on our
banners because we worship them; we don't worship them because we carry
them as banners,' says De Brosses, an acute man.  Did the Indians worship
totems because they carved them on sign-boards (if they all did so), or
did they carve them on sign-boards because they worshipped them?

Mr. Frazer's Theory

The Australian respects his 'sex-totem' because the life of his sex is
bound up in its life.  He speaks of it as his brother, and calls himself
(as distinguished by his sex) by its name.  As a man he is a bat, as a
woman his wife is an owl.  As a member of a given human kin he may be a
kangaroo, perhaps his wife may be an emu.  But Mr. Frazer derives
totemism, all the world over, from the same origin as he assigns to 'sex-
totems.'  In these the life of each sex is bound up, therefore they are
by each sex revered.  Therefore totemism must have the same origin,
substituting 'kin' or 'tribe' for sex.  He gives examples from Australia,
in which killing a man's totem killed the man. {90}

I would respectfully demur or suggest delay.  Can we explain an American
institution, a fairly world-wide institution, totemism, by the local
peculiarities of belief in isolated Australia?  If, in America, to kill a
wolf was to kill Uncas or Chingachgook, I would incline to agree with Mr.
Frazer.  But no such evidence is adduced.  Nor does it help Mr. Frazer to
plead that the killing of an American's nagual or of a Zulu's Ihlozi
kills that Zulu or American.  For a nagual, as I have shown, is one thing
and a totem is another; nor am I aware that Zulus are totemists.  The
argument of Mr. Frazer is based on analogy and on a special instance.
That instance of the Australians is so archaic that it _may_ show
totemism in an early form.  Mr. Frazer's may be a correct hypothesis, but
it needs corroboration.  However, Mr. Frazer concludes: 'The totem, if I
am right, is simply the receptacle in which a man keeps his life.'  Yet
he never shows that a Choctaw _does_ keep his life in his totem.  Perhaps
the Choctaw is afraid to let out so vital a secret.  The less reticent
Australian blurts it forth.  Suppose the hypothesis correct.  Men and
women keep their lives in their naguals, private sacred beasts.  But why,
on this score, should a man be afraid to make love to a woman of the same
nagual?  Have Red Indian _women_ any naguals?  I never heard of them.

Since writing this I have read Miss Kingsley's Travels in West Africa.
There the 'bush-souls' which she mentions (p. 459) bear analogies to
totems, being inherited sacred animals, connected with the life of
members of families.  The evidence, though vaguely stated, favours Mr.
Frazer's hypothesis, to which Miss Kingsley makes no allusion.


Anthropological Evidence

In all that we say of totemism, as, later, of fetishism, we rely on an
enormous mass of evidence from geographers, historians, travellers,
settlers, missionaries, explorers, traders, Civil Servants, and European
officers of native police in Australia and Burmah.  Our witnesses are of
all ages, from Herodotus to our day, of many nations, of many creeds, of
different theoretical opinions.  This evidence, so world-wide, so
diversified in source, so old, and so new, Mr. Max Muller impugns.  But,
before meeting his case, let us clear up a personal question.

'Positions one never held'

   'It is not pleasant [writes our author] to have to defend positions
   which one never held, nor wishes to hold, and I am therefore all the
   more grateful to those who have pointed out the audacious
   misrepresentations of my real opinion in comparative mythology, and
   have rebuked the flippant tone of some of my eager critics' [i. 26,

I must here confess to the belief that no gentleman or honest man ever
_consciously_ misrepresents the ideas of an opponent.  If it is not too
flippant an illustration, I would say that no bowler ever throws
consciously and wilfully; his action, however, may unconsciously develop
into a throw.  There would be no pleasure in argument, cricket, or any
other sport if we knowingly cheated.  Thus it is always _unconsciously_
that adversaries pervert, garble, and misrepresent each other's opinions;
unconsciously, not 'audaciously.'  If people would start from the major
premise that misrepresentations, if such exist, are unconscious errors,
much trouble would be spared.

Positions which I never held

Thus Mr. Max Muller never dreamed of 'audaciously misrepresenting' me
when, in four lines, he made two statements about my opinions and my
materials which are at the opposite pole from the accurate (i. 12): 'When
I speak of the Vedic Rishis as primitive, I do not mean what Mr. A. Lang
means when he calls his savages primitive.'  But I have stated again and
again that I _don't_ call my savages 'primitive.'  Thus 'contemporary
savages may be degraded, they certainly are not primitive.' {93a}  'One
thing about the past of [contemporary] savages we do know: it must have
been a long past.' {93b}  'We do not wish to call savages primitive.'
{93c}  All this was written in reply to the very proper caution of Dr.
Fairbairn that 'savages are not primitive.'  Of course they are not; that
is of the essence of my theory.  I regret the use of the word 'primitive'
even in Primitive Culture.  Savages, as a rule, are _earlier_, more
backward than civilised races, as, of course, Mr. Max Muller admits,
where language is concerned. {94}  Now, after devoting several pages to
showing in detail how very far from primitive even the Australian tribes
are, might I (if I were ill-natured) not say that Mr. Max Muller
'audaciously misrepresents' me when he avers that I 'call my savages
primitive'?  But he never dreamed of misrepresenting me; he only happened
not to understand my position.  However, as he complains in his own case,
'it is not pleasant to have to defend positions which one never held' (i.
26), and, indeed, I shall defend no such position.

My adversary next says that my 'savages are of the nineteenth century.'
It is of the essence of my theory that my savages are of many different
centuries.  Those described by Herodotus, Strabo, Dio Cassius, Christoval
de Moluna, Sahagun, Cieza de Leon, Brebeuf, Garoilasso de la Vega,
Lafitau, Nicholas Damascenus, Leo Africanus, and a hundred others, are
_not_ of the nineteenth century.  This fact is essential, because the
evidence of old writers, from Herodotus to Egede, corroborates the
evidence of travellers, Indian Civil Servants, and missionaries of today,
by what Dr. Tylor, when defending our materials, calls 'the test of
recurrence.'  Professor Millar used the same argument in his Origin of
Rank, in the last century.  Thus Mr. Max Muller unconsciously
misrepresents me (and my savages) when he says that my 'savages are of
the nineteenth century.'  The fact is the reverse.  They are of many
centuries.  These two unconscious misrepresentations occur in four
consecutive lines.

Anthropological Evidence

In connection with this topic (the nature of anthropological evidence),
Mr. Max Muller (i. 205-207) repeats what he has often said before.  Thus
he cites Dr. Codrington's remarks, most valuable remarks, on the
difficulty of reporting correctly about the ideas and ways of savages.  I
had cited the same judicious writer to the same effect, {95} and had
compiled a number of instances in which the errors of travellers were
exposed, and their habitual fallacies were detected.  Fifteen closely
printed pages were devoted by me to a criterion of evidence, and a reply
to Mr. Max Muller's oft-repeated objections.

   'When [I said] we find Dr. Codrington taking the same precautions in
   Melanesia as Mr. Sproat took among the Ahts, and when his account of
   Melanesian myths reads like a close copy of Mr. Sproat's account of
   Aht legends, and when both are corroborated [as to the existence of
   analogous savage myths] by the collections of Bleek, and Hahn, and
   Gill, and Castren, and Rink, in far different corners of the world;
   while the modern testimony of these scholarly men is in harmony with
   that of the old Jesuit missionaries, and of untaught adventurers who
   have lived for many years with savages, surely it will be admitted
   that the difficulty of ascertaining savage opinion has been, to a
   great extent, overcome.'

I also cited at length Dr. Tylor's masterly argument to the same effect,
an argument offered by him to 'a great historian,' apparently.

Mr. Max Muller's Method of Controversy

Now no member of the reading public, perusing Mr. Max Muller on
anthropological evidence (i. 24-26, 205-207), could guess that his
cautions about evidence are not absolutely new to us.  He could not guess
that Dr. Tylor replied to them 'before they were made' by our present
critic (I think), and that I did the same with great elaboration.  Our
defence of our evidence is not noticed by Mr. Max Muller.  He merely
repeats what he has often said before on the subject, exactly as if
anthropologists were ignorant of it, and had not carefully studied,
assimilated, profited by it, and answered it.  Our critic and monitor
might have said, 'I have examined your test of _recurrences_, and what
else you have to urge, and, for such and such reasons, I must reject it.'
Then we could reconsider our position in this new light.  But Mr. Max
Muller does not oblige us in this way.

Mr. Max Muller on our Evidence

In an earlier work, The Gifford Lectures for 1891, {96} our author had
devoted more space to a criticism of our evidence.  To this, then, we
turn (pp. 169-180, 413-436).  Passing Mr. Max Muller's own difficulties
in understanding a Mohawk (which the Mohawk no doubt also felt in
understanding Mr. Max Muller), we reach (p. 172) the fables about godless
savages.  These, it is admitted, are exploded among scholars in
anthropology.  So we do, at least, examine evidence.  Mr. Max Muller now
fixes on a flagrant case, some fables about the godless Mincopies of the
Andaman Islands.  But _he_ relies on the evidence of Mr. Man.  So do I,
as far as it seems beyond doubt. {97a}  Mr. Man is 'a careful observer, a
student of language, and perfectly trustworthy.'  These are the reasons
for which I trust him.  But when Mr. Man says that the Mincopies have a
god, Puluga, who inhabits 'a stone house in the sky,' I remark, 'Here the
idea of the stone house is necessarily borrowed from our stone houses at
Port Blair.' {97b}  When Mr. Man talks of Puluga's only-begotten son, 'a
sort of archangel,' medium between Puluga and the angels, I 'hesitate a
doubt.'  Did not this idea reach the Mincopie mind from the same quarter
as the stone house, especially as Puluga's wife is 'a green shrimp or an
eel'?  At all events, it is right to bear in mind that, as the stone
house of the Mincopie heaven is almost undeniably of European origin, the
only-begotten mediating son of Puluga and the green shrimp _may_ bear
traces of Christian teaching.  Caution is indicated.

Does Mr. Max Muller, so strict about evidence, boggle at the stone house,
the only son, the shrimp?  Not he; he never hints at the shrimp!  Does he
point out that one anthropologist has asked for caution in weighing what
the Mincopies told Mr. Man?  Very far from that, he complains that 'the
old story is repeated again and again' about the godless Andamans. {97c}
The intelligent Glasgow audience could hardly guess that anthropologists
were watchful, and knew pretty well what to believe about the Mincopies.
Perhaps in Glasgow they do not read us anthropologists much.

On p. 413 our author returns to the charge.  He observes (as I have also
observed) the often contradictory nature of our evidence.  Here I may
offer an anecdote.  The most celebrated of living English philosophers
heard that I was at one time writing a book on the 'ghostly' in history,
anthropology, and society, old or new, savage or civilised.  He kindly
dictated a letter to me asking how I could give time and pains to any
such marvels.  For, he argued, the most unveracious fables were
occasionally told about himself in newspapers and social gossip.  If
evidence cannot be trusted about a living and distinguished British
subject, how can it be accepted about hallucinations?

I replied, with respect, that on this principle nothing could be
investigated at all.  History, justice, trade, everything would be
impossible.  We must weigh and criticise evidence.  As my friendly
adviser had written much on savage customs and creeds, he best knew that
conflicting testimony, even on his own chosen theme, is not peculiar to
ghost stories.  In a world of conflicting testimony we live by
criticising it.  Thus, when Mr. Max Muller says that I call my savages
'primitive,' and when I, on the other hand, quote passages in which I
explicitly decline to do so, the evidence as to my views is
contradictory.  Yet the truth can be discovered by careful research.

The application is obvious.  We must not despair of truth!  As our
monitor says, 'we ought to discard all evidence that does not come to us
either from a man who was able himself to converse with native races, or
who was at least an eye-witness of what he relates.'  Precisely, that is
our method.  I, for one, do not take even a ghost story at second hand,
much less anything so startling as a savage rite.  And we discount and
allow for every bias and prejudice of our witnesses.  I have made a list
of these idola in M. R. R. ii. 334-344.

Mr. Max Muller now gives a list of inconsistencies in descriptions of
Australian Blacks.  They are _not_ Blacks, they have a dash of copper
colour!  Well, I never said that they had 'the sooty tinge of the African
negro.'  Did anybody?

Mr. Ridley thinks that all natives are called 'Murri.'  Mr. Curr says
'No.'  Important.  We must reserve our judgment.

Missionaries say the Blacks are 'devoid of moral ideas.'  What
missionaries?  What anthropologist believes such nonsense?  There are
differences of opinion about landed property, communal or private.  The
difference rages among historians of civilised races.  So, also, as to
portable property.  Mr. Curr (Mr. Max Muller's witness) agrees here with
those whose works I chiefly rely on.

'Mr. McLennan has built a whole social theory on the statement' (a single
statement) 'made by Sir George Grey, and contradicted by Mr. Curr.'  Mr.
McLennan would be, I think, rather surprised at this remark; but what
would he do?  Why, he would re-examine the whole question, decide by the
balance of evidence, and reject, modify, or retain his theory

All sciences have to act in this way; therefore almost all scientific
theories are fluctuating.  Nothing here is peculiar to anthropology.  A
single word, or two or three, will prove or disprove a theory of phonetic
laws.  Even phonetics are disputable ground.

In defence of my late friend Mr. McLennan, I must point out that if he
built a whole social theory on a single statement of Sir George Grey's,
and if Mr. Curr denies the truth of the statement, Mr. Frazer has
produced six or seven witnesses to the truth of that very statement in
other parts of the world than Australia. {100}  To this circumstance we
may return.

Mr. Max Muller next produces Mr. Curr's opinions about the belief in a
god and morality among Australians.  'Here he really contradicts
himself.'  The disputable evidence about Australian marriage laws is next
shown to be disputable.  That is precisely why Dr. Tylor is applying to
it his unrivalled diligence in accurate examination.  We await his
results.  Finally, the contradictory evidence as to Tasmanian religion is
exposed.  We have no Codrington or Bleek for Tasmania.  The Tasmanians
are extinct, and Science should leave the evidence as to their religion
out of her accounts.  We cannot cross-examine defunct Tasmanians.

From all this it follows that anthropologists must sift and winnow their
evidence, like men employed in every other branch of science.  And who
denies it?  What anthropologist of mark accepts as gospel any casual
traveller's tale?

The Test of Recurrences

Even for travellers' tales we have a use, we can apply to them Dr.
Tylor's 'Test of Recurrences.'

   'If two independent visitors to different countries, say a mediaeval
   Mahommedan in Tartary and a modern Englishman in Dahomey, or a Jesuit
   missionary in Brazil and a Wesley an in the Fiji Islands, agree in
   describing some analogous art, or rite, or myth among the people they
   have visited, it becomes difficult or impossible to set down such
   correspondence to accident or wilful fraud.  A story by a bushranger
   in Australia may perhaps be objected to as a mistake or an invention,
   but did a Methodist minister in Guinea conspire with him to cheat the
   public by telling the same story there?'

The whole passage should be read: it was anticipated by Professor Millar
in his Origin of Rank, and has been restated by myself. {101a}  Thus I
wrote (in 1887) 'it is to be regretted that Mr. Max Muller entirely omits
to mention . . . the corroboration which is derived from the undesigned
coincidence of independent testimony.'

In 1891-1892 he still entirely omits to mention, to his Glasgow audience,
the strength of his opponents' case.  He would serve us better if he
would criticise the test of recurrences, and show us its weak points.

Bias of Theory

Yes, our critic may reply, 'but Mr. Curr thinks that there is a strong
tendency in observers abroad, if they have become acquainted with a new
and startling theory that has become popular at home, to see
confirmations of it everywhere.'  So I had explicitly stated in
commenting on Dr. Tylor's test of recurrences. {101b}  'Travellers and
missionaries have begun to read anthropological books, and their evidence
is, therefore, much more likely to be biassed now by anthropological
theories than it was of old.'  So Mr. McLennan, in the very earliest of
all writings on totemism, said: 'As the totem has not till now got itself
mixed up with speculations the observers have been unbiassed.'  Mr.
McLennan finally declined to admit any evidence as to the savage marriage
laws collected after his own theory, and other theories born from it, had
begun to bias observers of barbaric tribes.

It does not quite seem to me that Mr. Max Muller makes his audience
acquainted with these precautions of anthropologists, with their sedulous
sifting of evidence, and watchfulness against the theoretical bias of
observers.  Thus he assails the faible, not the fort of our argument, and
may even seem not to be aware that we have removed the faible by careful

What opinion must his readers, who know not Mr. McLennan's works,
entertain about that acute and intrepid pioneer, a man of warm temper, I
admit, a man who threw out his daringly original theory at a heat, using
at first such untrustworthy materials as lay at hand, but a man whom
disease could not daunt, and whom only death prevented from building a
stately edifice on the soil which he was the first to explore?

Our author often returns to the weakness of the evidence of travellers
and missionaries.

Concerning Missionaries

Here is an example of a vivacite in our censor.  'With regard to ghosts
and spirits among the Melanesians, our authorities, whether missionaries,
traders, or writers on ethnology, are troubled by no difficulties' (i.
207).  Yet on this very page Mr. Max Muller has been citing the
'difficulties' which _do_ 'trouble' a 'missionary,' Dr. Codrington.  And,
for my own part, when I want information about Melanesian beliefs, it is
to Dr. Codrington's work that I go. {103}  The doctor, himself a
missionary, ex hypothesi 'untroubled by difficulties,' has just been
quoted by Mr. Max Muller, and by myself, as a witness to the difficulties
which trouble himself and us.  What can Mr. Max Muller possibly mean?  Am
I wrong?  Was Dr. Codrington _not_ a missionary?  At all events, he is
the authority on Melanesia, a 'high' authority (i. 206).


Mr. Max Muller as Ethnologist

Our author is apt to remonstrate with his anthropological critics, and to
assure them that he also has made studies in ethnology.  'I am not such a
despairer of ethnology as some ethnologists would have me.'  He refers us
to the assistance which he lent in bringing out Dr. Hahn's Tsuni-Goam
(1881), Mr. Gill's Myths and Songs from the South Pacific (1876), and
probably other examples could be added.  But my objection is, not that we
should be ungrateful to Mr. Max Muller for these and other valuable
services to anthropology, but that, when he has got his anthropological
material, he treats it in what I think the wrong way, or approves of its
being so treated.

Here, indeed, is the irreconcilable difference between two schools of
mythological interpretation.  Given Dr. Hahn's book, on Hottentot manners
and religion: the anthropologist compares the Hottentot rites, beliefs,
social habits, and general ideas with those of other races known to him,
savage or civilised.  A Hottentot custom, which has a meaning among
Hottentots, may exist where its meaning is lost, among Greeks or other
'Aryans.'  A story of a Hottentot god, quite a natural sort of tale for a
Hottentot to tell, may be told about a god in Greece, where it is
contrary to the Greek spirit.  We infer that the Greeks perhaps inherited
it from savage ancestors, or borrowed it from savages.

Names of Savage Gods

This is the method, and if we can also get a scholar to analyse the
_names_ of Hottentot gods, we are all the luckier, that is, if his
processes and inferences are _logical_.  May we not decide on the _logic_
of scholars?  But, just as Mr. Max Muller points out to us the dangers
attending our evidence, we point out to him the dangers attending his
method.  In Dr. Hahn's book, the doctor analyses the meaning of the name
Tsuni-Goam and other names, discovers their original sense, and from that
sense explains the myths about Hottentot divine beings.

Here we anthropologists first ask Mr. Max Muller, before accepting Dr.
Hahn's etymologies, to listen to other scholars about the perils and
difficulties of the philological analysis of divine names, even in Aryan
languages.  I have already quoted his 'defender,' Dr. Tiele.  'The
philological method is inadequate and misleading, when it is a question
of (1) discovering the origin of a myth, or (2) the physical explanation
of the oldest myths, or (3) of accounting for the rude and obscene
element in the divine legends of civilised races.'

