Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/225
the tomb of a European in India, who in hfe was supposed to enjoy such luxuries.
It is a matter of common belief among Mestizos or half-castes that every pure-blooded Maya has a violet or purple spot on the back at the vertex coccygeus, which is called " bread " ; to refer to this is deemed an insult. Recent travellers have noted that a similar belief prevails in China. Indigo has special virtues, and a cross marked with it on the forehead protects the wearer against " the air," which is held responsible for a long list of diseases. They also believe in a creature like the Churel of India, called the Xtabay, which may be either male or female, and lures way- farers to their doom. " As a female it is usually a beautiful lady in white, with her lowered hair falling down on her shoulders. She is most likely to be seen at night under large and spreading trees. She asks the passer whither he goes ; suggests a ramble ; even forcibly seizes and drags him to the edge of a precipice or cavern, over which, or into which, he is hurled. The heart of the victim is then torn out." Apparently she has not her toes turned back where her heels should be, as is the case with her sister in India.
They have also the common belief that eclipses are the work of a demon. " They believe that a creature named baboal is devouring the luminary, and make a great din to scare it ; a pregnant woman must not touch any part of her body with her hand during an eclipse, lest she injure that part of the babe which is to be born." Exactly the same belief prevails in India.
Professor Starr gives a full account of the H'men, or medicine man, who gives oracles by consulting crystals. He performs various rites at seed-time and harvest, exorcises disease, and so on. " The Indians foretell the weather for the year by observa- tion of the days in January. The days from the first to the twelfth give the weather for the corresponding months ; those from the thirteenth to the twenty-fourth, taken in inverse order, modify or verify the observations. Thus the thirteenth gives the verification for December, the fourteenth for November, and so on." But Professor Starr doubts if this system be of Indian origin.
An interesting addition to this valuable report consists of sixteen folk-songs of the Zapotec tribe, recorded with the music, native words, and an English translation. Professor Starr was assured by a musician friend that the music had been profoundly