Page:American Anthropologist NS vol. 1.djvu/435

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378 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [ N . s., I, 1899

ticipated the philosophy of Darwin. Again, some of the tales contain little or nothing even of metamorphosis, as, for instance, the story of Norwan which the author justly compares with that of Helen of Troy. The words " Primitive America," too, may lead many to expect a wider field of investigation than that of northern California.

Some of the accounts of metamorphosis are highly ingenious and have mythic reasons readily understood ; but we cannot discern why the Yana should have selected the soft and brittle California buckeye as the material which Jupka transformed into their ancestors.

We miss some elements which are very prominent in other Indian myths. We find no ceremonial circuit, no certain evidence of a sacred number (although five and its multiples are most frequently found), and no symbolism of color. On the other hand we meet elements, too numerous to mention, with which we are familiar in the myths of other tribes. Our old friend Coyote frequently appears, usually in the charac- ter of a mischievous trickster who often comes to grief in the toils he has set for others. The author wisely gives us numerous particulars, apparently meaningless and foolish, which the less skilled or less con- scientious collector might think unworthy of record. We may be sure that all these particulars have significance— they are not mere padding ; they have reference to ceremonial work, to tribal custom or to natural phenomena which, if not explained today, may be tomorrow.

In the introduction, which is an elaborate essay on Indian myths in general, some conclusions are reached which are sustained by the legends of the Wintu and Yana; but not by those of other Indians.

Washington Matthews.

The Magic of the Horse-shoe, with Other Folk-Lore Notes. By Robert Means Lawrence, M.D. Boston and New York : Houghton, Mifflin, & Co., 1 898. 8°, iv, 344 pp.

The last essay in this book is entitled " The Luck of Odd Numbers "; it contains a section on the number seven and closes with this sen- tence : " Therefore it is doubtless true — and the truth should make us free — that the greater our indifference to the various alleged omens and auguries which so easily beset us, the more readily shall we acquire and retain a firm and enduring dependence on Divine Providence." Not- withstanding this wise conclusion, the author gives us just seven essays in all. " The Magic of the Horse-shoe," the largest and most import- ant paper, occupies 139 pages. The other articles are : " Fortune and Luck," "The Folk-Lore of Common Salt," "The Omens of Sneezing," " Days of Good and Evil Omen," and " Superstitious Dealing with Animals."

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