To the two former purposes Dr. Hahn applies the philological method in
the case of Tsuni-Goam.  Other scholars agree with Dr. Tiele.  Mannhardt,
as we said, held that Mr. Max Muller's favourite etymological
'equations,' Sarameya=Hermeias; Saranyu=Demeter-Erinnys;
Kentauros=Gandharvas and others, would not stand criticism.  'The method
in its practical working shows a lack of the historical sense,' said
Mannhardt.  Curtius--a scholar, as Mr. Max Muller declares (i. 32)--says,
'It is especially difficult to conjecture the meaning of proper names,
and above all of local and mythical names.' {106a}  I do not see that it
is easier when these names are not Greek, but Hottentot, or Algonquin!

Thus Achilles may as easily mean 'holder of the people' as 'holder of
stones,' i.e. a River-god!  Or does [Greek] suggest aqua, Achelous the
River?  Leto, mother of Apollo, cannot be from [Greek], as Mr. Max Muller
holds (ii. 514, 515), to which Mr. Max Muller replies, perhaps not, as
far as the phonetic rules go 'which determine the formation of
appellative nouns.  It, indeed, would be extraordinary if it were. . . .'
The phonetic rules in Hottentot may also suggest difficulties to a South
African Curtius!

Other scholars agree with Curtius--agree in thinking that the etymology
of mythical names is a sandy foundation for the science of mythology.

'The difficult task of interpreting mythical names has, so far, produced
few certain results,' says Otto Schrader. {106b}

When Dr. Hahn applies the process in Hottentot, we urge with a friendly
candour these cautions from scholars on Mr. Max Muller.

A Hottentot God

In Custom and Myth (p. 207), I examine the logic by which Dr. Hahn proves
Tsuni-Goam to be 'The Red Dawn.'  One of his steps is to say that few
means 'sore,' or 'wounded,' and that a wound is _red_, so he gets his
'red' in Red Dawn.  But of tsu in the sense of 'red' he gives not one
example, while he does give another word for 'red,' or 'bloody.'  This
may be scholarly but it is not evidence, and this is only one of many
perilous steps on ground extremely scabreux, got over by a series of
logical leaps.  As to our quarrel with Mr. Max Muller about his friend's
treatment of ethnological materials, it is this: we do not believe in the
validity of the etymological method when applied to many old divine names
in Greek, still less in Hottentot.

Cause of our Scepticism

Our scepticism is confirmed by the extraordinary diversity of opinion
among scholars as to what the right analysis of old divine names is.  Mr.
Max Muller writes (i. 18): 'I have never been able to extract from my
critics the title of a single book in which my etymologies and my
mythological equations had been seriously criticised by real scholars.'
We might answer, 'Why tell you what you know very well?'  For (i. 50) you
say that while Signer Canizzaro calls some of your 'equations'
'irrefutably demonstrated,' 'other scholars declare these equations are
futile and impossible.'  Do these other scholars criticise your equations
not 'seriously'?  Or are you ignorant of the names of their works?

Another case.  Our author says that 'many objections were raised' to his
'equation' of Athene=Ahana='Dawn' (ii. 378, 400, &c.).  Have the
objections ceased?  Here are a few scholars who do not, or did not,
accept Athene=Ahana: Welcker, Benfey, Curtius, Preller, Furtwangler,
Schwartz, and now Bechtel (i. 378).  Mr. Max Muller thinks that he is
right, but, till scholars agree, what can we do but wait?

Phonetic Bickerings

The evidence turns on theories of phonetic laws as they worked in pre-
Homeric Greece.  But these laws, as they apply to common ordinary words,
need _not_, we are told, be applied so strictly to proper names, as of
gods and heroes.  These are a kind of comets, and their changes cannot be
calculated like the changes of vulgar words, which answer to stars (i.
298).  Mr. Max Muller 'formerly agreed with Curtius that phonetic rules
should be used against proper names with the same severity as against
ordinary nouns and verbs.'  Benfey and Welcker protested, so does
Professor Victor Henry.  'It is not fair to demand from mythography the
rigorous observation of phonetics' (i. 387).  'This may be called
backsliding,' our author confesses, and it _does_ seem rather a 'go-as-
you-please' kind of method.

Phonetic Rules

Mr. Max Muller argues at length (and, to my ignorance, persuasively) in
favour of a genial laxity in the application of phonetic rules to old
proper names.  Do they apply to these as strictly as to ordinary words?
'This is a question that has often been asked . . . but it has never been
boldly answered' (i. 297).  Mr. Max Muller cannot have forgotten that
Curtius answered boldly--in the negative.  'Without such rigour all
attempts at etymology are impossible.  For this very reason ethnologists
and mythologists should make themselves acquainted with the simple
principles of comparative philology.' {109}

But it is not for us to settle such disputes of scholars.  Meanwhile
their evidence is derived from their private interpretations of old
proper names, and they differ among themselves as to whether, in such
interpretations, they should or should not be governed strictly by
phonetic laws.  Then what Mr. Max Muller calls 'the usual bickerings'
begin among scholars (i. 416).  And Mr. Max Muller connects Ouranos with
Vedic Varuna, while Wackernagel prefers to derive it from [Greek], urine,
and this from [Greek]=Sk. Varshayami, to rain (ii. 416, 417), and so it
goes on for years with a glorious uncertainty.  If Mr. Max Muller's
equations are scientifically correct, the scholars who accept them not
must all be unscientific.  Or else, this is not science at all.

Basis of a Science

A science in its early stages, while the validity of its working laws in
application to essential cases is still undetermined, must, of course,
expect 'bickerings.'  But philological mythologists are actually trying
to base one science, Mythology, on the still shifting and sandy
foundations of another science, Phonetics.  The philologists are
quarrelling about their 'equations,' and about the application of their
phonetic laws to mythical proper names.  On the basis of this shaking
soil, they propose to build _another_ science, Mythology!  Then, pleased
with the scientific exactitude of their evidence, they object to the
laxity of ours.

Philology in Action--Indra

As an example of the philological method with a Vedic god, take Indra.  I
do not think that science is ever likely to find out the whole origins of
any god.  Even if his name mean 'sky,' Dyaus, Zeus, we must ask what mode
of conceiving 'sky' is original.  Was 'sky' thought of as a person, and,
if so, as a savage or as a civilised person; as a god, sans phrase; as
the inanimate visible vault of heaven; as a totem, or how?  Indra, like
other gods, is apt to evade our observation, in his origins.  Mr. Max
Muller asks, 'what should we gain if we called Indra . . . a totem?'  Who
does?  If we derive his name from the same root as 'ind-u,' _raindrop_,
then 'his starting-point was the rain' (i. 131).  Roth preferred 'idh,'
'indh,' _to kindle_; and later, his taste and fancy led him to 'ir,' or
'irv,' _to have power over_.  He is variously regarded as god of 'bright
firmament,' of air, of thunderstorm personified, and so forth. {110}  His
name is not detected among other Aryan gods, and his birth may be _after_
the 'Aryan Separation' (ii. 752).  But surely his name, even so, might
have been carried to the Greeks?  This, at least, should not astonish Mr.
Max Muller.  One had supposed that Dyaus and Zeus were separately
developed, by peoples of India and Greece, from a common, pre-separation,
Aryan root.  One had not imagined that the Greeks _borrowed_ divine names
from Sanskrit and from India.  But this, too, might happen! (ii. 506).
Mr. Max Muller asks, 'Why should not a cloud or air goddess _of India_,
whether called Svara or Urvasi, have supplied the first germs from which
[Greek] descended?'  Why not, indeed, if prehistoric Greeks were in touch
with India?  I do not say they were not.  Why should not a Vedic or
Sanskrit goddess of India supply the first germs of a Greek goddess? (ii.
p. 506).  Why, because 'Greek gods have never been Vedic gods, but both
Greek and Vedic gods have started from the same germs' (ii. 429).  Our
author has answered his own question, but he seems at intervals to
suppose, contrary to his own principles, as I understand them, that Greek
_may_ be 'derived from' Vedic divine names, or, at least, divine names in
Sanskrit.  All this is rather confusing.

Obscuring the Veda

If Indra is called 'bull,' that at first only meant 'strong' (ii. 209).
Yet 'some very thoughtful scholars' see traces of totemism in Indra!
{111a}  Mr. Max Muller thinks that this theory is 'obscuring the Veda by
this kind of light from the Dark Continent' (America, it seems).  Indra
is said to have been born from a cow, like the African Heitsi Eibib.
{111b}  There are unholy stories about Indra and rams.  But I for one, as
I have said already, would never deny that these _may_ be part of the
pleasant unconscious poetry of the Vedic hymnists.  Indra's legend is
rich in savage obscenities; they may, or may not, be survivals from
savagery.  At all events one sees no reason why we should not freely
compare parallel savageries, and why this should 'obscure' the Veda.
Comparisons are illuminating.


Mischief of Comparisons in Comparative Mythology

Not always are comparisons illuminating, it seems.  Our author writes,
'It may be said--in fact, it has been said--that there can at all events
be no harm in simply placing the myths and customs of savages side by
side with the myths and customs of Hindus and Greeks.'  (This, in fact,
is the method of the science of institutions.)

'But experience shows that this is not so' (i. 195).  So we must not,
should not, simply place the myths and customs of savages side by side
with those of Hindus and Greeks.  It is taboo.

Dr. Oldenberg

Now Dr. Oldenberg, it seems, uses such comparisons of savage and Aryan
faiths.  Dr. Oldenberg is (i. 209) one of several '_very thoughtful
scholars_' who do so, who break Mr. Max Muller's prohibition.  Yet (ii.
220) '_no true scholar_ would accept any comparison' between savage
fables and the folklore of Homer and the Vedas 'as really authoritative
_until fully demonstrated on both sides_.'  Well, it _is_ 'fully
demonstrated,' or 'a very thoughtful scholar' (like Dr. Oldenberg) would
not accept it.  Or it is _not_ demonstrated, and then Dr. Oldenberg,
though 'a very thoughtful,' is not 'a true scholar.'

Comparisons, when odious

Once more, Mr. Max Muller deprecates the making of comparisons between
savage and Vedic myths (i. 210), and then (i. 220) he deprecates the
_acceptance_ of these very comparisons 'as really authoritative until
fully demonstrated.'  Now, how is the validity of the comparisons to be
'fully demonstrated' if we are forbidden to make them at all, because to
do so is to 'obscure' the Veda 'by light from the Dark Continent'?

A Question of Logic

I am not writing 'quips and cranks;' I am dealing quite gravely with the
author's processes of reasoning.  'No true scholar' does what 'very
thoughtful scholars' do.  No comparisons of savage and Vedic myths should
be made, but yet, 'when fully demonstrated,' 'true scholars would accept
them' (i 209, 220).  How can comparisons be demonstrated before they are
made?  And made they must not be!


It would be useful if Mr. Max Muller were to define 'scholar,' 'real
scholar,' 'true scholar,' 'very thoughtful scholar.'  The latter may err,
and have erred--like General Councils, and like Dr. Oldenberg, who finds
in the Veda 'remnants of the wildest and rawest essence of religion,'
totemism, and the rest (i. 210).  I was wont to think that 'scholar,' as
used by our learned author, meant 'philological mythologist,' as
distinguished from 'not-scholar,' that is, 'anthropological mythologist.'
But now 'very thoughtful scholars,' even Dr. Oldenberg, Mr. Rhys, Dr.
Robertson Smith, and so on, use the anthropological method, so 'scholar'
needs a fresh definition.  The 'not-scholars,' the anthropologists, have,
in fact, converted some very thoughtful scholars.  If we could only catch
the _true_ scholar!  But that we cannot do till we fully demonstrate
comparisons which we may not make, for fear of first 'obscuring the Veda
by this kind of light from the Dark Continent.'

Anthropology and the Mysteries

It is not my affair to defend Dr. Oldenberg, whose comparisons of Vedic
with savage rites I have never read, I am sorry to say.  One is only
arguing that the _method_ of making such comparisons is legitimate.  Thus
(i. 232) controversy, it seems, still rages among scholars as to 'the
object of the Eleusinian Mysteries.'  'Does not the scholar's conscience
warn us against accepting whatever in the myths and customs of the Zulus
seems to suit our purpose'--of explaining features in the Eleusinia?  If
Zulu customs, and they alone, contained Eleusinian parallels, even the
anthropologist's conscience would whisper caution.  But this is not the
case.  North American, Australian, African, and other tribes have
mysteries very closely and minutely resembling parts of the rites of the
Eleusinia, Dionysia, and Thesmophoria.  Thus Lobeck, a scholar, describes
the Rhombos used in the Dionysiac mysteries, citing Clemens Alexandrinus.
{114}  Thanks to Dr. Tylor's researches I was able to show (what Lobeck
knew not) that the Rhombos (Australian turndun, 'Bull-roarer') is also
used in Australian, African, American, and other savage religious
mysteries.  Now should I have refrained from producing this well-attested
matter of fact till I knew Australian, American, and African languages as
well as I know Greek?  'What century will it be when there will be
scholars who know the dialects of the Australian blacks as well as we
know the dialects of Greece?' (i. 232) asks our author.  And what in the
name of Eleusis have dialects to do with the circumstance that savages,
like Greeks, use Rhombi in their mysteries?  There are abundant other
material facts, visible palpable objects and practices, which savage
mysteries have in common with the Greek mysteries. {115}  If observed by
deaf men, when used by dumb men, instead of by scores of Europeans who
could talk the native languages, these illuminating rites of savages
would still be evidence.  They have been seen and described often, not by
'a casual native informant' (who, perhaps, casually invented Greek rites,
and falsely attributed them to his tribesmen), but by educated Europeans.

Abstract Ideas of Savages

Mr. Max Muller defends, with perfect justice, the existence of abstract
ideas among contemporary savages.  It appears that somebody or other has
said--'we have been told' (i. 291)--'that all this' (the Mangaian theory
of the universe) 'must have come from missionaries.'  The ideas are as
likely to have come from Hegel as from a missionary!  Therefore, 'instead
of looking for idols, or for totems and fetishes, we must learn and
accept what the savages themselves are able to tell us. . . . '  Yes, we
_must_ learn and accept it; so I have always urged.  But if the savages
tell us about totems, are they not then 'casual native informants'?  If a
Maori tells you, as he does, of traditional hymns containing ideas worthy
of Heraclitus, is _that_ quite trustworthy; whereas, if he tells you
about his idols and taboos, _that_ cannot possibly be worthy of

Perception of the Infinite

From these extraordinary examples of abstract thought in savages, our
author goes on to say that his theory of 'the perception of the Infinite'
as the origin of religion was received 'with a storm of unfounded
obloquy' (i. 292).  I myself criticised the Hibbert Lectures, in Mind;
{116} on reading the essay over, I find no obloquy and no storm.  I find,
however, that I deny, what our author says that I assert, the
primitiveness of contemporary savages.

In that essay, which, of course, our author had no reason to read, much
was said about fetishism, a topic discussed by Mr. Max Muller in his
Hibbert Lectures.  Fetishism is, as he says, an ill word, and has caused
much confusion.

Fetishism and Anthropological Method

Throughout much of his work our author's object is to invalidate the
anthropological method.  That method sets side by side the customs,
ideas, fables, myths, proverbs, riddles, rites, of different races.  Of
their _languages_ it does not necessarily take account in this process.
Nobody (as we shall see) knows the languages of all, or of most, of the
races whose ideas he compares.  Now the learned professor establishes the
'harm done' by our method in a given instance.  He seems to think that,
if a method has been misapplied, therefore the method itself is
necessarily erroneous.  The case stands thus: De Brosses {117a} first
compared 'the so-called fetishes' of the Gold Coast with Greek and Roman
amulets and other material objects of old religions.  But he did this, we
learn, without trying to find out _why_ a negro made a fetish of a
pebble, shell, or tiger's tail, and without endeavouring to discover
whether the negro's motives really were the motives of his 'postulated
fetish worship' in Greece, Rome, or Palestine.

Origin of Fetishes

If so, tant pis pour monsieur le President.  But how does the
unscientific conduct attributed to De Brosses implicate the modern
anthropologist?  Do _we_ not try to find out, and really succeed
sometimes in finding out, _why_ a savage cherishes this or that scrap as
a 'fetish'?  I give a string of explanations in Custom and Myth (pp. 229-
230).  Sometimes the so-called fetish had an accidental, which was taken
to be a causal, connection with a stroke of good luck.  Sometimes the
thing--an odd-shaped stone, say--had a superficial resemblance to a
desirable object, and so was thought likely to aid in the acquisition of
such objects by 'sympathetic magic.' {117b}

Other 'fetishes' are revealed in dreams, or by ghosts, or by spirits
appearing in semblance of animals. {118a}

'Telekinetic' Origin of Fetishism

As I write comes in Melusine, viii. 7, with an essay by M. Lefebure on
Les Origines du Fetichisme.  He derives some fetishistic practices from
what the Melanesians call Mana, which, says Mr. Max Muller, 'may often be
rendered by supernatural or magic power, present in an individual, a
stone, or in formulas or charms' (i. 294).  How, asks Mr. Lefebure, did
men come to attribute this vis vivida to persons and things?  Because, in
fact, he says, such an unexplored force does really exist and display
itself.  He then cites Mr. Crookes' observations on scientifically
registered 'telekinetic' performances by Daniel Dunglas Home, he cites
Despine on Madame Schmitz-Baud, {118b} with examples from Dr. Tylor, P.
de la Rissachere, Dr. Gibier, {118c} and other authorities, good or bad.
Grouping, then, his facts under the dubious title of le magnetisme, M.
Lefebure finds in savage observation of such facts 'the chief cause of

Some of M. Lefebure's 'facts' (of objects moving untouched) were
certainly frauds, like the tricks of Eusapia.  But, even if all the facts
recorded were frauds, such impostures, performed by savage conjurers, who
certainly profess {118d} to produce the phenomena, might originate, or
help to originate, the respect paid to 'fetishes' and the belief in Mana.
But probably Major Ellis's researches into the religion of the
Tshi-speaking races throw most light on the real ideas of African
fetishists.  The subject is vast and complex.  I am content to show that,
whatever De Brosses did, _we_ do not abandon a search for the motives of
the savage fetishist.  Indeed, De Brosses himself did seek and find at
least one African motive, 'The conjurers (jongleurs) persuade them that
little instruments in their possession are endowed with a living spirit.'
So far, fetishism is spiritualism.

Civilised 'Fetishism'

De Brosses did not look among civilised fetishists for the motives which
he neglected among savages (i. 196).  Tant pis pour monsieur le
President.  But we and our method no more stand or fall with De Brosses
and his, than Mr. Max Muller's etymologies stand or fall with those in
the Cratylus of Plato.  If, in a civilised people, ancient or modern, we
find a practice vaguely styled 'fetishistic,' we examine it in its
details.  While we have talismans, amulets, gamblers' fetiches, I do not
think that, except among some children, we have anything nearly analogous
to Gold Coast fetishism as a whole.  Some one seems to have called the
palladium a fetish.  I don't exactly know what the palladium (called a
fetish by somebody) was.  The hasta fetialis has been styled a fetish--an
apparent abuse of language.  As to the Holy Cross qua fetish, why discuss
such free-thinking credulities?

Modern anthropologists--Tylor, Frazer, and the rest--are not under the
censure appropriate to the illogical.

More Mischiefs of Comparison

The 'Nemesis' (i. 196) of De Brosses' errors did not stay in her ravaging
progress.  Fetishism was represented as 'the very beginning of religion,'
first among the negroes, then among all races.  As I, for one,
persistently proclaim that the beginning of religion is an inscrutable
mystery, the Nemesis has somehow left me scatheless, propitiated by my
piety.  I said, long ago, 'the train of ideas which leads man to believe
in and to treasure fetishes is _one among the earliest springs_ of
religious belief.' {120a}  But from even this rather guarded statement I
withdraw.  'No man can watch the idea of GOD in the making or in the
beginning.' {120b}

Still more Nemesis

The new Nemesis is really that which I have just put far from me--namely,
that 'modern savages represent everywhere the Eocene stratum of
religion.'  They _probably_ represent an _early_ stage in religion, just
as, teste.  Mr. Max Muller, they represent an early stage in language 'In
savage languages we see what we can no longer expect to see even in the
most ancient Sanskrit or Hebrew.  We watch the childhood of language,
with all its childish pranks.' {120c}

Now, if the tongues spoken by modern savages represent the 'childhood'
and 'childish pranks' of language, why should the beliefs of modern
savages not represent the childhood and childish pranks of religion?  I
am not here averring that they do so, nor even that Mr. Max Muller is
right in _his_ remark on language.  The Australian blacks have been men
as long as the Prussian nobility.  Their language has had time to outgrow
'childish pranks,' but apparently it has not made use of its
opportunities, according to our critic.  Does he know why?

