brought out once a year. We have the same custom in the Hindu practice of annually bringing out and parading the images of Jaggannâth and Krishna. But this rule is not invariable, for the idols in Tahiti are brought out and exposed to the sun every three months. One of the great gods of Samoa was Tui Tokelau ; "he was supposed to be embodied in a stone which was carefully wrapped up with fine mats and never seen by any one but the king, and that only once a year, when the decayed mats were stripped off and thrown away;" no one dared to appropriate the decayed mats. Lord Roden in his Progress of the Reformation in Ireland speaks of a stone idol, called Neevougi, which was wrapped in homespun flannel by an old woman, its priestess.
I might add that the principles which we have been considering seem to throw considerable light on the very curious question of the theft of gods — why, for instance, a stolen god is more valuable than one honestly acquired, as the image of Pluto which Ptolemy Soter got stolen, and why every old woman will tell you that the best cure for the rheumatics is to steal a potato from a greengrocer's stall. But I fear I have already trespassed too long on your patience, and this with many other questions connected with idols must stand aside for the present.
- ii. 132.
- Featherman, Oceano-Melanesians, p. 52.
- Turner, Samoa, p. 268, sq.
- Plutarch, De Iside, 28.