Page:Eskimo Life.djvu/257

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213
RELIGIOUS IDEAS

resolvable into one, the instinct of self-preservation—have fashioned all religious systems. The three germs are: our tendency to personify nature, our belief in its and our own duality and in the immortality of the soul, and the belief in the supernatural power and influence of certain inanimate objects (amulets). In order to recognise the great importance of these germs, especially at a primitive stage of development, we must try to throw our minds back to the standpoint of the child, which most nearly answers to that of primitive man. To personify nature is for the child no mere passing fancy; he consistently regards all surrounding objects, animate and inanimate, as persons, and will, for example, carry on long conversations with his toys. A child of my acquaintance, standing one day in the kitchen watching some long sausages boiling in a pot, exclaimed to the cook: 'I say, are these sausages killed yet?' All of us, probably, can remember from our childhood how we personified trees, certain mountains, and the like. It is the same proclivity, as Tylor says, which reappears in our often irrational desire or thirst for vengeance upon inanimate things which in one way or another have caused us pain or injury. For example, when we were crossing Greenland, Sverdrup and I had a sledge which was heavy to draw; it would have