One need not reply to the charge that anthropologists, if they are meant,
regard modern savages 'as just evolved from the earth, or the sky,' or
from monkeys (i. 197).  'Savages have a far-stretching unknown history
behind them.'  'The past of savages, I say, must have been a long past.'
{121}  So, once more, the Nemesis of De Brosses fails to touch me--and,
of course, to touch more learned anthropologists.

There is yet another Nemesis--the postulate that Aryans and Semites, or
rather their ancestors, must have passed through the savage state.  Dr.
Tylor writes:--'So far as history is to be our criterion, progression is
primary and degradation secondary.  _Culture must be gained before it can
be lost_.'  Now a person who has not gained what Dr. Tylor calls
'culture' (_not_ in Mr. Arnold's sense) is a man without tools,
instruments, or clothes.  He is certainly, so far, like a savage; is very
much lower in 'culture' than any race with which we are acquainted.  As a
matter of hypothesis, anyone may say that man was born 'with everything
handsome about him.'  He has then to account for the savage elements in
Greek myth and rite.

For Us or Against Us?

We now hear that the worst and last penalty paid for De Brosses'
audacious comparison of savage with civilised superstitions is the
postulate that Aryan and Semitic peoples have passed through a stage of
savagery.  'However different the languages, customs and myths, the
colour and the skulls of these modern savages might be from those of
Aryan and Semitic people, the latter must once have passed through the
same stage, must once have been what the negroes of the West Coast of
Africa are to-day.  This postulate has not been, and, according to its
very nature, cannot be proved.  But the mischief done by acting on such
postulates is still going on, and in several cases it has come to
this--that what in historical religions, such as our own, is known to be
the most modern, the very last outcome, namely, the worship of relics or
a belief in amulets, has been represented as the first necessary step in
the evolution of all religions' (i. 197).

I really do not know who says that the prehistoric ancestors of Aryans
and Semites were once in the same stage as the 'negroes of the West Coast
of Africa are to-day.'  These honest fellows are well acquainted with
coined money, with the use of firearms, and other resources of
civilisation, and have been in touch with missionaries, Miss Kingsley,
traders, and tourists.  The ancestors of the Aryans and Semites enjoyed
no such advantages.  Mr. Max Muller does not tell us who says that they
did.  But that the ancestors of all mankind passed through a stage in
which they had to develop for themselves tools, languages, clothes, and
institutions, is assuredly the belief of anthropologists.  A race without
tools, language, clothes, pottery, and social institutions, or with these
in the shape of undeveloped speech, stone knives, and 'possum or other
skins, is what we call a race of savages.  Such we believe the ancestors
of mankind to have been--at any rate after the Fall.

Now when Mr. Max Muller began to write his book, he accepted this
postulate of anthropology (i. 15).  When he reached i. 197 he abandoned
and denounced this postulate.

I quote his acceptance of the postulate (i. 15):--

   'Even Mr. A. Lang has to admit that we have not got much beyond
   Fontenelle, when he wrote in the last century:

   '"Why are the legends [myths] about men, beasts, and gods so wildly
   incredible and revolting? . . .  The answer is that the earliest men
   were in a state of almost inconceivable ignorance and savagery, and
   that the Greeks inherited their myths from people in the same savage
   stage (en un pareil etat de sauvagerie).  Look at the Kaffirs and
   Iroquois if you want to know what the earliest men were like, and
   remember that the very Iroquois and Kaffirs have a long past behind
   them"'--that is to say, are polite and cultivated compared to the
   earliest men of all.

Here is an uncompromising statement by Fontenelle of the postulate that
the Greeks (an Aryan people) must have passed through the same stage as
modern savages--Kaffirs and Iroquois--now occupy.  But (i. 15) Mr. Max
Muller eagerly accepts the postulate:--

   'There is not a word of Fontenelle's to which I should not gladly
   subscribe; there is no advice of his which I have not tried to follow
   in all my attempts to explain the myths of India and Greece by an
   occasional reference to Polynesian or African folklore.'

Well, if Mr. Max Muller 'gladly subscribes,' in p. 15, to the postulate
of an original universal stage of savagery, whence civilised races
inherit their incredibly repulsive myths, why, in pp. 197, 198, does he
denounce that very postulate as not proven, not capable of being proved,
very mischievous, and one of the evils resulting from our method of
comparing savage and civilised rites and beliefs?  I must be permitted to
complain that I do not know which is Mr. Max Muller's real opinion--that
given with such hearty conviction in p. 15, or that stated with no less
earnestness in pp. 197, 198.  I trust that I shall not be thought to
magnify a mere slip of the pen.  Both passages--though, as far as I can
see, self-contradictory--appear to be written with the same absence of
levity.  Fontenelle, I own, speaks of Greeks, not Semites, as being
originally savages.  But I pointed out {124} that he considered it safer
to 'hedge' by making an exception of the Israelites.  There is really
nothing in Genesis against the contention that the naked, tool-less,
mean, and frivolous Adam was a savage.

The Fallacy of 'Admits'

As the purpose of this essay is mainly logical, I may point out the
existence of a fallacy not marked, I think, in handbooks of Logic.  This
is the fallacy of saying that an opponent 'admits' what, on the contrary,
he has been the first to point out and proclaim.  He is thus suggested
into an attitude which is the reverse of his own.  Some one--I am sorry
to say that I forget who he was--showed me that Fontenelle, in De
l'Origine des Fables, {125a} briefly stated the anthropological theory of
the origin of myths, or at least of that repulsive element in them which
'makes mythology mythological,' as Mr. Max Muller says.  I was glad to
have a predecessor in a past less remote than that of Eusebius of
Caesarea.  'A briefer and better system of mythology,' I wrote, 'could
not be devised; but the Mr. Casaubons of this world have neglected it,
and even now it is beyond their comprehension.' {125b}  To say this in
this manner is not to '_admit_ that we have not got much beyond
Fontenelle.'  I do not want to get beyond Fontenelle.  I want to go back
to his 'forgotten common-sense,' and to apply his ideas with method and
criticism to a range of materials which he did not possess or did not

Now, on p. 15, Mr. Max Muller had got as far as accepting Fontenelle; on
pp. 197, 198 he burns, as it were, that to which he had 'gladly

Conclusion as to our Method

All this discussion of fetishes arose out of our author's selection of
the subject as an example of the viciousness of our method.  He would not
permit us 'simply to place side by side' savage and Greek myths and
customs, because it did harm (i. 195); and the harm done was proved by
the Nemesis of De Brosses.  Now, first, a method may be a good method,
yet may be badly applied.  Secondly, I have shown that the Nemesis does
not attach to all of us modern anthropologists.  Thirdly, I have proved
(unless I am under some misapprehension, which I vainly attempt to
detect, and for which, if it exists, I apologise humbly) that Mr. Max
Muller, on p. 15, accepts the doctrine which he denounces on p. 197.
{126}  Again, I am entirely at one with Mr. Max Muller when he says (p.
210) 'we have as yet really no scientific treatment of Shamanism.'  This
is a pressing need, but probably a physician alone could do the work--a
physician double with a psychologist.  See, however, the excellent pages
in Dr. Tylor's Primitive Culture, and in Mr. William James's Principles
of Psychology, on 'Mediumship.'


What the Philological Theory Needs

The great desideratum of the philological method is a proof that the
'Disease of Language,' ex hypothesi the most fertile source of myths, is
a vera causa.  Do simple poetical phrases, descriptive of heavenly
phenomena, remain current in the popular mouth after the meanings of
appellatives (Bright One, Dark One, &c.) have been forgotten, so that
these appellatives become proper names--Apollo, Daphne, &c.?  Mr. Max
Muller seems to think some proof of this process as a vera causa may be
derived from 'Folk Riddles.'

The Riddle Theory

We now come, therefore, to the author's treatment of popular riddles
(devinettes), so common among savages and peasants.  Their construction
is simple: anything in Nature you please is described by a poetical
periphrasis, and you are asked what it is.  Thus Geistiblindr asks,

   What is the Dark One
   That goes over the earth,
   Swallows water and wood,
   But is afraid of the wind? &c.

Or we find,

   What is the gold spun from one window to another?

The answers, the obvious answers, are (1) 'mist' and (2) 'sunshine.'

In Mr. Max Muller's opinion these riddles 'could not but lead to what we
call popular myths or legends.'  Very probably; but this does not aid us
to accept the philological method.  The very essence of that method is
the presumed absolute loss of the meaning of, e.g. 'the Dark One.'  Before
there can be a myth, ex hypothesi the words Dark One must have become
hopelessly unintelligible, must have become a proper name.  Thus suppose,
for argument's sake only, that Cronos once meant Dark One, and was
understood in that sense.  People (as in the Norse riddle just cited)
said, 'Cronos [i.e. the Dark One--meaning mist] swallows water and wood.'
Then they forgot that Cronos was their old word for the Dark One, and was
mist; but they kept up, and understood, all the rest of the phrase about
what mist does.  The expression now ran, 'Cronos [whatever that may be]
swallows water and wood.'  But water comes from mist, and water nourishes
wood, therefore 'Cronos swallows his children.'  Such would be the
development of a myth on Mr. Max Muller's system.  He would interpret
'Cronos swallows his children,' by finding, if he could, the original
meaning of Cronos.  Let us say that he did discover it to mean 'the Dark
One.'  Then he might think Cronos meant 'night;' 'mist' he would hardly

That is all very clear, but the point is this--in devinettes, or riddles,
the meaning of 'the Dark One' is _not_ lost:--

   'Thy riddle is _easy_
   Blind Gest,
   To read'--

Heidrick answers.

What the philological method of mythology needs is to prove that such
poetical statements about natural phenomena as the devinettes contain
survived in the popular mouth, and were perfectly intelligible except
just the one mot d'enigme--say, 'the Dark One.'  That (call it
Cronos='Dark One'), and that alone, became unintelligible in the changes
of language, and so had to be accepted as a proper name, Cronos--a god
who swallows things at large.

Where is the proof of such endurance of intelligible phrases with just
the one central necessary word obsolete and changed into a mysterious
proper name?  The world is full of proper names which have lost their
meaning--Athene, Achilles, Artemis, and so on but we need proof that
poetical sayings, or riddles, survive and are intelligible except one
word, which, being unintelligible, becomes a proper name.  Riddles, of
course, prove nothing of this kind:--

   Thy riddle is easy
   Blind Gest
   To read!

Yet Mr. Max Muller offers the suggestion that the obscurity of many of
these names of mythical gods and heroes 'may be due . . . to the riddles
to which they had given rise, and which would have ceased to be riddles
if the names had been clear and intelligible, like those of Helios and
Selene' (i. 92).  People, he thinks, in making riddles 'would avoid the
ordinary appellatives, and the use of little-known names in most
mythologies would thus find an intelligible explanation.'  Again, 'we can
see how essential it was that in such mythological riddles the principal
agents should not be called by their regular names.'  This last remark,
indeed, is obvious.  To return to the Norse riddle of the Dark One that
swallows wood and water.  It would never do in a riddle to call the Dark
One by his ordinary name, 'Mist.'  You would not amuse a rural audience
by asking 'What is the mist that swallows wood and water?'  That would be
even easier than Mr. Burnand's riddle for very hot weather:--

   My first is a boot, my second is a jack.

Conceivably Mr. Max Muller may mean that in riddles an almost obsolete
word was used to designate the object.  Perhaps, instead of 'the Dark
One,' a peasant would say, 'What is the Rooky One?'  But as soon as
nobody knew what 'the Rooky One' meant, the riddle would cease to
exist--Rooky One and all.  You cannot imagine several generations asking
each other--

   What is the Rooky One that swallows?

if nobody knew the answer.  A man who kept boring people with a mere
'sell' would be scouted; and with the death of the answerless riddle the
difficult word 'Rooky' would die.  But Mr. Max Muller says, 'Riddles
would cease to be riddles if the names had been clear and intelligible.'
The reverse is the fact.  In the riddles he gives there are seldom any
'names;' but the epithets and descriptions are as clear as words can be:--

   Who are the mother and children in a house, all having bald heads?--The
   moon and stars.

Language cannot be clearer.  Yet the riddle has not 'ceased to be a
riddle,' as Mr. Max Muller thinks it must do, though the words are 'clear
and intelligible.'  On the other hand, if the language is _not_ clear and
intelligible, the riddle would cease to exist.  It would not amuse if
nobody understood it.  You might as well try to make yourself socially
acceptable by putting conundrums in Etruscan as by asking riddles in
words not clear and intelligible in themselves, though obscure in their
reference.  The difficulty of a riddle consists, not in the obscurity of
words or names, but in the description of familiar things by terms, clear
as terms, denoting their appearance and action.  The mist is described as
'dark,' 'swallowing,' 'one that fears the wind,' and so forth.  The
_words_ are pellucid.

Thus 'ordinary appellatives' (i. 99) are _not_ 'avoided' in riddles,
though _names_ (sun, mist) cannot be used in the question because they
give the answer to the riddle.

For all these reasons ancient riddles cannot explain the obscurity of
mythological names.  As soon as the name was too obscure, the riddle and
the name would be forgotten, would die together.  So we know as little as
ever of the purely hypothetical process by which a riddle, or popular
poetical saying, remains intelligible in a language, while the mot
d'enigme, becoming unintelligible, turns into a proper name--say, Cronos.
Yet the belief in this process as a vera causa is essential to our
author's method.

Here Mr. Max Muller warns us that his riddle theory is not meant to
explain 'the obscurities of _all_ mythological names.  This is a
stratagem that should be stopped from the very first.'  It were more
graceful to have said 'a misapprehension.'

Another 'stratagem' I myself must guard against.  I do not say that _no_
unintelligible strings of obsolete words may continue to live in the
popular mouth.  Old hymns, ritual speeches, and charms may and do
survive, though unintelligible.  They are reckoned all the more potent,
because all the more mysterious.  But an unintelligible riddle or
poetical saying does not survive, so we cannot thus account for mythology
as a disease of language.

Mordvinian Mythology

Still in the very natural and laudable pursuit of facts which will
support the hypothesis of a disease of language, Mr. Max Muller turns to
Mordvinian mythology.  'We have the accounts of real scholars' about
Mordvinian prayers, charms, and proverbs (i. 235).  The Mordvinians,
Ugrian tribes, have the usual departmental Nature-gods--as Chkai, god of
the sun (chi=sun).  He 'lives in the sun, or is the sun' (i. 236).  His
wife is the Earth or earth goddess, Vediava.  They have a large family,
given to incest.  The morals of the Mordvinian gods are as lax as those
of Mordvinian mortals.  (Compare the myths and morals of Samos, and the
Samian Hera.)  Athwart the decent god Chkai comes the evil god
Chaitan--obviously Shaitan, a Mahommedan contamination.  There are plenty
of minor gods, and spirits good and bad.  Dawn was a Mordvinian girl; in
Australia she was a lubra addicted to lubricity.

_How does this help philological mythology_?

Mr. Max Muller is pleased to find solar and other elemental gods among
the Mordvinians.  But the discovery in no way aids his special theory.
Nobody has ever denied that gods who are the sun or live in the sun are
familiar, and are the centres of myths among most races.  I give examples
in C. and M. (pp. 104, 133, New Zealand and North America) and in M. R.
R. (i. 124-135, America, Africa, Australia, Aztec, Hervey Islands, Samoa,
and so on).  Such Nature-myths--of sun, sky, earth--are perhaps
universal; but they do not arise from disease of language.  These myths
deal with natural phenomena plainly and explicitly.  The same is the case
among the Mordvinians.  'The few names preserved to us are clearly the
names of the agents behind the salient phenomena of Nature, in some cases
quite intelligible, in others easily restored to their original meaning.'
The meanings of the names not being forgotten, but obvious, there is no
disease of language.  All this does not illustrate the case of Greek
divine names by resemblance, but by difference.  Real scholars know what
Mordvinian divine names mean.  They do not know what many Greek divine
names mean--as Hera, Artemis, Apollo, Athene; there is even much dispute
about Demeter.

No anthropologist, I hope, is denying that Nature-myths and Nature-gods
exist.  We are only fighting against the philological effort to get at
the elemental phenomena which may be behind Hera, Artemis, Athene,
Apollo, by means of contending etymological conjectures.  We only oppose
the philological attempt to account for all the features in a god's myth
as manifestations of the elemental qualities denoted by a name which may
mean at pleasure dawn, storm, clear air, thunder, wind, twilight, water,
or what you will.  Granting Chkai to be the sun, does that explain why he
punishes people who bake bread on Friday? (237.)  Our opponent does not
seem to understand the portee of our objections.  The same remarks apply
to the statement of Finnish mythology here given, and familiar in the
Kalewala.  Departmental divine beings of natural phenomena we find
everywhere, or nearly everywhere, in company, of course, with other
elements of belief--totemism, worship of spirits, perhaps with monotheism
in the background.  That is as much our opinion as Mr. Max Muller's.  What
we are opposing is the theory of disease of language, and the attempt to
explain, by philological conjectures, gods and heroes whose obscure
_names_ are the only sources of information.

Helios is the sun-god; he is, or lives in, the sun.  Apollo may have been
the sun-god too, but we still distrust the attempts to prove this by
contending guesses at the origin of his name.  Moreover, if all Greek
gods could be certainly explained, by undisputed etymologies, as
originally elemental, we still object to such logic as that which turns
Saranyu into 'grey dawn.'  We still object to the competing
interpretations by which almost every detail of very composite myths is
explained as a poetical description of some elemental process or
phenomenon.  Apollo _may_ once have been the sun, but why did he make
love as a dog?

Lettish Mythology

These remarks apply equally well to our author's dissertation on Lettish
mythology (ii. 430 et seq.).  The meaning of statements about the sun and
sky 'is not to be mistaken in the mythology of the Letts.'  So here is no
disease of language.  The meaning is not to be mistaken.  Sun and moon
and so on are spoken of by their natural unmistakable names, or in
equally unmistakable poetical periphrases, as in riddles.  The daughter
of the sun hung a red cloak on a great oak-tree.  This 'can hardly have
been meant for anything but the red of the evening or the setting sun,
sometimes called her red cloak' (ii. 439).  Exactly so, and the
Australians of Encounter Bay also think that the sun is a woman.  'She
has a lover among the dead, who has given her a red kangaroo skin, and in
this she appears at her rising.' {135}  This tale was told to Mr. Meyer
in 1846, before Mr. Max Muller's Dawn had become 'inevitable,' as he

The Lettish and Australian myths are folk-poetry; they have nothing to do
with a disease of language or forgotten meanings of words which become
proper names.  All this is surely distinct.  We proclaim the abundance of
poetical Nature-myths; we 'disable' the hypothesis that they arise from a
disease of language.

The Chances of Fancy

One remark has to be added.  Mannhardt regarded many or most of the
philological solutions of gods into dawn or sun, or thunder or cloud, as
empty jeux d'esprit.  And justly, for there is no name named among men
which a philologist cannot easily prove to be a synonym or metaphorical
term for wind or weather, dawn or sun.  Whatever attribute any word
connotes, it can be shown to connote some attribute of dawn or sun.  Here
parody comes in, and gives a not overstrained copy of the method,
applying it to Mr. Gladstone, Dr. Nansen, or whom you please.  And though
a jest is not a refutation, a parody may plainly show the absolutely
capricious character of the philological method.


