an occasional important ceremony with which they have no necessary connection, as Williamson found among the Mafulu.
Comparative religion is saturated with examples of the intermixing and transformation of semi-sacred and sacred personages, whether they be ancestors, heroes, spirits, godlings, gods, or what not, and here we are well within the rightful domain of folklore, however we may define it.
Instead of the adjustment acting by integration it may act by inhibition, as is often the case in the struggle for existence between religions. The religious practices of the conquered or subordinate element of a mixed population may be, so-to-speak, trampled underground, and can be carried on only surreptitiously; in a short time degeneration must take place and may result in a travesty of religion as did the cult of witches of which Miss M. A. Murray has informed us in a series of valuable papers in Man.
A similar side-light on what has more or less obtained in Europe is afforded by the condition of Peru during the latter half of the sixteenth century as recorded by “The Ynca Garcilasso de la Vega,” the son of an Inca princess and a Spanish nobleman. As his account deals with earlier customs and their persistence into his time, and the imposition of Inca rule and religion upon a conquered population, it may be regarded as a handbook of folklore which had the inestimable advantage of being written while most of the customs were survivals and few had become vestiges, the mechanism by means of which such a change takes place is also clearly indicated.
- R. W. Williamson, The Mafulu Mountain People of British New Guinea, 1912, p. 147.
- Vols. xviii. 1918, Nos. 34, 50, 61, 81, 103; xix. 1919, Nos. 27, 74.
- First Part of the Royal Commentaries of the Yncas, by the Ynca Garcilasso de la Vega, translated by Clements R. Markham. London: Hakluyt Society, i. 1869, ii. 1871. First published in Lisbon in 1609.