I do not here examine our author's constructive work.  I have often
criticised its logical method before, and need not repeat myself.  The
etymologies, of course, I leave to be discussed by scholars.  As we have
seen, they are at odds on the subject of phonetic laws and their
application to mythological names.  On the mosses and bogs of this
Debatable Land some of them propose to erect the science of comparative
mythology.  Meanwhile we look on, waiting till the mosses shall support a
ponderous edifice.

Our author's treatment of Artemis, however, has for me a peculiar
interest (ii. 733-743).  I really think that it is not mere vanity which
makes me suppose that in this instance I am at least one of the authors
whom Mr. Max Muller is writing _about_ without name or reference.  If so,
he here sharply distinguishes between me on the one hand and 'classical
scholars' on the other, a point to which we shall return.  He says--I
cite textually (ii. 732):--


'The last of the great Greek goddesses whom we have to consider is
Artemis.  Her name, we shall see, has received many interpretations, but
none that can be considered as well established--none that, even if it
were so, would help us much in disentangling the many myths told about
her.  Easy to understand as her character seems when we confine our
attention to Homer, it becomes extremely complicated when we take into
account the numerous local forms of worship of which she was the object.

'We have here a good opportunity of comparing the interpretations put
forward by _those who think that a study of the myths and customs of
uncivilised tribes can help us towards an understanding of Greek deities,
and the views advocated by classical scholars_ {138} who draw their
information, first of all, from Greek sources, and afterwards only from a
comparison of the myths and customs of cognate races, more particularly
from what is preserved to us in ancient Vedic literature, before they
plunge into the whirlpool of ill-defined and unintelligible Kafir
folklore.  The former undertake to explain Artemis by showing us the
progress of human intelligence from the coarsest spontaneous and
primitive ideas to the most beautiful and brilliant conception of poets
and sculptors.  They point out traces of hideous cruelties amounting
almost to cannibalism, and of a savage cult of beasts in the earlier
history of the goddess, who was celebrated by dances of young girls
disguised as bears or imitating the movements of bears, &c.  She was
represented as [Greek], and this idea, we are told, was borrowed from the
East, which is a large term.  We are told that her most ancient history
is to be studied in Arkadia, where we can see the goddess still closely
connected with the worship of animals, a characteristic feature of the
lowest stage of religious worship among the lowest races of mankind.  We
are then told the old story of Lykaon, the King of Arkadia, who had a
beautiful daughter called Kallisto.  As Zeus fell in love with her, Hera
from jealousy changed her into a bear, and Artemis killed her with one of
her arrows.  Her child, however, was saved by Hermes, at the command of
Zeus; and while Kallisto was changed to the constellation of the Ursa,
her son Arkas became the ancestor of the Arkadians.  Here, we are told,
we have a clear instance of men being the descendants of animals, and of
women being changed into wild beasts and stars--beliefs well known among
the Cahrocs and the Kamilarois.'

* * * * *

Here I recognise Mr. Max Muller's version of my remarks on Artemis.
{139a}  Our author has just remarked in a footnote that Schwartz 'does
not mention the title of the book where his evidence has been given.'  It
_is_ an inconvenient practice, but with Mr. Max Muller this reticence is
by no means unusual.  _He_ 'does not mention the book where 'my 'evidence
is given.'

Anthropologists are here (unless I am mistaken) contrasted with
'classical scholars who draw their information, first of all, from Greek
sources.'  I need not assure anyone who has looked into my imperfect
works that I also drew my information about Artemis 'first of all from
Greek sources,' in the original.  Many of these sources, to the best of
my knowledge, are not translated: one, Homer, I have translated myself,
with Professor Butcher and Messrs. Leaf and Myers, my old friends.

The idea and representation of Artemis as [Greek] (many-breasted), 'we
are told, was borrowed from the East, a large term.'  I say 'she is even
blended in ritual with a monstrous many-breasted divinity of Oriental
religion.' {139b}  Is this 'large term' too vague?  Then consider the
Artemis of Ephesus and 'the alabaster statuette of the goddess' in
Roscher's Lexikon, p. 558.  Compare, for an Occidental parallel, the many-
breasted goddess of the maguey plant, in Mexico. {140}  Our author
writes, 'we are told that Artemis's most ancient history is to be studied
in Arkadia.'  My words are, 'The Attic and Arcadian legends of Artemis
are confessedly _among the oldest_.'  Why should 'Attic' and the
qualifying phrase be omitted?

Otfried Muller

Mr. Max Muller goes on--citing, as I also do, Otfried Muller:--'Otfried
Muller in 1825 treated the same myth without availing himself of the
light now to be derived from the Cahrocs and the Kamilarois.  He quoted
Pausanias as stating that the tumulus of Kallisto was near the sanctuary
of Artemis Kalliste, and he simply took Kallisto for an epithet of
Artemis, which, as in many other cases, had been taken for a separate
personality.'  Otfried also pointed out, as we both say, that at Brauron,
in Attica, Artemis was served by young maidens called [Greek] (bears);
and he concluded, 'This cannot possibly be a freak of chance, but the
metamorphosis [of Kallisto] has its foundation in the fact that the
animal [the bear] was sacred to the goddess.'

Thus it is acknowledged that Artemis, under her name of Callisto, was
changed into a she-bear, and had issue, Arkas--whence the Arcadians.  Mr.
Max Muller proceeds (ii. 734)--'He [Otfried] did not go so far as some
modern mythologists who want us to believe that originally the animal,
the she-bear, was the goddess, and that a later worship had replaced the
ancient worship of the animal pur et simple.'

Did I, then, tell anybody that 'originally the she-bear was the goddess'?
No, I gave my reader, not a dogma, but the choice between two alternative
hypotheses.  I said, 'It will become probable that the she-bear actually
_was_ the goddess at an extremely remote period, or at all events that
the goddess succeeded to, and threw her protection over, an ancient
worship of the animal' (ii. 212, 213).

Mr. Max Muller's error, it will be observed, consists in writing 'and'
where I wrote 'or.'  To make such rather essential mistakes is human; to
give references is convenient, and not unscholarly.

In fact, this is Mr. Max Muller's own opinion, for he next reports his
anonymous author (myself) as saying ('we are now told'), 'though without
any reference to Pausanias or any other Greek writers, that the young
maidens, the [Greek], when dancing around Artemis, were clad in
bearskins, and that this is a pretty frequent custom in the dances of
totemic races.  In support of this, however, we are not referred to
really totemic races . . . but to the Hirpi of Italy, and to the [Greek]
in Egypt.'  Of course I never said that the [Greek] danced around
Artemis!  I did say, after observing that they were described as 'playing
the bear,' 'they even in archaic ages wore bear-skins,' for which I cited
Claus {141a} and referred to Suchier, {141b} including the reference in
brackets [ ] to indicate that I borrowed it from a book which I was
unable to procure. {142a}  I then gave references for the classical use
of a saffron vest by the [Greek].

Beast Dances

For the use of beast-skins in such dances among totemists I cite Bancroft
(iii. 168) and (M. R. R. ii. 107) Robinson {142b} (same authority).  I
may now also refer to Robertson Smith: {142c} 'the meaning of such a
disguise [a fish-skin, among the Assyrians] _is well known from many
savage rituals_; it means that the worshipper presents himself as a
fish,' as a bear, or what not. {142d}  Doubtless I might have referred
more copiously to savage rituals, but really I thought that savage dances
in beast-skins were familiar from Catlin's engravings of Mandan and
Nootka wolf or buffalo dances.  I add that the Brauronian rites 'point to
a time when the goddess was herself a bear,' having suggested an
alternative theory, and added confirmation. {142e}  But I here confess
that while beast-dances and wearing of skins of sacred beasts are common,
to prove these sacred beasts to be totems is another matter.  It is so
far inferred rather than demonstrated.  Next I said that the evolution of
the bear into the classical Artemis 'almost escapes our inquiry.  We find
nothing more akin to it than the relation borne by the Samoan gods to the
various totems in which they are supposed to be manifest.'  This Mr. Max
Muller quotes (of course, without reference or marks of quotation) and
adds, 'pace Dr. Codrington.'  Have I incurred Dr. Codrington's feud?  He
doubts or denies totems in Melanesia.  Is Samoa in Melanesia, par
exemple? {143a}  Our author (i. 206) says that 'Dr. Codrington will have
no totems in his islands.'  But Samoa is not one of the doctor's
fortunate isles.  For Samoa I refer, not to Dr. Codrington, but to Mr.
Turner. {143b}  In Samoa the 'clans' revere each its own sacred animals,
'but combine with it the belief that the spiritual deity reveals itself
in each separate animal.' {143c}  I expressly contrast the Samoan creed
with 'pure totemism.' {143d}

So much for our author's success in stating and criticising my ideas.  If
he pleases, I will not speak of Samoan totems, but of Samoan sacred
animals.  It is better and more exact.

The View of Classical Scholars

They (ii. 735) begin by pointing out Artemis's connection with Apollo and
the moon.  So do I!  'If Apollo soon disengages himself from the sun . .
.  Artemis retains as few traces of any connection with the moon.' {143e}
'If Apollo was of solar origin,' asks the author (ii. 735), 'what could
his sister Artemis have been, from the very beginning, if not some
goddess connected with the moon?'  Very likely; quis negavit?  Then our
author, like myself (loc. cit.), dilates on Artemis as 'sister of
Apollo.'  'Her chapels,' I say, 'are in the wild wood; she is the abbess
of the forest nymphs,' 'chaste and fair, the maiden of the precise life.'
How odd!  The classical scholar and I both say the same things; and I add
a sonnet to Artemis in this aspect, rendered by me from the Hippolytus of
Euripides.  Could a classical scholar do more?  Our author then says that
the Greek sportsman 'surprised the beasts in their lairs' by night.  Not
very sportsmanlike!  I don't find it in Homer or in Xenophon.  Oh for
exact references!  The moon, the nocturnal sportswoman, is Artemis: here
we have also the authority of Theodore de Banville (Diane court dans la
noire foret).  And the nocturnal hunt is Dian's; so she is protectress of
the chase.  Exactly what I said! {144a}

All this being granted by me beforehand (though possibly that might not
be guessed from my critic), our author will explain Artemis's human
sacrifice of a girl in a fawn-skin--bloodshed, bear and all--with no aid
from Kamilarois, Cahrocs, and Samoans.

Mr. Max Muller's Explanation

Greek races traced to Zeus--usually disguised, for amorous purposes, as a
brute.  The Arcadians had an eponymous heroic ancestor, 'Areas;' they
also worshipped Artemis.  Artemis, as a virgin, could not become a mother
of Areas by Zeus, or by anybody.  Callisto was also Artemis.  Callisto
was the mother of Areas.  But, to save the character of Artemis, Callisto
was now represented as one of her nymphs.  Then, Areas reminding the
Arcadians of [Greek] (a bear), while they knew the Bear constellation,
'what was more natural than that Callisto should be changed into an
arktos, a she-bear . . . placed by Zeus, her lover, in the sky' as the

Nothing could be more natural to a savage; they all do it. {144b}  But
that an Aryan, a Greek, should talk such nonsense as to say that he was
the descendant of a bear who was changed into a star, and all merely
because 'Areas reminded the Arcadians of arktos,' seems to me an extreme
test of belief, and a very unlikely thing to occur.

Wider Application of the Theory

Let us apply the explanation more widely.  Say that a hundred animal
names are represented in the known totem-kindreds of the world.  Then had
each such kin originally an eponymous hero whose name, like that of Areas
in Arcady, accidentally 'reminded' his successors of a beast, so that a
hundred beasts came to be claimed as ancestors?  Perhaps this was what
occurred; the explanation, at all events, fits the wolf of the Delawares
and the other ninety-nine as well as it fits the Arcades.  By a curious
coincidence all the names of eponymous heroes chanced to remind people of
beasts.  But _whence come the names of eponymous heroes_?  From their
tribes, of course--Ion from Ionians, Dorus from Dorians, and so on.
Therefore (in the hundred cases) the names of the _tribes_ derive from
names of animals.  Indeed, the names of totem-kins _are_ the names of
animals--wolves, bears, cranes.  Mr. Max Muller remarks that the name
'Arcades' _may_ come from [Greek], a bear (i. 738); so the Arcadians
(Proselenoi, the oldest of races, 'men before the moon') may be--Bears.
So, of course (in this case), they would necessarily be Bears _before_
they invented Areas, an eponymous hero whose name is derived from the pre-
existing tribal name.  His name, then, could not, before they invented
it, remind them of a bear.  It was from their name [Greek] (Bears) that
they developed _his_ name Areas, as in all such cases of eponymous
heroes.  I slightly incline to hold that this is exactly what occurred.  A
bear-kin claimed descent from a bear, and later, developing an eponymous
hero, Areas, regarded him as son of a bear.  Philologically 'it is
possible;' I say no more.

The Bear Dance

'The dances of the maidens called [Greek], would receive an easy
interpretation.  They were Arkades, and why not [Greek] (bears)?'  And if
[Greek], why not clad in bear-skins, and all the rest? (ii. 738).  This
is our author's explanation; it is also my own conjecture.  The Arcadians
were bears, knew it, and possibly danced a bear dance, as Mandans or
Nootkas dance a buffalo dance or a wolf dance.  But all such dances are
not totemistic.  They have often other aims.  One only names such dances
totemistic when performed by people who call themselves by the name of
the animal represented, and claim descent from him.  Our author says
genially, 'if anybody prefers to say that the arctos was something like a
totem of the Arcadians . . . why not?'  But, if the arctos was a totem,
that fact explains the Callisto story and Attic bear dance, while the
philological theory--Mr. Max Muller's theory--does not explain it.  What
is oddest of all, Mr. Max Muller, as we have seen, says that the bear-
dancing girls were 'Arkades.'  Now we hear of no bear dances in Arcadia.
The dancers were Athenian girls.  This, indeed, is the point.  We have a
bear Callisto (Artemis) in Arcady, where a folk etymology might explain
it by stretching a point.  But no etymology will explain bear dances to
Artemis in Attica.  So we find bears doubly connected with Artemis.  The
Athenians were not Arcadians.

As to the meaning and derivation of Artemis, or Artamis, our author knows
nothing (ii. 741).  I say, 'even [Greek] ([Greek], bear) has occurred to
inventive men.'  Possibly I invented it myself, though not addicted to
etymological conjecture.


The Method of Psychical Research

As a rule, mythology asks for no aid from Psychical Research.  But there
are problems in religious rite and custom where the services of the
Cendrillon of the sciences, the despised youngest sister, may be of use.
As an example I take the famous mysterious old Fire-rite of the Hirpi, or
wolf-kin, of Mount Soracte.  I shall first, following Mannhardt, and
making use of my own trifling researches in ancient literature, describe
the rite itself.

Mount Soracte

Everyone has heard of Mount Soracte, white with shining snow, the peak
whose distant cold gave zest to the blazing logs on the hearth of Horace.
Within sight of his windows was practised, by men calling themselves
'wolves' (Hirpi), a rite of extreme antiquity and enigmatic character.  On
a peak of Soracte, now Monte di Silvestre, stood the ancient temple of
Soranus, a Sabine sun-god. {148a}  Virgil {148b} identifies Soranus with
Apollo.  At the foot of the cliff was the precinct of Feronia, a Sabine
goddess.  Mr. Max Muller says that Feronia corresponds to the Vedic
Bhuranyu, a name of Agni, the Vedic fire-god (ii. 800).  Mannhardt
prefers, of course, a derivation from _far_ (grain), as in confarreatio,
the ancient Roman bride-cake form of marriage.  Feronia Mater=Sanskrit
bharsani mata, Getreide Mutter. {149a}  It is a pity that philologists so
rarely agree in their etymologies.  In Greek the goddess is called
Anthephorus, Philostephanus, and even Persephone--probably the Persephone
of flowers and garlands. {149b}

Hirpi Sorani

Once a year a fete of Soranus and Feronia was held, in the precinct of
the goddess at Soracte.  The ministrants were members of certain local
families called Hirpi (wolves).  Pliny says, {149c} 'A few families,
styled Hirpi, at a yearly sacrifice, walk over a burnt pile of wood, yet
are not scorched.  On this account they have a perpetual exemption, by
decree of the Senate, from military and all other services.'  Virgil
makes Aruns say, {149d} 'Highest of gods, Apollo, guardian of Soracte,
thou of whom we are the foremost worshippers, thou for whom the burning
pile of pinewood is fed, while we, strong in faith, walk through the
midst of the fire, and press our footsteps in the glowing mass. . . .'
Strabo gives the same facts.  Servius, the old commentator on Virgil,
confuses the Hirpi, not unnaturally, with the Sabine 'clan,' the Hirpini.
He says, {149e} 'Varro, always an enemy of religious belief, writes that
the Hirpini, when about to walk the fire, smear the soles of their feet
with a drug' (medicamentum).  Silius Italicus (v. 175) speaks of the
ancient rite, when 'the holy bearer of the bow (Apollo) rejoices in the
kindled pyres, and the ministrant thrice gladly bears entrails to the god
through the harmless flames.'  Servius gives an aetiological myth to
account for the practice.  'Wolves came and carried off the entrails from
the fire; shepherds, following them, were killed by mortal vapours from a
cave; thence ensued a pestilence, because they had followed the wolves.
An oracle bade them "play the wolf," i.e. live on plunder, whence they
were called Hirpi, wolves,' an attempt to account for a wolf clan-name.
There is also a story that, when the grave of Feronia seemed all on fire,
and the people were about carrying off the statue, it suddenly grew green
again. {150a}

Mannhardt decides that the so-called wolves leaped through the sun-god's
fire, in the interest of the health of the community.  He elucidates this
by a singular French popular custom, held on St. John's Eve, at Jumieges.
The Brethren of the Green Wolf select a leader called Green Wolf, there
is an ecclesiastical procession, cure and all, a souper maigre, the
lighting of the usual St. John's fire, a dance round the fire, the
capture of next year's Green Wolf, a mimicry of throwing him into the
fire, a revel, and next day a loaf of pain benit, above a pile of green
leaves, is carried about. {150b}

The wolf, thinks Mannhardt, is the Vegetation-spirit in animal form.  Many
examples of the 'Corn-wolf' in popular custom are given by Mr. Frazer in
The Golden Bough (ii. 3-6).  The Hirpi of Soracte, then, are so called
because they play the part of Corn-wolves, or Korndamonen in wolf shape.
But Mannhardt adds, 'this _seems_, at least, to be the explanation.'  He
then combats Kuhn's theory of Feronia as lightning goddess. {151a}  He
next compares the strange Arcadian cannibal rites on Mount Lycaeus.

Mannhardt's Deficiency

In all this ingenious reasoning, Mannhardt misses a point.  What the
Hirpi did was _not_ merely to leap through light embers, as in the Roman
Palilia, and the parallel doings in Scotland, England, France, and
elsewhere, at Midsummer (St. John's Eve).  The Hirpi would not be freed
from military service and all other State imposts for merely doing what
any set of peasants do yearly for nothing.  Nor would Varro have found it
necessary to explain so easy and common a feat by the use of a drug with
which the feet were smeared.  Mannhardt, as Mr. Max Muller says, ventured
himself little 'among red skins and black skins.'  He read Dr. Tylor, and
appreciated the method of illustrating ancient rites and beliefs from the
living ways of living savages. {151c}  But, in practice, he mainly
confined himself to illustrating ancient rites and beliefs by survival in
modern rural folk-lore.  I therefore supplement Mannhardt's evidence from
European folk-lore by evidence from savage life, and by a folk-lore case
which Mannhardt did not know.

The Fire-walk

A modern student is struck by the cool way in which the ancient poets,
geographers, and commentators mention a startling circumstance, the Fire-
walk.  The only hint of explanation is the statement that the drug or
juice of herbs preserved the Hirpi from harm.  That theory may be kept in
mind, and applied if it is found useful.  Virgil's theory that the
ministrants walk, pietate freti, corresponds to Mrs. Wesley's belief,
when, after praying, she 'waded the flames' to rescue her children from
the burning parsonage at Epworth.  The hypothesis of Iamblichus, when he
writes about the ecstatic or 'possessed' persons who cannot be injured by
fire, is like that of modern spiritualists--the 'spirit' or 'daemon'
preserves them unharmed.

I intentionally omit cases which are vaguely analogous to that of the
Hirpi.  In Icelandic sagas, in the Relations of the old Jesuit
missionaries, in the Travels of Pallas and Gmelin, we hear of medicine-
men and Berserks who take liberties with red-hot metal, live coals, and
burning wood.  Thus in the Icelandic Flatey Book (vol. i. p. 425) we read
about the fighting evangelist of Iceland, a story of Thangbrandr and the
foreign Berserkir.  'The Berserkir said: "I can walk through the burning
fire with my bare feet."  Then a great fire was made, which Thangbrandr
hallowed, and the Berserkir went into it without fear, and burned his
feet'--the Christian spell of Thangbrandr being stronger than the heathen
spell of the Berserkir.  What the saga says is not evidence, and some of
the other tales are merely traditional.  Others may be explained,
perhaps, by conjuring.  The mediaeval ordeal by fire may also be left on
one side.  In 1826 Lockhart published a translation of the Church Service
for the Ordeal by Fire, a document given, he says, by Busching in Die
Vorzeit for 1817.  The accused communicates before carrying the red-hot
iron bar, or walking on the red-hot ploughshare.  The consecrated wafer
is supposed to preserve him from injury, if he be guiltless.  He carries
the iron for nine yards, after which his hands are sealed up in a linen
cloth and examined at the end of three days.  'If he be found clear of
scorch or scar, glory to God.'  Lockhart calls the service 'one of the
most extraordinary records of the craft, the audacity, and the weakness
of mankind.' {153}

The fraud is more likely to have lain in the pretended failure to find
scorch or scar than in any method of substituting cold for hot iron, or
of preventing the metal from injuring the subject of the ordeal.  The
rite did not long satisfy the theologians and jurists of the Middle Ages.
It has been discussed by Lingard in his History of England, and by Dr. E.
B. Tylor in Primitive Culture.

For the purpose of the present inquiry I also omit all the rites of
leaping sportfully, and of driving cattle through light fires.  Of these
cases, from the Roman Palilia, or Parilia, downwards, there is a useful
collection in Brand's Popular Antiquities under the heading 'Midsummer
Eve.'  One exception must be made for a passage from Torreblanca's
Demonologia (p. 106).  People are said 'pyras circumire et transilire in
futuri mali averruncatione'--to 'go round about and leap over lighted
pyres for the purpose of averting future evils,' as in Mannhardt's theory
of the Hirpi.  This may be connected with the Bulgarian rite, to be
described later, but, as a rule, in all these instances, the fire is a
light one of straw, and no sort of immunity is claimed by the people who
do not walk through, but leap across it.

These kinds of analogous examples, then, it suffices merely to mention.
For the others, in all affairs of this sort, the wide diffusion of a tale
of miracle is easily explained.  The fancy craves for miracles, and the
universal mode of inventing a miracle is to deny the working, on a given
occasion, of a law of Nature.  Gravitation was suspended, men floated in
air, inanimate bodies became agile, or fire did not burn.  No less
natural than the invention of the myth is the attempt to feign it by
conjuring or by the use of some natural secret.  But in the following
modern instances the miracle of passing through the fire uninjured is
apparently feigned with considerable skill, or is performed by the aid of
some secret of Nature not known to modern chemistry.  The evidence is
decidedly good enough to prove that in Europe, India, and Polynesia the
ancient rite of the Hirpi of Soracte is still a part of religious or
customary ceremony.

Fijian Fire-walk

The case which originally drew my attention to this topic is that given
by Mr. Basil Thomson in his South Sea Yarns (p. 195).  Mr. Thomson
informs me that he wrote his description on the day after he witnessed
the ceremony, a precaution which left no room for illusions of memory.  Of
course, in describing a conjuring trick, one who is not an expert
records, not what actually occurred, but what he was able to see, and the
chances are that he did not see, and therefore omits, an essential
circumstance, while he misstates other circumstances.  I am informed by
Mrs. Steel, the author of The Potter's Thumb and other stories of Indian
life, that, in watching an Indian conjurer, she generally, or frequently,
detects his method.  She says that the conjurer often begins by whirling
rapidly before the eyes of the spectators a small polished skull of a
monkey, and she is inclined to think that the spectators who look at this
are, in some way, more easily deluded.  These facts are mentioned that I
may not seem unaware of what can be said to impugn the accuracy of the
descriptions of the Fire Rite, as given by Mr. Thomson and other

Mr. Thomson says that the Wesleyan missionaries have nearly made a clean
sweep of all heathen ceremonial in Fiji.  'But in one corner of Fiji, the
island of Nbengga, a curious observance of mythological origin has
escaped the general destruction, probably because the worthy iconoclasts
had never heard of it.'  The myth tells how the ancestor of the clan
received the gift of fire-walking from a god, and the existence of the
myth raises a presumption in favour of the antiquity of the observance.

* * * * *

'Once every year the masawe, a dracaena that grows in profusion on the
grassy hillsides of the island, becomes fit to yield the sugar of which
its fibrous root is full.  To render it fit to eat, the roots must be
baked among hot stones for four days.  A great pit is dug, and filled
with large stones and blazing logs, and when these have burned down, and
the stones are at white heat, the oven is ready for the masawe.  It is at
this stage that the clan Na Ivilankata, favoured of the gods, is called
on to "leap into the oven" (rikata na lovo), and walk unharmed upon the
hot stones that would scorch and wither the feet of any but the
descendants of the dauntless Tui Nkualita.  Twice only had Europeans been
fortunate enough to see the masawe cooked, and so marvellous had been the
tales they told, and so cynical the scepticism with which they had been
received, that nothing short of another performance before witnesses and
the photographic camera would have satisfied the average "old hand."

'As we steamed up to the chiefs village of Waisoma, a cloud of blue smoke
rolling up among the palms told us that the fire was newly lighted.  We
found a shallow pit, nineteen feet wide, dug in the sandy soil, a stone's
throw from high-water mark, in a small clearing among the cocoanuts
between the beach and the dense forest.  The pit was piled high with
great blazing logs and round stones the size of a man's head.  Mingled
with the crackling roar of the fire were loud reports as splinters flew
off from the stones, warning us to guard our eyes.  A number of men were
dragging up more logs and rolling them into the blaze, while, above all,
on the very brink of the fiery pit, stood Jonathan Dambea, directing the
proceedings with an air of noble calm.  As the stones would not be hot
enough for four hours, there was ample time to hear the tradition that
warrants the observance of the strange ceremony we were to see.

'When we were at last summoned, the fire had been burning for more than
four hours.  The pit was filled with a white-hot mass shooting out little
tongues of white flame, and throwing out a heat beside which the
scorching sun was a pleasant relief.  A number of men were engaged, with
long poles to which a loop of thick vine had been attached, in noosing
the pieces of unburnt wood by twisting the pole, like a horse's twitch,
until the loop was tight, and dragging the log out by main force.  When
the wood was all out there remained a conical pile of glowing stones in
the middle of the pit.  Ten men now drove the butts of green saplings
into the base of the pile, and held the upper end while a stout vine was
passed behind the row of saplings.  A dozen men grasped each end of the
vine, and with loud shouts hauled with all their might.  The saplings,
like the teeth of an enormous rake, tore through the pile of stones,
flattening them out towards the opposite edge of the pit.  The saplings
were then driven in on the other side and the stones raked in the
opposite direction, then sideways, until the bottom of the pit was
covered with an even layer of hot stones.  This process had taken fully
half an hour, but any doubt as to the heat of the stones at the end was
set at rest by the tongues of flame that played continually among them.
The cameras were hard at work, and a large crowd of people pressed
inwards towards the pit as the moment drew near.  They were all excited
except Jonathan, who preserved, even in the supreme moment, the air of
holy calm that never leaves his face.  All eyes are fixed expectant on
the dense bush behind the clearing, whence the Shadrachs, Meshachs and
Abednegos of the Pacific are to emerge.  There is a cry of "Vutu!  Vutu!"
and forth from the bush, two and two, march fifteen men, dressed in
garlands and fringes.  They tramp straight to the brink of the pit.  The
leading pair show something like fear in their faces, but do not pause,
perhaps because the rest would force them to move forward.  They step
down upon the stones and continue their march round the pit, planting
their feet squarely and firmly on each stone.  The cameras snap, the
crowd surges forward, the bystanders fling in great bundles of green
leaves.  But the bundles strike the last man of the procession and cut
him off from his fellows; so he stays where he is, trampling down the
leaves as they are thrown to line the pit, in a dense cloud of steam from
the boiling sap.  The rest leap back to his assistance, shouting and
trampling, and the pit turns into the mouth of an Inferno, filled with
dusky frenzied fiends, half seen through the dense volume that rolls up
to heaven and darkens the sunlight.  After the leaves, palm-leaf baskets
of the dracaena root are flung to them, more leaves, and then bystanders
and every one join in shovelling earth over all till the pit is gone, and
a smoking mound of fresh earth takes its place.  This will keep hot for
four days, and then the masawe will be cooked.

'As the procession had filed up to the pit, by a preconcerted arrangement
with the noble Jonathan, a large stone had been hooked out of the pit to
the feet of one of the party, who poised a pocket-handkerchief over it,
and dropped it lightly upon the stone when the first man leapt into the
oven, and snatched what remained of it up as the last left the stones.
During the fifteen or twenty seconds it lay there every fold that touched
the stone was charred, and the rest of it scorched yellow.  So the stones
were not cool.  We caught four or five of the performers as they came
out, and closely examined their feet.  They were cool, and showed no
trace of scorching, nor were their anklets of dried tree-fern leaf burnt.
This, Jonathan explained, is part of the miracle; for dried tree-fern is
as combustible as tinder, and there were flames shooting out among the
stones.  Sceptics had affirmed that the skin of a Fijian's foot being a
quarter of an inch thick, he would not feel a burn.  Whether this be true
or not of the ball and heel, the instep is covered with skin no thicker
than our own, and we saw the men plant their insteps fairly on the

* * * * *

Mr. Thomson's friend, Jonathan, said that young men had been selected
because they would look better in a photograph, and, being inexperienced,
they were afraid.  A stranger would share the gift if he went in with one
of the tribe.  Some years ago a man fell and burned his shoulders.  'Any
trick?'  'Here Jonathan's ample face shrunk smaller, and a shadow passed
over his candid eye.'  Mr. Thomson concludes: 'Perhaps the Na Ivilankata
clan have no secret, and there is nothing wonderful in their performance;
but, miracle or not, I am very glad I saw it.'  The handkerchief dropped
on the stone is 'alive to testify to it.'  Mr. Thomson's photograph of
the scene is ill-developed, and the fumes of steam somewhat interfere
with the effect.  A rough copy is published in Folk-Lore for September,
1895, but the piece could only be reproduced by a delicate drawing with
the brush.

The parallel to the rite of the Hirpi is complete, except that red-hot
stones, not the pyre of pine-embers, is used in Fiji.  Mr. Thomson has
heard of a similar ceremony in the Cook group of islands.  As in ancient
Italy, so in Fiji, a certain _clan_ have the privilege of fire-walking.
It is far enough from Fiji to Southern India, as it is far enough from
Mount Soracte to Fiji.  But in Southern India the Klings practise the
rite of the Hirpi and the Na Ivilankata.  I give my informant's letter
exactly as it reached me, though it has been published before in
Longman's Magazine:

Kling Fire-walk

'Dear Sir,--Observing from your note in Longman's Magazine that you have
mislaid my notes re fire-walking, I herewith repeat them.  I have more
than once seen it done by the "Klings," as the low-caste Tamil-speaking
Hindus from Malabar are called, in the Straits Settlements.  On one
occasion I was present at a "fire-walking" held in a large tapioca
plantation in Province Wellesley, before many hundreds of spectators, all
the Hindu coolies from the surrounding estates being mustered.  A trench
had been dug about twenty yards long by six feet wide and two deep.  This
was piled with faggots and small wood four or five feet high.  This was
lighted at midday, and by four p.m. the trench was a bed of red-hot
ashes, the heat from which was so intense that the men who raked and
levelled it with long poles could not stand it for more than a minute at
a time.  A few yards from the end of the trench a large hole had been dug
and filled with water.  When all was ready, six men, ordinary coolies,
dressed only in their "dholis," or loin-cloths, stepped out of the crowd,
and, amidst tremendous excitement and a horrible noise of conches and
drums, passed over the burning trench from end to end, in single file, at
a quick walk, plunging one after the other into the water.  Not one of
them showed the least sign of injury.  They had undergone some course of
preparation by their priest, not a Brahman, but some kind of devil-doctor
or medicine-man, and, as I understood it, they took on themselves and
expiated the sins of the Kling community for the past year (a big job, if
thieving and lying count; probably not).  They are not, however, always
so lucky, for I heard that on the next occasion one of the men fell and
was terribly burnt, thus destroying the whole effect of the ceremony.  I
do not think this to be any part of the Brahmanical religion, though the
ordeal by fire as a test of guilt is, or was, in use all over India.  The
fact is that the races of Southern India, where the Aryan element is very
small, have kept all their savage customs and devil-worship under the
form of Brahmanism.

'Another curious feat I saw performed at Labuan Deli, in Sumatra, on the
Chinese New Year.  A Chinaman of the coolie class was squatted stark
naked on the roadside, holding on his knees a brass pan the size of a
wash-hand basin, piled a foot high with red-hot charcoal.  The heat
reached one's face at two yards, but if it had been a tray of ices the
man couldn't have been more unconcerned.  There was a crowd of Chinese
round him, all eagerly asking questions, and a pile of coppers
accumulating beside him.  A Chinese shopkeeper told me that the man "told
fortunes," but from the circumstance of a gambling-house being close by,
I concluded that his customers were getting tips on a system.

'Hoping these notes may be of service to you,
'I remain,
'Yours truly,

* * * * *

In this rite the fire-pit is thrice as long (at a rough estimate) as that
of the Fijians.  The fire is of wooden embers, not heated stones.  As in
Fiji, a man who falls is burned, clearly suggesting that the feet and
legs, but not the whole body, are in some way prepared to resist the
fire.  As we shall find to be the practice in Bulgaria, the celebrants
place their feet afterwards in water.  As in Bulgaria, drums are beaten
to stimulate the fire-walkers.  Neither here nor in Fiji are the
performers said to be entranced, like the Bulgarian Nistinares. {161}  On
the whole, the Kling rite (which the Klings, I am informed, also practise
in the islands whither they are carried as coolies) so closely resembles
the Fijian and the Tongan that one would explain the likeness by
transmission, were the ceremony not almost as like the rite of the Hirpi.
For the Tongan fire-ritual, the source is The Polynesian Society's
Journal, vol. ii.  No. 2. pp. 105-108.  My attention was drawn to this by
Mr. Laing, writing from New Zealand.  The article is by Miss Tenira
Henry, of Honolulu, a young lady of the island.  The Council of the
Society, not having seen the rite, 'do not guarantee the truth of the
story, but willingly publish it for the sake of the incantation.'  Miss
Henry begins with a description of the ti-plant (Dracaena terminalis),
which 'requires to be well baked before being eaten.'  She proceeds thus:

'The ti-ovens are frequently thirty feet in diameter, and the large
stones, heaped upon small logs of wood, take about twenty-four hours to
get properly heated.  Then they are flattened down, by means of long
green poles, and the trunks of a few banana-trees are stripped up and
strewn over them to cause steam.  The ti-roots are then thrown in whole,
accompanied by short pieces of ape-root (Arum costatum), that are not
quite so thick as the ti, but grow to the length of six feet and more.
The oven is then covered over with large leaves and soil, and left so for
about three days, when the ti and the ape are taken out well cooked, and
of a rich, light-brown colour.  The ape prevents the ti from getting too
dry in the oven.

'There is a strange ceremony connected with the Uum Ti (or ti-oven), that
used to be practised by the heathen priests at Raiatea, but can now be
performed by only two individuals (Tupua and Taero), both descendants of
priests.  This ceremony consisted in causing people to walk in procession
through the hot oven when flattened down, before anything had been placed
in it, and without any preparation whatever, bare-footed or shod, and on
their emergence not even smelling of fire.  The manner of doing this was
told by Tupua, who heads the procession in the picture, to Monsieur
Morne, Lieutenant de Vaisseau, who also took the photograph {163} of it,
about two years ago, at Uturoa, Raiatea, which, being on bad paper, was
copied off by Mr. Barnfield, of Honolulu.  All the white residents of the
place, as well as the French officers, were present to see the ceremony,
which is rarely performed nowadays.

'No one has yet been able to solve the mystery of this surprising feat,
but it is to be hoped that scientists will endeavour to do so while those
men who practise it still live.

Tupua's Incantation used in Walking Over the Uum-Ti.--Translation

'Hold the leaves of the ti-plant before picking them, and say: "O hosts
of gods! awake, arise!  You and I are going to the ti-oven to-morrow."

'If they float in the air, they are gods, but if their feet touch the
ground they are human beings.  Then break the ti-leaves off and look
towards the direction of the oven, and say: "O hosts of gods! go
to-night, and to-morrow you and I shall go."  Then wrap the ti-leaves up
in han (Hibiscus) leaves, and put them to sleep in the marae, where they
must remain until morning, and say in leaving:

'"Arise! awake!  O hosts of gods!  Let your feet take you to the ti-oven;
fresh water and salt water come also.  Let the dark earth-worm and the
light earth-worm go to the oven.  Let the redness and the shades of fire
all go.  You will go; you will go to-night, and to-morrow it will be you
and I; we shall go to the Uum-Ti."  (This is for the night.)

'When the ti-leaves are brought away, they must be tied up in a wand and
carried straight to the oven, and opened when all are ready to pass
through; then hold the wand forward and say:

'"O men (spirits) who heated the oven! let it die out!  O dark
earth-worms!  O light earthworms! fresh water and salt water, heat of the
oven and redness of the oven, hold up the footsteps of the walkers, and
fan the heat of the bed.  O cold beings, let us lie in the midst of the
oven!  O Great-Woman-who-set-fire-to-the-skies! hold the fan, and let us
go into the oven for a little while!"  Then, when all are ready to walk
in, we say:

   "Holder of the first footstep!
   Holder of the second footstep!
   Holder of the third footstep!
   Holder of the fourth footstep!
   Holder of the fifth footstep!
   Holder of the sixth footstep!
   Holder of the seventh footstep!
   Holder of the eighth footstep!
   Holder of the ninth footstep!
   Holder of the tenth footstep!
   "O Great-Woman-who-set-fire-to-the-skies! all is covered!"

'Then everybody walks through without hurt, into the middle and around
the oven, following the leader, with the wand beating from side to side.

'The Great-Woman-who-set-fire-to-the-skies was a high-born woman in olden
times, who made herself respected by the oppressive men when they placed
women under so many restrictions.  She is said to have had the lightning
at her command, and struck men with it when they encroached on her

'All the above is expressed in old Tahitian, and when quickly spoken is
not easily understood by the modern listener.  Many of the words, though
found in the dictionary, are now obsolete, and the arrangement of others
is changed.  Oe and tana are never used now in place of the plural outou
and tatou; but in old folk-lore it is the classical style of addressing
the gods in the collective sense.  Tahutahu means sorcery, and also to
kindle a fire.'

* * * * *

So far Miss Henry, on this occasion, and the archaic nature of the hymn,
with the reference to a mythical leader of the revolt of women, deserves
the attention of anthropologists, apart from the singular character of
the rite described.  In the third number of the Journal (vol. ii.) the
following editorial note is published:

   'Miss Tenira Henry authorises us to say that her sister and her
   sister's little child were some of those who joined in the Uum-Ti
   ceremony referred to in vol. ii. p. 108, and in the preceding note,
   and actually walked over the red-hot stones.  The illustration of the
   performance given in the last number of the Journal, it appears, is
   actually from a photograph taken by Lieutenant Morne, the original of
   which Miss Henry has sent us for inspection.--EDITOR.'

Corroborative Evidence

The following corroborative account is given in the Journal, from a
source vaguely described as 'a pamphlet published in San Francisco, by
Mr. Hastwell:'

'The natives of Raiatea have some performances so entirely out of the
ordinary course of events as to institute (sic) inquiry relative to a
proper solution.

'On September 20, 1885, I witnessed the wonderful, and to me
inexplicable, performance of passing through the "fiery furnace."

'The furnace that I saw was an excavation of three or four feet in the
ground, in a circular form (sloping upwards), and about thirty feet
across.  The excavation was filled with logs and wood, and then covered
with large stones.  A fire was built underneath, and kept burning for a
day.  When I witnessed it, on the second day, the flames were pouring up
through the interstices of the rocks, which were heated to a red and
white heat.  When everything was in readiness, and the furnace still
pouring out its intense heat, the natives marched up with bare feet to
the edge of the furnace, where they halted for a moment, and after a few
passes of the wand made of the branches of the ti-plant by the leader,
who repeated a few words in the native language, they stepped down on the
rocks and walked leisurely across to the other side, stepping from stone
to stone.  This was repeated five times, without any preparation whatever
on their feet, and without injury or discomfort from the heated stones.
There was not even the smell of fire on their garments.'

* * * * *

Mr. N. J. Tone, in the same periodical (ii. 3,193), says that he arrived
just too late to see the same rite at Bukit Mestajam, in Province
Wellesley, Straits Settlements; he did see the pit and the fire, and
examined the naked feet, quite uninjured, of the performers.  He
publishes an extract to this effect from his diary.  The performers, I
believe, were Klings.  Nothing is said to indicate any condition of
trance, or other abnormal state, in the fire-walkers.

The Fire-walk in Trinidad.

Mr. Henry E. St. Clair, writing on September 14. 1896, says: 'In
Trinidad, British West Indies, the rite is performed annually about this
time of the year among the Indian coolie immigrants resident in the small
village of Peru, a mile or so from Port of Spain.  I have personally
witnessed the passing, and the description given by Mr. Ponder tallies
with what I saw, except that, so far as I can remember, the number of
those who took part in the rite was greater than six.  In addition, there
is this circumstance, which was not mentioned by that gentleman: each of
the "passers" carried one or two lemons, which they dropped into the fire
as they went along.  These lemons were afterwards eagerly scrambled for
by the bystanders, who, so far as I can recollect, attributed a healing
influence to them.'

Bulgarian Fire-walk

As to the Bulgarian rite, Dr. Schischmanof writes to me:

   'I am sure the observance will surprise you; I am even afraid that you
   will think it rather fantastic, but you may rely on my information.
   The danse de feu was described long ago in a Bulgarian periodical by
   one of our best known writers.  What you are about to read only
   confirms his account.  What I send you is from the Recueil de Folk
   Lore, de Litterature et de Science (vol. vi. p. 224), edited, with my
   aid and that of my colleague, Mastov, by the Minister of Public
   Instruction.  How will you explain these hauts faits de l'extase
   religieuse?  I cannot imagine!  For my part, I think of the
   self-mutilations and tortures of Dervishes and Fakirs, and wonder if
   we have not here something analogous.'

The article in the Bulgarian serial is called 'The Nistinares.'  The word
is not Bulgarian; possibly it is Romaic.

The scene is in certain villages in Turkey, on the Bulgarian frontier,
and not far from the town of Bourgas, on the Euxine, in the department of
Lozen Grad.  The ministrants (Nistinares) have the gift of fire-walking
as a hereditary talent; they are specially _just_, and the gift is
attributed as to a god in Fiji, in Bulgaria to St. Constantine and St.

   'These _just ones_ feel a desire to dance in the flames during the
   month of May; they are filled at the same time with some unknown
   force, which enables them to predict the future.  The best Nistinare
   is he who can dance longest in the live flame, and utter the most
   truthful prophecies.'

The Nistinares may be of either sex.

On May 1 the Nistinares hold a kind of religious festival at the house of
one of their number.  Salutations are exchanged, and presents of food and
raki are made to the chief Nistinare.  The holy icones of saints are
wreathed with flowers, and perfumed with incense.  Arrangements are made
for purifying the holy wells and springs.

On May 21, the day of St. Helena and St. Constantine, the parish priest
says Mass in the grey of dawn.  At sunrise all the village meets in
festal array; the youngest Nistinare brings from the church the icones of
the two saints, and drums are carried behind them in procession.  They
reach the sacred well in the wood, which the priest blesses.  This is
parallel to the priestly benediction on 'Fountain Sunday' of the well
beneath the Fairy Tree at Domremy, where Jeanne d'Arc was accused of
meeting the Good Ladies. {169}  Everyone drinks of the water, and there
is a sacrifice of rams, ewes, and oxen.  A festival follows, as was the
use of Domremy in the days of the Maid; then all return to the village.
The holy drum, which hangs all the year before St. Helena in the church,
is played upon.  A mock combat between the icones which have visited the
various holy wells is held.

Meanwhile, in each village, pyres of dry wood, amounting to thirty,
fifty, or even a hundred cartloads, have been piled up.  The wood is set
on fire before the procession goes forth to the hallowing of the
fountains.  On returning, the crowd dances a horo (round dance) about the
glowing logs.  Heaps of embers (Pineus acervus) are made, and water is
thrown on the ground.  The musicians play the tune called 'L'Air
Nistinar.'  A Nistinare breaks through the dance, _turns blue_, trembles
like a leaf, and glares wildly with his eyes.  The dance ends, and
everybody goes to the best point of view.  Then the wildest Nistinare
seizes the icon, turns it to the crowd, and with naked feet climbs the
pyre of glowing embers.  The music plays, and the Nistinare dances to the
tune in the fire.  If he is so disposed he utters prophecies.  He dances
till his face resumes its ordinary expression; then he begins to feel the
burning; he leaves the pyre, and places his feet in the mud made by the
libations of water already described.  The second Nistinare then dances
in the fire, and so on.  The predictions apply to villages and persons;
sometimes sinners are denounced, or repairs of the church are demanded in
this queer parish council.  All through the month of May the Nistinares
call out for fire when they hear the Nistinare music playing.  They are
very temperate men and women.  Except in May they do not clamour for
fire, and cannot dance in it.

In this remarkable case the alleged gift is hereditary, is of saintly
origin, and is only exercised when the Nistinare is excited, and
(apparently) entranced by music and the dance, as is the manner also of
medicine-men among savages.  The rite, with its sacrifices of sheep and
oxen, is manifestly of heathen origin.  They 'pass through the fire' to
St. Constantine, but the observance must be far older than Bulgarian
Christianity.  The report says nothing as to the state of the feet of the
Nistinares after the fire-dance.  Medical inspection is desirable, and
the photographic camera should be used to catch a picture of the wild
scene.  My account is abridged from the French version of the Bulgarian
report sent by Dr. Schischmanof.

Indian Fire-walk

Since these lines were written the kindness of Mr. Tawney, librarian at
the India Office, has added to my stock of examples.  Thus, Mr. Stokes
printed in the Indian Antiquary (ii. p. 190) notes of evidence taken at
an inquest on a boy of fourteen, who fell during the fire-walk, was
burned, and died on that day.  The rite had been forbidden, but was
secretly practised in the village of Periyangridi.  The fire-pit was 27
feet long by 7.5 feet broad and a span in depth.  Thirteen persons walked
through the hot wood embers, which, in Mr. Stokes's opinion (who did not
see the performance), 'would hardly injure the tough skin of the sole of
a labourer's foot,' yet killed a boy.  The treading was usually done by
men under vows, perhaps vows made during illness.  One, at least, walked
'because it is my duty as Pujari.'  Another says, 'I got down into the
fire at the east end, meditating on Draupati, walked through to the west,
and up the bank.'  Draupati is a goddess, wife of the Pandavas.  Mr.
Stokes reports that, according to the incredulous, experienced
fire-walkers smear their feet with oil of the green frog.  No report is
made as to the condition of their feet when they emerge from the fire.

Another case occurs in Oppert's work, The Original Inhabitants of India
(p. 480).  As usual, a pit is dug, filled with faggots.  When these have
burned down 'a little,' and 'while the heat is still unbearable in the
neighbourhood of the ditch, those persons who have made the vow . . .
walk . . . on the embers in the pit, without doing themselves as a rule
much harm.'

Again, in a case where butter is poured over the embers to make a blaze,
'one of the tribal priests, in a state of religious afflatus, walks
through the fire.  It is said that the sacred fire is harmless, but some
admit that a certain preservative ointment is used by the performers.'  A
chant used at Mirzapur (as in Fiji) is cited. {171}

In these examples the statements are rather vague.  No evidence is
adduced as to the actual effect of the fire on the feet of the
ministrants.  We hear casually of ointments which protect the feet, and
of the thickness of the skins of the fire-walkers, and of the
unapproachable heat, but we have nothing exact, no trace of scientific
precision.  The Government 'puts down,' but does not really investigate
the rite.

Psychical Parallels

I now very briefly, and 'under all reserves,' allude to the only modern
parallel in our country with which I am acquainted.  We have seen that
Iamblichus includes insensibility to fire among the privileges of Graeco-
Egyptian 'mediums.' {172}  The same gift was claimed by Daniel Dunglas
Home, the notorious American spiritualist.  I am well aware that as
Eusapia Paladino was detected in giving a false impression that her hands
were held by her neighbours in the dark, therefore, when Mr. Crookes
asserts that he saw Home handle fire in the light, his testimony on this
point can have no weight with a logical public.  Consequently it is not
as evidence to the _fact_ that I cite Mr. Crookes, but for another
purpose.  Mr. Crookes's remarks I heard, and I can produce plenty of
living witnesses to the same experiences with D. D. Home:

   'I several times saw the fire test, both at my own and at other
   houses.  On one occasion he called me to him when he went to the fire,
   and told me to watch carefully.  He certainly put his hand in the
   grate and handled the red-hot coals in a manner which would have been
   impossible for me to have imitated without being severely burnt.  I
   once saw him go to a bright wood fire, and, taking a large piece of
   red-hot charcoal, put it in the hollow of one hand, and, covering it
   with the other, blow into the extempore furnace till the coal was
   white hot, and the flames licked round his fingers.  No sign of
   burning could be seen then or afterwards on his hands.'

On these occasions Home was, or was understood to be, 'entranced,' like
the Bulgarian Nistinares.  Among other phenomena, the white handkerchief
on which Home laid a red-hot coal was not scorched, nor, on analysis, did
it show any signs of chemical preparation.  Home could also (like the
Fijians) communicate his alleged immunity to others present; for example,
to Mr. S. C. Hall.  But it burned and marked a man I know.  Home,
entranced, and handling a red-hot coal, passed it to a gentleman of my
acquaintance, whose hand still bears the scar of the scorching endured in
1867.  Immunity was not _always_ secured by experimenters.

I only mention these circumstances because Mr. Crookes has stated that he
knows no chemical preparation which would avert the ordinary action of
heat.  Mr. Clodd (on the authority of Sir B. W. Richardson) has suggested
diluted sulphuric acid (so familiar to Klings, Hirpi, Tongans, and
Fijians).  But Mr. Clodd produced no examples of successful or
unsuccessful experiment. {173}  The nescience of Mr. Crookes may be taken
to cover these valuable properties of diluted sulphuric acid, unless Mr.
Clodd succeeds in an experiment which, if made on his own person, I would
very willingly witness.

Merely for completeness, I mention Dr. Dozous's statement, {174} that he
timed by his watch Bernadette, the seer of Lourdes, while, for fifteen
minutes, she, in an ecstatic condition, held her hands in the flame of a
candle.  He then examined her hands, which were not scorched or in any
way affected by the fire.  This is called, at Lourdes, the Miracle du

Here ends my list of examples, in modern and ancient times, of a rite
which deserves, though it probably will not receive, the attention of
science.  The widely diffused religious character of the performance
will, perhaps, be admitted as demonstrated.  As to the method by which
the results are attained, whether by a chemical preparation, or by the
influence of a certain mental condition, or by thickness of skin, or
whether all the witnesses fable with a singular unanimity (shared by
photographic cameras), I am unable even to guess.  On May 21, in
Bulgaria, a scientific observer might come to a conclusion.  At present I
think it possible that the Jewish 'Passing through the Fire' may have
been a harmless rite.

Conclusion as to Fire-walk

In all these cases, and others as to which I have first-hand evidence,
there are decided parallels to the Rite of the Hirpi, and to Biblical and
ecclesiastical miracles.  The savage examples are _rites_, and appear
intended to secure good results in food supplies (Fiji), or general well-
being, perhaps by expiation for sins, as in the Attic Thargelia.  The
Bulgarian rite also aims at propitiating general good luck.

Psychical Research

But how is the Fire-walk done?  That remains a mystery, and perhaps no
philologist, folk-lorist, anthropologist, or physiologist, has seriously
asked the question.  The medicamentum of Varro, the green frog fat of
India, the diluted sulphuric acid of Mr. Clodd, are guesses in the air,
and Mr. Clodd has made no experiment.  The possibility of plunging the
hand, unhurt, in molten metal, is easily accounted for, and is not to the
point.  In this difficulty Psychical Research registers, and no more, the
well-attested performances of D. D. Home (entranced, like the
Nistinares); the well observed and timed Miracle du Cierge at
Lourdes--Bernadette being in an ecstatic condition; the Biblical story of
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace; the researches of
Iamblichus; the case of Madame Shchapoff, carefully reported, {175} and
other examples.  There is no harm in collecting examples, and the
question remains, are all those rites, from those of Virgil's Hirpi to
Bulgaria of to-day, based on some actual but obscure and scientifically
neglected fact in nature?  At all events, for the Soranus-Feronia rite
philology only supplies her competing etymologies, folk-lore her modern
rural parallels, anthropology her savage examples, psychical research her
'cases' at first-hand.  Anthropology had neglected the collection of
these, perhaps because the Fire-walk is 'impossible.'



This excursus on 'The Fire-walk' has been introduced, as an occasion
arose, less because of controversy about a neglected theme than for the
purpose of giving something positive in a controversial treatise.  For
the same reason I take advantage of Mr. Max Muller's remarks on Yama,
'the first who died,' to offer a set of notes on myths of the Origin of
Death.  Yama, in our author's opinion, is 'the setting sun' (i. 45; ii.
563).  Agni (Fire) is 'the first who was born;' as the other twin, Yama,
he was also the first who died (ii. 568).  As 'the setting sun he was the
first instance of death.'  Kuhn and others, judging from a passage in the
Atharva Veda (xviii. 3, 13), have, however, inferred that Yama 'was
really a human being and the first of mortals.'  He is described in the
Atharva as 'the gatherer of men, who died the first of mortals, who went
forward the first to that world.'  In the Atharva we read of 'reverence
to Yama, to Death, who first approached the precipice, finding out the
path for many.'  'The myth of Yama is perfectly intelligible, if we trace
its roots back to the sun of evening' (ii. 573).  Mr. Max Muller then
proposes on this head 'to consult the traditions of real Naturvolker'
(savages).  The Harvey Islanders speak of dying as 'following the sun's
track.'  The Maoris talk of 'going down with the sun' (ii. 574).  No more
is said here about savage myths of 'the first who died.'  I therefore
offer some additions to the two instances in which savages use a poetical
phrase connecting the sun's decline with man's death.

The Origin of Death

Civilised man in a scientific age would never invent a myth to account
for 'God's great ordinance of death.'  He regards it as a fact, obvious
and necessarily universal; but his own children have not attained to his
belief in death.  The certainty and universality of death do not enter
into the thoughts of our little ones.

   For in the thought of immortality
   Do children play about the flowery meads.

Now, there are still many childlike tribes of men who practically
disbelieve in death.  To them death is always a surprise and an
accident--an unnecessary, irrelevant intrusion on the living world.
'Natural deaths are by many tribes regarded as supernatural,' says Dr.
Tylor.  These tribes have no conception of death as the inevitable,
eventual obstruction and cessation of the powers of the bodily machine;
the stopping of the pulses and processes of life by violence or decay or
disease.  To persons who regard Death thus, _his_ intrusion into the
world (for Death, of course, is thought to be a person) stands in great
need of explanation.  That explanation, as usual, is given in myths.

Death, regarded as Unnatural

But before studying these widely different myths, let us first establish
the fact that death really is regarded as something non-natural and
intrusive.  The modern savage readily believes in and accounts in a
scientific way for _violent_ deaths.  The spear or club breaks or crushes
a hole in a man, and his soul flies out.  But the deaths he disbelieves
in are _natural_ deaths.  These he is obliged to explain as produced by
some supernatural cause, generally the action of malevolent spirits
impelled by witches.  Thus the savage holds that, violence apart and the
action of witches apart, man would even now be immortal.  'There are rude
races of Australia and South America,' writes Dr. Tylor, {178} 'whose
intense belief in witchcraft has led them to declare that if men were
never bewitched, and never killed by violence, _they would never die at
all_.  Like the Australians, the Africans will inquire of their dead
"what sorcerer slew them by his wicked arts."'  'The natives,' says Sir
George Grey, speaking of the Australians, 'do not believe that there is
such a thing as death from natural causes.'  On the death of an
Australian native from disease, a kind of magical coroner's inquest is
held by the conjurers of the tribe, and the direction in which the wizard
lives who slew the dead man is ascertained by the movements of worms and
insects.  The process is described at full length by Mr. Brough Smyth in
his Aborigines of Victoria (i. 98-102).  Turning from Australia to
Hindustan, we find that the Puwarrees (according to Heber's narrative)
attribute all natural deaths to a supernatural cause--namely, witchcraft.
That is, the Puwarrees do not yet believe in the universality and
necessity of Death.  He is an intruder brought by magic arts into our
living world.  Again, in his Ethnology of Bengal (pp. 199, 200), Dalton
tells us that the Hos (an aboriginal non-Aryan race) are of the same
opinion as the Puwarrees.  'They hold that all disease in men or animals
is attributable to one of two causes: the wrath of some evil spirit or
the spell of some witch or sorcerer.  These superstitions are common to
all classes of the population of this province.'  In the New Hebrides
disease and death are caused, as Mr. Codrington found, by tamates, or
ghosts. {179}  In New Caledonia, according to Erskine, death is the
result of witchcraft practised by members of a hostile tribe, for who
would be so wicked as to bewitch his fellow-tribesman?  The Andaman
Islanders attribute all natural deaths to the supernatural influence of e
rem chaugala, or to jurn-win, two spirits of the jungle and the sea.  The
death is avenged by the nearest relation of the deceased, who shoots
arrows at the invisible enemy.  The negroes of Central Africa entertain
precisely similar ideas about the non-naturalness of death.  Mr. Duff
Macdonald, in Africana, writes: 'Every man who dies what we call a
natural death is really killed by witches.'  It is a far cry from the
Blantyre Mission in Africa to the Eskimo of the frozen North; but so
uniform is human nature in the lower races that the Eskimo precisely
agree, as far as theories of death go, with the Africans, the aborigines
of India, the Andaman Islanders, the Australians, and the rest.  Dr. Rink
{180a} found that 'sickness or death coming about in an accidental manner
was always attributed to witchcraft, and it remains a question whether
death on the whole was not originally accounted for as resulting from
magic.'  Pere Paul le Jeune, writing from Quebec in 1637, says of the Red
Men: 'Je n'en voy mourir quasi aucun, qui ne pense estre ensorcele.'
{180b}  It is needless to show how these ideas survived into
civilisation.  Bishop Jewell, denouncing witches before Queen Elizabeth,
was, so far, mentally on a level with the Eskimo and the Australian.  The
familiar and voluminous records of trials for witchcraft, whether at
Salem or at Edinburgh, prove that all abnormal and unwonted deaths and
diseases, in animals or in men, were explained by our ancestors as the
results of supernatural mischief.

It has been made plain (and the proof might be enlarged to any extent)
that the savage does not regard death as 'God's great ordinance,'
universal and inevitable and natural.  But, being curious and
inquisitive, he cannot help asking himself, 'How did this terrible
invader first enter a world where he now appears so often?'  This is,
properly speaking, a scientific question; but the savage answers it, not
by collecting facts and generalising from them, but by inventing a myth.
That is his invariable habit.  Does he want to know why this tree has red
berries, why that animal has brown stripes, why this bird utters its
peculiar cry, where fire came from, why a constellation is grouped in one
way or another, why his race of men differs from the whites--in all
these, and in all other intellectual perplexities, the savage invents a
story to solve the problem.  Stories about the Origin of Death are,
therefore, among the commonest fruits of the savage imagination.  As
those legends have been produced to meet the same want by persons in a
very similar mental condition, it inevitably follows that they all
resemble each other with considerable closeness.  We need not conclude
that all the myths we are about to examine came from a single original
source, or were handed about--with flint arrow-heads, seeds, shells,
beads, and weapons--in the course of savage commerce.  Borrowing of this
sort may--or, rather, must--explain many difficulties as to the diffusion
of some myths.  But the myths with which we are concerned now, the myths
of the Origin of Death, might easily have been separately developed by
simple and ignorant men seeking to discover an answer to the same

Why Men are Mortal

The myths of the Origin of Death fall into a few categories.  In many
legends of the lower races men are said to have become subject to
mortality because they infringed some mystic prohibition or taboo of the
sort which is common among untutored peoples.  The apparently
untrammelled Polynesian, or Australian, or African, is really the slave
of countless traditions, which forbid him to eat this object or to touch
that, or to speak to such and such a person, or to utter this or that
word.  Races in this curious state of ceremonial subjection often account
for death as the punishment imposed for breaking some taboo.  In other
cases, death is said to have been caused by a sin of omission, not of
commission.  People who have a complicated and minute ritual (like so
many of the lower races) persuade themselves that Death burst on the
world when some passage of the ritual was first omitted, or when some
custom was first infringed.  Yet again, Death is fabled to have first
claimed us for his victims in consequence of the erroneous delivery of a
favourable message from some powerful supernatural being, or because of
the failure of some enterprise which would have resulted in the overthrow
of Death, or by virtue of a pact or covenant between Death and the gods.
Thus it will be seen that death is often (though by no means invariably)
the penalty of infringing a command, or of indulging in a culpable
curiosity.  But there are cases, as we shall see, in which death, as a
tolerably general law, follows on a mere accident.  Some one is
accidentally killed, and this 'gives Death a lead' (as they say in the
hunting-field) over the fence which had hitherto severed him from the
world of living men.  It is to be observed in this connection that the
first of men who died is usually regarded as the discoverer of a hitherto
'unknown country,' the land beyond the grave, to which all future men
must follow him.  Bin dir Woor, among the Australians, was the first man
who suffered death, and he (like Yama in the Vedic myth) became the
Columbus of the new world of the dead.

Savage Death-Myths

Let us now examine in detail a few of the savage stories of the Origin of
Death.  That told by the Australians may be regarded with suspicion, as a
refraction from a careless hearing of the narrative in Genesis.  The
legend printed by Mr. Brough Smyth {183a} was told to Mr. Bulwer by 'a
black fellow far from sharp,' and this black fellow may conceivably have
distorted what his tribe had heard from a missionary.  This sort of
refraction is not uncommon, and we must always guard ourselves against
being deceived by a savage corruption of a Biblical narrative.  Here is
the myth, such as it is:--'The first created man and woman were told' (by
whom we do not learn) 'not to go near a certain tree in which a bat
lived.  The bat was not to be disturbed.  One day, however, the woman was
gathering firewood, and she went near the tree.  The bat flew away, and
after that came Death.'  More evidently genuine is the following legend
of how Death 'got a lead' into the Australian world.  'The child of the
first man was wounded.  If his parents could heal him, Death would never
enter the world.  They failed.  Death came.'  The wound in this legend
was inflicted by a supernatural being.  Here Death acts on the principle
ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute, and the premier pas was made easy
for him.  We may continue to examine the stories which account for death
as the result of breaking a taboo.  The Ningphos of Bengal say they were
originally immortal. {183b}  They were forbidden to bathe in a certain
pool of water.  Some one, greatly daring, bathed, and ever since Ningphos
have been subject to death.  The infringement, not of a taboo, but of a
custom, caused death in one of the many Melanesian myths on this subject.
Men and women had been practically deathless because they cast their old
skins at certain intervals; but a grandmother had a favourite grandchild
who failed to recognise her when she appeared as a young woman in her new
skin.  With fatal good-nature the grandmother put on her old skin again,
and instantly men lost the art of skin-shifting, and Death finally seized
them. {184}

The Greek Myth

The Greek myth of the Origin of Death is the most important of those
which turn on the breaking of a prohibition.  The story has unfortunately
become greatly confused in the various poetical forms which have reached
us.  As far as can be ascertained, death was regarded in one early Greek
myth as the punishment of indulgence in forbidden curiosity.  Men appear
to have been free from death before the quarrel between Zeus and
Prometheus.  In consequence of this quarrel Hephaestus fashioned a woman
out of earth and water, and gave her to Epimetheus, the brother of the
Titan.  Prometheus had forbidden his brother to accept any gift from the
gods, but the bride was welcomed nevertheless.  She brought her tabooed
coffer: this was opened; and men--who, according to Hesiod, had hitherto
lived exempt from 'maladies that bring down Fate'--were overwhelmed with
the 'diseases that stalk abroad by night and day.'  Now, in Hesiod (Works
and Days, 70-100) there is nothing said about unholy curiosity.  Pandora
simply opened her casket and scattered its fatal contents.  But
Philodemus assures us that, according to a variant of the myth, it was
Epimetheus who opened the forbidden coffer, whence came Death.

Leaving the myths which turn on the breaking of a taboo, and reserving
for consideration the New Zealand story, in which the Origin of Death is
the neglect of a ritual process, let us look at some African myths of the
Origin of Death.  It is to be observed that in these (as in all the myths
of the most backward races) many of the characters are not gods, but

The Bushman story lacks the beginning.  The mother of the little Hare was
lying dead, but we do not know how she came to die.  The Moon then struck
the little Hare on the lip, cutting it open, and saying, 'Cry loudly, for
your mother will not return, as _I_ do, but is quite dead.'  In another
version the Moon promises that the old Hare shall return to life, but the
little Hare is sceptical, and is hit in the mouth as before.  The
Hottentot myth makes the Moon send the Hare to men with the message that
they will revive as he (the Moon) does.  But the Hare 'loses his memory
as he runs' (to quote the French proverb, which may be based on a form of
this very tale), and the messenger brings the tidings that men shall
surely die and never revive.  The angry Moon then burns a hole in the
Hare's mouth.  In yet another Hottentot version the Hare's failure to
deliver the message correctly caused the death of the Moon's mother
(Bleek, Bushman Folklore). {185}  Compare Sir James Alexander's
Expedition, ii. 250, where the Namaquas tell this tale.  The Fijians say
that the Moon wished men to die and be born again, like herself.  The Rat
said, 'No, let them die, like rats;' and they do. {186}

The Serpent

In this last variant we have death as the result of a failure or
transgression.  Among the more backward natives of South India (Lewin's
Wild Races of South India) the serpent is concerned, in a suspicious way,
with the Origin of Death.  The following legend might so easily arise
from a confused understanding of the Mohammedan or Biblical narrative
that it is of little value for our purpose.  At the same time, even if it
is only an adaptation, it shows the characteristics of the adapting
mind:--God had made the world, trees, and reptiles, and then set to work
to make man out of clay.  A serpent came and devoured the still inanimate
clay images while God slept.  The serpent still comes and bites us all,
and the end is death.  If God never slept, there would be no death.  The
snake carries us off while God is asleep.  But the oddest part of this
myth remains.  Not being able always to keep awake, God made a dog to
drive away the snake by barking.  And that is why dogs always howl when
men are at the point of death.  Here we have our own rural superstition
about howling dogs twisted into a South Indian myth of the Origin of
Death.  The introduction of Death by a pure accident recurs in a myth of
Central Africa reported by Mr. Duff Macdonald.  There was a time when the
man blessed by Sancho Panza had not yet 'invented sleep.'  A woman it was
who came and offered to instruct two men in the still novel art of
sleeping.  'She held the nostrils of one, and he never awoke at all,' and
since then the art of dying has been facile.

Dualistic Myths

A not unnatural theory of the Origin of Death is illustrated by a myth
from Pentecost Island and a Red Indian myth.  In the legends of very many
races we find the attempt to account for the Origin of Death and Evil by
a simple dualistic myth.  There were two brothers who made things; one
made things well, the other made them ill.  In Pentecost Island it was
Tagar who made things well, and he appointed that men should die for five
days only, and live again.  But the malevolent Suque caused men 'to die
right out.' {187}  The Red Indian legend of the same character is printed
in the Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology (1879-80), p. 45.  The
younger of the Cin-au-av brothers, who were wolves, said, 'When a man
dies, send him back in the morning and let all his friends rejoice.'  'Not
so,' said the elder; 'the dead shall return no more.'  So the younger
brother slew the child of the elder, and this was the beginning of death.

Economic Myth

There is another and a very quaint myth of the Origin of Death in Banks
Island.  At first, in Banks Island, as elsewhere, men were immortal.  The
economical results were just what might have been expected.  Property
became concentrated in the hands of the few--that is, of the first
generations--while all the younger people were practically paupers.  To
heal the disastrous social malady, Qat (the maker of things, who was more
or less a spider) sent for Mate--that is, Death.  Death lived near a
volcanic crater of a mountain, where there is now a by-way into Hades--or
Panoi, as the Melanesians call it.  Death came, and went through the
empty forms of a funeral feast for himself.  Tangaro the Fool was sent to
watch Mate, and to see by what way he returned to Hades, that men might
avoid that path in future.  Now when Mate fled to his own place, this
great fool Tangaro noticed the path, but forgot which it was, and pointed
it out to men under the impression that it was the road to the _upper_,
not to the _under_, world.  Ever since that day men have been constrained
to follow Mate's path to Panoi and the dead. {188}  Another myth is
somewhat different, but, like this one, attributes death to the
imbecility of Tangaro the Fool.

Maui and Yama

The New Zealand myth of the Origin of Death is pretty well known, as Dr.
Tylor has seen in it the remnants of a solar myth, and has given it a
'solar' explanation.  It is an audacious thing to differ from so cautious
and learned an anthropologist as Dr. Tylor, but I venture to give my
reasons for dissenting in this case from the view of the author of
Primitive Culture (i. 335).  Maui is the great hero of Maori mythology.
He was not precisely a god, still less was he one of the early elemental
gods, yet we can scarcely regard him as a man.  He rather answers to one
of the race of Titans, and especially to Prometheus, the son of a Titan.
Maui was prematurely born, and his mother thought the child would be no
credit to her already numerous and promising family.  She therefore (as
native women too often did in the South-Sea Islands) tied him up in her
long tresses and tossed him out to sea.  The gales brought him back to
shore: one of his grandparents carried him home, and he became much the
most illustrious and successful of his household.  So far Maui had the
luck which so commonly attends the youngest and least-considered child in
folklore and mythology.  This feature in his myth may be a result of the
very widespread custom of jungsten Recht (Borough English), by which the
youngest child is heir at least of the family hearth.  Now, unluckily, at
the baptism of Maui (for a pagan form of baptism is a Maori ceremony) his
father omitted some of the Karakias, or ritual utterances proper to be
used on such occasions.  This was the fatal original mistake whence came
man's liability to death, for hitherto men had been immortal.  So far,
what is there 'solar' about Maui?  Who are the sun's brethren?--and Maui
had many.  How could the sun catch the sun in a snare, and beat him so as
to make him lame?  This was one of Maui's feats, for he meant to prevent
the sun from running too fast through the sky.  Maui brought fire,
indeed, from the under-world, as Prometheus stole it from the
upper-world; but many men and many beasts do as much as the myths of the
world, and it is hard to see how the exploit gives Maui 'a solar
character.'  Maui invented barbs for hooks, and other appurtenances of
early civilisation, with which the sun has no more to do than with patent
safety-matches.  His last feat was to attempt to secure human immortality
for ever.  There are various legends on this subject.

Maui Myths

Some say Maui noticed that the sun and moon rose again from their daily
death, by virtue of a fountain in Hades (Hine-nui-te-po) where they
bathed.  Others say he wished to kill Hine-nui-te-po (conceived of as a
woman) and to carry off her heart.  Whatever the reason, Maui was to be
swallowed up in the giant frame of Hades, or Night, and, if he escaped
alive, Death would never have power over men.  He made the desperate
adventure, and would have succeeded but for the folly of one of the birds
which accompanied him.  This little bird, which sings at sunset, burst
out laughing inopportunely, wakened Hine-nui-te-po, and she crushed to
death Maui and all hopes of earthly immortality.  Had he only come forth
alive, men would have been deathless.  Now, except that the bird which
laughed sings at sunset, what is there 'solar' in all this?  _The sun
does daily what Maui failed to do_, {190a} passes through darkness and
death back into light and life.  Not only does the sun daily succeed
where Maui failed, but it was his observation of this fact which
encouraged Maui to risk the adventure.  If Maui were the sun, we should
all be immortal, for Maui's ordeal is daily achieved by the sun.  But Dr.
Tylor says: {190b} 'It is seldom that solar characteristics are more
distinctly marked in the several details of a myth than they are here.'
To us the characteristics seem to be precisely the reverse of solar.
Throughout the cycle of Maui he is constantly set in direct opposition to
the sun, and the very point of the final legend is that what the sun
could do Maui could not.  Literally the one common point between Maui and
the sun is that the little bird, the tiwakawaka, which sings at the daily
death of day, sang at the eternal death of Maui.

Without pausing to consider the Tongan myth of the Origin of Death, we
may go on to investigate the legends of the Aryan races.  According to
the Satapatha Brahmana, Death was made, like the gods and other
creatures, by a being named Prajapati.  Now of Prajapati, half was
mortal, half was immortal.  With his mortal half he feared Death, and
concealed himself from Death in earth and water.  Death said to the gods,
'What hath become of him who created us?'  They answered, 'Fearing thee,
hath he entered the earth.'  The gods and Prajapati now freed themselves
from the dominion of Death by celebrating an enormous number of
sacrifices.  Death was chagrined by their escape from the 'nets and
clubs' which he carries in the Aitareya Brahmana.  'As you have escaped
me, so will men also escape,' he grumbled.  The gods appeased him by the
promise that, _in the body_, no man henceforth for ever should evade
Death.  'Every one who is to become immortal shall do so by first parting
with his body.'


Among the Aryans of India, as we have already seen, Death has a
protomartyr, Tama, 'the first of men who reached the river, spying out a
path for many.'  In spying the path Yama corresponds to Tangaro the Fool,
in the myth of the Solomon Islands.  But Yama is not regarded as a
maleficent being, like Tangaro.  The Rig Veda (x. 14) speaks of him as
'King Yama, who departed to the mighty streams and sought out a road for
many;' and again, the Atharva Veda names him 'the first of men who died,
and the first who departed to the celestial world.'  With him the Blessed
Fathers dwell for ever in happiness.  Mr. Max Muller, as we said, takes
Yama to be 'a character suggested by the setting sun'--a claim which is
also put forward, as we have seen, for the Maori hero Maui.  It is Yama,
according to the Rig Veda, who sends the birds--a pigeon is one of his
messengers (compare the White Bird of the Oxenhams)--as warnings of
approaching death.  Among the Iranian race, Yima appears to have been the
counterpart of the Vedic Yama.  He is now King of the Blessed; originally
he was the first of men over whom Death won his earliest victory.


That Yama is mixed up with the sun, in the Rig Veda, seems certain
enough.  Most phenomena, most gods, shade into each other in the Vedic
hymns.  But it is plain that the conception of a 'first man who died' is
as common to many races as it is natural.  Death was regarded as
unnatural, yet here it is among us.  How did it come?  By somebody dying
first, and establishing a bad precedent.  But need that somebody have
been originally the sun, as Mr. Max Muller and Dr. Tylor think in the
cases of Yama and Maui?  This is a point on which we may remain in doubt,
for death in itself was certain to challenge inquiry among savage
philosophers, and to be explained by a human rather than by a solar myth.
Human, too, rather than a result of 'disease of language' is, probably,
the myth of the Fire-stealer.

The Stealing of Fire

The world-wide myth explaining how man first became possessed of
fire--namely, by _stealing_ it--might well serve as a touchstone of the
philological and anthropological methods.  To Mr. Max Muller the interest
of the story will certainly consist in discovering connections between
Greek and Sanskrit names of fire-gods and of fire bringing heroes.  He
will not compare the fire-myths of other races all over the world, nor
will he even try to explain why--in almost all of these myths we find a
thief of fire, a Fire-stealer.  This does not seem satisfactory to the
anthropologist, whose first curiosity is to know why fire is everywhere
said to have been obtained for men by sly theft or 'flat burglary.'  Of
course it is obvious that a myth found in Australia and America cannot
possibly be the result of disease of Aryan languages not spoken in those
two continents.  The myth of fire-stealing must necessarily have some
other origin.

'Fire Totems'

Mr. Max Muller, after a treatise on Agni and other fire-gods, consecrates
two pages to 'Fire Totems.'  'If we are assured that there are some dark
points left, and that these might be illustrated and rendered more
intelligible by what are called fire totems among the Red Indians of
North America, let us have as much light as we can get' (ii. 804).  Alas!
I never heard of fire totems before.  Probably some one has been writing
about them, somewhere, unless we owe them to Mr. Max Muller's own
researches.  Of course, he cites no authority for his fire totems.  'The
fire totem, we are told, would thus naturally have become the god of the
Indians.'  'We are told'--where, and by whom?  Not a hint is given on the
subject, so we must leave the doctrine of fire totems to its mysterious
discoverer.  'If others prefer to call Prometheus a fire totem, no one
would object, if only it would help us to a better understanding of
Prometheus' (ii. 810).  Who are the 'others' who speak of a Greek
'culture-hero' by the impossibly fantastic name of 'a fire totem'?


Mr. Max Muller 'follows Kuhn' in his explanation of Prometheus, the Fire-
stealer, but he does not follow him all the way.  Kuhn tried to account
for the myth that Prometheus _stole_ fire, and Mr. Max Muller does not
try. {194}  Kuhn connects Prometheus with the Sanskrit pramantha, the
stick used in producing fire by drilling a pointed into a flat piece of
wood.  The Greeks, of course, made Prometheus mean 'foresighted,'
providens; but let it be granted that the Germans know better.  Pramantha
next is associated with the verb mathnami, 'to rub _or_ grind;' and that,
again, with Greek [Greek], 'to learn.'  We too talk of a student as a
'grinder,' by a coincidence.  The root manth likewise means 'to rob;' and
we can see in English how a fire-stick, a 'fire-rubber,' might become a
'fire-robber,' a stealer of fire.  A somewhat similar confusion in old
Aryan languages converted the fire-stick into a person, the thief of
fire, Prometheus; while a Greek misunderstanding gave to Prometheus
(pramantha, 'fire-stick') the meaning of 'foresighted,' with the word for
prudent foresight, [Greek].  This, roughly stated, is the view of Kuhn.
{195a}  Mr. Max Muller concludes that Prometheus, the producer of fire,
is also the fire-god, a representative of Agni, and necessarily 'of the
inevitable Dawn'--'of Agni as the deus matutinus, a frequent character of
the Vedic Agni, the Agni aushasa, or the daybreak' (ii. 813).

But Mr. Max Muller does not say one word about Prometheus as the Fire-
stealer.  Now, that he _stole_ fire is of the essence of his myth; and
this myth of the original procuring of fire by theft occurs all over the
world.  As Australian and American savages cannot conceivably have
derived the myth of fire-stealing from the root manth and its double
sense of stealing and rubbing, there must be some other explanation.  But
this fact could not occur to comparative mythologists who did not
compare, probably did not even know, similar myths wherever found.

Savage Myths of Fire-stealing

In La Mythologie (pp. 185-195) I have put together a small collection of
savage myths of the theft of fire. {195b}  Our text is the line of Hesiod
(Theogony, 566), 'Prometheus _stole_ the far-seen ray of unwearied fire
in a hollow stalk of fennel.'  The same stalk is still used in the Greek
isles for carrying fire, as it was of old--whence no doubt this feature
of the myth. {195c}  How did Prometheus steal fire?  Some say from the
altar of Zeus, others that he lit his rod at the sun. {196a}  The
Australians have the same fable; fire was obtained by a black fellow who
climbed by a rope to the sun.  Again, in Australia fire was the
possession of two women alone.  A man induced them to turn their backs,
and stole fire.  A very curious version of the myth occurs in an
excellent book by Mrs. Langloh Parker. {196b}  There was no fire when
Rootoolgar, the crane, married Gooner, the kangaroo rat.  Rootoolgar,
idly rubbing two sticks together, discovered the art of fire-making.
'This we will keep secret,' they said, 'from all the tribes.'  A fire-
stick they carried about in their comebee.  The tribes of the Bush
discovered the secret, and the fire-stick was stolen by Reeargar, the
hawk.  We shall be told, of course, that the hawk is the lightning, or
the Dawn.  But in this savage Jungle Book all the characters are animals,
and Reeargar is no more the Dawn than is the kangaroo rat.  In savage
myths animals, not men, play the leading roles, and the fire-stealing
bird or beast is found among many widely scattered races.  In Normandy
the wren is the fire-bringer. {196c}  A bird brings fire in the Andaman
Isles. {196d}  Among the Ahts a fish owned fire; other beasts stole it.
The raven hero of the Thlinkeets, Yehl, stole fire.  Among the Cahrocs
two old women possessed it, and it was stolen by the coyote.  Are these
theftuous birds and beasts to be explained as Fire-gods?  Probably not.
Will any philologist aver that in Cahroc, Thlinkeet.  Australian,
Andaman, and so forth, the word for 'rub' resembled the word for 'rob,'
and so produced by 'a disease of language' the myth of the Fire-stealer?

Origin of the Myth of Fire-stealing

The myth arose from the nature of savage ideas, not from unconscious
puns.  Even in a race so civilised as the Homeric Greeks, to make fire
was no easy task.  Homer speaks of a man, in a lonely upland hut, who
carefully keeps the embers alive, that he may not have to go far afield
in search of the seed of fire. {197}  Obviously he had no ready means of
striking a light.  Suppose, then, that an early savage loses his seed of
fire.  His nearest neighbours, far enough off, may be hostile.  If he
wants fire, as they will not give it, he must _steal_ it, just as he must
steal a wife.  People in this condition would readily believe, like the
Australian blacks, that the original discoverers or possessors of a
secret so valuable as fire would not give it away, that others who wanted
it would be obliged to get it by theft.  In Greece, in a civilised race,
this very natural old idea survives, though fire is not the possession of
a crane, or of an old woman, but of the gods, and is stolen, not by a
hawk or a coyote, but by Prometheus, the culture-hero and demiurge.
Whether his name 'Foresighted' is a mistaken folk-etymology from the root
manth, or not, we have, in the ancient inevitable idea, that the original
patentees of fire would not willingly part with their treasure, the
obvious origin of the myth of the Fire-stealer.  And this theory does not
leave the analogous savage myths of fire-stealing unexplained and out in
the cold, as does the philological hypothesis. {198}  In this last
instance, as in others, the origin of a world-wide myth is found, not in
a 'disease of language,' but in a form of thought still natural.  If a
foreign power wants what answers among us to the exclusive possession of
fire, or wants the secret of its rival's new explosive, it has to _steal_


Here ends this 'Gentle and Joyous Passage of Arms.'  I showed, first, why
anthropological students of mythology, finding the philological school
occupying the ground, were obliged in England to challenge Mr. Max
Muller.  I then discoursed of some inconveniences attending his method in
controversy.  Next, I gave a practical example, the affair of Tuna and
Daphne.  This led to a comparison of the philological and the
anthropological ways of treating the Daphne myth.  The question of our
allies then coming up, I stated my reasons for regarding Prof. Tiele
'rather as an ally than an adversary,' the reason being his own
statement.  Presently, I replied to Prof. Tiele's criticism of my
treatment of the myth of Cronos.  After a skirmish on Italian fields, I
gave my reasons for disagreeing with Mr. Max Muller's view of Mannhardt's
position.  His theory of Demeter Erinnys was contrasted with that of Mr.
Max Muller.  Totemism occupied us next, and the views of Mr. Max Muller
and Mr. J. G. Frazer were criticised.  Then I defended anthropological
and criticised philological evidence.  Our method of universal comparison
was next justified in the matter of Fetishism.  The Riddle Theory of Mr.
Max Muller was presently discussed.  Then followed a review of our
contending methods in the explanation of Artemis, of the Fire-walk, of
Death Myths, and of the Fire-stealer.  Thus a number of points in
mythological interpretation have been tested on typical examples.

Much more might be said on a book of nearly 900 pages.  Many points might
be taken, much praise (were mine worth anything) might be given; but I
have had but one object, to defend the method of anthropology from a
running or dropping fire of criticism which breaks out in many points all
along the line, through Contributions to the Science of Mythology.  If my
answer be desultory and wandering, remember the sporadic sharpshooting of
the adversary!  For adversary we must consider Mr. Max Muller, so long as
we use different theories to different results.  If I am right, if he is
wrong, in our attempts to untie this old Gordian knot, he loses little
indeed.  That fame of his, the most steady and brilliant light of all
which crown the brows of contemporary scholars, is the well-earned
reward, not of mythological lore nor of cunning fence in controversy, but
of wide learning and exquisitely luminous style.

I trust that I have imputed no unfairness, made no charge of conscious
misrepresentation (to accidents of exposition we are all liable), have
struck no foul blow, hazarded no discourteous phrase.  If I have done so,
I am thereby, even more than in my smattering of unscholarly learning, an
opponent more absolutely unworthy of the Right Hon. Professor than I
would fain believe myself.

APPENDIX A: The Fire-walk in Spain

One study occasionally illustrates another.  In examining the history of
the Earl Marischal, who was exiled after the rising of 1715, I found, in
a letter of a correspondent of d'Alembert, that the Earl met a form of
the fire-walk in Spain.  There then existed in the Peninsula a hereditary
class of men who, by dint of 'charms' permitted by the Inquisition, could
enter fire unharmed.  The Earl Marischal said that he would believe in
their powers if he were allowed first to light the fire, and then to look
on.  But the fire-walkers would not gratify him, as not knowing what kind
of fire a heretic might kindle.

APPENDIX B: Mr. Macdonell on Vedic Mythology

Too late for use here came Vedic Mythology, from Grundriss der
indo-arischen Philologie, {201} by Mr. A. Macdonell, the representative
of the historic house of Lochgarry.  This even a non-scholar can perceive
to be a most careful and learned work.  As to philological 'equations'
between names of Greek and Vedic gods, Mr. Macdonell writes:
'Dyaus=[Greek] is the only one which can be said to be beyond the range
of doubt.'  As to the connection of Prometheus with Sanskrit Pramantha,
he says: '[Greek] has every appearance of being a purely Greek formation,
while the Indian verb math, to twirl, is found compounded only with nis,
never with pra, to express the art of producing fire by friction.'  (See
above, p. 194.)  If Mr. Macdonell is right here, the Greek myth of the
fire-stealer cannot have arisen from 'a disease of language.'  But
scholars must be left to reconcile this last typical example of their
ceaseless differences in the matter of etymology of names.


{0a}  Chips, iv. 62.

{0b}  Chips, iv. p. xxxv.

{0c}  Chips, iv. pp. vi. vii.

{0d}  Ibid. iv. p. xv.

{0e}  Cults of the Greek States, ii. 435-440.

{0f}  Chips, iv. p. xiv.

{0g}  Chips, iv. p. xiii.

{5}  Suidas, s.v. [Greek]; he cites Dionysius of Chalcis, B.C. 200.

{6a}  See Goguet, and Millar of Glasgow, and Voltaire.

{6b}  Translated by M. Parmentier.

{7}  See 'Totemism,' infra.

{8}  Longmans.

{10a}  M. R. R. i. 155-160.

{10b}  Tylor's Prim. Cult. i. 145.

{10c}  Turner's Samoa, p. 219.

{10d}  Gill's Myths and Songs, p. 79.

{11}  M. R. R. ii. 160.

{14}  Metam. i. 567.

{15a}  Grimm, cited by Liebrecht in Zur Volkskunde, p. 17.

{15b}  Primitive Culture, i. 285.

{15c}  Op. cit. i. 46-81.

{16}  M. R. R. i. 160.

{17}  Erratum: This is erroneous.  See Contributions, &c., vol. i. p. 6,
where Mr. Max Muller writes, 'Tuna means eel.'  This shows why Tuna, i.e.
Eel, is the hero.  His connection, as an admirer, with the Moon, perhaps
remains obscure.

{18}  Phonetically there may be 'no possible objection to the derivation
of [Greek] from a Sanskrit form, *Apa-var-yan, or *Apa-val-yan' (ii.
692); but, historically, Greek is not derived from Sanskrit surely!

{20a}  Mythologische Forschungen, p. 275.

{20b}  Baumkultus, p. 297.  Berlin: 1875.

{21a}  Antike Wald- und Feldkulte, p. 257.  Referring to Baumkultus, p.

{21b}  Oriental and Linguistic Studies, second series, p. 160.  La
Religion Vedique, iii. 293.

{22}  1, viii. cf. i. 27.

{23}  Riv. Crit. Mensile.  Geneva, iii. xiv. p. 2.

{25a}  Custom and Myth, p. 3, citing Revue de l'Hist. des Religions, ii.

{25b}  M. R. R. i. 24.

{25c}  Revue de l'Hist. des Religions, xii. 256.

{26}  Op. cit. p. 253.

{27}  Op. cit. xii. 250.

{28a}  P. 104, infra.

{28b}  Revue de l'Hist. des Religions, xii. 259.

{29a}  M. R. R. i. 25.

{29b}  Rev. xii. 247.

{30}  M. R. R. i. 24.

{31a}  Rev. xii. 277.

{31b}  Rev. xii. 264.

{31c}  M. R. R. i. 44, 45.

{32a}  Custom and Myth, p. 51.

{32b}  Rev. xii. 262.

{34}  Odyssey, book ix.

{37}  C. and M. p. 56.

{42a}  W. u. F. K. xxiii.

{42b}  M. R. R. i. 23.

{42c}  W. u. F. K. xvii.

{46}  Golden Bough, 1. ix.

{48}  [Greek].  Dionys. i. 80.

{51a}  Pausanias, viii. 25.

{51b}  Myth. Forsch. p. 244.

{51c}  Iliad, xx. 226.

{52}  Myth. Forsch, p. 265

{54}  September 19, 1875.  Myth. Forsch. xiv.

{55}  For undeniable solar myths see M. R. R. i. 124-135.

{56}  Op. cit. p. xx.

{60}  Folk Lore Society.

{61a}  Von einem der vorzuglichsten Schiriftgelehrten, Annana, in
klassischer Darstellung aufgezeichneten Marchens, p. 240.

{61b}  Custom and Myth.

{62a}  See Preface to Mrs. Hunt's translation of Grimm's Marchen.

{62b}  P. 309.

{65}  x. 17.  Cf. Muir, Sanskrit Texts, v. 277.

{66}  As the Sun's wife is Dawn, and leaves him at dawn, she is not much
of a bedfellow.  As _Night_, however, she _is_ a bedfellow of the
nocturnal Sun.

{71}  M. R. R. i. 58-81.

{72a}  See Robertson Smith on 'Semitic Religion.'

{72b}  See Sayce's Herodotus, p. 344.

{72c}  See Rhys' Rhind Lectures; I am not convinced by the evidence.

{73}  Academy, September 27, 1884.

{74a}  Anth. Rel. p. 405.

{74b}  Plantagenet, Planta genista.--A. L.

{74c}  See M. R. R. ii. 56, for a criticism of this theory.

{76}  Religion of the Semites, pp. 208, 209.

{78}  Die Religionen, p. 12.

{79}  Anth. Rel. p. 122.

{80}  Dalton.

{81a}  Strabo, xiii. 613.  Pausanias, i. 24, 8.

{81b}  Crooke, Introduction to Popular Religion of North India, p. 380.

{82a}  C. and M. p. 115.

{82b}  Contributions, ii. 687.

{83a}  Evidence in G. B. i. 325, 326.

{83b}  Compare Liebrecht, 'The Eaten God,' in Zur Volkskunde, p. 436.

{84a}  Cf. G. B. ii. 17, for evidence.

{84b}  M. R. R. ii. 232.

{84c}  G. B. ii. 90-113.

{84d}  In Encyclop. Brit. he thinks it 'very probable.'

{85a}  i. 200.

{85b}  M. R. R. ii. 142, 148-149.

{85c}  R. V. iv. 18, 10.

{86}  G. B. ii. 44-49.

{87}  G. B. ii. 33.

{88a}  Plutarch, Quaest. Rom. vi.  McLennan, The Patriarchal Theory, p.
207, note 2.

{88b}  G. B. ii. 337.

{89a}  See G. B. ii. 332-334.

{89b}  Religion of the Semites, p. 118.

{90}  G. B. ii. 337, 338.

{93a}  Custom and Myth, p. 235.

{93b}  M. R. R. ii. 327.

{93c}  Op. cit. ii. 329.

{94}  Lectures on Science of Language, Second Series, p. 41.

{95}  M. R. R. ii. 336.

{96}  Anthropological Religion.

{97a}  M. R. R. i. 171-173.

{97b}  Ibid. i. 172.

{97c}  Anth. Rel. p. 180.

{100}  'Totemism,' Encyclop. Brit.

{101a}  M. R. R. ii. 333.

{101b}  Ibid. ii. 335.

{103}  M. R.. R.. i. 96, 127; ii. 22, 336.

{106a}  Greek Etym.  Engl. transl. i. 147.

{106b}  Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte, p. 431.

{109}  Gr. Etym. i. 150.

{110}  M. R. R. ii. 142.

{111a}  ii. 210.  Cf. Oldenberg in Deutsche Rundschau, 1895, p. 205.

{111b}  R. V. iv. 18, 10.

{114}  Aglaophamus, i. 700.

{115}  Custom and Myth, i. 29-44.  M. R. R. ii. 260-273.

{116}  Custom and Myth, pp. 212-242.

{117a}  Culte des Fetiches, 1760.

{117b}  Codrington, Journal Anthrop. Inst., Feb. 1881.

{118a}  C. and M. p. 230, note.

{118b}  Rochas, Les Forces non definies, 1888, pp. 340-357, 411, 626.

{118c}  Revue Bleue, 1890, p. 367.

{118d}  De Brosses, p. 16.

{120a}  C. and M. p. 214.

{120b}  M. R. R. i. 327.

{120c}  Lectures on the Science of Language, 2nd series, p. 41.

{121}  M. R. R. ii. 327 and 329.

{124}  M. R. R. ii. 324.

{125a}  Paris: OEuvres, 1758, iii. 270.

{125b}  M. R. R. ii. 324.

{126}  I have no concern with his criticism of Mr. Herbert Spencer (p.
203), as I entirely disagree with that philosopher's theory.  The defence
of 'Animism' I leave to Dr. Tylor.

{135}  Meyer, 1846, apud Brough Smyth, Aborigines of Victoria, i. 432.

{138}  My italics.

{139a}  M. R. R. ii. 208-221.

{139b}  Ibid. ii. 209.

{140}  M. R. R. ii. 218.

{141a}  De Dianae Antiquissima apud Graecos Natura, p. 76.  Vratislaw,

{141b}  De Diane Brauron, p. 33.  Compare, for all the learning, Mr.
Farnell, in Cults of the Greek States.

{142a}  M. R. R. i. x.

{142b}  Life in California, pp. 241, 303.

{142c}  Religion of the Semites, p. 274.

{142d}  See also Mr. Frazer, Golden Bough, ii. 90-94; and Robertson
Smith, op. cit. pp. 416-418.

{142e}  Apostolius, viii. 19; vii. 10.

{143a}  Melanesians, p. 32.

{143b}  Samoa, p. 17.

{143c}  M. R. R. ii. 33.

{143d}  See also Frazer, Golden Bough, ii. 92.

{143e}  M. R. R. ii. 208.

{144a}  M. R. R. ii. 209.

{144b}  Custom and Myth, 'Star Myths.'

{148a}  L. Preller, Rom. Myth. p. 239, gives etymologies.

{148b}  AEn. xi. 785.

{149a}  A. W. F. p. 328.

{149b}  Dionys. Halic. iii. 32.

{149c}  Hist. Nat. vii. 2.

{149d}  AEn. xi. 784.

{149e}  AEn. xi. 787.

{150a}  Serv. AEn. vii. 800.

{150b}  Authorities in A. F. W. K. p. 325.

{151a}  Herabkunft, p. 30.

{151b}  Pausanias, viii. 385.

{151c}  A. W. F. K. xxii. xxiii.

{153}  Janus, pp. 44-49.

{161}  Home, the medium, was, or affected to be, entranced in his fire
tricks, as was Bernadette, at Lourdes, in the Miracle du Cierge.

{163}  The photograph referred to is evidently taken from a sketch by
hand, and is not therefore a photograph from life.--EDITOR.  The original
photograph was hereon sent to the editor and acknowledged by him.--A. L.

{169}  Proces, Quicherat, ii. 396, 397

{171}  Introduction to Popular Religion and Folk-Lore in Northern India,
by W. Crookes, B.A., p. 10.

{172}  Iamblichus, De Myst. iii. 4.

{173}  Folk-Lore, September 1895.

{174}  Quoted by Dr. Boissarie in his book, Lourdes, p. 49, from a book
by Dr. Dozous, now rare.  Thanks to information from Dr. Boissarie, I
have procured the book by Dr. Dozous, an eye-witness of the miracle, and
have verified the quotation.

{175}  Predvestniki spiritizma za posleanie 250 lyet.  A. M. Aksakoff,
St. Petersburg, 1895.  See Mr. Leaf's review, Proceedings S. P. R. xii.

{178}  Prim. Cult. i. 138.

{179}  Journal of Anthrop. Institute, x. iii.

{180a}  Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo, p. 42.

{180b}  Relations, 1637, p. 49.

{183a}  Abor. of Victoria, i. 429.

{183b}  Dalton, op. cit.

{184}  Codrington, Journal Anthrop. Institute, x. iii.  For America,
compare Relations de la Nouvelle France, 1674, p. 13.

{185}  The connection between the Moon and the Hare is also found in
Sanskrit, in Mexican, in some of the South Sea Islands, and in German and
Buddhist folklore.  Probably what we call 'the Man in the Moon' seemed
very like a hare to various races, roused their curiosity, and provoked
explanations in the shape of myths.

{186}  Hahn, Tsuni-Goam, p. 150.

{187}  Codrington, op. cit, p. 304.

{188}  Codrington, op. cit.

{190a}  Bastian, Heilige Sage.

{190b}  Primitive Culture, i. 336.

{194}  Kuhn, Die Herabkunft der Feuers und der Gottertranks.  Berlin,

{195a}  Herabkunft, pp. 16, 24.

{195b}  Dupret, Paris, 1886.  Translation by M. Parmentier.

{195c}  Pliny, Hist. Nat. xiii. 22.  Bent. Cyclades.

{196a}  Servius ad Virg., Eclogue vi. 42.

{196b}  Australian Legendary Tales.  Nutt: London, 1897.  Mrs. Parker
knows Australian dialects, and gives one story in the original.  Her
tribes live on the Narran River, in New South Wales.

{196c}  Bosquet, La Normandie Merveilleuse.  Paris, 1845.

{196d}  Journal Anthrop. Institute, November, 1884.

{197}  Odyssey, v. 488-493.

{198}  References for savage myths of the Fire-stealer will be found--for
the Ahts, in Sproat; for the tribes of the Pacific coast, in Bancroft;
for Australians in Brough Smyth's Aborigines of Victoria.

{201}  Trubner, Strasburg, 1897.

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